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Documents

Insurrection of the French half breeds
The Road in Possession of the Rebels

The following article is from:
The Nor'wester and Pioneer (Winnipeg) October 26, 1869, p. 1


What we have so long expected has at last taken place. Ever since the commencement of the last negotiations for the transfer of this Territory to the Dominion of Canada, a few individuals, who no doubt glory in their disloyalty to the Queen and their hatred of the Dominion and all concerned with it; have been exceedingly busy in their efforts to create a spirit of opposition to the proposed transfer among this people. With the English speaking portion they have been eminently unsuccessful, inasmuch as they can read for themselves and have a better understanding of the ins and outs of the whole question than was anticipated by those who were endeavouring to tamper with their loyalty and good sense. Failing here they then turned their whole attention toward our French fellow Colonists, and wherever there was an opportunity and an ear to listen, the occasion was not lost to still them with an almost unconceivable tissue of misrepresentations and lies. The principal misrepresentations were concerning the Canadian System of Taxation; and among the most prominent lies was the assertion that the new government intended to immediately oust the French from their lands and homesteads.

Coming, as these assertions did, from men of some apparent consequence among us, it is little wonder that they found a number among the French who would believe them and proceed to act upon them. Believing as they do that their informers have told them the truth from motives of friendship and good will, these men have very naturally determined to resist any such encroachment upon their rights. Without inquiring as to the truth of falsehood of what has been told them some considerable excitement began to manifest itself among them ever since the news of the bargain and sale of the Company rights reached us. Reports of various kinds have been flying about as to their intentions in the matter, but as many of them seemed to incredible for belief, we awaited quietly to see what the termination would be; relying upon their innate good sense when they should calmly think the matter over.

Week before last they dispatched a couple of agents among the English-speaking portion of our people who live upon the Red River below this place. We were down immediately after, and found that they had not met with a single sympathizer along the whole line of their peregrinations. A flying rumour then began to prevail that the French intended to stop Gov. McDougall whilst en route to the Settlement from Pembina and to prevent him from coming in at all, unless indeed he would accede to a long list of demands, the most of which are too preposterous to entertain, and many of which he will not have the power to grant. This report, apparently of so serious an aspect, created little excitement, inasmuch that it was not credited. But intelligence of an unmistakable character reached this place on Friday last. On that day information was laid before the authorities, and sworn to in the form of an affidavit, that the French were already in arms upon the road between Stinking River and Pembina. That such of them as took an active part in the uprising were adopting every precaution to intercept Mr. McDougall on his way in. They were fully organised and were sufficiently under military discipline to throw out scouts upon all the approaches to the Settlement from the South; and to post pickets and sentries at night. These fellows had billeted themselves upon the inhabitants at their various places of rendezvous. They were divided into three parties of about twenty or thirty in each. These parties being stationed at Stinking River , Scratching River and near Pembina, severally.