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History of Prince Edward Island
By Duncan Campbell (1875)

Prince Edward Island Travel Video


The principal aim of the Author has been to produce a History of Prince Edward Island, which might claim some degree of merit as to conciseness, accuracy, and impartiality, from the period it became a British possession until its recent union with the other confederated provinces of British North America. With the view to secure these ends, it was necessary that not only all available books and pamphlets relating to the island should be attentively perused, and the correctness of their statements tested; but that a vast mass of original papers, hitherto unpublished, should be carefully examined. Application having been made to His Excellency Lord Dufferin, through Sir Robert Hodgson, the Lieutenant-governor of the island, permission was granted to examine all the numerical despatches. This task imposed an amount of labor which had not been anticipated, and which seemed incompatible with the production of so small a volume. The Author is aware that there lies in the French archives at Paris a large deposit of interesting matter bearing on the history of the Maritime Provinces, and it is to be hoped that it will soon be rendered accessible to the English reader.

It was necessary that a considerable portion of the work should deal with the Land Question. To its consideration the Author came in comparative ignorance of the entire subject, and therefore unprejudiced by ideas and associations of which it might be impossible for a native of the island entirely to divest himself. The soundness of the conclusions arrived at may be questioned; but it can be truly said that they have not been reached without deliberate consideration, and an anxious desire to arrive at the truth.

The Author desires to express his special obligations for valuable matter to His Honor Sir Robert Hodgson, the Honorable Judge Pope, Professor Caven, Mr. Henry Lawson, the Honorable Judge Hensley, the Honorable Mr. Haviland, Mr. John Ings, Hon. Francis Longworth, Mr. J. B. Cooper, Mr. Arthur DeW. Haszard, Mr. Donald Currie, the Reverend Mr. McNeill, Mr. T. B. Aitkins, of Halifax, Mr. John Ball, Mr. F. W. Hughes, the Reverend Dr. Jenkins, Mr. Charles DesBrisay, Mr. J. W. Morrison, and others too numerous to mention.

The Honorable Judge Pope possesses rare and most important documents connected with the island, without which it would have been impossible to produce a satisfactory narrative, and which he at once courteously placed at the temporary disposal of the Author, rendering further service by the remarkable extent and accuracy of his information.

The Author has also to thank the People of Prince Edward Island, especially, for the confidence reposed in him, as proved by the fact of his having received, in the course of a few weeks, orders for his then unpublished work to the number of more than two thousand seven hundred copies,—confidence which he hopes an unprejudiced perusal of the book may, to some extent, justify.

Charlottetown, October, 1875.

Roaming Focus - Episode 4: Prince Edward Island


Chapter I.
Geographical position of the Island—Early possession—Population in 1758—Cession by Treaty of Fontainebleau—Survey of Captain Holland—Holland’s description of the Island—Position of Town sites—Climate—The Earl of Egmont’s scheme of settlement—Proposed division of the Island—Memorials of Egmont—Decision of the British Government respecting Egmont’s Scheme

Chapter II.
Determination of the Home Government to dispose of the whole Island—The manner in which it was effected—Conditions on which grants were made—Appointment of Walter Patterson as Governor—Novel duties imposed on him—Callbeck made prisoner by Americans—Arrival of Hessian Troops—Sale of Land in 1781—Agitation in consequence—Complaints against the Governor, and his tactics in defence—Governor superceded, and Colonel Fanning appointed—Disputes between them—Charges of immorality against Patterson—His departure from the Island

Chapter III.
Proprietors indifferent to their engagements—Extent to which settlement was effected—Complaints of the People of nonfulfilment of engagements—Character of the Reply—The influence of the Proprietors with the Home Government—The Duke of Kent—Proposal in 1780 to name the Island New Ireland—The name adopted—Formation of Light Infantry and Volunteer Horse—Immigration of Highlanders—Memoir of General Fanning

Chapter IV.
Colonel F. W. DesBarres, successor to General Fanning—His character as a Governor—Succeeded by Charles Douglas Smith—His character as displayed in his opening address—Proclamation of immunity from Proprietory conditions—Oppressive measures in regard to Quitrents—John McGregor, Sheriff—Public meetings called in the Counties—Tyranny of the Governor exposed—Arrival of Colonel Ready, and departure of Smith

Chapter V.
Governor Ready desires to govern constitutionally—Energetic legislation—George Wright, Administrator—Change in the mode of paying Customhouse Officials—Fire in Miramichi—Petitions of Roman Catholics to be relieved from civil disabilities—Proceedings of the Assembly touching the question—Dispute between the Council and Assembly—Catholic Emancipation—The Agricultural Society—Death of George the Fourth—Cobbett on Prince Edward Island—Colonel Ready succeeded by A. W. Young—The Census—Death of Governor Young—Biographical Sketch of him

Farmers of the Prince Edward Island Culinary Trail

Chapter VI.
George Wright, Administrator—Court of Escheat refused—Central Academy—Severe Frost in September—Death of William the Fourth—Educational Condition of the Island—Forcible Resistance to Rent-paying—Rebellion in Canada—Able Report of Committee of Legislature on Land Question—The Coronation of Queen Victoria—Mechanics’ Institute formed—Lord Durham on Land Question—The formation of an Executive, separate from a Legislative Council ordered—Mr. Cooper a delegate to London

Chapter VII.
Marriage of the Queen—Education in 1842—Foundation-stone of the Colonial Building laid—The Governor withdraws his patronage from Public Institutions—Dispute between the Governor and Mr. Pope—Election disturbances in Belfast—The Currency Question—Responsible Government discussed—Governor Huntley succeeded by Sir Donald Campbell—Earl Grey’s reason for withholding Responsible Government—The death of Sir Donald Campbell—Ambrose Lane, Administrator—Sir A. Bannerman, Governor—Responsible Government introduced—Temperance movement—The loss of the “Fairy Queen”—Dissolution of the Assembly—Governor Bannerman succeeded by Dominick Daly—The Worrell Estate bought by the Government—J. Henry Haszard perishes in the Ice Boat—Census of 1855—A loan wanted—The Imperial Guaranty promised, but not given—Resolutions praying for a Commission on the Land Question—Charles Young, Administrator—Biographical Sketch of Bishop McDonald—Death of James Peake

Chapter VIII.
Arrival of the Prince of Wales—His Reception—The British Colonial Secretary expresses satisfaction with the Assembly’s proceedings in regard to the Land Commission—The Report of the Commissioners—Its cardinal points presented—Their views with regard to Escheat and other subjects—The case of the Loyalists and Indians. Remarks on the Commissioners’ Report: its merits and its defects. The evils incident to the Land Question fundamentally attributable to the Home Government—The Immigrants deceived—The misery consequent on such deception—The burden of correction laid on the wrong shoulders—Volunteer Companies—General Census—Death of Prince Albert—The Duke of Newcastle and the Commissioners’ Report

Chapter IX.
Bill to make the Legislative Council elective—Change of Government—Address to the Queen, craving to give effect to the Commissioners’ Award—A Review of recent Proceedings in regard to the Land Question—The Assembly willing to meet the views of Proprietors in regard to the appointment of Commissioners—The Assembly and the commissioners right, and the Colonial Secretary wrong—The Reason why given—The rejection of the Award unreasonable—Delegates sent to England on the Land Question—The Result

Chapter X.
James C. Pope and the Railway—Assimilation of the Currency—Confederation—Conference in Charlottetown—Speeches of Edward Whelan and T. H. Haviland—Opposition to Confederation—Resolutions in the Assembly—Offer of Terms to J. C. Pope—Further Proceedings—The Question of Confederation Resumed—Delegations to Ottawa—Messrs. Haythorne and Laird—Messrs. Pope, Haviland, and Howlan—Final Settlement of the Question

Chapter XI.
Biographical Sketches:—Bishop McEachern—Rev. Donald McDonald—Rev. Dr. Kier—Hon. T. H. Haviland—Hon. E. Whelan—Hon. ames Yeo—Hon. George Coles—James D. Haszard

Chapter XII.
Commercial Statistics—Imports—Exports—Revenue—Government Policy—Fisheries—Education—Manufactures—Charlottetown—Census of 1798


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