(Free Press Nov 4, 1898)
We are indebted to Mr. G. U. Hay for No. 3 of the supplementary leaflets on Canadian History. The contents are: “Fort Cumberland” by Jas Hannay; “General Coffin,” I. A. Jack, D. C L.; “Nicolas Deny’s Description of the River St. John,” F. Ganong, Ph. D.; ' Incidents in the Life of Lieut James Moody,” G. U. Hay Ph. B.; “Story of the Big Beaver, Rev. VV. G. Raymond, M. A. and “D’Anville’s Expedetion,” Harry Piers. All these articles as guaranteed by the writers' names, are interesting and instructive reading, but considered in the light, of late, and reliable information the result of careful and thorough research by noted historians and litterateurs, the impression made by some passages in the last named we must protest against as misleading. As these pamphlets are specially designed for the use of public schools, and it is a generally accepted axiom the early impressions are the most ineradicable, it is imperative that all histories intended for such use should be strictly accurate. The number of battles, the dates on which they were fought, the order of sovereigns and when they reigned &c., though useful, are not the most important part of a lesson in history. But it is of vital importance that school children and every other person should accurately learn the essentials of every age and period. It goes without saying that it is much more difficult to write accurately of times and people long past than of contemporaneous people and events; but a historian should come to his work with, at least an unprejudiced mind, open to the truth if he can arrive at it, and if largely supplied with imperfect material he ventures to chronicle for posterity and dies before he has an opportunity to correct false impressions, then it is the bounden duty of those qualified for the task to bring the truth to light and not allow a people nor a nation to lie forever under a stigma they do not deserve. It outrages one’s sense of justice to see how one historian will build his tissue of lies on another; and so this false impression is carried on from one generation to another, gaining strength as it is handed down. An instance of this, are some American histories dealing with the Revolutionary war and that of 1812, giving such exaggerated and misleading accounts which, no doubt, have been largely instrumental in fostering the anti-British feeling, which, happily bids fair to be very soon a thing of the pas, scarcely to be understood by succeeding generations of Americans.
The article, to which, in part, we take exception, “D’Anville's Expedition,” is an interesting and a well written one; but it contains some passages which we would be sorry to see in any history, purporting to be a true, unvarnished representation of facts.