Transcribed by Gary Carroll, email@example.com
The Guardian, 21 March, 1938 - Century Old Letter of Islander Abroad
Found among the papers of the late Mrs. C.H. Robinson, Charlottetown, were some old letters of historic interest, including the following written in 1822 by James D. Haszard from Providence, Rhode Island to his younger brother George in this Province. Mr. Haszard returned in the following year to establish the Prince Edward Island Register, the Island's first newspaper, bringing with him the type which he purchased in New England. Rhodes Gardiner, referred to in the letter was the grandfather of Mr. Charles Gardine. The original of this letter is in the posession of the Confederation Center Art Gallery Collection.
Providence, Rhode Island
July 26, 1822
Rhodes Gardiner returns to the Island by whom I take this opportunity of writing. You will have the pleasure of receiving his wife, who goes with him. He has been to New York. He returned last April. He was sick there, but has perfectly recovered. You will perceive in a letter to Mr. Davies, which I write with this many things which I omit here for the sake of brevity.
How do you get on in business? Is there anything doing on the Island? I hope you are now capable of indicting and writing me a letter; if you are not, I am really ashamed for you, but I trust any suspicions that I may entertain on that subject may be ungrounded. You are to me bound by the nearest and dearest ties of nature. I am your elder brother and should be your advisor, therefore.I hope and trust that anything which may fall from me will be strictly observed. Your future prospects and happiness is a concern to me which while you conduct yourself as you ought, as far as I am able I will always give you my assistance. George, let me entreat you above all things, to acquire knowledge and learning, for they must be the basis of your future fortune. Let not one moment escape without making some good use of it, examine and commence with yourself and say when you catch yourself idle "what am I now doing" that will be a benefit to me: Observe Dr. Franklin's maxims, and advice and you will be sure to prosper in the world. Read history and make yourself acquainted with the customs, manners, governments etc. of the people of the world and of which Prince Edward Island forms so small a part. You may have occasion to travel, and it is my desire you should in proper season. You will then make but a poor figure if you do not store yourself with necessary knowledge.
As soon as I can get once settled in my business, which I hope fortune will soon bring about so that we may be enabled to do something that will make us independent, and afford us a genteel living, I should then wish you to visit this country for various reasons. You must consider that you are now entering upon the most interesting, conspicuous and arduous scenes of the theatre of the world, therefore the part must be well acted or you will be hissed. Be careful and circumspect in all your actions for principally upon your behavior, virtues and abilities your future happiness and prosperity must depend. We daily see the rock upon which many a one has split, their bark shivered to pieces, and foundered involving all who are concerned in ruin. For God's sake let us avoid these rocks which we may strand upon if we do not keep a good lookout and take reason for our helm; conceive what a pleasure it would be to me to say " my brother is a prudent steady intelligent, active enterprising young man, whose desires and chief aim are that of maintaining an unsullied name and character, and suppose I said it to a young lady would she not desire to be acquainted with this character? Miss Abbey Watson, a second cousin, I told her I intended to recommend her to you; she is fourteen and handsome, and will have a good fortune. You must qualify yourself before you can think of advancing. Now since there are so many advantages to be reaped, spare no pains; the time that you spend in lounging and negligence if spent properly, may be the means of making your fortune.
I hope that everything is taken proper care of, for it is for your interest as well as mine. See that the grove is not trespassed upon, carriole and other things of a perishable nature are under cover. When you write arrange it with others who may write so that I may not have a bundle of letters together, and then not have any again for some time. Let Mr. Davies, Bell or other friend write once a month by the packet, others again once a fortnight by forwarding to the care of Mr. Clark, Merchant Halifax.
You would be surprised to see the elegant buildings etc. here and the number of vessels, people and curiosities. I can hardly as yet decide or forsee what luck may turn up in my favour. I had a great desire to return with Rhodes but under existing circumstances, I can do better here than at home. Could I raise the means of getting my types, etc., I would return immediatlely, but as I cannot, I think I shall remain here the ensuing winter, by which I will be enabled to lay something by. In case I should not manage it otherwise, I should like to sell the Mill Stream and Yankey Hill Land also Pasture Lot 194. Make enquiry whether I can have a purchaser. I have agreed for a press in halifax. i have seen the type foundry in Boston, where they make very good type.
I am engaged in an office in Providence, printing the Laws, etc. and make nine dollars per week, having the preference of work. Mr. Miller, the proprietor is a very agreeable friendly man with whose family I board. There are twelve hands employed in the office and two presses continually a-going. It really seems a house of industry; they print the Farmers and Manufacturors' Journal twice a week, the Religious Intelligencer once a week, with a great variety of job and book printing; they have also a bookstore and bindery.
I have the pleasure of visiting a number of the the first families in Providence, who are really agreeable and kind. A great many of the gentry here have made their properties by their own industry - indeed everybody seems to be employed in some business or other, both poor and rich. and an industrious reputable mechanic is not here slighted because he works, no, he is met by the wealthiest men, and treated with the greatest politeness and affability.
I saw your father last week at North Kingstown, twenty-four miles from Providence, he was very well; he is keeping a small store there was his nephew, William Cole; William is shortly to be married he has been published three times. The customs relating to marriages are very different from what they are with us. All are married by a Licence out here, they are three times published in the Church. I must now conclude with my love and respects to all relations and friends, wishing them individually every happiness and remain,
James D. Haszard
P.S. - I also send home religious papers to Mr. Evans. Keep a strict eye towards your sisters, and if any are paying their attentions to them, let them make known their intentions to you, which they will not hesitate in doing if they are honourable; if not, dismiss them with spirit and let them know that you are their guardian.
Note: James Douglas Haszard (1797-1875) is well covered in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Mr. Evans was Benjamin Evans an early Charlottetown merchant who kept a shop at the NE corner of Pownal & King and who died in 1825.