The subtitle of the original English book tells it all: “The military shooting of three Montrealers in 1832 and the official cover-up.” In short, in May 1832, as a by-election eventually won by Irish immigrant and newspaper editor Daniel Tracey drew to a close, magistrates supporting his opponent, loyalist Stanley Bagg, called in the British Troops from the local garrison. Under the pretext of a riot that was supposed to be happening, the troops were ordered to open fire on the supposed mob and they killed three innocent bystanders.
James Jackson establishes that the riot simply never happened and there was no “mob” when soldiers opened fire. But despite the facts about the non-existent riot, which Jackson obtained from public documents, historians have never questioned the official story, thus perpetuating an official cover-up.
In this historical “whodunit,” Jim Jackson is a one-man investigative commission. He combines the moral indignation of an Émile Zola with the story-telling capacity of a Jacques Lacroursière or a Pierre Berton.
The names of François Languedoc, Pierre Billet, and Casimir Chauvin have unfortunately been forgotten, but their story has finally been revived.
The military shooting of three innocent people on rue Saint-Jacques on May 21, 1832 was a turning point for the Parti patriote that Daniel Tracey represented in the by-election. It would be constantly recalled as the Patriotes pursued their struggle against the British colonial authorities up until the rebellions of 1837 and 1838.
The translation of L’émeute inventée from the original English is by Michel Buttiens.