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


The death of Father James was a sad loss to the immigrants. It ushered in the very state of affairs, which they dreaded so much when they had first made up their minds to emigrate, and which kept the project in abeyance for so long a time. Now they have no Priest to minister to their Spiritual wants. They have been deprived of the Saintly Pastor, who was their consolation and their joy throughout the darkest days of their exile, and whose presence and fatherly counsel bore them bravely over the most trying experiences of their isolation. He had lived with them and labored with them when conditions were at the worst, he had shared in their wants and privations, and now that a brighter era was dawning for them, and his life growing more comfortable, he is called away as his feet were about to press the threshold of comparative ease and comfort. Indeed a great change had taken place in the condition of the people during the thirteen years of his stay amongst them. The small thatched log house was giving place to more commodious dwellings, roads were being opened up from place to place, the poverty of the earlier years was now a thing of the past, and in its stead the people enjoyed a competence and in some instances even plenty. God in His Goodness had wonderfully blessed the immigrants in the new country, and encouraged by the experiences of the past they faced the future with a firmer hope and a more settled assurance of happiness to come.

But now the greatest loss of all has come upon them, and they feel it the more, that look upon it as they may, they find it in every sense irreparable. For a number of years they had been in correspondence with their friends in Scotland, and had held out to them many inducements to come to Prince Edward Island. They told them of the success they had been able to achieve in the new Colony, and contrasted the same with the untoward conditions in the Motherland, which had forced them to emigrate. Their friends in Scotland too, were talking of emigration. They had taken up the idea as the only solution for the problems that faced them at home under the Penal Laws.

As a matter of fact, the state of the Catholics in Scotland, though somewhat improved, was still far from satisfactory, and there were many who were longing for the day when they would be able to emigrate and join their kindred beyond the seas. But now that Father James was dead Prince Edward Island held out no inducement to would be Catholic emigrants. In Scotland, their circumstances might indeed be precarious ; but they could at least see a Priest from time to time, whereas in Prince Edward Island this great privilege would necessarily be denied them. Hence in such circumstances, emigration was out of the question, and the poor people were forced to nurse their discontent as best they could until more favorable conditions would prevail. For five years things went on in this way, when God in His Providence, raised up another Apostle to minister to His needy flock in Prince Edward Island.


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