A Patriotic Appeal

Editor Daily News,

Dear Sir - As Referendum Day approaches, I feel compelled to offer a note of warning to the fishermen and sons of fishermen, in the outlying settlements.

The writer of this article is one of Newfoundland's oldest residents, and can remember as far back as seventy years ago; much farther than Mr. Clyde Lake or any other Confederate supporter can, and never has there been the starvation, the cold and misery in this country of which he so dramatically informed us in his broadcast of a few nights ago. These conditions were not caused by neglect or misadministration on the part of the fair, honest, and honourable men who for years governed our country. They never allowed these things to happen. When hunger and want amongst our people became apparent, such as was caused by the Fire of 1892, and the Bank Crash of 1894, those who then held the reins of government, saw to it that the clergymen of each denomination were enabled to relieve those of their flock who needed assistance and in many cases contributed from their own pockets to help the needy.

"Shame on them," we say - shame on all those who seek to malign and slander the memory of their own countrymen, our revered and beloved dead, and to fill the minds of our young men and women with the idea that the noble pioneers of the past, who laboured so hard and unselfishly, were only rogues and robbers - those loyal Newfoundlanders whose names are immortal, whom we now hope to replace by others, who, if they serve their country as truly and honestly as did their forefathers, we shall have no fault to find with them.

For myself, I may not live very long to enjoy our freedom; but, as next to God comes one's country, I would die happy to see the land of my birth freed from the shackles, which for fourteen years have held it, and have it still identified as England's Oldest Colony, the corner stone of the British Empire and not as the smallest pawn of the Dominion of Canada.

You, the fishermen, and sons of fishermen - you, the bone and sinew of our country, are you prepared to cast your vote on Referendum day for a form of government which shall tax your homes, your farms, your hay fields, your cattle, your boats and fishing gear, which should you fail to pay, the amount of your indebtedness would be taken by seizure of your property.

The Confederates or their supporters will not tell you these things, they do not want you to know them.

I spent many of the early years of my life in a fishing village, amongst fisher-folk. I loved them, and I love them still - I love their bright little homes, their trim gardens, their honest, sincere hearts, their kind hospitality - I love them too well to see them sacrifice their little homes, which are now all their own, to taxes which shall make such a demand upon their earnings that they'll run the risk of losing what they now possess.

Remember, Canada wants us, just to get her hands on Labrador which we propose to hand

"Unshackled in freedom grand
To the sons and daughters of Newfoundland."

So fishermen and sons of fishermen, mark your ballot on Referendum day for Responsible Government so that your children's children may bless you in the years to come.


Reproduced by permission of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. From Statia M. English, "A Patriotic Appeal," The Daily News, 22 July 1948, p. 6.