M3957.8 | QUEBEC LIGHT INFANTRY. 1ST Company 1839.

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Anonyme - Anonymous
1839, 19th century
Ink and watercolour on paper - Lithography
30 x 24 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Figure (1339) , Figure (1339) , Print (10661)
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The Quebec Light Infantry was founded to perform fatigue-duty and other light tasks in order to free up soldiers to fight during the Rebellion of 1837-38. This engraving is one of a set of 10 printed by the Presse militaire de Québec. All of the engravings were done in black and white, and the uniforms were tinted with watercolours.

Keys to History

It is hard to underestimate the role of the volunteer militia in Lower Canadian life in the 1830s and 1840s. They became even more important when word got out that the regular army would be withdrawn to England and that Canadians would have to assume the costs for their own defence.

Source : The Aftermath of the Rebellions [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    There was less danger of armed rebellion in Quebec City than in Montreal, and the presence of many uniformed and armed militiamen in Quebec streets gave the British authorities a substantial advantage.

  • Where

    Quebec City was theoretically a more peaceful place than Montreal, which was known for its violence and unrest. In Quebec City, leaders of both the French and English communities shared military duties in campaigns such as the one conducted against the United States in 1812.

  • When

    In reaction to the first signs of rebellion, the volunteers were ordered into service in November 1837. They were disbanded in the spring of 1838, once the danger of rebellion had passed.

  • Who

    Seated on a public bench in Quebec City, this infantryman is enjoying male pleasures typical of the period: smoking, drinking and loitering. His commanding officer is clearly not pleased.