Gavazzi Riots

On 6 June 1853, Alessandro Gavazzi, a recently arrived Italian patriot, gave a speech in Québec City at the Free Presbyterian Church. A riot resulted, the principal participants being Irish Catholics who reacted violently to Gavazzi's anti-Catholic sentiments.

Gavazzi Riots

On 6 June 1853, Alessandro Gavazzi, a recently arrived Italian patriot, gave a speech in Québec City at the Free Presbyterian Church. A riot resulted, the principal participants being Irish Catholics who reacted violently to Gavazzi's anti-Catholic sentiments. Gavazzi attributed the failure of the Italian national movement of 1848-49 to the defection of Pope Pius IX from the cause, and therefore rejected Catholicism. On June 9 he repeated his diatribe at Montréal's Zion Church. In the following riot, the police lost control and Mayor Charles Wilson apparently called out a detachment from the local garrison. The soldiers opened fire, killing 10 and wounding 50. The riots caused by Gavazzi's incendiary preaching in Québec and Montréal illustrate the instances of religious fanaticism that occurred frequently throughout the 19th century.