the year 1806, Dr William Carson arrived in Newfoundland; he at once saw
the great injustice that was done, both to the country and the resident
inhabitants, by the semi-barbarous policy that prevailed which prohibited
the cultivation of the soil. He raised his voice against it, wrote some
excellent tracts on the subject, denounced it in the strongest terms,
incurring no small risk of being transported for his temerity for
arraigning the venerable system that had prevailed or centuries. He became
the most strenuous advocate for the cultivation of the soil, which he
represented as fully equal in quality to that of his native country,
Scotland; he was opposed by the local authorities, by the merchants, and a
great portion of the inhabitants; he was ridiculed as a visionary.
Notwithstanding, in good report and in evil report, he persevered until he
saw, for some time before his death, his views and doctrine almost
unanimously approved by all parties.
Dr Carson may be called the
parent of agriculture of Newfoundland, he not only encouraged it by
precept but likewise by example. In the year 1818, he obtained a large
grant of waste land from the then Governor, Sir Charles Hamilton, which he
cleared and cultivated at considerable expense. The land cleared and
cultivated by Dr Carson forms one of the most valuable farms in the
vicinity of St.John's.
William Carson immigrated
to Newfoundland in 1806 and remained there until his death. He found ample
opportunity to carry on his reforming ways. Initially, he advocated
diversification of economic activity for Newfoundland's fishing industry;
soon he moved to campaigning for more services from England for the people
in his adopted home. Ultimately, he was deeply involved in the colony's
political life, crusading for responsible government, and running for
office once this goal was achieved in 1832. His other activities included
his system of quarantine for cholera, and his service as physician to the
last Beothuk Indian during her final illness. In addition, he was the
first chairman of the Agricultural Society in Newfoundland.