Tag Archives: Boston States

“When the able and the young go away to work…”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

 May 23, 1869

The Rooms Provincial Archives Division, VA 14-146 / G. Anderson

On  (May 23, 1869) Edward Morris of St. John’s wrote in his diary  about all of the activity at the dockside in St. John’s . He observed “about 500 men” getting ready to leave Newfoundland  in search for work.  He wrote in his diary:

“Yesterday the “Merlin” Steamer left Shea’s Wharf for Nova Scotia with upwards of 500 men to work on the inter colonial railway. The saddest evidence of the depressed state of this colony (Newfoundland) that has as yet been presented.  When the able and the young go away to work upon the roads in the other provinces in preference to remaining to prosecute the fisheries it speaks little for the inducements of the fisherman’s occupation.”

 The jobs that the 500 Newfoundlanders were seeking by taking the Steamer ‘Merlin  from St. John’s to Nova Scotia were jobs on the inter colonial railway, under construction,  linking the Maritime colonies and Canada. Completion of the railway was made a condition of Confederation in 1867.

The out migration, that Edward Morris witnessed, by his fellow Newfoundlanders is a constant theme in Newfoundland history.  The people of Newfoundlandand moved to other countries for a wide range of reasons throughout the 1800’s, emigration occurred on the largest scale during the last two decades of the century when the cod fishery fell into severe decline and caused widespread economic hardship.

While some people left their homes permanently, others worked in foreign countries on a seasonal or temporary basis before returning home. Most emigrants moved to Canada or the United States. The vast majority to “the Boston States.”

In more recent years Newfoundland and Labrador has witnessed (1996 and 2001) about 47,100 people pulling up stakes and leaving the province. The Conference Board of Canada’s most recent long-term forecast predicts the province’s population will fall from about 527,000 now to 482,000 by 2035.

Despite baby bonus incentives and other government efforts since 2008, the population is expected to shrink more here over the next two decades than any other part of Canada. An aging demographic will be compounded by out-migration of workers — especially if offshore oil production wanes.

Recommended Archival Collection: What do we have in the ‘Rooms Archives’ on this subject? Type emigration in the search bar here: http://gencat1.eloquent-systems.com/webcat/request/DoMenuRequest?SystemName=The+Rooms+Public&UserName=wa+public&Password=&TemplateProcessID=6000_3355&bCachable=1&MenuName=The+Rooms+Archives

Recommended Reading: Newfoundland: Journey Into a Lost Nation by Michael Crummey and Greg Locke. McClelland & Stewart. Chronicles the passage of a time when cod were still plentiful and the fishery shaped the lives of most of the island’s inhabitants, to the present, when an economy, propelled by oil and mineral development, is recasting the island’s identity in a new mould.

Recommended Website: Statistics Canada – http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/subject-sujet/theme-theme.action?pid=3867&lang=eng&more=0

 

 

Old Home Week, 1904

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

October 5, 1903

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives Division 1.502.050 A Regatta crowd on the north side slopes of Quidi Vidi Lake. One of the events held during Old Home Week, 1904

On  October 5, 1903 James J McAuliffe of Everett, Mass. U.S.A. wrote the Catholic bishop of St. John’s, Michael Francis Howley.

McAuliffe was born in St. John’s in 1848 and emigrated to Boston in 1866 to study at the Boston Art School.  As a young artist he established a reputation as a “marine water color artist” but also did some “fine religious pictures”.

In his letter he reminded the bishop that he had made a substantial contribution to the Cathedral (now Basilica) with his painting of ‘Ecce Homo” (Behold the Man) that he presented to the Cathedral and the people of St. John’sin 1899.  The large painting contained 75 life size figures showing Christ before Pilate and hung on the west aisle of the Cathedral.

TOURISM

McAuliffe who had never forgotten his Newfoundland roots was passionate about promoting the colony. He lectured on a regular basis in the “Boston States” at clubs frequented by Newfoundlanders.

During this time (1903-1905) it is estimated that there were 11,000 Newfoundlanders in the Boston States. Many frequented the Newfoundland social clubs in theBoston area that were founded for and by Newfoundlanders including:  the Cabot Club (1899),  the Boston Terra Novian Association  (1865),  Newfoundlanders Mutual Benefit Association  (NMBA) (1891), the United Sons of Terra Nova (1904) and the Avalon Society (1905).

In October 1903 McAuliffe was very active in promoting “Old Home Week” that was to take place the following year. He suggested that the Old Home Week would not only provide “a great source of revenue” for Newfoundland, but it would also promote a “spirit of patriotism” and be a means of “rolling back the clouds of misrepresentation and calumny indulged in by some of the representatives of the foreign press”. It would also, he argued, be a means of spreading tourist information about the country.

Old Home Week took place from  3-10 August 1904 and attracted some 600 ex-Newfoundland residents from the United States.

A VISIT TO THE CATHEDRAL

McAuliffe would have visited the Cathedral (now Basilica) with his friends from the “Boston States” to see his painting (Ecce Homo) that hung in the west aisle of the Cathedral. Today he would be most disappointed!!  His large painting is missing, likely removed for the renovations to the Basilica in 1954.

Only one of his paintings remains in the province described as a “fine painting”  it depicts  John Cabot’s entry in to the harbor of St. John’s. It was regarded as one of his masterpieces.” This painting is  now in a private collection in St. John’s.

James J. McAuliffe, the great promoter of Newfoundland died in his adopted Boston States in August 1921.

Recommended Tour: Immerse yourself in our culture at Newfoundland  and Labrador’s largest public cultural space.  It’s the place where it all comes together – our history, heritage and artistic  expression. The Rooms unites the Provincial Archives,  Art Gallery and Museum. A place for people,  The Rooms is a portal to the many stories our province has to tell.

Recommended Reading: Newfoundlanders in the Boston States:  Newfoundland Studies 6, 1 (1990)  see  http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/NFLDS/article/view/894