By Phil Jenkins
George Mercer Dawson is a towering determine in Canadian historical past — and technological know-how — because the guy who led the Geological Survey in the course of its exploration of the Canadian West, as a rule from horseback or from a canoe. a tricky activity for a person, it was once a rare fulfillment for Dawson. Born in 1849, Dawson used to be crippled through a adolescence disease that left him hunchbacked and in consistent ache. He by no means grew taller than a tender boy, and he by no means allow his disabilities cease him. An avid photographer, beginner painter, specialist geologist and botanist, and by means of necessity an ethnographer, Dawson wrote regularly: poetry, journals, reviews, notes, and greater than 5 thousand letters, his first on the age of six and his final simply days earlier than he died in 1901.
But Dawson by no means wrote his memoirs. So, a century after his loss of life, Phil Jenkins has lent him a hand. utilizing Dawson’s personal phrases, and filling within the gaps in Dawson’s voice, Jenkins provides the fellow who left his center in western Canada. Their numerous tales — from witnessing the final nice buffalo stampede to encountering the undying customs of the Haida — evoke the true pleasure of the age of exploration. Dawson knew the discomfort of unrequited love, suffered the chew of 1000000 mosquitoes, and but he travelled on, over mountainous actual odds, to develop into essentially the most revered and loved of Victorian Canadians, within the thought-provoking instances of Dickens and Darwin.
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Extra info for Beneath My Feet: The Memoirs of George Mercer Dawson
39 As was the case for the maritime provinces as a whole, the First World War gave rise to a period of short-lived prosperity in eastern Nova Scotia, particularly in the two industrial counties. However, the end of the war ushered in a period of economic stagnation and decline affecting all sectors, including within the industrial centres. 40 At the same time, the economy was undergoing fundamental structural changes. The prolonged period of stagnation and decline that continued during the 1920s had a profound effect on a local population that was far removed from the early settler days.
At stake was the survival not only of the communities but also of the Catholic Church itself as an integral part of the region. The First Attempts The first attempts at social and economic change in eastern Nova Scotia constituted, in the main, local responses to the several waves of 34 The Big Picture social and political movements that swept the North American continent in the early 1900s. 60 The Catholic Church, led by Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum, also joined the process, inspiring various priests and religious to work to improve the lives of the faithful.
Arguably, the best time may not be during an economic boom, when both the motivation may be low and the opportunity cost may be high, making grassroots activities unlikely to arise. There seems to be a relatively brief “window of opportunity,” perhaps no longer than the span of a generation or two, when a grassroots movement can succeed in reversing the stagnation, out-migration, demoralization, and community decay that characterize economic decline. It is difficult to effect renewal once resignation, demoralization, and apathy are firmly entrenched in the very culture of the people.