The boundaries of charity : the impact of ethnic relations on private charitable services for Quebec city's English-speakers, 1759-1900

Authors: Donovan, Patrick
Advisor: Fyson, DonaldDaigle, Johanne
Abstract: This thesis examines the private charitable sector for English-speakers in Quebec City from 1759 to 1900. It provides an overview of poor relief associations, the needs they addressed, and the gaps that remained. The role of private charities increased over the period studied, and that of the state decreased. Compassion toward the poor also increased, leading to new types of charitable organizations for the underclass. Despite this, the prison system served as a refuge to fill gaps in the private charitable sector. More specifically, this study demonstrates how changes in ethno-religious relations shaped the charity network. In the first half century after the Conquest of Quebec, British authorities supported the Catholic charitable infrastructure established during the French regime, which was unusual within the British Empire. After 1815, as immigration from Britain and Ireland increased, lay private voluntary associations emerged, including many that involved elite cooperation across religious and linguistic lines. Instances of cooperation decreased from 1835 to 1855 due to rising ethnic boundaries caused by the defeat of Patriote republicanism, an increase in religious practice, the establishment of separate confessional schools, and a new type of Irish-Catholic nationalism following the Great Famine. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the private charitable sector became sharply divided into three parallel networks with hardly any overlap: one for Francophone Catholics, one for English-speaking Irish Catholics, and one for English-speaking Protestants. Two core institutions founded in the 1850s, Saint Bridget’s Asylum and the Ladies’ Protestant Home, cemented the divide. Rare attempts to challenge these boundaries resulted in tension and even violence. Despite these divisions, there was a greater mutual respect of established boundaries among communities than in most North American cities.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 27 February 2019
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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