1763-1791: Terminology and Population
Department of History,
- To change ones nature, to abandon
ones cultural characteristics to adopt those of another culture.
- In the period after the Conquest, the
process of assimilation did not have a linguistic component of significance. French
was a language of great prestige, dominating international relations, and
arguably the language most used for creation at the time. It was a
language readily used by the British upper class and regulations in the St. Lawrence
Valley were usually issued by the British Government in English and in French.
Thus, assimilation did not mean to abandon French.
this time, to be assimilated meant to become British to accept British
ways, to become in manners of thinking, behaving and beliefs British.
In practice, this meant to accept the British religion ie. Protestantism,
especially the established religion of the Church of England (Anglicanism), to
accept British laws (these being the reflection of British culture)
as well as British institutions, especially the political institutions
of England. To the extent that these components characterized the British, to
accept these ways was to embrace the British culture, to assimilate.
- In the Constitutions of 1763 (the Royal
Proclamation) and 1840 (the Union Act) Britain pursued policies of assimilation
in Québec. Some have argued that, under one guise or another, Britain pursued
assimilation policies throughout the entire period of 1763 and 1848.
used in this period:
this period of time, the terms Canadiens, Canadians and New Subjects are used
solely to describe the French speaking, Roman Catholic population of the Province
data for this period:
estimated population of the Province was around 70,000; nearly all were French speaking.
population estimates are around 100,000 to 120,000; all but 2,000-4,000 are French
the population is estimated at 220,000 with 25,000 to 30,000 English speakers.
this period, 80-90% of the population farmed, the cities of Montreal and Quebec
were still very small; birth rates were around 55 per thousand people, death rate
was around 30 per thousand. Immigrants came from the American colonies and the
1998 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College