Demobilization of the French-Canadian Militia

But the Francophone militia in Lower Canada still existed on paper and continued to meet. In 1828, at the request of the governor-in-chief, some men were even able to obtain uniforms. Even more striking, in Dorchester County, Beauce, a Francophone horse company dressed in grey with black collar and cuffs, armed by the government, pursued deserters as a police force would. But none of this activity could hide a deep malaise. 94

In reality, the French Canadians were seriously questioning the values of the militia. Control over this institution, which in the past had been so central to its interests and so dear to its heart, was being lost. In the end, French Canadians turned away from an organization that no longer represented them. Because they were being assimilated and humiliated, they would isolate themselves socially in order to keep their identity and to truly belong only to the institutions they could control: their Church and their political parties. The militia, and more generally the very idea of military service, became a matter "for others" from then on, their only concern being to defend their immediate territory. In 1830, the French-Canadian militia organization, although it continued to subsist, was virtually wiped out. This situation, aggravated by a political landscape resembling a minefield, encouraged the rebellions of 1837 and 1838.