An Open Letter

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An Open Letter
Dugald MacDonald
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AN OPEN LETTER. Mr Dougald Macdonald Pays His Respects to Historian Richard. Montreal, August 31, 1895. Edouard Richard, Esq : Dear Sir,—Every British subject should feel under a lasting obligation to you for having so clearly and convincingly shown that the Home Government bad no act or part in the deportation of the Acadiens—an act diabolical in its conception and object, fiendish in its execution and heartrending in its results. Those acquainted with the history of Lower Canada know that the Imperial Government always showed a disposition to do justice to the French Canadians—a policy which was repaid by them with gratitude and unswerving loyalty. The same wise and enlightened policy would have, at all times, prevailed in Acadia had the instructions of the Home Government been carried out; now you have shown that these were not carried out but thwarted under these specious pretexts which have hither-to served to designate robbery—as confiscation, and brutality unworthy of the savage—as conduct unbecoming a civilized society, for the preservation and security of the state. The deportation cannot be excused on any grounds whatever. “No other right can be founded on conquest but that of regulating the political and civil government of the individuals the enjoyment of their property and of ail privileges not inconsistent with the security of the conquest.” Such was the opinion of Mr. Solicitor-General Wedderburne, embodied in a report to His Majesty George the Third, relative to the Government of the Province of Quebec in 1772, twenty-two years after the deportation of the Acadians; and “such,” says Christie, in his history of Canada, “were the sentiments of British statesmen in that day, and every generous and genuine British heart of the present will respond to and take pride in.” Not so, say those writers who have sought to find in the conduct of the Acadians some fault to justify their deportation, and thus leads the world to suppose that British statesmen had adopted the principle that the conqueror is invested with the right to disperse and exterminate the conquered. “Conquest,” says Montesquieu, “is an acquisition and caries with it the spirit of preservation.” There is not a conclusion which you have drawn in your “Missing links of a lost chapter in American history” but flows naturally from the facts which you relate, therefore your estimate of the moral worth of the guilty actors in this monstrous wrong and of their apologists, whether by the suppression of facts or otherwise, are just and by no means unreasonable, consequently it will require more than clap-trap and sophistry to reverse the opinion which the intelligent reader of your work will form of Governor Laurence and his associates, as well as of the “Compiler” and others. It is well that the world is shown again, and it cannot be said too often, that the unjust who plunder, as well as he who either suppresses facts or distorts them, cannot escape detection. Justice and truth are mighty, and must prevail. In you, “The plundered still have arms.” I may be permitted to express the hope that the public will show its appreciation of your labor of love and of duty, and that you will derive there from such substantial rewards as will enable you to devote your entire attention to a field in which you are so eminently qualified. With sincere wishes for your success, I am, yours very truly, DUGALD MACDONALD.