LETTER FROM JOHNVILLE
To the Editor of the HERALD
JOHNVILLE, Feb. 25th, 1878
Dear Sir,– We have been often asked the question – “what have your county members done for Johnville?” To show who they are who they were and what they have done, is, to some extent, the object of these letters. With the exceptions of David Munroe and James Hartley it would be easy to name what the others, and their name is legion, have done for us ; it could be explained by the one word nil. There were times, however, when they all thought of us at least, and that was at the approach of an election. Very seldom indeed any candidate honored us with a visit in propria persona at such times, on such occasions, or on such business, they were above that. Fridays, tools and understrappers were always on hand ad infintum, who having each an axe to grind saved them the trouble, the humiliation or whatever else you may […] and Johnville went it blind. These convenient agents were generally the small traders in small villages who, with few exceptions, have wonderful ideas of their power over the farming class. There was a time when the state of things existed in this county generally, but has past away and forever; it may be true of Johnville just now, and here too it will soon be numbered with the things of the past.
Some men are stupid enough to think it would injure their prospects among the Protestants, to openly canvass the Catholic vote, and if others do it for them, they can say, “it is not my fault if Roman Catholics vote for me. I cannot prevent them.” But if to be seen in Catholic company is bad and odious to the true blues, under such circumstances, to visit the priest would be much worse, and few would venture so far. It was said to have happened once however in this county, or rather the attempt was made, but failed. An aspirant for public honors and anxious to secure the Woodstock priest’s good will in a cowardly way, made a call for that purpose. It would never do to be seen about there in broad day light, or at the front door. Therefore a dark night, dark enough to steal wood, was preferred, and the path to the back door as well, the hour too must be late and no reporter or eaves dropper around, but it was a little too late and the priest was asleep, as every honest man should be at such an hour.
The dog watch was wide awake and not having fear, or respect of persons, before his eyes, but determined on doing his duty, went for the intruder, and was found next morning with an assortment of torn pieces of drab cloth in his teeth, the same being portions of the seat of a certain man’s inexpessibles.
Mr. Hartley was the only man who did his own work in Johnville. James Hartley, a young man of energy, education and ability, succeeded Charles Connell, who had abandoned us and gone to Ottawa, thus leaving his country for his country’s good. Mr. Hartley was not with us long but long enough to make his mark. Had he lived he would have been a good and useful representative, and the outside world would not need to ask “ who is Hartley, Unfortunately he was too ambitious for his years, and for his strength and constitution, too indefatigable in his labors. He died young, but his name is honored and remembered, and his loss regretted. In his death, Johnville lost a true, a sincere and willing friend. It was he who made the survey and he ever after felt an interest in the development of the settlement.
After Mr. Hartley came a host of others in rapid succession, too numerous to mention, and getting no better fast. There was White, Jones, Appleby, and Leighton, the one as useless as the other, and more so, if possible, especially the last named. Leighton could not conveniently visit us himself before the election, but would certainly do himself that honor forthwith, to inform himself perfectly as the wants of the settlement, roads and bridges, and all that sort of thing. He has not done himself that honor yet, and it is now two or three years since, but he may, however, who knows, sometime before or perhaps after the day of judgment, if he be not too much occupied just then with his own affairs. Yet strange to say, the sun shines, the rain falls, summer follows winter, and the seasons succeed seasons all the same, Leighton here or there or no where. He is in opposition, and runs a House of his own, on a small scale. It is reported, and is in the papers, and therefore must be true, that he is to be shelved up stairs very soon, and put out of the road, where he can do no harm. He is not worth the trouble, let him alone and in good time he will find his level, and that will be down cellar and out of sight Johnville is terror to evil doers. We took some of the starch out of Charles Connell and all the little Connells ; we took all the starch out of White, and left him hanging for years wilted and flimsy as a wet rag. He is brushing up again, it appears, and if he gain a smile from us he thinks that we forget. I want to know ! Other men’s turn will come soon and cannot come too soon.