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


It may perhaps be a moot question whether the Scottish Catholics living in Prince Edward Island today are really equal in worth to their ancestors. They undoubtedly enjoy greater advantages; but has there been a steady development along the line of character building since the days of the first settlement? Whatever may be the general conclusion by comparing the present with the past, it is safe to say that the people of today have gone back, at least in one very important particular. They seem to have lost the energetic initiative and courageous agressiveness, that made the first emigration possible. If there be one defect more evident than all others in the Scottish Catholic of today, it is a lack of self assertion. Their character has mellowed out almost to the point of apathy, and they seem inclined to follow the line of least resistance, leaving things to take their course and adjust themselves as best they may.

This disposition, though by no means universal, is still too much in evidence, and as is quite clear, it does not make for healthy progress, nor does it furnish the needed stimulant for due participation in the affairs of the Country.

It was mainly to combat this pernicious tendency, that the Saint Andrew's Society was founded. This organization aims to unite Scottish Catholics along the lines of religious and civil development, and seeks to attain that end by educative methods. As set forth in the Constitution, its objects and purposes are to unite fraternally all persons entitled to membership, for the purpose of improving their social intellectual and moral condition. It does not interfere with the work of other Societies, and offers no opposition to the legitimate aspirations of other Nationalities. It recognizes the fact, that in this great free country the children of all nations may meet on a common level with equal rights and equal privileges, and work together harmoniously for the attainment of the common good. Its aim is not to pull down but to build up, and while seeking its own ends by all fair means at its command, it is ready to welcome and approve every movement, that has for its object the aggrandizement of Mother Church and the welfare of our common country.

It owes its origin to the chance meeting of a few persons, who were enjoying an outing together in the Summer of 1920. Whilst discussing social conditions in Prince Edward Island, they happened to refer to the relative positions occupied by the various groups that composed its population, and the fact forced itself upon their attention that the Scottish Catholics were the only people, who possessed no system of organization to promote their special interests. All others were steadily forging to the front, thanks to special Societies that directed their energies along the line of concerted action, while the Scottish Catholics seemed destined to trail in the wake of social progress, through lack of union in their ranks. They therefore came to the conclusion, that some such system of organization was vitally necessary, if the latter people were to hold their proper place, and do their part in promoting the interests of the Country. The practical results of this casual conversation was the founding of Saint Andrew's Society. It is as yet only in its infancy, but it has well started on a career of usefulness, and bids fair to fulfil in time the most roseate dreams of its founders. From its very inception it set the Scottish Catholic people thinking, and they began to be impressed with the fact, that they possessed a history that was really worth while, a history that ran back through a long line of men and women, whose achievements in Prince Edward Island are interwoven with the best traditions of the country. In this way they learned to appreciate more fully the advantages they now enjoy, and how much they owe to the heroic pioneers, who laid the foundation on which stands the solid fabric of present prosperity, and gradually the idea began to take root that something should be done to commemorate in a fitting manner their coming to Prince Edward Island. Many years had been woven into the web of our Island history, since they landed on our shores, many anniversaries had come and gone, and yet nothing had been done to enshrine in memory the touching story of their exile; and thus it fell to the generation of the present day to remove from the escutcheon of an apathetic people a stigma of longstanding neglect.


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