Wants Back Her French

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Wants Back Her French
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WANTS BACK HER FRENCH A Quebec despatch to the New York Sun of June 6 says: A very excited controversy upon the status of French-Canadians in the United States and the efforts being made for their repatriation is at present waged between the French newspapers of Montreal and Quebec on the one side and those of the French-Canadian centres of the New England States on the other. Leo Richard, editor of L’Ami du Foyer of Manchester, N.H., who is taking an active part in the discussion, vigorously replies to the Canadian pretension, that while repatriation in the past has been little more than a dream the present is a favorable opportunity for it. Mr. Richard expresses his firm belief that the contrary is the fact. Repatriation, he says, might have been attended with a certain success during the first years of the migratory movement from Canada to the United States, and before the expatriated Canadians hail acquired any special attachment to their new homes, provided that the Canadian Government of that time had closed the door to further emigration by establishing those commercial conditions within the Dominion which so many of its people went in search of on the other side of the international boundary, and if it had then sent properly accredited agents lo assure their fellow countrymen in the neighboring Republic that plenty and prosperity awaited those of them who returned to their former homes. But the opportunity so lost can never again, he says be taken advantage of. Higher salaries than those paid to the north of the frontier have, he says, attracted thousands upon thousands of French-Canadian to the States, and these have gradually adapted themselves to the conditions of life existing there, have in time acquired the air of progress which is breathed in every New England village, and have learned to love their new home and their new country with an affection as great as that which they entertained in years gone by for the land which they left. Mr. Richard also points out that members of French-Canadians in the United States, out of their savings in the land of their adoption, have acquired farm lands of their own purchased from American farmers, and with the attainment of the political rights which followed upon their naturalization have come to take a deep interest in the public affairs of the nation and of their particular State. These are the things; say Mr. Richard and those who support his views, which bind the French-Canadian population of the United States to their new country, which had no existence three-quarters of a century ago. Various are the arguments on the other side. Sentiment is made to play a large part in them, and the home of youth and the parish church and cemetery and the alleged happiness of life among those who almost universally speak the same language and practice the same religion, are among the special attractions set before the French Canadians of the New England States in the Quebec and Montreal newspaper articles which are being distributed at present by thousands among them by the colonization agents of the Canadian Government. Mr. Richard ridicules the idea that the simple sound of the word "patriotism" and the prospect of the up building of a great French-Canadian origin upon the continent are going to entice the bulk of the French-Canadians in the United States back to Canada. Touching the sentiment of the case, he says: "The French Canadians of New England have not expended all their earnings for their material and personal needs. Out of their savings they have erected magnificent churches, colleges, chapels, convents, schools, &c. These are their property. They have grown in dimensions with them for more than half a century. Is this not enough to retain them here? Then turn to the centuries where rest the bones of our parents and cousins and friends, which it would pain us almost as much to t leave as it did to lay them there. This tie is another which did not exist fifty years ago. Is this not enough? Then see how many of us are connected by marriage with the different American families among whom we live. How many of those do you think would go to Canada to live? These conditions could not be invoked some years ago. Is this not enough? Nor is it all. Two generations of Canadians have already lived in the United States since the period of French-Canadian immigration commenced. Their marriages have produced immense numbers of children. These children were born in the United States. For those men of heart aiming them, who respect the land of their fathers, is you respect yours, the United States is their country. Does anyone think that these so-called French-Canadians are ready to go to Canada? For them it would be no repatriation, but emigration. And their number today constitutes four-fifths of that of the French population of the United States. Take them if you are able." Le Soleil, Sir Wilfrid Laurier's personal and political organ, of which he was for some time the editor, is publishing a series of articles in opposition to Mr. Richard's stand on this subject, one of which urges that the Federal Ministers should go on a pilgrimage to the New England States and preach the doctrine of repatriation. It is alleged among other things that the present condition of the Canadian operatives in the American factory towns is little better than that of surfs. While Canada is taking such rapid strides, in both industrial and agricultural prosperity that higher wages could now be secured here than in New England. But the most serious allegations concerning the status of French-Canadians in the United States have just been published here- by a physician who has resided for some years among them. Dr. Alphonse Lessard, the person in question, declares that the majority of these people are treated by those among whom they live as belonging to an inferior race, that as soon as they arrive in the United States they find themselves in an atmosphere that is vicious from every point of view, vice triumphing, evil examples taking nun, debauchery and drunkenness nourishing in the streets, in broad daylight, and everything else that tends to the destruction of the soul as well as the body. Little by little, he says, this condition of affairs insinuates itself into the hearts of the new arrivals, until, generally speaking, two years suffice to bring them all to the same level. Such are some of the means adopted to aid the colonization agents of the Canadian Government in their attempts to repatriate the French-Canadians living in the United States, and to prevent the exodus from Canada of more of them.