Coniditions For Constitution Is Set In Place

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 Geo
ge the

Fourth--Cobbett on Prince Edward Island--Colonel Ready succeeded

by A. W. Young--The Census--Death of Governor Young--Biographical

Sketch of him.

Governor Smith delighted in autocratical rule, and had not called an

assembly together since 1820; but Governor Ready, wishing to govern the

island in a more constitutional manner, summoned, on his accession to

office, a new house, which met in January, 1825, and proceeded to

business with some degree of spirit and earnestness. Acts were passed

for the encouragement of education, for regulating juries and declaring

their qualifications, for regulating the fisheries, for limiting and

declaring the jurisdiction of justices of the peace, for empowering the

governor to appoint commissioners to issue treasury notes to the extent

of five thousand pounds, and for increasing the revenue by taxation.

Another session of the house was held in October of the same year, when

the house displayed equal energy and diligence in transacting the public

business. John Stewart was speaker, and the members elected for

Charlottetown were Robert Hodgson and Paul Mabey. Mr. Samuel Nelson was

an unsuccessful candidate for the town. He had been accused of not

signing the address to the King, praying for the recall of Governor

Smith. In his reply to that charge, Mr. Nelson stated a fact which shows

the inherent meanness of the late governor in his treatment of the

people. "Governor Smith," said Mr. Nelson, "never did anything for me.

On the contrary, he broke me as a captain in the militia, and when I was

putting a porch to my door he sent a peremptory demand to pull it


The governor returned to England towards the close of the year, on

private business, and during his absence the government was administered

by the Honorable George Wright.

The officers of customs received in this year official instructions from

the lords commissioners to discontinue the exaction of fees after the

fifth of January ensuing, as fixed salaries were to be granted to

them,--a regulation which extended to all the colonies.

In this year, eighteen vessels arrived at the island from Great Britain,

and one hundred and twenty-eight from the British colonies. There were

imported fifty-four thousand gallons of rum, two thousand five hundred

gallons of brandy, three thousand gallons Geneva, and two thousand

gallons of wine, which, for a population of about twenty-three thousand,

was a large supply. The imports were valued at $85,337, and the exports

at $95,426.

In the autumn of 1825 an extensive and most destructive fire took place

in Miramichi, which swept over an immense area, destroying timber, farm

steadings, and cattle. Many of the unfortunate inhabitants perished in

the flames, and hundreds were left destitute. A liberal collection was

made in the island for the relief of the suffering, and a vessel

chartered to convey produce to the scene of the disaster.

The governor returned from England towards the close of the year 1826,

and again assumed the reins of government. The house met in March

following. In his opening address, the governor congratulated the house

on the improvements recently made in the internal communications of the

country,--the western line of road being completed up to Princetown, and

surveys having been made for extending the line to Cascumpec and the

North Cape. His excellency also referred to the advantages which would

accrue from the establishment of an agricultural society. Among other

useful measures passed during the session was one for ascertaining the

population of the island, and for authorizing the formation of a fire

engine company for Charlottetown.

During the last session a petition was presented by the Roman catholics

of the island, praying that they should be relieved from those civil

disabilities under which they suffered. Consideration of the important

subject was at that time deferred on account of the advanced period of

the session. The subject was now brought up by Mr. Cameron, in a

temperate and sensible speech, in which he stated that, notwithstanding

the predictions of persons hostile to the prayer of the petitioners, not

a single petition was presented to the house against the proposed

change. Mr. Cameron concluded by proposing the following resolution:

"Resolved, that it is the opinion of this house that the right of

voting at elections of members to serve in the general assembly ought to

be extended to His Majesty's subjects of the Roman catholic religion

within the island, and that the election laws should be altered

conformable to this resolution." A long and animated discussion took

place, in which the attorney general, Dr. McAulay, Mr. Hodgson, and

others supported it; and Mr. Campbell, Mr. McNeill, and Mr. Montgomery

led in opposition. On the question being put, the votes were equal; but

the speaker, Mr. Stewart, gave the casting vote against the resolution,

on the ground that the question had not been settled in England. The

speaker was one of the most enlightened men in the assembly, and his

decision on this occasion cannot be said to have been in accordance with

his general character. Had the resolution passed, the assembly would

have had the honor of being in advance, on this question, of the

parliament of Great Britain. As subjects of the Crown, the Roman

catholics, in asking to have a voice in the election of the

legislature,--whose laws they were bound to obey in common with

protestants,--claimed no favor, but a right which ought never to have

been withheld, and the subsequent concession of which experience has

proved to be as satisfactory in practice as it is equitable in

principle. On the presentation of the petition in 1825, a voluminous and

very able correspondence was carried on in the columns of the

Register, in the conduct of which the best talent in the island, on

both the catholic and protestant sides, was enlisted. Theological

questions, that had no bearing on the subject in dispute, were,

unhappily, imported into the controversy; and, whatever difference of

opinion may exist as to the discussion in its religious aspect, there

can be none as to the fact of every argument advanced against the Roman

catholic's right to be put on an equal footing with the protestant in

all matters appertaining to civil and religious liberty, being

completely demolished by the accomplished advocates of the Roman

catholic claims. While the elaborate communications to which we have

referred were imbued on both sides with considerable bitterness, yet, to

the credit of the island combatants, it may be truly said that such

bitterness was sweetness itself compared with the venom characteristic

of similar controversies, as carried on at this period in other places.

Fidelity to historical accuracy, at the same time, constrains us to

state that, while on the part of catholics, as the aggrieved party,

whose rights were tyranically and persistently disregarded, paroxysms of

irritation were the natural result of oppression, no such apology can to

the same extent be offered in behalf of their opponents.

In October, 1825, the council passed a resolution to the effect that

they would not in future be disposed to give their assent to any bill

for appropriating money, unless the sums and services therein contained

should be submitted in separate resolutions for their concurrence. This

resolution was not agreeable to the assembly, who claimed the sole right

of originating all money bills, and who denied the right of the council

to alter or amend them. This difference of opinion led to a protracted

controversy. In May, 1827, the council sent a message to the assembly,

in which the question was elaborately argued, to which the assembly

returned an equally elaborate reply. The dispute resulted, in 1827, in

the council agreeing to the two principal bills of supply, and rejecting

an ad valorem duty bill; but in the following session--that of 1828--the

appropriation bill was rejected by the council, which obliged the

governor to confine the expenditure of the year to purposes of

necessity. In meeting the house, in 1829, the governor expressed the

hope that the unfortunate dispute of the last session would be brought

to an amicable adjustment, and recommended a system of mutual compromise

as the most effectual mode of securing that object. Although the council

had resolved to transact no further business with the assembly until the

latter body expunged a previous resolution from their journals

containing certain imputations on the council, yet the house had refused

to do so. Business communication was, however, resumed, and continued as

if nothing had happened.

On the sixth of January, 1825, died Benjamin Chappell, late postmaster

of the island, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. He and his brother

William emigrated from England in the year 1775. They owned one of the

first packets that sailed between Charlottetown and the mainland. He saw

the country in its rude and wilderness state, and was an attentive

observer of all the vicissitudes it underwent in its gradual progress

towards improvement, and few took a deeper interest in its prosperity.

He was a man of sterling piety, actively devoted to the cause of

religion, and may with truth be considered the founder of the present

Methodist establishment of the island. He was personally known and

beloved by John Wesley, who was in the habit of corresponding with him

for many years; and it afforded Mr. Chappell much delight to detail to

his friends many interesting anecdotes that grew out of his intimacy

with that great and good man. He was brought up to the millwright

business, and was well acquainted with machinery in all its extensive

branches. He was a man of intelligence and strong mind, and, with a

perfect knowledge of his own business, possessed a great deal of useful

information. If a life of consistent piety, as expressed in the virtues

that dignify human nature, can endear a man to society, the memory of

Benjamin Chappell will be long and affectionately cherished in the


In the session of 1829 a select committee of assembly, for preparing a

specific plan on which a bill might be founded for promoting classical

education, presented their report, recommending the establishment of a

classical academy in Charlottetown, to be designated the "Central

Academy," vesting the management in a patron and nine trustees. Two

masters were to be employed, each to receive a salary of one hundred and

fifty pounds a year; and no religious test was to be permitted. A bill

in conformity with these recommendations was accordingly introduced and


The most important act passed in the session of 1830 was one "for the

relief of His Majesty's Roman catholic subjects." The agitation for the

removal of the disabilities under which the Roman catholics suffered in

the old country resulted in catholic emancipation; and the British

government recommended the adoption of similar measures in the colonies,

which recommendation weakened unreasonable opposition to the change. The

act now passed provided that all statutes which imposed on Roman

catholics civil or political disabilities should be repealed, and that

all civil and military offices and places of trust or profit should be

as open to them as to other portions of the King's subjects.

The agricultural society, which had been for some time in operation in

the island, was active in accomplishing the beneficent purposes for

which it was established: it encouraged improved stock by an annual

exhibition and premiums, and imported seeds. District societies were

formed at Saint Eleanor's and Princetown. The governor took a practical

interest in the operations of the society, of which the Honorable George

Wright was president; the Honorable T. H. Haviland, vice-president; and

Mr. Peter MacGowan, secretary and treasurer.

In August, 1830, intelligence of the death of King George the Fourth,

which had occurred on the twenty-sixth of June, reached the island. The

reign of His Majesty lasted about ten years and a half; but, including

his regency, he was at the head of the government more than nineteen

years. He was succeeded by William the Fourth.

The ignorance which in our days prevails in the old country respecting

the American colonies is not quite so deplorable as that which existed

at the period of the island history at which we have now arrived. It may

amuse the reader to learn what the celebrated Cobbett thought at this

time of Prince Edward Island, as a home for emigrants, and of the kind

of business that was prosecuted there: "From Glasgow," wrote Cobbett,

"the sensible Scots are pouring out amain. Those that are poor, and

cannot pay their passage, or can rake together only a trifle, are going

to a rascally heap of sand, rock and swamp, called Prince Edward Island,

in the horrible Gulf of Saint Lawrence; but when the American vessels

come over with indian corn and flour and pork and beef and poultry and

eggs and butter, and cabbages, and green pease, and asparagus for the

soldier, and other tax-eaters that we support upon that lump of

worthlessness,--for the lump itself bears nothing but potatoes,--when

these vessels return, the sensible Scots will go back in them for a

dollar a head, and not a man of them will be left but bed-ridden

persons." If such are the doctrines which were taught to the people of

Britain by men like Cobbett, what must have been the depth of ignorance

respecting the North American colonies which pervaded the masses? The

very articles which the islanders were prepared to export to the states,

if an inlet for them were permitted, were the articles which the foolish

grammarian imagined they were importing. He little thought that in the

capital of this island of "rock" a cargo of whinstones would be very

acceptable, and find ready sale.

In September, 1831, Colonel Ready was relieved from the government of

the island by the arrival of Lieutenant-Colonel A. W. Young. The

departure of Colonel Ready was deeply regretted by the people. His

administration was distinguished by activity, energy, and usefulness,

constituting a striking contrast to that of his predecessor. During his

retention of office there was a large increase of the population. From

the year 1829 to 1831, eighteen hundred and forty-four emigrants had

arrived, and new life was infused into the commerce and agriculture of

the island.

In January, 1832, Governor Young met the house of assembly for the first

time. There was a dread of cholera, now raging in Europe, which led to

the passing of a measure in the assembly "to prevent the spread of

infectious diseases." A day of fasting was appointed in the month of

May, and, happily, the island was not visited by a pestilence which, in

other places, laid tens of thousands in the grave. In this year an act

was also passed to provide for the conveyance of the mails between

Charlottetown and Pictou, by a steam vessel, a grant of three hundred

pounds yearly having been voted for that purpose. The service was

accordingly performed by the Steamer Pocahontas, which ran twice a

week to Pictou,--the cabin passage-money being twelve shillings currency.

In the following year the census was taken, from which it appeared that

the population of the island, which, in 1827, had been twenty-three

thousand, had increased to thirty-two thousand. An act was also passed

in this year by which the duration of the assembly was reduced from the

period of seven to that of four years.

In May, 1834, Governor Young went to England, whence he returned in

September, as Sir Aretas W. Young. In June of the same year died John

Stewart, of Mount Stewart, at the age of seventy-six. He came to the

Island in 1778. He was speaker of the house of assembly for a number of

years, and was one of the most useful public men of his day. We have

read much of his private and official correspondence, which has led us

to form a high opinion of his integrity, industry, and zeal. His book on

the island, published in 1806, is a reliable work, so far as facts are

concerned, though not written with the grace and freedom which

distinguished the letters of his contemporary, John Stuart, the London

agent of the island.

A general election took place towards the close of 1834, and the new

house met in January, 1835. A dispute arose between the assembly and the

council, respecting the revenue bills, which led to the necessary

supplies not being granted, but after a short interval the governor

convoked the assembly in April, and as the result of a previous informal

conference between the disputants, it was arranged that the revenue bill

should be separated from the appropriation bill,--as a solution of the

difficulty,--and thus the dispute terminated. In consequence of the

illness of his excellency, the session of one week's duration was

prorogued by a commission, who were desired to express to the assembly

his excellency's pleasure at the satisfactory termination of its labors.

On Tuesday, the first of December, 1835, His Excellency Sir Aretas

William Young died at his official residence in Charlottetown. At the

age of seventeen he obtained an ensigncy, by purchase, in Podmore's

regiment, and a company, by purchase, in the 13th foot, in 1796. He

served with the 13th regiment, in Ireland during the rebellion, and was

present with that corps, under the command of Sir Charles Colville, in

every memorable action fought in Egypt under the gallant Sir Ralph

Abercrombie, in 1801, for which he received a medal. He was subsequently

employed for several years in Sicily and Gibralter, as aide-de-camp to

General the Honorable Henry Edward Cox, the commander-in-chief in the

Mediterranean. He was promoted, in 1807, to be major in the 97th

regiment, then commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir James Lyon, and

served with the 4th division, under Lieutenant-General Sir Lowry Cole,

in the Peninsular campaigns of 1808, and in subsequent years was engaged

in the battles of Vimiera, Talavera and Busaco, and in the first siege

of Badajoz. Whenever the division was in movement, the light companies

were entrusted to his charge, and during a part of the retreat of the

army from the frontiers of Portugal to the lines of Torres Vedras, these

companies were embodied under his command as a light battalion.

In an affair with the enemy at Tobral, near Lisbon, his horse was shot

dead under him; and it has been remarked by a distinguished general

officer that, on every occasion, in every difficulty and in many hours

of trial, the example he set, the steps he trod, led the men cheerfully

and fearlessly to do their duty. The 97th, owing to its thinned ranks,

having been ordered to England, he was promoted, in 1813, to a

lieutenant-colonelcy in the 3rd West India Regiment, stationed at

Trinidad; and, with five companies of that corps, was sent to join the

expedition against Guadaloupe in 1815, and received one of the badges of

the Order of Merit, presented by Louis the Eighteenth. On his return to

Trinidad, he was selected by Sir James Leith to command the troops in

Granada; and, on leaving the regiment in 1815, received a letter,

accompanied with a piece of plate, from the officers, expressive of

their unfeigned feelings of regard and esteem for the comfort and

happiness experienced under his command. On his being ordered back to

Trinidad, in 1816, he was voted the thanks of the council and assembly

of Granada, with a sword valued at one hundred guineas. During the

absence, in 1820, of Governor Sir Ralph Woodford from Trinidad, he

administered the government for four months; and in consideration of the

advantage which the community had derived during that period by his

being a member of the council, was requested still to continue a

member,--to which he acceded, subject to the approval of the commander of

the forces, who, in giving his consent, remarked, that in whatever

situation Lieut.-colonel Young might be placed, the public service would

be benefited. In 1823, in again giving up the government, which he had

held for two years,--during a second absence of the same governor,--he was

presented with four addresses, namely, one from the council, one from

the Board of Cabildo,--with a vote of one hundred and fifty guineas to

purchase a sword, and with the request that he would sit for his

portrait, to be placed in their hall as a token of their sense of the

efficient manner in which he had presided over that board, and to record

their opinion of the moderation, steadiness, and ability which, on all

occasions, marked his administration; one from the inhabitants, with a

piece of plate, to record their gratitude for the integrity and

impartiality of his government; and one from the colored inhabitants,

acknowledging their deep sense of the prudence, moderation, and humanity

which distinguished his administration of the government.

On the final disbandment of the 3d West India Regiment, in the beginning

of 1825, he was waited on by a deputation of the inhabitants of

Trinidad, with a farewell address, and with the request of his

acceptance of a piece of plate of the value of two hundred and fifty

sovereigns. He was appointed in 1826 to the newly-created office of His

Majesty's Protector of Slaves in the colony of Demerara,--the arduous

duties of which he conscientiously performed for five years. He retired

from the army, by the sale of his commission, in May, 1826, and was

allowed by His Majesty, on the recommendation of the commander-in-chief,

to retain the local rank of lieutenant-colonel in the West Indies, in

consideration of the value of his services, and of the zeal,

intelligence, and gallantry with which he had discharged every duty. He

was gazetted, as already stated, to be governor of Prince Edward Island,

on the twenty-fifth of July, 1851; and in consequence of the favorable

opinion entertained by the King of his merits, communicated in a

despatch from Lord Stanley, His Majesty conferred on him, on the ninth

of July, 1834, the honor of knighthood.

At the period of his death he was in the fifty-eighth year of his age,

and had thus terminated an honorable career of forty-one years in the

King's service.