Page 27 - DesBarres's Plans for Sydney
ISSUE : Issue 38
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/1/1
So he was under pressure. Artistic man, un? der pressure. Very, very desirous of get? ting ahead. And he had a wife in England, and a number of children. And this is when he takes up with Mary Cannon, a lady in No? va Scotia. She becomes his mistress. He has a number of children from her. He was fond of these children, as he was of his own. But you've got to remember 18th century attitudes towards sex, to? wards marriage, are in many ways different from now, I suspect. He seemed to find no problem with maintaining 2 households. He never shows any qualms of conscience. And it's almost as if he had a family in Nova Scotia and he had a family in England. But his first loyalty was to his own, his na? tural offspring, and to his wife. When he left his estates, which he acquired niomer- ous, in Cumberland County in particular, and later in Cape Breton--Mary Cannon runs these estates while he's away. He goes to England for a number of years to peddle the Atlantic Neptune and for legal pur- posei"' to get the money that's owed him-- and Mary Cannon ran the estates. And she writes to him continually, asking him, "What do I do in this situation?" You know, trying to get the rents from the people. And he gave her no help at all. But she felt she had power of attorney, to sell land and make exchanges and things like this. And he later disavowed all this of her, in what we would consider a very heartless manner. There's no doubt that in that case he was a scoundrel. But again, it's hard to know what his atti? tude toward Mary Cannon was, and what he felt about her. Whether he saw this as a business deal, totally a business deal, or simply had so much else on his mind when he was in England--and he did have a lot on his mind--that he just washed his hands of this. Maybe he wanted to escape from it. He's a mysterious man, as I say. He never strikes me particularly as an escapist when he comes here to Cape Breton, or la? ter in Prince Edward Island. But I think that, emotionally, he may have been an es? capist. (We have no evidence of this?) No, that's right, I'm just talking to this. All we have are letters back and forth, or no let? ters back and forth, which is even worse.- Him not answering Mary Cannon's letters when she's begging for help. And then sud? denly cutting her off and throwing her out. Maybe he saw it as self-preservation. Liv? ing in a world where it's sink or swim. And it was bad then--a foreigner--and his accounts were called into question, his honesty was called into question. He had no money to speak of.' He could have been destroyed by the government. His whole life was spent fighting for what he thought was right for himself, to keep him? self above water. He's always fighting. You know, he's a complicated person. He's not a simple person. And the problem is-- his papers are great, we have huge amounts of papers, but he doesn't come across. A- gain, he may have destroyed them--he was Cape Breton Mental Health Centre Main Location: 1st Floor, Cape Breton Hospital,' Sydney River Satellite Clinics Serve These Areas: North Sydney, Glace Bay, New Waterford. Harbour, Ingonish, Cheticamp, Baddeck, Neil's St. Peter's Services: Psychotherapy, Individual Counselling, Marriage & Family Counselling, Group Therapy, Consultation to Agencies, Schools, etc.. Drug Therapy, Forensic Assessment, Psychological Testing, Parenting, Children's Services Referrals accepted from all sources. You can even refer yourself. Please Call 562-3202 or 562-3110 or 562-3333 (27)
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