The Herald – 1878.02.16 – Letter from Johnville – Government Members – #15


To the Editor of the HERALD

Dear Sir,– If Mr. Connell’s name appears often in these letters, it is as much necessity as choice, on account of the prominent position he occupied and being so long identified with the County matters, his peculiar views and principles, and last but not least, his peculiar style and manner as a speaker, giving a person to believe that there is some trouble in Talleyrand’s definition of language “ a gift by means of which a man can conceal his thoughts.” For the race only three entered, Munroe came in first, closely followed by Lindsay, and Connell last, sixty behind, and dead beat, dead as a mitten, as one of our great men would express it. If there had been no Johnville, Connell might have been saved by the skin of his teeth, in the words of the same great man, who also was a friend of Connell’s and worked with him in the same government train, but was not a reliable sort of animal, trickish, sulky and inclined to bolt, the only cure for which was to keep a thistle under his tail. Some tried to explain the cause of Connell’s loss, by the stupidity of the jockey, who carried the weights in his pocket at one particular place in the course, when he should have paid out more freely, be that as it may, and whatever was the cause it was well done. Artemas Ward and his wife Betsy, and I too would say it was well done. We got better for worse, and let no person be surprised if we try to show the man up to nature if not to grace.

In Mr. Munroe, Carleton Co., found an excellent representative. Having the instincts of a gentleman, being kind and considerate, courteous, approachable and patient, intelligent and industrious, the representative and not the master of the people, knowing the wants and understanding the interest of the County, and giving to them his undivided attention, it is not surprising that he gave general satisfaction or that it was a real pleasure to meet him on matters of business. During the few years he represented the County, he was indefatigable in his efforts to establish order where all had been confusion. The interest of all were attended to an nothing was neglected.

One of his first acts, as a representative, and for which kind consideration we shall be for ever grateful, was to suggest the necessity and propriety of petitioning the Government for money to improve the roads in Johnville. The suggestion was acted on, the petition prepared, numerously signed, and put into Mr. Munroe’s charge. Through his influence four hundred dollars were ordered, and paid in instalments, one hundred dollars every year, for four years. These facts and occurrences we write from memory and not from notes, and in matters of any consequence we forget nothing, so concerned were we, from the commencement, in the interests of the settlement. To form any idea of the benefits that that money, small as it may appear, was to the place and to the people you should be in Johnville and know what was its then condition. The roads were needed, and the little money was as much needed. Of this money all got a reasonable share, when they worked for it, and no one man got a monopoly. Mr. Munroe, unfortunately for the County, did not continue long in politics. To the very great regret of his many friends, and it was looked upon generally as a calamity, he resigned his seat in the Legislature, for the office of County Register, vacant by the death of Mr. Beedel. Mr. Munroe retired with a good record, he had done his duty, did it well, gave general satisfaction, was then and is yet the most popular man in Carleton County.

Johnville always supported Wm. Lindsay, and, he polled a larger vote here than any other candidate, every time, yet we never could see any benefit he was to the settlement more than the others. About the only credit we can give him is that he was neither good nor harm, one thing certain, in matters in which our interests were concerned, he never took the initiative, but left that for his colleague, or the priest, to do, so that if brought to book, he could say it was not his act. Indeed it would be only as a last alternative if people troubled him in any case. He never read Chesterfield and had no manners, and all understood the reception they might expect from such an uncultivated boor, “ yez is ever axing something, yez is. “ And who could pity a people when they put themselves into the hands of such men. But strange to say he always tried to claim credit for work done by his Colleagues, when all he did was not to forbid the thing being done. Lindsay never, to our recollection, presided at an election here himself, his man Friday from Woodstock, always represented him, others do the same and likely will so continue until the end. We have only one of Lindsay’s visits to Johnville on record, and even then very few saw him. Speaking of it on the floor of the of the House, a pet expression of his, he said he arrived there on a sheep skin, but he did not explain and the world does not yet know if ht skin was on the sheep’s back, in a horse’s back or on a cedar rail, a very important matter to know. He boasts too of the roads he made and bridges he built in Johnville, and the good people in their natural politeness, who knew all about it, listen with patience, to him who knows nothing whatever, they thank him and say naboklish. Lindsay is now in the Legislative Council, up stairs and beyond the reach of the people. Well, there is one gentleman in the family. By his last act, before leaving the people forever, he showed the cloven foot. He voted for the Orange bill which he was too cowardly to do sooner, and to add insult to all his other [impertinences], his answer to his Catholic friends, on his return home was “ Yez can’t elect nob’dy, yez can’t.” This is the Lindsay who talks so much about four dollars to the pound, legislating for all alike, &c. He is from Derry, God help us, is over forty years in America, and what he is here, likely he was there, and vice versa. “ coslum, non animum, mutant, qui trans mare currunt.”

Yours, &c.,