Summer Reading: History

Les Ecossais: The Pioneer Scots of Lower Canada, 1763-1855
Published on July 1, 2006

Les Ecossais: The Pioneer Scots Of Lower Canada, 1763-1855
Lucille H. Campey

Natural Heritage Books

This is the sixth in Lucille Campey’s series of meticulously researched histories about the Scottish exodus to Canada. A seventh, about emigration from Scotland to New Brunswick, is in the works. All through the series Campey explains why people moved where they did, why they stayed, and sometimes, why they moved on.

After the Seven Years’ War, when regiments disbanded, many Scots remained behind as some of the earliest immigrants. The Scots had a considerable influence on the economic development of Lower Canada, being prominent as fur traders, merchants, and in the lumber trade. Also, they were comfortable with the French fact of Lower Canada, having been partners in the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France. They married French-Canadians, and their descendants became Francophone. Their music, along with that of the Irish, was adopted by their new compatriots.

Campey also addresses the issue of why the Scots’ influence, although profound, was relatively short-lived. Many Scots eventually left Lower Canada for land and opportunities further west, and those that remained settled into being “Les Écossais.”

Her appendices include passenger lists, lists of those who signed petitions in support of the Earl of Dalhousie, and ship crossings from Scotland to Quebec from 1785 – 1855. This book, as absorbing as a good historical novel, is a genealogist’s delight. mRb

Margaret Goldik is a former editor of the Montreal Review of Books.



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