The Packet

Canada's History - - CONTENTS -

Red En­sign revered. Drum de­lights.

I read “Trea­sures of Canada” [Au­gustSeptem­ber 2018] and, re­gard­ing the Red En­sign flag, per­haps can pro­vide the rea­son so many “mourned its pass­ing.”

All the peo­ple who served in any of the mil­i­tary forces in first and sec­ond world wars, plus in Korea, fought un­der the Red En­sign and/or the Union Jack. The Maple Leaf flag meant noth­ing to them. Both of my hus­bands (Army and Air Force) had a hard time ac­cept­ing the Pear­son flag.

So yes, a lot of Cana­di­ans mourn the Red En­sign.

Carol Koes­lag Peter­bor­ough, On­tario

As a de­scen­dant of Pri­vate James Stephens, who served in the Nova Sco­tia Reg­i­ment of Fen­ci­ble In­fantry dur­ing the War of 1812, I was thrilled to see a reg­i­men­tal drum — shown in your “Trea­sures of Canada” ar­ti­cle — that is pre­served at the Nova Sco­tia Mu­seum.

The fen­ci­bles were a Bri­tish Army (full-time) mili­tia unit raised lo­cally to as­sist in re­in­forc­ing Bri­tish in­ter­ests.

Sta­tioned at Hal­i­fax and cap­tured by the Amer­i­can pri­va­teer Sur­prise while try­ing to re­sup­ply the gar­ri­son at St John’s, New­found­land, Stephens was repa­tri­ated after hos­til­i­ties and set­tled in Cape Bre­ton, Nova Sco­tia.

Kevin Stephens Dart­mouth, Nova Sco­tia

The ti­tle “Cham­plain’s Astro­labe” for the one found near Cob­den, On­tario, in 1867, 254 years after Cham­plain lost his, is mis­lead­ing. The ti­tle, men­tioned in the “Trea­sures of Canada” ar­ti­cle, car­ries an air of au­then-

tic­ity, whereas the Cob­den astro­labe lacks prove­nance.

As Dou­glas Hunter wrote in an in­for­ma­tive ar­ti­cle “The Mys­tery of Cham­plain’s Astro­labe,” [ The Beaver, De­cem­ber 2004-Jan­u­ary 2005], “The Cham­plain prove­nance case for the ‘Cob­den astro­labe’ ... ap­pears so weak as to be ephemeral.”

Cham­plain never men­tioned its loss in his writ­ings. When the Cob­den astro­labe was dis­cov­ered along with other items, those items were un­con­nected to it.

A myth has de­vel­oped about the astro­labe that does not re­flect the ques­tion­able facts sur­round­ing the story.

Ge­orge and Terry Goulet Sechelt, Bri­tish Columbia

Dur­ing the fur trade era, out­posts reg­u­larly re­ceived “pack­ets” of cor­re­spon­dence. Email your com­ments to ed­i­tors@CanadasHis­tory.ca or write to Canada’s His­tory, Bryce Hall Main Floor, 515 Portage Av­enue, Win­nipeg, MB R3B 2E9 Canada.

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