Fifty Years Ago.
MR. EDITOR:—I have thought it better to go back of fifty years in this letter. Our Provinces of New
Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as well as Ontario, are, compared with the New England Stales, quite new.
We often hear unfavorable and unjust comparisons between our provinces and the United States by our
own people to our prejudice and to the disgrace of men who indulge their ill humour in this way.
Until Canada was ceded to the English in 1763, Acadia had been a bone of contention between the English and French, and may well be called the battle ground for the contending parties. True, Acadia was ceded to the English in 1713, but the French retained possession, and the strong fortification of Louisburgh, in Cape Breton, was still a French fortress. The French and Indians held the country, recognized no English authority; indeed there was no government until the attempt to colonize Halifax in 1749. At that time Acadia was almost an unbroken forest, and in its original state, except the marshes. The boundary line between Acadia and the French possessions at the north WAS in dispute. The French claimed Chignecto; the English the St. Lawrence. This dispute, and the occupancy of the country by the
French and hostile Indians, rendered it impossible for English immigrants to make headway, even after a
strong Government was established at Halifax. So dangerous had they BECOME and so determined not to take the oath of allegiance and submit to Authority, that the English were driven to the terrible expediency of an entire eradication of the unfortunate people in 1755. The English and French colonies
were at war at this time, although a formal declaration of war at home was not made until some time after. This driving out of the French has been the theme of poets and sentimentalists, but perhaps if they had been placed as were the English settlers, never certain, when they went to sleep at night, that the scalps of their wives and children would not be dangling from the belts of blood-thirsty Indians before morning, they might entertain different views.
In justice to Acadian French it may be said, if left to themselves they were a harmless christian people, but they were enemies of the English and friends of the treacherous Indians and English settlers were afraid of them. The English colonies of the Atlantic slope were one hundred years ahead of Acadia. In about 1630 they were in the situation that Nova Scotia was in 1749. They had a school system equal to what we now enjoy long before the colonization of Halifax. Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire- raised fifteen thousand men in 1758 for the last French and Indian war. This was but nine years after the English settled Halifax, Nova Scotia then comprised all New Brunswick. The province was divided in 1786. But the settlement of Nova Scotia cannot be said to have fairly commenced until the end of the war with France on the continent of America in 1763. At that time the old colonics had a population of two and one half millions, and only thirteen years after declaring their independence, gained it in 1783 and became the U. States of America. I am led to the foregoing facts and figures to call the attention of the many ill-natured and unpatriotic croakers that are uniformly decrying their country, its climate, its institutions, its Government, laws and all belong-ing to it. If they need not to be told of the newness of their country and the reason why our cities and manufactories do not compare well with the older cities of the States, then are their prosecutions malicious and highly censurable. Whatever their motives, their slanders but excite the regret and pity of their loyal fellow subjects and the laughter and ridicule of loyal citizens of the U. States. They have no such people in the States. These offensive specimen of the genus home they have not. One can imagine Uncle Sam is his claw hammer coat, his hands in his pockets, and his boots suspended to his pantaloons, listening to one of these wrinkled faced traducers of his own country;—then smilingly answer with a tap on the shoulder, "you’re right, my boy, come along, we've the best country in the world, no frosts, no snow, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, no snakes,—come along." Greeny packs his box. They part at the station in Boston, Uncle Sam utters this homely injunction, "root hog or die," and is gone.
July, 1887. X. X.