Newspaper puts forth reasons for not agreeing to a union of the colonies

Jim Hornby
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The Islander, June 24

UNION OF THE COLONIES. In this Island, the newspapers generally have declared against it, and it is seldom that one meets, among our agriculturalists, a man who will listen to anything in favor of a proposition which would deprive the Colony of its existence as a separate Government. “We are very well as we are,” say our farmers, “our public debt is nothing--it is not, in reality, equal to half a year’s revenue. The neighboring Provinces have created large public debts by building Railways, why should we agree to share their indebtedness, seeing that without doing so we enjoy all the advantages of their Railroads?”

Jim Hornby: This insight about the danger of railroad debt would later be swept away in the rail fever of the early 1870s, but the Island would ride into Confederation in 1873 on, and because of, rails.

The Islander, June 24

SHIPBUILDING IN KING’S COUNTY. On a recent visit to Georgetown, we were pleased to observe a fine Brig, of about 250 tons, launched there on Monday last, for Capt. A. McDonald. A Brig, near about the same time, was launched from the Shipyard of the Hon. Joseph Wightman, St. Andrew’s Point. There are some three or four other vessels building in Georgetown--one by Daniel Gordon, Esq., another by Captain John Westaway, and another by Mr. Michael Burke. Opposite to Georgetown, on Montague River, may be seen a Brig on the stocks, at the Shipyard of Robert Cameron, Esq., building for Benjamin Davies, Esq., of this City.

At Cardigan, a Bark of some five or six hundred tons, is being built at the shipyard of Donald Stewart, for Messrs. Owen & Welsh. We understand she is destined to take the place of the Bark Theresa, as a trader between Liverpool [U.K.] and this Port. This Bark is now in frame, is being diagonally strapped with iron, and if our opinion is worth anything, we should say she will be a strong ship, and a fast sailer. Less than a mile from Mr. Stewart’s yard, we came to the shipyard of Thomas Owen, Esq., close to the new Bridge at Cardigan--here is building by Mr. Owen, a very fine little Juniper Brig, to class seven years. About a mile above the Bridge, we observed another vessel on the stocks, the name of the builder we have forgotten.

The new Bridge across Cardigan River, built some two or three years since, is substantially constructed, and must be of vast benefit to the inhabitants of that part of King’s County. It is sufficiently long, and the water of sufficient depth, to allow three or four vessels to lay alongside and load. On looking at the Map of the Island, we should think that Cardigan Bridge would be a good shipping place for the inhabitants of St. Peter’s and St. Peter’s Bay, to cart their produce to, in the fall of the year. Already there are some five or six houses built, and being built, at the Bridge, and no doubt in a few years will be quite a thriving little village there. “Montague Bridge” and “Cardigan Bridge” bid fair to draw a large amount of the business hitherto done in Georgetown, from that place.

J.H.: Early in the 20th century, “Montague Bridge” and “Cardigan Bridge” became known simply as Montague and Cardigan.

The Protestant, June 25

NOTICE. THE ORDINANCE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER is (D.V.) to be dispensed in the Orwell Head Church, on Lord’s Day, 17th July, 1864.


J.H.: This brief announcement by one of the Island’s most charismatic missionaries and church-builders summoned the faithful to the annual “Sacrament season” of the “McDonaldite” movement, at the home church of the Rev. Donald McDonald. Born in Perth, Scotland, in 1783, McDonald was ordained in the Church of Scotland and came to P.E.I. in 1826. His relentless missionary work and fervent preaching inspired followers to express themselves vocally and physically with unrestrained emotion during services, and to build a personal following and congregations, that by the time of his death in 1867 amounted to perhaps five thousand followers and a dozen churches.  

Each summer, at his major churches in DeSable and Orwell Head (as in the above published notice, when he was aged 81), from a Thursday to the following Monday, he held services involving preaching and the singing of psalms, some with words by McDonald and his colleagues, culminating at a service where bread and wine were shared by elder-approved faithful.

The Vindicator, June 29

THEFT AND FORGERY. During the past week, four forged $20 Union Bank Notes have been palmed off at different stores in the City, but their spurious nature was discovered shortly after. The notes, it appears, were stolen from Mr. Chas. Palmer’s office previous to their being signed by the President or Cashier, and have been traced to a Mrs. Ellen Jane Coombs and her servant Johanne Connor, who live in the same building in which the office is situated. Both parties had access to the office for the purpose of cleaning it and lighting a fire.

Seven notes in all, we understand, were abstracted, and the forging of the President and Cashier’s names was very clumsily executed.

J.H.: Each bank-note was personally signed twice, by president Charles Palmer and cashier James Anderson of the Union Bank. Don’t let them get wet! The Union Bank of P.E.I. later merged with the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Jim Hornby’s column, “1864: The Way We Were: gleanings from Charlottetown’s newspapers,” will be presented in The Guardian every Monday throughout 2014 (on holiday Mondays when there is no paper, it will appear on Tuesdays). It contains excerpts from various newspapers of that era, as well as Hornby’s comments on what he has found.

To give feedback on this feature, which is presented in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference, contact the author at

Organizations: Union Bank, ORDINANCE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER, Orwell Head Church Church of Scotland Each bank Bank of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Iceland, Georgetown, KING’S COUNTY Montague River Montague Bridge Liverpool Cardigan River Perth Scotland Charlottetown DeSable

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