St. Jean Baptiste Society image.

The St. Jean Baptiste Society evolved from the Saint John the Baptist day.

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Windham's French-Canadian community:

by: Tom Beardsley:

French-Canadian Ad. After the conquest of New France by the British, the St-Jean-Baptiste Day celebration lost its importance, until 1834 when newspaper editor Ludger Duvernay (1799-1852) organised the first "nationalist" banquet in Montreal. Duvernay, a French-Canadian journalist and patriot, was a printer by trade. He founded and edited La Gazette des Trois-Rivihres (1817), Le Constitutionnel (1823), and L'Argus (1826) at Three Rivers, Quebec. In 1827, he and A. N. Morin founded La Minerve at Montreal, which became one French Canada's prominent newspapers.

On June 24, 1834, Duvernay invited senior business and political figures to a banquet to discuss the future of the Canadian people and explore ways to affirm its identity, and thus founded the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society. The Maple Leaf was chosen as its emblem.French-Canadian Ad.

To be 'nationalist' was to call for responsible government and a greater say in the management of the Canada's. And a large number of English-speaking Montrealers took part in this nationalist banquet, which was held in the gardens of a prominent lawyer, John McDonnell.

Though the initial nationalist banquet was a great success, the annual event was put on hold during and immediately after the 'Patriot's Rebellion' of 1837-38. Celebration of the Fête de Saint-Jean reappeared in Quebec City in 1842, but as a religious festival with a great procession. Montreal followed suit in 1843.