Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 92 pages of information about Laurier.
make over the party organization in the province.  Open rebellion under Francois Langelier broke out in December:  “A coalition with Chapleau,” Langelier informed the public, “is under way.”  But the rebellion died away.  The Laurier influence was too strong.  Langelier was quite right in his statement.  The coalition movement at that time was far advanced.  The letter from Chapleau to Laurier, bearing date February 21, 1897, quoted by Professor Skelton, was that of one political intimate to another.  Take this paragraph as an illustration:  “The Castors in the battle of June 23rd lost their head and their tail; their teeth and claws are worn down; even breath is failing for their cries and their movements and I hope that before the date of the Queen’s jubilee we shall be able to say that this race of rodents is extinct and figures only in catalogues of extinct species.”  The reference to the coming extinction of the Castors had relation to the then pending provincial elections as to which he made certain references to political strokes which “I am preparing.”  Associated with this Laurier-Tarte-Chapleau triumvirate was a fourth, C. A. Dansereau, nominally postmaster of Montreal, actually the most restless political intriguer in the province of Quebec.  Dansereau had been the brains of the old Senecal-Chapleau combination which had dominated Quebec in the eighties.  Just what Laurier thought of the company he was now keeping was a matter of record for he had set it forth in a famous article in L’Electeur in 1882 entitled “The Den of Thieves,” which led to L. A. Senecal, the Bleu “boss,” prosecuting him for criminal libel.  Laurier stood his trial in Montreal, pleaded justification, and after a hard fought battle won a virtual triumph through a disagreement of the jury with ten of the jurymen favorable to acquittal.


Little wonder that Francois Langelier, his brother Charles, and other associates of Laurier in the lean years of proscription were consumed with indignation that Laurier should pass them by to associate with his former enemies.  They did not realize the political necessity that controlled Laurier’s course.  Laurier had great need to hold his new allies for his position in Quebec for the first year or so of office was precarious.  The Manitoba school question had still to be settled.  Laurier was political realist enough to know that he would have to take what he could get and this he would have to dress up and present to the public as his own child.  He knew that the bishops, chagrined, humiliated, enraged by their election experience, were only waiting for the announcement of settlement to open war on him.  It would then depend upon whether or not they were more successful than in June in commanding the support of their people.  In Laurier’s own words:  “They will not pardon us for their check of last summer; they want revenge at all costs.”

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Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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