The Acadian Leader

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The Acadian Leader
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The Acadian Leader. MR. EDITOR, -- The banquet lately given to Mr. Landry, M. P., has given rise to some criticisms, not directly upon the entertainment in itself – for that concerned only those who were more immediately connected with it and the object for which it was given. The general public, however, have some interest in the subject treated of in a portion at least of Mr. Landry’s address on that occasion. Sir Adams G. Archibald has felt called upon in justification of his own statements touching the history of the people of what is commonly known as Acadian, made some time ago, the accuracy of which had been questioned, in fact denied, by Mr. Landry, to write a letter to your paper in which he exposes the author of the great banquet speech. No one supposes that Mr. Landry is so entirely ignorant of the history of his own people in Acadia as he would certainly be if he did not know that his forefathers, the Acadians, had repeatedly refused to take the oath of allegiance which every subject ought and is bound to take to be true and faithful to the government under which he lives. A great ado has been made by certain persons from time to time about the so called expulsion of the Acadians, but although a great deal of sentiment has been manufactured from it, and while it has been Longfellow’s theme for a most beautiful and pathetic song, yet, after all, it was nothing more than simple justice – in fact, to the careful and impartial reader of the doings of that age it seems surprising that the Acadian people were allowed to remain so long in the enjoyment of the lands and rights and privileges of British rule, when, in truth and in fact, they were ever ready to welcome the appearance of a French and Indian hostile force. There can be little doubt that had the Acadian peasantry, who, in the early days at least, were composed of a quiet and loyal people, been left alone to follow their own instructions, they would not have hesitated to cast in their lot willingly under the change of rule, for they could not fail to see how much happier and safer they were than under the government of their Fatherland; but designing men, who were acting in the immediate interests and under the orders of the French authorities in Canada and Cape Breton, succeeded by reason of their nationality and by holding out to them the hope that in the end France would succeed in reconquering the country, in keeping those deluded people alienated from the government that they were bound to obey and respect. At this day, and for many long years, no more loyal people could be found than the honest Acadian people of the Lower Provinces. No doubt there is a strong national feeling among them, but it is more in regard, after all, to their language which they love to preserve (and no wonder, for it is beautiful) than anything else. I venture to say that had they the choice to-day to exchange British for French rule it would not be made. But why at this time of day is it necessary to refer to these doings of a century and a half ago? Why should Mr. Landry, who is styled a leader among the people, go out of his way at a banquet tendered to him by his Acadian friends to harrow up the dead and by a skillful reference to imaginary wrongs, or if you will, real grievances, suffered by their forefathers ages ago, attempt to rekindle the extinguished animosities of the past? I fear that Mr. Landry is too much like some of the leaders of his people of that day, who study their own interests and selfish ends more than the good of the people. It would seem as if he was afraid that the Acadians of Kent county, who form a majority of his constituents, were not prepared to endorse him again at the approaching election if left to their present mood. He probably felt the necessity of calling off their attention from what he has been doing in that county since he was returned. I think he had his eye on the parish of Dundas, particularly, whose electors are chiefly the descendants of the poor persecuted people he talked about, when he made that celebrated Moncton deliverance, which so abounded in misstatements and perversion of well known historical facts. No doubt the railway from Moncton to Buctouche (of which he is a director) has seized his troubled mind about that time, and he knew that the time was at hand when the people of Dundas, whose interests he had despised and ignored, would have an opportunity of pronouncing upon his conduct. His little piece of trickery about a branch line or lines was too patent a humbug to beguile even the most innocent. So, therefore, the long-forgotten wrongs of the Acadians must be unearthed, and an appeal must be made to national prejudices and traditional woes. Mr. Landry ought to have known that such appeals are vain in this enlightened age. People now-a-days give or withhold support to a public man according as he performs his duty. What then has this man done for the people of Kent to entitle him to a renewal of their confidence. What has he done towards the establishment of steam communication between Richibucto and the north part of Prince Edward Island, by which a large trade would be opened up and the Island people be within two hours sail of the railway system of northern New Brunswick. Also, what has he done regarding the winter crossing at that point, which is well known to be practicable? What has he done about the railway from Shediac to connect the St. Louis and Buctouche railway, a work that is universally admitted to be essential to the prosperity of Kent as well as a portion of his own county – Westmorland (which he in reality represents)? He has done what he could to destroy it, but if the people of Kent are still alive to their own dearest interests, his designs may be frustrated. Let Westmorland and Kent act in concert, and the railway they have so long desired, the only line that can really meet the wants and requirements of the people, the Short Line from Cape Tormentine to Chatham will yet be built. There are thirty thousand people living along the shore, in fact nearly the whole population of the County of Kent is here, who are now, except at two points, Richibucto and presently at Buctouche [Bouctouche], practically excluded from the benefits of a railway for which they have been praying for thirty years. The Moncton line having for its objective point the village of Buctouche, a line from Shediac may well strike a little higher up on the Buctouche river, and take in the large and opulent centres of the parish of St. Mary’s, on its course to meet the St. Louis and Buctouche line. Will Mr. Landry favor this great undertaking? We think not; his conduct in the past has been openly hostile to it. It is to be hoped that notwithstanding his effort at the Moncton banquet, to call off the people’s attention from his misdoings, that his flimsy disguise will be penetrated, and his constituents in Kent County will reject him at the coming election, and replace him by some man residing in Kent, who will work for the interests of the people of the county, and send Mr. Landry back a wiser man to his home in Dorchester Corner, where he belongs. KENT. January 13.