The Centennial Memorial

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The Centennial Memorial
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THE CENTENNIAL MEMORIAL. It is certainly time that something should be done in regard to the memorial, if there is to be any. A small number of citizens meeting together and recommending the adoption of a certain course, or a tolerably large number dividing into parties, each supporting a particular plan, do little or nothing towards accomplishing a definite result. Speeches do not quarry stones, and resolutions, no matter how nicely they may be worded, will neither make money nor do the work of masons. If no memorial whatever is erected, outsiders may well charge the people of St. John with being more ready to project than to execute measures, and more fond of talking than paying. It may be true, as some assert, that there is not at present much available cash in the community for public purposes; but we are inclined to believe that, if a limited number of representative men took the matter earnestly in hand, the money would be forthcoming. It would be strange if there were not some differences of opinion with regard to the character of the memorial, for unanimity of opinion upon such a subject would rather suggest lack of interest, or incapacity to think or suggest. But whether the memorial should take one form or another, it is not probable that a minority of citizens, contrary to our social and political training and practice, would act inharmoniously with their fellows. A public hall, fitted to contain a museum, representing our industrial and economic resources, exhibiting to students amongst ourselves and visitors from abroad the products of our forests, mines and waters, and containing perhaps an anthropological department; an art gallery and public library; would certainly be most useful and highly prized by our citizens. To such a hall the Province and indeed the Dominion might very properly afford financial aid, for its character and usefulness would be much more than merely local. Whether such an enterprise is within our present means is perhaps a question, and whether it is in the best form of monument for the occasion is, in the opinion of some, a subject for discussion. But we believe that the general sentiment prevails in the community that something should be done and done promptly towards the erection of some monument; that steps should be taken to ascertain conclusively whether it should take the form of a shaft, a statue or group of statues, a carved stone adorned with bronzes, a public hall, or something else if suggested; and that a good committee should be appointed to collect the money and proceed with the work. We believe that the citizens generally would contribute to the fund required, and indeed the names have been already mentioned of some citizens willing to contribute generously. St. John and Portland contain between them nearly 50,000 people, and it would not be rash to count upon a large sum being collected in these districts alone. Then without doubt many St. John men now abroad would help to swell the fund, and when the project began to assume the appearance of an accomplished fact, many of our wealthier citizens would add largely to their first subscription and well-to-do old gentlemen and ladies would remember the monument in their wills. We know of at least one large sum of money that is awaiting the opportunity for investment for purposes of public art education, and are satisfied that more money would be obtained in like manner and for some kindred purpose, if it really looked as if it would be properly applied. Or while we are making and when we have made, a real effort to raise money among ourselves, it will be quite in order to apply for assistance to the Canadian and Provincial Governments. Respect for the memory of the Loyalists, the fact that the city has been in existence a hundred years, and the desire to produce some public evidence of public spirit or to advance the development of knowledge or artistic taste, would all afford motives to possible contributors to the fund required. It is to the Mayor and members of the Common Council that the citizens look to move in this matter and it would be better if they moved at once. In all probability the monument, whatever form it took, could not be completed by the 18th day of May next, but at least the site might be selected, the corner stone laid and the work commenced at that date.