I-27991.1 | Hon. George Etienne Cartier, Mr. Cuvillier and three priests, Montreal, QC, 1867
Hon. George Etienne Cartier, Mr. Cuvillier and three priests, Montreal, QC, 1867
William Notman (1826-1891)
1867, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
12 x 17 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: informal (1120) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
Keys to History
The strongest advocate of La Fontaine's compromise was George-Étienne Cartier, the politician who did the most to bring Quebec into Confederation. Cartier was a lawyer for the Grand Trunk Railway. Although not particularly religious himself, he was, as this photo suggests, aware of the political and social importance of the Roman Catholic Church. He also acted as lawyer for the Sulpicians, the most important religious order in Quebec. In the 1850s, Cartier became John A. Macdonald's key Quebec ally.
Source : The Aftermath of the Rebellions [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)
This photograph, showing Cartier in the company of three priests, is important. It indicates that, although he was not a religious individual, he saw the importance of an alliance with leaders of the Roman Catholic Church.
Although he was known as the leader of French Canada and the person who brought French Canadians into Confederation, Cartier was essentially a Montrealer. And it was in Montreal that he had his law office and country estate.
Cartier succeeded La Fontaine as the most important political leader in French Canada. Through the 1850s and 1860s he worked towards a federal solution to divisions in Canada. His career ended with the Pacific scandal and he died in 1873.
Cartier's success depended on his ability to bring differing groups together: Protestants and Roman Catholics, French and English, Upper Canadians and Lower Canadians. His easy going personality and his strong links to the railway and Church helped him survive the tough negotiations leading up to Confederation.