The Herald – 1878.02.23 – Letter from Johnville and from Mr. Magee – #17


To the Editor of the HERALD

Dear Sir,– In these letters we are certainly anxious to give credit to whom credit is due, to be just to every one and all thins to all men, but when public men, whose acts are public property, fail to come up to our reasonable and just expectations as far as Johnville especially is concerned, we feel it our duty to point out their short-comings.

We can look back with no small amount of satisfaction to the happy relations that existed between us and our [quondam] representative, Mr. Munroe, who to us always acted the part of the good samaritan ; when we were poor and in need he did not pass us by, but came to our assistance. We regret not being able to express ourselves thus warmly with regard to Mr. Lindsay. He may have a considerable share of legislative ability, if so it is latent ; and he may have in his nature some of the milk of human kindness, but if so it is very much skimmed.

Anybody having the curiosity to know what it costs a man to be elected in Carleton County we would advise them to consult Mr. Lindsay. However, deficient he may be on other subjects, he understands, from personal experience, all about County elections and costs, as well as the next man. We entertained the hope that after having paid so dearly [for] the place, position, distinction, seal, etc., saying nothing of the honor and the whistle, that he would be permitted to enjoy and wear his honors in peace and quietness. It was not so to, be however. By his daring to aspire so high, being only a mechanic, and trespassing upon the Connell demesne, he had provoked the ire of the Connell faction, Charlie declared something has got to be done. It is not often that Greek meets Greek, they did however meet in Woodstock, this time sure, and then came the tug of war.

On declaration day Connell protested against Lindsay’s election on the plea of bribery and corruption. A scrutiny was commenced which continued for years, and though considered by most as frivolous and vexatious, might have been kept up until both parties would have been reduced to the peculiar condition of the two cats, and nothing remain except the tails, had it not been for the fortunate and timely resignation of Mr. Munroe. The scrutiny was then dropped. Mr. Connell saw his star appear again rising up beautifully in the distance.

At the next election, to fill up the vacancy, Mr. Connell was a candidate. There was no strong man to oppose him, and because the people, who generally are forgiving, thought him sufficiently punished, decided to give him another trial. He was elected by a respectable majority. He did not disappoint the people this time and proved his conversion to be sincere. The years he spent in retreat and retirement gave him time to think and study, and pointed out to him the folly of the past and the wisdom of adopting a more prudent and less arrogant policy in future.

After a time he entered the Government, and got the office of Surveyor General, which he held until Confederation, when his ambition drew all his thoughts to Ottawa, and where he cut a sorry figure, as was to be expected. It is said that whilst at the head of the Crown Land Department he devoted his attention to the duties, and managed the affairs as well as had been done before or since, which may not be saying very much. As far as we were concerned, here in Johnville, we had no reason to find fault. He appeared to be disposed to do us justice if no more, and we asked no more, nor would we be put off with less. Certainly he was prompt in forwarding our grants. If at any time there was confusion or any misunderstanding between us and the office it was caused by the blunderings of the Parish Commissioner, and his selfish untruthful and unreliable returns and reports. At one time an injustice was near being done to a very worthy man in Johnville, all the work of his same commissioner, and would have been done too if Mr. Connell had not been warned of the consequences of such an unjust act, who when he saw there no other alternative, appointed a disinterested party to investigate the matter and report to the office, which when done it was seen clearly by the department that they [been led] into error by the dishonest returns made by their own officer. The consequence was that the commissioner was deprived [of] all authority, as far as Johnville was concerned, and Mr. Cummins was appointed in his place. If Mr. Connell did this it was to avoid exposure, and because he knew he had independent electors to deal with, who would submit to no humbug from his hands.

When we saw this Mr. Giberson’s manner of doing business, we concluded that if many other commissioners under the Labor Act, in other Parishes and counties, managed things in the same way it could be no matter of surprise if the condition of things in the Crown Land Office in Fredericton would be confusion twice confused.

Yours, &c.,