The Acadian Convention. Gathering of Acadians at Arichat, C. B.

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The Acadian Convention. Gathering of Acadians at Arichat, C. B.
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THE ACADIAN CONVENTION. GATHERING OF ACADIANS AT ARICHAT, C. B. Sir Wilfred Laurier’s Address-Mass Held and Speeches Made - Loyalty of the French-Canadian Citizens- A Notable Assemblage Arichat, Cape Breton, was honored this week with the presence of thousands of our citizens of French origin and in full sympathy with the Canada of today. Sir Wilfrid Laurier was present at the first day's proceedings and acted as the orator for the occasion. Among other things he said: “He was not hero as premier or a politician, but as a born Frenchman, not to take part in the private discussions of the convention, but to pay his tribute to this Acadian celebration today. We should forget parts and think of but one thing, our country and the part the French race shall take in developing it. A principle with the Acadians today might well be to number themselves, to measure their forces, to cultivate those ideas which our blood and race so vitally recall. He knew of no more beautiful sentiment than the French Acadians’ love of country. They have a history, sad in many ways, but this was not the time to retrace its painful features, to open old wounds. It was rather a time to look to the future. French Acadians had never forgotten, they never should forget, the benign influence that the church had exercised in the history of the race, nor allow to fade from recollection the heroes who had done so much for this country. He would quote one heroine name, that of Abbe Sigogne, and with that name he would couple Haliburton, champion of the rights of the Acadians. The French missionary and the English writer had been hand in hand in good work. Instead of race hatred and division there should lie union, religion and education; vital interests should be cared for, and it was essential that the Acadians should add to a knowledge of French a thorough understanding of English." He intimated that there are in the maritime provinces 100,000 Acadians, and our mission as Acadians and as Canadians should be the up-building of a united nation, though of divers races and creeds, a temple erected to the God of justice and liberty. The subjects treated on at the convention were various, chief of which were educational matters, others the press, and some were of religions interest, bearing on ecclesiastical government. Among the shakers were Senator Poirier, Judge Landry, Rev. Fr. Belliveau of Grand Digue, Professer Jules M. Lamos. Rev. Fr. Dugas, Abbe Gaudet, Rev. Fr. Joly, J. A. Gil- lies, M. P., Premier Murray of Halifax, Hon. Isidore LeBIanc, D. 0. Fraser, M. P., L. C. Belanger, Q. C. (mayor of Sherbrooke, P. Q.), H. J. Logan, M. P., and many others of national reputation. At the opening day’s work a solemn high mass was celebrated. The premier was given a seat of honor in the centre aisle, Senator Porrior of New Brunswick on his right and Judge Landry of Dorchester, N. B., on his left. Rev. Father Cormier of Memramcook officiated at the mass, assisted by Rev. Mr. Herbert and Rev. Mr. Mombroquette. Among others who took part were Rev. Mgr. Dugas of New York. Rev. Mgr. Richard of Three Rivera, and Rev. Father Quinan of Arichat. The sermon was preached by Rev. Father Dagnaud, superior of St. Anne's College, Digby. It was an eloquent discourse in French, and held the closest attention of the congregation, which crowded the large and prettily decorated church. Sir Wilfrid Laurier was given a cheer as he stepped from the boat to the shore, and as he drove through the succession of arches on the way to the church he was given a hearty greeting. At the foot of the hill, on which is built the Church L’Assomption, a church which bears the name of the national festival of the Acadians, was an arch bearing the only non-French motto. It was in Latin: “Fratres in unum," on either side of which were those other mottoes in French: “The Faith of Our Ancestors” and “The Language of Our Forefathers.” The greatest enthusiasm prevailed at the second days proceedings when in the absence of Hon. A. H. Comeau, Professor Jules M. Lanos of Halifax moved, seconded by His Honor Judge Landry, that the following telegram be sent to Her Majesty Queen Victoria: “That we, the French Acadians, assembled in general convention at Arichat, Cape Breton, profess our unfaltering loyalty to the British crown, and as a token of our love for Her Majesty, offer her our condolence on the recent death of His Royal Highness the Prince of Saxe-Cobourg.” All heard this resolution standing and bareheaded, singing “God Save the Queen.” Then the resolution was passed by the raising of the hand to heaven. Caraquet was selected as the meeting place for the next convention. A president and several vice-president were appointed. Hon. Senator Poirier was asked to fill the president’s chair. Hon. M. Comeau is first president for Nova Scotia, Hon. Isidore LeBlanc for Cape Breton, and M. Arsenault for Prince Edward Island; Dr. Delaney for the Magdalen Island, and O. M, Melanson for New Brunswick. Dr. Belliveau, of New Brunswick, is secretary, and Judge Landry, treasurer. The Acadian people are determined to use every legitimate means to advance the moral and material interests of their race. That their destiny is a great one no person who has watched their magnificent strides in church and educational matters; in the walks of the professions and in the halls of the legislatures ; in commercial and other lines can question.