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Memoir of the Rev James MacGregor D.D.
Chapter XVII. - From the Arrival of Mr Gordon, to the Settlement of Mr Pidgeon 1806 - 1812


“Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee because thou best left thy first love.”—Rev. ii. 4.

During the year 1807, as already mentioned, ho paid his second visit to Miramiehi, but we have no particulars of it, additional to what has been already given.

We have no account of any missionary excursions during the year 1808, and the minutes of Presbytery after the year 1806 have been lost, but we know that about this time the members of Presbytery were engaged in supplying Halifax, where a congregation had been formed shortly before. There had been for some time a Presbyterian minister there; but he was said to have been in his doctrine an Arminian, and in his general practice a fair specimen of the “ Moderate” clergy of the Church of Scotland ; and some serious persons were anxious for a minister of a different stamp. They therefore united in purchasing a church, which had been originally used by the Methodists. In some way the title to it was in the hands of a wealthy individual in that connection, but he having quarrelled with them, refused them the use of the building, and for some time preached in it himself. Finally he sold it to the parties just mentioned, who in the year 1806 applied to Presbytery for supply of preaching. This was granted, and Mr. Gordon supplied them for six weeks on his arrival in the Province. For the next three or four years they were supplied by the Presbytery, but, as there were scarcely any unsettled ministers under their care, the most of the work had to be done by members of Presbytery. Doctor MacGregor did his full share, supplying them on more than one occasion for two or three weeks. But we have no particulars of his visits.

This autumn, (1805,) arrived another minister, who was afterward to be distinguished by his abundant labours, and whose personal excellencies have since rendered him the object of esteem wherever he was known. We allude to Doctor Iveir, whose recent removal the church now deplores. He had conic out specially to supply Halifax, but Mr. Gordon’s health was now failing, and the Presbytery being anxious about the condition of the church there, sent him thither for the winter. In April following, the brethren were saddened by the death of Mr. Gordon, which made the first breach in their number. Previous to his arrival in this country the seeds of consumption were sown in his constitution. From the time of his arrival in the Island, he had laboured with great diligence in his Master’s work, and was greatly beloved by the people. But the toils connected with his sphere of labour were too great for his weak physical frame to sustain. Still he laboured on, as if resolved to die in harness. Toward the close of winter he had gone from St. Peters to Princetown, but in great weakness, where he preached by exchange with Doctor Keir, and baptized a number of children. On his way home he died at Cove Head, leaving a widow and two fatherless children, one of them but a few weeks old, to the care of Him who hath said, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widows trust in me.”

The members of Presbytery felt the bereavement keenly. They not only felt the loss of their brother’s services to the church — they not only sympathized with his people, left as sheep without a shepherd, and with but little prospect of one to supply his place—they not only grieved as for the loss of a brother, who had been “very pleasant” to them in all his intercourse with them; but they felt something like that peculiar grief, which attends the first death in a family. They immediately resolved to manifest their sympathy for his widow and children, in a practical manner. Subscriptions were taken up through their congregations for their relief. In this work Doctor MacGregor, who had already shown some of those qualifications, which caused him afterward to be good-humoredly described as the prince of beggars, and who was distinguished for his personal charity, was particularly forward.

In summer he was sent over to minister the bounty of the churches. In his memoranda he says, “ 1809, Gordon died, and I went to comfort his wife.” On this occasion he not only preached at St. Peters, but at Cavendish, and Princetown, and we believe at other places. He moderated in a call at Princetown to Mr. Keir, and we believe also at St. Peters. The latter in the meantime returned to the main land where he supplied Halifax and Merigomish. But such was now the state of the Island, that the Presbytery, with whom at that time rested the decision in competing calls, appointed him to Princetown, with his own entire concurrence. His ordination, however was deferred till the following June.

In this year, (1809,) the Presbytery received another accession to their number, in the person of the Rev. John Mitchell. He was a native of Neweastle-upon-Tyne, had been educated at Hoxton Academy, and came out to Quebec as a missionary, of the London Missionary Society. After labouring for some time at Bay Chaleur, he settled at Amherst, whence he removed to River John, in the year previous, from which time he preached not only there, but at Tatamagouehe, and Wallace; and afterward at New Annan. Though originally a Congregationalist, he in this year joined the Presbytery, of which he continued a member till his death. He was not a man of superior gifts, but he was a good man, and a faithful preacher of righteousness. Thus another portion of the vineyard, in which Doctor MacGregor was the first to preach the gospel, obtained a minister, whose labours extended over a sphere, which now employs the labours of four or five ministers.

In June 1810, the Presbytery proceeded to Princetown, for the purpose of ordaining Doctor Iveir. The members present were Doctor MacGregor, the Rev. Duncan Ross, Doctor MacCulloch, and the late Mr. Mitchell, of River John. They arrived by way of Bedeque late in the week. Doctor MacGregor preached on Saturday, from Phil. iii. 8. “ I count all things but loss for the excellency of Christ Jesus my Lord.” But the ordination did not take place till the following day, ( Sabbath). An ordination was then an event entirely new in that part of the Island, and excited great interest. There were many, doubtless, who rejoiced in the event, as realizing their long disappointed expectations, of having the ordinances of religion regularly dispensed among them. But the novelty of the event excited the curiosity of many others. So that the whole population, not only of Princetown, but of New London, Bedeque, and the west side of Richmond Bay, able to attend, assembled on the occasion. The audience, for those days, when population was sparse, was considered immense. The old church would not hold half of the congregation. A platform was accordingly erected outside the church, but close by it, on which the ordination took place. Part of the audience remained seated in the church within sight and hearing, while the rest were assembled outside. Doctor MacCulloch preached from Acts xvii. 31. “He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained,” narrated the steps, put the questions of the formula, and offered the ordination prayer. Mr. Ross gave the charge to the people, and we believe also to the minister, and Mr. Mitchell concluded the services by a sermon from Acts xiii. 26. “To you is the word of this salvation sent.” But considerable disappointment was felt by the people, that they were not hearing the voice of Doctor MacGregor, whom they regarded as the father of the congregation, and whom many of them individually esteemed as their spiritual father. As one brother after another occupied the stand, there were whisperings, “Will it be him next?” and as the services were concluding without his taking any part, their disappointment almost amounted to vexation; but a complete revulsion took place, when it was intimated that, in ten minutes after the benediction was pronounced, Doctor MacGregor would preach in Gaelic. The people of Princetown were originally from Cantyre, in Argyleshire, and the old people mostly spoke Gaelic, so that they eagerly crowded around him to hear the gospel in their native tongue, and such was their interest in it, and their esteem for him increased by the revulsion of feeling resulting from their previous disappointment, that he had been speaking but a few minutes when the whole congregation were bathed in tears. Altogether the day was one of deep and hallowed interest, and yet has a place in the fondest recollections of the few surviving of those present, while the young have heard of it traditionally as a day long to be remembered.

But, “when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan also came with them,” and so it seemed to be on the present occasion. There was a man present, who was an infidel and a bold blasphemer. He had considerable skill in sketching, and drew a caricature of the whole proceedings. He pictured Doctor MacGregor in one of his postures of greatest earnestness, and represented him with words coming out of his mouth, which were a profane misrepresentation of his text, while leading persons in the congregation were exhibited with mouths open, or in other ridiculous postures. Apart from its profanity the thing was cleverly done, and it was shown to a good number. The author was at that time a man of influence,—had a fine establishment of mills,—and for a time made considerable money, but he came to poverty, and died in Charlotte Town in great wretchedness.

This summer Mrs. Gordon removed to Nova Scotia, and we may here notice some events in her history, as she is soon to be brought within the scope of our narrative. She had been left an orphan at an early age, but though she felt some of the hardships which so often fall to the lot of such, yet the God of the fatherless watched over her interests, and provided for all her necessities. She learned those lessons which are taught with such peculiar efficiency in the school of adversity, and early she learned to put her trust in the God of her fathers, whose Providential care she was often afterward to find a never failing resource. At an early age she went to live with her uncle, the Rev. Archibald Bruce of Whitburn, then professor of Theology to the Antiburgher Synod; but not to eat the bread of dependence, for the terms on which she lived with him, were such as to render her support the result of her own industry. As she grew up she for a number of years kept house for him, he being unmarried, and as the Theological Hall of the Synod met annually at Whitburn, she became intimately acquainted with most of those, who were afterward the ministers of the body.

While residing here she heard Doctor MacGregor’s printed letter read from the pulpit of the congregation to which she belonged, and was much affected by it. On her return home she gave free expression to her feelings of sympathy for the destitute state of the people of this country. “I am vexed,” she said, “for the state of those poor people, and that no person goes to them.” "Oh!” said her uncle, “these things are painted.” “I do not know,” she replied, “but they seem to me like the truth.” “Would you go to them?” asked her uncle. “Well if I thought I could do any good I think that I would.” Little did she imagine how she was to be taken at her word. As we have already mentioned, Mr. Gordon about the same time heard the same letter read, and was in like manner so affected by it, that he devoted himself to study with a view to the work of the ministry.

For a time her life moved smoothly on, and she had the prospect of a comfortable settlement in her native land, by a union with one who ministered in holy things in the body to which she belonged; when suddenly there came upon her one of those disappointments, which has crushed many a gentle heart, and caused many a lovely flower to wither on its stem. He whom she trusted broke the most solemn vow, we believe for the gold of another. Like a slender reed she was bent low before the storm, but under the pressure of the stern duties of life, her spirit recovered its elasticity, and ere long it appeared, that Providence had appointed her sphere in very different circumstances. Without descending to particulars, we have only to say that ten years after the conversation above described she was married to Mr. Gordon, then under appointment to Nova Scotia. Her uncle, who united them in marriage, reminded her of what had transpired on the occasion of the reading of Doctor MacGregor’s letter, which she had for some time forgotten. The recollection of it deeply impressed her mind, and led herself and her friends to unite in admiration of the manner in which God leads his people in a way that they know not.

When Mr. Gordon died she was again left destitute, and that with two little fatherless children, one of them only a few days old; and though sometimes “ cast down,” yet her trust was in the faithfulness of a covenant keeping God. On one occasion she was sitting in tears reflecting upon her situation. Her eldest little girl, who was playing about the room, came up to her knee, and looking in her face with the artless confidence of childhood said, “Mamma, God help us.” “My child,” said the mother as she clasped her in her arms, “you have rebuked me.”

The Presbytery having taken her case into consideration, arranged that she should live with Mr. Dick, as he had a large house and no family, and it was expected that either by teaching or sewing she might maintain her family. It was in this view that she came over to Nova Scotia, but when she came to the East River, Mrs. MacGregor would not hear of her leaving on any condition. It was represented that Mr. Dick had a large house. “Oh, our house is large enough,” was the reply. “But he has no family.” “Still there is room enough, or if there is not we can build another.” Her determination prevailed, and the Doctor set to work to build a small house for Mrs. G. on a corner of his lot, partly from his own means, but partly by subscriptions wherever he could obtain them. During the time it was building, she lodged in the Doctor’s house, and when it was completed, she went to occupy it, intending to support herself and little ones either by teaching or sewing. Little did any of them dream of what was soon to transpire.

Mrs. Gordon had not been many weeks in her own house, when Mrs. MacGregor was suddenly removed by death. On the 6th of Nov., she gave birth to her fourth son, and seventh child. She had as was thought safely passed her hour of trial, and the Doctor informed of it retired to his closet. But from unskilfulness in the subsequent treatment on the part of those about her, her case took an unfavourable turn. The Doctor having returned from his retirement, said that he had just been giving thanks to God for her safe delivery. But already she was in great agony and expired in a few hours after.

This event we need scarcely say was the greatest trial that had yet befallen him, and he was greatly “cast down” by it. The severity of the stroke in itself, its startling suddenness coming when danger was thought to be over, the peculiar circumstances of the case, particularly the manner in which her death had been occasioned, combined with his great natural tenderness of heart, so affected him, that the strong man was for the time bowed to the earth. The common people, who were apt to mistake strong feeling for want of resignation, were greatly surprised at the depth of his sorrow. Their views might be expressed in the language of Eliphaz to Job, “Behold thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.” To one who expressed surprise at his being so deeply affected by it, he said, “Do you think I am a stick or a stone?” Donald MacKay said to him, “James, where is all the strength and support you have been giving us in our trouble?” “Ah, Donald,” was the reply, “I was then in the spirit, but I am now in the flesh.”

Till this time he had- not failed in fulfilling an appointment to preach. He was to have preached at the Upper Settlement the day following, being a day of humiliation or thanksgiving. He, however, did not go, and we believe also that he did not preach on Sabbath. Doubtless he might have said as did Aaron when his sons were cut off, “Such things have befallen me; and if I had eaten the sin offering to-day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord?” On the Sabbath following he preached at the Upper Settlement in the old church, from Rev. xiv. 13, “Blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours and their works do follow them.” He alluded most affectingly to the event, and applied it most solemnly. He brought it home to himself, as well as the people. He said that death had come as near him as it could without touching himself.

But soon Christian faith and resignation prevailed. "Writing on the 4th December following to the Rev. Samuel Gilfillan, he thus describes the event:

“Yours of November 1809, I received in the course of last summer, I do not mind the time exactly. I was not anxious to answer it till November, the usual time of my writing home; and when that time arrived, my attention was arrested by another subject. It pleased God, on the 6th of last month, to call home to himself the dear partner of my joys and griefs, and to leave me struggling in the vale of tears. But his ‘goodness and mercy shall follow me all my days.’ The hand of my heavenly Father never administered to me such an affecting stroke. Yet those of sorrow were not the only tears I shed. I have no reason to mourn as those who have no hope. She died (and I may say she lived) praying for mercy through the Redeemer.”

He afterward erected a monument to her memory with the following inscription, in Gaelic verse.

Bu bhean phosda bha tlathi Bu mbathair bha caoin Bha crcidimh le gradh aic TJs gnath nach robh faoin.

Of which the meaning in English is, “She was a wife most affectionate, a mother most tender, she had faith with love and a conduct consistent.”

We may as well here tell the rest of our story. A few months rolled by. His desire to comfort the widow and to minister to the fatherless drew him often to the cottage at the corner of his lot. Perhaps the expression of mutual sympathy in their bereaved condition rendered such visits a solace to his own spirit. Public rumour would have it that other motives drew him thither. His own natural sagacity soon led him to perceive the incongruity of keeping up two houses with two families, on one farm, each family having only a single parent, and the advantage of their being united under one roof. He presented such strong arguments on the subject, that the lady could not but acknowledge their force, as well as the propriety of setting public rumours at rest. Accordingly in writing to Doctor Keir, on the 20th Dec. 1811, he says, “There is a talk, and I suppose upon good authority, that Mrs. Gordon and I are to be married in a week or two.” Accordingly early in the year 1812, they were duly united. We have no such romantic incidents to record of his second as of his first marriage; but we may say that the union was as happy as a union could be between two sinful mortals in this world, and one which was a great blessing to their respective families. Her children he treated as his own, and their affection for him became as intense as it could have been for their own father; while she was indeed a mother to his children, each of whom has retained through life the same feelings that they would have had for their own mother, a feeling so strong that the common idea of step-mothers they have been disposed to class with the improbable fictions of a barbarous age. Mr. Ross used to say in his good humoured way, that one good wife was enough for one man, but that Doctor MacGregor had had two.

Of the summer of 1811, he thus writes in a letter to Doctor Keir. “This year is uncommonly hard upon the generality of people in this Province. Provisions are very scarce, and money still scarcer. We ministers are not getting our stipends paid so well as usual, but we have plenty to eat. Our Legislature has established a number of Grammar Schools in this Province with an hundred pounds salary to each, besides the pay of the scholars. Mr. MacCulloch has got the one for our district.” During the same summer the Rev. Mr. Pidgeon, who had been sent out by the London Missionary Society, was on application received by the Presbytery as a minister under their inspection, and during that season was called to the pastoral charge of the congregation of St. Peter’s, Cove Head, and Bay Fortune, left vacant by the death of Mr. Gordon. His induction was appointed to take place the following spring, and Doctor MacGregor, Doctor Iveir, and Mr. Dick, were appointed a committee of Presbytery for that purpose. But before that time it pleased the Great Head of the Church to remove Mr. Dick from his earthly labours. He died in the winter of the year 1812. His death was deeply felt by the brethren and throughout the church. In spring Doctor MacGregor proceeded to Prinee Edward Island, being taken thither in a boat belonging to Mr. James MacLaren. He was landed at George Town, and thence proceeded to St. Peter’s on horseback. There he met Mr. Keir. Such was then the infrequency of communication between the Island and the mainland, that Mr. Keir had not heard of Mr. Dick’s death. The first enquiry therefore was, “Where is Mr. Dick?” to which Doctor MacGregor solemnly replied, “Mr. Dick is in eternity.” We have no particular account of the induction services. In private, when it was over, he good humouredly remarked to some of the people, “You ought to be much obliged to me, as I have taken your former minister’s wife off your hands, and now I am come to give you another minister.”

After the induction he returned to George Town, and Murray Harbour, at both of which places he preached. He does not seem to have itinerated in other parts of the Island. Probably as the principal settlements in the western part of the Island were now under the charge of Doctor Keir, and those in the east under Mr. Pidgeon, he did not feel it necessary. He was taken home from Murray Harbour in the same boat that had brought him over.

We shall conclude this chapter with some account of the degeneracy in morals in Pictou, which, as we have already intimated began some years before, but which was now at its height. He, himself, thus describes it in a letter written about the year 1809.

“I am already an old man, failing both in body and mind; while my labour, could I attend to it, is constantly increasing. Though I cannot say that I am labouring in vain, yet the kingdom of Satan is visibly growing stronger every year. There is an incredible change in Pictou in my time. For the first nine or ten years we were visibly reforming, but ever since the generality have been backsliding, though many individuals are still holding on their way. Many of the older Christians have dropped off the stage, and few of those who have come in their place have their spirit, Many causes contribute their influence to our degeneracy. There were not much above 400 souls, if so many, in Pictou, when I came to it, whereas we are now nigh 4000, if not more. When people increase, sin multiplies. The first settlers had to struggle hard in clearing the woods for a living, their sons enjoying their labours are easy but not good. The first settlers mingled little with the world, through poverty and want of roads ; now we have some riches and tolerable roads, and of course easy communication with strangers and their infections. We have suffered from emigrants settling among us from different parts of the Highlands; but more from merchants and traders from England, and the south of Scotland. The ignorance and superstition of the former have not done us so much evil, as the avarice, the luxury, the show, and the glittering toys of the latter.

“But the grand cause of our depravation .is the shutting up of the Baltic. If the Devil contrived it for the ruin of our morals, he is a master in politics; for it were hard to contrive a more effectual scheme for that purpose. If God were not above him, he would accomplish his end completely. Ever since that event, ships, sailors, money, and spirituous liquors with their attendant evils, have been pouring in among us continually. The great demand for timber has in a manner caused us to lay aside farming, our most innocent, and in the long run our most profitable earthly employment, and give up ourselves to the felling, squaring, hauling, rafting, and selling of timber to the ships, and the squandering of money. Once in a day I could not have believed that all the vices in the world would have done so much damage in Pictou, as I have seen drunkenness alone do within these few years. Indeed, this sin is pre-eminent in America. The prosperity of fools destroys them. Gloomy indeed is the prospect which the young generation here presents. But still God rules; and Oh! how mysteriously and wonderfully does he prevent, permit, restrain, or let loose sinners in their evil ways. And I must confess that I see his love and truth more eminently glorified in the preservation of his own in the midst of so much wickedness, and so many temptations, than before they became so prevailing. Oh ! the wisdom of God in training his poor inexperienced people to fight successfully with sin, his tenderness in suiting their trials to their ability, and his merciful power in making them conquerors, after being frequently foiled. But how desperate is the stupidity and brutishness of sinners, quite insensible to the struggle against sin, to the humility, self-denial, and holiness, manifest in the example of their nearest neighbours !”

The causes of this degeneracy are here fully described. The first was the great influx of worldly prosperity. When the war first broke out, the price of timber fell, but it soon rose to an unprecedented height. Especially after the closing of the Baltic ports against British commerce by the decrees of Napoleon, the demand for Colonial timber became very large, and great efforts were made to supply it, and Pictou became for years one of the chief places of export of timber to Britain. In the year 1805 its exports amounted to £105,000. Such an influx of prosperity introduced a large number of a very worthless class of persons. It produced the extravagance and other evils of unregulated prosperity, while the vices of a state of war affected all classes of society. It might have been expected that such prosperity would at least have had an important influence upon the improvement of the country. But it would be difficult to find in any land an example of such prosperity leaving so few permanent results for good even upon its material progress. Farming retrograded. The farmers went to the woods for timber, and left their farms to neglect. The land was thus depreciated by having the valuable timber removed from it, without its being cleared or rendered fit for the plough; while a ruinous system of farming impoverished the land already under cultivation. The farmer thought only of hastily committing his seed to the ground in spring, and of removing the crop in harvest, and paid no attention to manuring, rotation, or other improved systems of agriculture; in many instances the dung being allowed to accumulate around their stables until the sills rotted, and it became a question whether it were easier to remove the mass or the barn, unless where an individual with more foresight erected his barn by a running stream, which served to carry away the filth. In this way their farms became thoroughly exhausted, and the evils of this state of things have continued to the present day, both by the improper system of farming which is even yet not entirely abolished, and by the bad reputation which the country gained as to its capabilities for agriculture. The merchants, partly owing to the system of credit already described, and partly owing to the changes which took place in the lumber market, nearly all failed. Scarcely one of them died wealthy. Of those who at one time were most flourishing, even of the man who counted himself worth £100, 000, the estates proved insolvent; and the country came out of a season of commercial prosperity, such as it has never since seen, with exhausted resources.

Lumbering has been generally most fatal to the morals of those who have made it their business. The usual mode of conducting it was for a number of men to go to the woods in autumn with a supply of provisions, and there to erect a rude camp in which they spent the winter, with the exception of visits to the settlements for necessaries. They then proceeded to cut down timber, to square and haul it to the neighbouring streams. In the spring, when the melting of the snow and the fall of rain causes a large rising of the rivers, the timber was floated down to the nearest port of shipping. This mode of living, separated from the humanizing influences of civilized life, tends to brutalize men; while the exposure to cold and wet, particularly in rafting in the spring, forms a strong temptation to hard drinking.

But the great characteristic of the times, as mentioned by the Doctor in an extract previously given, was the extent to which rum was used. The first settlers used very little. They had not the means of obtaining it, as it then cost twenty shillings a gallon. Besides pure water, or milk, almost the only drink in which they indulged was the Partridge berry tea. Even tea, now used in Nova Scotia to an extent, which for the number of its inhabitants is altogether unparalleled, was for some time an unknown luxury. We have heard of an old woman, inviting some of her friends to tea for the first time, who prepared it by boiling a pound, and carefully straining off the water, served up the leaves something in the form of greens. The arrival of the disbanded soldiers introduced drinking, and partially affected the habits of other settlers. But it was not till the lumbering business became active, that their morals and habits became seriously affected by the use of ardent spirits. In the year 1794, rum began to be introduced freely from the West Indies, and the extent to which it was consumed in after years seems now absolutely incredible. We have heard for example of a settlement, in which there was imported in the autumn at the rate of half a puncheon for every family in the settlement, and by the month of April the supply was exhausted.

The habit of drinking was most prevalent among the lumberers. We have heard for example of a man being employed at five shillings, with an allowance of two glasses per diem, and yet being in debt in spring, though the money had gone for nothing but rum. When a lumbering party went to the woods, they initiated their proceedings with a carouse, which made such inroads into their supply of rum as rendered an early visit to the settlement necessary to have it replenished. When they did get to work, they daily consumed quantities which are to us inconceivable. We have heard of a man at work taking his glass every hour, or in the course of a day consuming his quart bottle of rum, while at intervals their labours were arrested for the enjoyment of a carouse, which might last two or three days. Thus in spring they still found themselves in debt to the merchant, from whom they had got their supplies in autumn, the timber they had made scarcely paying for the provisions they had consumed, and the rum they had drunk.

The lumberers, however, were not the only persons affected by the free introduction of rum. No class of society was exempt from its influence. The extent to which rum became habitually used, is little known to the present generation, but there are a number of persons still living, who from their recollection can give facts, which fill us with amazement. They can tell of the time, when two glasses a day was considered a moderate allowance for a working man—when a person in comfortable circumstances would not have thought of sitting down to dinner without a decanter on one corner of the table—when it would be an unpardonable affront if a neighbour when he called was not offered the bottle—when rum flowed freely alike at all occasions of family interest, births, deaths, and bridals—and at all occasions of public concourse—when every bargain was cemented over the social glass—when in fact no business of any kind could be transacted except in presence of the bottle, and as has been often said a pig could not be killed without liquor.

As late as the year 1827, it was published in the local newspaper, as a remarkable circumstance that a house frame was raised without the use of ardent spirits. The habitual use of liquor, perhaps not quite to the extent which we have described, was common among the best and most sober part of the community. The minister as regularly took his dram as his parishioners—the elder sold liquor, and saw one son after another becoming drunkards. We may therefore imagine how much more deeply others indulged—how many lived and died drunkards. In fact, even the most respectable members of the community, and professors of Christianity, sometimes went to excess. Thus for long years the ministers of the county might be said to have maintained one grand struggle against rum, and it was not until the Temperance Reformation began about the year 1827, that the evil was decidedly checked.

Doubtless there were good men who had not defiled their garments—and among the rising generation, there were still some, we may say many, who gave themselves to the Lord. But in general it was a time when iniquity abounded, and the love of many waxed cold. Even the Christians trained in that era were not equal in charactcr and worth to the first generation trained in this county.

In the description we have now given, we do not mean to confine our remarks to the period at which we have arrived. The degeneracy had reached its height about this period, but it began about the end of the last century, and it extended to a greater or less extent over the first quarter of the present.


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