Bonjour my client. I, George-Étienne Cartier, will be your lawyer and I promise to give my utmost effort to win your case.
I assume that you’d like to know more about me before I delve into the private details of your case. I graduated from the Sulpician College in Montreal, Lower Canada for law and I was soon called to the bar at the age of twenty. Now as a twenty five year old in 1840, I can assure you that I have gained a lot more experience as a person as well as a lawyer. Although I am still young, I would consider myself a very competent lawyer as one of my previous clients was even the prestigious Grand Trunk Railway Company.
As you are a very special circumstance, I’d like to share a small secret of mine. Actually it is no small secret, but something rather grand. Before I became the lawyer you see today, I was sucked into a rebellion by my friend Jean Louis Papineau. He was my inspiration and close friend during my earlier years and this granted me entrance to the Société des Fils de la Liberté (the Sons of Liberty). For a year I was a member of this radical organization that formed to strike the ruling powers of the British down and I must say that my actions were not without consequence. At that time, I fought for what I believed was the just cause, to protect the rights of the French, but now I believe I fought for this in the wrong way, with my fists instead of words of peace. I let my frustrations about the living conditions of the French in our nation get out of hand and I let myself be continually fueled by Papineau’s radical drive and charisma. Now with shame I state that I did in fact fight in this 1837 rebellion at the Battle of St-Denis following the lead of another influential leader, Wolfred Nelson. With my young rebellious spirit, I fought bravely like any other soldier, but soon I saw the tide turn and before I truly faced the consequence of execution, I made a narrow escape. With my escape, I evaded execution or injury, but as I stated, my actions were not without consequence. For one long and arduous year, I was exiled from Canada, leading me to take refuge in Vermont. I must say that Vermont is not nearly half as exciting as the French community here in Lower Canada, but it certainly gave me copious amounts of time to think. I was able to reflect upon my rebellious, youthful spirit and it was at this time that I felt that I faced my first great turning point in my life. I realized that the answer to solving this crisis between the French and the British was not through fists, but instead through words.
Struck with renewed energy and a longing for French culture once more, I petitioned to return to Montreal solely to continue my law practice and now a year later, I feel that I have matured and realized many of my mistakes. Although my values haven’t changed, my methods have, and I believe that in the future I will one day take charge and share this revelation that I encountered with the rest of my people.
I fear that in the near future, the relationship between the French and the British will only become more strained as the roots of this so-called Act of Union are being planted by some British politicians. Today, I see many of the French unhappy with their current living standards, being unable to freely express themselves due to a war that was lost halfway across the globe and I honestly cannot see this situation improving with the violent and forceful efforts that are in place today. The tension among the cities is high and these tactics that the British are imposing on us are simply not helping. Something clearly must be done.
I am deeply sorry my client. I realize that I’ve been talking for a while. Although I stated I would take on your case, retelling my story made me realize that I have some unfinished business. I believe that I am the person that can join the French and the British together and hopefully reach a unified solution with the rights of the French people in mind, including yours! Through my experiences in the rebellion and my personal insights and discoveries, I believe that I can alleviate the hardships of the French. Unfortunately, I will have to decline your case at this time, but nonetheless, thank you for listening to my story and please feel free to come back anytime!