Parrtown 1784: Edward Jack

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Parrtown 1784: Edward Jack
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PARRTOWN 1784. EDWARD JACK. One of the most interesting studies to which the human mind can direct its attention is that of the course pursued by a people who are engaged in reestablishing the rules of order and the reconstruction of society among themselves after these had been overthrown by war and exile. To effect these must always be a difficult matter, more especially when all means of earning a living have to be changed, and where they are forced to create new industries and to engage in new and previously untried business, as was largely the case with those refugees who true to their British allegiance landed in the year 1783 in the then province of Nova Scotia, there to raise anew the red cross banner of Saint George, and of which province Lord Sydney said just after the close of the Revolutionary war, "we will yet make Nova Scotia the envy of the American republic." Time has shown how true Sydney’s prophecy was, when we consider that Senator Frye, one of the leading senators of the then dominant party in the United 8tates, lately declared officially that Canada was the latest enemy the United States had, and there was none found to say nay in the great assembly of which he was a member. The difficulties experienced by the Loyalists in their abandonment of country were enormous, all the luxuries of life wrested from them, separated from their friends and kindred by a stormy sea, the untried alone before them, not a single ray of hope so far as this life was concerned was left to enlighten their weary exile save the consciousness of having done their duty, and they may perhaps have seen in the vista of coming years such visions as Sydney saw of a great country springing up, as the result of all their self-sacrifice and abnegations, a country which was to raise from the dust England’s standard in America, and to re-establish that power again on this continent which their enemies thought was to be forever powerless here. Tacitus speaking of the memory of the just says: Whatever was the object of our love, our admiration remains, and will remain in the minds of men transmitted in the records of fame through an eternity of years, and such will be the case with the memory of the loyalists. As time advances, and as wealth, luxury and refinement increase among our people, so the souls of coming generations will be more and more filled with respect and admiration for those who through so great afflictions sought neither wealth nor advancement, and whose highest endeavor was to do right. So little has been preserved in writing about the loyalists that the most trivial circumstances regarding them must be of interest and moment, and this must be the excuse for the relation of the facts which are contained in this sketch, which is the result of a few hours examination of the papers contained in the record office at Oromocto, to the existence of which the attention of the writer was directed by Mr. R. D. Wilmot, the representative of the county of Sunbury in the parliament of Canada, a gentleman who takes great interest in such matters. On the 13th of October, 1784, matters had so far settled down at Parrtown that Messrs. Simonds, Tyng and Leonard were then holding a court of common pleas at Maugerville, at which place the law business of what is now New Brunswick was carried on. The lawyers in attendance there at that time were Messrs. Currie, Cluet, Street and Crannall, and the records of the whole proceedings of this court at that date, which were remarkably well kept, are yet in an excellent state of preservation, after the lapse of more than a hundred years. In those early days the tavern was the club room to which the exiles gathered to talk over in the evening the battles which they had fought and the losses and trials which they had endured. They could look for aid or comfort to no part of America, their whole attention was directed to England, as is shown by the motto on the provincial seal, and it was at the tavern that the individual who had been so fortunate as to be in receipt of a letter from friends in England divulged its contents to his fellow exiles. The position of the tavern keeper was thus one of importance, and much sought after, and we accordingly find from the Oromocto records that numerous applications were made at the time mentioned to the "Honorable His Majesty's Justices of the Court" then assembled at Maugerville. By petition dated June 12 1784, Acteon Jeffrey expressed his desire to become a tavern keeper in Carleton, while John Lovett made a similar application about the same time. From Fort Howe, Sylvanus Whitney asks for the same right, as does William Harding for Farr. Charles Loosley, who was a very polite as well as humorous resident of Parr, addresses a petition to his majesty's venerable justices, in which he states as follows: "Living in the most conspicuous part of this town, and the situation of my house being well calculated for a tavern, I humbly solicit the court for this county to grant me a license for the same. I can produce deeds, characters or security as may be required." It would seem as if Mr. Loosely, prior to the date of his application (June 15), had been living in Carleton, since it is from that place that he sends a notice to the Royal Gazette, which was published in that paper on the 29th of January preceding. That advertisement was as follows: "Loosely begs leave to inform the inhabitants of this town that he has an ever flowing well of water in his cellar, and so easy of access that either male or female, by turning the button of the trap-door that leads thereto, may draw a sufficient quantity to serve them, and from one of the purest fountains in Nova Scotia, Carleton, January 21, 1784." On the 12th of June, James Oliver and Edward Sands recommended Mathew Partelow to he a man of sober life and suitably provided to keep a public house in the Lower Cove; John Flewelling, also of Parrtown, asked for a license to keep a tavern and store there. Isaac Bostick and David Purdy also ask for a license in Parr town, while Wm. Godsoe, of Fort Howe, requests the same privilege. Richard B. Squer, on the 8th of June, applies for a wholesale and retail license in Parr, in his application he says that he came from the state of Massachusetts Bay to New York in 1777, and that for his loyalty he has remained ever since within the lines of his majesty's army. White Raymond also desires a tavern license for Parr, as also Robert Hicks and Charles Scheenwolf, as well as Thomas Mullins, Peter Fitzsimonds William and John Knutton and William Burtis, Robert Carlisle, Charles McPherson, and John Kirk, all of Parr, demand the same favor, while Benjamin Anderson, late of New York, who had settled himself and family above the Falls, asks a license for that place, and John Wiggins' a resident above the Falls and near the Indian house, states that he was compelled to leave a considerable estate and take refuge in St John, that he has a wife and three small children and a negro boy that has to all appearance been a long time in consumption, said children and servant unable to do anything towards their support, and his wife rather weakly, and that by means of strain he was disabled from hard labor, and was likely so to continue for these very good reasons. He also asks the right of opening a public house. This touching appeal, as well as those of all the other persons named above, were replied to in the affirmative by the honorable court and entries of such assent were duly made, all of which facts now stand as matters of record, packed away in the little stone office at the village of Oromocto in the county of Sunbury.