The Quebec Chronicle gives the annexed report of the reply made by the Chief Commissioner of Public Works for this Province to the toast “Our Brothers, the Acadiens,” at the Banquet at Quebec last week, and for which, on the motion of the President, a vote of thanks was unanimously accorded to him.
Mr. Chauveau introduced a French Acadian, Hon. Pierre Landry, Commissioner of Public Works of New Brunswick, who spoke at length, and thanking those present in the name of the Acadians of the Maritime Provinces continued somewhat in the following manner: The results, he said, of the present demonstration must be specially benefited to Acadians generally. Up to the present time they had a population of French origin important on account of its traditions, its past labours and trials; strong on the account of its numbers; its faithful adherence to its members and customs, to its language and to the religion of forefathers; but weakened by the separation of certain portions of its members and by the want of intercourse. By history alone they did know one another, but that mere fact did not unite them. From to-day, however, this forced separation must disappear and they shall recognize one another for what they are: brothers, whose interests are the same; whose aspirations and destinies are identical. It is pleasing, he said, to note that henceforth the obstacles which have so long prevented the political and social intercourse between the different French groups in the Dominion, shall disappear in the general rejoicing. Hitherto without extraneous aid, the Acadians have preserved their language with a fidelity that neither the adversity of circumstances or the contract of races speaking a different tongue have been able to overcome. The past circumstances of the Acadians deprived them of the means of educating their children, and in consequence, they were at the disadvantage of having to compete with others who possessed that education of which they were deprived. Indomitable perseverance and frugality at length triumphed, but then it was found that persons capable of teaching the mother tongue were not available. Under these circumstances, it would not be surprising had the people lost their identity. Such, however, was not the case. A population of over 100,000 still speak the French Language in Acadia. The establishment of St. Jospeh’s College at Memramcook became for the people the dawn of a happier day. Previous to the era alluded to the political influence of the Acadians was little or none; since then it has made wonderful progress. Mr. Landry concluded a well prepared and eloquent address by assuring his audience that only a better knowledge of one another on the part of French Canadians and French Acadians is wanted to ensure a mutual support of each other’s requirements, and he withdrew amid loud applause.