Loyalist - Other Matters

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Loyalist - Other Matters
R. D.
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LOYALISTS – OTHER MATTERS. SIR: It is not amiss at this eventful turning point of our city’s trade, the tide of which we are now taking on the flood, to forecast those improvements in art and commerce which are, even at this period, seen to be vital requirements of our intellectual and mercantile growth. I have no doubt the Board of Trade will shortly take up the matter of steam-communication with England. It behooves the merchants of St. John to see to it that no other town, small in numbers but mighty in pluck, suddenly steps to the front with a direct steamer and absorbs the cattle, fruit, etc., that otherwise would find an outlet here. Men who have made their wealth in this city have no moral right to rest upon their oars and permit our commerce to be hampered for the sake of $80,000 or $100,000. That man who, at this juncture, initials the movement by heading a Direct Steamship Company stock list with $30,000, will, whether he be a private citizen or a representative at Ottawa, forever remain in the minds of the St. John people as a typical citizen who desires to help that city wherein he got his wealth. Another matter of commerce, and to be dealt with by this same Board of Trade, is the fact that Boston has taken from us a great part of that packet trade which twelve years ago we had with Digby, Bear River, and other Nova Scotia ports. The distance by rail from Toronto to Boston being much less than from Toronto to St. John via Intercolonial Railway would, if both lines were run by private companies, be a good reason why Nova Scotia buyers get thousands of barrels of flour cheaper via Boston than via St. John, but the I.C.R is a Government Railway, and for the sake of 15 cents per bbl., it has allowed to grow up in Boston a direct trade with Nova Scotia. Packets are getting car-load after car-load of Canadian flour in bond from Boston houses, and, at the same time, bringing hardware, tea, soap, pails, etc., all of which, in my time, ten years ago, they bought in St. John. Not getting these last goods any cheaper (except when tea is imported in barrel as meal, the Government getting 40 cents when they ought to receive about $12.40,) but simply buying them because the packets were getting flour, and it comes cheaper than in St. John. What man is it that will lift up his voice on this railway tariff matter in the next Parliament? Unhappily there is no constituted Board of Intellect (?) than can take upon itself the cultivation of our aesthetic tastes or patriotic sentiment. Therefore we must wait the man who would be like Abou ben Adhem. That there are inclinations to have the beautiful thoughts and things of life close to us is evinced by the continuous and urgent appeals from both sexes for an Art Gallery, Public Library, and Loyalists’ Memorial. This latter seems to strike a vein in the public thought that I think will prove rich in action, and could combine the other two. As suggested in one of your late issues a Hall, both useful and ornamental, would be a fitting tribute and could combine a basement for a Library and possibly for an Art Gallery. Such a lot as N.W. corner of Princess and Germain streets would give ample light and room in basement centering from Princess street, hall to be entered from Germain street. A stock company (limited), 3,000 shares, $10 each, half cash, balance 6 or 12 months call if wanted. Probably the directors would not call more than 50 per cent. as $10,000 if needed to complete could be got on mortgage at 6 per cent., if not 5 per cent. I feel by placing it fairly before the many old families of the Province, that outside of St. John 500, if not 1000, shares would be taken. To secure the city’s influence and co-operation, it would be expected that the Council vote to take 500 shares, then getting a permanent place for the Library and Art Gallery. Economic the Council has been, yet as a tax payer, and feeling that I state the views of many, I ask that body to think over the wisdom of this plan, to give it ventilation at their next meeting. I would undertake to say that by next July the ladies of this city could raise funds wherewith to buy 500 shares. There lies latent in this hard-working population a feeling of perfect admiration for the pluck displayed many years ago by the “fair women and brave men” who settled in this province; this feeling needs but the leading of a representative man to assume a substantial shape, thus creating a sanctuary for the numerous relics held so precious by their owners, of those who have crowned these high hills with fair and beautiful homes, and have placed their handiwork upon the waters, so that, to-day, it is seen in almost every sea-port of the world. There are many, at this time, watching the action of our City Council, and these many wait the man who will honor his name by undertaking the building of a Memorial Hall to the fathers and mothers of 1783. O fortunati quorum jam, moenia surgunt! R. D.