Grandmoulin kept his attitude erect and immovable.
“My friends,” he proceeded, when the applause began to subside, “I address you as heritors and representatives of a glorious national title. To wear it—to be called ‘Frenchman’ is to stand in the ranks of the nobility of the human race. I address you as a generous, a great, a devoted people, a people brave of heart and unequalled in intellectual ability, a people proud of themselves, their deeds and the deeds of their fathers in New France and in the fair France of the past, a people above all intensely national, patriotic, jealous for the advancement of their tongue and their race. I address you as faithful of the ancient Church which was founded on the Petrine Rock, and names itself Catholic, Apostolic, Roman; whose altars God has preserved unshaken through the centuries amid terrible hosts of enemies, bitter oppressions, diabolical persecutions; of whose faith your hearts, your bodies, your race itself, are the consecrated depositories set apart and blessed of Heaven.”
“I address you further, Frenchmen of Canada, as an oppressed remnant, long crushed and evil treated under alien conquerors; who despoiled you of your dominion, your freedom and your future, and whose military despotism, history records, spurned your cry during eighty years with unspeakable arrogance; till you rose like men in the despair of the ’37, for the simplest rights, brandishing in your hands poor scythes and knives against armies with cannon, O my compatriots!—and compelled them to dole you a little justice!”
“The brave and generous who still remain of the generation before, recount to you those living scenes, and your hearts take part with the wronged and valiant of your blood!”
“In this secluded countryside you see too little how they still insult you. Ask yourselves frankly whether that for which our nation strove has ever yet been had. What have we gained? Is not the battle still to be fought? There are no facts more patent than that the English are our conquerors, that they rule our country, that they are aliens, heretics, enemies of our Holy Religion, and that they are heaping up unrighteous riches, while we are becoming despised and poor.”
“Think not that I speak without emotions in my breast. There was a day, my poor French-Canadian brothers,—a solemn day, when I bound myself by a great oath to the cause of my people. It was when my father told me, his voice choking with, tears, of the murder of my grandfather, ignominiously thrown from the gallows for the felony of patriotism! Was I wrong to rise in grief and wrath, and swear with tears and prayers before our good Ste. Anne that I would never rest or taste a pleasure until I free the French-Canadians?”
“‘It is I who will defend my race and my religion!’ cried I then, and I have ever striven to do this, and still so strive.”
Having thus played along each different key of his hearer’s prejudices, he turned them towards his end.