The Herald – 1878.02.09 – Letter from Johnville – Charles Connell – #13
LETTER FROM JOHNVILLE
To the Editor of the HERALD
Dear Sir,– The result of the election, to which I adverted in my last letter, Charles Connell’s defeat, was a surprise, and such a surprise as was never before known in this County The fervent prayers and the persevering efforts of the independent party were crowned with success, and they had the satisfaction of seeing their most sanguine hopes even more than realized. To the men of honor and to all the lovers of truth, consistency, and good principle in this County, it was a relief to be freed from such an incubus. It was pardonable in them, and they intended no injury or insult to their country, if they felt and manifested the joy the did feel that this big imposition, who represented only himself, and who so often had gone up like a rocket, had at last come down a burnt stick, “sic transit gloria mundi.” The public mind was scarcely prepared for such a consummation. That this would-be King of the County, who in imagination, held the County in the palm of his hand, and in his inflated idea of his own stars with his lofty head, and who had wielded so long such almost undisputed sway, was not only in his last agony, but was actually politically dead, was a [consumation] hard to realize. It was only when Johnville – the most remote polling place – could be heard from that the fate of the day would be known. From four until nine o’clock were hours of anxiety and painful suspense. The hour came and with it the decision ; but brought no comfort to Charlie. This time fortune was against him. He had been put in the balance, found wanting, and was left out in the cold. The two seats in the gift of the people were given to the two strangers. David Munroe and Wm. Lindsay, and Connell they made their own of, though he, too, would much prefer to enjoy the privilege of a stranger. He was unequal to the occasion, and presented a picture woe-begone such as eye never before rested on. Unable to bear the evidence of agreeable surprise in the faces of those who surrounded him, he made a bee-line for home, to bury his disappointment in the sudden shock, inconsolable grief department. The Goliath of the Philistines was brought low by a stone from David’s sling.
People have different ways of burying grief, some meet it in a Christian spirit, with fortitude and resignation ; some find comfort in prayer, and others in wine ; but our friend Charlie had recourse to the orange and blue. From that day he became a true blue, and identified himself with the orange organization and their public meetings and processions. It was all a matter of taste, however, and who cared? It pleased him and hurt nobody.
If political matters had assumed a new attitude in Carleton County, for that new phase of the County should thank Johnville, which on that occasion was, and at any future day may be, a balance of power in the County. Mr. Connell was not the only man whom Johnville wakened up from their dreams of ambition. When Mr. White had grown to such dimensions that our Local Legislature was too small for hi, and undertook to go to Ottawa with first-class men, Johnville abandoned him, and, consequently, he lost Fredericton and Ottawa and it served him right. Be it remembered, by all whom it may concern, that in 1870 Wm. Lindsay polled 104 votes in Johnville. These votes, and more too, are here yet, and are worth looking after. We work for the men who work for us, and when we vote, we vote as one man, and our numbers tell. Mr. Connell had been in politics for, perhaps, twenty years and had always been successful in his elections. His political record was peculiar, as his policy was peculiar to never say what he thought or think what he said. He attended every public meeting ; spoke on every subject; would deny all he said, and could not easily be contradicted, his manner being so studiedly confused.
At one time, and when his vote was needed by the party with which he appeared to work, he accepted a seat in the Legislative Council, and his friends were disappointed when they saw his coat-tails disappearing up-stairs. The new position did not suit him, he soon tired of it, and yearned to return to his old place in the popular branch. The ostensible reason given for his change of mind, was the good of the County, the interests of the people; but the real motive was self, and to represent himself. At another period of his history he was a member of the Executive, and was head of the Post Office department in the Fisher Administration. He was said to have worked harmoniously in the Government team, with the Shetland pony and the Nashwauk split-hoof, especially when he had his nose in the mail-bag; but was stript of his colors and drummed out on account of his vain attempt, in his modesty, to have the Queen’s face superseded by his own, on the postage stamps.
Mr. Connell as a citizen and a resident was a most amiable and exemplary man; but as a politician he was not a success.