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The Scottish Catholics in Prince Edward Island 1772 - 1922
Chapter XVI


The coming of the Scottish Catholic immigrants was in reality a great boon to Prince Edward Island. They were strong men, who feared no hardship, and were therefore well fitted to cope with the difficulties of the situation, for hardships were indeed many and conveniences few, when they began to fell the virgin forest that stood between them and competence. But with the determination of the Celt they never wavered in their purpose, and with an abiding trust in the Providence of God they bade defiance to destiny. A strong tie of fellowship bound them in a bond of genuine sympathy, and they were ever ready to help one another and make common cause against difficulties. Moreover, they were men of deep religious sentiment. It is true their opportunities for education were only meagre; but they made up for their lack of instruction by a spirit of faith, that was able to draw comfort and consolation even from the most trying circumstances. Patriotic men were they too, these stalwart pioneers, whose Country was their idol; and though they had suffered sorely under English rule, they scorned to harbor bitter feelings, and never wavered in their loyalty to the British Crown.

Indeed, it was their dream to found on this side of the ocean a community, that would help to sustain the arm of Britain in her future struggles in the cause of right. This spirit of loyal attachment to the Empire they bequeathed to those who came after them, and these in turn transmitted the same to their descendants, so that today, after a hundred and fifty years the fire of true Patriotism, that warmed the hearts of the first colonists, instead of growing dim with time burns brighter and fresher and stronger than ever. Hence, when Germany threw down the gage of battle to the world, and the cry went forth for men and "still more men," none responded to the call with more genuine enthusiasm than the Scottish Catholic young men of Prince Edward Island, lineal descendants of the early immigrants. In that time of stress the injustice from which their forebears had suffered, the persecutions they had endured, the ill treatment that drove them exiles to America were all forgotten, and these young men went forth to the succor of the old land, ready to fight and ready to die for the cause she had made her own, and today many of them bear in maimed bodies distressing trophies of their encounter with the enemy, whilst many others made the supreme sacrifice, and are sleeping their long last sleep in "Flanders Fields where the poppies grow."

In this way does the spirit of the pioneers survive in their descendants, and the country is richer, nobler, better by the fact. Church and State have evidently recognized this truth, and this is why there is no position of trust in one or the other that they have not filled, with credit to themselves and profit to their fellow citizens. The most honorable positions in the Church have come to them, the most responsible political offices have also been theirs, and to the discharge of the duties thus imposed on them, they brought splendid qualities of mind and heart, whose origin they are proud to trace back to the virile virtues of their forefathers.


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