Most long time readers of this blog will know of my desire to consume anything related to New Brunswick history. This ranges from books ranging from the popular (anything written by Donald Savoie) to the obscure such as a book on the history of the Jewish population in Saint John.;
I picked up another interesting book this week (by picked up I mean ran across it online) called “The History of New Brunswick, from Its First Settlement” written in 1846.
I haven’t even started this book yet but the dedication page (below) is fascinating. The author wrote this book (in 1846) because of the “prevailing ignorance” of the area. Further the author states that in our schools the “geography of other countries is taught…” and students are “unable to describe the parish they reside in, or the name of the adjoining parish.”
The purpose of this book is as a manual about all things New Brunswick for a) the traveller, 3) for schools to teach children about the province; c) for immigrants and d) for ‘men of business’.
This book was written before the U.S. civil war and it feels like we could use an update 170 years later. For those of you with children ask them about our indigenous population, the Grand Dérangement, who founded the city/town you live in or any other question about New Brunswick and its history and see what you get.
Somewhat paradoxically the more we globalize the more we need our roots to run deeper. I find it strange that we don’t really teach New Brunswick history in any serious way in the schools and I find it equally strange that not many of us really care that much about the history of our community and province.
If we knew a little bit more about the community building and struggles of our forebears maybe we would take a little more interest in the current moment – a moment when we need New Brunswickers to be thinking seriously about the future of our communities.
After reading the book, I’ll come back with some thoughts. I’d have the author on Growing Pains but I suspect they are no longer with us…..