Friday, November 30, 2012

Heritage and history on Prince Edward Island

CBC News reports efforts to preserve as a national historic site the 214 hectare Glenaladale estate of Captain John McDonald of Glenaladale, "one of PEI's earliest European settlers" who took up the property in 1772 (Francophone settlers not being European, presumably).

"Would be a nice venture for Scottish music and culture" suggests one comment on the CBC story.  But another observes:
As I recall my history these wealthy European types kept PEI in virtual slavery for almost 100 years.
 Pretty much right. Historian Ian Ross Robertson notes how the McDonalds/MacDonalds of Glenaladale "became legendary for their poor relations with tenants."  Captain John accused them of having the same principles as the French revolutionaries. His son Donald McDonald never went to his estate unarmed and was twice shot and wounded during disputes with tenants. His other son Catholic priest Father John McDonald, regarded the tenants "as his inferiors in every respect," aided the authorities against tenant agitators at every turn, and finally had to be removed from the island by the bishops. The family, however, successfully resisted efforts over many decades to have their estate "escheated"  (returned to the crown) for their failure to fulfil the settlement commitments they had made.

Scottish culture indeed!

(Photo from the very impressive PEI Heritage Buildings blog)

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