The Evolution of French Canada

By Jean Charlemagne Bracq | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

THE author, in writing this book, has turned aside from his field of studies in an attempt to do justice to men of French blood in the New World. Distantly acquainted with them for half a century, it is only of late that he has discovered their real worth. He believes that they ought to be better known, and their merits, as a people, recognized. As a son of France and a Protestant, it has been a delicate matter for him to voice this conviction. Accordingly, he has dealt with the philosophical principles underlying the creed of Gallo-Canadians, and not with the tenets of their Church. Great is his admiration for some of their religious leaders and the mass of their religious workers, men and women, animated with the most altruistic principles, though not stated in the terms of his own theology. He was happy to find, on the banks of the St. Lawrence, a people of his own kin who have risen above material conquests and shown that happiness does not consist in what a man has, but in what he is. British writers proclaim that French Canadians have the secret of being contented and happy.

The data of the book, for the period after the Cession, have been mostly derived from English sources. Before that time the writer usually refers to documents not accessible to him, but used by trustworthy writers. For contemporary life, he has drawn largely from oral testimonies, from his visits to schools, colleges, universities, philanthropic and penal institutions. He has talked with French and Anglo-Canadian farmers, politicians, priests, pastors, and people. He has not only seen the natives in their

-vii-

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