The Islander, May 20
FOR SALE. A Small Island in Rustico, commonly known as “Lobban’s Island.” Apply to N.[eil] Rankin, Auctioneer.
Jim Hornby: No other reference to “Lobban’s Island” has been found by this history detective.
The Examiner, May 23
DIED. On the Miramichi River, New Brunswick, on the 5th instant, Allan McDonald, in the 28th year of his age. This excellent young man met a sudden death while in the act of removing a large quantity of timber from the landing into the stream. After the fatal accident his body was conveyed some 27 miles down the river, and decently buried at Boiestown, deeply regretted by all who knew him. Deceased was the son of Mr. John McDonald, (Allisary), Lot 37, of this Island.
J.H.: One of the many young Island men who worked in the lumbercamps of New Brunswick and Maine, whose dangers are recorded in woods folksongs such as “Peter Emberley,” “John Ladner” and “The Boys of the Island.”
Ross’s Weekly, May 26
DELEGATION MEETING. [Founding of the Tenant Union of P.E.I. at the North American Hotel, May 19.] George F. Adams: “The object of calling this meeting was to bring parties from distant parts of the Island together that we may see what are the sentiments of the people of the Island generally on this long-agitated Land Question, and see what our strength is; what number have already joined, and what is the probable number that may join, so we may all know what proportion our organization bears to the entire male population; for I presume it is unnecessary to tell you that it is on a united effort of the tenants at this critical time that we mainly depend for success.
“Ought not every tenant throughout the Island who has, as yet, taken no part in these meetings, to feel the blush of shame on his cheek when he sees freeholders, men of independence, men who cannot possibly have any selfish end in view, come forward and join us, with their names, their influence, and their money.
“See what has resulted from the most strenuous efforts of some of our legislators, look at the result, and then say if you don’t believe the time has arrived when the people are fully justified in attempting to settle the matter themselves; until the people of Prince Edward Island, as a united body, are prepared to make this stand, the Land Question will never be settled.”
Ross’s Weekly, May 26
TENANT’S PLEDGE. As several of the Delegates [at the Tenant Union founding meeting on May 19] requested a copy of the form that has been adopted by the various branches of this union, for the sake of clarity, the following is published by order of the Central Committee:
Resolved, That we the tenantry of _____, individually and collectively, virtually and solemnly, pledge our honor and fidelity to each other, to withhold the further liquidation of notes and arrears of rent, and thus voluntarily enter our respective names as a tenant organization, to resist the distraint, coercion, ejectment, seizure and sale for rent and arrears of rent, until a compromise be effected in conformity with the resolutions proposed and carried by the meetings in Lots 48, 49, and 50, and further understand that each signature hereto annexed bears a proportional share of expenses in connection with the organization.
Ross’s Weekly, May 26
“A FARMER.” The WEEKLY is not now, nor never has been, the organ or mouthpiece or advocate of any political party or political faction. We have always claimed the right to advocate that which would tend to the benefit of the people of this fertile and nature-favoured Island, not stopping to inquire whether it was a this-party or a that-party measure. Proprietors or their parasites possess no power over us which will prevent us from agitating in favor of the oppressed Tenantry of P.E. Island. We have thrown down the gauntlet--pick it up who pleases!
While urging the transformation of the Tenants into Freeholders, we shall never forget that the law requires that the Proprietors shall be justly recompensed for their lands; but we shall never allow that the original grantees ever earned a clear right to the Townships. They and their descendants only retained possession of the lands through the leniency, carelessness and ignorance of the Imperial Government of the day.
We believe it is the duty of every tenant to use every legitimate means to alleviate his condition. He has no right to bow to the will of his landlord. He owes it to his family to become a Freeholder, and he should strain every nerve to be one. We have never advocated any resistance to law. If a tenant resists the payment of rent, he does so at his own risk, and each one knows how much he may risk. Yet we do say, that if the refusal to pay rent is the only way the Tenantry have to bring the Proprietors to equitable terms, then let them refuse to pay. We, however, exhort them to exhaust every other means first.
J.H.: The groundswell of support for a Tenant League, demanding a reasonable process to allow tenant farmers to buy their farms, put local editors, especially John Ross of the Weekly and Edward Whelan of the Examiner, into the impossible task of supporting the frustration behind mass resistance to further rent-payments, while being careful not to counsel any disobedience to the law. Here, John Ross can’t make up his mind whether he supports resistance or obedience. But who else would have published the Tenant’s Pledge?
Jim Hornby’s column, “1864: The Way We Were: gleanings from Charlottetown’s newspapers,” is in The Guardian every Monday in 2014 (on holiday Mondays when there is no paper, it will appear on Tuesdays). It contains excerpts from newspapers of that era, as well as Hornby’s comments on what he has found. It is presented in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.