Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paddy's Lamentation

Paddy's Lamentation
by Linda Thompson

Well it's by the hush, me boys, and sure that's to hold your noise
And listen to poor Paddy's sad narration
I was by hunger pressed, and in poverty distressed
So I took a thought I'd leave the Irish nation

Here's you boys, now take my advice
To America I'll have ye's not be coming
There is nothing here but war, where the murderin' cannons roar
And I wish I was at home in dear old Dublin

Well I sold me horse and cow, my little pigs and sow
My little plot of land I soon did part with
And me sweetheart Bid McGee, I'm afraid I'll never see
For I left her there that morning broken-hearted

Well meself and a hundred more, to America sailed o'er
Our fortunes to be made we were thinkin'
When we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hands
Saying "Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln"

General Meagher to us he said, if you get shot or lose your leg
Every mother's son of youse will get a pension
Well meself I lost me leg, they gave me a wooden peg,
And be God this is the truth to you I mention

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Cinderella of Empire"

Joey Smallwood's

    "Cinderella of Empire"

The history of this island is an unbroken history of struggle.
The war has widened our horizons and deepened our knowledge of the great gulf which separates what we have and what we are, from what we feel we should have and should be. We have become uncomfortably aware of the low standards of our country, and we are driven irresistibly to wonder whether our attempt to persist in isolation is the root cause of our condition. Our very manhood, our very creation by God, entitles us to standards of life no lower than our brothers on the mainland. We are fifty, in some things one hundred, years behind the times. We live more poorly, more shabbily, more meanly. Our life is more a struggle. Our struggle is tougher, more naked, more hopeless.
We all love this land. It has a charm, it warms our hearts, go where we will,a charm, a magic, a mystical tug on our emotions that never dies. With all her faults we love her. But a metamorphosis steals over us the moment we cross the border which separates us from other lands. We are so used to our ways that we do not even see their inadequacy, their backwardness,their seaminess. We take for granted our lower standards, our poverty. We are not indignant about them, we save our indignation for those who publish such facts. Except for a few years of this war and a few of the last, our people’s earnings never supported them on a scale comparable with North American standards, and never maintained a government on even the prewar scale of service. We might manage, precariously, to maintain independent national status. We can resolutely decide to be poor but proud. But if such a decision is made it must be made by the sixty thousand poor families, and not by the five thousand families who are confident of getting along pretty well in any case. Our danger, so it seems to me, is that of nursing delusions of grandeur. We are not a nation. We are a medium-sized municipality. There was a time indeed when tiny states lived gloriously. That time is now ancient European history. We are trying to live in the mid-twentieth century, post-Hitler New World. We can, of course, persist in isolation, a dot on the shore of North America. Reminded continually by radio, visitors, and movies of the incredibly higher standards of living across the Gulf, we can shrug incredulously or dope ourselves into the hopeless belief that such things are not for us. By our isolation from the throbbing vitality and expansion of the continent, we have been left far behind in the march of time, “the sport of historic misfortune,” “the Cinderella of Empire.”

-excerpt from Richard Gywn's "The Unlikely revolutionary"

Monday, June 16, 2008

If we join......Canada

Canadian Taxes
Sept 29 1948
Letter to the editor
Daily News

Dear Sir, The Confederate paper and the speakers over the radio are continually telling the people of this country that there is no tax on property in Canada except in towns. They say the Federal government does not tax such things as houses, fishing boats, land, and so on. It does not matter what authority does the taxing, it is done just the same. Ask anybody who has lived in Canada whether a person living out in country places pays taxes on property or not. In fact, property taxes are levied in every province, and Newfoundland would be no exception. Those living towns [sic] come under the municipal tax scheme, those in country places come under the district or county plan. The property tax rates as high as five per cent. It is all controlled by government authority, with the central power in Ottawa.

The writer of this letter has lived in Canada for some years. We were forced to come back to Newfoundland for the simple reason that it was easier to live in this country, and we had a home to come back to. There are many who would do likewise, if the old home still stood. Wages are no good to a man in Canada to-day, as the government takes practically all.

If Newfoundland enters Confederation, Canada has to take thirty million dollars out of this country. The province would have to raise another twenty million in order to carry on necessary public services. How in the name of common sense can that be got except by further taxation, and it would still be controlled by Ottawa. We are about as far from Ottawa as we are from England. Remote control is one of the most serious disadvantages of any government.

The so-called baby bonus is only a hindrance to a man under wages. It often puts his salary into the taxable class. The most serious thing in connection with this bonus is the fact that it encourages immorality and illegitimacy. This fact is causing alarm in Canada right at the present moment.

Newfoundlanders are descended from pure loyal British stock. They have proved their devotion to King and Empire. The French Canadian is anti-British. The refusal of many of them to fight overseas in the last war shows their attitude to the Empire. They hold views on social life altogether different from ours. Let us keep clear of the shadow of French influence.

Newfoundland fishermen, your ancestors built their homes on this tight little island, and guarded them. They wanted to be free from interference. The degenerate who would sell his native land is not fit to breathe the air of our Terra Nova. His fetid breath pollutes the atmosphere in which we live.

Yours truly,