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Loyalists’ Centennial Souvenir - 1887 - p33-36

Year: 
1887
Article Title: 
n. t.
Author: 
Hon. L. G. Wilmot
Page Number: 
33-36
Article Type: 
Language: 
Article Contents: 

" I had the honor of representing this constituency for nearly twenty years, and my feelings are deeply involved in everything connected with the city of St. John. Not only did I represent this city, but my father before me, for nearly twenty years, so that it became almost a family compact, and we held this constituency by a kind of divine right, although it depended on the free votes of the people. (Laughter and applause.) This is a great day in our history. A hundred years have passed since our fathers landed on what was then a rocky coast. I think there is a good deal that might be called rock about it yet. (Laughter.) They went to work and shortly became disseminated throughout the Province. I met one man who had been with my grandfather in the year 1808 —the year before I was born—and he told me that the farm I now own grew 800 bushels of grain when my grandfather first settled in this country—which bears out my theory that our agricultural resources are such that we could, if need be support ourselves independently of the rest of the world. But I heard my father say there was one thing he got sick of in those halcyon days, and that was moose meat (laughter), because, if you had nothing else to eat, you could always kill a moose. (Laughter.) I have not much to say, ladies and gentlemen, that others could not better say, but I must say that I am glad to see alongside of me a representative of the neighboring Republic, the United States, as referred to by His Worship the Mayor—which position, I may say, I occupied some forty years ago, and my father twenty years before that. (Laughter and applause.) I don't know just when, but my friend Mr. LAWRENCE will know all about it. I feel myself one of the citizens of St. John, and my feelings and interests have been connected with it, and my father's before me.
"With reference to the great nation alongside of us, I trust that, now that we have established a Dominion reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, we will have a friendly rivalry to see which shall be the greater country. (Applause.) I have an interest in that country, because one of my uncles went there and made some money. Unfortunately he went to England and placed it in a bank, and a week afterwards the bank collapsed and he lost it. (Laughter.) I said last night at the great meeting in the Centenary that my grandmother told me (laughter) — pardon me, gentlemen, for raking up these antiquities, for I really feel myself to be quite a historic object (applause) —that she had five sons when she came here in 1783. They went up the River St. John and went ashore in the night of the 10th of November, in a snow storm, and camped under canvas. Of these five sons, four (pardon the egotism) filled very prominent positions in this country. One represented the County of Westmorland in the Local Legislature; another the County of Sunbury. My father represented the city of St. John in 1819 or 1820, and the other represented a county in Upper Canada. So I feel myself closely identified with this Dominion and entitled to say that at all events my forefathers were people who stood to the flag that has braved the battle and the breeze, and which slavery could not exist under, and which has always extended civil and religious liberty in every province of the British Empire. (Applause.) And now let me refer briefly to Her glorious Majesty the Queen. It is no mere sentiment in regard to her that prompts me to say she has been the perfection of woman; as a wife, as a mother, and as a true, ideal woman, she has set an example that the whole world should be proud of. (Cheers.) It is a matter of no small satisfaction to me to-day that a daughter of hers is the wife of His Excellency, the Governor General of this Dominion — a man entitled to every sentiment of respect for his good sound sense, and the manner in which he has managed the affairs of this Dominion since he has held that position. I am proud of him, of her, and of our British connection and I trust that in the future all our rivalries with our connections on the other side of the line will be to further civil and religious liberty and promote that glorious system of government that was handed down to us inviolate from our Anglo-Saxon forefathers. (Cheers.)
“Mr. Skinner, last night, referred to the fact that we had never suffered from the miseries of war in this country; but I recollect a little beyond him, when in 1812, '13, '14, '15, this Province raised a regiment called the 104th Regiment, to march to Canada and oppose the invasion from the other side of the lines. They fought the good fight, maintained their position nobly and well, and when peace was proclaimed our lines were left established as they were at the start. I might say, also, that no people in this Dominion proved themselves more brave and loyal in the fight than our French Canadian people, who form a very large portion of our population, and have even a prior claim than the Loyalists. That invasion of Montreal proved a lamentable failure, I am glad to say, though I mean no offence to my friend, General WARNER."
(Laughter, followed by great cheering as His Honor resumed his seat.)
His Worship then said he had great pleasure in introducing to them a gentleman who had been so long in the City that he had become almost one of themselves—General WARNER, the United States Consul, who said, on opening:
"It was almost needless for him to remark that he was glad to be present. Never since I have been in the city of St. John," continued the General, “have I felt more glad and ready to accept a very polite invitation from His Worship to attend the ceremonial to-day, celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the history of your city and your province. I am proud to be here, and beg leave to say, in reply to the speeches we have heard, that all the good wishes; all the good will, and fellowship — everything that tends to elevate the Anglo-Saxon race — is not all located on this side of the line. (Cheers.) It has been said that but for the foolishness of parties in the olden time, King George et al, that probably there never would have been that line.
I do not endorse that sentiment. I believe as firmly as that I live that the great rebellion of the North American provinces was ordered by God, and that it was necessary for the Anglo-Saxon race and for progress, that the English nation that was destined almost to rule the entire world should be taught that people have certain rights, and that the giving of said rights to the people is simply the elevation of their own nationality. (Cheers.) Therefore it was ordered by a higher power than any on earth that this rebellion should take place, and I believe that none regret it; for it was just as necessary and inevitable as the great rebellion of 1861 — that dreadful, fratricidal, infernal war in our own land for the obliteration of slavery in the land, that our nation might stand forth right, meriting the blessing of God, and a credit to the great land on the other side that gave us birth. (Great cheers.) A short time since, one of whom we are very proud — the American representative at the Court of St. James — said he felt more like representing an elder daughter than a foreign land. You will pardon me if I carry that idea out a little further, and say that if the United States can properly be called the elder daughter of Great Britain, certainly we have a right to claim the Dominion as our younger sister (applause); and if in this friendly rivalry, that is to be fought out to the bitter end, the elder sister should make suggestions to the younger sister, why I would not advise the younger sister to consider it a matter of tyranny. Elder sisters never give what they consider bad advice to younger sisters, and if it sometimes goes against the grain, why let the younger sister remember that she has still a sister even if she appears inclined to tyrannize a little. (Applause.) Maybe the younger sister is right; but let her be good natured and keep her temper, and the elder sister would apologize in time." (Great laughter and cheers.)