Structure and Change: An Economic History of Quebec


295 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7715-5588-1




Jean-Guy Quenneville is an associate professor of political studies at
the University of Saskatchewan.


This book provides quite a good counterfoil exposition of the economic history of Quebec province, its structure and change, from 1500 to 1940 (extending in places to 1962). The exposition, however, rests precariously on the analysis of selected works published after 1900 (exception made for six works prior to that date). It is therefore an exposition drawn from current literature on the subject rather than from a full examination of the subject itself. This weakness, inherent in the approach taken, leads to some inexactitudes. For example, the question is raised on pages 46 and 47, “Did the conquest induce the emigration of merchants from Québec and the rest of the colony?” Armstrong concludes on the basis of the recent literature that indeed some had gone back to France. This, however, was something that certain merchants did every fall. The analysis proceeds on the basis of that migratory movement being a real emigration while the earlier literature, that before 1900, demonstrated that the “Notables” who had migrated to France had almost all reintegrated Canada before 1763. A reading of Juge Louis François Georges Baby’s L’Exode des classes dirigeantes a Ia cession du Canada (Montréal, 1899) and of l’Abbé Daniel’s Histoire des grandes familles du Canada, “Nos Gloires Nationales” (Saint-Sulpice, 1866) would have demonstrated that the “Notables” who had not died in the battles on in the shipwreck of the Auguste, not finding an adequate living in France due to the King and His government’s repudiation of the “Monnaie de Cartes et des Ordonnances,” had returned to Canada and their “real properties,” before the Treaty of 1763. Those who had migrated to Louisiana returned to Canada following the cession of that colony to Spain. Benjamin Sulte, in one of his works, mentioned a verification of this fact in the Register of the Ursuline Convent School in Quebec City.

Another item that should be adjusted in a subsequent edition consists in the repeated and annoying use of “principle” in place of “principal” on pages 130, 176, 207, 221, and possibly elsewhere.


Armstrong, Robert, “Structure and Change: An Economic History of Quebec,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 22, 2024,