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Beginnings And Landmarks

Vanguard Of Barr Colonists

Daily Phoenix
April 10, 1903. p.1

Dr. Robbins, who arranged the details of the tour of the British educationist through Canada last year, arrived yesterday afternoon direct from London to arrange for the coming of the Barr colonists, who sailed from Liverpool by the steamer Lake Winnipeg on Tuesday.

Dr. Robbins was met here by a couple of gentlemen who have been gathering supplies and getting tents ready for erection at Saskatoon, and along the route to the site of the settlement beyond Battleford. He stated that everything would be in good shape for forwarding the colonists by the time they arrived at Saskatoon on April 17. It was a mistake to confound these hard-working colonists with the sons of rich men reared in the lap of luxury, who had failed in the past in Canada. A good proportion of the colonists were agriculturists and others were mechanics and all came out ready and expecting to work. Mention was made of the report that there were a number of sons of clergymen in the party, but Dr. Robbins held that these young men had been hardened by cricket and football in the public schools for a life of outdoor labor. By the co-operation of mechanics and farmers and the settling of relatives and neighbors on the same sections, the isolation which had borne so heavily upon individual settlers in the past would be got rid of.

Besides this, a complete modern hospital, in charge of competent physicians, formed part of the equipment of the colony, so that, physically, the colonists would be well looked after. People must not form hasty conclusions and argue that because there have been failures in the past by people who came out unprepared that this colony must be a failure. Britons had always been great colonizers, and why should they not be now in a carefully selected, fully informed colony.

Why should the west be willing to receive foreigners not acquainted with free institutions, and yet be fearful of the success of Englishmen. Dr. Robbins compared the plan of the present colony to that of William Penn in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Robbins told the growth of the movement form the time when Rev. Mr. Barr directed a few emigrating members of his congregation to go to Canada together in order to have mutual support and sympathy. Starting out with the idea that a few score of people would come, the scope of the movement had widened until now two thousand had sailed, and some of the immigration agents predicted as many as twenty thousand for next year.

He wished to emphasize the fact that Mr. Barr knew Canada from end to end, and had impressed upon every colonist the difficulties he would meet with. He had urged the faint-hearted to stay at home. Time and again they had been told the settlement was 150 miles from a railway. This was not a party carried away by the enthusiasm of the moment. They had counted the advantages and disadvantages in sober earnest, and had decided that Canada offered a better field for them and for their children than did Britain. It was not composed wholly of English colonists, but had in Scotch, Welsh and north of Ireland people.

The men at the head, and particularly Mr. Barr, had thought out and explained every difficulty and detail, and there was every reason to believe the colony would be a success from the start.

Dr. Robbins leaves toward the end of the week for Saskatoon to personally see to the preparations.


Referring to the efforts of Rev. Mr. Barr in promoting emigration by the setting of an all British colony in Saskatchewan, the London, Eng., Gazette, in the last issue says:

"The Rev. Mr. Barr sailed in the Lake Manitoba on April 1st, with the first party of all-British colonists. A further party is to follow by a later steamer, and widespread is the interest created by this all-British emigration movement that it is hardly possible to set limits to its dimensions. Not alone in this country is this interest manifested, for during the past few weeks many letters have been received by friends in England from young fellows who are serving with Manitoba farmers, and who request their English friends to make homestead entries for them in the all-British settlements in the North-West, so that they may take up land there upon the conclusion of their present engagements. There are, moreover, many Englishmen, some of them small farmers with capital who are equally keen upon settling in districts where they may be sure of finding British fellow-countrymen as neighbors. The Dominion Government, we make no doubt, will give every facility to both classes of settlers. It will welcome them with no less eagerness than Mr. Barr's colony is being welcomed, for the North-West needs British settlers, and the inducements which these all-British movements hold out are so great that their advantages will not, we may be sure, be confined to Mr. Barr's colonists of any other particular group.