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Last revised:
27 August 2000

Les Québécois, le clergé catholique et l'affaire des écoles du Manitoba / Quebecers, the Catholic Clergy and the Manitoba School Question, 1890-1916

Notes on Sources for the Study of Quebec, the Roman Catholic Church and the Manitoba School Question

Listed below is not an exhaustive bibliography of the material available to study the Manitoba School Question but rather the most useful material from which the documents posted at the site were derived, as well as the chronology constructed. First are listed, and commented upon, those that were relied upon the most. This is followed by a standard bibliography of works that provided much added information and a varied scope of interpretations. We do not list several contemporary booklets that appear in the documentary section.

The greatest source of information on the Manitoba School Question itself is found in the various volumes of the Sessional Papers published between 1891 and 1897 by the federal government. As the issue became immediately a public one, and as appeals of one sort or another were made to the federal government, questions were raised in the House of Commons and information was sought. Such information made public was then published in the Sessional Papers. The following Sessional Papers were consulted: 1891, No 63, 63b; 1893, No. 33, 33a, 33b; 1895, No. 20, 20b, 20c, 20d, 20e; 1896, No. 39, 39a, 39aa, 39b, 39c; 1897, No. 35 and the extensive volume of the 1897 Federal Elections Returns. The House of Commons Debates for the years 1891 to 1896 were also consulted. There is available in these Debates a wealth of information that has hardly been mined as yet; for example, no one has properly analysed the debates held on the Remedial Bill of 1896.

The best study for the scope of research conducted in the ecclesiastical and private archives, as well as balanced, fair exposition and interpretation, is Paul CRUNICAN, Priests and Politicians: Manitoba Schools and the election of 1896, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1974, 369p. The only negative comments that this fine study might merit are that he accepted too easily the prevalent negative view toward Mgr. Langevin and the positive one toward Laurier. Both should be presented in a more nuanced way in the book. As well, the author might have carried the story beyond the elections of 1896 as the interplay of the priests and the politicians was far from over by June 1896. Lastly, the University of Toronto did atrocious editing work in transcribing the many French quotations in the text.

In several respects, a model we wished to follow is that of Lovell CLARK, The Manitoba School Question: Majority Rule or Minority Rights?, Toronto, Copp Clark, 1968, 230p. Clark has an excellent cross-section of documents with well-informed introductions. Many of the crucial documents to study the question are found here in whole or in parts. Clark, as well as Crunican, have produced several articles that are listed below.

Much documentation on the Manitoba issue and its connection to the Roman Catholic church is found in the various volumes of Arthur SAVAÈTE entitled Voix canadiennes. Vers L’abîme. Vols 7, 8 and 12 were especially useful. Savaète is something of a phenomenon in that, from France, he published more than a dozen massive volumes all concerned with the religious history of French Canada between 1850 and 1914. He was a radical ultramontane, conservative individual. His books are very one-sided and should be used with caution. However, his method was to quote at great length his sources. As he was in contact with many of the clerical participants in the issues he described, he was well informed. His enemies were the Liberals...

The works of Robert RUMILLY are well-known to Quebec historians. His Histoire de la Province de Québec (41 volumes) is massive, well-informed, and full of details not found anywhere else. His method is descriptive rather than analytical. He gained access to sources of information that nobody else consulted and is rarely found in error. Vol. 8 of the Histoire entitled Laurier is the one most closely associated with our subject. His Monseigneur Laflèche et son temps, Montreal, B. D. Simpson, 461p. was also very useful. Rumilly’s information is filtered through right-wing conservative ideology.

The Liberal Party’s interpretation of the Manitoba School Question is well defined by O. D. SKELTON in his Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1921, 2 Volumes. Skelton is a great admirer of Laurier and completely uncritical of his subject. Much further information may be gathered in Lucien PACAUD’s Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Lettres à mon père et à ma mère, 1867-1919, 349p. Pacaud’s father was the editor of L’Électeur and Le Soleil at the time of the school question. The many works of L. O. DAVID also provide an interesting window unto this period. One of David’s brochure was condemned by Rome and is reproduced at the site. The most recent pro-Laurier interpretation is presented by H. Blair NEATBY, Laurier and a Liberal Quebec, Carleton Library, 1973, 244p.

Rarely quoted in the literature on the subject although essential to study the Quebec and Church sides of this question is Father Thomas Charland. His works are very detained, his method is descriptive and he has a clear clerical bias. Among the more useful pieces are Le Père Gonthier et les écoles du Manitoba. Mission secrète à Rome (1897-1898),

Montreal, Fides, 1979, 131p., « Les débuts du P. Gonthier dans la polémique », in Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1952):234-246, « Mémoire sur la question des écoles du Manitoba » in Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, Vol. 6, No. 3 (1952): 440-442, and « L’Encyclique ‘Affari vos’ de Léon XIII à l’épiscopat canadien », in Rapport de la Société canadienne d’histoire de l’Église catholique, 1953, pp. 13-25.

Essential for knowledge and understanding of the Roman Catholic position on a wide range of issues, including the Manitoba School Question, are the pastoral letters of the bishops that are collected into volumes periodically. For the present study, the Pastoral Letters of the bishops of Trois-Rivières (Laflèche), Valleyfield (Émard), Montreal (Fabre and Bruchési) and Quebec (Taschereau and Bégin) were consulted. There is much left to be done from these sources. The other bishops’ letters, especially from the English-speaking provinces, ought also to be examined.

Legal, political and constitutional aspects are discussed in two essential sources of the period. On the government of Manitoba’s side is F. C. WADE, The Manitoba School Question, Winnipeg, Institute of the Deaf and Dumb, 1895, while John S. EWART, The Manitoba School Question: A Reply to Mr. Wade, Winnipeg, The Free Press, 1895 argues the Catholic side.

The following studies will also prove to be of use in understanding certain aspects of the question:

BONENFANT, Jean-Charles, « La dualité linguistique au Manitoba », in Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, fourth series, 1970, pp. 133-140.

CHOQUETTE, Robert, « Adélard Langevin et les questions scolaires du Manitoba et du Nord-Ouest, 1895-1915 », in Revue de l’Université d’Ottawa, Vol. 46, N0 3 (1976): 324-344.

CLARK, Lovell. C. « The Conservative Party in the 1890’s », in Canadian Historical Association, Papers, 1961.

CLARK, Lovell C. « Macdonald’s Conservative Successors, 1891-1896 », in John S. MOIR, ed., Character and Circumstance, Toronto, Macmillan, 1970, 239p., pp. 143-162.

CLARK, Lovell C., « David Mills and the Remedial Bill of 1896: A Dialogue », in Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 1, 1966.

COMEAULT, Gilbert-L., « La question des écoles du Manitoba - Un nouvel éclairage », in Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, Vol. 33, No1 (June 1979): 3-23.

COMEAULT, Gilbert-L., « Les rapports de Mgr. L. A. Langevin avec les groupes ethniques minoritaires et leurs répercussions sur le statut de la langue française au Manitoba, 1895-1916 », in Société canadienne d’histoire de l’Église catholique, Rapport, 1975, pp. 65-85.

COOK, Ramsay, « Church, Schools and Politics in Manitoba, 1903-1912 », in Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 39, No 1 (March 1958):

CRUNICAN, Paul E., « Bishop Laflèche and the Mandement of 1896 », in Canadian Historical Association, Report, 1969, pp. 52-61.

CRUNICAN, Paul E., « Father Lacombe’s Strange Mission: The Lacombe-Langevin Correspondence on the Manitoba School Question, 1895-96 », in Canadian Catholic Historical Association, Report, 1959, pp. 57-71.

D’ESCHAMBAULT, Antoine, Histoire du groupe français du Manitoba (1938), texte présenté et annoté par Lionel DORGE, Introduction à l’étude des Franco-Manitobains, Essai historique et Bibliographique, Saint-Boniface, Société historique, 1973, 298p., pp. 26-77.

DUPONT, Pierre, « La question scolaire manitobaine: en marge d’une correspondence », in L’Action française (1922-1923): 368-79, 33-41, 168-177.

GILL, Robert M., « Federal, Provincial and Local Language Legislation in Manitoba and the Franco-Manitobans », in American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring 1982): 30-39.

GROULX, Lionel, « La Correspondance Langevin-Audet », in Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, Vol. 1 (1947): 271-277.

GROULX, Lionel, « Mgr. Adélard Langevin d’après une partie de sa correspondance », in Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, Vol. 1 (1947): 569-594.

JAENEN, Cornelius J., « The Manitoba School Question: An Ethnic Interpretation », in M. L. Kovacs, ed., Ethnic Canadians: Culture and Education, Regina, 1978, 317-331.

JAENEN, Cornelius J., « French Public Education in Manitoba », in Revue de l’Université d’Ottawa, Vol. 38, No 1 (1968): 19-34.

KOVACS, Martin L., « The Hungarian School Question », in Ethnic Canadians: Culture and Education, Regina, 1978, pp. 333-358.

LAPIERRE, Laurier L., « Joseph-Israel Tarte: Relations between the French-Canadian Episcopacy and a French-Canadian Politician (1874-1896) », in Canadian Catholic Historical Association, Report, 1958, pp. 23-38.

LAPIERRE, Laurier L., « Joseph-Israel Tarte et les évêques de St. Boniface », in Société canadienne d’histoire de l’Église catholique, Rapport, 1970, pp. 173-195.

McLAUGHLIN, Kenneth, « Riding the Protestant Horse: The Manitoba School Question and Canadian Politics, 1890-1896 », in Canadian Catholic Historical Association, Report, 1986, pp. 39-52.

MILLER, J. R., Equal Rights: The Jesuits’ Estate Act Controversy, Montreal, McGill-Queen’s, 1979.

MILLER, J. R., « D’Alton McCarthy, Equal Rights, and the Origins of the Manitoba School Question », in Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 54 (December 1973): 369-392.

MITCHELL, Tom, « In the Image of Ontario: Public Schools in Brandon, 1881-1890 », in Manitoba History, No 12 (autumn 1986): 25-33.

MORTON, W. L., « Manitoba Schools and Canadian Nationality, 1890-1923 », in Canadian Historical Association, Report, 1951, pp. 51-59.

MORTON, W. L., « Confederation, 1870-1896: the End of the Macdonaldian Constitution and the Return to Duality », in Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 1, No 1 (May 1966): 11-24.

NEATBY, H. Blair and John T. SAYWELL, « Chapleau and the Conservative Party in Quebec », in Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 37, No1 (March 1956): 1-22.

PERIN, Roberto, « La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure: la représentation du Saint-Siège au Canada, 1877-1917 », in Rapport de la Société d’histoire de l’Église catholique du Canada, 1983, pp. 99-117.

PERIN, Roberto, Rome in Canada. The Vatican and Canadian Affairs in the Late Victorian Age, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1990, 299p. 

Much new information here and a fresh view on the subject.

SAYWELL, John T., The Canadian Journal of Lady Aberdeen, 1893-1898, Toronto, Champlain Society, 1960.

SAYWELL, John T., « The Crown and the Politicians: The Canadian Succession Question, 1891-1896 », in Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 37, No. 4 (December 1956):

SCOTT MacGREGOR, Margaret, Some Letters from Archbishop Taché on the Manitoba School Question, Toronto, Ryerson Press, 1947, 136p.

SILVER, A. I., The French-Canadian Idea of Confederation, 1864-1900, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1982, 257p., esp. Chapter 10.

SILVER, A. I., « French canada and the Prairie Frontier », in Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 50 (March 1969): 11-36.

WATT, J. T., « Anti-Catholic Nativism in Canada: The Protestant Protective Association », in Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 58 (March 1967): 45-58.

WATT, J. T., « The Protestant Protective Association: An Example of Religious Extremism in Ontario in the 1890’s », in B. Hodgins and R. Page, eds, Canadian History Since Confederation, 1972, pp. 244-260.

© 2000 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College