A History of Fredericton

Our Founding FathersFredericton was founded by a wandering band of Amish fisherman in 1684. No one has yet to explain the phenomenon why the `Plain Folk' came to the majestic St. John River Valley, but research conducted by your humble narrator has uncovered some frightening facts about the events leading up to the migration.

What follows are extracts from the diary of the leader of the fisherman, Goodman Josiah Fredericton, from the dates 1679-1682.

November 15, 1679
Not much rain, enjoying the harvest. All is fine. Good milking.
April 13, 1680
Cows are restless. Mother is well. Good milking.
January 7, 1681
Butter churning is good. Cold for raising of the barn. Good milking.
August 13, 1681
Plowing is rough. All is well. Good milking.
February 23, 1682
Jebediah unwell. Good milking.
December 31, 1682
Screw this - we're moving to the majestic St. John River Valley. P.S. Good milking.
January 14, 1684
I will set up home in this beautiful place and name it after my father Amos Fredericton.
What happened in that fateful year of 1682? Josiah does not recount where they had been living at the time (nor, strangely, does he mention fishing). All we know is that, for these simple people, something traumatic happened which prompted the mass exodus from wherever to the majestic St. John River Valley.

Historians have been able to reconstruct only the sketchiest of histories for these people. However, there are certain events of that fateful year which, when taken seperately, may seem incidental enough, but, when taken as a whole, create an eerie chain of events which can not be written off to mere coincidence.


Let's review the facts, grouping them together.
Leibniz coincidentally begins the publication of his mathematical works, almost as if he was waiting for the deaths of Caramuel, Ricci, and Picard.
New Brunswick, Pennsylvania and Norfolk are founded at almost the exact same time, while Boston is a thriving community.
Becher and Mather, an ocean apart, yet almost of the same mind, while Johann Franz lays dying.
Mather, Halley, Ray.
Peter the Great, George I, James II's 16th child, Louis of Burgundy, Karl XV, - births, deaths, political alliances through marriage, ascensions to the throne.
Grew's The Anatomy of Plants, the Maple leaf, the land in Norfolk to grow tobacco, the death of Thomas Browne.
The deaths of Murillo, Lorrain, and van Ruisdael, while the mysterious Lully is going around obtaining limiting ordinances from the King.

There remains several questions:

  1. What influence did the ascension to the throne of Russia of a ten year-old (even though it be conjointly) have on the sermons of Increase Mather?

  2. "God seems to intimate that there are Great changes hastening upon the world . . . What these changes are, time will discover" (Mather). Does this hint at the deaths of Picard and Caramuel?

  3. Do lines 14 to 17 from the second part of Absalom and Achitopel:
    With wealth he was not trusted, for Heav'n knew
    What 'twas of old to pamper up a Jew:
    To what would he on quail and pheasant swell,
    That ev'n on tripe and carrion could rebel?
    refer to Leibniz and his infamous scorn for those who kept kosher?

  4. What of Dryden's first part?
    The people's prayer, the glad diviner's theme,
    The young men's vision, and the old men's dream!
    Foreshadowing of (respectively), Penn, van Ruisdael, Peter the Great and Johann Franz?

  5. And, most of all, who was Lully, and how did he have so much influence with the king?

The Result

With a dark past, a shady story, a hazy future and a hidden agenda, our intrepid band of 'Plain Folk' fishermen arrived at a bend in the majestic St. John River Valley. There they met the local Micmac and Maliseet tribe, who offered them shelter and souveniers. They gave the settlers the name `Fredericpudlians' - a Micmac term for `guys in hats who keep muttering about Leibniz.' Citizens of Fredericton still refer to themselves by this name to this day.

In addition to friendship and place-names, the settlers took many things from their new-found Micmac-Maliseet friends - most notably, all their ancestral lands. For, after the European and North American angling scholars embraced monadism, Goodman Josiah and his followers grew disgusted at their former occupation and turned to agriculture and telecommunications. These humble trades are still the backbone of Fredericton society.

Fredericton at War

Fredericton has sent many of its sons off to war, but this bend in the majestic St. John River Valley has only seen battle once, and that was a result of an administrative error.

Junius S. Morgan (1813-1890), founder of J.P. Morgan, underwriter of the besieged French government during the Franco-Prussian war, was known to be a hard businessman. He chose to collect on his debts, as he would honour any contractual obligations that he owed. When January 19th, 1871 rolled around, and the French lost the Battle of Saint-Quentin (having seen Paris surrender the day previous), J.S. Morgan, Monadist, sought immediate repayment.

But where would Emperor Napoleon III find the money? His once beautiful empire lay in ruins, at least financially. Begging for clemency from Morgan, he was instead instructed to arm an insurrection against Morgan's arch-enemy.

Alors! La majestique vallé du fleuve St. Jean, et les poissonages 'personnes normales', depechez-vous! was the cry heard by Fredericpudlians on a balmy morning in February, 1871. L'Emperor avait besoin des poissons et de la pensée monadiste!

A battalion, lead by Henri Edouard Naville (1844-1926) (later to become one of the leaders in egyptology) and a former teacher of Rimbaud (whose departure for New Brunswick so discouraged the young poet that he ran away from home to study tobacco husbandry), marching under the orders of Emile Ollivier, premier of France (and husband of Blandine Liszt, daughter of Franz), had sailed up the majestic St. John River Valley and landed at the dock at the end of Vigani Street. Startled by the attack, the Fredericpudlians, lead by Colonel Roland Coleman, leapt into the trees.

The Fredericton Journal of February 7th picks up the story:

Our brave men clung to the branches of the Stately Elms, jeering at the French troops.

"Fools!! The very premise of phenomenalism is that bodies are collections or sets of perceptions. Let's see your Leibniz do that!!"

"Cauchons!! Leibniz's phenomenalism is more nuanced than that pathetically simple version, because it appeals to the Cartesian distinction between the formal reality of ideas or perceptions and their objective reality."

"Are you trying to tell us that an idea has formal reality insofar as it is an act of the mind? What do you take us for?"

"Don't you see, you pathetic little vermin? The objective reality of an idea is the being of the thing represented by that act, insofar as it exists in the idea.

"In other words, ideas or perceptions can be viewed as acts or modes of thought or they can be viewed as the objects of those thoughts. So there!"

"Do you mean that in Leibniz's version of phenomenalism bodies are intentional objects, or, as he also puts it, they are to be identified with the representational content of perceptions? Pure Balderdash!"

"Of course. They are not to be identified with perceptions or collections of perceptions, insofar as those perceptions are considered as modifications of the mind."

"What a load of dung!!" And with that battle-cry, our brave young men leapt from the trees onto the backs of the villainous Frenchmen, and, using the old Amish handshake manoeuvre, brought them to the ground.

Morgan had to wait another five years for the Emperor to repay his debt, while Fredericton nestled back into the peace and quiet it had so long enjoyed in the majestic St. John River Valley.

What's left

The history of Goodman Josiah Fredericton, the Slow Men Fighting in Trees, and the rest of Fredericton's mighty history can be found by visiting your local library.
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