185th Anniversary of 1837-38 Rebellions
in Lower and Upper Canada
Address to the People of Canada
This short address of Robert Nelson to the people of Canada was issued right after the Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada.
People of Canada,
We were oppressed by the hand of a transatlantic power, and we were punished by the unjust and criminal rod of a restless disorder, during a long series of years; so long that the measure of tyranny is currently filled up and it overflows. We tried unceasingly, but in vain, to bridle a bad government, to rescind bad laws, to create laws such that they could take our institutions out of the mud of an old vassalage and raise them to the level of those which characterize the governments of the nineteenth century.
We are now constrained, by the violence of tyranny and contrary to our feelings, to resort to the force of arms, to acquire and ensure us the rights that are due to a deserving and just people. We will not drop these arms, until we have ensured our fatherland the benefits of a patriotic and sympathizing government.
We lend our hand with fraternity and compatriotism to all the people who will help us in our patriotic efforts. For those who will persist in the blind, stubborn, plundering, sanguinary and incendiary path which, to our great sorrow and to the sufferings of our elderly, our wives and our children, mark so ungracefully the horrible career of Sir John Colborne, commander-in-chief of the forces, and that of his followers, we must, for our personal defence and for the common justice towards our people and our cause, to inflict the retaliation of which they placed before us the terrible example. But as there are currently a lot of people who repent their conduct and the vandalism of their associates, acts which forced us to raise the flag of war, and as our sense of humanity, justice and honour, was shaped in a different mould than that of our oppressors, we can reconcile with our principles or with the morality of our actions all the people other than those who, in the English government of Canada, cannot discern the age in which we live and in which they exert their cruel passions.
Consequently, we promise to offer safety and protection in their persons and in their properties to all those who will put down the arms and will cease to oppress us, a promise that our character and the well known moral and peaceful habits of our people sufficiently guarantees.
We will not put down the arms, until we have carried out and ensured the object of our first proclamation.
By order of the provisional government of the State of Lower Canada,
(Published in L’Ami du peuple, February 20, 1839)