About Le Patriote canadien. (Montréal) 1839-1840
- Le Patriote canadien. : (Montréal) 1839-1840
- Place of publication:
- Geographic coverage:
- Société canadienne du microfilm = Canadian Microfilming Co. ;
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (7 août 1839)-v. 1, no. 27 (5 févr. 1840).
- sn 90000507
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Le Patriote Canadien
Among the numerous weekly newspapers established in Vermont during the 1830s that promoted diverse political agendas, Le Patriote Canadien stands out on two counts. First, it was published mostly in French. Second, it advocated political reform not in Vermont or the United States, but in Lower Canada (now Quebec).
Le Patriote Canadien was published by Ludger Duvernay, a prominent member of Lower Canada's Patriote Party. His Montreal paper, La Minerve,printed articles critical of the British colonial government that landed him in jail several times. In 1837, when political discontent turned to active rebellion, Duvernay fled to the United States and settled in the northwestern Vermont village of Burlington. Vermonters had demonstrated enthusiastic support for the Patriote rebellion, providing volunteers and weapons for armed skirmishes and sanctuary for exiled rebels. Duvernay hoped Americans would also support a journal that promoted civil rights and independence in Lower Canada. He issued a prospectus for a French paper in December 1838. Challenged to raise funds and obtain equipment, he was not able to publish the first issue of Le Patriote Canadien until August 1839, four months after an English Patriote paper, the North American, was established in Swanton, Vermont, closer to the Canadian border.
Duvernay used Le Patriote Canadien to continue the fight for reform, even after the colonial government and its supporters suppressed the 1837 and 1838 insurrections. Articles in the journal documented the rebellion's events and participants and reported the repressive actions of the colonial government. The Patriote was strongly anti-British, but Duvernay adopted a considerably more moderate tone than the outspoken editors of the North American. Unlike the North American, the Patriote did not attack former party leaders or the Catholic clergy who supported the colonial government. Duvernay wrote positively about republican government, education, industry, and agriculture in the United States, and pointed out improvements that could be implemented in Lower Canada. In one front-page article, for example, he provided a flattering description of Burlington and urged Canadian readers to compare its advantages with their own communities.
Le Patriote routinely included a small amount of local content in a section headed “Localité,” as well as announcements, marriage and death notices, Burlington market reports, and advertisements for local merchants. Members of the Burlington area's small but growing French Canadian community undoubtedly read the only French paper published in Vermont. Acknowledging his location in an English speaking community, Duvernay offered English translations of one or more articles in many issues.
After only six months, however, Duvernay faced financial failure and announced the last issue of Le Patriote Canadien. Although the paper had agents in over twenty cities across the United States, too few subscriptions materialized. American support for the Patriote cause had waned, and Canadian circulation was severely restricted after the British government banned the paper's distribution by mail. Duvernay stayed in Burlington until 1842, when he returned to Montreal and revived La Minerve, which once again became an influential French language paper.