A Proclamation. Whereas by Information upon Oath it Appears that, Louis Joseph Papineau, of the City of Montreal, Esquire, is Charged with the Crime of High Treason


A passionate advocate of the rights of French Canadians and a critic of British imperial rule, Louis Joseph Papineau (1786−1871) was a member of the House of Assembly representing Lower Canada (present-day Quebec Province) from 1808 to 1838. He was elected speaker of the Assembly and served from 1815 to 1837. As leader of the Canadian Party he went to London in 1823 to campaign against the union of Upper and Lower Canada. Papineau is known as the leader of the Patriote movement, which led to the rebellions of 1837 and 1838 against the British government. The proclamation presented here was issued by Archibald Acheson, Earl of Gosford, governor of Upper and Lower Canada, on December 1, 1837. It announces that Papineau is wanted for high treason and calls on all citizens to assist in his arrest. The proclamation is in French and English, and offers a $4,000 reward to the person who would arrest Papineau and deliver him to the authorities. To avoid being sent to prison, Papineau fled to the United States where he stayed for two years, before moving to France in 1839−1845. After his return to Canada, Papineau was again elected to the Assembly, where he served from 1848 to 1854 before retiring to his Petite-Nation seigneury. Montebello, the manor he commissioned for himself in Petite-Nation, is architecturally reminiscent of France’s Loire châteaux.

Last updated: September 2, 2015