Emblem of our country: - The Red, White, and Green Tricolour

Emblem of our country:
The Red, White, and Green Tricolour

Carolyn Lambert
Memorial University of Newfoundland

1 BEFORE PINK, THERE WAS red. Much uncertainty and misinformation surrounds the origins of the Pink, White, and Green (PWG) which many people today see as the unofficial flag of Newfoundland. Thanks to a popular T-shirt which originated sometime in the 1970s or 1980s, people commonly refer to it as the "Republic of Newfoundland" flag, although Newfoundland was never a republic, nor was the flag associated with a republican movement during the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. The origin of the PWG is also commonly but erroneously traced to the Newfoundland Natives’ Society (NNS), which was established in 1840 to promote the interests of native Newfoundlanders and act as a relief organization. The Society was non-sectarian and was comprised of middle-class Catholics and Protestants who felt shut out of power by wealthy merchants and British civil servants, but more importantly by immigrants or, as they termed them, "strangers."1 Natives claimed that they were fighting against "the long continued attempts to place them below the level of others in the social scale."2 The Society was popular in the 1840s and lasted until 1862.3 Some subsequent authors have claimed that the NNS Flag was a pink banner with a green fir tree which became simplified into the PWG tricolour. This, however, is incorrect. As I argue here, it is possible to establish two things from the available evidence. First, the official flag of the NNS was a red flag featuring their shield which was at some time before 1856 simplified into a red, white, and green tricolour.4 It was this tricolour, the Native Flag, which many people accepted as the first flag of Newfoundland, a banner flown to represent the colony and Newfoundland natives. As late as 1884, many Newfoundlanders flew this Native tricolour as the unofficial flag of the country.5 Second, in attempting to find an origin for Pink, White, and Green, it is often overlooked that these were actually the colours of the Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association (SOS) established in St. John’s in 1871.6 The official SOS flag and sashes featured these colours, the latter resembling the PWG tricolour, and which may have been the origin of the colours of the current PWG. It is only after the establishment of the SOS that the PWG tricolour appears in the records. I have not to date seen evidence of pink being used by any other organization prior to 1871.

2 In The Invention of Tradition Eric Hobsbawm points out that "‘traditions’ which appear or claim to be old are quite often recent in origin and sometimes invented."7 Invented traditions consist of two parts: those "invented, constructed and formally instituted, and those emerging in a less easily traceable manner within a brief and datable period — a matter of a few years perhaps — and establishing themselves with great rapidity."8 The PWG falls into this category, despite the claim that it has "belonged to the people of Newfoundland for at least 170 years."9 When the NNS created its red silk flag in 1840, it was an official act of invention, the Society intended that their flag and shield would symbolize who they were as native Newfoundlanders. The Society repeated this when it simplified its flag to the red, white, and green tricolour. The SOS did the same when they created their flag in 1871. Both of these decisions conform to Hobsbawm’s first type of invented tradition. That large numbers of people took the NNS tricolour as a national symbol in the 1860s is an example of the second, more spontaneous, and harder to trace type of invented tradition. This was also the case with the SOS colours which were used for their flag and sashes, and which became the PWG in the 1880s and 1890s.

3 While the Native Flag of red, white, and green has been forgotten, the PWG persisted and in recent years has acquired new associations in the public mind. How and why this occurred are, as Hobsbawm pointed out, complex because the creation was practiced both officially or politically, and unofficially or socially.10 Roman Catholic Church elites and some politicians pushed the PWG forward. There were two formal acts of invention by such elites in the early twentieth century: the first being Bishop Howley’s patriotic anthem Flag of Newfoundland in 1902 which immortalized the PWG colours and invested them with "traditional" meaning, the second was the decision to put the PWG on the cover of Sir Cavendish Boyle’s Ode to Newfoundland, which eventually became the Newfoundland anthem.11 Socially, by which I mean the practices of clubs, fraternities, and other groups that officially stood aside from formal politics, the PWG was made popular by the SOS which consisted of Catholic fishermen in St. John’s. As Hobsbawm argued, a symbol will only be successful if the public is willing to accept it, that is to say it must have "genuine popular resonance."12 When the PWG, the colours of the largest society in the city, a group which represented a large portion of the population, was adopted by political and Church elites at the turn of the century it certainly had all the "popular resonance" it needed. The NNS Red, White, and Green had no official political or social group to carry it forward, so it faded from view. That the NNS Red, White, and Green existed for a short time does not diminish its importance in the nineteenth century. Hobsbawm has made the point that while not all invented traditions endure, what is important is that they existed in the first place.13

4 Tracing the history of a symbol such as a flag that has either changed or faded away can be problematic. Official changes and formal ceremonies are relatively easy to examine as they are usually well documented.14 For example, in 1967 Canada replaced the Red Ensign with the Maple Leaf. With the fall of communism the former countries of the USSR adopted new individual flags, and Germany has changed its flag several times in its tumultuous history since unification in 1871. These were all official changes by governments, and there is a record of the change. In the case of a tradition or symbol invented by a private group, or one which evolved over a period of time, tracing change can be particularly difficult.15 In the case of Newfoundland, for example, there was no official flag until the twentieth century, leaving the historian without an official paper trail to trace the rise and fall in popularity of individual unofficial flags. However, even unofficial flags are used at public events and as symbols of societies, can be traced through the local press and the reports of social organizations. Therefore, it is possible to chronicle the usage of certain flags over a set period of time, and to identify why and how both elites and popular classes used them. It is also possible to get hints as to when change occurred.

5 As with many nationalist symbols of mysterious or ancient origin, the story surrounding the creation of the PWG has a mythic quality. Popular tradition has it that in the 1840s, Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Fleming created a pink, white, and green tricolour to make peace between Protestants and Catholics, or Native and foreign-born Catholics.16 According to popular lore, the colours represent the different nationalities: "pink" for England or England’s rose, "green" for Ireland, and "white" for Scotland, presumably for the white of the Scottish thistle. In some versions, the white represents "neutral ground" between the different factions. At the turn of the twentieth century this myth appeared in print in Notable Events in the History of Newfoundland, whose authors Maurice Devine and Michael O’Mara freely admitted that "very few people now alive [1900] can remember the motto or flag distinctly, but the most reliable authorities state that the flag was all pink, with two clasped hands extending to the elbows, and a spruce tree in the centre." Underneath was the word "philanthropy." They claimed that with the exception of the founding members of the NNS who clung to their "pink with a fir tree" flag for several years, most people accepted it. After 1846, the founders reportedly gave in, and the PWG replaced their original pink flag.17 The Evening Telegram further enhanced the myth in 1902, when it reported that Fleming "at the founding of our magnificent cathedral, first united the Pink, White and Green to form the flag of Newfoundland."18 In the late 1950s Michael Harrington repeated the story arguing that it was Fleming that created the PWG from a pink native flag.19 Almost twenty years later Paul O’Neill restated this legend. While he admitted that it was based upon oral tradition and had no concrete evidence to support it, he made a point of adding that there was more than likely some truth to this origin myth.20

6 There is no direct evidence to support any of these accounts. John Fitzgerald’s extensive research on Bishop Fleming revealed no evidence of his creating a flag, nor did Bishop Michael Howley credit his predecessor with having created a flag in his Ecclesiastical History of Newfoundland.21 An assertive and determined man, had Fleming in fact created such a popular symbol, he would more than likely have taken credit for it, and Howley would likely have mentioned it in his history of the Roman Catholic Church. The local press would also have recorded the invention of a new flag, but there is nothing to be found. Furthermore, given the extraordinary animosity between Fleming and the non-denominational NNS, particularly between the Bishop and the Native Society’s native Catholic members, it is difficult to accept that the Society would have adopted the Bishop’s symbol. This animosity arose in the late 1830s when political divisions appeared within the Catholic community between the native-born and Irish-born. The Irish-born faction rallied around Bishop Fleming in what is referred to as the "priests’ party," while the native-born rejected his political interference and so became decried as "Mad Dog" Catholics.22 Many members of this latter group helped found the NNS with native Protestants in 1840. As early as 1836 Fleming struck out at these individuals from the pulpit: "a factious knot of bad Irishmen ... with two or three natives in this community, who are endeavouring to put down your Bishop; they are the scum of Irishmen...."23 The founding of the NNS in 1840 only aggravated the situation. "The fact is notorious," wrote Public Ledger editor Henry Winton, "that the Roman Catholic clergy are opposed to the establishment of this Natives’ Society, and what more natural than that they should oppose it from the Altar."24 The conflict continued throughout the decade.25

7 While skeptical of the myth, James Hiller has accepted that the PWG was derived from a pink NNS flag which was reduced to a tricolour at some unknown date.26 The flag design to which he refers was illustrated in a Newfoundland Historical Society brief submitted to the Newfoundland Government in 1977 during discussions about adopting an official provincial flag. Indentified as the flag of the NNS, it matches Devine and O’Mara’s description of the "pink with a fir tree" flag.27 The Historical Society also claimed that the flag was a New England design copied by settlers in Newfoundland and supposedly flown for years.28 Both this flag and the PWG are featured in a number of J.W. Hayward’s post-1900 signal codes.29 Hayward’s paintings place the "pink with a fir tree" flag within the dates 1760-70, and show the PWG in the paintings representing 1867 and 1909.30

8 One must be careful in using Hayward’s paintings as evidence. The sources Hayward used are unknown, and he painted his signal codes early in the twentieth century.31 As a contemporary of Devine and O’Mara, he would have either known the PWG origin myth, or would have read it in their work. At the time Hayward did his illustrations the PWG was ubiquitous and was widely seen as the flag of Newfoundland, as Hiller’s work on this period shows.32 Given the origin myth, the use of the PWG in his time, and the self-admitted uncertainties of Devine and O’Mara’s account, Hayward can be forgiven for projecting the PWG back into 1867 and labeling it the native flag, just as he portrayed the "pink with a fir tree" flag as "the first native flag" in his painting of signal codes from 1760-70. The naming of the latter flag as "native" is not necessarily incorrect, in that it may have been used by settlers in Newfoundland at some point, but it is wrong to link it to the NNS as the first native flag, just as it is wrong to say the PWG was the native flag in 1867.

9 While a pink-based flag may well have existed at some time in Newfoundland history, it was never the flag of the NNS, despite what some, and particularly Paul O’Neill, have claimed.33 As recently as 2005, he stated that from 1846 onwards the PWG was the flag of the NNS, no doubt relying upon Devine and O’Mara.34 If the "Bishop Fleming made the flag" story is a myth, as I suggest, the assertion that the PWG and/or the "pink with a fir tree" flag was the NNS flag is simply incorrect. Careful reading of the available sources, though, provides some interesting information to separate fact from fiction.

10 The earliest reference to a "native" flag I have seen was in 1838 when Bishop Fleming visited Carbonear. There are two parts to the report. First, the Carbonear Sentinel reported that the Bishop’s yacht "was seen, the native flag flying, cleaving the waves" as it entered the narrow.35 No description of the flag is given and it may well have been the "pink with a fir tree" flag, if indeed it is true that some people flew it to represent the colony. Without a description, though, there is no proof that this was the case.36 In addition, there are no other references to this flag in the press accounts of the day, nor do there seem to be any after that. Furthermore, given Fleming’s known hostility towards the Natives in St. John’s it is unlikely that he would have flown a native symbol off his yacht. In fact, as a highly patriotic native Irishman, he may well have flown a green Irish flag which would have been a "native" flag to him, and many others besides.37

11 Second, upon Fleming’s departure from Carbonear, "among the banners were seen that beautiful flag which was presented by the Roman Catholic, Natives of St. John’s, to his Lordship on his departure from the island last year, and it is one which does credit to them."38 This is almost certainly a reference to a gift the Presentation Convent gave to Fleming in St. John’s the year before. Having just returned from Rome in 1837, Fleming’s arrival was celebrated with a procession featuring "young girls ... carrying a banner of white satin, on which was embroidered a gilt cross crowned with flowers." These were the girls of the Presentation Convent. They had made the banner themselves and, once they reached the church, "came to the foot of the altar to present their banner to me [Fleming]."39 This would have been an appropriate gift since it was customary for Fleming’s yacht to fly a flag bearing a Cross to identify the vessel to those on shore, as he himself remarked, "our bunting was hoisted, and the Cross floated gallantly at our fore."40 It is more likely that the "beautiful flag" Fleming flew during his visit to Carbonear was this Cross flag rather than a pink flag.41 While the Carbonear report stated that the Bishop received the gift on his "departure" this may be a simple error, as there is no record of Fleming having received a gift at any other departure or arrival in 1836 or 1837.42

12 The creation of symbols is often undertaken by new or transformed social groups in an effort to self-identity and "express social cohesion."43 Having founded their Society and "staked their claim," as it were, the Natives set out to do just that. There can be no mistaking the NNS flag, colours, and symbols, all clearly described in the Society’s bylaws. The NNS motto was "Union and Philanthropy," and "the Flag of the Society shall be of Red Silk, exhibiting a device emblematic of the Motto of the Institution and of the Trade, Fisheries and Agriculture of the Island." In addition, "at all meetings of the Society, the Officers shall wear a Red Silk Sash, having thereon the name and date of formation of the Society. And all other members a Red Rosette on the left breast. At all its processions, the Managing Committee and Officers shall carry wands."44 These formal accoutrements were in evidence at the NNS’ first formal procession in 1841 at the funeral of a fellow member.45 The Society continued to use red as its colour not only for sashes and rosettes, but also for the décor for Natives’ Balls. In 1852 for example the Ballroom featured flags which were chiefly red.46

13 The device in the centre of the flag was an elaborate construction meant to be "full of meaning and intelligence." An unnamed female native designed it, and organizers presented it at the founding meeting as a pencil sketch for the members’ approval. It was unanimously accepted.47 A NNS member submitted a description to the press:On either side of a shield appear two well-drawn figures, the one representing a fisherman or sealer with the flag of the Society gracefully thrown across his arm — the other a woodman with his dog, his rope and his axe. In the middle is a lovely group intended to represent the arts and sciences, & c. In one compartment of the shield is a codfish, in another a vessel in the ice, with her boat out returning with seals. In the opposite quarter is a Newfoundland deer reposing under a fir tree; and the other quarter exhibits a plough and a sheaf of corn. Over all are two clasped hands denoting unity, and above that a dove holding in her beak the olive branch of peace; surrounding the whole is a wreath composed of the rose, the thistle and shamrock denoting the stock from whence the Newfoundlander derives his origin; and underneath, forming a band for the motto "Union and Philanthropy," is a wreath of native strawberries.48Their banner was "illuminated" to great effect at their first Ball in 1841.49 Unfortunately, there are no known illustrations or surviving copies of the Flag and its design. Certainly this design denotes a great amount of forethought, and was meant to celebrate not only the natural resources of the land in which Newfoundland natives lived, but also their way of life. It stands in sharp contrast to the banal "pink with a fir tree" flag which is now falsely claimed to be theirs. If this pink-based flag was indeed around before 1840, it was not popular enough to have been taken up as the flag of the newly-formed NNS. If it was a flag widely flown by natives, one would expect to find at least some discussion over whether or not to use it, but nothing is recorded. In addition, there are no references to it in the decades after 1840.

14 Other Natives’ Societies soon sprung up outside of St. John’s, notably in Carbonear and Harbour Grace. These societies adopted the same colours and motto as the parent society. In their annual procession through the town, the Natives’ Society in Carbonear marched with "each member [wearing] a Red Rosette on the left breast ... the Committee of Management, two and two, (distinguished by their wands, on the top of each of which was attached a bow of Red Ribbon). In the centre of that body the flag of the Society waved gracefully in the breeze, having on it the name and motto of the Society." The motto on the flag was "Union and Philanthropy," which were the stated objects of the Society.50 While the colour of the flag of the Carbonear Natives’ Society was not named, it would probably have matched the red accoutrements, as it did in St. John’s.

15 It has been claimed on the Internet that during the nineteenth century pink and red were sometimes used interchangeably to describe the same colour.51 This must be addressed. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines "pink" as "a colour intermediate between red and white; a pale red, sometimes with a slight purple tinge." The OED shows that, while not as old as "red," "pink" was part of the English language well before the 1800s, with a written occurrence of the word recorded in 1669 distinguishing between "pink" and "scarlet." The only example of "pink" meaning "red" seems to be in reference to specific scarlet-coloured fox hunting attire popularly called "pink."52 However, the colours are clearly distinct. It would be difficult, for example, to find a description of the Union Jack as having pink in it, or the British Army described as "the pinkcoats." Press reports of a Temperance procession in 1844 suggest that the island’s journalists distinguished between the colours. The processional order featured fishermen, ladies, and shopkeepers with various ribbons and banners distinguishing each group. The description clearly listed red and pink as separate colours, indicating that the newspapers, at least, differentiated between the two.53 Further indication lies in the fact that one of the papers which published the processional list was edited by Robert J. Parsons, a founding member of the NNS. He was in a better position than most to make the distinction. Therefore, the NNS colour cannot be claimed by anyone to have "really" been pink. Finally, even the pink of the "pink with a fir tree" flag must be called into question because the New England flag, from which some believe it originated, was actually red.54

16 In 1856 there is evidence that a second Native Flag existed. When Phillip Duggan was elected President of the NNS a letter from a Society member hoped that citizens would "rally around [the Society’s] green, red and white tricolour, the Sons of the Soil of every degree."55 How do we explain this change in symbol? The NNS flag, being as elaborate as it was, must not have lent itself to easy reproduction. It must be remembered that to replicate such a detailed image would have required much effort and expense, and could not be done by machine. However, to remove the shield and simply have a plain red flag must have been rejected by the members. It is not clear why or when the NNS adopted a tricolour.56 It is certain that from 1856 onwards the society flew this flag. The NNS may have kept its formal red silk flag for processions and formal occasions, while the Red, White, and Green could be flown by anyone.

17 Having positively identified the new Native flag by name and colours as described in 1856, one can trace it back through two earlier references. First, as early as November 1852 the Patriot mentioned that pro-responsible government candidates in St. John’s used a red, white, and green tricolour during a nomination rally. The Native colours appear to have been associated with the cause. One of those nominated was P.F. Little, who, "holding up a banner of red, white and green in his hand, stepped forward, and amidst the enthusiastic cheers of the people, commenced along and energetic speech." Robert Parsons spoke next, "waving a white silk banner (trimmed with green and red, on which was inserted in gold letters ‘Responsible Government,’ and ‘Free Trade’)."57 While not in tricolour form, effort was obviously made to incorporate green and red into the banner so that all three colours were present. Second, in celebration of the Consecration of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in 1855, Bishop Mullock’s diary recorded that there was a triumphal arch erected near the Sisters of Mercy Convent "ornamented with flags of England, Ireland, Newfoundland, France, Spain and the United States."58 Although no colours are described, this was likely the red, white, and green tricolour, given its use in 1852 and the reference to those colours as the Native tricolour in 1856.

18 It is important to remember that the NNS tricolour of red, white, and green appeared at some unknown time between 1840-56 when looking at the sketch entitled The John McAdam of 100 horse power entering the harbour of Trinity, NFL on the 18th of August 1842, featured in Philip Tocque’s 1846 book Wandering Thoughts, or Solitary Hours.59 Unlike Hayward’s signal codes, this representation was made at the time depicted in the scene. The John McAdam was the second steamer to visit Newfoundland, and while it was at the colony, it took passengers on a tour of the coastline in August 1842.60 In the sketch, a tricolour flag is visible at the bottom of one of several lines of pennants running up the mast. The sketch is black and white so no colours can be identified except to say that by the use of shading the artist clearly distinguished three separate colours. The flag was not being flown off the stern, where a British ensign flag is prominently displayed. In addition, the ship was not a Newfoundland vessel, so one would not expect it to fly any sort of Newfoundland-related insignia anyway. If this tricolour is in fact the Newfoundland tricolour, the best candidate is the NNS Red, White and Green. As an interesting side note, Philip Tocque was himself a native, born in Carbonear and active in the Carbonear Natives’ Society.61 No artist is named in his book or on the sketch, meaning the native Tocque may well have drawn it himself, perhaps making a point of including the Native Flag.

19 Having established the true symbols of the Newfoundland Natives’ Society, some similarities between them and those of the PWG myth are visible. The Native Flag of red silk with its elaborate device did feature clasped hands, and the word "philanthropy" was part of the Society’s motto. In addition, a change of flag did take place at some point before 1856. That there are small bits of correct information amongst the fictions in no way proves the whole to be true. There is no proof that the flag was changed in 1846, that it started as the "pink with a fir tree" flag, or that it was changed to a PWG tricolour. It was definitely not created by Bishop Fleming, who was opposed to the NNS.

20 By 1860 there were two other societies using red, white, and green tricolours. The very fact that two new societies would chose the same colour combination as another well-established organization must have had significance, especially in as small a city as St. John’s. The Newfoundland’s Fishermen’s Society, established in 1858, was the first to adopt the colours. The bylaws of the Society stated that the Flag "shall be of green, white, and red silk, exhibiting the motto of the institution" and that at all processions members were to wear a "sash of green, white, and red, and all other members a green, white and red rosette upon the left breast."62 It is not apparent why the organization chose these colours, but as the new organization would have known the NNS colours and their significance, it is possible that the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society wanted to incorporate them into its own flag to represent the colony. It must be remembered that the NNS used this red, white, and green combination for at least two years before the establishment of the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society. While the colours are identical to those of the Native Flag, the arrangement could have been different. For example, the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society may have used a horizontal tricolor, while the NNS flew a vertical tricolour, or vice versa. It is also possible that the colours were flown in reverse order. In addition, the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society flag would have displayed their motto in the centre. The two flags were indeed flown together in 1861 when the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society opened its Hall. They, along with other societies, formed a procession in which the Native flag "also was conspicuous in the ranks."63

21 The second organization to adopt the native colours was the Total Abstinence and Benefit Society (TAB). While Bishop Fleming and Father Kyran Walsh established the temperance movement in St. John’s in 1841, a formal society dedicated to temperance principles did not emerge until 1858.64 The Society decided that its flag would be "red, white and green, the initial letters of the Society to be placed in the corners, and in the centre a fish surrounded with the motto ‘Be Sober and Watch.’"65 This design would have distinguished their flag from that of the NNS and the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society. The Society’s badge consisted of the same colours with a medal attached. Again, the reasons why organizers chose these colours are not clear, but the explanation may well be the same — namely to incorporate what people may have seen as Newfoundland’s native colours in their flag. The TAB debuted their tricolour in 1859 on New Year’s morning during a procession through the city.66 In 1866, organizers initiated a Juvenile Branch, and that same year chose new regalia for the Society. The parent society kept the same colours and there is no indication that their flag changed, except that they now wore their medals on a red, white, and green ribbon. The Juveniles’ ribbons were white and green only, and their flag was white with a green centre featuring a dove with an olive branch in its beak. These changes were visible at the annual New Year’s procession in 1867.67 As late as the early 1890s the TAB used a red, white, and green tricolour which they carried during a procession celebrating Michael Howley’s promotion to bishop (vicar apostolic).68

22 One of the most common claims regarding the use of the PWG is that it was flown in 1860 during the Prince of Wales’ visit to the colony. John Fitzgerald has claimed that "the Prince of Wales was greeted at the Newfoundland Parliament at Colonial Building in St. John’s by the sight of alternating Union flags and the Newfoundland tricolor."69 Fitzgerald assumed that the tricolour was the PWG, but there is no evidence to support this claim. The most prominent papers did not describe the flags flown. Instead, they simply mentioned that Government House displayed "a number of flags."70 Representations of the event made that year do not feature the PWG either. The Landing and Reception of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at St. John’s Newfoundland on the 24th July 1860, a copy of which hangs in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives at Memorial University of Newfoundland, shows such details as British flags on ships anchored in the harbour, at least two Irish harp flags, and the aprons of masons watching the procession, but it shows no tricolour flags.71 Two further prints show no evidence of PWGs or other tricolour flags.72 The NNS was present for the events and formed part of the public procession. Unlike many of the other societies the NNS did not present the Prince with a formal address.73 For such a high-profile public event in honour of a future King of England, the society would undoubtedly have appeared in full regalia, carrying their flag. If indeed a "Newfoundland tricolour" was flown with no reference to specific colours, it must have been the Red, White, and Green, the tricolour of the NNS which was flown as the Native Flag a year later at the opening of the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society Hall.74

23 By the early 1860s there were signs that the Red, White, and Green was generally accepted as a symbol of Newfoundland. The Native tricolour was described as such in 1861 when "the Native Flag — ‘red, white and green,’ was hoisted half mast" on Adelaide Street in honour of Captain Silvey, a recently deceased citizen of some prominence. For no apparent reason, the Magistrates ordered it removed.75 Since there are no other accounts of this, and no known legal objection to the Native Flag being flown, it may have been due to something minor. Perhaps it was blocking a shopkeeper’s display window, or was on someone’s property without permission. The fact that the Magistrates ordered it down caused some anger. Indeed, one paper raged "Insult to the Native Flag! ... there was no law outraged ... by hoisting the emblem of our country."76

24 The NNS itself lasted into the early 1860s.77 The use and symbolism of the Native Flag, however, continued, suggesting that it had become the unofficial flag of the colony. Alistair Fraser has claimed that anti-Confederates flew the PWG at their rallies in St. John’s in 1869, but this is unproven.78 There are no references to the PWG in the press, while what was flown at rallies was "the Native Flag of Red, White and Green [which] floated triumphantly on the breeze" alongside the banners of anti-Confederate candidates in St. John’s. It was among other banners which carried slogans such as "No Confederation" and "Self-Government." When the brass band appeared at such a rally in 1869 they, like the candidates and their respective supporting committee members, all wore "rosettes of red, white and green."79 Anti-Confederates in both Ferryland and Renews also flew the Native Flag at their meetings. The "very large and handsome tri-color native flag, with the motto ‘No Confederation’ in it, [was] planted in the centre of the Harbour, conspicuous to all."80 The fact that press reports refer to the tricolour as the Native Flag indicates that it was the Red, White, and Green which many Newfoundlanders associated with the anti-Confederation camp and the fight to preserve Newfoundland’s independence. It was adopted as a fighting emblem: under the Red, White and Green, Confederation was defeated in Newfoundland in the famous 1869 election.

25 As befits a national symbol, the Red, White, and Green continued to be flown as such. For example, in 1875 the non-denominational Benevolent Irish Society organized a centenary celebration for Daniel O’Connell in St. John’s, which was attended by thousands of people. The decorations for this monumental event included the Native Flag: "at the foot of Cochrane Street, there was a most magnificent Arch from which floated the Native Flag and the flags of England, Ireland, France and the Star Spangled Banner of the United States; besides other flags, large and small, too numerous to mention."81 Newfoundlanders raised the Native Flag alongside those of other countries. It was a national flag in all but name.

26 With the Red, White, and Green held up as the national flag, the question becomes from where did the PWG originate if not from the NNS? The answer is hinted at in the same account of the O’Connell Centenary. Parading with the Benevolent Irish Society and other local societies was a new organization, the Star of the Sea, founded in 1871 in St. John’s. The SOS was founded as a Catholic mutual benefit society to aid members in case of illness or death and to provide spiritual guidance to its members.82 Members of the SOS flew their flag as they marched in the Centenary procession.83 Its colours were pink, white, and green.84 The Society’s bylaws stated that "the flag of the Association shall be green ground, white star with pink cross in the centre" and the officers "shall wear, at all processions, sashes of green, white and pink."85 Although the official SOS flag was made up of the colours in a design, a simpler tricolour must have swiftly followed, and in fact can be said to already have existed in some sense in the tricolour sashes. Thus, the PWG as we know it today appears to date from 1871. It was some time after the formation of the SOS in that year that the PWG emerged as the native flag. I have seen no archival evidence of PWG sightings before then. It is interesting to note that the author of the SOS Centennial Volume in 1971 described the Association’s flag as being "of the native colours."86 This is understandable since by that date a century later, the "native colours" were pink, white, and green. As with Hayward’s paintings, the present was projected into the past.

27 There is no mention in the contemporary sources as to why the SOS chose pink, white, and green, but it is notable that the Association chose a colour scheme similar to that of another prominent organization whose flag had such wider use. We can only speculate as to why the SOS chose pink. Perhaps it was because the Native Flag was a well-recognizable symbol of the country, and the SOS wanted to reflect its colours in their new emblem without copying the red, white, and green tricolour outright. After all, the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society and the Total Abstinence Society were already using a variation of the NNS flag. It may simply be that the SOS wanted a similar, but still distinctive colour combination. Another possibility is that members of the SOS chose pink for religious reasons. It is the Christian Cross on their flag which is pink, as opposed to other portions of the design. That such an important religious symbol would be coloured pink seems unusual, but pink is in fact a liturgical colour in the Roman Catholic Church. Symbolizing joy and a relaxation of penitential practices, it is the colour of both vestments and candles used on Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, and on Laetere Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent.87 In fact, another Catholic Society in St. John’s, the St. Joseph’s Catholic Institute founded in 1864, specifically chose the colours of their flag for religious reasons. The Society used yellow and white for their flag and sashes to represent the Pontifical colours.88

28 The emergence of the PWG and the fading of the Red, White, and Green did not happen overnight. In 1872 the Star of the Sea itself recognized the Native Flag as being the flag of Newfoundland when the Association flew both flags together as part of a 1500-strong SOS procession to Sunday Mass. The local press provided an exhaustive account of the complete processional order: the Association placed the SOS flag and the Pope’s Flag first in line, then the Union Jack, followed by the "Red, White and Green Native Flag." In fact, both the Native Flag and the green flag, symbolizing Ireland, were flown twice in the processional order.89 The fact that journalists described the Native Flag as having red in it, at an event led by a brand-new flag which was described as pink, proves once again that there can be no confusing the two colours. In the 1870s, just as in the 1840s, red and pink were different.

29 Why then did the Red, White, and Green disappear after being flown so long and having been recognized as the national, albeit unofficial, flag of Newfoundland? It was simply due to the passage of time and the presence of a new flag with massive exposure. The NNS itself had disappeared at an unknown date in the early 1860s. The Native Flag was still around, of course, and was taken out from time to time, notably to rally support against Confederation and to celebrate the O’Connell Centenary. One of the latest references to the Native Flag I have found was in 1884 at the annual picnic of Catholic schoolchildren, where "banners of varied kinds and colours, but principally the Native ‘Red, White and Green’ were plenteously displayed here and there throughout the long line."90 Even at this late date the Native Flag still existed, but there was no formal organization to carry it forward and to continue to promote its use, and by the time of the Catholic students’ picnic it may already have been a rarity to see it. Although the Red, White, and Green had undeniable meaning, it was swiftly being replaced by the flag of a new society with mass membership.

30 It is impossible to give the exact date that the Red, White, and Green was replaced by the PWG as the native tricolour, but the years from the mid-1880s to the mid-1890s were a transition period. This was the time when the symbol known as the Native Flag appears to have undergone a colour change. In the latter half of the 1880s, the local press mentioned, but provided no detailed description of, the Native Flag. For example, Edward Morris’ supporters flew the Native tricolour during the 1885 election campaign in St. John’s. His election committee marched through the city waving "national flags, amid which the native tri-color waved pre-eminent."91 O’Flaherty assumes that this meant the PWG, but there is no indication of the actual colour of the flag.92 On nomination day for candidates for the East End of St. John’s in 1886 there was a procession around "the Union Jack, the Native Flag, and the flag of Old Ireland."93 Yet again in 1890 at an election demonstration in St. John’s, a torchlit procession left Mechanics’ Hall with flags "prominent amongst them being the Native tri-color, the Union Jack of Old England, [and] the emerald green of Old Ireland."94 Unfortunately, there are no references to colour in either report.

31 By the early 1890s, however, the PWG was clearly present at public events. At a banquet to celebrate Howley becoming bishop (vicar apostolic) in 1892, "the bright folds of the Newfoundland tricolor of green, white and pink" decorated St. Patrick’s Hall.95 In addition, "the native flag and the Union Jack were draped at each side of St. Patrick’s picture."96 Given the description of the PWG as the "Newfoundland tricolour" it is safe to say that it was also the flag called "native." As part of the festivities that week the SOS led a procession in the Bishop’s honour, including the Benevolent Irish Society, Mechanics’ Society and the Total Abstinence and Benefit Society, the latter carrying their "red, white and green banner."97 The TAB continued to use its long-standing flag, featuring the colours of the old native tricolour, and their matching accoutrements. During the Centenary celebrations for Father Matthew in 1890, for example, those attending wore scarves and lapel badges of green, some red velvet collars, and others rosettes of white.98 The TAB did, however, recognize the new Native colours by carrying a new pink, white, and green flag with their name, motto, and date of founding at the event.99 The same paper also recorded that the Juvenile TAB carried a red, white, and green flag.100 Again, this report shows that the press differentiated between red and pink in the 1890s, just as they could in the 1840s and 1870s.

32 That a large number of Newfoundlanders accepted the PWG as near-official in the 1890s is evident in the fact that in 1896 the police and fire departments began flying a version of it as their official flag. The new Fire Department adopted "the native colors — green, white and pink — edged all around with gold fringe" as its flag in 1896, adding in its centre a device featuring "a fireman descending a ladder with a child in his arms, which he has just saved from a burning house." The Governor presented this flag to the Fire Department during a public ceremony and procession.101 Kathy-Jane Elton and Ellen M. Dinn claim that the same year, the new police force adopted the colours as well, but this is uncertain.102 The BIS and the Fishermen’s Protective Union reportedly flew it as well and if they did, at the very least this would have been in solidarity with fellow Catholics and fishermen, respectively.103 During the 1897 Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria, the PWG was again prominent. A large platform erected near the east end of the Block House had "three broad bands [running] all around — green, white and pink — the native colours" with Catholic Bishop Howley, now bishop of the diocese of St. John’s, seated in the middle.104 As part of the decorations, triumphal arches featured the "British, native, and other flags" and near the penitentiary there was another arch "surmounted by the English, French, and Native flags."105 Given the identification of the native colours at this time as pink, white, and green, those were undoubtedly the colours featured in the "native flags" mentioned for which colours were not given.

33 It is understandable how a PWG tricolour drawn from the SOS colours became the unofficial flag of Newfoundland at the turn of the century. In the forty years after the founding of the SOS and the first proven instance of pink, white and green being used in combination, much occurred to push the use of their colours to the fore. The SOS itself was a strongly-supported and clerically-endorsed society which, at its peak in 1877, had a membership of 2000 fishermen.106 Thereafter, they maintained the largest membership roll in the city.107 A highly visible and respected Catholic society with strong ties to the Catholic Church, the SOS had processions several times a year which must have resulted in a sea of pink, white, and green being paraded through St. John’s. In 1872, for example, their procession featured the SOS flag drawn by a carriage with two horses adorned with rosettes which likely matched the flag’s colours.108 By 1875 many private houses in the city also hung out flags in support of the SOS on procession day. While the report of this practice does not describe any specific flags, it is reasonable to assume that the PWG colours were a significant portion of those flags flown as it was, after all, an SOS event. The Cathedral was also decorated with flags, but again they were not described.109 The SOS became quickly established in the social fabric of the St. John’s, building a Hall in 1874 which frequently served as a venue for large gatherings.110 Fishermen who were members of the society may well have flown the SOS colours off their boats and houses and since they were the bulk of the population, this would have lent great weight to any symbol they employed en masse. Fishermen were, after all, the backbone of Newfoundland, "the men whose labour and sweat the country owes everything it possesses."111 What represented them could have very easily been seen as representing the country.

34 Members of the government also patronized the society. The Association’s Silver Jubilee in 1897 featured a banquet of 250 people including Premier William Whiteway.112 Furthermore, from 1893 until his death in 1916, Edward Michael Jackman, Finance Minister under Robert Bond from 1900-1909, held the presidency. Jackman, a member of many other Catholic societies, reinvigorated the SOS and kept it highly visible at social and national occasions.113 This meant that the Association’s colours were prominent at these events. In addition, politicians frequently held their gatherings in the SOS Hall.114 In particular, when Ambrose Shea returned to Newfoundland after British officials denied him the governorship of the colony in 1886, the SOS hosted the mass meeting at which he denounced his enemies.115

35 By the 1890s politics had changed. With the introduction of the secret ballot in 1887 it became more class-based and focused on anti-mercantile rhetoric. Fishermen, as Bond stated in his 1908 Manifesto, were "the largest producing class, and the very backbone of the country."116 Fishermen would become one of the groups politically mobilized to support Whiteway and Bond in the early twentieth century.117 These politicians likely used and endorsed any flag or emblem representing these men, and so by 1908 Bond had become clearly associated with the PWG. "All we, as a happy people, have to do to be truly happy," wrote one supporter to the editor of the Evening Telegram, "is to vote straight for the party of Sir Robert Bond — the Pink, White and Green forever! Hurrah! Hurrah!"118 Another letter signed "PWG" urged voters to "pin [their] faith to Bond and Jackman." Jackman himself being, of course, another tie between the PWG, the SOS, and Bond.119 One of the strongest examples of the link between Bond and the PWG, and of the PWG as the Native Flag, was a large political cartoon which portrayed the Premier as the great protector and champion of Newfoundland fishermen. Entitled Victory! The triumphant Premier!, Bond appeared as a knight clad in armour, standing on torn-up treaties including that of Utrecht, a clear reference to his success with the French Shore issue, and bearing a lance with the banner "For Newfoundland." In the foreground a fisherman thanks Bond for fighting for fishermen’s rights, while his fellow fishermen in the background rally around the tricolour, to which Bond is pointing. A second tricolour flies from the mast of a ship behind them.120 The imagery reinforces the acceptance of the PWG tricolour as the flag of Newfoundland and Bond’s ties to it. Just as the Red, White, and Green was a banner of victory against Confederation in 1869, so too was the PWG a banner of victory in the French Shore issue. Each one in its day had become a banner of independence. In fact, with the old Native Flag gone, the victory against Confederation was being linked to the current Native Flag: "Beneath the Pink, White and Green we can grow and expand," wrote one citizen, "Bond, Home Rule and Independence forever."121 Home Rule in Newfoundland meant "no Confederation," a meaning that had been established back in 1869 and was clearly not forgotten, and so in this comment one might see the PWG supplanting the Red, White, and Green in collective memory. That is, after all, exactly what occurred.

36 The years from roughly 1870-1914 have been identified as very fertile ground for the creation of new symbols and traditions, with many new or recently-founded nations seeking to acquire anthems, flags, and other prominent "national" symbols.122 Newfoundland in this period found its nationalism "more firmly articulated" then ever, full of British imperial pride and pride of self, in being Newfoundlanders.123 As a national symbol, the PWG was given a boost in 1902 by the creation of two anthems. The first was Sir Cavendish Boyle’s The Ode to Newfoundland which, while not naming the flag in its lyrics, featured the PWG on the cover of the sheet music.124 Boyle’s song eventually became the Newfoundland anthem. Second was The Flag of Newfoundland by Bishop Howley, who was a noted Newfoundland nationalist. Howley’s anthem was a powerful public endorsement of the PWG which would certainly have given it credence as a national symbol. The anthem also served another purpose. Hiller points out that the PWG was sometimes seen by contemporary Protestants as a Catholic flag.125 This is no surprise when one realizes that it was comprised of the colours of an exclusively Catholic association patronized by the Catholic Bishop. Howley’s anthem tried to overcome this by giving explicit meaning to the colours and making them representative of all ethnic groups, stating in his lyrics that the pink was for England, the green for Ireland and the white for Scotland.126

37 This interpretation of the flag as a unifying symbol is an old refrain found in the "Bishop Fleming made the flag" myth, and more factually echoed in the NNS rhetoric and symbols which praised the lands of the natives’ ancestry.127 In making this association, Bishop Howley was most likely trying to overcome any religious overtones the colours had, to make the flag an all-inclusive symbol that could be accepted by all Newfoundlanders regardless of denomination. Contemporaries recognized that Howley’s intention was to create unity. The Evening Telegram attached Howley’s anthem to the Fleming myth, stating that now Fleming’s unifying intent in creating the PWG flag was finally realized.128 Five years later John A. Robinson, editor of the Daily News, a Methodist and a former Colonial Secretary, reminded citizens of the anthem’s message of social harmony, and that "our own Bishop Howley [in his lyrics] has set the pace in a sentiment which all Christian well wishers of the Colony must heartily appreciate and extoll."129

38 The "genuine popular resonance" that symbols need to become successful was something the PWG found in abundance.130 By the turn of the century under the Premiership of Sir Robert Bond, the PWG was Newfoundland’s official flag in all but name, and even today some people still rally around it, while nobody remembers the NNS Red, White, and Green, the flag of Newfoundland for some 30 years or more in the nineteenth century. The PWG was not derived from the Newfoundland Natives’ Society, and the "pink with a fir tree" flag was never the NNS Flag. The true Native Flag of red, white, and green was overrun by the popularity of the PWG in the late nineteenth century, and as a result it has been forgotten. The original NNS Flag, the red silk banner with its elaborate device, has also been lost to history. This device deserves a second look, as it celebrated pride of place. The elements and figures that made up the shield represented what Natives believed was the essence of Newfoundland and of those who lived there. When Premier Danny Williams sought a new symbol for Newfoundland and Labrador in fall 2006, he wanted to choose something that would do the same, and so he undertook a branding exercise that led to the selection of the pitcher plant.131 Branding is exactly what the Natives’ Society did in 1840 when they unanimously adopted their shield design. What was represented by the shield still has relevance for Newfoundland today: Newfoundlanders are still tied to agriculture, trade, and the sea via fishing and sealing, and are still proud of the natural beauty that surrounds them. The Newfoundland Natives’ Society was the first organization in Newfoundland history to formally articulate this feeling of pride of place and if we are, as Williams has said, tied to our history and culture, then surely the NNS and their creations, the first emblems of Newfoundland, their shield and the Native tricolour of Red, White, and Green, are part of that history.


1 Geoff Budden, "The Role of the Newfoundland Natives’ Society in the Political Crisis of 1840-2" (MUN: Honours Dissertation, 1984), 51.

2 Newfoundlander, 7 July 1845.

3 1862 was the last time the Society was listed in the Newfoundland Almanac. John Fitzgerald has wrongly dated its demise to 1847 and O’Flaherty writes as if the NNS disappeared around this time as well. Patrick O’Flaherty, Lost Country: The Rise and Fall of Newfoundland, 1843-1933 (St. John’s: Long Beach Press, 2005), 48 and "The Newfoundland Natives’ Society," Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador (ENL), volume 4, 21-7; John Fitzgerald, "The Newfoundland Tricolor Pink, White and Green Flag"; available from http://www.theindependent.ca/article.asp?AID=556&ATID2; accessed 18 November 2007.

4 "Rules, Regulations, and By-Laws of the Newfoundland Natives’ Society," published in the Patriot and Terra Nova Herald (hereafter Patriot), 17 October 1840, and the red, white, and green native tricolour from Patriot, 23 June 1856.

5 Patriot, 23 August 1884.

6 Patriot, 6 March 1871; Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association, 100 Years, 1871-1971. Souvenir of Centennial Year Celebration. October 14-17 1971 (St. John’s: Star of Sea Association, 1971), 4.

7 Eric Hobsbawm, "Introduction: Inventing Traditions," in, Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 1.

8 Ibid., 1.

9 Paul O’Neill, "Flying the pink, white and green," Evening Telegram, 9 January 2005.

10 Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870-1914," in Hobsbawm and Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition, 263.

11 Glenn Colton has recently explored the role of music in nationalist expression. He writes that Howley’s Flag of Newfoundland links "words and music to the mid-nineteenth century and the formative stages of a Newfoundland national consciousness." See, "Imagining Nation: Music and Identity in Pre-Confederation Newfoundland," Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, 22:1 (Spring 2007), 28-9.

12 Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions," 263-4.

13 Hobsbawm, "Introduction," 1-2.

14 Ibid., 4.

15 Ibid., 4.

16 See James K. Hiller, "Robert Bond and the Pink, White and Green: Newfoundland Nationalism in Perspective," Acadiensis, 36:2 (Spring 2007), 114-15.

17 Maurice Devine and Michael O’Mara, Notable events in the History of Newfoundland: Six Thousand Dates of Historical and Social Happenings (St. John’s: Devine & O’Mara, 1900), 120-1.

18 Evening Telegram, 19 March 1902.

19 Michael Harrington, "The Native Flag of Newfoundland," Atlantic Advocate, 50:3 (November 1959), 86.

20 Paul O’Neill, "Around and About," The Monitor, July 1976, 11.

21 John Fitzgerald, "Conflict and Culture in Irish Newfoundland Roman Catholicism, 1829-1850" (PhD Thesis, University of Ottawa, 1997), 371-2; Michael Francis Howley, Ecclesiastical History of Newfoundland, volume 1 (1888; Belleville: Mika, 1979).

22 John P. Greene, Between Damnation and Starvation: Priests and Merchants in Newfoundland Politics, 1745-1855 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999), 113.

23 Public Ledger, 1 July 1836.

24 Public Ledger, 8 September 1840.

25 Ample examples of conflict between Bishop Fleming and the independently-minded Catholics of the NNS can be found in Budden, "The Role of the Newfoundland Natives’ Society;" Greene, Between Damnation and Starvation; and Patrick O’Flaherty, Old Newfoundland: a History to 1843 (St. John’s: Long Beach Press, 1999).

26 Hiller, "Robert Bond," 114-15.

27 "A Brief regarding the proposal of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for a distinctive provincial flag" by The Newfoundland Historical Society, the St. John’s Folk Arts Council and the Newfoundland Historic Trust (St. John’s, 1977), 30.

28 "A Brief regarding the proposal of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for a distinctive provincial flag," 14-5; Alistair B. Fraser, "Newfoundland," The Flags of Canada; available from http://www.fraser.cc/FlagsCan/Provinces/Newfoundland.html#r15; accessed 28 February 2008.

29 An amateur artist about whom little is known, John William Hayward (1843-1913) was born in St. John’s and made Newfoundland his subject. Some of his work appeared in Harper’s Weekly. The Evening Telegram described him as having "recorded events of Newfoundland at the end of the Victorian Age." He is best known for his signal code paintings. Evening Telegram, 7 September 1983; Ellen M. Dinn, "Hayward, John William (1843- 1913)," ENL, volume 2, 863-4.

30 House flags and signal codes, as painted by Hayward, can be found reproduced as the front and back endpapers of the ENL, volume 2, and in Harry D. Roberts, The Newfoundland Fish Boxes (Fredericton: Brunswick Press, 1982), 100-4. The colours in these print sources are not accurate representations of what Hayward used in the originals. Hayward’s originals reside at the Provincial Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador. There are also copies hanging in the Maritime History Archive and in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies (CNS)Archive, both at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

31 Neither the Provincial Museum nor CNS Archives had any information about Hayward’s sources.

32 Hiller, "Robert Bond," 114-15.

33 Paul O’Neill writes that "the Natives’ Society adopted its own flag. The design chosen was one which the people of Newfoundland had been unofficially flying as their own distinctive flag: it consisted of a green spruce tree on a pink field with two clasped hands underneath.... The society added the word Philanthropy." Not only was this not their flag, but it also was not their motto. See footnote 44 here. Paul O’Neill, "The Story of Newfoundland’s Native Flag," Flag Bulletin, 15:6 (1972), 188.

34 O’Neill, "Flying the pink, white and green."

35 Carbonear Sentinel, 15 [13?] November 1838.

36 O’Neill has claimed that this must have been the NNS flag from 1840, and since he wrongly believes that this was the "pink with a fir tree" flag, he assumes that this is the flag reported in 1838. O’Neill, "The Story," 187. See also footnote 33 here.

37 Thomas Spry, editor of the Carbonear Sentinel, was a Methodist. It is not known if he was himself an Irishman, and perhaps a native one at that, which would have made the Irish flag "native" to him as well.

38 Carbonear Sentinel, 15 [13?] November 1838.

39 Howley, Ecclesiastical History, 341-2.

40 Howley, Ecclesiastical History, 317, 319.

41 Even the young men who volunteered to row the Bishop ashore in St. John’s harbor in 1837 decorated their boat with a Cross flag: "Before leaving the vessel I received a deputation of the young men of the Island, who presented me with an address, and begged permission to row me ashore in a boat which they had elegantly prepared for the occasion, and which displayed the banner of the Cross — that Cross by which and for which I had surmounted so many dangers." Howley, Ecclesiastical History, 341.

42 These comings and goings were reported in the Public Ledger, Patriot, and Times and General Commercial Gazette (hereafter Times). Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) Minutes for these two years only contain one address to the Bishop, for July 1836.

43 Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions," 263.

44 "Rules, Regulations, and By-Laws of the Newfoundland Natives Society."

45 Patriot, 2 January 1841.

46 Newfoundland Express, 14 February 1852.

47 Patriot, 15 September 1840.

48 Times, 16 September 1840.

49 Patriot, 30 January 1841.

50 Carbonear Sentinel, 19 January 1843.

51 "Newfoundland Pink-White-Green Flag," Flags of the World; available from http://www.allstates-flag.com/fotw/flags/ca-nf_pk.html; accessed 28 February 2008.

52 "Red, a and n.," Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989, Oxford English Dictionary Online; available from http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50199855questionquery_ type=word&queryword=red&first=1&max_to_show=10&sort_type=alpha&result_place=5&search_id=Kz2k-4vzpV2-9739&hilite=50199855; accessed 3 March 2008. "Pink, n.5 and adj.2," Oxford English Dictionary, draft revision December 2007, Oxford English Dictionary Online; available from http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50179637?query_type=word&queryword=pink&first=1&max_to_show =10&sort_type=alpha&result_ place=6&search_id=Kz2k-uV14yz-9647&hilite=50179637; accessed 3 March 2008.

53 Newfoundlander, 4 January 1844; Patriot, 3 January 1844. This was a Temperance Procession set for Twelfth Day (6 January) led by Rev. Forrestal, President of the Temperance Society. There were no formal Societies present based on the processional list as published in advance of the event.

54 There is a reproduction in the World Book Encyclopedia (2008), volume 7, 210, in one variant as a red flag with a white square, red cross, and what is described in the text as a "Liberty Tree." This variant dates from 1686 to 1707. It was still being flown during the Revolutionary War as seen in John Trumbull’s 1786 painting of the Battle of Bunker Hill, where it is shown as a red flag with a white square in the top left corner, with a green fir tree in it. The painting hangs in the Yale University Art Gallery. Thanks to Michele L. Brann, Reference Services, Maine State Library.

55 Patriot, 23 June 1856.

56 See footnote 17 here. There is no proof that the tricolour was adopted after 1846, the date given in Devine and O’Mara for a change of Native flag.

57 Patriot, 15 November 1852.

58 Michael Francis Howley, Ecclesiastical History of Newfoundland, volume 2 (eds., Brother Joseph B. Darcy, CFC and John F. O’Mara; St. John’s: Terra Nova Publishing 2005), 133.

59 Philip Tocque, Wandering Thoughts, or Solitary Hours (London: Thomas Richardson, 1846), 338. This is the steamer which Patrick O’Flaherty characterizes as symbolic of Newfoundland’s hope for the future, Lost Country, 1-2.

60 Public Ledger, 5, 9, and 12 August 1842. Tocque’s account of the ship includes reprints from these articles, Wandering Thoughts, 338-40.

61 Marjorie M. Doyle and Patrick O’Flaherty, "Tocque, Philip," Dictionary of Canadian Biography (hereafter DCB), volume 12.

62 "Bye-Rules of the Newfoundland Fishermen’s Society," in the Newfoundlander,8 February 1858.

63 Newfoundlander, 31 October 1861.

64 The Total Abstinence and Benefit Society (TAB) Jubilee Volume, 1858-1908 (St. John’s: Chronicle Print, 1908), 1-10.

65 TAB Jubilee Volume, 14.

66 TAB Jubilee Volume, 14-5.

67 TAB Jubilee Volume, 22-5.

68 Evening Telegram, 21 August 1890; Evening Herald, 25 June 1892; Barbara A. Crosbie, "Howley, Michael Francis," DCB, volume 14.

69 Fitzgerald, "The Newfoundland Tricolor Pink, White and Green Flag."

70 Public Ledger, 31 July 1860. The other papers include the Patriot, 11 June 1860, 18 June 1860, 16 July 1860; 23 July 1860, 30 July 1860, 27 August 1860, and 24 Sept 1860; Times, 25 July 1860; Royal Gazette and Newfoundland Advertiser, 24 July and 31 July 1860. There is also no mention of the PWG in O’Flaherty’s Lost Country, 87; nor in Charles Pedley, The History of Newfoundland from the earliest times to the year 1860 (London: Longman, Roberts & Green, 1863), 445-50.

71 On stone by E. Walker, lithographed by Day & Son, London, published by D. Adams, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1860. Thanks to Bert Riggs for pointing out the painting’s existence in the first place. The painting is reproduced in DeVolpi, Charles Patrick, Newfoundland; a pictorial record: historical prints and illustrations of the province of Newfoundland, Canada, 1497-1887 (Toronto: Longman Canada, 1972), plate 80.

72 The Prince of Wales leaving St. John’s, Newfoundland, for Halifax, Nova Scotia, engraved by Holcomb & Davis, for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 11 August 1860; and The Embarkation of the Prince of Wales at the Queen’s Wharf, St. John’s, Newfoundland from the Illustrated London News, 1 September 1860. Both of these are also reproduced in DeVolphi, Newfoundland; a pictorial record as plates 81 and 82 respectively.

73 NF Express, 21 and 28 July 1860. The Societies were in order of age and included the following: Masons, BIS, Mechanics, British, St. Andrew’s, St. George’s, NNS, Phoenix Volunteer Company, Sons of Temperance, Coopers, and TAB.

74 Newfoundlander, 31 October 1861.

75 Patriot, 6 May 1861.

76 Patriot, 6 May 1861.

77 See footnote 3 here.

78 Fraser, "Newfoundland."

79 Patriot, 11 November 1869.

80 Morning Chronicle, 27 September 1873. O’Flaherty assumes it was the PWG, Lost Country, 119.

81 BIS Minutes, no date given but found after the entry for 25 July 1875.

82 Rules and Bye-Laws of the Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association, revised 28 April 1898 (Devine & O’Mara Printers), 7-8.

83 Newfoundlander, 10 August 1875.

84 BIS Minutes, no date given but found after the entry for 25 July 1875; Rules and Bye-Laws of the Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association, 21.

85 Rules and Bye-Laws of the Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association, 21.

86 Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association, 100 Years,4.

87 W.J. O’Shea and S.J. Roll, "Advent," volume 1, 133-5, and M. McCance , "Liturgical colours," volume 8, 645-6, both in The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America, 2003); Joseph Quinn, "Gaudete Sunday," 320; and David Bryan, "Laetare Sunday," 471, both in The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia, revised and expanded edition (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2004).

88 Bishop Mullock established the Catholic Institute on 1 May 1864; Newfoundlander, 2 May 1864. The object of the Society was "the religious, moral, and literary advancement of the young men of St. John’s in connection with the Catholic Church." In May 1872 the Catholic Institute became the St. Joseph’s Catholic Institute because many members of the latter were also members of the former. In addition, the rules and regulations of the two societies were the same. When Bishop Power arrived in St. John’s in 1870, he united the two together with the object still being "inculcating the principles of sobriety, morality, and the obligations of religion." The banner of the Society was of the Pontifical colors, white and yellow, with the emblem and motto as on the sashes. The sashes were white and yellow silk with St. Peter’s Cross and the Lily of St. Joseph along with the motto "St. Joseph’s Institute." The badge was a white silk rosette with the Cross and the Lily as on the sash. Rules and Constitution of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Institute (St. John’s: Newfoundlander, 1872).

89 Patriot, 4 March 1872.

90 Patriot, 23 August 1884.

91 Evening Telegram, 3 November 1885.

92 O’Flaherty again assumes it was the PWG, Lost Country, 156.

93 Evening Telegram, 1 November 1886.

94 Evening Telegram, 29 October 1890.

95 Evening Telegram, 28 June 1892.

96 Evening Herald, 28 June 1892.

97 Evening Herald, 25 June 1892.

98 Evening Telegram, 21 August 1890.

99 Colonist, 21 August 1890.

100 Ibid.

101 Journal of the House of Assembly 1896, Appendix, 340-1; Daily News, 19 June 1896; Evening Telegram, 19 June 1896.

102 Kathy-Jane Elton and Ellen M. Dinn, "Flags," ENL, Vol. 2, 197.

103 "A Brief regarding the proposal of the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador for a distinctive provincial flag," 18.

104 Daily News, 23 June 1897.

105 Evening Telegram, 23 June 1897.

106 Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association, 100 Years,4.

107 Ibid.

108 Patriot, 4 June 1872.

109 Newfoundlander, 9 March 1875.

110 The SOS hosted lectures and dramas. For Irish examples, see Newfoundlander,18 February and 7 March 1876.

111 Father Lynch made these comments at the laying of the foundation stone of the SOS Hall on 23 May 1874; Newfoundlander, 29 May 1874.

112 Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association, 100 Years,4.

113 Melvin Baker, "Jackman, Edward Michael," DCB, volume 14; Newfoundland Fisherman’s Star of the Sea Association, 100 Years,4.

114 As examples: in 1878, a meeting of electors to nominate members for St. John’s East was held in the SOS Hall, Patriot, 14 October 1878; also an 1885 political meeting of electors for St. John’s West and East with Ambrose Shea in the Chair, Evening Telegram,8 September 1885; and in November of that same year another large meeting of electors was held in the SOS Hall, chaired again by Ambrose Shea, Evening Telegram, 3 November 1885.

115 O’Flaherty, Lost Country, 157.

116 Evening Telegram, 29 September 1908.

117 James Hiller, "Sir William Vallance Whiteway," DCB, volume 13. For example, in the 1908 election campaign the Evening Telegram often printed headlines such as "Fishermen, Be on Your Guard" to rally support for Bond, E.M Jackman, and others.

118 Evening Telegram, 16 October 1908.

119 Evening Telegram, 5 October 1908.

120 Evening Telegram, 14 October 1908. As premier in 1904 Bond reaped the benefits of the wider British-French agreements which led to the Entente Cordiale. He was also leader in a time of prosperity. Melvin Baker and Peter Neary, "Bond, Sir Robert," DCB, volume 15 and Hiller, "Robert Bond," 121-2.

121 Evening Telegram, 9 October 1908.

122 Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions," 263, 266.

123 Hiller, "Robert Bond," 120, 124.

124 The original is held in the Provincial Archives.

125 Hiller, "Robert Bond," 115.

126 The lyrics can be found, among other places, in Hiller, "Robert Bond," 122.

127 The NNS rhetoric of the 1840s often contained references to the fact that Natives were the descendants of Ireland, England and Scotland. It was a unifying message to overcome religious differences as the NNS was comprised of all these ethnic groups, from both Catholic and Protestant denominations. For example the Patriot, 9 July 1845 praised natives as "the flouted descendants of the Rose, the Shamrock and the Thistle."

128 Evening Telegram, 19 March 1902.

129 Daily News, 18 March 1907; Robinson served as Colonial Secretary from 1897-1900, "Executive Councils of Newfoundland," Newfoundland Almanac, 1903, 229; Lori M. Sheppard, "Robinson, John Alexander," ENL, volume 4, 612-3.

130 Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions," 263-4.

131 "Creative, Resilient and Inventive: New Brand Embodies Essence of Newfoundland and Labrador," News Release, Executive Council, Department of Business, October 3, 2006. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is interesting that in a recent survey concerning making the PWG the official flag of the province, only 25 per cent of those asked wanted the current flag to be changed. The reasons given were that it would be costly and that pink was not a suitable colour for a flag. Premier Williams said that he preferred the PWG, but that any change would have to reflect the wishes of the people of Newfoundland. Mark Quinn, "Push for old Newfoundland flag fails to cause ripple, poll finds," Globe and Mail, 29 October 2005.

Newfoundland and Labrador Studies. ISSN: 1715-1430