The Story of Louis Riel: the Rebel Chief

The Story of Louis Riel: the Rebel Chief

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Story of Louis Riel: The Rebel Chief by Joseph Edmond CollinsThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: The Story of Louis Riel: The Rebel ChiefAuthor: Joseph Edmond CollinsRelease Date: December 7, 2003 [EBook #10399]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE STORY OF LOUIS RIEL ***This etext was produced by Gardner Buchanan.The Story of Louis RielThe Rebel Chiefby Joseph Edmond CollinsToronto, 1885CHAPTER I.Along the banks of the Red River, over those fruitful plains brightened with wild flowers in summer, and swept with fiercestorms in the winter-time, is written the life story of Louis Riel. Chance was not blind when she gave as a field to thisman's ambition the plains whereon vengeful Chippewas and ferocious Sioux had waged their battles for so manycenturies; a country dyed so often with blood that at last Red River came to be its name. But while our task is to presentthe career of this apostle of insurrection and unrest; stirred as we may be to feelings of horror for the misery, the tumult,the terror and the blood of which he has been the author, we must not neglect to do him, even him, the justice which is hisright.He is not, as so many suppose, a half-breed, moved by the vengeful, ...

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Publié le 08 décembre 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Story of Louis Riel: The Rebel Chief by Joseph Edmond Collins This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Story of Louis Riel: The Rebel Chief Author: Joseph Edmond Collins Release Date: December 7, 2003 [EBook #10399] Language: English *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE STORY OF LOUIS RIEL *** This etext was produced by Gardner Buchanan. The Story of Louis Riel The Rebel Chief by Joseph Edmond Collins Toronto, 1885 CHAPTER I. Along the banks of the Red River, over those fruitful plains brightened with wild flowers in summer, and swept with fierce storms in the winter-time, is written the life story of Louis Riel. Chance was not blind when she gave as a field to this man's ambition the plains whereon vengeful Chippewas and ferocious Sioux had waged their battles for so many centuries; a country dyed so often with blood that at last Red River came to be its name. But while our task is to present the career of this apostle of insurrection and unrest; stirred as we may be to feelings of horror for the misery, the tumult, the terror and the blood of which he has been the author, we must not neglect to do him, even him, the justice which is his right. He is not, as so many suppose, a half-breed, moved by the vengeful, irresponsible, savage blood in his veins. Mr. Edward Jack, [Footnote: I cannot make out what Mr. Jack's views are respecting Riel. When I asked him, he simply turned his face toward the sky and made some remark about the weather, I know that he has strong French proclivities, though the blood of a Scottish bailie is in his veins.] of New Brunswick, who is well informed on all Canadian matters, hands me some passages which he has translated from M. Tasse's book on Canadians in the North West; and from these I learn that Riel's father, whose name also was Louis, was born at the island of La Crosse, in the North-West Territories. This parent was the son of Jean Baptiste Riel, who was a French Canadian and a native of Berthier (en haut). His mother, that is the rebel's grandmother, was a Franco-Montagnaise Metis. From this it will be seen that instead of being a "half breed," Louis Riel is only one-eighth Indian, or is, if we might use the phrase employed in describing a mixture of Ethiopian and Caucasian blood, an Octoroon. Nay, more than this, we have it shown that our rebel can lay claim to no small share of respectability, as that word goes. During the summer of 1822, Riel's father, then in his fifth year, was brought to Canada by his parents, who caused the ceremony of baptism to be performed with much show at Berthier. In 1838 M. Riel pere entered the service of the Hudson Bay Company, and left Lower Canada, where he had been attending school, for the North-West. He was stationed at Rainy Lake, but did not care for his occupation. He returned, therefore, to civilization and entered as a novice in the community of the Oblat Fathers, where he remained for two years. There was a strong yearning for the free, wild life of the boundless prairies in this man, and Red River, with its herds of roaming buffalo, its myriads of duck, and geese and prairie hens, began to beckon him home again. He followed his impulse and departed; joining the Metis hunters in their great biennial campaigns against the herds, over the rolling prairie. Many a buffalo fell upon the plain with Louis Riel's arrow quivering in his flank; many a feast was held around the giant pot at which no hunter received honours so marked as stolid male, and olive-skinned, bright-eyed, supple female, accorded him. Surfeited for the time of the luxury of the limitless plain, Riel took rest; and then a girl with the lustrous eyes of Normandy began to smile upon him, and to besiege his heart with all her mysterious force of coquetry. He was not proof; and the hunter soon lay entangled in the meshes of the brown girl of the plains. In the autumn of 1843 he married her. Her name was Julie de Lagimodiere, a daughter of Jean Baptiste de Lagimodiere. Louis pere was now engaged as a carder of wool; and having much ability in contrivance he constructed a little model of a carding mill which, with much enthusiasm, he exhibited to some officers of the Hudson Bay Company. But the Company, though having a great body, possessed no soul, and the disappointed inventor returned to his waiting wife with sorrow in his eyes. He next betook himself to the cultivation of a farm upon the banks of the little Seine; and his good, patient wife, when the autumn came, toiled with him all day, with her sickle among the sheaves. Tilling the soil proved too laborious, and he determined to erect a grist mill; but the stream that ran through the clayey channel of the Seine petite was too feeble to turn the ponderous wheels. So he was obliged to move twelve miles to the east, where flowed another small stream bearing the aesthetic name "Grease River." This was not large enough either for his purposes, so with stupendous enterprise he cut a canal nine miles long, and through it decoyed the waters of the little Seine into the arms of the "Greasy" paramour. At this mill was ground the grain that grew for many a mile around; and in a little while Louis Riel became known as the most enterprising and important settler in Red River. But he was not through all his career a man of peace. The most deadly feud had grown up through many long years between the Hudson Bay Company and the Metis settled upon their territory; and it is only bald justice to say that the, reprisals of the half- breeds, the revolts, the hatred of everything in official shape, were not altogether undeserved. Louis Riel was at the head of many a jarring discord. How such an unfortunate condition grew we shall see later on, and we may also be able to determine if there are any shoulders upon which we can lay blame for the murder and misery that since have blighted one of the fairest portions of Canada. Louis Riel the elder was in due time blessed with a son, the same about whom it is our painful duty to write this little book. Estimating at its fullest the value of education, the father was keenly anxious for an opportunity to send Louis fils to a school; but fortune had not been liberal with him in later