[This article refers to I. D. Shadd‘s wife and sister]
THE MISSION SCHOOL AT CHATHAM, C. W.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE LIBERATOR:
SIR, Whatever may have been said in public or otherwise, in opposition to this school, has as yet failed to prove that it is not doing a great work for the colored people in this vicinity. Heretofore, the atmosphere has been freighted with sordid opinions about this school, which were conceived in the evil passion of persons who have never visited it, nor even given themselves the trouble of knowing its true status. We are too prone in becoming the converts of a prevailing sentiment, without setting ourselves aright upon its veracity.
As regards the resolutions which were circulated in opposition to this school, through the Chatham Argus of Dec. 19th, 1861, the Toronto Globe, and Pine and Palm, bearing my name, I would say that I remonstrated against their publication, because I perceived that it was a sectarian strife that occasioned the meeting in which they were nominally passed; and, furthermore, being a neutral on the church dissension, I did not want to be entangled in church quarrels, and thereby incur the holy indignation of one party, when I had no disposition to do so.
On the 18th inst., this school held its examination; and, truly, it was a complete success, and an honor to its teacher, Mrs. I. D. Shadd. Sixty-five scholars were in attendance this term. The branches taught were Algebra, Arithmetic, History, Philosophy, Grammar, Geography, Botany, Penmanship, &c. &c. There were present some of the best educated colored men of Chatham, who took part in examining the several classes. The scholars were neatly clad, and an expression of intelligence beamed on each countenance; the recitations, too, were to the satisfaction of those present, interspersed with music from the melodeon by some of the pupils who are learning this branch.
Mrs. I. D. Shadd is a woman of great forbearance and integrity, and under her and Mrs. M. A. S. Cary’s (its agent) management, the school will rise above the surges of opposition.
Yours, for truth, JOHN W. MENARD.
Chatham, March 26th, 1862.