To the Editor of the Freeman

Sir:- The conduct of the inhuman wretches who, to relieve the Parish of Chipman, Q.C., of a burden, were nothing loth to expose a poor disabled Italian to the danger of starvation at Little river, in the State of Maine, was made the subject of some severe but very just comments in your issue of the 15th inst. As, however, you seemed inclined to attribute this barbarous conduct to the rate-payers of the Parish in general, or to the Justices of the Peace of the district, I beg to assure you that they are in no way responsible for so daring an outrage on humanity. The serious charge must be borne solely by the Commissioners of the Poor of the district, who arranged, as I am informed, with the tax-collector to bring the unfortunate man to the city for the purpose of getting rid of him by sending him to the Italian Consul at Liverpool. The sum agreed upon was, I believe $100, and the Parish officers were of opinion until now that the job was done upon very reasonable terms. It afforded me great pleasure that the investigation led to the exposure of the iniquitous bargain which must prove to the parties concerned that they can not be guilty of such acts with out, at least, being held up to the execration of every right thinking man in the Province, even though they may escape the punishment with which civilized society should pursue them. As to the rate payers: all that a great number of them know concerning the conduct of Parish affairs is that they have to pay their taxes and succumb, at the annual Parish election, to the influence or rowdyism of those who attend it, who, unfortunately, are not always Son of Temperance. Some of the more respectable and older inhabitants abstain altogether from voting, foolishly thinking it of no use to endeavour to oppose, when men of the stamp of those who now stand branded with a great and public crime are the men the Parish selects to fill its offices. In view of this state of affairs it has become a serious consideration with many whether it were not better return to the old system of Parish management, which vested it, I believe, in the County Sessions, rather than leave its affairs in the hands of ignorant and unprincipled parishioners. The Justices of the Peace for the district may well feel aggrieved at the aspersion cast on their characters by your comments, and hence I must beg of you to make this public that they may be held free from so foul a stain. They have many shortcomings, no doubt, but these are attributable not so much to any fault of theirs, as to the system which commits the administration of Justice in the county Parishes to political partisans, without any regard to their attainments, but of this act of inhumanity to public must hold them not guilty.

Yours, &c.,


Source: A Rate-Payer of Chipman, Q. C., "To the Editor of the Freeman," Morning Freeman (St. John, NB), September 22, 1863.

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