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By Brian Stewart

Pierre-Etienne Fortin led a existence and plied a profession on the middle of Canada's early historical past. He used to be an adventurer, an novice scientist, an early (if ambiguous) conservationist and a Conservative baby-kisser from 1867 to 1888. He used to be a physician on Grosse-Ile amid the horrors of the 1847 typhus epidemic, led a fixed police troop throughout the notorious Montreal riots of 1849 and, as commander of the armed schooner l. a. Canadienne, policed the Gulf of St. Lawrence from 1852 to 1867, while hundreds of thousands of recent Englanders and Nova Scotians swarmed over the fishing grounds. His reliable existence as Justice of the Peace and mid-level bureaucrat frequently exemplified tensions of early nationhood: these among elites and colonists; and people bobbing up from the nationalistic impulse to impose legislation and order at the barren region. The pursuits, matters and sympathies at paintings on Fortin within the founding interval stay compelling this present day: activity production as opposed to environmental security, loose exchange with the united states, the exploitation of Canadian fisheries, kin with aboriginal peoples, and the political prestige of Quebec inside of confederation.

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Extra info for A Life on the Line: Commander Pierre-Etienne Fortin and His Times

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J. Beique, of Ville La Salle. Potvin dedicated his book to Mme Beique. "48 Fortin left for Grosse-Ile early in 1847. He took ill in the fall of 1847, went home to Laprairie to convalesce, and returned to GrosseIle in the spring of 1848. If Suzanne's mother were the other half of the painful love affair from which he fled in the early summer of 1847, as Potvin suggests, he must have returned to her in 1848 to father Suzanne. Or were there, in these years, two women in his life? That we will never know.

Among the officers was Lieutenant Duvernay of Batiscan. In 1705 Jean-Baptiste, now a merchant, set up in business in Montreal, where he was buried in 1708. 10 19 20 A L I F E ON THE L I N E By 1748 Jacques Duvernay, son of Pierre and great-grandson of the original Christophe, had begun practising at Vercheres as a notary. Records for 1760 show that his work included a very high proportion of marriages. "11 It is not known why. In 1762 the British regime made Pierre Crevier, dit Duvernay, royal notary for all Montreal, but particularly for Vercheres, Varennes and Saint-Ours.

He now moved on to a very different adventure. In the summer of 1849 a series of riots swept Montreal. Anglophone Tories objected violently to the Rebellion Losses Bill, designed to compensate Lower Canadians for property losses during the 1837-38 rebellions. Some scheduled for compensation had themselves been rebels, some even imprisoned or exiled for treason. In their anger, rioting Tory mobs burned the parliament building (Montreal was then the capital). They threw rocks at the governor general, Lord Elgin, and attacked the homes of leaders of the Reform government.

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