Name: Edouard Pascal Rochon
Could read and write
Married with one male child
Native place: Lower Canada
Occupation: Carriage maker and painter
Date of Conviction: 1 Mar 1839. 11 Mar 1839
Place of Conviction: Montreal
No prior convictions
Height 5 feet 3 and 3 quarters
Complexion: Very dark sallow and slightly pockpitted
Remarks: Eyebrows meeting, scar back of thumb and forefinger of left hand, mark of a large wound on right shin
Eyes: dark chestnut
Estimated birth year: abt 1800
Port of Arrival: New South Wales
Date of Arrival: 25 Feb 1840
Citation details: List of the 108 Lower Canadians prosecuted before the general court-martial of Montreal in 1838-39
The 58 deported to Australia...
Toussaint Rochon - teamster and painter
Jeremie Rochon - machine operator
Edouard-Pascal Rochon - teamster and painter
THE QUEEN VS. CHARLES GUILLAUME BOUC AND OTHERS.
GENERAL COURT MARTIAL...
and Edouard Pascal Rochon of the said parish of Terrebonne, carriage maker...
To wit: Treason against our Sovereign Lady the Queen, between the first and thirtieth days of November, in the second year of the reign of our said Lady the Queen, in furtherance of the rebellion which had broken out and was then existing in the Province of Lower Canada.
In this: That the said..., and Edouard Pascal Rochon, being subjects of our said Lady the Queen, on the third day of November, in the second year of the reign of our said Lady the Queen, and on divers other days, as well before as after, in the said parish of Terrebonne, did meet, conspire, and agree amongst themselves, and together with divers others whose names are unknown, unlawfully and traitoriously, to subvert and destroy, and cause to be subverted and destroyed, the Legislative rule and Government now duly established in the said Province of Lower Canada, and to depose, and cause to be deposed, our said Lady the Queen from the Royal state and Government of this Province; and did, for that purpose, incite and assist in the said rebellion, in the said Province, and then and there being assembled and gathered together, and armed with guns, swords, spears, staves, and other weapons, did, in furtherance of the said rebellion, traitoriously prepare and levy public was against our said Lady the Queen, and were then and there found in open arms against her said rule and Government in this Province, against the peace of our said Lady the Queen, her Crown and dignity, and against the form of the Statute in such case made and provided...
The Court is closed.
The Court having maturely weighed and considered the evidence in support of the charges against the prisoners, together with what they have stated in their defence, is of opinion, that they, the prisoners, viz:...and Edouard Pascal Rochon, are individually and collectively guilty of the charges preferred against them.
The court having found the prisoners guilty, as above stated, and the same being for offences committed between the first and thirtieth days of November last, in furtherance of the rebellion which had then broken out, and was existing, in this Province of Lower Canada, do sentence the prisoners in manner following, viz:...
That Edouard Pascal Rochon be hanged by the neck till he be dead, at such time and place as His Excellency the Lieutenant General, Governor in Chief, and Commander of the Forces, may appoint...
ADDRESS OF EDOUARD PASCAL ROCHON.
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Court,
I abstain from commenting, in detail, upon the evidence adduced against me in the cause, inasmuch as it has reference, for the greater part, to matters over which this Court has, avowedly, no jurisdiction, and has not the lost remote tendency to establish the charges preferred against me.
It was a matter of surprise to me, that the prosecutors should have persisted in adducing testimony relative to facts alleged to have occurred previous to the first of November last. The Court did not fail to remark the illegality of that proceeding. Had it been proved that I was seen in arms, or accompanying the persons assembled at Terrebonne on the seventh of November last, evidence of my intentions on that occasion might, I admit, have been sought for in my conduct previous to the first of November last, but it is, doubtless, the first time that an attempt has been made in a Court of Justice, to prove the intention of a party accused, without any act applicable to the charges laid against him having been previously established. As a man's intentions are liable to vary not only from day to day, from hour to hour, but even from this moment to the next, and his intentions, though marked with unusual constancy, can only injure society where they develope themselves in open and vigorous action, for the thoughts conceived or the designs formed in the secret recesses of the mind, no man can be made amenable to any human tribunal. One witness alone, George Fervac dit Larose, has attempted to speak in reference to facts supposed to have taken place within the time over which this Court can exercise jurisdiction. I shall not stop to dwell upon the character of that individual;, or upon the vindictive motives which urged him to give testimony against me, because that testimony, inasmuch as it does not tend to prove any overt action of Treason, and is wholly unsupported, cannot prejudice me in the slightest degree. If I adduced proof of the base motives which animated him, it was merely to absterge my character from the false imputations he had case upon it, but not through any apprehension that the prosecutors might be considered by the Court to have established in evidence the crime I am accused of. I repeat, there is no evidence of record against me, tending, in the most remote degree, to establish any act of Treason, by levying war, either directly or constructively, against the Queen - and the proof which comes with the jurisdiction of the Court, has been drawn from one witness alone.
I therefore, humbly pray for that acquittal which, by law, I am entitled to.
ADDRESS OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE.
May it please the Court,
This case may be said to be of a novel character, so different are its leading features from those already submitted to the Court.
There will be required in its investigation the exercise of a nice discrimination, in order that the proof of that main and constituent ingredient odf every offence - intention, leave not a doubt in the minds of this Court, respecting the ultimate object of the prisoners.
The charge of Treason against the prisoners is in the form hitherto adopted in framing accusations for offences committed in furtherance of the rebellion.
The disturbances seem to have commenced at Terrebonne under the following circumstances, on the second of November last: - Mr. Alfred Turgeon, an Advocate, residing there, received a visit from a number of persons, who informed him that a second rebellion had broken out, that a conspiracy had been formed, and that a great many persons had taken a secret oath. He understood the conspiracy at Terrebonne to be only a branch of the general conspiracy, and that one Joseph Leandre Prevost, a Notary, was the principal person in administering the oath. On the same day, Mr Turgeon received a letter from the Superintendent of Police in this city, requiring his presence here, to confer on matters of moment, respecting the approaching troubles.
He, accordingly, arrived at Montreal on the morning of the fourth of November, when he received more ample information respecting the rebellion, and gave evidence to the Superintendent of Police against such persons as he considered the most active instigators at Terrebonne. This information rested on the previous character of the persons implicated, and on the knowledge of the conduct pursued by them, during the first rebellion, also from information received of Captains of Militia, and the perusal of depositions given under oath by other persons. He gave it as his opinion, that if the leaders were arrested at Terrebonne, the rebellion would be defeated, and he undertook to accompany a body of police, to make the arrests. Mr. Alexander MacKenzie, a Justice of the Peace, consented to share the responsibility of the expedition with Mr. Turgeon.
They arrived at Terrebonne on the night of the fourth. On arriving, they proceeded to the house of Joseph Leandre Prevost, but he was absent, having fled. They went to the house of Eloi Marie, whom they made prisoner. They were directed by the Hon. Joseph Masson, a Magistrate, to arrest the prisoner, Rochon, he he also had fled. On their return to Montreal, with Marie, they were informed that his arrest had produced excitement in the parish, and that resistance would be made to further arrests at Terrebonne. They returned to the latter place on the sixth, with Mr. Pangman, a Magistrate, Loiselle, the constable, and eight policemen. They heard that there was a gathering at the house of Bouc, one of the prisoners, and one of those whom the party was charged to arrest. Mr. Turgeon went to Bouc's house, where resistance was expected to be made, and placed himself beside Loiselle, the constable, having with them two Magistrates, Messrs. Pangman and Alexander MacKenzie, under whose orders the party acted in proceeding to arrest Bouc for High Treason.
On entering the house Mr. Turgeon, with Loiselle and a serjeant of police, saw five or six persons take up their arms, where were close to them, and heard, at the same time, one of these people, whom he believed to be Bouc, though he does not swear positively to the fact, say "Let us fire - let us fire", and they did so, at the same time, to the number of six or seven. The room filled with smoke and nothing could now be seen. Loiselle was wounded by the fire. Amongst the party in the house, Bouc was distinctly recognised by Mr. Turgeon, but he believed that Bouc did not discharge his gun, being prevented by Loiselle, who seized hold of it. As the police were unarmed, they left the spot to arm themselves and returned, but in the interval the house had been abandoned.
The party found balls and ball-cartridge in the house of persons whom they were charged to arrest, none of them, however, being amongst the prisoners.
On the morning of the seventh, Major Turgeon, Captain Roussie, Adjutant John Fraser, and three or four policemen, proceeded to the upper part of what is denominated by the witnesses the Cote of Terrebonne, and disarmed some of the inhabitants. All the people of the village deserted it, and concealed themselves in the wood. It was them ascertained that the inhabitants of the Cote were coming to take the village, and form a camp there, and they actually did so on the evening of the seventh. They established themselves at the house where the arrest of Bouc had been attempted. Information was, at the same time, received, that the bridge connecting Terrebonne and Isle Jesus had been taken, and that the loyalists were surrounded on all sides, except in the direction of Lachenaye.
Two prisoners were made about that time, one Domptage Prevost, on whose person a pistol was found, and another, who, on being ordered to take up arms in defence of the Government, refused to do so.
It was on that evening that the treaty was made between Mr Masson and others, on one side, and some of the prisoners and their confederates on the other, although it was not signed until the following morning. After the signing of the agreement, the loyalists called on Bouc, Roussin and Leander Prevost, as leaders of their party, to assist them in enforcing the observance of a treaty, and they did so.
By the treaty, which forms part of the record of this Court, it is stipulated by Mr. Masson and the loyalists, on one side, and Bouc, Leandre Prevost, Roussin, Leclaire and others, that the prisoners taken, as well on the one part as on the other, should be returned. That arms shall be laid down, and that the loyalists should use their best endeavours to obtain for the party of the rebels, (for so they are designated by several witnesses) a pardon for what they had done or committed against Government. The signature of Bouc, and the marks of Roussin and Leclaire are clearly proved to have been affixed to this document.
Ample evidence is afforded by this paper, that the prisoners, Bouc, Roussin, and Leclaire, with their confederates, including all the prisoners, except Rochon, had been in arms against the government and that he needed its forgiveness. It will be for the Court to consider how far the evidence and the case made for the prisoners have explained and done away with the treasonable character which belongs to this important document. The trust is a most difficult one, and as the result presents a pure question of fact, and more properly within the province of the Court, it is unnecessary for us to express our opinion on this point. The proof of criminality in Bouc, Roussin and Leclaire, does not rest only on the avowal which the treaty furnishes against them. They, as well as their fellow-prisoners, Gravelle and St. Louis, are proved, by the testimony of from two to six witnesses each, to have been in arms, and to have associated with the assemblage of armed men engaged in the disturbances at Terrebonne, in November last. They are stated to have acted in concert with another armed party at Isle Jesus, of whom Michel Bastien, one of the signers of the agreement, was a leader, and to have given orders to that party for dispersing, when the treaty had been concluded.
By these men it was that Mr. Masson's servant was taken prisoner and his letters opened. Their ultimate object is differently stated by different witnesses. But among other facts capable of throwing light on their views and projects, their connexion with Joseph Leandre Prevost, Daganais, and Jean Venne, who had fled, from political causes, is clearly established.
Several witnesses are found to assert, that they intended only to protect themselves from arrest; others, that it was to defend themselves, in case that any more prisoners sould be made, and to resist persons making them prisoners.
Mr. Masson, who calls them by the name of patriots, or rebels, states, that he believes they were prepared to resist arrest made by the authority of Government.
If the cause which called them together cal furnish any clue to their ulterior views, we have Mr. Masson's statement, that it was notorious that the cause of excitement in Terrebonne was the troubles in the other parts of the Province; and from this we have to infer, that the arrests alone had not occasioned the disturbances.
Mr. John MacKenzie, a magistrate, and lieutenant colonel of militia, supposes their object was to destroy the few loyalists who were there, and that they expected the Americans in, to assist them in taking possession of the country. This was a fact of public notoriety. He adds, what is confirmed by other witnesses, that the houses were shut up, and that men, women, and children, were leaving the village. From testimony like this, we cannot be at a loss to infer, that some fearful collision was believed, by the inhabitants themselves, shortly to take place; and it is plain, that if resistance to legal authority alone was expected to produce it, nothing could be of easier attainment that the averting of the dreaded calamity, by yielding obedience to the constituted authorities. It is in proof that they intended to take the village, and that Bouc was at their head; they were posted near a bridge, at the entrance of the village, and prevented people from crossing and re-crossing. Indeed the evidence of martial array could not be more complete.
If the connexion between Rochon, Bouc, and his other associates, be, in the opinion of the Court, sufficiently established, no doubt can be entertained that the ultimate object of these men was the subversion of Her Majesty's Government, by revolution and an appeal to foreign assistance.
The case of Rochon demands a separate and very attentive consideration at out hands. The leading facts established against him are, the administering of unlawful oaths - the making, and causing to be made, balls and ball-cartridge - having in his possession a quantity of lead and gunpowder - being in intelligence and acting in concert with Bouc and Roussin.
The two latter facts are principally found in the testimony of Huppe and Fervac dit Larose; the other substantiated by numerous witnesses, and do not call for a particular reference to the evidence.
By Huppe, we are informed, that, about the first of November last, he saw Bouc at Rochon's shop. When he came there, there were persons making cartridges. He said, "Attention, my boys", and then went away. The prisoner, Roussin, was there at the time making ball-cartridge. The witness saw about a tureenful of powder in the shop, and some balls on the counter. He did not see Rochon there then. He saw at that time three barrels containing powder in his possession, but knows not if they were full; they were in a barn and covered, he thinks, with canvas.
He was induced by Rochon to subscribe one dollar for the purpose of buying powder. The witness himself made balls in Rochon's shop, and by his permission. About the same time the secret oath was administered to him by Rochon. This was done in his own house; and the import of it was, to keep secrecy respecting the ammunition in his possession. By the oath, they were placed beyond the danger of capture and trouble. Rochon told the witness, that if they met any of their enemies on the road who insulted them, they might kill them with impunity; and that arms and ammunition were coming from the United States to arm the Canadians, that they might be enabled to protect themselves in tranquility at home. He told witness, that if he revealed the secret, he would run the risk of being killed by the patriots.
When a party of police came to arrest Rochon, he fled, and remained absent from home about eight or ten days. The witness, by Rochon's orders, transported some powder from Terrebonne to Mascouche. He ordered the witness, and those in his employment, not to speak on politics. It did not appear to the witness, when Bouc entered Rochon's shop, that he (Bouc) knew what was going on there. He appeared very tipsy, and remained there nine or ten minutes.
In answer to a question from the Court, if when the witness gave his dollar as subscription, he understood it to be in aid of the Government, the witness answered in the negative. In cross-examination, he is unable to speak with precision as to the time, and whether it was before or after the first of November, that he saw Bouc and Roussin at Rochon's shop. As it is not intended to support a conviction of these two individuals on the testimony of that witness, but merely to establish intelligence between them and Rochon, in corroboration of the testimony, corresponding with the time in the charge, the date is not of material importance.
Fervac dit Larose saw Bouc at Rochon's on the second day of November last. The witness did not know what he came for, or what he was doing. He saw him again on the fifth. He sent the witness to Rochon, who had fled from the village, with a letter. The witness took the letter to an uncle of the prisoner, Rochon, at Lachenaye, where he found him. In answer to the letter, Rochon directed the witness to tell Bouc, that if the danger was too pressing at Terrebonne, he should fly; but if, on the other hand, they could form a camp, and make a fight, he should do so, and that the best place for a camp was a house at the extremity of the village, near the bridge, belonging to Mr. Turgeon. Rochon also added, that guards should be posted in the woods round the village. The witness had left Rochon, when he called him back, and told him, if there was an engagement, to take up arms, and to be sure and shoot Mr. Alfred Turgeon, Mr Alexander MacKenzie and Mr. Reeves.
Bouc told witness that Rochon had stated, that unless the witness took the secret oath, he would betray them. This took place about the first of November, and Rochon was well aware that the witness had taken the oath, as he subsequently told him. By the oath, the witness was bound to protect Rochon from injury, and the ammunition from discovery. The object of the oath was, to bind witness to keep secret everything that passed among the rebels, under pain of having his head cut off, or if he had property, to have it destroyed.
There was at this time a secret society at Terrebonne, bound by secret oath, as well as witness could see. Its object was to observe secrecy, and to make all ready to take up arms, at one time, to fight against the Government. At the same time, the witness always heard them say, they would not fight unless attacked.
Rochon appeared a principal leader, and Bouc a subordinate one. From the letter which the witness carried to Rochon, it seemed that Bouc had been brought into trouble by obeying Rochon's orders. Rochon himself told witness, that he had ammunition concealed in his house, and to take it to Bouc's, or elsewhere, so that it might easily be got at in the event of a battle.
He saw a deal-box, such as window glass is usually packed in, full of ball-cartridge, and two barrels of powder untouched, besides as much as three tureensful of balls in a sack. It was worthy of observation, that this witness was not cross-examined, and that the attempt made to impeach his character has resulted in an utter failure.
We are told by Fervac, that Rochon threatened Robert Gagenais, that he would be one of the first killed if he did not take the oath; and we find Dagenais confirming this statement in his testimony, using the identical expressions employed by Fervac dit Larose. We have, therefore, in the testimony of Fervac dit Larose, much important matter, connecting Rochon with Bouc; and if the Court be satisfied of the existence of this intelligence, and concert between them, the acts of Bouc and his confederates, become those of Rochon, to every legal intent.
Dagenais saw Bouc making cartridges, at Rochon's, in October last. Roussin was also seen by the witness, at the same place, and similarly employed, he thinks, in the latter end of October. It is proper that we should here distinctly express to the Court our opinion, that the arrest of Marie was legal; that the arrest of Bouc, though without warrant, would, in view of two magistrates, and considering that he and his party were in arms, have been also perfectly justifiable. Resistance was therefore criminal; and the protest of the illegality of these arrests, as well as that of the disarming, could furnish no excuse for the audacious conduct of Bouc and his associates.
The novel example of resistance to authority, which they have exhibited, is of that highly dangerous tendency, that were there not redeeming circumstances in the conduct of these prisoners, we could not too severely animadevert [sic] on the character of their rebellious proceedings.
At so critical a juncture, it was, more than at any other time, the duty of the prisoners to submit, in order that the difficulties of the times might not be increased; and this unquestionably would have been the conduct of loyal men, had they been unjustly accused.
The numbers in arms - the parties in which they were subdivided - their connexion with Rochon - their taking of prisoners p the flight of several among their leaders - all these circumstances, we fear, deprive the prisoners of the presumption, which they might otherwise invoke, that they were actuated by no worse motive than to assert their rights as British subjects, to recognise no authority, but that of the law.
The evidence on the part of the defence calls for no particular observations. The character of the prisoners, for honesty and private worth, rests on strong and abundant proof. The other testimony leaves, in our opinion, the charge untouched, but deprives the offence, were are willing to admit, of its harsher features.
With these observations, the case is submitted to the consideration of the Court.