Joseph Howe writes about Clare in a 1828 visit to the area

I found this interesting book in the student library at Université-Sainte-Anne in Church Point:

Joseph Howe. Western and Eastern Rambles. Travel Sketches of Nova Scotia. Edited by M.G. Parks. Toronto. University of Toronto Press. 1973.

In 1828, Joseph Howe, one of Nova Scotia’s great journalists and politicians, undertook a series of excursions in the countryside of Nova Scotia – visiting territories east and west of Halifax.  He wrote of his experiences traveling throughout Nova Scotia ca. 1828 and published a series of articles in his own newspaper, The Novascotian;  The Western Rambles series of articles were published in the Novascotian from July 23 to October 9, 1828. M.G. Parks republished the entire series of articles in 1973, in a book titled Western and Eastern Rambles. Travel Sketches of Nova Scotia.

This is what Joseph Howe had to say about Clare in the October 9, 1828 edition:
“…We are now in the settlement of Clare, which extends along the shores of St Mary’s and the Bay of Fundy, and has features so distinct and peculiar as to render it one of the most interesting in the Province…”

And about its inhabitants:
“…The whole population are French; they are the descendants of the old Acadians and preserve to this day the language, customs, and manners of their ancestors, unchanged and uncorrupted. There are about 300 families of them in Clare and about 200 more at Tusket. They do not intermarry with the English, and but few of them speak any other language but their own. They are a a quiet and peaceful race, very industrious and very frugal, and are governed and controlled by their Priest, whom they regard with the highest veneration and respect…”

The Priest referred to was none other that l’Abbé Jean-Mandé Sigogne.

In the same document, this is what Joseph Howe had to say about l’Abbé Jean-Mandé Sigogne:

“…ye cannot fail to contemplate with delight such a character as the venerable Abbé Segoigne (sic). He is a Frenchman of the old school, deeply learned, of polished manners, and with one of the very best hearts in the world. He left France during the revolutionary persecutions of the clergy, because he would not renounce the faith in which he was bred, and forsake the ties that he had been taught to respect…”

“…He threw himself into this sequestered retreat, and during twenty years has seen the country improving around him, a simple and affectionate people rising up in usefulness and virtue, and looking to him with reverence and love, as a common parent and guide. In the hour of affliction, he is their comforter and friend., the mediator in their disputes, the fearless reprover of their vices…”

“…He is, besides, the only lawyer in the settlement and writes their deeds, notes and mortgages, and keeps a kind of registry of all matters in which their temporal as well as spiritual interests are concerned; and perhaps in no population of equal amount in the province are there fewer quarrels or lawsuits than in the settlement of Clare…”

It is to be remembered that l’Abbé Jean-Mandé Sigogne ministered to the Acadians of the Township of Clare from 1799 to 1844, ministering to the a people and their descendants still traumatized by the Deportation (1755-1763) and the many years of hardship and uncertainty following le Grand Dérangement.


Links to Biography of Joseph Howe: