Biographical Sketches: - Bishop McEachern - Rev. Donald McDonald - Rev.. Dr. Kier - Hon. T. H. Haviland - Hon. E. Whelan - Hon. James Yeo - Hon. George Coles - Jarnes D. Haszard.
AMONG the early settlers of the island, prominent alike because of his aptitude for his position and the dignity with which he filled it, is the venerable figure of Bishop McEachern. While yet in early boyhood, about the year 1776, he was sent by the Scottish Bishop, John McDonald, to the Scotch Ecclesiastical College at Valladolid, in Spain. Having finished his studies there, he was ordained priest, and returned to Scotland, where he worked as a missionary for five years, under the Right Reverend Bishop Alexander McDonald. He arrived on the island either in August or September of 1790, and took up his residence at Savage Harbor. The church at Scotchfort was then the only catholic church on the island, and missionary duties were discharged at the residences of individuals in different parts of the colony. He acted as road commissioner, and laid out all the roads in the eastern portion of Kings County. His assistant in this duty was a Presbyterian clergyman, - the Reverend William Douglas. He was a man of such a stamp as sometimes we find, under severe difficulties, executing work so arduous that it seems only the language of truth to call his deeds heroic. He was, in his day, the only catholic priest on the island. His flock was widely scattered. Roads were few, and travelling, always difficult, was often attended with danger. But neither difficulty nor danger could daunt the zeal of the missionary. Now in his
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wagon, now in his boat or sleigh, he visited the remotest settlements. Everywhere he was welcomed, both by catholic and protestant. There are yet living protestants who received the waters of baptism from the hands of the good bishop. Among his catholic flock he was at once pastor and judge. He decided differences, he settled disputes, and his verdict was, in almost every case, gracefully acquiesced in. The kindness of his nature and his shrewd forethought fitted him admirably for the duties of a missionary among early settlers, struggling with the countless difficulties of a rigid climate and a new country. One little trait recorded of him gives us a glimpse of the thoughtful beneficence of his character. He was in the habit of hanging up buckets near the springs by the roadside, in order to enable travellers to water their horses on their journeys. The same benevolence permeated all his actions, and his hospitality was unbounded. In every settlement he had a fixed place, where he resided until he had performed his priestly duties among his flock. These duties must at one time have been very onerous, for he was bishop not only of Prince Edward Island, but also of New Brunswick. He was the second English-speaking catholic priest who came to the island.
Few names call up warmer feelings of respect than that of Bishop McEachern. Full of years and wearied out with labor, he died at his residence, near Saint Andrews. He was laid in the old chapel; but, a few years ago, the remains were removed to the new church, where they rest within the sanctuary.
The Reverend Donald McDonald died in 1867. He was born in Perthshire, Scotland, on the first of January, 1783; was educated at the University of Saint Andrews; and was ordained a minister of the Church of Scotland in 1816. He labored as a missionary in the Highlands until 1824, when
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he emigrated to Cape Breton. Here, he preached two years. In 1826 he came to the island, and commenced his labors in the spirit of the true evangelist. To him, the toil of travelling over the country and ministering to the destitute was the highest pleasure. Multitudes flocked to hear him preach. In barns, dwelling-houses, schoolhouses, and in the open air he proclaimed his commission to eager hundreds. Here and there he organized his bands of workers and ordained elders. As years rolled on, his interest in his great work increased, and great success crowned his efforts. Spacious and elegant churches began to take the place of rude shanties. His people grew in numbers, in wealth, in respectability, and in love for their minister. To have him as a guest, or to drive him from one of his stations to another, was the highest honor.
His eloquence was of a high order. Before commencing his sermon he generally gave an introductory address, in which he would refer to the national, political, and religious questions of the day, and comment freely on them. His sermons were masterpieces of logical eloquence. He would begin in a rather low conversational tone; but, as he proceeded, his voice would become stronger. Then the whole man would preach, - tongue, countenance, eyes, feet, hands, body - all would grow eloquent! The audience would unconsciously become magnetized, convicted, and swayed at the speaker's will. Some would cry aloud, some would fall prostrate in terror, while others would clap their hands, or drop down as if dead. Seldom has such pulpit power been witnessed since the preaching of Wesley, Whitfield, and Edward Irving.
But it must not be supposed that the abundance of Mr. McDonald's labors as a preacher prevented him from giving attention to study. Far from it. His intellect was too
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strong and too vigorous to rest. His pen was ever busy. He was profoundly read in philosophy, he was deeply versed in ancient and ecclesiastical history. He excelled in Biblical exegesis. No superficial thinker was he. The pen of no one but a master could produce his treatises on "The Millennium," "Baptism," and "The Plan of Salvation." He greatly admired the Hebrew and Greek languages. The Psalms of David, Isaiah's Prophecies, and Solomon's Songs were his delight. He was a graceful writer of English verse, an excellent singer, and played well on the flute. He published several collections of his poems and hymns. In the later years of his life one of his hymns was always sung at every service, set to some wild strain of his native Scotland, such as "The Campbells are coming," or "The Banks and Braes o' Bonny Doon."
To say that Mr. McDonald was faultless, would be to say that he was more than human. To say that, as a great moral reformer, he had no enemies, would be to say that he was a toady and a time-server, he was a brave man. He had strong self-reliance, and still stronger faith in God. He attacked vices with giant blows. Woe to the opponent who crossed his pathway! He had rare conversational powers. His spirits were always good. He knew the circumstances of every family in his widely-scattered flock, and remembered the names of all the children. He had no certain dwelling place, no certain stipend, and bestowed all he got on works of charity. He was rather below medium height, stout, and powerfully built. He was hale and vigorous looking to the last. His dress, appearance, and manners always bespoke the cultured Christian gentleman. He was never married.
In 1861 his health began to fail rapidly. It was thought he would not recover. He wrote epistles to his congrega
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tions commending them to God. But, he rallied, and was able, with varying strength, to labor six years longer. More than ever did his ministrations breathe the spirit of the Great Teacher, he was again brought low. He was at the house of Mr. McLeod, of Southport. He felt that his end was near, - that his life-work was over; and a great work it was. He had built fourteen churches; he had registered the baptism of two thousand two hundred children, and had baptized perhaps as many more not registered; he had married more people than any living clergyman; he had prayed beside thousands of deathbeds; he had a parish extending from Bedeque to Murray Harbor, and from Rustico to Belle Creek; and he had five thousand followers, more attached to their great spiritual leader than ever were Highland clansmen to their chief. But he was as humble as a child. To God, he gave the glory for all. He retained his faculties, and was glad to see his old friends at his bedside. Many came from far and near to take their last farewell and receive the dying blessing of the venerable patriarch, he sank gradually, suffering no pain, and on Friday, the twenty second of February, in the eighty-fifth year of his age and the fifty-first of his ministry, he breathed his last.
The place of interment was the Uigg, Murray Harbor Road churchyard, eighteen miles distant from Charlottetown. The funeral was the largest ever witnessed in the colony. All classes united in paying the last tribute of respect to the honored dead. The cortege numbered over three hundred and fifty sleighs. As the great procession moved down through the country, at the roadsides and at the doors and windows of the houses might be seen old men weeping, and women and children sobbing as if they had lost a father; and in the presence of a vast assemblage, near the church where his eloquent voice had so often melted listening
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thousands, and where he had so often celebrated, at the yearly sacrament, the Saviour's death, the remains of the Reverend Donald McDonald were laid to rest.. A costly monument marks the spot. *
AMONGST the first-class representative ministers of the Presbyterian body in Prince Edward Island, we may safely place the Reverend Dr. Kier, who was born in the village of Bucklyvie, in the parish of Kippen, Scotland, in the year 1779. He was educated at Glasgow College, studied theology under Professor Bruce, of Whitburn, and was licensed by the associate or antiburgher Presbytery of Glasgow about the beginning of the year 1808, and, in the autumn of that year, arrived as a missionary on the island, under the auspices of the General Associate Synod in Scotland. In 1810, Dr. Kier settled in Princetown, having been ordained in June of that year. This was the first organized Presbyterian congregation on the island. The call to Dr. Kier was subscribed by sixty-four persons, embracing nearly all the heads of families and male adults of the Presbyterian population in Princetown Royalty, New London, Bedeque, and the west side of Richmond Bay; and when the jubilee of the venerable doctor was held, in 1858, only fourteen of the number who signed the call were living. There is not one of the old Presbyterian congregations on the island, whether then in connection with the Scottish Establishment, the Free Church, or the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia, which did not, to some extent, enjoy his missionary labors, or experience his fostering care in its infancy. In most of them, Dr. McGregor planted; but he watered, while others have reaped.
* The author is indebted for this graphic sketch to the kindness of Mr. John T. Mellish, M. A., who was personally acquainted with Mr. McDonald.
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Dr. McCulloch having died in the year 1843, Dr. Kier was, at the meeting of Synod held in the following summer, chosen his successor as theological tutor. "We have sat under men of greater originality of thought," writes one who knew him well,-" men who impressed us more deeply with a sense of their intellectual power, - but we never sat under one who produced deeper impressions of moral goodness, nor one who, in the handling of the great themes of Christian doctrine, presented them more as great practical realities."
When the jubilee, to which we have already referred, took place, the whole country round poured forth a stream of carriages and horsemen. Tables for tea had been spread for four hundred and fifty guests, and these were filled four times, and part of them five times. It may be stated, as indicative of the estimation in which Dr. Kier was held, that it was calculated that three thousand persons were then present to do him well-earned honor. The address delivered by Dr. Kier on that occasion was as chaste and modest in expression as it was deeply interesting in matter, and his hearers little imagined that the venerable speaker, who then appeared in good health, was destined, in two months and two days, to rest from his labors. The memory of the just is blessed.
THE Honorable Thomas Heath Haviland, Senior, was born at Cirencester, in the County of Gloucester, England, on the thirtieth of April, 1796. More than fifty years previous to his death, Mr. Haviland came to Charlottetown, and entered upon the duties of an office to which he had been appointed by the Prince Regent. In the year 1823 - the last year of the administration of lieutenant-governor Smith - he was appointed a member of his
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Majesty's executive council. The soundness of his judgment, his prudence, moderation, and courtly manners at once gave him influence at the council board; and for upwards of a quarter of a century - from the days of Colonel Sir John Ready until the stormy times of Sir Henry Vere Huntley, which immediately preceded the introduction into the colony of responsible government - his influence was paramount. In 1824 he was appointed assistant judge of the supreme court. From 1830 until 1839 he held the office of treasurer, which, in this year, he resigned for the office of colonial secretary. In 1839 the legislative council was separated from the executive council, and, by the Queen, Mr. Haviland was appointed its first president. On the introduction of responsible government, in 1851, he retired from office, and shortly after, with his family, visited England. His attachment to the island induced him to return to it, after a comparatively short absence. At the time of his death he was Mayor of Charlottetown, - having been annually elected to that office from 1857. He was also president of the Bank of Prince Edward Island. During his long official career he discharged his public duties with ability and dignity.
In private life he was remarkable for his generous hospitality and urbanity, for his kindly disposition and the constancy of his friendship. He was ever ready to listen to all who sought his counsel or assistance, and very many were the recipients of both. Time appeared to have laid its hand gently upon him. He was never known to the world as an ailing man. His erect figure, firm step, and good spirits gave promise of a long continuance of life, when a sudden attack, indicating severe organic derangement, confined him to his room. After a few months of suffering, which he bore with decorous fortitude, and during which
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he exhibited the most thoughtful concern for those who were in immediate attendance upon him, as well as for the more intimate of his friends who were absent, he passed away on the morning of Tuesday, the eighteenth of June, 1867, at the age of seventy-two years and two months. "The fine old English gentleman," said the Islander, " the fond father, the wise and prudent counsellor, the useful and honored citizen has been laid in the grave, leaving a memory which will long be cherished and revered in this the land of his adoption."
At this time the Honorable Edward Whelan was the correspondent, in Charlottetown, of the Montreal Gazette. Though politically opposed to Mr. Haviland, he alluded, in a letter to the Gazette, - which was published on the fifth of July, l867, - to the deceased gentleman in the following touching terms: "The vacancy in the mayoralty is caused by the demise of the honorable T. H. Haviland. He was the representative man of the old conservative party. Without brilliant talents, his judgment was of the highest order; he filled every situation in the colony to which a colonist could aspire, short of the gubernatorial chair; his manners to friend and opponent were always the essence of dignity, urbanity, and courtesy; and, passing through much of the contention of political life, leaving his impress on our small society, by his many useful labors, he was singularly fortunate, by his kindly nature, in disarming all opponents of the shadow of rancorous hostility."
THE Honorable Edward Whelan died at his residence, in Charlottetown, on the tenth of December, 1867, at the comparatively early age of forty-three. He was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1821, and received the rudiments of education in his native town. At an early age he emigrated to
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Halifax, Nova Scotia, where, shortly after his arrival, he entered the printing-office of the Honorable Joseph Howe, then a newspaper publisher in that city. Here he gave such proofs of that great facility for newspaper writing which distinguished him in after life that he was occasionally employed to write editorial articles for Mr. Howe's newspaper during the absence or illness of the latter. At the age of eighteen he came to Prince Edward Island, which was then ruled by parties who could scarcely be said to be amenable to public opinion. Mr. Whelan, ranging himself on the side of the people, threw the weight of his influence as a journalist into the struggle for popular rights.
In 1851, Mr. Whelan married Miss Mary Major Hughes, daughter of Mr. George A. Hughes, of Her Majesty's Commissariat Department at Halifax, by whom he had two daughters - who died some time previous to his own decease - and one son, - an excellent youth, who perished by a boat accident in Charlottetown harbor, on Dominion Day, in the current year.
Apart from Mr. Whelan's oratorical power, - in which he excelled, - the great lever of public opinion, so powerful throughout the British dominions, obeyed his masterly hand as often as any fair occasion arose to resort to its agency. His political opponents will acknowledge that he never abused the power of the press, and that he knew how to combine a singularly consistent political career with conciliatory manners. Edward Whelan's nature revolted from any mean or vindictive action. He neither bullied his opponents nor begged favors; he relied upon the strong innate love of justice of every intelligent mind; and, although he died comparatively young, he lived long enough to see, to a large extent, the results of his labors in the extension of civil liberty.
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Mr. Whelan was a Roman catholic. The writer of a sketch of his life, which appeared in the Examiner, says that "his words and thoughts, in the hour of death, were those of a Christian gentleman." The author of this work had the pleasure, in the autumn of 1867, of having an interview of several hours' duration with the deceased gentleman, during which topics connected with general literature were freely discussed, and he parted with him retaining a high opinion of his literary ability, as well as of the extent of his knowledge.
AT Port Hill, on the twenty-fifth of August, 1868, died the Honorable James Yeo, in the eightieth year of his age. The deceased gentleman was a native of Devonshire , England, and was born in the year 1788. He emigrated to Prince Edward Island about fifty years previous to his death. He, consequently, was then about thirty years of age. On his arrival, he obtained a situation in connection with the firm of Chanter & Company, who were doing business in shipbuilding at Port Hill. Being a young man of good habits and business talent, he secured the confidence of his employers. He had charge of the company's books, and astonished everybody by his remarkable powers in mental arithmetic. The Messrs. Chanter having resolved to remove to England, assigned their outstanding debts to Mr. Yeo as remuneration for what they owed him. With the small capital thus placed at his command, as the fruit of honest industry, he commenced trading and shipbuilding, which he prosecuted with remarkable success. Firmness, punctuality, and honesty were the characteristics of his business life.
Mr. Yeo entered public life in the year 1839, and from that period till his death lost but one election. He was no orator, but stated his views on the questions before the house of assembly in a few terse Saxon terms, - always strictly to
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the point. As a legislator, he was worth a dozen frothy orators. He died deeply regretted by a wide circle of friends.
FOR the following brief sketch of the Honorable George Coles, we are indebted to an admirable biography of the deceased gentleman from the pen of Mr. Henry Lawson, and regret that the space at our disposal does not admit of the insertion of the entire production, which is highly creditable to the literary ability of the writer: The Honorable George Coles was born in Prince Edward Island on the twentieth of September, 1810. He was the eldest son of James and Sarah Coles. In his boyhood, Mr. Coles profited by such educational advantages as the place of his birth afforded. In 1829, when he was just entering manhood, he went to England, where he remained four years. During his stay there, he married Miss Mercy Haine, on the fourteenth of August, 1833, at Last Penard Church, Somerset. Shortly after his marriage, Mr. Coles returned to the island, and commenced the business of brewer and distiller. A man of his active mind and wide sympathies could not remain long in the obscurity of private life. His influence soon began to be felt and his ability recognized. In the summer of 1842, he was elected a representative of the first district of Queen's County in the house of assembly. Seldom has any man entered public life under greater disadvantages. He was comparatively a poor man; his education was limited; and, at a time when family influence appeared to be absolutely necessary to advancement in public life, he had no powerful connections. So prominent, however, and so powerful did he become, that it was deemed expedient to appoint him a member of the government. He soon resigned his seat at he council board, and we find him, in 1848, on the opposi-
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tion benches, a strenuous advocate for the introduction of responsible government.
In 1848 Mr. Coles paid a visit to the United States. When there, he became convinced of the great importance of reciprocity to the people of the island. In Boston and other cities of the great republic he met many island men who were struggling with the difficulties incident to the want of education, and it is said that he then and there determined to free his countrymen from the disability of ignorance, by establishing a system of free schools on the island. He marked the working of the machinery of popular education in the States, and, as soon as he returned home, set about framing the island education law.
In those movements which were necessary to secure responsible government, Mr. Coles was the leading spirit. His opponents were men of position, of talent, and of education, who had been until then all-powerful in the colony. He had to contend with strong social prejudices, which were even more difficult to overcome than his political adversaries; and he was under the necessity of organizing a party out of materials by no means the most promising. Without detracting from the merit of his coadjutors, he, to a greater degree than any of them, possessed the rare combination of qualities necessary to rouse a submissive people to resistance, and to infuse spirit and confidence into men who had been discouraged by a long series of defeats. When in power he introduced the franchise law, the land purchase act, and other beneficial measures with which his name is destined to continue identified.
In 1867, a melancholy change was observed in the veteran statesman. His vigorous mind, it was but too apparent, was giving way. In 1866 there had been a great fire in Charlottetown, and owners of property were kept in a state
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of anxiety by the suspicion that a band of incendiaries were at work in the city. The exertions made by Mr. Coles to save the property of his fellow-citizens, and the state of alarm in which he was kept, did irreparable injury to a constitution already undermined by arduous mental labor. His mental condition necessitated his retirement from public life in August, 1868. He died on the morning of the twenty-first of August, 1875. His funeral was attended by the Lieutenant-governor, Sir Robert Hodgson, - the pall being borne by the Honorable T. H. Haviland, the Honorable J. C. Pope, William Cundall, Esquire, the Honorable R. P. Haythorne, the Honorable Judge Young, and the Honorable Benjamin Davies. His body lies in the grave-yard of Saint Peter's Church.
JAMES DOUGLAS HASZARD was born in Charlottetown in the year 1797. He was one of the descendants of a spirited loyalist, who proved his attachment to the monarchical form of government by refusing to take his property, which had been confiscated, on the condition that he should become an American. In the year 1823 Mr. Haszard began business by publishing the Register, and successively the Royal Gazette, and Haszard's Gazette, until the year 1858. Previous to the publication of the Register, a total issue of fifty papers sufficed for the colony. Mr. Haszard was ever ready to do good work in connection with industrial and benevolent societies. He was the first to start a cloth-dressing mill in the colony; and, as secretary and treasurer of the Royal Agricultural Society. he introduced improvements in farming implements and machinery. During the famine of l837 he relieved many destitute families. He died in August, 1875, highly esteemed and deeply regretted.
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