By Benson Hewitt
Last week I wrote on William Coaker’s visit to Barr’d Island and Joe Batt’s Arm in July of 1912. This week I’ll finish it with a brief commentary:
“…Tilting was reached in an hour, with several motor boats coming out to escort the visitor to the harbour. No visitor to Joe Batt’s Arm ever received such a welcome as President Coaker received there on the 19th of July, 1912! Women and children were overjoyed, and as pleased as the men. Almost all the men here have joined the Council, numbering nearly 250 members! All are determined to vote for Coaker, the first candidate that ever represented the people. Coaker is the people’s choice! The Union Store which opened here recently is doing great business and we can at last purchase our goods as cheaply, or more cheaply at our store, than we can in St. John’s. The Union Store will be as good as $10,000 to us, for we can save by selling and buying through the Fishermen’s Protective Union. The Union has proven to be the greatest blessing ever conferred upon us; great benefits have already flown to us from it. Coaker’s name is on every tongue. The one continuous charm is Union and Coaker. He is so pleasant and approachable, every man can see him. Every satisfaction is given. He always invites members after his speech to ask questions and nothing is kept from the members. His speech was an eye-opener to us and his remarks about the Fishermen’s Protective Union Memorials to the Governor carried conviction to every heart and received an ovation hard to describe. His statement in reference to the Governor’s action expressed the opinion of the whole people here. After the whitewashing of Morison, the Governor’s usefulness in this colony disappeared.
The meeting strongly endorsed the President’s action and will back up the Supreme Council in every action it sees fit to take. Governors must be shown that they are servants of the people and that their confidence in him is wanting, a serious condition of affairs must be the outcome. Morison’s barefaced statement, which the people do not believe, and the Governor’s decision to consider him an honourable man, after such barefaced transactions are points that the people can easily form opinions about. We are sensible enough to understand their sum and substance, and we will never respect Morris, Morrison, or Governor Williams again, for each has done that which the whole population considers as a public outrage and a direct encouragement to boodling and impure dishonest government. May the election come soon, and our country be enabled to show their prompt and emphatic condemnation of such bare-faced proceedings.