A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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EPISODE 38: Peaceable Kingdom: Nicholas Austin, Quaker Pioneer
Directed by Martin Duckworth


In his film Peaceable Kingdom - Nicholas Austin, Quaker Pioneer, director
Martin Duckworth follows the personal road of discovery as his son Nicholas explores his family's Quaker heritage.

The Duckworth family continues to cottage on the land that was granted to their ancestor Nicholas Austin in the 1790's. This beautiful land is a tangible link with this remarkable man, who came to Canada from the United States to establish a Quaker settlement.

As we follow the path of Nicholas Duckworth, discovering the legacy of his great-great-grandfather, we learn of the hardships and dreams of these early Quaker settlers in Québec. Although the settlement envisioned by Nicholas Austin never came into being, the legacy of peace, tolerance and compromise has echoed down through the generations and continues to permeate the modern


  • To explore the vision of the Quaker Pioneers as they sought to create a colony of peace in Canada
  • To explore the hardships faced by the Quakers as early European pioneers in Canada
  • To examine the lasting legacy of the Quakers in modern Canada.


  • Quakers
  • Pacifist
  • Pioneer
  • Rebellion 1837
  • Nobel Peace Prize
  • Peaceable Kingdom
  • Family Compact


  • To explore how Canada is still affected by her Quaker heritage
  • To examine the price the Quakers paid for remaining neutral during the times of war
  • To appreciate the hardships faced by early pioneers such as Nicholas Austin as they forged an existence out of the wilderness.


  1. For centuries, Quakers have fought for education, equality and social justice for all people. Pretend you are a group of Quakers. Within small groups, name some issues or problems in your own community or city which according to your Quaker beliefs, would be important to work on or fight for. As a group (remember: compromise, tolerance and equality!) choose one of these issues you would like to work on, and prepare a one-page action plan on what you, as a group, can do to help.

    After each group makes its presentation (including what issue they chose, why, and what their action plan is), report back to the whole class. Students can then be given the opportunity to decide whether they would like to pursue working together on one of the issues they have identified - as a group, or as individual volunteers, using the action plan as a guide.

  2. Does your community have a Society of Friends? If so, consider inviting a member of the group to your class or school to give a little talk or presentation. Quakers are proud of their history and often enjoy talking about this history, as well as their present-day social concerns. If you decide to invite someone, carefully plan with your teacher how you will invite the person, what you would like them to talk about, what you can add to the day to make their visit enjoyable, and what you as a class can present (make or donate!) for the speaker to show your appreciation for their time and contribution to your schoolwork.

  3. Since World War II, Canada has been viewed both as a country of peacekeepers and peacemakers. Do a little research to find out what this means. Do you think this role evolved out of our early Quaker beginnings. In your research, make sure to include what Canada has done in the past few years with our troops in war-torn areas, including Bosnia and Somalia. What about Rwanda? Do you think peacekeeping/peacemaking is a good role for Canada to play in the world? Make sure you consider how you might feel if you were a Canadian soldier being sent overseas to protect the peace (often a dangerous job!) in a country thousands of miles away that you know little or nothing about.

  4. The sight of a woman doctor may be a common sight today to most people in Canada, but it was not always so. The Quaker, Emily Stowe was the first women doctor in Canada, but she had to fight long and hard to get her medical degree here. Research the role of women in the mid-1800s, and find out what kinds of obstacles and discrimination (not only educational) Emily Stowe would have faced in the 1860s. Find out how different it is today.

    Write or call the university closest to you with a medical school and ask them for some statistics on how many males and females graduated each year for the last 10 years. Then ask them about 20 years ago. What do you think has brought about this change in the number of women they admit to medical school (maybe the school can help you on this)? Do you think Emily Stowe would be pleased with the results you found?

  5. The prestigious and important Nobel Peace Prize is usually awarded to an individual, but in 1947, the Quakers received the prize. Learn about the history of the prize, why it is awarded, and some of the famous people who have received the prize (including a Canadian Prime Minister) over the years. Learn why the award was given to the Quakers, and then pretend you are the presenter of the prize to them 1947. As you hand it to them, give a brief explanation as to why you think they so rightly deserve it.

  6. Today, there are only between 1000 and 1500 Quakers left in our country. They remain, however, a committed and often powerful instrument for social change through peaceful means here in Canada. Examine some of the social issues they are currently involved with, and if you agree with any or all of their causes, find out what you can do to help improve the world alongside them.

  7. Nobody would ever say they actually like or believe in war, but many people (and countries) feel it is their duty to take up arms for their cause when called upon, particularly in self-defense or to preserve a way of life they believe in. However, Quakers, because of their religious beliefs, feel that violence, under any circumstance is abhorrent, and they are therefore, pacifists.

  8. Divide into two groups and have a debate with your classmates. One side will take the position that pacifism is a brave and righteous road to follow. The other group will explain why they see them as traitors and cowards in a time of desperation. To support your arguments, use information you have found about the role of pacifists in World War I and II. At the close of your debate, decide whether or not you think there can be a role for both arm-bearers and pacifists in a country at war.