Douglas Sladen Reads his Latest Poem, Lester the Loyalist, to a Delighted Audience

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Douglas Sladen Reads his Latest Poem, Lester the Loyalist, to a Delighted Audience
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DOUGLAS SLADEN Reads His Latest Poem, Lester the Loyalist, to a Delighted Audience. Last (Friday) night Douglas Sladen read his new poem, Lester the Loyalist, a romance of the founding of Canada, before the Young People’s Literary Society of St. Andrew's church. The church was full, and the audience, with evident delight, sat out the long poem of 850 lines to the end. The proceedings commenced with a hymn, and the Rev. E. D. MacLaren introduced the poet. Mr. Sladen then said a few words, mentioning that he had written the poem because it seemed to him so unjust that Canadian and English sympathy should be wasted on the disloyal Acadians celebrated in Evangeline, who had been given every possible liberty in religious institutions and laws for forty years, and at the end of that time were ejected, principally by Massachusetts troops, because they refused to give an honest oath of allegiance, without which the New England colonies were in constant dread of a French force making Acadia its base for ravaging them. He wished to divert this sympathy to the United Empire Loyalists — founders of Canada. This great commercial nation was founded not by Cartier, or Champlain, or even General Wolfe, but by the fifty thous-and, the flower of the United States, such as judges, lawyers, officers, divines, merchants, who rather than lose the old flag, emigrate to the then inhospitable wilds of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario, to begin life again, working with their own hands until a few years afterward their losses were made good to them by the British parliament. He dated the foundation of Canada from that 18th of May, 1783,when five or six thousand loyalists sailed into the stately harbor of St. John. It was this that he had made the subject of the poem. He then gave his poem, which was interspersed with intervals for conversation and songs by Mr. Middlebrook and Miss Roberts. At the close of his poem he was loudly applauded, as was Ald. Whetham, when, on rising to propose a vote of thanks, he said that it was appropriate; that in this city of Vancouver, stolen from the forests of yesterday, as St. John was a hundred years ago, should be read for the first time, this beautiful and noble poem embalming the first page of Canadian history. The vote of thanks was carried with applause and the proceedings were then brought to a conclusion by a hymn and a few words from Mr. McLaren announcing that Mr. Sladen had presented the literary society with copies of such of his books as were his own favorites, and that he would on Wednesday night deliver a lecture in Wilson hall on Australia and Reciprocity with Australia.