Quebec 1837-1839
The Patriotes Rebellion

Indian Clemency Petition

Source: L.-O. David, Les Patriotes, Éditions Lemeac, Montreal 1978 (original edition 1884);
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;

Joseph-Narcisse Cardinal hadn’t participated in the uprising of 1837, though he shared the ideals of the fighters. Because of this he was pursued by the authorities, and fled across the border to the US. Form there he pledged to participate in any fight that had American support. He crossed back into Canada in November 1838 he participated in a raid on an Indian village in order to procure arms. Captured, he was condemned to death. Joseph Duquet had fought in 1837, and was a leader of the Fréres Chasseurs in 1838 organizing throughout the region south of Montreal. With Cardinal, he was captured during the failed arms raid on the Indian village of Caughnawaga. The Indians of the village sent the following clemency petition to Canada’s Governor-General. Both men were executed

To his Excellency John Colborne, Governor-General

The petitions of the undersigned savages of Saut Saint-Louis humbly explain:

That we felt a profound pain upon learning that our Father had resolved to put to death two of the prisoners we took, Joseph-N. Cardinal and Joseph Duquet. We come then to our father to ask him to save the lives of these unfortunate men. They did us no harm. They didn’t dip their hands in the blood of their brothers. Why spread theirs? If there must be victims, there are others besides these unhappy ones who are far more guilty than they.

The wife and children of one, the elderly mother of the other, join their tears to our voices to beg for your mercy.

The services we've rendered to His Majesty, those that he yet expects of us and that we won’t hesitate to render him when the occasion presents, leads us to believe that our humble prayer will find the path to the heart of Your Excellency.

And we will not cease to pray to the great Spirit and ask of him glory for our Father, his preservation and the happiness of his children.

Saut Saint-Louis December 20, 1938