The Herald – 1878.01.05 – Colonization – Johnville – #4


We direct the particular attention of the readers of the HERALD to the able letter of our respected correspondent, “Monquart,” dealing with the question of colonization, a question which in our opinion is second to none which can engage the attention of our public men. The letter we publish to-day is written by a gentleman, whose long experience in all relating to colonization extending over a period of more than twenty years, and is, therefore, particularly valuable, renders all that was written or may in future write authoritative and in the highest degree instructive.

W[e] are much pleased with the tone of our correspondent’s letter. It has the ring of true manliness about it. We entirely agree with “Monquart”, what the question of creed or race has not to any great extent entered into the land question in New Brunswick at any time ; but we fear that sometimes, through the neglect or apathy of the parties most deeply interested in the matter of settling our new lands, golden opportunities, opportunities which comes only once in the history of a country, were allowed to pass unimproved. If such be the case, and our correspondent’s letter strengthens that impression, is it fair, or honest, or honorable for those who, perhaps, themselves are greatly to blame in the matter to raise the cry of persecution. In this country, where every man has, or can have, the power of the ballot in his hand, it is useless to talk of persecution. “Monquart” clearly and plainly shows that the Government under which the land in the Catholic settlement of Johnville was established, was not niggardly in the amount of encouragement it gave that settlement.

The success of a new colony depends more on the courage, energy and perseverance of the settlers themselves than on any merely extrinsic favors bestowed on them by any government. It would appear from our correspondent’s letter that settlements which have been the least favored by government have been amongst the most successful. However, paradoxical this may appear at first sight, there is underlying it a great law which has given rise to many of the acts of which our common humanity is fondest. It has been and will ever be true that men who depend most on their own interest, strength or power or courage, will attain grander results than those who are continually looking for the helping-hand of another to enable them to overcome every difficulty. As an evidence of this law governing every condition and phase of human life, “Monquart” points to the older settlers in the parishes of Woodstock, etc., who depended on their own unaided efforts to overcome the difficulties always to be met with in the first few years of life in the wilderness. The very contrarities of their position helped to make of them men of greater courage, self-reliance and greater force of character than if they had been dependent on the good offers of others to help them to overcome the first obstacles to success. A government in the matter of settling our forest may sometimes do too much as well as too little. The golden mean should always be sought in this as well as in other things.

It is gratifying to learn that one who saw Johnville when it was part of the forest primeval and who has followed the Johnville settlers step by step as the new colony advanced in its teens, speaks so hopefully of the future, so proudly of the past successes. If the man who causes two blades of grass to grow where only one was produced may with justice be looked upon as a public benefactor, what shall we say of those who, like “Monquart”, were instrumental in founding colonies like Johnville, Glassville and hundreds of others throughout the Province, which space alone prevents us noticing. We sincerely hope that this question of colonization will not be allowed to drop out of public view so quietly that no practicable plan for future work in the field of colonization will be settled upon. We look for a more favorable result. In this city alone there are hundreds of men wearing out their lives at almost slave-like labor around our wharves, in the public sewers of the city and other death-breeding work, who, if they would only labor half as hard on the land, would soon be in possession of valuable farms, where they might live decently, honorably, the slave of no man, but in honor and honesty and manly independence, the equal of all. It is to be hoped that something practical will result from the recent public attention brought to bear on the settling of our still unoccupied lands. Of one thing we feel assured, the letter which we publish to-day will tend to develop a greater interest in the colonization of these lands, and the promise of a sketch of the settlement and progress of Johnville made by Monquart is one which we hope soon to see fulfilled in these columns. Our respected correspondent could not prove to us more tangible the interest he takes in the future success of the HERALD than by [chosing] it as a channel of communication with the public.