Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 56 > Page 53 - Bishop Plessis Visits Cape Breton, 1815

Page 53 - Bishop Plessis Visits Cape Breton, 1815

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/1/1 (461 reads)

they make. They pay only 25 shillings for each chaldron put aboard but they sell this same quantity for 11 or 12 dollars, sometimes 14, in Halifax. Apparently, the price is not less in Newfoundland. It happens sometimes that the mine being exploited does not provide enough to load all the boats in the harbour. Then, the navigators are allowed to extract coal themselves from the surrounding cliffs. Those who do that, not having the means to prevent cave-ins, run the risk of being cmshed to death when they have dug horizontally for a certain distance. There have already been several victims of this reckless enterprise. The small amount of energy spent by the govemment of Cape Breton on the exploitation of coal mining has resulted in a search for coal elsewhere. It has been found in Ptotou, in Nova Scotia, of a superior quality, and it is expected that it will be mined. If this finally happens, the mine at Sydney will soon be abandoned, and this poor govern? ment will only have customs duties as its sole source of revenue. The mine at Pictou, being far more accessible, is bound to be preferred. While Father Gaulin and the government's rowboat went round the spit of land which separates Spanish Bay from the French village of Labrador, a distance of not less than 6 leagues, the other evangelical workers crossed it overland without any difficulty to make their trek tiresome. They arrived near ten o'clock in the morning and the boat around noon. The soldiers who manned it wished to go as far as St. Peter's. How? ever, in addition to the difficulty of estimating the time it would take, the bishop, not wanting to take advantage of General Swayne's gen? erosity, gave them dinner and a small reward and sent them away. The mission started on the very same day. Frangois Lejeune, the most prosperous inhabitant of the place, had prepared his house to lodge the bishop and the four ecclesiastics; a new small barn was to sen/e as a church and the portable chapel was set up immediately. Good God! What a christian flock! There probably is no place in the diocese of Quebec where the Catholic reliaion has fallen so low. Not only do the children ignore the Christian doctrine, but it is not rare to find men aged 20, 25 and 30 years old who have not yet received communion. This poor population, having always been outside the Joe's Warehouse The Food Emporium Cape Breton's Largest and Finest Restaurant Specializing in Aged Prime Cuts of Roast Beef and Steaks and One of the Most Unique Salad Bars in the Maritimes CABARET Live Entertainment Nightly! 424 Charlotte Street 539-6686 539-0408 RESTAURANT LOUNGE D BANQUET FACILITIES AVAILABLE D reach of missionaries because of its isolation, used to have an annual 8-day visit from Mr. Le? jamtel. He had been un? able to visit them for the past 4 years. The ene? my had used that time to sow false doctrines within the small flock and it had taken root. Though ignorant, people are nevertheless subjected to the different passions which agi? tate the human soul, and they are, generally speaking, less able to resist their baser in? stincts. This group, not know? ing what to do on Sundays and feast days, and without a chapel where they could have assembled, transformed them into days of amusement and debauchery. Dances and dmnken parties have replaced religious exercises. Licen? tiousness quickly followed, en? couraged by the lack of vigi? lance by the fathers and mothers. Bonds were forged even among parents. Wanting to get married but lacking a priest, they had recourse to magistrates and even to here? tical ministers, without regard to canonical impediments for which the catholic church alone can grant dispensation. There are at Little Brador not less than 8 to 10 couples in that situation. These people should be separated; instruct? ed in the cathechism, of which they are ignorant; convinced of the error of their ways; made to do penance and, fi? nally, married legitimately. All of this presupposes docility on their part and, from a priest, the possibility of resid? ing with them for a fairly long period of time in order to dis? pense his attentions, his ex? hortations, and his prayers. Beyond the public cathechism for either children or adults, it would be necessary to have private talks with some of the fathers and mothers, frequent meetings with these so-called husbands in order to better convince them of the irregular? ity of their conduct, to give them private lessons because, given their age, they might be ashamed to receive them at public cathechism, though they need those lessons more urgently than the children. It would be necessary to im? press upon all of them the ne? cessity of obsen/ing the holy days, and of discouraging them from mundane amuse? ments which they unfortunate? ly substitute for pious and christian observances. To ac- SKI Any wonder Siding Is North America's fastest growing winter sport with places like SKI BEN EOIN Ski Ben Eoin is next door to all of Cape Breton • LfOcated 17 miles Southwest of Sydney on Highway #4 Ski Reports 902-828-2222 Office 902-828-2804 Fax 902-828-2550
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