The Loyalists: Facts Bearing on the Approaching Centennial

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The Loyalists: Facts Bearing on the Approaching Centennial
J. W. Lawrence
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THE LOYALISTS. Facts Bearing on the Approaching Centennial. Letters of J. W. Lawrence, Esq. No.6. Hon. Robert Duncan Wilmot, Lieutenant Governor. SIR: The 18th of May, the 99th anniversary of the landing of the Loyalists, will be ushered in by the firing of cannon, and crowned in the evening with a Musical and Literary Festival, “the initial of a series to culminate a year hence in the grandest patriotic movement ever attempted in the Maritime Provinces.” As New Brunswick is the first of the confederacy to celebrate a centennial and a Province born under exceptionable circumstances, the Dominion Government should recognize this epoch in its history in a way becoming the occasion. LONDON “TIMES” AND THE LOYALISTS. “The sufferings of the United Empire Loyalists are among the saddest episodes in the history of the North American Continent, and their persecution by their American brethren, has contributed more than anything else to found the Dominion of Canada. . . . The Loyalists have had a hard fate, but they rendered good service. . . . Their story is worthy of being told and studied.” DOMINION GOVERNMENT AND THE CENTENNIAL. “A Dominion Exhibition in St. John in 1883. We move that the centenary of the landing of the Loyalists be celebrated in 1883 by the holding of a Dominion Exhibition in the city of St. John. Who seconds the motion?” Sun, September 29th, 1880: The Dominion Government seconds the motion, a decision commending itself to all. As the centenary occurs but once in three generations, the Exhibition should be one worthy of a centennial year, calling forth from the Government a special recognition of the Loyalists, by granting a portion of the proceeds of the Exhibition for the Memorial Hall. In 1860, old Canada with the Maritime Provinces, gave the Prince of Wales a reception fitting the heir to the Throne, Canada alone expending nearly ONE QUARTER MILLION OF DOLLARS. CORNER STONE OF THE MEMORIAL HALL. Among other ceremonials of the red letter day in New Brunswick history -- the 18th of May, 1883 – should be the laying of the corner stone of the Memorial Hall by the Lieut. Governor. May it be a day – “So cool, so calm, so bright – The bridal of the earth and skies.” BRIDGING THE RIVER ST. JOHN. The 24th of May – the anniversary of the discovery of St. John River, the birthday of the Queen, and a Dominion statutory holiday – should in 1883 be celebrated by the opening of a railway bridge at the mouth of the river. On that day “the clink of the hammer should be heard clinching its last rivet.” THE FARMERS OF NEW BRUNSWICK AND THE CENTENNIAL. In no way can the farmers of New Brunswick better honor the memory of the Old Loyalists than by setting out fruit trees in the year 1883, thus keeping green the incidents of a century ago, doing good to themselves, and a greater good to those who come after. ARRIVAL OF THE FALL FLEET. The 4th of October, 1883 – the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the fall fleet at Parr Town from New York – would be a fitting day to open the Exhibition, and lay the corner stone of a passenger depot worthy of a railway ere long to span the continent, honored, it is to be hoped, by the presence of Her Royal Highness, Princess Louise, and the Governor General. THE ARMY OF CANADA. The interest in the Exhibition would be increased if the Dominion army camped on the heights of Carleton, overlooking the historic ground where stood Fort Latour, and where, in 1665, Lady Latour died. Of the old historic fort and its heroine Hannay’s “Acadia” records: -- “Fort Latour is the most famous piece of ground on the eastern seaboard of America, both from the deeds it has witnessed and the character of those who occupied it. It was built only ten years after the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, and has therefore a history which dates from the first settlement of Boston; it was first besieged nearly two hundred and forty years ago.” Of Lady Latour, the writer says:-- “Her great heart was broken. She was severed from her husband, to whose fortunes she had been so faithful, and could scarcely see his face again, except as a captive like himself. She felt that her work in life was done, for she was not born for captivity. So she faded away day by day until her heroic soul left its earthly tenement, and in three weeks from the time when she witnessed the capture of the Fort, she was laid to rest by the banks of the St. John, which she loved so well and where she had lived for so many years. Thus died the first and greatest of Acadian heroines.” On the heights of Carleton stands the Martello Tower, erected during the war of 1812. In proximity at Negro Point is Fort Dufferin. Within range of the former lies at anchor the Dominion ship of war Charybdis. Should the exigencies of the country ever call for a naval academy, or removal of the military college to the seaboard, the historic ground of Carleton presents strong claims for selection. NORTH AMERICAN FLEET AND THE CENTENNIAL. Her Majesty Queen Victoria would do a graceful act to the memory of the men of 1783, as well as to the United States, to order the squadron on the North American station to St. John, during the Exhibition season, and there join Fort Dufferin, Martello Tower and the Charybdis in a salute to the “American Flag,” for the honor done the British on the 19th of October, 1881, on the historic field of Yorktown. Of that day an American wrote: “Beyond the famous field of history, the field of the cloth of gold, will be the renown of the plain of Yorktown. “For there, when France and the United States, with the friendly aid of a German veteran, stood in hostile array against England, on the hundredth anniversary of the battle, the flags of France, Germany, England and the United States floated peacefully together, hostile no longer. Finis coronat opus. The salutation of the English flag at Yorktown was the noble and worthy crown of all the long series of centennial revolutionary celebrations. It was the symbol of the extinction of the traditional enmities of two countries, an earnest of that federation of the world to which the hope and faith of Christendom forever points.” Actions like these are hostages of peace, and do more to cement friendship than treaties or Acts of Parliament. THE PRESS AND THE CENTENNIAL. When Lewis and Ryan, the 17th of December, 1783, issued at Parr Town Vol. I. Num. 1. The Royal ST. JOHNS GAZETTE AND NOVA SCOTIA INTELLIGENCER the press had no influence in shaping public opinion. Then it was the fourth estate; to-day the first. Then it followed the track of the statesman; now it maps out his line of action. May the press of New Brunswick, from its Alpine heights, as with a bugle blast, call on the north to give up, to the south keep not back; let the sons of New Brunswick from far and near come, and her daughters from the lands far off come, on a pilgrimage in 1883, to the tombs of their fathers, the home of their childhood. “May their fond attachment to the well known place, Where first many started in life’s long race, Maintain its hold with such unfailing sway, As to feel it even in age to their latest day.” May 1883 be a year when, “Every one helping his neighbor, and everyone saying to his brother be of good courage, the carpenter encouraging the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer, him that smote the anvil saying, it is ready for the soldering and the fastening of nails.” In that auspicious year in New Brunswick’s history – Something remains for all to do or dare; Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear. * * * * * * * * For age is opportunity no less Than youth itself though in another dress, And as the evening twilight fades away, The sky is filled with stars invisible by day. THE PULPIT AND THE CENTENNIAL. As the 100th anniversary of the Loyalists leaving New York and the flag of England floating over the old thirteen colonies for the last time, will be Sunday, the 25th of November, 1883, there should be commemorative sermons of a century, surpassing in material progress the eighteen preceding ones. “Its days should speak and multitudes of years should teach wisdom.” CROWNING THE CENTENNIAL COLUMNS. The watch night of a century memorable in Colonial history should be crowned on the old historic grounds of Trinity, St. Andrew’s, Germain street Baptist and Centenary Churches, and St. Malachi’s Hall. As the curtain drops on its last minutes, and two centuries blend in one, from them let there go forth, as the voice of many waters, to the tune of OLD HUNDRED. A song in the night as when a holy solemnity is kept. Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise him all creatures here below, Praise him above ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. As the young men and maidens, old men and children, return to their homes in that historic midnight hour, the chimes of Trinity, with the Centenary chimes, should peal forth jubilee notes of Peace and Good Will. For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein. He alone can crown the Centennial with his goodness, and cause the clouds to drop fatness. To drop upon the dwellings of the wilderness, and make the little hills rejoice on every side. Make our garners full and plenteous with all manner of store, and our sheep to bring forth thousands and tens of thousands in our streets. Make our oxen strong to labor, that there be no decay, no going out, and no complaining in our streets. Happy are the people who are in such a case; yea, blessed are the people whose God is the Lord. J. W. LAWRENCE.