The Herald – 1878.02.02 – Letter from Johnville – Charles Connell – #11


To the Editor of the HERALD

Dear Sir,– Whilst we freely admit and gratefully acknowledge the uniform kindness, courteous manner and evident good will of the Government towards us, we regret not being able to say as much for some of our County members, to whom we now pay our respects, as promised in our first letter.

Every person in this County, with the exception of Charles Connell, County Member, whom we heard speak on the subject of Johnville, approved of the movement, but the Parish of Kent especially, hailed with delight the arrival among them of so many honest, industrious people to take possession of the wilderness lands, even if they were Catholics. Those who saw the Monquart in 1861 and now see the number of neat, tasty dwellings, the well-filled country stores, and the general improvement in the neighborhood, can from some idea of the benefit Johnville has been t the Parish of Kent and how it has added to its importance financially and politically.

When the Government, to encourage colonization proposed to survey and reserve blocks of land for companies or societies, on certain conditions, they never imagined, perhaps that Catholics would try to avail themselves of the privilege. Glassville and Knowlesville, in this County, were established under this arrangement, which was all perfectly correct and regular, and Charles Connell approved and fund no fault, but the moment Johnville came into existence, precisely on the same terms as the places just named, then he was danger coming up in the distance ; jumped up on his Protestant horse and raised the hue and cry, the country in danger ; the Government giving the people’s land to the Roman Catholics and their Bishop, but his horse soon pitched him body and sleeves into the mud, from which it took him three years to extricate himself. Id did him good, however, and he was never so arrogant or self-sufficient after. If Mr. Connell expected to make political capital by conduct so unaccountably strange, he counted without his host. A course so [inconsistant] was unpardonable. The act was his own and he had to meet the consequence. His offence was serious ; the punishment came quick ; it came sure and was crushing when it came.

If our memory serves us we had a general election in the summer of 1864. The three [canditates] for this County were Chas. Connell, (an old stager) Wm. Lindsay and D. Munroe, both new men. Myself and a few others from Johnville, through curiosity and other motives or reasons, went to Woodstock on nomination day to see the elephant and hear the speeches. Mr. Connell was the first to address the electors. From what he said, and his manner of saying it, we concluded speech-making was not his [speciality]. In giving an account of himself, ventilating things generally and Johnville matters particularly, he occupied about an hour. There being no seats, we found it pretty hard to stand such a speech. He apologised more than once. feared he was trying peoples’ patience. We were of the same opinion ourselves. Any man of discernment, looking at him on that platform, judging from his manner and appearance, would at once mark him as that kind of individual known to English politicians as a rat, and that on a large scale. His speech was a curiosity. He spoke of his peculiar views and principles, which were well-known, had been carried on the “wings of the press” and scattered “broad cast” over the country. But the burden of his speech was an attack on the Government with reference to their management of the Crown Lands, and for which they would be called to an account on the floor of the House.

Mr. Lindsay came next. He disapproved of Mr. Connell’s remarks as far as Johnville and the Government was concerned. Would go for equal rights to all; would legislate for the whole and not merely a section of the people; no people should be proscribed on account of country or creed, and every honest industrious man, who came into the country and paid four dollars to the pound, was an acquisition to the country and should be encouraged. Mr. Munroe’s address was good, and it was short, but that was not its only merit. It made a good impression and popular favor took a turn in his direction. The result of the election will be matter for my next letter.