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Title: Reminiscences of a Canadian Pioneer for the last Fifty Years - An Autobiography
Author: Thompson, Samuel
Language: English
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  OF A

  Canadian Pioneer.


  OF A






  _Formerly Editor of the "Toronto Daily Colonist," the "Parliamentary
  Hansard," &c., &c._


    Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the
    year one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four, by Samuel
    Thompson, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture.


It was in consequence of a suggestion by the late S. J. Watson,
Librarian of the Ontario Legislature--who urged that one who had gone
through so many experiences of early Canadian history as myself, ought
to put the same on record--that I first thought of writing these
"Reminiscences," a portion of which appeared in the _Canadian Monthly
Magazine_. For the assistance which has enabled me to complete and issue
this volume, I am obliged to the kind support of those friends who have
subscribed for its publication; for which they will please accept my
grateful thanks.

In the space at my disposal, I have necessarily been compelled to give
little more than a gossiping narrative of events coming under my own
observation. But I have been careful to verify every statement of which
I was not personally cognizant; and to avoid everything of a
controversial character; as well as to touch gently on those faults of
public men which I felt obliged to notice.

It has been a labour of love to me, to place on record many honourable
deeds of Nature's gentlemen, whose lights ought not to be hidden
altogether "under a bushel," and whose names should be enrolled by
Canada amongst her earliest worthies. I have had the advantage, in
several cases, of the use of family records, which have assisted me
materially in rendering more complete several of the earlier chapters,
particularly the account of Mackenzie's movements while in the
neighbourhood of Gallows Hill; also the sketches of the "Tories of
Rebellion Times;" as well as the history of the Mechanics' Institute, in
which though a very old member, I never occupied any official position.

Since the first part of these pages was in type, I have had to lament
the deaths of more than one comrade whose name is recorded therein;
amongst them Dr. A. A. Riddel--my "Archie"--and my dearest friend Dr.
Alpheus Todd, to whom I have been indebted for a thousand proofs of
generous sympathy.



           Preface                                     iii
  Chap. I. The Author's Antecedents and Forbears         9
       II. History of a Man of Genius                   14
      III. Some Reminiscences of a London Apprentice    19
       IV. Westward, Ho!                                21
        V. Connemara and Galway fifty years ago         27
       VI. More Sea Experiences                         33
      VII. Up the St. Lawrence                          36
     VIII. Muddy Little York                            39
       IX. A Pioneer Tavern                             42
        X. A First Day in the Bush                      46
       XI. A Chapter on Chopping                        52
      XII. Life in the Backwoods                        65
     XIII. Some Gatherings from Natural History         69
      XIV. Our Removal to Nottawasaga                   78
       XV. Society in the Backwoods                     84
      XVI. More about Nottawasaga and its People        91
     XVII. A Rude Winter Experience                     93
    XVIII. The Forest Wealth of Canada                  98
      XIX. A Melancholy Tale                           101
       XX. From Barrie to Nottawasaga                  104
      XXI. Farewell to the Backwoods                   107
     XXII. A Journey to Toronto                        109
    XXIII. Some Glimpses of Upper Canadian Politics    116
     XXIV. Toronto During the Rebellion                119
      XXV. The Victor and the Vanquished               134
     XXVI. Results in the Future                       140
    XXVII. A Confirmed Tory                            143
   XXVIII. Newspaper Experiences                       146
     XXIX. Introduction to Canadian Politics           154
      XXX. Lord Sydenham's Mission                     156
     XXXI. Tories of the Rebellion Times:
              Ald. G. T. Denison, Sen                  165
              Col. R. L. Denison                       171
              Col. Geo. T. Denison, of Rusholme        172
              Alderman Dixon                           174
    XXXII. More Tories of Rebellion Times:
              Edward G. O'Brien                        186
              John W. Gamble                           198
   XXXIII. A Choice of a Church                        201
    XXXIV. The Clergy Reserves                         210
     XXXV. A Political Seed-time                       215
    XXXVI. The Maple Leaf                              217
   XXXVII. {St. George's Society                       229
           {North America St. George's Union           234
  XXXVIII. A Great Conflagration                       239
    XXXIX. The Rebellion Losses Bill                   242
       XL. The British American League                 245
      XLI. Results of the B. A. League                 261
     XLII. Toronto Civic Affairs                       262
    XLIII. Lord Elgin in Toronto                       268
     XLIV. Toronto Harbour and Esplanade               274
      XLV. Mayor Bowes--City Debentures                281
     XLVI. Carlton Ocean Beach                         285
    XLVII. Canadian Politics from 1853 to 1860         288
   XLVIII. Business Troubles                           295
     XLIX. Business Experiences in Quebec              300
        L. Quebec in 1859-60                           303
       LI. Departure From Quebec                       315
      LII. John A. Macdonald and George Brown          317
     LIII. John Sheridan Hogan                         320
      LIV. Domestic Notes                              322
       LV. The Beaver Insurance Company                325
      LVI. The Ottawa Fires                            326
     LVII. Some Insurance Experiences                  329
    LVIII. A Heavy Calamity                            333
      LIX. The Hon. J. Hillyard Cameron                336
       LX. The Toronto Athenæum                        340
      LXI. The Buffalo Fête                            344
     LXII. The Boston Jubilee                          349
    LXIII. Vestiges of the Mosaic Deluge               365
     LXIV. The Franchise                               368
      LXV. Free Trade and Protection                   371
     LXVI. The Future of Canada                        374
    LXVII. The Toronto Mechanics' Institute            377
   LXVIII. The Free Public Library                     384
     LXIX. Postscript                                  392






The writer of these pages was born in the year 1810, in the City of
London, and in the Parish of Clerkenwell, being within sound of Bow
Bells. My father was churchwarden of St. James's, Clerkenwell, and was a
master-manufacturer of coal measures and coal shovels, now amongst the
obsolete implements of by-gone days. His father was, I believe, a
Scotsman, and has been illnaturedly surmised to have run away from the
field of Culloden, where he may have fought under the name and style of
Evan McTavish, a name which, like those of numbers of his fellow
clansmen, would naturally anglicise itself into John Thompson, in order
to save its owner's neck from a threatened Hanoverian halter. But he
was both canny and winsome, and by-and-by succeeded in capturing the
affections and "tocher" of Sarah Reynolds, daughter of the wealthy
landlord of the Bull Inn, of Meriden, in Warwickshire, the greatest and
oldest of those famous English hostelries, which did duty as the
resting-place of monarchs _en route_, and combined within their solid
walls whole troops of blacksmiths, carpenters, hostlers, and many other
crafts and callings. No doubt from this source I got my Warwickshire
blood, and English ways of thinking, in testimony of which I may cite
the following facts: while living in Quebec, in 1859-60, a mason
employed to rebuild a brick chimney challenged me as a brother
Warwickshire man, saying he knew dozens of gentlemen there who were as
like me "as two peas." Again, in 1841, a lady who claimed to be the last
direct descendant of William Shakespeare, of Stratford-upon-Avon, and
the possessor of the watch and other relics of the poet, said she was
quite startled at my likeness to an original portrait of her great
ancestor, in the possession of her family.

My grandfather carried on the business of timber dealer (we in Canada
should call it lumber merchant), between Scotland and England, buying up
the standing timber in gentlemen's parks, squaring and teaming it
southward, and so became a prosperous man. Finally, at his death, he
left a large family of sons and daughters, all in thriving
circumstances. His second son, William, married my mother, Anna Hawkins,
daughter of the Rev. Isaac Hawkins, of Taunton, in Somersetshire, and
his wife, Joan Wilmington, of Wilmington Park, near Taunton. My
grandfather Hawkins was one of John Wesley's earliest converts, and was
by him ordained to the ministry. Through my mother, we are understood to
be descended from Sir John Hawkins, the world-renowned buccaneer,
admiral, and founder of the English Royal Navy, who was honoured by
being associated with her most sacred Majesty Queen Elizabeth, in a
secret partnership in the profits of piratical raids undertaken in the
name and for the behoof of Protestant Christianity. So at least says the
historian, Froude.

One word more about my father. He was a member of the London
trained-bands, and served during the Gordon riots, described by Dickens
in "Barnaby Rudge." He personally rescued a family of Roman Catholics
from the rioters, secreted them in his house on Holborn Hill, and aided
them to escape to Jamaica, whence they sent us many valuable presents of
mahogany furniture, which must be still in the possession of some of my
nephews or nieces in England. My mother has often told me, that she
remembered well seeing dozens of miserable victims of riot and
drunkenness lying in the kennel in front of her house, lapping up the
streams of gin which ran burning down the foul gutter, consuming the
poor wretches themselves in its fiery progress.

My father died the same year I was born. My dear mother, who was the
meekest and most pious of women, did her best to teach her children to
avoid the snares of worldly pride and ambition, and to be contented with
the humble lot in which they had been placed by Providence. She was by
religious profession a Swedenborgian, and in that denomination educated
a family of eleven children, of whom I am the youngest. I was sent to a
respectable day-school, and afterwards as boarder to a commercial
academy, where I learnt the English branches of education, with a little
Latin, French, and drawing. I was, as a child, passionately fond of
reading, especially of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and of Sir Walter
Scott's novels, which latter delightful books have influenced my tastes
through life, and still hold me fascinated whenever I happen to take
them up.

So things went on till 1823, when I was thirteen years old. My mother
had been left a life-interest in freehold and leasehold property worth
some thirty thousand pounds sterling; but, following the advice of her
father and brother, was induced to invest in losing speculations, until
scarcely sufficient was left to keep the wolf from the door. It was,
therefore, settled that I must be sent to learn a trade, and, by my
uncle's advice, I was placed as apprentice to one William Molineux, of
the Liberty of the Rolls, in the district of Lincoln's Inn, printer. He
was a hard master, though not an unkind man. For seven long years was I
kept at press and case, working eleven hours a day usually, sometimes
sixteen, and occasionally all night, for which latter indulgence I got
half a crown for the night's work, but no other payment or present from
year's end to year's end. The factory laws had not then been thought of,
and the condition of apprentices in England was much the same as that of
convicts condemned to hard labour, except for a couple of hours'
freedom, and too often of vicious license, in the evenings.



The course of my narrative now requires a brief account of my mother's
only brother, whose example and conversation, more than anything else,
taught me to turn my thoughts westwards, and finally to follow his
example by crossing the Atlantic ocean, and seeking "fresh fields and
pastures new" under a transatlantic sky.

John Isaac Hawkins was a name well known, both in European and American
scientific circles, fifty years ago, as an inventor of the most fertile
resource, and an expert in all matters relating to civil engineering. He
must have left England for America somewhere about the year 1790, full
of republican enthusiasm and of schemes of universal benevolence. Of his
record in the United States I know very little, except that he married a
wife in New Jersey, that he resided at Bordenton, that he acquired some
property adjacent to Philadelphia, that he was intimate with the elder
Adams, Jefferson, and many other eminent men. Returning with his wife to
England, after twenty-five years' absence, he established a sugar
refinery in Titchfield Street, Cavendish square, London, patronized his
English relatives with much condescension, and won my childish heart by
great lumps of rock-candy, and scientific experiments of a delightfully
awful character. Also, he borrowed my mother's money, to be expended for
the good of mankind, and the elaboration of the teeming offspring of his
inexhaustible inventive faculty. Morden's patent lead pencils, Bramah's
patent locks, and, I think, Gillott's steel pens were among his numerous
useful achievements, from some or all of which he enjoyed to the day of
his death a small income, in the shape of a royalty on the profits. He
assisted in the perfecting of Perkins's steam-gun, which the Duke of
Wellington condemned as too barbarous for civilized warfare, but which
its discoverer, Mr. Perkins, looked upon as the destined extirpator of
all warfare, by the simple process of rendering resistance utterly
impossible. This appalling and destructive weapon has culminated in
these times in the famous mitrailleuses of Napoleon III, at Woerth and
Sedan, which, however, certainly neither exterminated the Prussians nor
added glory to the French empire.

At his home I was in the habit of meeting the leading men of the Royal
Society and the Society of Arts, of which he was a member, and of
listening to their discussions about scientific novelties. The
eccentric Duke of Norfolk, Earl Stanhope, the inventor of the Stanhope
press, and other noble amateur scientists, availed themselves of his
practical skill, and his name became known throughout Europe. In 1825 or
thereabouts, he was selected by the Emperor Francis Joseph, of Austria,
to design and superintend the first extensive works erected in Vienna
for the promotion of the new manufacture of beet-root sugar, now an
important national industry throughout Germany. He described the
intercourse of the Austrian Imperial-Royal family with all who
approached them, and even with the mendicants who were daily admitted to
an audience with the Emperor at five o'clock in the morning, as of the
most cordial and lovable character.

From Vienna my uncle went to Paris, and performed the same duties there
for the French Government, in the erection of extensive sugar works. The
chief difficulty he encountered there, was in parrying the determination
of the Parisian artisans not to lose their Sunday's labour. They could
not, they said, support their families on six days' wages, and unless he
paid them for remaining idle on the Sabbath day, they must and would
work seven days in the week. I believe they gained their point, much to
his distress and chagrin.

His next exploit was in the construction of the Thames tunnel, in
connection with which he acted as superintendent of the works under Sir
Isambert Brunel. This occupied him nearly up to the time of my own
departure for Canada, in 1833. The sequel of his story is a melancholy
one. He made fortunes for other men who bought his inventions but
himself sank into debt, and at last died in obscurity at Rahway, New
Jersey, whither he had returned as a last resort, there to find his
former friends dead, his beloved republic become a paradise for
office-grabbers and sharpers, his life a mere tale of talents
dissipated, and vague ambition unsatisfied.[1]

After his return from Vienna, I lived much at my uncle's house, in
London, as my mother had removed to the pleasant village of Epsom in
Surrey. There I studied German with some degree of success, and learnt
much about foreign nations and the world at large. There too I learnt to
distrust my own ability to make my way amidst the crowded industries of
the old country, and began to cast a longing eye to lands where there
was plenty of room for individual effort, and a reasonable prospect of
a life unblighted by the dread of the parish workhouse and a pauper's

[Footnote 1: Since writing the above, I find in _Scribner's Monthly_ for
November 1880, the following notice of my uncle, which forms a sad
sequel to a long career of untiring enthusiasm in the service of his
fellow-creatures. It is the closing paragraph of an article headed
"Bordentown and the Bonapartes," from the pen of Joseph B. Gilder:

"It yet remains to say a few words of Dr. John Isaac Hawkins--civil
engineer, inventor, poet, preacher, phrenologist and 'mentor-general to
mankind,'--who visited the village towards the close of the last
century, married and lived there for many years; then disappeared, and,
after a long absence, returned a gray old man, with a wife barely out of
her teens. 'This isn't the wife you, took away, doctor,' some one
ventured to remark. 'No,' the blushing girl replied, 'and he's buried
one between us.' The poor fellow had hard work to gain a livelihood. For
a time, the ladies paid him to lecture to them in their parlours; but
when he brought a bag of skulls, and the heart and windpipe of his
[adopted] son preserved in spirits, they would have nothing more to do
with him. As a last resort, he started the 'Journal of Human Nature and
Human Progress,' his wife 'setting up' for the press her husband's
contributions in prose and rhyme. But the 'Journal' died after a brief
and inglorious career. Hawkins claimed to have made the first survey for
a tunnel under the Thames, and he invented the 'ever-pointed pencil,'
the 'iridium-pointed gold pen,' and a method of condensing coffee. He
also constructed a little stove with a handle, which he carried into the
kitchen to cook his meals or into the reception-room when visitors
called, and at night into his bedroom. He invented also a new religion,
whose altar was erected in his own small parlour, where Dr. John Isaac
Hawkins, priest, held forth to Mrs. John Isaac Hawkins, people. But a
shadow stretched along the poor man's path from the loss of his only
[adopted] son--'a companion in all of his philosophical researches,' who
died and was dissected at the early age of seven. Thereafter the old man
wandered, as 'lonely as a cloud,' sometimes in England, sometimes in
America; but attended patiently and faithfully by his first wife, then
by a second, and finally by a third, who clung to him with the devotion
of Little Nell to her doting grandfather."]



Having been an indulged youngest child, I found the life of a printer's
boy bitterly distasteful, and it was long before I could brace myself up
to the required tasks. But time worked a change; I got to be a smart
pressman and compositor; and at eighteen the foremanship of the office
was entrusted to me, still without remuneration or reward. Those were
the days of the Corn Law League. Col. Peyronnet Thompson, the apostle of
Free Trade, author of the "Catholic State Waggon" and other political
tracts, got his work done at our office. We printed the _Examiner_,
which brought me into contact with John and Leigh Hunt, with Jeremy
Bentham, then a feeble old man whose life was passed in an easy chair,
and with his _protegé_ Edwin Chadwick; also with Albany Fonblanque, Sir
John Morland the philanthropist, and other eminent men. Last but not
least, we printed "Figaro in London," the forerunner of "Punch," and I
was favoured with the kindest encouragement by De Walden, its first
editor, afterwards Police Magistrate. I have known that gentleman come
into the office on the morning of publication, ask how much copy was
still wanted, and have seen him stand at a desk, and without preparation
or hesitation, dash off paragraph after paragraph of the pungent
witticisms, which the same afternoon sent all London into roars of
laughter at the expense of political humbugs of all kinds, whether
friends or foes. These were not unhappy days for me. With such
associations, I became a zealous Reformer, and heartily applauded my
elder brother, when he refused, with thousands of others, to pay taxes
at the time the first Reform Bill was rejected by the House of Lords.

At this period of my life, as might have been expected from the nature
of my education and the course of reading which I preferred, I began to
try my hand at poetry, and wrote several slight pieces for the Christmas
Annuals, which, sad to say, were never accepted. But the fate of
Chatterton, of Coleridge, and other like sufferers, discouraged me; and
I adopted the prudent resolution, to prefer wealth to fame, and comfort
to martyrdom in the service of the Muses.

With the termination of my seven years' apprenticeship, these literary
efforts came also to an end. Disgusted with printing, I entered the
service of my brother, a timber merchant, and in consequence obtained a
general knowledge of the many varieties of wood used in manufactures,
which I have since found serviceable. And this brings me to the year
1831, from which date to the present day, I have identified myself
thoroughly with Canada, her industries and progress, without for a
moment ceasing to be an Englishman of the English, a loyal subject of
the Queen, and a firm believer in the high destinies of the Pan-Anglican
Empire of the future.



"Martin Doyle," was the text-book which first awakened, amongst tens of
thousands of British readers, a keen interest in the backwoods of what
is now the Province of Ontario. The year 1832, the first dread year of
Asiatic cholera, contributed by its terrors to the exodus of alarmed
fugitives from the crowded cities of the old country. My brothers
Thomas and Isaac, both a few years older than myself, made up their
minds to emigrate, and I joyously offered to join them, in the
expectation of a good deal of fun of the kind described by Dr. Dunlop.
So we set seriously to work, "pooled" our small means, learnt to make
seine-nets, economized to an unheard of extent, became curious in the
purchase of stores, including pannikins and other primitive tinware, and
at length engaged passage in the bark _Asia_, 500 tons, rated A. No. 1,
formerly an East Indiaman, and now bound for Quebec, to seek a cargo of
white pine lumber for the London market. So sanguine were we of
returning in the course of six or seven years, with plenty of money to
enrich, and perhaps bring back with us, our dear mother and unmarried
sisters, that we scarcely realized the pain of leave-taking, and went on
board ship in the St. Catherine's Docks, surrounded by applauding
friends, and in the highest possible spirits.

Our fellow-passengers were not of the most desirable class. With the
exception of a London hairdresser and his wife, very respectable people,
with whom we shared the second-cabin, the emigrants were chiefly rough
countrymen, with their wives and numerous children, sent out by the
parish authorities from the neighbourhood of Dorking, in Surrey, and
more ignorant than can readily be conceived. Helpless as infants under
suffering, sulky and even savage under privations, they were a
troublesome charge to the ship's officers, and very ill-fitted for the
dangers of the sea which lay before us. Captain Ward was the ship's
master; there were first and second mates, the former a tall Scot, the
latter a short thick-set Englishman, and both good sailors. The
boatswain, cook and crew of about a dozen men and boys, made up our
ship's company.

All things went reasonably well for some time. Heavy head-winds detained
us in the channel for a fortnight, which was relieved by landing at
Torbay, climbing the heights of Brixham, and living on fresh fish for
twenty-four hours. Then came a fair wind, which lasted until we got near
the banks of Newfoundland. Head-winds beset us again, and this time so
seriously that our vessel, which was timber-sheathed, sprang a plank,
and immediately began to leak dangerously. The passengers had taken to
their berths for the night, and were of course ignorant of what had
happened, but feared something wrong from the hurry of tramping of feet
overhead, the vehement shouts of the mates giving orders for lowering
sail, and the other usual accompaniments of a heavy squall on board
ship. It was not long, however, before we learned the alarming truth.
"All hands on deck to pump ship," came thundering down both hatchways,
in the coarse tones of the second mate. We hurried on deck half-dressed,
to face a scene of confusion affrighting in the eyes of landsmen--the
ship stripped to her storm-sails, almost on her beam-ends in a
tremendous sea, the wind blowing "great guns," the deck at an angle of
at least fifteen degrees, flooded with rain pouring in torrents, and
encumbered with ropes which there had not been time to clew away, the
four ship's pumps manned by twice as many landsmen, the sailors all
engaged in desperate efforts to stop the leak by thrumming sails
together and drawing them under the ship's bows.

Captain Ward told us very calmly that he had been in gales off the Cape
of Good Hope, and thought nothing of a "little puff" like this; he also
told us that he should keep on his course in the hope that the wind
would abate, and that we could manage the leak; but if not, he had no
doubt of carrying us safely back to the west coast of Ireland, where he
might comfortably refit.

Certainly courage is infectious. We were twelve hundred miles at sea,
with a great leak in our ship's side, and very little hope of escape,
but the master's coolness and bravery delighted us, and even the
weakest man on board took his spell at the pumps, and worked away for
dear life. My brother Thomas was a martyr to sea-sickness, and could
hardly stand without help; but Isaac had been bred a farmer, accustomed
to hard work and field sports, and speedily took command of the pumps,
worked two spells for another man's one, and by his example encouraged
the grumbling steerage passengers to persevere, if only for very shame.
Some of their wives even took turns with great spirit and effect. I did
my best, but it was not much that I could accomplish.

In all my after-life I never experienced such supreme comfort and peace
of mind, as during that night, while lying under wet sails on the
sloping deck, talking with my brother of the certainty of our being at
the bottom of the sea before morning, of our mother and friends at home,
and of our hope of meeting them in the great Hereafter. Tired out at
last, we fell asleep where we lay, and woke only at the cry, "spell ho!"
which summoned us again to the pumps.

The report of "five feet of water in the hold--the ballast shifted!"
determined matters for us towards morning. Capt. Ward decided that he
must put about and run for Galway, and so he did. The sea had by
daylight gone down so much, that the captain's cutter could be lowered
and the leak examined from the outside. This was done by the first mate,
Mr. Cattanagh, who brought back the cheering news that so long as we
were running before the wind the leak was four feet out of water, and
that we were saved for the present. The bark still remained at the same
unsightly angle, her ballast, which was chiefly coals, having shifted
bodily over to leeward; the pumps had to be kept going, and in this
deplorable state, in constant dread of squalls, and wearied with
incessant hard work, we sailed for eight days and nights, never sighting
a ship until nearly off the mouth of the Shannon, where we hailed a brig
whose name I forget. She passed on, however, refusing to answer our
signals of distress.

Next day, to our immense relief, the _Asia_ entered Galway Bay, and here
we lay six weeks for repairs, enjoying ourselves not a little, and
forgetting past danger, except as a memorable episode in the battle of



The Town of Galway is a relic of the times when Spain maintained an
active commerce with the west of Ireland, and meddled not a little in
the intrigues of the time. Everybody has read of the warden of Galway,
who hanged his son outside a window of his own house, to prevent a
rescue from justice by a popular rising in the young man's favour. That
house still stood, and probably yet stands, a mournful memento of a most
dismal tragedy. In 1833 it was in ruins, as was also the whole long row
of massive cut stone buildings of which it formed part. In front there
was a tablet recording the above event; the walls were entire, but the
roof was quite gone, and the upper stories open to the winds and storms.
The basement story appeared to have been solidly arched, and in its
cavernous recesses, and those of the adjoining cellars along that side
of the street, dwelt a race of butchers and of small hucksters, dealing
in potatoes, oats, some groceries and rough wares of many kinds. The
first floor of a brick store opposite was occupied by a hair-dresser
with whom our London fellow-passenger claimed acquaintance. One day we
were sitting at his window, looking across at the old warden's house,
when a singular scene was enacted under our astonished eyes. A
beggarman, so ragged as barely to comply with the demands of common
decency, and bearing an old sack suspended over his shoulder on a short
cudgel, came lounging along the middle of the street seeking alms. A
butcher's dog of aristocratic tastes took offence at the man's rags, and
attacked him savagely. The old man struck at the dog, the dog's owner
darted out of his cellar and struck at the beggar, somebody else took a
part, and in the twinkling of an eye as it were, the narrow street was
blocked up with men furiously-wielding shillelaghs, striking right and
left at whoever happened to be most handy, and yelling like Dante's
devils in full chorus. Another minute, and a squad of policemen in green
uniforms--peelers, they are popularly called--appeared as if by magic,
and with the effect of magic; for instantly, and with a celerity
evidently the result of long practice, the crowd, beggarman, butcher,
dog and all, vanished into the yawning cellars, and the street was left
as quiet as before, the police marching leisurely back to their

We spent much of our time in rambling along the shore of Galway Bay, a
beautiful and extensive harbour, where we found many curious specimens
of sea-weeds, particularly the edible dilosk, and rare shells and
minerals. Some of our people went out shooting snipe, and were warned on
all hands to go in parties, and to take care of their guns, which would
prove too strong a temptation for the native peasantry, as the spirit of
Ribbonism was rife throughout Connemara. Another amusement was, to watch
the groups of visitors from Tuam and the surrounding parts of Clare and
other counties, who were attracted by the marvel of a ship of five
hundred tons in their bay, no such phenomenon having happened within the
memory of man. At another time we explored the rapid river Corrib, and
the beautiful lake of the same name, a few miles distant. The salmon
weirs on the river were exceedingly interesting, where we saw the
largest fish confined in cribs for market, and apparently quite
unconscious of their captivity. The castle of one of the Lynch family
was visible from the bay, an ancient structure with its walls mounted
with cannon to keep sheriffs' officers at a distance. Other feudal
castles were also in sight.

Across the bay loomed the rugged mountains of Clare, seemingly utterly
barren in their bleak nakedness. With the aid of the captain's telescope
we could see on these inhospitable hills dark objects, which turned out
to be the mud cabins of a numerous peasantry, the very class for whom,
in this present year of 1883, Mr. Gladstone and his colleagues are
trying to create an elysium of rural contentment. We traversed the
country roads for miles, to observe the mode of farming there, and could
find nothing, even up to the very streets of Galway, but mud cabins with
one or two rooms, shared with the cow and pigs, and entrenched, as it
were, behind a huge pile of manure that must have been the accumulation
of years. Anything in the shape of valuable improvements was
conspicuously absent.

Everything in Connemara seems paradoxical. These rough-coated,
hard-worked, down-trodden Celts proved to be the liveliest, brightest,
wittiest of mankind. They came in shoals to our ship, danced reels by
the hour upon deck to a whistled accompaniment, with the most
extravagant leaps and snapping of fingers. It was an amusing sight to
see women driving huge pigs into the sea, held by a string tied to the
hind leg, and there scraping and sluicing the unwieldy, squealing
creatures until they came out as white as new cream. These Galway women
are singularly handsome, with a decidedly Murillo cast of features,
betokening plainly their Iberian ancestry. They might well have sat as
models to the chief of Spanish painters.

In the suburbs of Galway are many acres of boggy land, which are
cultivated as potato plots, highly enriched with salt sea-weed manure,
and very productive. These farms--by which title they are
dignified--were rented, we were told, at three to four pounds sterling
per acre. Rents in the open country ranged from one pound upwards. Yet
we bought cup potatoes at twopence per stone of sixteen lbs.; and for a
leg of mutton paid sixpence English.

Enquiring the cause of these singular anomalies, we were assured on all
hands, that the system of renting through middlemen was the bane of
Ireland. A farm might be sub-let two or three times, each tenant paying
an increased rental, and the landlord-in-chief, a Blake, a Lynch, or a
Martin, realizing less rent than he would obtain in Scotland or England.
We heard of no Protestant oppressors here; the gentry and nobility
worshipped at the same altar with the humblest of their dependents, and
certainly meant them well and treated them considerately.

We attended the English service in the ancient Gothic Abbey Church. The
ministrations were of the strictest Puritan type; the sculptured
escutcheons and tablets on the walls--the groined arches and bosses of
the roof--were almost obliterated by thick coat upon coat of whitewash,
laid on in an iconoclastic spirit which I have since seen equalled in
the Dutch Cathedral of Rotterdam, and nowhere else. Another Sunday we
visited a small Roman Catholic chapel at some distance. It was
impossible to get inside the building, as the crowd of worshippers not
only filled the sacred edifice, but spread themselves over a pretty
extensive and well-filled churchyard, where they knelt throughout
morning prayer, lasting a full hour or more.

The party-feuds of the town are quite free from sectarian feeling. The
fishermen, who were dressed from head to foot in hoddengray, and the
butchers, who clothed themselves entirely in sky-blue--coats,
waistcoats, breeches, and stockings alike, with black hats and
shoes--constituted the belligerent powers. Every Saturday night, or
oftener, they would marshal their forces respectively on the wide
fish-market place, by the sea-shore, or on the long wharf extending into
deep water, and with their shillelaghs hold high tournament for the
honour of their craft and the love of fair maidens. One night, while the
_Asia_ lay off the wharf, an unfortunate combatant fell senseless into
the water and was drowned. But no inquiry followed, and no surprise was
expressed at a circumstance so trivial.

By the way, it would be unpardonable to quit Connemara without recording
its "potheen." Every homestead had its peat-stack, and every peat-stack
might be the hiding-place of a keg of illicit native spirits. We were
invited, and encouraged by example, to taste a glass; but a single
mouthful almost choked us; and never again did we dare to put the fiery
liquid to our lips.

Our recollections of Galway are of a mixed character--painful, because
of the consciousness that the empire at large must be held responsible
for the unequal distribution of nature's blessings amongst her
people--pleasant, because of the uniform hospitality and courtesy shown
to us by all classes and creeds of the townsfolk.



In the month of July we were ready for sea again. In the meantime
Captain Ward had got together a new list of passengers, and we more than
doubled our numbers by the addition of several Roman Catholic gentlemen
of birth and education with their followers, and a party of Orangemen
and their families, of a rather rough farming sort, escaping from
religious feuds and hostile neighbours. A blooming widow Culleeney, of
the former class, was added to the scanty female society on board; and
for the first few hours after leaving port, we had fun and dancing on
deck galore. But alas, sea-sickness put an end to our merriment all too
soon. Our new recruits fled below, and scarcely showed their faces on
deck for several days. Yet, in this apparently quiet interval, discord
had found her way between decks.

We were listening one fine evening to the comical jokes and rich brogue
of the most gentlemanly of the Irish Catholics above-mentioned, when
suddenly a dozen men, women and children, armed with sticks and foaming
at the mouth, rushed up the steerage hatchway, and without note of
warning or apparent provocation, attacked the defenceless group standing
near us with the blindness of insanity and the most frantic cries of
rage. Fortunately there were several of the ship's officers and sailors
on deck, who laid about them lustily with their fists, and speedily
drove the attacking party below, where they were confined for some days,
under a threat of severe punishment from the captain, who meant what he
said. So this breeze passed over. What it was about, who was offended,
and how, we never could discover; we set it down to the general
principle, that the poor creatures were merely 'blue-mowlded for want of
a bating.'

Moderately fair breezes, occasional dead calms, rude, baffling
head-winds, attended us until we reached the Gulf of St. Lawrence. After
sailing all day northward, and all night southerly, we found ourselves
next morning actually retrograded some thirty or forty knots. But we
were rewarded sometimes by strange sights and wondrous spectacles. Once
a shoal of porpoises and grampuses crossed our course, frolicking and
turning summersets in the air, and continuing to stream onwards for full
two hours. Another time, when far north, we had the most magnificent
display of aurora borealis. Night after night the sea became radiant
with phosphorescent light. Icebergs attended us in thousands, compelling
our captain to shorten sail frequently; once we passed near two of these
ice-cliffs which exceeded five hundred feet in height, and again we were
nearly overwhelmed by the sudden break-down of a huge mass as big as a
cathedral. Near the Island of Anticosti we saw at least three hundred
spouting whales at one view. I have crossed the Atlantic four times
since, and have scarcely seen a single whale or shark. It seems that
modern steamship travel has driven away the inhabitants of the deep to
quieter seas, and robbed "life on the ocean wave" of much of its



The St. Lawrence River was gained, and escaping with a few days'
quarantine at Grosse Isle, we reached Quebec, there to be transferred to
a fine steamer for Montreal. At Lachine we were provided with large
barges, here called batteaux, which sufficed to accommodate the whole of
the _Asia's_ passengers going west, with their luggage. They were drawn
by Canadian ponies, lively and perfectly hardy little animals, which,
with their French-Canadian drivers, amused us exceedingly. While loading
up, we were favoured with one of those accidental historical "bits"--as
a painter would say--which occur so rarely in a lifetime. The then
despot of the North-West, Sir George Simpson, was just starting for the
seat of his government _via_ the Ottawa River. With him were some
half-dozen officers, civil and military, and the party was escorted by
six or eight Nor'-West canoes--each thirty or forty feet long, and
manned by some twenty-four Indians, in the full glory of war-paint,
feathers, and most dazzling costumes. To see these stately boats, and
their no less stately crews, gliding with measured stroke, in gallant
procession, on their way to the vasty wilderness of the Hudson's Bay
territory, with the British flag displayed at each prow, was a sight
never to be forgotten. And as they paddled, the woods echoed far and
wide to the strange weird sounds of their favourite boat-song:--

  "A la claire fontaine,
   M'en allant promener,
   J'ai trouvé l'eau si belle,
   Que je m'y suis baigné.
  Il y a longtemps que je t'aime,
  Jamais je ne t'oublirai."

From Lachine to the Coteau, thence by canal and along shore successively
to Cornwall, Prescott, and Kingston, occupied several days. We were
charmed to get on dry land, to follow our batteau along well-beaten
paths, gathering nuts, stealing a few apples now and then from some
orchard skirting the road; dining at some weather-boarded way-side
tavern, with painted floors, and French cuisine, all delightfully
strange and comical to us; then on board the batteau again at night.
Once, in a cedar swamp, we were enraptured at finding a dazzling
specimen of the scarlet _lobelia fulgens_, the most brilliant of wild
flowers, which Indians use for making red ink. At another time, the
Long Sault rapids, up which was steaming the double-hulled steamer
_Iroquois_, amazed us by their grandeur and power, and filled our minds
with a sense of the vastness of the land we had come to inhabit. And so
we wended on our way until put aboard the Lake Ontario steamer _United
Kingdom_ for Little York, where we landed about the first week in
September, 1833, after a journey of four months. Now-a-days, a trip to
England by the Allan Line is thought tedious if it last ten days, and
even five days is considered not unattainable. When we left England, a
thirty mile railway from Liverpool to Manchester was all that Europe had
seen. Dr. Dionysius Lardner pronounced steam voyages across the Atlantic
an impossibility, and men believed him. Now, even China and Japan have
their railways and steamships; Canada is being spanned from the Atlantic
to the Pacific by a railroad, destined, I believe, to work still greater
changes in the future of our race, and of the world.



When we landed at York, it contained 8,500 inhabitants or thereabouts,
being the same population nearly as Belleville, St. Catharines, and
Brantford severally claimed in 1881. In addition to King street the
principal thoroughfares were Lot, Hospital, and Newgate streets, now
more euphoniously styled Queen, Richmond and Adelaide streets
respectively; Church, George, Bay and York streets were almost without
buildings; Yonge street ran north thirty-three miles to Lake Simcoe, and
Dundas street extended westward a hundred miles to London. More or less
isolated wooden stores there were on King and Yonge streets; taverns
were pretty numerous; a wooden English church; Methodist, Presbyterian,
and Roman Catholic churches of the like construction; a brick gaol and
court-house of the ugliest architecture: scattered private houses, a
wheat-field where now stands the Rossin House; beyond it a rough-cast
Government House, brick Parliament Buildings uglier even than the gaol,
and some government offices located in one-story brick buildings
twenty-five feet square,--comprised the lions of the Toronto of that
day. Of brick private buildings, only Moore's hotel at the corner of
Market square; J. S. Baldwin's residence, now the Canada Company's
office; James F. Smith's grocery (afterwards the _Colonist_ office), on
King street; Ridout's hardware store at the corner of King and Yonge
streets, occur to my memory, but there may have been one or two others.
So well did the town merit its muddy soubriquet, that in crossing Church
street near St. James's Church, boots were drawn off the feet by the
tough clay soil; and to reach our tavern on Market lane (now Colborne
street), we had to hop from stone to stone placed loosely along the
roadside. There was rude flagged pavement here and there, but not a
solitary planked footpath throughout the town.

To us the sole attraction was the Emigrant Office. At that time, Sir
John Colborne, Lieut. Governor of Upper Canada, was exerting himself to
induce retired army officers, and other well-to-do settlers, to take up
lands in the country north and west of Lake Simcoe. U. E. rights,
_i.e._, location tickets for two hundred acres of land, subject to
conditions of actual settlement, were easily obtainable. We purchased
one of these for a hundred dollars, or rather for twenty pounds
sterling--dollars and cents not being current in Canada at that
date--and forthwith booked ourselves for Lake Simcoe, in an open waggon
without springs, loaded with the bedding and cooking utensils of
intending settlers, some of them our shipmates of the _Asia_. A day's
journey brought us to Holland Landing, whence a small steamer conveyed
us across the lake to Barrie. The Holland River was then a mere muddy
ditch, swarming with huge bullfrogs and black snakes, and winding in and
out through thickets of reeds and rushes. Arrived at Barrie, we found a
wharf, a log bakery, two log taverns--one of them also a store--and a
farm house, likewise log. Other farm-houses there were at some little
distance, hidden by trees.

Some of our fellow travellers were discouraged by the solitary
appearance of things here, and turned back at once. My brothers and
myself, and one other emigrant, determined to go on; and next afternoon,
armed with axes, guns, and mosquito nets, off we started for the unknown
forest, then reaching, unbroken, from Lake Simcoe to Lake Huron. From
Barrie to the Nottawasaga river, eleven miles, a road had been chopped
and logged sixty-six feet wide; beyond the river, nothing but a bush
path existed.



We had walked a distance of eight miles, and it was quite dark, when we
came within sight of the clearing where we were advised to stop for the
night. Completely blockading the road, and full in our way, was a
confused mass of felled timber, which we were afterwards told was a
wind-row or brush-fence. It consisted of an irregular heap of prostrate
trees, branches and all, thrown together in line, to serve as a fence
against stray cattle. After several fruitless attempts to effect an
entrance, there was nothing for it but to shout at the top of our voices
for assistance.

Presently we heard a shrill cry, rather like the call of some strange
bird than a human voice; immediately afterwards, the reflection of a
strong light became visible, and a man emerged from the brush-wood,
bearing a large blazing fragment of resinous wood, which lighted up
every object around in a picturesque and singular manner. High over
head, eighty feet at least, was a vivid green canopy of leaves,
extending on all sides as far as the eye could penetrate, varied here
and there by the twinkling of some lustrous star that peeped through
from the dark sky without, and supported by the straight trunks and
arching branches of innumerable trees--the rustic pillars of this superb
natural temple. The effect was strikingly beautiful and surprising.

Nor was the figure of our guide less strange. He was the first genuine
specimen of a Yankee we had encountered--a Vermonter--tall, bony and
awkward, but with a good-natured simplicity in his shrewd features; he
wore uncouth leather leggings, tied with deer sinews--loose mocassins, a
Guernsey shirt, a scarlet sash confining his patched trowsers at the
waist, and a palmetto hat, dragged out of all describable shape, the
colour of each article so obscured by stains and rough usage, as to be
matter rather of conjecture than certainty. He proved to be our landlord
for the night, David Root by name.

Following his guidance, and climbing successively over a number of huge
trunks, stumbling through a net-work of branches, and plunging into a
shallow stream up to the ankles in soft mud, we reached at length what
he called his tavern, at the further side of the clearing. It was a log
building of a single apartment, where presided "the wife," a smart,
plump, good-looking little Irishwoman, in a stuff gown, and without
shoes or stockings. They had been recently married, as he promptly
informed us, had selected this wild spot on a half-opened road,
impassable for waggons, without a neighbour for miles, and under the
inevitable necessity of shouldering all their provisions from the embryo
village we had just quitted: all this with the resolute determination of
"keeping tavern."

The floor was of loose split logs, hewn into some approach to evenness
with an adze; the walls of logs entire, filled in the interstices with
chips of pine, which, however, did not prevent an occasional glimpse of
the objects visible outside, and had the advantage, moreover, of
rendering a window unnecessary; the hearth was the bare soil, the
ceiling slabs of pine wood, the chimney a square hole in the roof; the
fire literally an entire tree, branches and all, cut into four-feet
lengths, and heaped up to the height of as many feet. It was a chill
evening, and the dancing flames were inspiriting, as they threw a
cheerful radiance all around, and revealed to our curious eyes
extraordinary pieces of furniture--a log bedstead in the darkest corner,
a pair of snow-shoes, sundry spiral augers and rough tools, a bundle of
dried deer-sinews, together with some articles of feminine gear, a small
red framed looking-glass, a clumsy comb suspended from a nail by a
string, and other similar treasures.

We were accommodated with stools of various sizes and heights, on three
legs or on four, or mere pieces of log sawn short off, which latter our
host justly recommended as being more steady on the uneven floor. We
exchanged our wet boots for slippers, mocassins, or whatever the
good-natured fellow could supply us with. The hostess was intently busy
making large flat cakes; roasting them, first on one side, then on the
other; and alternately boiling and frying broad slices of salt pork,
when, suddenly suspending operations, she exclaimed, with a vivacity
that startled us, "Oh, Root, I've cracked my spider!"

Inquiring with alarm what was the matter, we learned that the cast-iron
pan on three feet, which she used for her cookery, was called a
"spider," and that its fracture had occasioned the exclamation. The
injured spider performed "its spiriting gently" notwithstanding, and,
sooth to say, all parties did full justice to its savoury contents.

Bed-time drew near. A heap of odd-looking rugs and clean blankets was
laid for our accommodation and pronounced to be ready. But how to get
into it? We had heard of some rather primitive practices among the
steerage passengers on board ship, it is true, but had not accustomed
ourselves to "uncase" before company, and hesitated to lie down in our
clothes. After waiting some little time in blank dismay, Mr. Root kindly
set us an example by quietly slipping out of his nether integuments and
turning into bed. There was no help for it; by one means or other we
contrived to sneak under the blankets; and, after hanging up a large
coloured quilt between our lair and the couch occupied by her now
snoring spouse, the good wife also disappeared.

In spite of the novelty of the situation, and some occasional
disturbance from gusts of wind stealing through the "chinks," and
fanning into brightness the dying embers on the hearth, we slept
deliciously and awoke refreshed.



Before day-break breakfast was ready, and proved to be a more tempting
meal than the supper of the night before. There were fine dry potatoes,
roast wild pigeon, fried pork, cakes, butter, eggs, milk, "China tea,"
and chocolate--which last was a brown-coloured extract of cherry-tree
bark, sassafras root, and wild sarsaparilla, warmly recommended by our
host as "first-rate bitters." Declining this latter beverage, we made a
hearty meal.

It was now day-break. As we were new comers, Root offered to convoy us
"a piece of the way," a very serviceable act of kindness, for, in the
dim twilight we experienced at first no little difficulty in discerning
it. Pointing out some faint glimmerings of morning, which were showing
themselves more and more brightly over the tall tree-tops, our friend
remarked, "I guess that's where the sun's calc'lating to rise."

The day had advanced sufficiently to enable us to distinguish the road
with ease. Our tavern-keeper returned to his work, and in a few minutes
the forest echoed to the quick strokes of his lustily-wielded axe. We
found ourselves advancing along a wide avenue, unmarked as yet by the
track of wheels, and unimpeded by growing brush-wood. To the width of
sixty-six feet, all the trees had been cut down to a height of between
two and three feet, in a precisely straight course for miles, and burnt
or drawn into the woods; while along the centre, or winding from side to
side like the course of a drunken man, a waggon-track had been made by
grubbing up smaller and evading the larger stumps, or by throwing a
collection of small limbs and decayed wood into the deeper inequalities.
Here and there, a ravine would be rendered passable by placing across it
two long trunks of trees, often at a sharp angle, and crossing these
transversely with shorter logs; the whole covered with brush-wood and
earth, and dignified with the name of a "corduroy bridge."

At the Nottawasaga River, we found a log house recently erected, the
temporary residence of Wellesley Richey, Esq., an Irish gentleman, then
in charge of the new settlements thereabouts. Mr. Richey received us
very courteously, and handed us over to the charge of an experienced
guide, whose business it was to show lands to intending settlers--a very
necessary precaution indeed, as after a mile or two the road ceased

For some miles further, the forest consisted of Norway and white pine,
almost unmixed with any other timber. There is something majestic in
these vast and thickly-set labyrinths of brown columnar stems averaging
a hundred and fifty feet in height, perhaps, and from one to five in
thickness, making a traveller feel somewhat like a Lilliputian Gulliver
in a field of Brobdignagian wheat. It is singular to observe the effect
of an occasional gust of wind in such situations. It may not even fan
your cheek; but you hear a low surging sound, like the moaning of
breakers in a calm sea, which gradually increases to a loud boisterous
roar, still seemingly at a great distance; the branches remain in
perfect repose, you can discover no evidence of a stirring breeze, till,
looking perpendicularly upwards, you are astonished to see some
patriarchal giant close at hand--six yards round and sixty high--which
alone has caught the breeze, waving its huge fantastic arms wildly at a
dizzy height above your head.

There are times when the hardiest woodman dares not enter the pine
woods; when some unusually severe gale sweeping over them bends their
strong but slender stems like willow wands, or catches the
wide-spreading branches of the loftier trees with a force that fairly
wrenches them out by the roots, which creeping along on the surface of
the soil, present no very powerful resistance. Nothing but the close
contiguity of the trees saves them from general prostration. Interlocked
branches are every moment broken off and flung to a distance, and even
the trunks clash, and as it were, whet themselves against each other,
with a shock and uproar that startles the firmest nerves.

It were tedious to detail all the events of our morning's march: How
armed with English fowling pieces and laden with ammunition, we
momentarily expected to encounter some grisly she-bear, with a numerous
family of cubs; or at the least a herd of deer or a flock of wild
turkeys: how we saw nothing more dangerous than woodpeckers with crimson
heads, hammering away at decayed trees like transmigrated carpenters;
how we at last shot two partridges sitting on branches, very unlike
English ones, of which we were fain to make a meal, which was utterly
detestable for want of salt; how the government guide led us,
helter-skelter, into the untracked woods, walking as for a wager,
through thickets of ground hemlock,[2] which entangled our feet and
often tripped us up; how we were obliged to follow him over and under
wind-falls, to pass which it was necessary to climb sometimes twenty
feet along some half-recumbent tree; how when we enquired whether clay
or sand were considered the best soil, he said some preferred one, and
some the other; how he showed us the front of a lot that was bad, and
guessed that the rear ought to be better; how we turned back at last,
thoroughly jaded, but no wiser than when we set out--all this and much
more, must be left to the reader's imagination.

It was drawing towards evening. The guide strode in advance, tired and
taciturn, like some evil fate. We followed in pairs, each of us provided
with a small bunch of leafy twigs to flap away the mosquitoes, which
rose in myriads from the thick, damp underbrush.

"It will be getting dark," said the guide, "you must look out for the

We glanced anxiously around. "What does he mean?" asked one of the
party, "I see no blaze."

The man explained that the blaze (query, blazon?) was a white mark which
we had noticed on some of the trees in our route, made by slicing off a
portion of the bark with an axe, and invariably used by surveyors to
indicate the road, as well as divisions and sub-divisions of townships.
After a time this mark loses its whiteness and becomes undistinguishable
in the dusk of evening, even to an experienced eye.

Not a little rejoiced were we, when we presently saw a genuine blaze in
the form of a log fire, that brilliantly lighted up the forest in front
of a wigwam, which, like everything else on that eventful day, was to us
delightfully new and interesting. We found, seated on logs near the
fire, two persons in blanket coats and red sashes, evidently gentlemen;
and occupying a second wigwam at a little distance, half-a-dozen axemen.
The gentlemen proved to be the Messrs. Walker, afterwards of Barrie,
sons of the wealthy owner of the great shot-works at Waterloo Bridge,
London, England. They had purchased a tract of a thousand acres, and
commenced operations by hiring men to cut a road through the forest
eight or ten miles to their new estate, which pioneering exploit they
were now superintending in person. Nothing could exceed the vigour of
their plans. Their property was to be enclosed in a ring fence like a
park, to exclude trespassers on their game. They would have herds of
deer and wild horses. The river which intersected their land was to be
cleared of the drift logs, and made navigable. In short, they meant to
convert it into another England. In the meanwhile, the elder brother had
cut his foot with an axe, and was disabled for the present; and the
younger was busily engaged in the unromantic occupation of frying
pancakes, which the axemen, who were unskilled in cookery, were to have
for their supper.

Nowhere does good-fellowship spring up so readily as in the bush. We
were soon engaged in discussing the aforesaid pancakes, with some fried
pork, as well as in sharing the sanguine hopes and bright visions which
accorded so well with our own ideas and feelings.

We quitted the wigwam and its cheerful tenants with mutual good wishes
for success, and shortly afterwards reached the river whence we had
started, where Mr. Richey kindly invited us to stay for the night.
Exhausted by our rough progress, we slept soundly till the morning sun
shone high over the forest.

[Footnote 2: Taxus Canadensis, or Canadian Yew, is a trailing evergreen
shrub which covers the ground in places. Its stems are as strong as
cart-ropes, and often reach the length of twenty feet.]



Imagine yourself, gentle reader, who have perhaps passed most of your
days between the wearisome confinement of an office or counting-house,
and a rare holiday visit of a few days or weeks at your cousin's or
grandfather's pleasant farm in the country--imagine yourself, I say,
transplanted to a "home" like ours. No road approaches within ten miles;
no footpath nearer than half that distance; the surveyor's blaze is the
sole distinctive mark between the adjoining lots and your own; there
are trees innumerable--splendid trees--beech, maple, elm, ash,
cherry--above and around you, which, while you are wondering what on
earth to do with them, as you see no chance of conveying them to market
for sale, you are horrified to hear, must be consumed by fire--yea,
burnt ruthlessly to ashes, and scattered over the surface of the earth
as "good manure"; unless indeed--a desperately forlorn hope--you may
"some day" have an opportunity of selling them in the shape of potash,
"when there is a road out" to some navigable lake or river.

Well, say you, let us set to work and chop down some of these trees.
Softly, good sir. In the first place, you must underbrush. With an axe
or a strong, long handled bill-hook, made to be used with both hands,
you cut away for some distance round--a quarter or half an acre
perhaps--all the small saplings and underwood which would otherwise
impede your operations upon the larger trees. In "a good hard-wood
bush," that is, where the principal timber is maple, white oak, elm,
white ash, hickory, and other of the harder species of timber--the
"underbrush" is very trifling indeed; and in an hour or two may be
cleared off sufficiently to give the forest an agreeable park-like
appearance--so much so that, as has been said of English Acts of
Parliament, any skilful hand might drive a coach and six through.

When you have finished "under-brushing," you stand with whetted axe,
ready and willing to attack the fathers of the forest--but stay--you
don't know how to chop? It is rather doubtful, as you have travelled
hither in a great hurry, whether you have ever seen an axeman at work.
Your man, Carroll, who has been in the country five or six years, and is
quite _au fait_, will readily instruct you. Observe--you strike your
axe, by a dexterous swing backwards and round over your shoulder,--take
care there are no twigs near you, or you may perhaps hurt yourself
seriously--you strike your axe into the tree with a downward slant, at
about thirty inches from the ground; then, by an upward stroke you meet
the former incision and release a chip, which flies out briskly. Thus
you proceed, by alternate downward and upward or horizontal strokes on
that side of the tree which leans over, or towards which you wish to
compel it to fall, until you have made a clear gap rather more than half
way through, when you attack it in rear.

Now for the reward of your perspiring exertions--a few well-aimed blows
on the reverse side of the tree, rather higher than in front, and the
vast mass "totters to its fall,"--another for the
_coup-de-grace_--crack! crack! cra-a-ack!--aha!--away with you behind
yon beech--the noble tree bows gently its leafy honours with graceful
sweep towards the earth--for a moment slowly and leisurely, presently
with giddy velocity, until it strikes the ground, amidst a whirlwind of
leaves, with a loud _thud_, and a concussion both of air and earth, that
may be _felt_ at a considerable distance. You feel yourself a second
David, who has overthrown a mightier Goliath.

Now do you step exultingly upon the prostrate trunk, which you forthwith
proceed to cut up into about fourteen-foot lengths, chopping all the
branches close off, and throwing the smaller on to your brush piles. It
is a common mistake of new immigrants, who are naturally enough pleased
with the novel spectacle of falling trees, to cut down so many before
they begin to chop them into lengths, that the ground is wholly
encumbered, and becomes a perfect chaos of confused and heaped-up trunks
and branches, which nothing but the joint operation of decay and fire
will clear off, unless at an immense waste of time and trouble. To an
experienced axeman, these first attempts at chopping afford a ready text
for all kinds of ironical comments upon the unworkmanlike appearance of
the stumps and "cuts," which are generally--like those gnawn off by
beavers in making their dams--haggled all round the tree, instead of
presenting two clear smooth surfaces, in front and rear, as if sliced
off with a knife. Your genuine axeman is not a little jealous of his
reputation as a "clean cutter"--his axe is always bright as burnished
silver, guiltless of rust or flaw, and fitted with a handle which, with
its graceful curve and slender proportions, is a tolerable approach to
Hogarth's "line of beauty;" he would as soon think of deserting his
beloved "bush" and settling in a town! as trust his keen weapon in the
hands of inexperience or even mediocrity. With him every blow tells--he
never leaves the slightest chip in the "cut," nor makes a false stroke,
so that in passing your hand over the surface thus left, you are almost
unable to detect roughness or inequality.

But we must return to our work, and take care in so doing to avoid the
mishap which befel a settler in our neighbourhood. He was busy chopping
away manfully at one of those numerous trees which, yielding to the
force of some sudden gust of wind, have fallen so gently among their
compeers, that the greater portion of their roots still retains a
powerful hold upon the soil, and the branches put forth their annual
verdure as regularly as when erect. Standing on the recumbent trunk, at
a height of five or six feet from the ground, the man toiled away, in
happy ignorance of his danger, until having chopped nearly to the centre
on both sides of the tree, instead of leaping off and completing the cut
in safety on terra firma, he dealt a mighty stroke which severed at once
the slight portion that remained uncut--in an instant, as if from a
mortar, the poor fellow was launched sixteen feet into the air, by the
powerful elasticity of the roots, which, relieved from the immense
weight of the trunk and branches, reverted violently to their natural
position, and flung their innocent releaser to the winds. The astonished
chopper, falling on his back, lay stunned for many minutes, and when he
was at length able to rise, crawled to his shanty sorely bruised and
bewildered. He was able, however, to return to his work in a few days,
but not without vowing earnestly never again to trust himself next the

There are other precautions to be observed, such as whether the branches
interlock with other trees, in which case they will probably break off,
and must be carefully watched, lest they fall or are flung back upon
oneself--what space you have to escape at the last moment--whether the
tree is likely to be caught and twisted aside in its fall, or held
upright, a very dangerous position, as then you must cut down others to
release it, and can hardly calculate which way it will tend: these and
many other circumstances are to be noted and watched with a cool
judgment and steady eye, to avoid the numerous accidents to which the
inexperienced and rash are constantly exposed. One of these mischances
befel an Amazonian chopper of our neighbourhood, whose history, as we
can both chop and talk, I shall relate.

Mary ---- was the second of several daughters of an emigrant from the
county of Galway, whose family, having suffered from continual hardship
and privation in their native land, had found no difficulty in adapting
themselves to the habits and exigencies of the wilderness.

Hardworking they were all and thrifty. Mary and her elder sister,
neither of them older than eighteen, would start before day-break to the
nearest store, seventeen miles off, and return the same evening laden
each with a full sack flung across the shoulder, containing about a
bushel and a half, or 90lbs. weight of potatoes, destined to supply food
for the family, as well as seed for their first crop. Being much out of
doors, and accustomed to work about the clearing, Mary became in time a
"first-rate" chopper, and would yield to none of the new settlers in the
dexterity with which she would fell, brush and cut up maple or beech;
and preferring such active exercise to the dull routine of household
work, took her place at chopping, logging or burning, as regularly and
with at least as much spirit as her brothers. Indeed, chopping is quite
an accomplishment among young women in the more remote parts of the
woods, where schools are unknown, and fashions from New York or
Philadelphia have not yet penetrated. A belle of this class will employ
her leisure hours in learning to play--not the piano-forte--but the
dinner-horn, a bright tin tube sometimes nearly four feet in length,
requiring the lungs of that almost forgotten individual, an English
mail-coach-guard; and an intriguing mamma of those parts will bid her
daughter exhibit the strength of her throat and the delicacy of her
musical ear, by a series of flourishes and "mots" upon her graceful
"tooting-weapon." I do not mean, however, that Mary possessed this
fashionable acquirement, as the neighbourhood had not then arrived at
such an advanced era of musical taste, but she made up in hard work for
all other deficiencies; and being a good-looking, sunny-faced,
dark-eyed, joyous-hearted girl, was not a little admired among the young
axe-men of the township. But she preferred remaining under her parents'
roof-tree, where her stout-arm and resolute disposition rendered her
absolute mistress of the household, to the indignity of promising to
"obey" any man, who could wield no better axe than her own. At length it
was whispered that Mary's heart, long hard as rock-elm, had become soft
as basswood, under the combined influence of the stalwart figure,
handsome face and good axe of Johnny, a lad of eighteen recently arrived
in the neighbourhood, who was born in one of the early Scotch
settlements in the Newcastle District--settlements which have turned out
a race of choppers, accustomed from their infancy to handle the axe, and
unsurpassed in the cleanness of their cut, the keenness of their weapon,
or the amount of cordwood they can chop, split and pile in a day.

Many a fair denizen of the abodes of fashion might have envied Mary the
bright smiles and gay greetings which passed between her and young
Johnny, when they met in her father's clearing at sunrise to commence
the day's work. It is common for axemen to exchange labour, as they
prefer working in couples, and Johnny was under a treaty of this kind
with Patsy, Mary's brother. But Patsy vacated his place for Mary, who
was emulous of beating the young Scotch lad at his own weapon; and she
had tucked up her sleeves and taken in the slack, as a sailor would say,
of her dress--Johnny meanwhile laying aside his coat, waistcoat and
neckcloth, baring his brawny arms, and drawing tight the bright scarlet
sash round his waist--thus equipped for their favourite occupation, they
chopped away in merry rivalry, at maple, elm, ash, birch and
basswood--Johnny sometimes gallantly fetching water from the
deliciously-cold natural spring that oozed out of the mossy hill-side,
to quench Mary's thirst, and stealing now and then a kiss by way of
guerdon--for which he never failed to get a vehement box on the ear, a
penalty which, although it would certainly have annihilated any lover of
less robust frame, he seemed nowise unwilling to incur again and again.
Thus matters proceeded, the maiden by no means acknowledging herself
beaten, and the young man too gallant to outstrip overmuch his fair
opponent--until the harsh sound of the breakfast or dinner horn would
summon both to the house, to partake of the rude but plentiful mess of
"colcannon" and milk, which was to supply strength for a long and severe
day's labour.

Alas! that I should have to relate the melancholy termination of poor
Mary's unsophisticated career. Whether Johnny's image occupied her
thoughts, to the exclusion of the huge yellow birch she was one day
chopping, or that the wicked genius who takes delight in thwarting the
course of true love had caught her guardian angel asleep on his post, I
know not; but certain it is, that in an evil hour she miscalculated the
cut, and was thoughtlessly continuing her work, when the birch,
overbalancing, split upwards, and the side nearest to Mary, springing
suddenly out, struck her a blow so severe as to destroy life
instantaneously. Her yet warm remains were carried hastily to the house,
and every expedient for her recovery that the slender knowledge of the
family could suggest, was resorted to, but in vain. I pass over the
silent agony of poor Johnny, and the heart-rending lamentations of the
mother and sisters. In a decent coffin, contrived after many
unsuccessful attempts by Johnny and Patsy, the unfortunate girl was
carried to her grave, in the same field which she had assisted to clear,
amid a concourse of simple-minded, coarsely-clad, but kindly
sympathising neighbours, from all parts of the surrounding district.
Many years have rolled away since I stood by Mary's fresh-made grave,
and it may be that Johnny has forgotten his first love; but I was told,
that no other had yet taken the place of her, whom he once hoped to make
his "bonny bride."

By this time you have cut down trees enough to enable you fairly to see
the sky! Yes, dear sir, it was entirely hidden before, and the sight is
not a little exhilarating to a new "bush-whacker." We must think of
preparing fire-wood for the night. It is highly amusing to see a party
of axemen, just returning from their work, set about this necessary
task. Four "hands" commence at once upon some luckless maple, whose
excellent burning qualities ensure it the preference. Two on each side,
they strike alternate blows--one with the right hand, his "mate" with
the left--in a rapid succession of strokes that seem perfectly
miraculous to the inexperienced beholder--the tree is felled in a
trice--a dozen men jump upon it, each intent on exhibiting his skill by
making his "cut" in the shortest possible time. The more modest select
the upper end of the tree--the bolder attack the butt--their bright
axes, flashing vividly in the sunbeams, are whirled around their heads
with such velocity as to elude the eye--huge chips a foot broad are
thrown off incessantly--they wheel round for the "back cut" at the same
instant, like a file of soldiers facing about upon some enemy in
rear--and in the space of two or three minutes, the once tall and
graceful trunk lies dissevered in as many fragments as there are

It invariably astonishes new comers to observe with what dexterity and
ease an axeman will fell a tree in the precise spot which he wishes it
to occupy so as to suit his convenience in cutting it up, or in removing
it by oxen to the log-pile where it is destined to be consumed. If it
should happen to overhang a creek or "swale" (wet places where oxen
cannot readily operate), every contrivance is resorted to, to overcome
its apparently inevitable tendency. Choosing a time when not a breath of
air is stirring to defeat his operations, or better still, when the wind
is favourable, he cuts deeply into the huge victim on the side to which
he wishes to throw it, until it actually trembles on the slight
remaining support, cautiously regulating the direction of the "cut" so
that the tree may not overbalance itself--then he gently fells among its
branches on the reverse side all the smaller trees with which it may be
reached--and last and boldest expedient of all, he cuts several "spring
poles"--trimmed saplings from twenty to forty feet in length and four to
eight inches thick--which with great care and labour are set up against
the stem, and by the united strength and weight of several men used as
spring levers, after the manner in which ladders are employed by
fire-men to overthrow tottering stacks of chimneys; the squared end of
these poles holding firmly in the rough bark, they slowly but surely
compel the unwilling monster to obey the might of its hereditary ruler,
man. With such certainty is this feat accomplished, that I have seen a
solitary pine, nearly five feet thick and somewhere about a hundred and
seventy feet in height, forced by this latter means, aided by the
strength of two men only, against its decided natural bearing, to fall
down the side of a mound, at the bottom of which a saw-pit was already
prepared to convert it into lumber. The moment when the enormous mass is
about yielding to its fate, is one of breathless interest--it sways
alarmingly, as if it must inevitably fall backward, crushing poles and
perhaps axemen to atoms in its overwhelming descent--ha! there is a
slight cat's paw of air in our favour--cling to your pole--now! an inch
or two gained!--the stout stick trembles and bends at the revulsive sway
of the monstrous tree but still holds its own--drive your axe into the
back cut--that helps her--again, another axe! soh, the first is
loose--again!--she _must_ go--both axes are fixed in the cut as
immovably as her roots in the ground--another puff of wind--she sways
the wrong way--no, no! hold on--she cracks--strike in again the
slackened axes--bravo! one blow more--quick, catch your axe and clear
out!--see! what a sweep--what a rush of wind--what an enormous
top--down! down! how beautifully she falls--hurrah! _just in the right



We had selected, on the advice of our guide, a tolerably good hard-wood
lot in the centre of the Township of Sunnidale, part of which is now the
site of the village of New Lowell, on the Northern Railway. To engage a
young Scotch axeman from the County of Lanark, on the Ottawa river; to
try our virgin axes upon the splendid maples and beeches which it seemed
almost a profanation to destroy; to fell half an acre of trees; to build
a bark wigwam for our night's lodging; and in time to put up a
substantial log shanty, roofed with wooden troughs and "chinked" with
slats and moss--these things were to us more than mortal felicity. Our
mansion was twenty-five feet long and eighteen wide. At one end an open
fire-place, at the other sumptuous beds laid on flatted logs, cushioned
with soft hemlock twigs, redolent of turpentine and health. For our
provisions, cakes made of flour; salt pork of the best; tea and coffee
without milk; with the occasional luxury of a few partridges and
pigeons, and even a haunch of venison of our own shooting; also some
potatoes. We wanted no more. There were few other settlers within many
miles, and those as raw as ourselves; so we mended our own clothes, did
our own cooking, and washed our own linen.

Owing to the tedious length of our sea voyage, there was no time for
getting in crops that year; not even fall wheat; so we had plenty of
leisure to make ourselves comfortable for the winter. And we were by no
means without visitors. Sometimes a surveyor's party sought shelter for
the night on their way to the strangely-named townships of Alta and
Zero--now Collingwood and St. Vincent. Among these were Charles Rankin,
surveyor, now of London; his brother, Arthur Rankin, since M.P. for
Essex; a young gentleman from England, now Dr. Barrett, late of Upper
Canada College. By-and-by came some Chippawa Indians, _en route_ to or
from the Christian Islands of Lake Huron; we were great friends with
them. I had made a sort of harp or zittern, and they were charmed with
its simple music. Their mode of counting money on their fingers was
highly comical--"one cop, one cop, one cop, three cop!" and so on up to
twenty, which was the largest sum they could accomplish. At night, they
wrapped their blankets round them, lay down on the bare earthen floor
near the fire, and slept quietly till day-break, when they would start
on their way with many smiles and hand-shakings. In fact, our shanty,
being the only comfortable shelter between Barrie and the Georgian Bay,
became a sort of half-way house, at which travellers looked for a
night's lodging; and we were not sorry when the opening of a log-tavern,
a mile off, by an old Scotchwoman, ycleped Mother McNeil, enabled us to
select our visitors. This tavern was a curiosity in its way, built of
the roughest logs, with no artificial floor, but the soil being swaley
or wet--a mud-hole yawned just inside the door, where bullfrogs not
unfrequently saluted the wayfarer with their deepest diapason notes.

I must record my own experiences with their congeners, the toads. We
were annoyed by flies, and I noticed an old toad creep stealthily from
under the house logs, wait patiently near a patch of sunshine on the
floor, and as soon as two or three flies, attracted by the sun's warmth,
drew near its post, dart out its long slender tongue, and so catch them
all one after another. Improving upon the hint, we afterwards regularly
scattered a few grains of sugar, to attract more flies within the old
fellow's reach, and thus kept the shanty comparatively clear of those
winged nuisances, and secured quiet repose for ourselves in the early
mornings. Another toad soon joined the first one, and they became so
much at home as to allow us to scratch their backs gently with a stick,
when they would heave up their puffed sides to be scrubbed. These toads
swallow mice and young ducks, and in their turn fall victims to garter
and other snakes.

During the following year, 1834, the Government opened up a settlement
on the Sunnidale road, employing the new immigrants in road making,
chopping and clearing, and putting up log shanties; and gave them the
land so cleared to live on, but without power of sale. In this way, two
or three hundred settlers, English, Irish and Highland Scotch, chiefly
the latter, were located in Sunnidale. A Scottish gentleman, a Mr. H. C.
Young, was appointed local immigrant agent, and spent some time with us.
Eventually it was found that the laud was too aguish for settlement,
being close to a large cedar swamp extending several miles to the
Nottawasaga River; and on the representation of the agent, it was in
1835 determined to transfer operations to the adjoining township of
Nottawasaga, in which the town of Collingwood is now situated.

It was about this time that the prospect of a railway from Toronto to
the Georgian Bay was first mooted, the mouth of the Nottawasaga River
being the expected terminus. A talented Toronto engineer whose name I
think was Lynn, published a pamphlet containing an outline route for the
railroad, which was extended through to the North-West. To him,
doubtless, is due the first practical suggestion of a Canadian Pacific
Railway. We, in Sunnidale, were confidently assured that the line would
pass directly through our own land, and many a weary sigh at hope
deferred did the delusion cost us.



I need not weary the reader with details of our farming proceedings,
which differed in no respect from the now well-known routine of bush
life. I will, however, add one or two notices of occurrences which may
be thought worth relating. We were not without wild animals in our bush.
Bears, wolves, foxes, racoons, skunks, mink and ermine among beasts;
eagles, jays, many kinds of hawks, wood-peckers, loons, partridges and
pigeons, besides a host of other birds, were common enough. Bears' nests
abounded, consisting of a kind of arbour which the bear makes for
himself in the top of the loftiest beech trees, by dragging inwards all
the upper branches laden with their wealth of nuts, upon which he feasts
at leisure. The marks of his formidable claws are plainly visible the
whole length of the trunks of most large beech-trees. In Canada West the
bear is seldom dangerous. One old fellow which we often encountered,
haunted a favourite raspberry patch on the road-side; when anybody
passed near him he would scamper off in such haste that I have seen him
dash himself violently against any tree or fallen branch that might be
in his way. Once we saw a bear roll himself headlong from the forks of
a tree fully forty feet from the ground, tumbling over and over, but
alighting safely, and "making tracks" with the utmost expedition.

An Englishman whom I knew, of a very studious temperament, was strolling
along the Medonte road deeply intent upon a volume of Ovid or some other
Latin author, when, looking up to ascertain the cause of a shadow which
fell across his book, he found himself nearly stumbling against a huge
brown bear, standing erect on its hind legs, and with formidable paw
raised ready to strike. The surprise seems to have been mutual, for
after waiting a moment or two as if to recognise each other's features
should they meet again, the student merely said "Oh! a bear!" coolly
turned on his heel, plunged into his book again, and walked slowly back
toward the village, leaving Bruin to move off at leisure in an opposite
direction. So saith my informant.

Another friend, when a youth, was quail-shooting on the site of the City
of Toronto, which was nothing but a rough swampy thicket of cedars and
pines mixed with hardwood. Stepping hastily across a rotten pine log,
the lad plumped full upon a great fat bear taking its siesta in the
shade. Which of the two fled the fastest is not known, but it was
probably the animal, judging by my own experience in Sunnidale.

Wolves often disturbed us with their hideous howlings. We had a
beautiful liver and white English setter, called Dash, with her two
pups. One night in winter, poor Dash, whom we kept within doors, was
excited by the yelping of her pups outside, which appeared to be alarmed
by some intruder about the premises. A wolf had been seen prowling near,
so we got out our guns and whatever weapon was handy, but incautiously
opened the door and let out the slut before we were ourselves quite
dressed. She rushed out in eager haste, and in a few seconds we heard
the wolf and dog fighting, with the most frightful discord of yells and
howls that ever deafened the human ear. The noise ceased as suddenly as
it had begun. We followed as fast as we could to the scene of the
struggle, but found nothing there except a trampled space in the snow
stained with blood, the dog having evidently been killed and dragged
away. Next morning we followed the track further, and found at no great
distance another similar spot, where the wolf had devoured its victim so
utterly, that not a hair, bone, nor anything else was left, save the
poor animal's heart, which had been flung away to a little distance in
the snow. Beyond this were no signs of blood. We set a trap for the
wolf, and tracked him for miles in the hope of avenging poor Dash, but
without effect. This same wolf, we heard afterwards, was killed by a
settler with a handspike, to our great satisfaction.

Among our neighbours of the Sunnidale settlement was a married couple
from England, named Sewell, very well-conducted and industrious. They
had a fair little child under two years old, named Hetty, whom we often
stopped to admire for her prettiness and engaging simplicity. They also
possessed, and were very proud of, several broods of newly-hatched
chickens, some of which had been carried off by an immense falcon, which
would swoop down from the lofty elm-trees still left standing in the
half-chopped clearing, too suddenly to be easily shot. One day Hetty was
feeding the young chickens when the hawk pounced upon the old hen, which
struggled desperately; whereupon little Hetty bravely joined in the
battle, seized the intruder by the wings from behind and held him fast,
crying out loudly, "I've got him, mother!" It turned out, after the hawk
was killed, that it had been blind of one eye.

In the spring of 1834, we had with infinite labour managed to clear off
a small patch of ground, which we sowed with spring wheat, and watched
its growth with the most intense anxiety, until it attained a height of
ten inches, and began to put forth tender ears. Already the exquisite
pleasure of eating bread the product of our own land, and of our own
labour, was present to our imaginations, and the number of bushels to be
reaped, the barn for storage, the journeys to mill, were eagerly
discussed. But one day in August, occurred a hail-storm such as is
seldom experienced in half a century. A perfect cataract of ice fell
upon our hapless wheat crop. Flattened hailstones measuring two and a
half inches in diameter, seven and a half in circumference, covered the
ground several inches deep. Every blade of wheat was utterly destroyed,
and with it all our sanguine hopes of plenty for that year. I have
preserved a tracing which I made at the time, of one of those
hailstones. The centre was spherical, an inch in girth, from which
laterally radiated lines three fourths of an inch long, like the spokes
of a wheel, and outside of them again a wavy border resembling the
undulating edge of pie crust. The superficial structure of the whole,
was much like that of a full blown rose. A remarkable hail-storm
occurred in Toronto, in the year 1878, but the stones, although similar
in formation, were scarcely as bulky.

It was one night in November following, when our axeman, William
Whitelaw, who had risen from bed at eleven o'clock to fetch a new log
for the fire shouted to us to come out and see a strange sight. Lazily
we complied, expecting nothing extraordinary; but, on getting into the
cold frosty air outside, we were transfixed with astonishment and
admiration. Our clearing being small, and the timber partly hemlock, we
seemed to be environed with a dense black wall the height of the forest
trees, while over all, in dazzling splendour, shone a canopy of the
most brilliant meteors, radiating in all directions from a single point
in the heavens, nearly over-head, but slightly to the north-west. I have
since read all the descriptions of meteoric showers I could find in our
scientific annals, and watched year after year for a return of the same
wonderful vision, but neither in the records of history nor otherwise,
since that night, have I read of or seen anything so marvellously
beautiful. Hour after hour we gazed in wonder and awe, as the radiant
messengers streamed on their courses, sometimes singly, sometimes in
starry cohorts of thousands, appearing to descend amongst the trees
close beside us, but in reality shooting far beyond the horizon. Those
who have looked upwards during a fall of snow will remember how the
large flakes seem to radiate from a centre. Thus I believe astronomers
account for the appearance of these showers of stars, by the
circumstance that they meet the earth full in its orbit, and so dart
past it from an opposite point, like a flight of birds confronting a
locomotive, or a storm of hail directly facing a vessel under full
steam. No description I have read has given even a faint idea of the
reality as I saw it on that memorable night. From eleven p.m. to three
in the morning, the majestic spectacle continued in full glory,
gradually fading away before the approach of daybreak.

We often had knotty and not very logical discussions about the origin of
seeds, and the cause of the thick growth of new varieties of plants and
trees wherever the forest had been burnt over. On our land, and
everywhere in the immediate neighbourhood, the process of clearing by
fire was sure to be followed by a spontaneous growth, first of fire-weed
or wild lettuce, and secondly by a crop of young cherry trees, so thick
as to choke one another. At other spots, where pine-trees had stood for
a century, the outcome of their destruction by fire was invariably a
thick growth of raspberries, with poplars of the aspen variety. Our
Celtic friends, most of whom were pious Presbyterians, insisted that a
new creation of plants must be constantly going on to account for such
miraculous growth. To test the matter, I scooped up a panful of black
soil from our clearing, washed it, and got a small tea-cupful of
cherry-stones, exactly similar to those growing in the forest. The cause
of this surprising accumulation of seed was not far to find. A few miles
distant was a pigeon-roost. In spring, the birds would come flying round
the east shore of Lake Huron, skirting the Georgian Bay, in such vast
clouds as to darken the sun; and so swiftly that swan-shot failed to
bring them down unless striking them in rear; and, even then, we rarely
got them, as the velocity of their flight impelled them far into the
thicket before falling. These beautiful creatures attacked our crops
with serious results, and devoured all our young peas. I have known
twenty-five pigeons killed at a single shot; and have myself got a
dozen by firing at random into a maple-tree on which they had alighted,
but where not one had been visible.

The pigeon-roost itself was a marvel. Men, women and children went by
the hundred, some with guns, but the majority with baskets, to pick up
the countless birds that had been disabled by the fall of great branches
of trees broken off by the weight of their roosting comrades overhead.
The women skinned the birds, cut off their plump breasts, throwing the
remainder away, and packed them in barrels with salt, for keeping. To
these pigeons we were, doubtless, indebted for our crop of young

Where there was so much seed, a corresponding crop might be expected;
and dense thickets of choke-cherry trees grew up in neglected clearings
accordingly. Forcing my way through one of these, I found myself
literally face to face with a garter snake five feet long, which was
also in search of cherries, and had wriggled its way to the upper
branches of a young tree ten feet high. Garter snakes, however, are as
harmless as frogs, and like them, are the victims of a general
persecution. In some places they are exceedingly numerous. One summer's
evening I was travelling on foot from Holland Landing to Bradford,
across the Holland river, a distance of three miles, nearly all marsh,
laid with cedar logs placed crosswise, to form a passable road. The sun
was nearing the horizon; the snakes--garter chiefly, but a few
copperhead and black--glided on to the logs to bask apparently in the
sunshine, in such numbers, that after vainly trying to step across
without treading on them, I was fain to take to flight, springing from
log to log like some long-legged bird, and so escaping from the
unpleasant companionship.[3]

One of the most perplexing tasks to new settlers is that of keeping
cows. "Bossy" soon learns that the bush is "all before her where to
choose," and she indulges her whims by straying away in the most
unexpected directions, and putting you to half-a-day's toilsome search
before she can be captured. The obvious remedy is the cow-bell, but even
with this tell-tale appendage, the experienced cow contrives to baffle
your vigilance. She will ensconce herself in the midst of a clump of
underbrush, lying perfectly still, and paying no heed to your most
endearing appeals of "Co' bossy, co' bossy," until some fly-sting
obliges her to jerk her head and betray her hiding-place by a single
note of the bell. Then she will deliberately get up, and walk off
straight to the shanty, ready to be milked.

[Footnote 3: It is affirmed that in two or three localities in Manitoba,
garter snakes sometimes congregate in such multitudes as to form ropes
as thick as a man's leg, which, by their constant writhing and twining
in and out, present a strangely glittering and moving spectacle.]



In the autumn of 1835, we were favoured with a visit from Mr. A. B.
Hawke, chief emigrant agent for Upper Canada, and a gentleman held in
general esteem, as a friend to emigrants, and a kind-hearted man. He
slept, or rather tried to sleep, at our shanty. It was very hot weather,
the mosquitoes were in full vigour, and the tortures they inflicted on
the poor man were truly pitiable. We being acclimatised, could cover our
heads, and lie _perdu_, sleeping in spite of the humming hosts outside.
But our visitor had learnt no such philosophy. He threw off the
bedclothes on account of the heat; slapped his face and hands to kill
his tormentors; and actually roared with pain and anger, relieving
himself now and then by objurgations mingled with expletives not a
little profane. It was impossible to resist laughing at the desperate
emphasis of his protests, although our mirth did not help much to soothe
the annoyance, at which, however, he could not help laughing in turn.

Mosquitoes do not plague all night, and our friend got a little repose
in the cool of the morning, but vowed, most solemnly, that nothing
should induce him to pass another night in Sunnidale.

To this circumstance, perhaps, were we indebted for the permission we
soon afterwards obtained, to exchange our Sunnidale lot for one in
Nottawasaga, where some clearing had been done by the new settlers, on
what was called the Scotch line; and gladly we quitted our first
location for land decidedly more eligible for farm purposes, although
seventeen miles further distant from Barrie, which was still the only
village within reasonably easy access.

We had obtained small government contracts for corduroying, or
causewaying, the many swampy spots on the Sunnidale road, which enabled
us to employ a number of axemen, and to live a little more comfortably;
and about this time, Mr. Young being in weak health, and unequal to the
hardships of bush life, resigned his agency, and got my brother Thomas
appointed temporarily as his successor; so we had the benefit of a good
log-house he had built on the Nottawasaga road, near the Batteau creek,
on which is now situated the Batteau station of the Northern Railway. We
abode there until we found time to cut a road to our land, and
afterwards to erect a comfortable cedar-log house thereon.

Here, with a large open clearing around us, plenty of neighbours, and a
sawmill at no great distance, we were able to make our home nearly as
comfortable as are the majority of Canadian farm-houses of to-day. We
had a neat picket-fenced garden, a large double log barn, a yoke of
oxen, and plenty of poultry. The house stood on a handsome rising
eminence, and commanded a noble prospect, which included the Georgian
Bay, visible at a distance of six miles, and the Christian Islands,
twenty miles further north. The land was productive, and the air highly

Would some of my readers like to know how to raise a log barn? I shall
try to teach them. For such an undertaking much previous labour and
foresight are required. In our case, fortunately, there was a small
cedar swamp within a hundred paces of the site we had chosen for our
barn, which was picturesquely separated from the house by a ravine some
thirty feet deep, with a clear spring of the sweetest and coldest water
flowing between steep banks. The barn was to consist of two large bays,
each thirty feet square and eight logs high, with a threshing floor
twelve feet wide between, the whole combined into one by an upper story
or loft, twenty by seventy-two feet, and four logs high, including the

It will be seen, then, that to build such a barn would require
sixty-four logs of thirty feet each for the lower story; and sixteen
more of the same length, as well as eight of seventy-two feet each, for
the loft. Our handy swamp provided all these, not from standing trees
only, but from many fallen patriarchs buried four or five feet under the
surface in black muck, and perfectly sound. To get them out of the mud
required both skill and patience. All the branches having been cleared
off as thoroughly as possible, the entire tree was drawn out by those
most patient of all patient drudges, the oxen, and when on solid ground,
sawn to the required length. A number of skids were also provided, of
the size and kind of the spring-poles already described in chapter XI.,
and plenty of handspikes.

Having got these prime essentials ready, the next business was to summon
our good neighbours to a "raising bee." On the day named, accordingly,
we had about thirty practised axemen on the ground by day-break, all in
the best of spirits, and confident in their powers for work. Eight of
the heaviest logs, about two feet thick, had been placed in position as
sleepers or foundation logs, duly saddled at the corners. Parallel with
these at a distance of twenty-feet on either side, were ranged in order
all the logs required to complete the building.

Well, now we begin. Eight of the smartest men jump at once on the eight
corners. In a few minutes each of the four men in front has his saddle
ready--that is, he has chopped his end of the first log into an angular
shape, thus /\. The four men in rear have done the same thing no less
expeditiously, and all are waiting for the next log. Meanwhile, at the
ends of both bays, four several parties of three men each, stationed
below, have placed their skids in a sloping position--the upper end on
the rising wall and the lower on the ground--and up these skids they
roll additional logs transversely to those already in position. These
are received by the corner-men above, and carefully adjusted in their
places according to their "natural lie," that is, so that they will be
least likely to render the wall unsteady; then turned half-back to
receive the undercut, which should be exactly an inverse counterpart of
the saddle. A skilful hand will make this undercut with unerring
certainty, so that the log when turned forward again, will fit down upon
its two saddles without further adjustment. Now for more logs back and
front; then others at the ends, and so on, every log fitted as before,
and each one somewhat lighter than its predecessor. All this time the
oxen have been busily employed in drawing more logs where needed. The
skids have to be re-adjusted for every successive log, and a supply of
new logs rolled up as fast as wanted. The quick strokes of eight axes
wielded by active fellows perched on the still rising walls, and
balancing themselves dexterously and even gracefully as they work, the
constant demand for "another log," and the merry voices and rough jokes
of the workers, altogether form as lively and exciting a picture as is
often witnessed. Add to these a bright sky and a fresh breeze, with the
beautiful green back-ground of the noble hardwood trees around--and I
know of no mere pleasure party that I would rather join.

Breakfast and dinner form welcome interludes. Ample stores of provender,
meat, bread, potatoes, puddings various, tea and coffee, have been
prepared and are thoroughly enjoyed, inasmuch as they are rare luxuries
to many of the guests. Then again to work, until the last crowning
effort of all--the raising of the seventy-two-foot logs--has to be
encountered. Great care is necessary here, as accidents are not
infrequent. The best skids, the stoutest handspikes, the strongest and
hardiest men, must be selected. Our logs being cedar and therefore
light, there was comparatively little danger; and they were all
successfully raised, and well secured by cross-girders before sundown.

Then, and not till then, after supper, a little whiskey was allowed.
Teetotalism had not made its way into our backwoods; and we were
considered very straightlaced indeed to set our faces as we did against
all excess. Our Highland and Irish neighbours looked upon the weak stuff
sold in Canada with supreme contempt; and recollecting our Galway
experience, we felt no surprise thereat.

The roofing such a building is a subsequent operation, for which no
"bee" is required. Shingles four feet long, on round rafters, are
generally used for log barns, to be replaced at some future day by more
perfect roofing. A well-made cedar barn will stand for forty years with
proper care, by which time there should be no difficulty in replacing it
by a good substantial, roomy frame building.



Sir John Colborne, as has been mentioned already, did all in his power
to induce well-to-do immigrants, and particularly military men, to
settle on lands west and north of Lake Simcoe. Some of these gentlemen
were entitled, in those days, to draw from three to twelve hundred acres
of land in their own right; but the privilege was of very doubtful
value. Take an example. Captain Workman, with his wife, highly educated
and thoroughly estimable people, were persuaded to select their land on
the Georgian Bay, near the site of the present village of Meaford. A
small rivulet which enters the bay there, is still called "the Captain's
creek." To get there, they had to go to Penetanguishene, then a military
station, now the seat of a Reformatory for boys. From thence they
embarked on scows, with their servants, furniture, cows, farm implements
and provisions. Rough weather obliged them to land on one of the
Christian Islands, very bleak spots outside of Penetanguishene harbour,
occupied only by a few Chippewa Indians. After nearly two weeks' delay
and severe privation, they at length reached their destination, and had
then to camp out until a roof could be put up to shelter them from the
storms, not uncommon on that exposed coast.

We had ourselves, along with others, taken up additional land on what
was called "the Blue Mountains," which are considered to be a spur of
the Alleghanies, extending northerly across by Niagara, from the State
of New York. The then newly-surveyed townships of St. Vincent and
Euphrasia were attracting settlers, and amongst them our axe-man,
Whitelaw, and many more of the like class. To reach this land, we had
bought a smart sail-boat, and in her enjoyed ourselves by coasting from
the Nottawasaga river north-westerly along the bay. In this way we
happened one evening to put in at the little harbour where Capt. Workman
had chosen his location. It was early in the spring. The snows from the
uplands had swelled the rivulet into a rushing torrent. The garden,
prettily laid out, was converted into an island, the water whirling and
eddying close to the house both in front and rear, and altogether
presenting a scene of wild confusion. We found the captain highly
excited, but bravely contending with his watery adversary; the lady of
the house in a state of alarmed perplexity; the servants at their wits'
end, hurrying here and there with little effect. Fortunately, when we
got there the actual danger was past, the waters subsiding rapidly
during the night. But it struck us as a most cruel and inconsiderate
act on the part of the Government, to expose tenderly reared families to
hazards which even the rudest of rough pioneers would not care to

After enduring several years of severe hardship, and expending a
considerable income in this out-of-the-world spot, Captain Workman and
his family removed to Toronto, and afterwards returned to England,
wiser, perhaps, but no richer certainly, than when they left the old

A couple of miles along the shore, we found another military settler,
Lieutenant Waddell, who had served as brigade-major at the Battle of
Waterloo; with him were his wife, two sons, and two daughters. On
landing, the first person we encountered was the eldest son, John, a
youth of twenty years--six feet in stature at least, and bearing on his
shoulder, sustained by a stick thrust through its gills, a sturgeon so
large that its tail trailed on the ground behind him. He had just caught
it with a floating line. Here again the same melancholy story: ladies
delicately nurtured, exposed to rough labour, and deprived of all the
comforts of civilized life, exhausting themselves in weary struggle with
the elements. Brave soldiers in the decline of life, condemned to tasks
only adapted to hinds and navvies. What worse fate can be reserved for
Siberian exiles! This family also soon removed to Toronto, and
afterwards to Niagara, where the kindly, excellent old soldier is well
remembered; then to Chatham, where he became barrack-master, and died
there. His son, John Waddell, married into the Eberts family, and
prospered; later he was member for Kent; and ultimately met his death by
drowning on a lumbering excursion in the Georgian Bay. Other members of
the family now reside at Goderich.

Along the west shore of Lake Simcoe, several other military and naval
officers, with their households, were scattered. Some, whose names I
shall not record, had left their families at home, and brought out with
them female companions of questionable position, whom, nevertheless,
they introduced as their wives. The appearance of the true wives rid the
county of the scandal and its actors.

Conspicuous among the best class of gentlemen settlers was the late Col.
E. G. O'Brien, of Shanty Bay, near Barrie, of whom I shall have occasion
to speak hereafter. Capt. St. John, of Lake Couchiching, was equally
respected. The Messrs. Lally, of Medonte; Walker, of Tecumseth and
Barrie; Sibbald, of Kempenfeldt Bay; are all names well known in those
days, as are also many others of the like class. But where are the
results of the policy which sent them there? What did they gain--what
have their families and descendants gained--by the ruinous outlay to
which they were subjected? With one or two exceptions, absolutely
nothing but wasted means and saddest memories.

It is pleasant to turn to a different class of settlers--the hardy
Scots, Irish, English, and Germans, to whom the Counties of Simcoe and
Grey stand indebted for their present state of prosperity. The Sunnidale
settlement was ill-chosen, and therefore a failure. But in the north of
that township, much better land and a healthier situation are found, and
there, as well as in Nottawasaga adjoining, the true conditions of
rational colonization, and the practical development of those
conditions, are plainly to be seen.

The system of clearing five acre lots, and erecting log shanties
thereon, to be given to immigrants without power of sale, which was
commenced in Sunnidale, was continued in Nottawasaga. The settlement was
called the Scotch line, nearly all the people being from the islands of
Arran and Islay, lying off Argyleshire, in Scotland. Very few of them
knew a word of English. There were Campbells, McGillivrays, Livingstons,
McDiarmids, McAlmons, McNees, Jardines, and other characteristic names.
The chief man among them was Angus Campbell, who had been a tradesman of
some kind in the old country, and exercised a beneficial influence over
the rest. He was well informed, sternly Presbyterian, and often reminded
us of "douce Davie Deans" in the "Heart of Midlothian." One of the
Livingstons was a school-master. They were, one and all, hardy and
industrious folk. Day after day, month after month, year after year,
added to their wealth and comfort. Cows were purchased, and soon became
common. There were a few oxen and horses before long. When I visited the
township of Nottawasaga some years since, I found Angus Campbell,
postmaster and justice of the peace; Andrew Jardine, township clerk or
treasurer; and McDiarmids, Livingstons, Shaws, &c., spread all over the
surrounding country, possessing large farms richly stocked, good barns
well-filled, and even commodious frame houses comfortably furnished.
They ride to church or market in handsome buggies well horsed; have
their temperance meetings and political gatherings of the most zealous
sort, and altogether present a model specimen of a prosperous farming
community. What has been said of the Scotch, is no less applicable to
the Irish, Germans and English, who formed the minority in that
township. I hear of their sons, and their sons' sons, as thriving
farmers and storekeepers, all over Ontario.

Our axeman, Whitelaw, was of Scottish parentage, but a Canadian by
birth, and won his way with the rest. He settled in St. Vincent, married
a smart and pretty Irish lass, had many sons and daughters, acquired a
farm of five hundred acres, of which he cleared and cultivated a large
portion almost single-handed, and in time became able to build the
finest frame house in the township; served as reeve, was a justice of
peace, and even a candidate for parliament, in which, well for himself,
he failed. His excessive labours, however, brought on asthma, of which
he died not long since, leaving several families of descendants to
represent him.

I could go on with the list of prosperous settlers of this class, to
fill a volume. Some of the young men entered the ministry, and I
recognise their names occasionally at Presbyterian and Wesleyan
conventions. Some less fortunate were tempted away to Iowa and Illinois,
and there died victims to ague and heat.

But if we "look on this picture and on that;" if we compare the results
of the settlement of educated people and of the labouring classes, the
former withering away and leaving no sign behind--the latter growing in
numbers and advancing in wealth and position until they fill the whole
land, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion, that except as leaders
and teachers of their companions, gentlefolk of refined tastes and of
superior education, have no place in the bush, and should shun it as a
wild delusion and a cruel snare.



Among the duties handed over to my brother Thomas, by his predecessor in
the emigrant agency, was the care of a large medicine chest full of
quinine, rhubarb, jalap, and a host of other drugs, strong enough for
horses as well as men, including a long catalogue of poisons, such as
arsenic, belladonna, vitriol, &c. To assist in the distribution of this
rather formidable charge, a copy of "Buchan's Domestic Medicine" was
added. My brother had no taste for drugs, and therefore deputed the care
of the medicine chest to me. So I studied "Buchan" zealously, and was
fortunate enough to secure the aid of an old army sergeant, an Irishman
who had been accustomed to camp hospital life, and knew how to bleed,
and treat wounds. Time and practice gave me courage to dispense the
medicines, which I did cautiously, and so successfully as to earn the
soubriquet of "Doctor," and to be sought after in cases both dangerous
and difficult. As, however, about this time, a clever, licensed
practitioner had established himself at Barrie, thirty-four miles
distant, I declined to prescribe in serious cases, except in one or two
of great urgency. A Prussian soldier named Murtz, had received a
gun-shot wound in the chest at the battle of Quatre Bras, under Marshal
Blücher, and had frequently suffered therefrom. One day in winter, when
the thermometer ranged far below zero, this man had been threshing in
our barn, when he was seized with inflammation of the chest, and forced
to return home. As it appeared to be a case of life and death, I
ventured to act boldly, ordered bleeding, a blister on the chest, and
poultices to the feet--in fact, everything that Buchan directed. My
brave serjeant took charge of the patient; and between us, or perhaps in
spite of us, the man got over the attack. The singular part of the case
was, that the old bullet wound never troubled him afterwards, and he
looked upon me as the first of living physicians.

In 1836, a band of Potawatomie Indians, claiming allegiance to the
Queen, was allowed to leave the State of Michigan and settle in Canada.
They travelled from Sarnia through the woods, along the eastern shore of
Lake Huron, and passed through Nottawasaga, on their way to
Penetanguishene. Between the Scotch line and Sunnidale, near the present
village of Stayner, lived an old Highland piper named Campbell, very
partial to whiskey and dirt. There were two or three small clearings
grouped together, and the principal crop was potatoes, nearly full
grown. The old man was sitting sunning himself at his shanty-door. The
young men were all absent at mill or elsewhere, and none but women and
children about, when a party of Indians, men and squaws with their
papooses, came stealing from the woods, and very quietly began to dig
the potatoes with their fingers and fill their bags with the spoil. The
poor old piper was horribly frightened and perplexed; and in his
agitation could think of nothing but climbing on to his shanty roof,
which was covered with earth, and there playing with all his might upon
his Highland pipes, partly as a summons for assistance from his friends,
partly to terrify the enemy. But the enemy were not at all terrified.
They gathered in a ring round the shanty, laughed, danced, and enjoyed
the fun immensely; nor would they pass on until the return of some of
the younger settlers summoned by the din of the bagpipes, relieved the
old piper from his elevated post. In the meantime, the presence and
efforts of the women of the settlement sufficed to rescue their potato



The chief inconvenience we sustained in Nottawasaga arose from the depth
of snow in winter, which was generally four feet and sometimes more. We
had got our large log barn well filled with grain and hay. Two feet of
snow had fallen during the day, and it continued snowing throughout the
night. Next morning, to our great tribulation, neither snow nor roof was
to be seen on the barn, the whole having fallen inside. No time was to
be lost. My share of the work was to hurry to the Scotch line, there to
warn every settler to send at least one stout hand to assist in
re-raising the roof. None but those who have suffered can imagine what
it is to have to walk at speed through several feet of soft snow. The
sinews of the knees very soon begin to be painfully affected, and
finally to feel as if they were being cut with a sharp knife. This is
what Indians call "snow evil," their cure for which is to apply a hot
cinder to the spot, thus raising a blister. I toiled on, however, and
once in the settlement, walked with comparative ease. Everybody was
ready and eager to help, and so we had plenty of assistance at our need,
and before night got our barn roof restored.

The practice of exchanging work is universal in new settlements; and,
indeed, without it nothing of importance can be effected. Each man gives
a day's work to his neighbour, for a logging or raising-bee; and looks
for the same help when he is ready for it. Thus as many as twenty or
forty able axemen can be relied upon at an emergency.

At a later time, some of us became expert in the use of snow-shoes, and
took long journeys through the woods, not merely with ease but with a
great deal of pleasure. As a rule, snow is far from being considered an
evil in the backwoods, on account of the very great facility it affords
for travelling and teaming, both for business and pleasure, as well as
for the aid it gives to the hunter or trapper.

My own feelings on the subject, I found leisure to embody in the
following verses:


  Away, away! my dog and I;
    The woodland boughs are bare,
  The radiant sun shines warm and high,
    The frost-flake[4] gems the air.

  Away, away! thro' forests wide
    Our course is swift and free;
  Warm 'neath the snow the saplings hide--
    Its ice-crust firm pace we.

  The partridge[5] with expanded crest
    Struts proudly by his mate;
  The squirrel trims its glossy vest,
    Or eats its nut in state.

  Quick echoes answer, shrill and short,
    The woodcock's frequent cry;
  We heed them not--a keener sport
    We seek--my dog and I.

  Far in the woods our traps are set
    In loneliest, thickest glade,
  Where summer's soil is soft and wet,
    And dark firs lend their shade.

  Hurrah! a gallant spoil is here
    To glad a trapper's sight--
  The warm-clad marten, sleek and fair,
    The ermine soft and white;

  Or mink, or fox--a welcome prize--
    Or useful squirrel grey,
  Or wild-cat fierce with flaming eyes,
    Or fisher,[6] meaner prey.

  On, on! the cautious toils once more
    Are set--the task is done;
  Our pleasant morning's labour o'er,
    Our pastime but begun.

  Away, away! till fall of eve,
    The deer-track be our guide,
  The antler'd stag our quarry brave,
    Our park the forest wide.

  At night, the bright fire at our feet,
    Our couch the wigwam dry--
  No laggard tastes a rest so sweet
    As thou, good dog, and I.

[Footnote 4: On a fine, bright winter morning, when the slight feathery
crystals formed from the congealed dew, which have silently settled on
the trees during the night, are wafted thence by the morning breeze,
filling the translucent atmosphere with innumerable minute, sparkling
stars; when the thick, strong coat of ice on the four-foot deep snow is
slightly covered by the same fine, white dust, betraying the foot-print
of the smallest wild animal--on such a morning the hardy trapper is best
able to follow his solitary pursuits. In the glorious winters of Canada,
he will sometimes remain from home for days, or even weeks, with no
companions but his dog and rifle, and no other shelter than such as his
own hands can procure--carried away by his ardour for the sport, and the
hope of the rich booty which usually rewards his perseverance.]

[Footnote 5: The partridge of Canada--a grey variety of grouse--not only
displays a handsome black-barred tail like that of the turkey, but has
the power of erecting his head-feathers, as well as of spreading a black
fan-like tuft placed on either side of his neck. Although timid when
alarmed, he is not naturally shy, but at times may be approached near
enough to observe his very graceful and playful habits--a facility of
access for which the poor bird commonly pays with his life.]

[Footnote 6: Dr. Johnson, in one of his peculiar moods, has described
the _fitchew_ or _fitchat_, which is here called the "fisher" as "_a
stinking little beast that robs the hen-roost and warren_"--a very
ungrateful libel upon an animal that supplies exceedingly useful fur for
common purposes.]



Having been accustomed to gardening all my life, I have taken great
pleasure in roaming the bush in search of botanical treasures of all
kinds, and have often thought that it would be easy to fill a large and
showy garden with the native plants of Canada alone.

But of course, her main vegetable wealth consists in the forests with
which the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario were formerly clothed. In the
country around the Georgian Bay, especially, abound the very finest
specimens of hardwood timber. Standing on a hill overlooking the River
Saugeen at the village of Durham, one sees for twenty miles round
scarcely a single pine tree in the whole prospect. The townships of
Arran and Derby, when first surveyed, were wonderfully studded with
noble trees. Oak, elm, beech, butternut, ash and maple, seemed to vie
with each other in the size of their stems and the spread of their
branches. In our own clearing in St. Vincent, the axemen considered that
five of these great forest kings would occupy an acre of ground, leaving
little space for younger trees or underbrush.

I once saw a white or wainscot oak that measured fully twelve feet in
circumference at the butt, and eighty feet clear of branches. This noble
tree must have contained somewhere about seven thousand square feet of
inch boarding, and would represent a value approaching one hundred and
thirty pounds sterling in the English market. White and black ash, black
birch, red beech, maple and even basswood or lime, are of little, if
any, less intrinsic worth. Rock elm is very valuable, competing as it
does with hickory for many purposes.

When residing in the city of Quebec, in the year 1859-60, I published a
series of articles in the Quebec _Advertiser_, descriptive of the
hardwoods of Ontario. The lumber merchants of that city held then, that
their correspondents in Liverpool was so wedded to old-fashioned ideas,
that they would not so much as look at any price-list except for pine
and the few other woods for which there was an assured demand. But I
know that my papers were transmitted home, and they may possibly have
converted some few readers, as, since then, our rock elm, our white ash,
and the black birch of Lower Canada, have been in increased demand, and
are regularly quoted at London and Liverpool. But even though old
country dealers should make light of our products, that is no reason why
we should undervalue them ourselves.

Not merely is our larger timber improvidently wasted, but the smaller
kinds, such as blue beech, ironwood or hornbeam, buttonwood or plane
tree, and red and white cedar, are swept away without a thought of their
great marketable value in the Old World.[7]

It seems absolute fatuity to allow this waste of our natural wealth to
go on unheeded. We send our pine across the Atlantic, as if it were the
most valuable wood that we have, instead of being, as it really is,
amongst the most inferior. From our eastern seaports white oak is
shipped in the form of staves chiefly, also some ash, birch and elm. So
far well. But what about the millions of tons of hardwood of all kinds
which we destroy annually for fuel, and which ought to realize, if
exported, four times as many millions of dollars?

Besides the plain, straight-grained timber which we heedlessly burn up
to get it out of the way, there are our ornamental woods--our beautiful
curled and bird's eye maple, our waved ash, our serviceable butternut
or yellow walnut, our comely cherry, and even our exquisite black
walnut, all doomed to the same perdition. Little of this waste would
occur if once the owners of land knew that a market could be got for
their timber. Cheese and butter factories for export, have already
spread over the land--why not furniture factories also? Why not warm
ourselves with the coal of Nova Scotia, of Manitoba, and, by-and-by, of
the Saskatchewan, and spare our forest treasures for nobler uses? Would
not this whole question be a fitting subject for the appointment of a
competent parliamentary commission?

To me these reflections are not the birth of to-day, but date from my
bush residence in the township of Nottawasaga. If I should succeed now
in bringing them effectively before my fellow Canadians ere it is too
late, I shall feel that I have neither thought nor written in vain.

[Footnote 7: I have myself, when a youth, sold red cedar in London at
sixpence sterling per square foot, inch thick. Lime (or basswood) was
sold at twopence, and ash and beech at about the same price. White or
yellow pine was then worth one penny, or just half the value of
basswood. These are retail prices. On referring to the London wholesale
quotations for July 1881, I find these statements fully borne out. It
will be news to most of my readers, that Canadian black birch has been
proved by test, under the authority of the British Admiralty, to be of
greater specific gravity than English oak, and therefore better fitted
for ships' flooring, for which purpose it is now extensively used. Also
for staircases in large mansions.]



The Scottish settlers in Nottawasaga were respectable, God-fearing, and
though somewhat stern in their manners, thoroughly estimable people on
the whole. They married young, had numerous families, and taught their
children at an early age the duties of good citizenship, and the
religious principles of their Presbyterian forefathers.

Among them, not the prettiest certainly, but the most amiable and
beloved, was Flora McDiarmid, a tall, bright-complexioned lass of
twenty, perhaps, who was the chief mainstay of her widowed father, whose
log shanty she kept in perfect order as far as their simple resources
permitted, while she exercised a vigilant watch over her younger
brothers and sisters, and with their assistance contrived to work their
four acre allotment to good advantage.

Wherever there was trouble in the settlement, or mirth afoot, Flora was
sure to be there, nursing the sick, cheering the unhappy, helping to
provide the good things for the simple feast,--she was, in fact, the
life of the somewhat dull and overworked community. Was the minister
from afar to be received with due honour, was the sober church service
to be celebrated in a shanty with becoming propriety--Flora was ever on
hand, at the head of all the other lassies, guiding and directing
everything, and in so kindly and cheerful a way that none thought of
disputing her behests or hesitating at their fulfilment.

Such being the case, no wonder that Malcolm McAlmon and other young
fellows contended for her hand in marriage. But Malcolm won the
preference, and blithely he set to work to build a splendid log shanty,
twenty-five feet square, divided into inner compartments, with windows
and doors, and other unequalled conveniences for domestic comfort new to
the settlement; and when it was ready, and supplied with plenishings of
all kinds, Flora and Malcolm were married amid the rejoicings of the
whole township, and settled quietly down to the steady hard work of a
life in the extreme backwoods, some miles distant from our clearing.

The next thing I heard of them was many months afterwards, when Malcolm
was happy in the expectation of an heir to his two hundred acre lot, in
the ninth or tenth concession of the township. But alas! as time stole
on, accounts were unfavourable, and grew worse and worse. The nearest
professional man lived at Barrie, thirty-four miles distant. A wandering
herb doctor, as he called himself, of the Yankee eclectic school, was
the best who had yet visited the township, and even he was far away at
this time. There were experienced matrons enough in the settlement, but
their skill deserted them, or the case was beyond their ability. And so
poor Flora died, and her infant with her.

The same day her brother John, in deep distress, came to beg us to lend
them pine boards enough to make the poor dead woman a coffin. Except the
pine tree which we had cut down and sawn up, as related already, there
was not a foot of sawn lumber in the settlement, and scarcely a hammer
or a nail either, but what we possessed ourselves. So, being very sorry
for their affliction, I told them they should have the coffin by next
morning; and I set to work myself, made a tolerably handsome box,
stained in black, of the right shape and dimensions, and gave it to them
at the appointed hour. We of course attended the funeral, which was
conducted with due solemnity by the Presbyterian minister
above-mentioned. And never shall I forget the weeping bearers,
staggering under their burthen through tangled brushwood and round
upturned roots and cradle holes, and the long train of mourners
following in their rear, to the chosen grave in the wilderness, where
now I hear stands a small Presbyterian church in the village of



For nearly three years we continued to work on contentedly at our bush
farm. In the summer of 1837, we received intelligence that two of our
sisters were on their way to join us in Canada, and soon afterwards that
they had reached Toronto, and expected to meet us at Barrie on a certain
day. At the same time we learnt that the bridge across the Nottawasaga
river, eleven miles from Barrie, had given way, and was barely passable
on foot, as it lay floating on the water. One of our span of horses had
been killed and his fellow sold, so that we had to hire a team to convey
our sisters' goods from Barrie to the bridge where it was necessary to
meet them with our own ox-team and waggon. I walked to Barrie
accordingly, and found my sisters at Bingham's tavern, very glad to see
me, but in a state of complete bewilderment and some alarm at the rough
ways of the place, then only containing a tavern or two, and some twenty
stores and dwellings. My fustian clothes, which I had made myself, and
considered first-rate, they "laughed at consumedly." My boots! they were
soaked and trod out of all fashionable proportions. Fortunately, other
people in Barrie were nearly as open to criticism as myself, and as we
had to get on our way without loss of time, I forgot my eccentricities
of dress in the rough experiences of the road.

From Barrie to Root's tavern was pleasant travelling, the day being fine
and the road fairly good. We took some rest and refreshment there, and
started again, but had not gone two miles before a serious misfortune
befel us. I have mentioned corduroy-bridges before; one of these had
been thrown across a beautifully clear white-paved streamlet known to
travellers on this road as "sweet-water." The waggon was heavily laden
with chests and other luggage, and the horses not being very strong,
found it beyond their power to drag the load across the bridge on
account of its steepness. Alarmed for my eldest sister, who was riding,
I persuaded her to descend and walk on. Again and again, the teamster
whipped his horses, and again and again, after they had almost scaled
the crest, the weight of the load dragged them backward. I wanted to
lighten the load, but the man said it was needless, and bade me block
the wheels with a piece of broken branch lying near, which I did; the
next moment I was petrified to see the waggon overbalance itself and
fall sideways into the stream seven or eight feet beneath, dragging the
horses over with it, their forefeet clinging to the bridge and their
hind feet entangled amongst the spokes of the wheels below.

My elder sister had gone on. The younger bravely caught the horses'
heads and held them by main force to quiet their struggles, while the
man and I got out an axe, cut the spokes of the wheels, and so in a few
minutes got the horses on to firm ground, where they stood panting and
terrified for some minutes. Meanwhile, to get the heavy sea-boxes out of
the water and carry them up the face of a nearly perpendicular bank,
then get up the waggon and reload it, was no easy task, but was
accomplished at last.

The teamster, being afraid of injury to his horses' legs, at first
refused to go further on the road. However, they had suffered no harm;
and we finished our journey to the bridge where my brother awaited us.
Here the unlucky boxes had to be carried across loose floating logs, and
loaded on to the ox-waggon, which ended our hard work for that day.

Two days longer were we slowly travelling through Sunnidale and into
Nottawasaga, spending each night at some friendly settler's shanty, and
so lightening the fatigues of the way.



My sisters had come into the woods fresh from the lovely village of
Epsom, in Surrey, and accustomed to all the comforts of English life.
Their consternation at the rudeness of the accommodations which we had
considered rather luxurious than otherwise, dispelled all our illusions,
and made us think seriously of moving nearer to Toronto. I was the first
to feel the need of change, and as I had occasionally walked ninety
miles to the city, to draw money for our road contracts, and the same
distance back again, and had gained some friends there, it took me very
little time to make up my mind. My brothers and sisters remained
throughout the following winter, and then removed to a rented farm at

Not that the bush has ever lost its charms for me. I still delight to
escape thither, to roam at large, admiring the stately trees with their
graceful outlines of varied foliage, seeking in their delicious shade
for ferns and all kinds of wild plants, forgetting the turmoil and
anxieties of the business world, and wishing I could leave it behind for
ever and aye. In some such mood it was that I wrote--


  Come to the woods--the dark old woods,
    Where our life is blithe and free;
  No thought of sorrow or strife intrudes
    Beneath the wild woodland tree.

  Our wigwam is raised with skill and care
    In some quiet forest nook;
  Our healthful fare is of ven'son rare,
    Our draught from the crystal brook.

  In summer we trap the beaver shy,
    In winter we chase the deer,
  And, summer or winter, our days pass by
    In honest and hearty cheer.

  And when at the last we fall asleep
    On mother earth's ancient breast,
  The forest-dirge deep shall o'er us sweep,
    And lull us to peaceful rest.

[Footnote 8: These lines were set to music by the late J. P. Clarke,
Mus. Bac. of Toronto University, in his "Songs of Canada."]



To make my narrative intelligible to those who are not familiar with the
times of which I am about to write, I must revert briefly to the year
1834. During that year I made my first business visit to Toronto, then
newly erected into a city. As the journey may be taken as a fair
specimen of our facilities for travelling in those days, I shall
describe it.

I left our shanty in Sunnidale in the bright early morning, equipped
only with an umbrella and a blue bag, such as is usually carried by
lawyers, containing some articles of clothing. The first three or four
miles of the road lay over felled trees cut into logs, but not hauled
out of the way. To step or jump over these logs every few feet may be
amusing enough by way of sport, but it becomes not a little tiresome
when repeated mile after mile, with scarcely any intermission, and
without the stimulus of companionship. After getting into a better
cleared road, the chief difficulty lay with the imperfectly "stubbed"
underbrush and the frequency of cradle-holes--that is, hollows caused by
up-turned roots--in roughly timbered land. This kind of travelling
continued till mid-day, when I got a substantial dinner and a boisterous
welcome from my old friend Root and his family. He had a pretty little
daughter by this time.

An hour's rest, and an easy walk of seven miles to Barrie, were pleasant
enough, in spite of stumps and hollows. At Barrie I met with more
friends, who would have had me remain there for the night; but time was
too valuable. So on I trudged, skirting round the sandy beach of
beautiful Kempenfeldt Bay, and into the thick dark woods of Innisfil,
where the road was a mere brushed track, easily missed in the twilight,
and very muddy from recent rains. Making all the expedition in my power,
I sped on towards Clement's tavern, then the only hostelry between
Barrie and Bradford, and situated close to the height of land whence
arise, in a single field, the sources of various streams flowing into
the Nottawasaga, the Holland, and the Credit Rivers. But rain came on,
and the road became a succession of water-holes so deep that I all but
lost my boots, and, moreover, it was so dark that it was impossible to
walk along logs laid by the roadside, which was the local custom in

I felt myself in a dilemma. To go forward or backward seemed equally
unpromising. I had often spent nights in the bush, with or without a
wigwam, and the thought of danger did not occur to me. Suddenly I
recollected that about half a mile back I had passed a newly chopped and
partially-logged clearing, and that there might possibly be workmen
still about. So I returned to the place, and shouted for assistance; but
no person was within hearing. There was, however, a small log hut, about
six feet square, which the axe-men had roughly put up for protection
from the rain, and in it had left some fire still burning. I was glad
enough to secure even so poor a shelter as this. Everything was wet. I
was without supper, and very tired after thirty miles' walk. But I tried
to make the best of a bad job: collected plenty of half-consumed brands
from the still blazing log-heaps, to keep up some warmth during the
night, and then lay down on the round logs that had been used for seats,
to sleep as best I might.

But this was not to be. At about nine o'clock there arose from the
woods, first a sharp snapping bark, answered by a single yelp; then two
or three yells at intervals. Again a silence, lasting perhaps five
minutes. This kept on, the noise increasing in frequency, and coming
nearer and again nearer, until it became impossible to mistake it for
aught but the howling of wolves. The clearing might be five or six
acres. Scattered over it were partially or wholly burnt log heaps. I
knew that wolves would not be likely to venture amongst the fires, and
that I was practically safe. But the position was not pleasant, and I
should have preferred a bed at Clement's, as a matter of choice. I,
however, kept up my fire very assiduously, and the evil brutes continued
their concert of fiendish discords--sometimes remaining silent for a
time, and anon bursting into a full chorus _fortissimo_--for many long,
long hours, until the glad beams of morning peeped through the trees,
and the sky grew brighter and brighter; when the wolves ceased their
serenade, and I fell fast asleep, with my damp umbrella for a pillow.

With the advancing day, I awoke, stiffened in every joint, and very
hungry. A few minutes' walk on my road showed me a distant opening in
the woods, towards which I hastened, and found a new shanty, inhabited
by a good-natured settler and his family, from whom I got some
breakfast, for which they would accept nothing but thanks. They had
lately been much troubled, they said, with wolves about their cattle
sheds at night.

From thence I proceeded to Bradford, fifteen miles, by a road interlaced
with pine roots, with deep water-holes between, and so desperately
rugged as to defy any wheeled vehicle but an ox-cart to struggle over
it. Here my troubles ended for the present. Mr. Thomas Drury, of that
village, had been in partnership with a cousin of my own, as brewers,
at Mile End, London. His hospitable reception, and a good night's
repose, made me forget previous discomforts, and I went on my way next
morning with a light heart, carrying with me a letter of introduction to
a man of whom I had occasionally heard in the bush, one William Lyon

The day's journey by way of Yonge Street was easily accomplished by
stage--an old-fashioned conveyance enough, swung on leather straps, and
subject to tremendous jerks from loose stones on the rough road,
innocent of Macadam, and full of the deepest ruts. A fellow-passenger,
by way of encouragement, told me how an old man, a few weeks before, had
been jolted so violently against the roof, as to leave marks of his
blood there, which, being not uncommon, were left unheeded for days. My
friend advised me to keep on my hat, which I had laid aside on account
of the heat of the day, and I was not slow to adopt the suggestion.

Arrived in town, my first business was to seek out Mr. William Hawkins,
well-known in those days as an eminent provincial land surveyor. I found
him at a house on the south side of Newgate (now Adelaide) street, two
or three doors west of Bay Street. He was living as a private boarder
with an English family; and, at his friendly intercession, I was
admitted to the same privilege. The home was that of Mr. H. C. Todd,
with his wife and two sons. With them, I continued to reside as often
as I visited Toronto, and for long after I became a citizen. That I
spent there many happy days, among kind and considerate friends, numbers
of my readers will be well assured when I mention, that the two boys
were Alfred and Alpheus Todd, the one loved and lamented as the late
Clerk of Committees in the Canadian House of Commons--the other widely
known in Europe and America, as the late Librarian of the Dominion

My stay in Toronto on that occasion was very brief. To wait upon the
Chief Emigrant Agent for instructions about road-making in Sunnidale; to
make a few small purchases of clothing and tea; and to start back again,
without loss of time, were matters of course. One thing, however, I
found time to do, which had more bearing upon this narrative, and that
was, to present Mr. Drury's letter of introduction to William L.
Mackenzie, M. P. P., at his printing-office on Hospital Street. I had
often seen copies, in the bush, of the _Colonial Advocate_, as well as
of the _Courier_ and _Gazette_ newspapers, but had the faintest possible
idea of Canadian politics. The letter was from one whose hospitality
Mackenzie had experienced for weeks in London, and consequently I felt
certain of a courteous reception. Without descending from the high stool
he used at his desk, he received the letter, read it, looked at me
frigidly, and said in his singular, harsh Dundee dialect: "We must look
after our own people before doing anything for strangers." Mr. Drury had
told him that I wished to know if there were any opening for
proof-readers in Toronto. I was not a little surprised to find myself
ostracized as a stranger in a British colony, but, having other views,
thought no more of the circumstance at the time.

This reminds me of another characteristic anecdote of Mackenzie, which
was related to me by one who was on the spot where it happened. In 1820,
on his first arrival in Montreal from Scotland, he got an engagement as
chain-bearer on the survey of the Lachine canal. A few days afterwards,
the surveying party, as usual at noon, sat down on a grassy bank to eat
their dinner. They had been thus occupied for half an hour, and were
getting ready for a smoke, when the new chain-bearer suddenly jumped up
with an exclamation, "Now, boys, time for work! we mustn't waste the
government money!" The consequence of which ill-timed outburst was his
prompt dismissal from the service.



In the course of the years 1835, '6 and '7, I made many journeys to
Toronto, sometimes wholly on foot, sometimes partly by steamboat and
stage. I became very intimate with the Todd family and connections,
which included Mrs. Todd's brother, William P. Patrick, then, and long
afterwards, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly; his brother-in-law, Dr.
Thomas D. Morrison, M. P. P.; Thomas Vaux, Accountant of the
Legislature; Caleb Hopkins, M. P. P., for Halton; William H. Doel,
brewer; William C. Keele, attorney, and their families. Nearly all these
persons were, or had been, zealous admirers of Wm. L. Mackenzie's
political course. And the same thing must be said of my friend Mr.
Drury, of Bradford; his sister married Edward Henderson, merchant
tailor, of King Street west, whose father, E. T. Henderson, was well
known amongst Mackenzie's supporters. It was his cottage on Yonge Street
(near what is now Gloucester Street), at which the leaders of the
popular party used often to meet in council. The house stood in an
orchard, well fenced, and was then very rural and secluded from

Amongst all these really estimable people, and at their houses, nothing
of course was heard disparaging to the Reformers of that day, and their
active leader. My own political prejudices also were in his favour. And
so matters went on until the arrival, in 1835, of Sir Francis Bond Head,
as Lieutenant-Governor, when we, in the bush, began to hear of violent
struggles between the House of Assembly on the one side, and the
Lieutenant-Governor supported by the Legislative Council on the other.
Each political party, by turns, had had its successes and reverses at
the polls. In 1825, the majority of the Assembly was Tory; in 1826, and
for several years afterwards, a Reform majority was elected; in 1831,
again, Toryism was successful; in 1835, the balance veered over to the
popular side once more, by a majority only of four. This majority, led
by Mackenzie, refused to pass the supplies; whereupon, Sir Francis
appealed to the people by dissolving the Parliament.

What were the precise grounds of difference in principle between the
opposing parties, did not very clearly appear to us in the bush. Sir
Francis Head had no power to grant "Responsible Government," as it has
since been interpreted. On each side there were friends and opponents of
that system. Among Tories, Ogle R. Gowan, Charles Fothergill, and
others, advocated a responsible ministry, and were loud in their
denunciations of the "Family Compact." On the Reform side were ranged
such men as Marshall S. Bidwell and Dr. Rolph, who preferred American
Republicanism, in which "Responsible Government" was and is utterly
unknown. We consequently found it hard to understand the party cries of
the day. But we began to perceive that there was a Republican bias on
one hand, contending with a Monarchical leaning on the other; and we had
come to Canada, as had most well-informed immigrants, expressly to avoid
the evils of Republicanism, and to preserve our British constitutional
heritage intact.

When therefore Sir Francis Head threw himself with great energy into the
electoral arena, when he bade the foes of the Empire "come if they
dare!" when he called upon the "United Empire Loyalists,"--men, who in
1770 had thrown away their all, rather than accept an alien rule--to
vindicate once more their right to choose whom they would follow, King
or President--when he traversed the length and breadth of the land,
making himself at home in the farm-houses, and calling upon fathers and
husbands and sons to stand up for their hearths, and their old
traditions of honour and fealty to the Crown, it would have been strange
indeed had he failed.

The next House of Assembly, elected in 1837, contained a majority of
twenty-six to fourteen in favour of Sir F. B. Head's policy. This
precipitated matters. Had Mackenzie been capable of enduring defeat with
a good grace; had he restrained his natural irritability of temper, and
kept his skirts cautiously clear of all contact with men of Republican
aspirations, he might and probably would have recovered his position as
a parliamentary leader, and died an honoured and very likely even a
titled veteran! But he became frantic with choler and disappointment,
and rushed headlong into the most passionate extremes, which ended in
making him a mere cat's-paw in the hands of cunning schemers, who did
not fail, after their manner, to disavow their own handiwork when it had
ceased to serve their purposes.



In November, 1837, I had travelled to Toronto for the purpose of seeking
permanent employment in the city, and meant to return in the first week
of December, to spend my last Christmas in the woods. But the fates and
William Lyon Mackenzie had decided otherwise. I was staying for a few
days with my friend Joseph Heughen, the London hairdresser mentioned as
a fellow-passenger on board the _Asia_, whose name must be familiar to
most Toronto citizens of that day. His shop was near Ridout's
hardware-store, on King Street, at the corner of Yonge Street. On
Sunday, the 3rd, we heard that armed men were assembling at the Holland
Landing and Newmarket to attack the city, and that lists of houses to be
burned by them were in the hands of their leaders; that Samuel Lount,
blacksmith, had been manufacturing pikes at the Landing for their use;
that two or three persons had been warned by friends in the secret to
sell their houses, or to leave the city, or to look for startling
changes of some sort. Then it was known that a quantity of arms and a
couple of cannon were being brought from the garrison, and stored in the
covered way under the old City Hall. Every idle report was eagerly
caught up, and magnified a hundred-fold. But the burthen of all
invariably was, an expected invasion by the Yankees to drive all
loyalists from Canada. In this way rumour followed rumour, all business
ceased, and everybody listened anxiously for the next alarm. At length
it came in earnest. At eleven o'clock on Monday night, the 4th of
December, every bell in the city was set ringing, occasional gun-shots
were fired, by accident as it turned out, but none the less startling to
nervous people; a confused murmur arose in the streets, becoming louder
every minute; presently the sound of a horse's hoofs was heard, echoing
loudly along Yonge Street. With others I hurried out, and found at
Ridout's corner a horseman, who proved to be Alderman John Powell, who
told his breathless listeners, how he had been stopped beyond the Yonge
Street toll-gate, two miles out, by Mackenzie and Anderson at the head
of a number of rebels in arms; how he had shot Anderson and missed
Mackenzie; how he had dodged behind a log when pursued; and had finally
got into town by the College Avenue.

There was but little sleep in Toronto that night, and next day
everything was uproar and excitement, heightened by the news that Col.
Moodie, of Richmond Hill, a retired officer of the army, who was
determined to force his way through the armed bodies of rebels, to bring
tidings of the rising to the Government in Toronto, had been shot down
and inhumanly left to bleed to death at Montgomery's tavern. The flames
and smoke from Dr. Horne's house at Rosedale, were visible all over the
city; it had been fired in the presence of Mackenzie in person, in
retaliation, it was said, for the refusal of discount by the Bank of
Upper Canada, of which Dr. Horne was teller. The ruins of the
still-burning building were visited by hundreds of citizens, and added
greatly to the excitement and exasperation of the hour. By-and-by it
became known that Mr. Robert Baldwin and Dr. John Rolph had been sent,
with a flag of truce, to learn the wants of the insurgents. Many
citizens accompanied the party at a little distance. A flag of truce was
in itself a delightful novelty, and the street urchins cheered
vociferously, scudding away at the smallest alarm. Arrived at the
toll-gate, there were waiting outside Mackenzie, Lount, Gibson, Fletcher
and other leaders, with a couple of hundred of their men. In reply to
the Lieutenant-Governor's message of inquiry, as to what was wanted, the
answer was, "Independence, and a convention to arrange details," which
rather compendious demand, being reported to Sir Francis, was at once
rejected. So there was nothing for it but to fight.

Mackenzie did his best to induce his men to advance on the city that
evening; but as most of his followers had been led to expect that there
would be no resistance, and no bloodshed, they were shocked and
discouraged by Col. Moodie's death, as well as by those of Anderson and
one or two others. A picket of volunteers under Col. Jarvis, fired on
them, when not far within the toll-gate, killing one and wounding two
others, and retired still firing. After this the insurgents lost all
confidence, and even threatened to shoot Mackenzie himself, for
reproaching them with cowardice. A farmer living by the roadside told me
at the time, that while a detachment of rebels were marching southwards
down the hill, since known as Mount Pleasant, they saw a waggon-load of
cordwood standing on the opposite rise, and supposing it to be a piece
of artillery loaded to the muzzle with grape or canister, these brave
warriors leaped the fences right and left like squirrels, and could by
no effort of their officers be induced again to advance.

By this time the principal buildings in the city--the City Hall, Upper
Canada Bank, the Parliament Buildings, Osgoode Hall, Government House,
the Canada Company's office, and many private dwellings and shops, were
put in a state of defence by barricading the windows and doors with
two-inch plank, loopholed for musketry; and the city bore a rather
formidable appearance. Arms and ammunition were distributed to all
householders who chose to accept them. I remember well the trepidation
with which my friend Heughen shrank from touching the musket that was
held out for his acceptance; and the outspoken indignation of the
militia sergeant, whose proffer of the firearm was declined. The poor
hairdresser told me afterwards, that many of his customers were rebels,
and that he dreaded the loss of their patronage.

The same evening came Mr. Speaker McNab, with a steamer from Hamilton,
bringing sixty of the "men of Gore." It was an inspiriting thing to see
these fine fellows land on the wharf, bright and fresh from their short
voyage, and full of zeal and loyalty. The ringing cheers they sent forth
were re-echoed with interest by the townsmen. From Scarborough also,
marched in a party of militia, under Captain McLean.

It was on the same day that a lady, still living, was travelling by
stage from Streetsville, on her way through Toronto to Cornwall, having
with her a large trunk of new clothing prepared for a long visit to her
relatives. Very awkwardly for her, Mackenzie had started, at the head of
a few men, from Yonge Street across to Dundas Street, to stop the stage
and capture the mails, so as to intercept news of Dr. Duncombe's rising
in the London District. Not content with seizing the mail-bags and all
the money they contained, Mackenzie himself, pistol in hand, demanded
the surrender of the poor woman's portmanteau, and carried it off
bodily. It was asserted at the time that he only succeeded in evading
capture a few days after, at Oakville, by disguising himself in woman's
clothes, which may explain his raid upon the lady's wardrobe; for which,
I believe, she failed to get any compensation whatsoever under the
Rebellion Losses Act. This lady afterwards became the wife of John F.
Rogers, who was my partner in business for several subsequent years.

In the course of the next day, Wednesday, parties of men arrived from
Niagara, Hamilton, Oakville, Port Credit and other places in greater or
less numbers--many of them Orangemen, delighted with their new
occupation. The Lieutenant-Governor was thus enabled to vacate the City
Hall and take up his headquarters in the Parliament Buildings; and
before night as many as fifteen hundred volunteers were armed and
partially drilled. Among them were a number of Mackenzie's former
supporters, with their sons and relatives, now thoroughly ashamed of the
man, and utterly alienated by his declared republicanism.

Next morning followed the "Battle of Gallows Hill," or, as it might more
fitly be styled, the "Skirmish of Montgomery's Farm." Being a stranger
in the city, I had not then formally volunteered, but took upon myself
to accompany the advancing force, on the chance of finding something to
do, either as a volunteer or a newspaper correspondent, should an
opening occur. The main body, led by Sir Francis himself, with Colonels
Fitzgibbon and McNab as Adjutants, marched by Yonge Street, and
consisted of six hundred men with two guns; while two other bodies, of
two hundred and a hundred and twenty men, respectively, headed by
Colonels W. Chisholm and S. P. Jarvis, advanced by bye-roads and fields
on the east and on the west of Yonge Street. Nothing was seen of the
enemy till within half-a-mile of Montgomery's tavern. The road was there
bordered on the west side by pine woods, from whence dropping
rifle-shots began to be heard, which were answered by the louder muskets
of the militia. Presently our artillery opened their hoarse throats, and
the woods rang with strong reverberations. Splinters were dashed from
the trees, threatening, and I believe causing worse mischief than the
shots themselves. It is said that this kind of skirmishing continued
for half-an-hour--to me it seemed but a few minutes. As the militia
advanced, their opponents melted away. Parties of volunteers dashed over
the fences and into the woods, shouting and firing as they ran. Two or
three wounded men of both parties were lifted tenderly into carts and
sent off to the city to be placed in hospital. Others lay bleeding by
the road-side--rebels by their rustic clothing; their wounds were bound
up, and they were removed in their turn. Soon a movement was visible
through the smoke, on the hill fronting the tavern, where some tall
pines were then standing. I could see there two or three hundred men,
now firing irregularly at the advancing loyalists; now swaying to and
fro without any apparent design. Some horsemen were among them, who
seemed to act more as scouts than as leaders.

We had by this time arrived within cannon shot of the tavern itself. Two
or three balls were seen to strike and pass through it. A crowd of men
rushed from the doors, and scattered wildly in a northerly direction.
Those on the hill wavered, receded under shelter of the undulating land,
and then fled like their fellows. Their horsemen took the side-road
westward, and were pursued, but not in time to prevent their escape. Had
our right and left wings kept pace with the main body, the whole
insurgent force must have been captured.

Sir Francis halted his men opposite the tavern, and gave the word to
demolish the building, by way of a severe lesson to the disaffected.
This was promptly done by firing the furniture in the lower rooms, and
presently thick clouds of smoke and vivid flames burst from doors and
windows. The battalion next moved on to perform the same service at
Gibson's house, several miles further north. Many prisoners were taken
in the pursuit, all of whom Sir Francis released, after admonishing them
to be better subjects in future. The march back to Toronto was very
leisurely executed, several of the mounted officers carrying dead pigs
and geese slung across their saddle-bows as trophies of victory.

Next day, volunteers for the city guard were called for, and among them
I was regularly enrolled and placed under pay, at three shillings and
nine pence per diem. My captain was George Percival Ridout; and his
brother, Joseph D. Ridout, was lieutenant. Our company was duly drilled
at the City Hall, and continued to do duty as long as their services
were required, which was about four months. I have a vivid recollection
of being stationed at the Don Bridge to look out for a second visit from
Peter Matthews's band of rebels, eighty of whom had attempted to burn
the bridge, and succeeded in burning three adjoining houses; also, of
being forgotten and kept there without food or relief throughout a
bitter cold winter's night and morning. Also, of doing duty as sentry
over poor old Colonel Van Egmond, a Dutch officer who had served under
Napoleon I., and who was grievously sick from exposure in the woods and
confinement in gaol, of which he soon afterwards died. Another day, I
was placed, as one of a corporal's guard, in charge of Lesslie's
stationery and drug-store, and found there a saucy little shop-boy who
has since developed into the portly person of Alderman Baxter, now one,
and not the least, of our city notabilities. The guards and the guarded
were on the best of terms. We were treated with much hospitality by Mr.
Joseph Lesslie, late Postmaster of Toronto, and have all been excellent
friends ever since. Our corporal, I ought to say, was Anthony Blachford,
since a well-known and respected citizen.

Those were exciting times in Toronto. The day after the battle, six
hundred men of Simcoe, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dewson, came
marching down Yonge Street, headed by Highland pipers playing the
national pibroch. In their ranks I first saw Hugh Scobie, a stalwart
Scotsman, afterwards widely known as publisher of the _British Colonist_
newspaper. With this party were brought in sixty prisoners, tied to a
long rope, most of whom were afterwards released on parole.

A day or two afterwards, entered the volunteers from the Newcastle
District, who had marched the whole distance from Brockville, under the
command, I think, of Lieutenant-Colonel Ogle R. Gowan. They were a fine
body of men, and in the highest spirits at the prospect of a fight with
the young Queen Victoria's enemies.

A great sensation was created when the leaders who had been arrested
after the battle, Dr. Thomas D. Morrison, John G. Parker, and two
others, preceded by a loaded cannon pointed towards the prisoners, were
marched along King Street to the Common Jail, which is the same building
now occupied as York Chambers, at the corner of Toronto and Court
Streets. The Court House stood, and still stands, converted into shops
and offices, on Church Street; between the two was an open common which
was used in those days as the place of public executions. It was here
that, on the 12th of April following, I witnessed, with great sorrow,
the execution by hanging of Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews, two of the
principal rebel leaders.

Sir F. B. Head had then left the Province.

       *     *     *     *     *

The following narrative of circumstances which occurred during the time
when Mackenzie was in command of the rebel force on Yonge Street, has
been kindly communicated to me by a gentleman, who, as a young lad, was
personally cognizant of the facts described. It has, I believe, never
been published, and will interest many of my readers:

    "It was on Monday morning, the 5th of December, 1837, when
    rumours of the disturbances that had broken out in Lower Canada
    were causing great excitement throughout the Home District, that
    the late James S. Howard's servant-man, named Bolton, went into
    his master's bed-room and asked if Mr. H. had heard shots fired
    during the night. He replied that he had not, and told the man
    to go down to the street and find out what was the matter.
    Bolton returned shortly with the news, that a man named Anderson
    had been shot at the foot of the hill, and that his body was
    lying in a house near by. Shortly after came the startling
    report of the death of poor Col. Moodie, which was a great shock
    to Mrs. Howard, who knew him well, and was herself a native of
    Fredericton, where the Colonel's regiment (the old Hundred and
    Fourth) had been raised during the war of 1812. Mr. Howard
    immediately ordered his carriage, and started for the city, from
    whence he did not return for ten days. About nine o'clock, a man
    named Pool, who held the rank of captain in the rebel army,
    called at Mr. Howard's house, to ask if Anderson's body was

    there. Being told where it was said to be, he turned and went
    away. Immediately afterwards, the first detachment of the rebel
    army came in sight, consisting of some fifteen or twenty men,
    who drew up on the lawn in front of the house. Presently, at the
    word of command they wheeled round and went away in search of
    the dead rebel. Next came three or four men (loyalists) hurrying
    down the road, who said that there were five hundred rebels
    behind them. Then was heard the report of fire arms, and anon
    more armed men showed themselves along the brow of Gallows Hill,
    and took up ground near the present residence of Mr. Hooper.
    About eleven o'clock, another detachment appeared, headed by a
    man on a small white horse, almost a pony, who turned out to be
    the commander-in-chief, Mackenzie himself. He wore a great coat
    buttoned up to the chin, and presented the appearance of being
    stuffed. In talking among themselves, the men intimated that he
    had on a great many coats, as if to make himself bullet proof.
    To enable the man on the white pony to enter the lawn, his men
    wrenched off the fence boards; he entered the house without
    knocking, took possession of the sitting room where Mrs. and
    Miss Howard and her brother were sitting, and ordered dinner to
    be got ready for fifty men. Utterly astonished at such a demand,
    Mrs. Howard said she could do nothing of the kind. After abusing
    Mr. Howard for some time--who had incurred his dislike by
    refusing him special privileges at the Post Office--Mackenzie
    said Howard had held his office long enough, and that it was
    time somebody else had it. Mrs. Howard at length referred him to
    the servant in the kitchen; which hint he took, and went to see
    about dinner himself. There happened to be a large iron
    sugar-kettle, in which was boiling a sheep killed by dogs
    shortly before. This they emptied, and refilled with beef from a
    barrel in the cellar. A baking of bread just made was also
    confiscated, and cut up by a tall thin man, named Eckhardt, from
    Markham. While these preparations were going on, other men were
    busy in the tool house mending their arms, which consisted of
    all sorts of weapons, from chisels and gouges fixed on poles, to
    hatchets, knives and guns of all descriptions. About two o'clock
    there was a regular stampede, and the family were left quite
    alone, much to their relief; with the exception of a young
    Highland Scotchman mounting guard. He must have been a recent
    arrival from the old country, as he wore the blue jacket and
    trowsers of the sea-faring men of the western isles. Mrs. Howard
    seeing all the rest had left, went out to speak to him, saying
    she regretted to see so fine a young Scotchman turning rebel
    against his Queen. His answer was, "Country first, Queen next."
    He told her that it was the flag of truce which had called his
    comrades away. About half-past three they all returned, headed
    by the commander-in-chief, who demanded of Mrs. Howard whether
    the dinner he had ordered was ready? She said it was just as
    they had left it. Irritated at her coolness he got very angry,
    shook his horse-whip, pulled her from her chair to the window,
    bidding her look out and be thankful that her own house was not
    in the same state. He pointed to Dr. Horne's house at Blue Hill,
    on the east side of the road, which during his absence he had
    set on fire, much to the disappointment of his men, whom, though
    very hungry, he would not allow to touch anything, but burnt all
    up. There was considerable grumbling among the men about it.
    Poor Lount, who was with them, told Mrs. Howard not to mind
    Mackenzie, but to give them all they wanted, and they would not
    harm her. They got through their dinner about dusk, and returned
    to the lawn, where they had some barrels of whiskey. They kept
    up a regular--or rather an irregular firing all night. The
    family were much alarmed, having only one servant woman with
    them; the man Bolton had escaped for fear as he said of being
    taken prisoner by the rebels. There the men remained until
    Wednesday, when they returned to Montgomery's tavern, a mile or
    two up the street, where is now the village of Eglinton. About
    eleven o'clock in the morning, the loyalist force marched out to
    attack the rebels, who were posted at the Paul Pry Inn, on the
    east side of the road, with their main body at Montgomery's,
    some distance further north. It was a very fine sunny day, and
    the loyalists made a formidable appearance, as the sun shone on
    their bright musket-barrels and bayonets. The first shot fired
    was from the artillery, under the command of Captain Craig; it
    went through the Paul Pry under the eaves and out of the roof.
    The rebels took to the woods on each side of the road, which at
    that time were much nearer than at present. Thomas Bell, who had
    charge of a company of volunteers, said that on the morning of
    the battle, a stranger asked leave to accompany him. The man
    wore a long beard, and was rumoured to have been one of
    Napoleon's officers. Mr. Bell saw him take aim at one of the
    retreating rebels, who was crouching behind a stump, firing at
    the loyalists. Nothing could be seen but the top of his head.
    The stranger fired with fatal effect. The dead man turned out to
    be a farmer of the name of Widman, from Whitchurch. Montgomery's
    tavern, a large building on the hill-side of the road, was next
    attacked, and was quickly evacuated by the flying rebels, who
    got into the woods to the west and dispersed. It was then that
    Mackenzie made his escape. The tavern having been the rebel
    head-quarters, and the place from which Col. Moodie was shot,
    was set on fire and burned down. The house of Gibson, another
    rebel rendezvous, about eight miles north, was also burnt. With
    that small effort the rebellion in Upper Canada was crushed. A
    few days after, some fifty or sixty rebel prisoners from about
    Sharon and Lloydtown, were marched down to the city, roped
    together, two and two in a long string; and shortly afterwards a
    volunteer corps--commanded by Colonels Hill and Dewson, raised
    amongst the log-cabin settlers, in the County of Simcoe, came
    down in sleighs to the city, where they did duty all winter. It
    was an extraordinary fact, that these poor settlers, living in
    contentment in their log-cabins, with their potato patches
    around, should turn out and put down a rebellion, originated
    among old settlers and wealthy farmers in the prosperous County
    of York. Mackenzie early lost the sympathies of a great
    proportion of his followers. One of them, named Jacob Kurtz,
    swore most lustily, the same winter, that if he could catch his
    old leader he would shoot him. While retreating eastward, a
    party of the rebels attempted to burn the Don Bridge, and would
    have succeeded, but for the determined efforts of a Mrs. Ross,
    who put out the fire, at the expense of a bullet in her knee;
    the ball was extracted by the late Dr. Widmer, who was very
    popular about Yorkville and the east end of the city."



It is now forty-five years since the last act of the rebellion was
consummated, by the defeat of Duncombe's party in the London district,
the punishment of Sutherland's brigands at Windsor, and the destruction
of the steamer _Caroline_ and dispersal of the discreditable ruffians,
of whom their "president," Mackenzie, was heartily sick, at Navy Island.
None of these events came within my own observation, and I pass them by
without special remark.

But respecting Sir Francis Bond Head and his antagonist, I feel that
more should be said, in justice to both. It is eminently unfair to
censure Sir Francis for not doing that which he was not commissioned to
do. Even so thorough a Reformer and so just a man as Earl Russell, had
failed to see the advisability of extending "responsible government" to
any of Her Majesty's Colonies. Up to the time of Lord Durham's report in
1839, no such proposal had been even mooted; and it appears to have been
the general opinion of British statesmen, at the date of Sir Francis
Head's appointment, that to give a responsible ministry to Canada was
equivalent to offering her independence. In taking it for granted that
Canadians as a whole were unfit to have conferred on them the same
rights of self-government as were possessed by Englishmen, Irishmen and
Scotchmen in the old country, consisted the original error. This error,
however, Sir Francis shared with the Colonial Office and both Houses of
the Imperial Parliament. Since those days the mistake has been admitted,
and not Canada alone, but the Australian colonies and South Africa have
profited by our advancement in self-government.

As for Sir Francis's personal character, even Mackenzie's biographer
allows that he was frank, kindly and generous in an unusual degree. That
he won the entire esteem of so many men of whom all Canadians of
whatever party are proud--such men as Chief Justice Robinson, Bishop
Strachan, Chief Justices Macaulay, Draper and McLean, Sir Allan N.
McNab, Messrs. Henry Ruttan, Mahlon Burwell, Jno. W. Gamble and many
others, I hold to be indubitable proof of his high qualities and honest
intentions. Nobody can doubt that had he been sent here to carry out
responsible government, he would have done it zealously and honourably.
But he was sent to oppose it, and, in opposing it, he simply did his

A gentleman[9] well qualified to judge, and who knew him personally, has
favoured me with the following remarks apropos of the subject, which I
have pleasure in laying before my readers:

    "As a boy, I had a sincere admiration for his [Sir Francis's]
    devoted loyalty, and genuine English character; and I have since
    learnt to respect and appreciate with greater discrimination his
    great services to the Crown and Empire. He was a little Quixotic
    perhaps. He had a marked individuality of his own. But he was as
    true as steel, and most staunch to British law and British
    principle in the trying days of his administration in Canada.
    His loyalty was chivalrous and magnetic; by his enlightened
    enthusiasm in a good cause he evoked a true spirit of loyalty in
    Upper Canada, that had well-nigh become extinct, being overlaid
    with the spirit of ultra-radicalism that had for years
    previously got uppermost among our people. But Upper Canada
    loyalty had a deep and solid foundation in the patriotism of the
    U. E. Loyalists, a noble race who had proved by deeds, not
    words, their attachment to the Crown and government of the
    mother land. These U. E. Loyalists were the true founders of
    Upper Canada; and they were forefathers of whom we may be justly
    proud--themselves 'honouring the father and the mother'--their
    sovereign and the institutions under which they were born--they
    did literally obtain the promised reward of that 'first
    commandment with promise,' viz.: length of days and honour."

       *     *     *     *     *

William Lyon Mackenzie was principally remarkable for his indomitable
perseverance and unhesitating self-reliance. Of toleration for other
men's opinions, he seems to have had none. He did, or strove to do,
whatsoever he himself thought right, and those who differed with him he
denounced in the most unmeasured terms. For example, writing of the
Imperial Government in 1837, he says:

    "Small cause have Highlanders and the descendants of Highlanders
    to feel a friendship for the Guelphic family. If the Stuarts had
    their faults, they never enforced loyalty in the glens and
    valleys of the north by banishing and extirpating the people; it
    was reserved for the Brunswickers to give, as a sequel to the
    massacre of Glencoe, the cruel order for depopulation. I am
    proud of my descent from a rebel race; who held borrowed
    chieftains, a scrip nobility, rag money and national debt in
    abomination. . . . Words cannot express my contempt at
    witnessing the servile, crouching attitude of the country of my
    choice. If the people felt as I feel, there is never a Grant or
    Glenelg who crossed the Tay and Tweed to exchange high-born
    Highland poverty for substantial Lowland wealth, who would dare
    to insult Upper Canada with the official presence, as its ruler,
    of such an equivocal character as this Mr. what do they call
    him--Francis Bond Head."

Had Mackenzie confined himself to this kind of vituperation, all might
have gone well for him, and for his followers. People would only have
laughed at his vehemence. The advocacy of the principle of responsible
government in Canada would have been and was taken up by Orangemen, U.
E. Loyalists, and other known Tories. Ever since the day when the
manufacture of even a hob-nail in the American colonies was declared by
English statesmen to be intolerable, the struggle has gone on for
colonial equality as against imperial centralization. The final adoption
of the theory of ministerial responsibility by all political parties in
Canada, is Mackenzie's best justification.

But he sold himself in his disappointment to the republican tempter, and
justly paid the penalty. That he felt this himself long before he died,
will be incontestably shown by his own words, which I copy from Mr.
Lindsey's "Life of Mackenzie," vol. ii., page 290:

    "After what I have seen here, I frankly confess to you that, had
    I passed nine years in the United States before, instead of
    after, the outbreak, I am very sure I would have been the last
    man in America to be engaged in it."

And, again, page 291:

    "A course of careful observations during the last eleven years
    has fully satisfied me that, had the violent movements in which
    I and many others were engaged on both sides of the Niagara
    proved successful, that success would have deeply injured the
    people of Canada, whom I then believed I was serving at great
    risks; that it would have deprived millions, perhaps, of our own
    countrymen in Europe of a home upon this continent, except upon
    conditions which, though many hundreds of thousands of
    immigrants have been constrained to accept them, are of an
    exceedingly onerous and degrading character. . . . There is not
    a living man on this continent who more sincerely desires that
    British Government in Canada may long continue, and give a home
    and a welcome to the old countryman, than myself."

Of Mackenzie's imprisonment and career in the United States, nothing
need be said here. I saw him once more in the Canadian Parliament after
his return from exile, in the year 1858. He was then remarkable for his
good humour, and for his personal independence of party. His chosen
associates were, as it seemed to me, chiefly on the Opposition or
Conservative side of the House.

Before closing this chapter, I cannot help referring to the unfortunate
men who suffered in various ways. They were farmers of the best class,
and of the most simple habits. The poor fellows who lay wounded by the
road side on Yonge Street, were not persons astute enough to discuss
political theories, but feeble creatures who could only shed bitter
tears over their bodily sufferings, and look helplessly for assistance
from their conquerors. There were among them boys of twelve or fifteen
years old, one of whom had been commissioned by his ignorant old mother
at St. Catharines, to be sure and bring her home a check-apron full of
tea from one of the Toronto groceries.

I thought at the time, and I think still, that the Government ought to
have interfered before matters came to a head, and so saved all these
hapless people from the cruel consequences of their leaders' folly. On
the other hand, it is asserted that neither Sir Francis nor his Council
could be brought to credit the probability of an armed rising. A friend
has told me that his father, who was then a member of the Executive
Council, attended a meeting as late as nine o'clock on the 4th December,
1837. That he returned home and retired to rest at eleven. In half an
hour a messenger from Government House came knocking violently at the
door, with the news of the rising; when he jumped out of bed exclaiming,
"I hope Robinson will believe me next time." The Chief Justice had
received with entire incredulity the information laid before the
Council, of the threatened movement that week.

[Footnote 9: The late lamented Dr. Alpheus Todd, librarian of the
Dominion Parliament.]



Whatever may be thought of Sir Francis B. Head's policy--whether we
prefer to call it mere foolhardiness or chivalric zeal--there can be no
doubt that he served as an effective instrument in the hands of
Providence for the building up of a "Greater Britain" on the American
continent. The success of the outbreak of 1837 could only have ended in
Canada's absorption by the United States, which must surely have proved
a lamentable finale to the grand heroic act of the loyalists of the old
colonies, who came here to preserve what they held to be their duty
alike to their God and their earthly sovereign. It is certain, I think,
that religious principle is the true basis, and the one only safeguard
of Canadian existence. It was the influence of the Anglican, and
especially of the Methodist pastors, of 1770, that led their flocks into
the wilderness to find here a congenial home. In Lower Canada, in 1837,
it was in like manner the influence of the clergy, both Roman Catholic
and Protestant, that defeated Papineau and his Republican followers. And
it is the religious and moral sentiment of Canada, in all her seven
Provinces, that now constitutes the true bond of union between us and
the parent Empire. Only a few years since, the statesmen of the old
country felt no shame in preferring United States amity to Colonial
connection. To-day a British premier openly and even ostentatiously
repudiates any such policy as suicidal.

That Canada possesses, in every sense of the word, a healthier
atmosphere than its Southern neighbour, and that it owes its continued
moral salubrity to the defeat of Mackenzie's allies in 1837-8, I for one
confidently hold--with Mackenzie himself. That this superiority is due
to the greater and more habitual respect paid to all authority--Divine
and secular--I devoutly believe. That our present and future welfare
hangs, as by a thread, upon that one inherent, all-important
characteristic, that we are a religious community, seems to me plain to
all who care to read correctly the signs of the times.

The historian of the future will find in these considerations his best
clue to our existing status in relation to our cousins to the south of
us. He will discover on the one side of the line, peaceful industry,
home affections, unaffected charity, harmless recreations, a general
desire for education, and a sincere reverence for law and authority. On
the other, he may observe a heterogeneous commixture of many races, and
notably of their worst elements; he will see the marriage-tie degraded
into a mockery, the Sabbath-day a scoffing, the house of God a rostrum
or a concert-hall, the law a screen for crime, the judicial bench a
purchasable commodity, the patrimony of the State an asylum for

I am fully sensible that the United States possesses estimable citizens
in great numbers, who feel, and lament more than anybody else, the
flagrant abuses of her free institutions. But do they exercise any
controlling voice in elections? Do they even hope to influence the
popular vote? They tell us themselves that they are powerless. And
so--we have only to wish them a fairer prospect; and to pray that Canada
may escape the inevitable Nemesis that attends upon great national
faults such as theirs.



My good friend and host, Henry Cook Todd, was one of the most
uncompromising Tories I ever met with. He might have sat for the
portrait of Mr. Grimwig in "Oliver Twist." Like that celebrated old
gentleman, "his bark was aye waur than his bite." He would pour out a
torrent of scorn and sarcasm upon some luckless object of his
indignation, public or private; and, having exhausted the full vials of
his wrath, would end with some kind act toward, perhaps, the very person
he had been anathematizing, and subside into an amiable mood of
compassion for the weaknesses of erring mankind generally.

He was a graduate of the University of Oxford, and afterwards had charge
of a large private school in one of the English counties. Having
inherited and acquired a moderate competency, he retired into private
life; but later on he lost by the failure of companies wherein his
savings had been invested. He then commenced business as a bookseller,
did not succeed, and finally decided, at the persuasion of his wife's
brother, Mr. William P. Patrick, of Toronto, to emigrate to Canada.
Having first satisfied himself of the prudence of the step, by a tour in
the United States and Canada, he sent for his family, who arrived here
in 1833.

His two sons, Alfred and Alpheus, got the full benefit of their father's
classical attainments, and were kept closely to their studies. At an
early age, their uncle Patrick took charge of their interests, and
placed them about him in the Legislative Assembly, where I recollect to
have seen one or both of them, in the capacity of pages, on the floor of
the House. From that lowly position, step by step, they worked their
way, as we have seen, to the very summit of their respective

Mr. Todd was also an accomplished amateur artist, and drew exquisitely.
An etching of the interior of Winchester Cathedral, by him, I have never
seen surpassed.

He was fond of retirement and of antiquarian reading, and, while engaged
in some learned philological investigation, would shut himself up in his
peculiar sanctum and remain invisible for days, even to his own family.

Between the years 1833 and 1840, Mr. Todd published a book, entitled
"Notes on Canada and the United States," and I cannot better illustrate
his peculiar habits of thought, and mode of expressing them, than by
quoting two or three brief passages from that work, and from "Addenda"
which I printed for him myself, in 1840:

    "As an acidulated mixture with the purest element will embitter
    its sweetness, so vice and impurity imported to any country must
    corrupt and debase it. To this hour, when plunderers no longer
    feel secure in the scenes of their misdeeds, or culprits would
    evade the strong arm of the law, to what country do they escape?
    America--for here, if not positively welcomed (?), they are, at
    least, safe. If it be asked, did not ancient Rome do the same
    thing? I answer, slightly so, whilst yet an infant, but never in
    any shape afterwards; but America, by still receiving, and with
    open arms, the vicious and the vile from all corners of the
    earth, does so in her full growth. As she therefore plants, so
    must she also reap.

    * * * "The Episcopal clergy in this country [United States] were
    originally supported by an annual contribution of tobacco, each
    male, so tithable, paying 40lbs.; the regular clergy of the then
    thinly-settled state of Virginia receiving 16,000 lbs. yearly as
    salary. In Canada they are maintained by an assignment of lands
    from the Crown, which moreover extends its assistance to
    ministers of other denominations; so that the people are not
    called upon to contribute for that or any similar purpose; and
    yet, such is the deplorable abandonment to error, and obstinate
    perversion of fact, amongst the low or radical party here--a
    small one, it is true, but not on that account less
    censurable--that this very thing which should ensure their
    gratitude is a never-ending theme for their vituperation and
    abuse; proving to demonstration, that no government on earth, or
    any concession whatever, can long satisfy or please them.

    * * * "The mention of periodicals reminds me, that newspapers on
    the arrival of a stranger are about the first things he takes
    up; but on perusing them, he must exercise his utmost judgment
    and penetration; for of all the fabrications, clothed too in the
    coarsest language, that ever came under my observation, many
    papers here, for low scurrility, and vilifying the authorities,
    certainly surpass any I ever met with. It is to be regretted
    that men without principle and others void of character should
    be permitted thus to abuse the public ear. * * The misguided
    individuals in the late disturbance, on being questioned upon
    the subject, unreservedly admitted, that until reading
    Mackenzie's flagitious and slanderous newspaper, they were
    happy, contented, and loyal subjects."

When the seat of Government was removed to Kingston, Mr. Todd's family
accompanied it thither; but he remained in Toronto, to look after his
property, which was considerable, and died here at the age of 77.



Early in the year 1838, I obtained an engagement as manager of the
_Palladium_, a newspaper issued by Charles Fothergill, on the plan of
the New York _Albion_. The printing office, situated on the corner of
York and Boulton Streets, was very small, and I found it a mass of
little better than _pi_, with an old hand-press of the Columbian
pattern. To bring this office into something like presentable order, to
train a rough lot of lads to their business, and to supply an occasional
original article, occupied me during great part of that year. Mr.
Fothergill was a man of talent, a scholar, and a gentleman; but so
entirely given up to the study of natural history and the practice of
taxidermy, that his newspaper received but scant attention, and his
personal appearance and the cleanliness of his surroundings still less.
He had been King's Printer under the Family Compact régime, and was
dismissed for some imprudent criticism upon the policy of the
Government. His family sometimes suffered from the want of common
necessaries, while the money which should have fed them went to pay for
some rare bird or strange fish. This could not last long. The
_Palladium_ died a natural death, and I had to seek elsewhere for

Amongst the visitors at Mr. Todd's house was John F. Rogers, an
Englishman, who, in conjunction with George H. Hackstaff, published the
Toronto _Herald_, a weekly journal of very humble pretensions. Mr.
Hackstaff was from the United States, and found himself regarded with
great distrust, in consequence of the Navy Island and Prescott
invasions. He therefore offered to sell me his interest in the newspaper
and printing office for a few dollars. I accepted the offer, and thus
became a member of the Fourth Estate, with all the dignities,
immunities, and profits attaching thereto. From that time until the year
1860, I continued in the same profession, publishing successively the
_Herald_, _Patriot_, _News of the Week_, _Atlas_ and _Daily Colonist_
newspapers, and lastly the Quebec _Advertiser_. I mention them all now,
to save wearisome details hereafter.

I have a very lively recollection of the first job which I printed in my
new office. It was on the Sunday on which St. James's Cathedral was
burnt owing to some negligence about the stoves. Our office was two
doors north of the burnt edifice, on Church Street, where the Public
Library now stands; and I was hurriedly required to print a small
placard, announcing that divine service would be held that afternoon at
the City Hall, where I had then recently drilled as a volunteer in the
City Guard.

The _Herald_ was the organ, and Mr. Rogers an active member, of the
Orange body in Toronto. I had no previous knowledge of the peculiar
features of Orangeism, and it took me some months to acquire an insight
into the ways of thinking and acting of the order. I busied myself
chiefly in the practical work of the office, such as type-setting and
press-work, and took no part in editorials, except to write an
occasional paragraph or musical notice.

The first book I undertook to print, and the first law book published in
Canada, was my young friend Alpheus Todd's "Parliamentary Law," a volume
of 400 pages, which was a creditable achievement for an office which
could boast but two or three hundred dollars worth of type in all. With
this book is connected an anecdote which I cannot refrain from

I had removed my office to a small frame building on Church Street, next
door south of C. Clinkinbroomer, the watchmaker's, at the south-west
corner of King and Church Streets. One day, a strange-looking youth of
fourteen or fifteen entered the office. He had in his hand a roll of
manuscript, soiled and dog's-eared, which he asked me to look at. I did
so, expecting to find verses intended for publication. It consisted
indeed of a number of poems, extending to thirty or forty pages or more,
defective in grammar and spelling, and in some parts not very legible.

Feeling interested in the lad, I enquired where he came from, what he
could do, and what he wanted. It appeared that his father held some
subordinate position in the English House of Commons; that, being put to
a trade that he disliked, the boy ran away to Canada, where he verbally
apprenticed himself to a shoemaker in Toronto, whom he quitted because
his master wanted him to mend shoes, while he wished to spend his time
in writing poetry; and that for the last year or so he had been working
on a farm. He begged me to give him a trial as an apprentice to the
printing business. I had known a fellow-apprentice of my own, who was
first taken in as an office-boy, subsequently acquired a little
education, became a printer's-devil, and when last I heard of him, was
King's printer in Australia.

Well, I told the lad, whose name was Archie, that I would try him. I was
just then perplexed with the problem of making and using composition
rollers in the cold winter of Canada, and in an old frame office, where
it was almost impossible to keep anything from freezing. So I resolved
to use a composition ball, such as may be seen in the pictures of early
German printing offices, printing four duodecimo pages of book-work at
one impression, and perfecting the sheet--or printing the obverse, as
medallists would say--with other four pages. Archie was tall and
strong--I gave him a regular drilling in the use of the ball, and after
some days' practice, found I could trust him as beater at the press.
Robinson Crusoe's man Friday was not a more willing, faithful,
conscientious slave than was my Archie. Never absent, never grumbling,
never idle; if there was no work ready for him, there was always plenty
of mischief at hand. He was very fond of a tough argument; plodded on
with his press-work; learnt to set type pretty well, before it was
suspected that he even knew the letter boxes; studied hard at grammar
and the dictionary; acquired knowledge with facility, and retained it
tenaciously. He remained with me many years, and ultimately became my
foreman. After the destruction of the establishment by fire in 1849, he
was engaged as foreman of the University printing office of Mr. Henry
Rowsell, and left there after a long term to enter the Toronto School of
Medicine, then presided over by Dr. Rolph, on Richmond Street, just
west of where Knox's Church now stands. After obtaining his license to
practise the profession of medicine, he studied Spanish, and then went
to Mexico, to practise among the semi-savages of that politically and
naturally volcanic republic. There he made a little money.

The country was at the time in a state of general civil war; not only
was there national strife between two political parties for the
ascendency, but in many of the separate states _pronunciamentos_
(proclamations) were issued against the men in power, followed by bloody
contests between the different factions. In the "united state" of
Coahuila and Nuevo-Leon, in which the doctor then resided, General
Vidauri held the reins of power at Monterey, the capital; and General
Aramberri flew to arms to wrest the government from him. The opposing
armies were no other than bands of robbers and murderers. Aramberri's
forces had passed near the town of Salinas, where the doctor lived,
plundering everybody on their route. Next day Vidauri's troops came in
pursuit, appropriating everything of value which had not been already
confiscated. General Julio Quiroga, one of the most inhuman and cruel
monsters of the republic--a native of the town, near which he had but
recently been a cowherd (gauadéro)--commanded the pursuing force. On the
evening previous to his entry, a _peon_ (really a slave, though slavery
was said to have been abolished in the republic) had been severely
injured in a quarrel with another of his class, and the doctor was sent
for by the Alcalde to dress his wounds. As the man was said to belong to
a rich proprietor, the doctor objected unless his fee were assured. An
old, rough, and dirty-looking man thereupon stepped forward and said he
would be answerable for the pay, stating at the same time that his name
was Quiroga, and that he was the father of Don Julio! When General
Quiroga heard his father's account of the affair, he had the wounded man
placed in the stocks in the open plaza under a broiling sun; fined the
Alcalde $500 for not having done so himself, as well as for not having
imprisoned the Doctor; had the Doctor arrested by an armed guard under a
lieutenant, and in the presence of a dozen or more officers ordered him
to be shot within twenty minutes for having insulted his (Quiroga's)
father. The execution, however, as may be inferred, did not take place.
The explanation the Doctor gives of his escape is a curious one. He
cursed and swore at the General so bitterly and rapidly in English (not
being at the time well versed in Spanish expletives) that Don Julio was
frightened by his grimaces, and the horrible unknown words that issued
from his lips, and fell off his chair in an epileptic fit, to which he
was subject. The Doctor had the clothing about the General's throat and
chest thrown open, and dashed some cold water in his face. On reviving,
Quiroga told the Doctor to return to his house; that he need be under
no fear; said he supposed the difficulty was caused by his (the
Doctor's) not understanding the Spanish language; and added, that he
intended to consult our friend some day about those _atagues_ (fits).
Quiroga never returned to Salinas during the Doctor's stay there, and
some years after these events, like most Mexican generals, was publicly
executed, thus meeting the fate he had so cruelly dealt out to many
better men than himself, and to which he had sentenced our

The Doctor remained in Mexico till the French invasion in 1863, when,
partly on account of the illness of his wife, and partly because of the
disturbed state of the country, he returned to Toronto. He practised his
profession here and became a well-known public character, still, he
said, cherishing a warm love for the sunny south, styling the land of
the Montezumas "_Mi Mejico amado_"--my beloved Mexico--and corresponding
with his friends there, who but very recently offered him some
inducements to return.

That truant boy was afterwards known as Dr. Archibald A. Riddel,
ex-alderman, and for many years coroner for the City of Toronto, which
latter office he resigned so lately as the 30th of June, 1883. He died
in December last, and was buried in the Necropolis, whither his remains
were followed by a large concourse of sympathizing friends.


The burning of St. James's Cathedral in 1839, marks another phase of my
Toronto life, which is associated with many pleasant and some sorrowful
memories. The services of the Church of England were, for some months
after that event, conducted in the old City Hall. The choir was an
amateur one, led by Mr. J. D. Humphreys, whose reputation as an
accomplished musician must be familiar to many of my readers. Of that
choir I became a member, and continued one until my removal to Carlton
in 1853. During those fourteen years I was concerned in almost every
musical movement in Toronto, wrote musical notices, and even composed
some music to my own poetry. An amateur glee club, of which Mr. E. L.
Cull, until lately of the Canada Company's office, and myself are
probably the only survivors, used occasionally to meet and amuse
ourselves with singing glees and quartettes on Christmas and New Year's
Eve, opposite the houses of our several friends. It was then the custom
to invite our party indoors, to be sumptuously entertained with the good
things provided for the purpose.

Thus the time passed away after the rebellion, and during the period of
Sir George Arthur's stay in Canada, without the occurrence of any
public event in which I was personally concerned. Lord Durham came; made
his celebrated Report: and went home again. Then followed Lord Sydenham,
to whom I propose to pay some attention, as with him commenced my first
experience of Canadian party politics.

Mackenzie's rebellion had convinced me of the necessity of taking and
holding firm ground in defence of monarchical institutions, as opposed
to republicanism. It is well known that nearly all Old Country Whigs,
when transplanted to Canada, become staunch Tories. So most moderate
Reformers from the British Isles are classed here as Liberal
Conservatives. Even English Chartists are transformed into Canadian

I had been neither Chartist nor ultra-Radical, but simply a quiet
Reformer, disposed to venerate, but not blindly to idolize, old
institutions, and by no means to pull down an ancient fabric without
knowing what kind of structure was to be erected in its place. Thus it
followed, as a matter of course, that I should gravitate towards the
Conservative side of Canadian party politics, in which I found so many
of the solid, respectable, well-to-do citizens of Toronto had ranged



I have frequently remarked that, although in England any person may pass
a life-time without becoming acquainted with his next-door neighbour, he
can hardly fall into conversation with a fellow-countryman in Canada,
without finding some latent link of relationship or propinquity between
them. Thus, in the case of Mr. C. Poulett Thomson, I trace more than one
circumstance connecting that great man with my humble self. He was a
member--the active member--of the firm of Thomson, Bonar & Co., Russia
Merchants, Cannon Street, London, at the same time that my
brother-in-law, William Tatchell, of the firm of Tatchell & Clarke,
carried on the same business of Russia Merchants in Upper Thames Street.
There were occasional transactions between them: and my brother Thomas,
who was chief accountant in the Thames Street house, has told me that
the firm of Thomson, Bonar & Co. was looked upon in the trade with a
good deal of distrust, for certain sharp practices to which they were

Again, Sir John Rae Reid, of the East India Company, had been the Tory
member of Parliament for Dover. On his retirement, Mr. Poulett Thomson
started as Reform candidate for the same city. I knew the former
slightly as a neighbour of my mother's, at Ewell, in Surrey, and felt
some interest in the Dover election in consequence. It was in the old
borough-mongering times, and the newspapers on both sides rang with
accounts of the immense sums that were expended in this little Dover
contest, in which Mr. Thomson, aided by his party, literally bought
every inch of his way, and succeeded in obtaining his first seat in the
House of Commons, at a cost, as his biographer states, of £3,000
sterling. In the matter of corruption, there was probably little
difference between the rival candidates.

The Right Hon. Charles Poulett Thomson, it was understood in England,
always had the dirty work of the Melbourne Ministry to do; and it was
probably his usefulness in that capacity that recommended him for the
task of uniting the two Canadas, in accordance with that report of Lord
Durham, which his lordship himself disavowed.[10] That Mr. Thomson did
his work well, cannot be denied. He was, in fact, the Castlereagh of
Canadian Union. What were the exact means employed by him in Montreal
and Toronto is not known, but the results were visible enough.
Government officials coerced, sometimes through the agency of their
wives, sometimes by direct threats of dismissal; the Legislature
overawed by the presence and interference of His Excellency's
secretaries and aides-de-camp; votes sought and obtained by appeals to
the personal interests of members of Parliament. These and such-like
were the dignified processes by which the Union of the Canadas was
effected, in spite of the unwillingness of at least one of the parties
to that ceremony.

His Excellency did not even condescend to veil his contempt for his
tools. When a newly nominated Cabinet Minister waited upon the great man
with humility, to thank him for an honour for which he felt his
education did not qualify him, the reported answer was--"Oh, I think you
are all pretty much alike here."

In Toronto, anything like opposition to His Excellency's policy was
sought to be silenced by the threat of depriving the city of its tenure
of the Seat of Government. The offices of the principal city journals,
the _Patriot_ and _Courier_, were besieged by anxious subscribers,
entreating that nothing should appear at all distasteful to His
Excellency. Therefore it happened, that our little sheet, the _Herald_,
became the only mouth-piece of Toronto dissentients; and was well
supplied with satires and criticisms upon the politic manoeuvres of
Government House. We used to issue on New Year's Day a sheet of
doggerel verses, styled, "The News Boy's Address to his Patrons," which
gave me an opportunity, of which I did not fail to avail myself, of
telling His Excellency some wholesome truths in not very complimentary
phrase. It is but justice to him to say, that he enjoyed the fun, such
as it was, as much as anybody, and sent a servant in livery to our
office, for extra copies to be placed on his drawing-room tables for the
amusement of New Year's callers, to whom he read them himself. I am
sorry that I cannot now treat my readers to extracts from those sheets,
which may some centuries hence be unearthed by future Canadian
antiquaries, as rare and priceless historical documents.

Whether the course he pursued be thought creditable or the reverse,
there is no doubt that Lord Sydenham did Canada immense service by the
measures enacted under his dictation. The Union of the Provinces,
Municipal Councils, Educational Institutions, sound financial
arrangements, and other minor matters, are benefits which cannot be
ignored. But all these questions were carried in a high-handed,
arbitrary manner, and some of them by downright compulsion. To connect
in any way with his name the credit of bestowing upon the united
provinces "Responsible Government" upon the British model, is a gross

In the Memoirs of his lordship, by his brother, Mr. G. Poulett Scrope,
page 236, I find the following plain statements:

    "On the subject of 'Responsible Government,' which question was
    again dragged into discussion by Mr. Baldwin, with a view of
    putting the sincerity of the Government to the test, he (Lord
    S.) introduced and carried unanimously a series of resolutions
    in opposition to those proposed by Mr. Baldwin, distinctly
    recognising the irresponsibility of the Governor to any but the
    Imperial authorities, and placing the doctrine on the sound and
    rational basis which he had ever maintained."

What that "sound and rational basis" was, is conclusively shown in an
extract from one of his own private letters, given on page 143 of the
same work:

    "I am not a bit afraid of the Responsible Government cry. I have
    already done much to put it down in its inadmissible sense,
    namely, that the Council shall be responsible to the Assembly,
    and that the Government shall take their advice, and be bound by
    it. In fact, this demand has been made much more _for_ the
    people than _by_ them. And I have not met with any one who has
    not at once admitted the absurdity of claiming to put the
    Council over the head of the Governor. It is but fair too, to
    say that everything has in times past been done by the different
    Governors to excite the feelings of the people on this question.
    First, the Executive Council has generally been composed of the
    persons most obnoxious to the majority of the Assembly; and
    next, the Governor has taken extreme care to make every act of
    his own go forth to the public _on the responsibility_ of the
    Executive Council. So the people have been carefully taught to
    believe that the Governor is nobody, and the Executive Council
    the real power, and that by the Governor himself. At the same
    time they have seen that power placed in the hands of their
    opponents. Under such a system it is not to be wondered at, if
    one argument founded on the responsibility of the Governor to
    the Home Government falls to the ground. I have told the people
    plainly that, as I cannot get rid of my responsibility to the
    Home Government, I will place no responsibility on the Council;
    that they are _a Council_ for the Governor to consult, but no
    more. And I have yet met with no 'Responsible Government' man,
    who was not satisfied with the doctrine. In fact, there is no
    other theory which has common sense. Either the Governor is the
    Sovereign or the Minister. If the first, he may have ministers,
    but he cannot be responsible to the Government at home, and all
    colonial government becomes impossible. He must, therefore, be
    the Minister, in which case he cannot be under the control of
    men in the colony."

It is only just that the truth should be clearly established on this
question. Responsible Government was not an issue between Canadian
Reformers and Tories in any sense; but exclusively between the Colonies
and the statesmen of the Mother Country. On several occasions prior to
Mackenzie's Rebellion, Tory majorities had affirmed the principle; and
Ogle R. Gowan, an influential Orangeman, had published a pamphlet in its
favour. Yet some recent historians of Canada have fallen into the
foolish habit of claiming for the Reform party all the good legislation
of the past forty years, until they seem really to believe the figment

I am surprised that writers who condemn Sir F. B. Head for acting as his
own Prime Minister, in strict accordance with his instructions, can see
nothing to find fault with in Lord Sydenham's doing the very same thing
in an infinitely more arbitrary and offensive manner. Where Sir Francis
persuaded, Lord Sydenham coerced, bribed and derided.

Lower Canada was never consulted as to her own destiny. Because a
fraction of her people chose to strike for independence, peaceable
French Canadians were treated bodily as a conquered race, with the
undisguised object of swamping their nationality and language, and
over-riding their feelings and wishes. It is said that the result has
justified the means. But what casuistry is this? What sort of friend to
Responsible Government must he be, who employs force to back his
argument? To inculcate the voluntary principle at the point of the
bayonet, is a peculiarly Hibernian process, to say the least.

[Footnote 10: On reference to Sir F. B. Head's "Emigrant," pp. 376-8,
the reader will find the following letters:--

      "1. _From the Hon. Sir. A. N. MacNab._
        "Legislative Assembly,
            "Montreal, 28th March, 1846.

    "My dear Sir Francis,

    "I have no hesitation in putting on paper the conversation which
    took place between Lord Durham and myself, on the subject of the
    Union. He asked me if I was in favour of the Union; I said,
    'No;' he replied, 'If you are a friend to your country, _oppose
    it to the death._'

        "I am, &c.,
            "(Signed) Allan N. MacNab.

    "Sir F. B. Head, Bart."
      "2. _From W. E. Jervis, Esq._
        "Toronto, March 12th, 1846.

    "Dear Sir Allan,

    "In answer to the inquiry contained in your letter of the 2nd
    inst., I beg leave to state, that, in the year 1838, I was in
    Quebec, and had a long conversation with the Earl of Durham upon
    the subject of an Union of the Provinces of Upper and Lower
    Canada--a measure which I had understood his Lordship intended
    to propose.

    "I was much gratified by his Lordship then, in the most
    unqualified terms, declaring his strong disapprobation of such a
    measure, as tending, in his opinion, to the injury of this
    Province; and he advised me, as a friend to Upper Canada, _to
    use all the influence I might possess in opposition to it_.

    "His Lordship declared that, in his opinion, no statesman could
    propose so injurious a project, and authorized me to assure my
    friends in Upper Canada, _that he was decidedly averse to the

    "I have a perfect recollection of having had a similar enquiry
    made of me, by the private secretary of Sir George Arthur, and
    that I made a written reply to the communication. I have no copy
    of the letter which I sent upon that occasion, but the substance
    must have been similar to that I now send you.

        "I remain, &c.,
            "(Signed) W. E. Jervis.

    "Sir Allan MacNab."
      "3. _From the Hon. Justice Hagerman._
        "13 St. James's Street,
            "London, 12th July, 1846.

    "My dear Sir Francis,

    "It is well known to many persons that the late Lord Durham, up
    to the time of his departure from Canada, expressed himself
    strongly opposed to the Union of the then two Provinces. I
    accompanied Sir George Arthur on a visit to Lord Durham, late in
    the autumn, and a very few days only before he threw up his
    Government and embarked for this country. In a conversation I
    had with him, he spoke of the Union as _the selfish scheme of a
    few merchants of Montreal--that no statesman would advise the
    measure--and that it was absurd to suppose that Upper and Lower
    Canada could ever exist in harmony as one Province_.

    "In returning to Toronto with Sir George Arthur, he told me that
    Lord Durham had expressed to him similar opinions, and had at
    considerable length detailed to him reasons and arguments which
    existed against a measure which he considered would be
    destructive of the legitimate authority of the British
    Government, and in which opinion _Sir George declared he fully

        "I am, Sir,
            "(Signed) C. A. Hagerman.

    "Sir F. B. Head, Bart."
      "4. _From the Earl of Durham._
          "Quebec, Oct. 2nd, 1838.

    "Dear Sir,

    "I thank you kindly for your account of the meeting [in
    Montreal], which was the first I received. I fully expected the
    'outbreak' about the Union of the two Provinces:--It is a pet
    Montreal project, beginning and ending in Montreal selfishness.

        "Yours, truly,
            "(Signed) Durham."]

[Footnote 11: I am very glad to see that Mr. Dent, in his "Forty
Years--Canada since the Union of 1841," recently published, has avoided
the current fault of those writers who can recognise no historical truth
not endorsed by the _Globe_. In vol. i, p. 357, he says:

"There can be no doubt that the Reform party, as a whole, were unjust to
Mr. Draper. They did not even give him credit for sincerity or good
intentions. The historian of to-day, no matter what his political
opinions may be, who contemplates Mr. Draper's career as an Executive
Councillor, must doubtless arrive at the conclusion that he was wrong;
that he was an obstructionist--a drag on the wheel of progress. But this
fact was by no means so easy of recognition in 1844 as it is in 1881;
and there is no good reason for impugning his motives, which, so far as
can be ascertained, were honourable and patriotic. No impartial mind can
review the acts and characters of the leading members of the
Conservative party of those times, and come to the conclusion that they
were all selfish and insincere. Nay, it is evident enough that they were
at least as sincere and as zealous for the public good as were their

I wish I could also compliment Mr. Dent upon doing like justice to Sir
Francis B. Head.]



Having, I hope, sufficiently exposed the misrepresentations of party
writers, who have persistently made it their business to calumniate the
Loyalists of 1837-8, I now proceed to the pleasanter task of recording
the good deeds of some of those Loyalists, with whom I was brought into
personal contact. I begin with--


No Toronto citizen of '37 can fail to recall the bluff, hale,
strongly-built figure of George Taylor Denison, of Bellevue, the very
embodiment of the English country squire of the times of Addison and
Goldsmith. Resolute to enforce obedience, generous to the poor, just and
fair as a magistrate, hospitable to strangers and friends, a sound and
consistent Churchman, a brave soldier and a loyal subject, it seemed
almost an anachronism to meet with him anywhere else than at his own
birth-place of Dover Court, within sight of the Goodwin Sands, in the
old-fashioned County of Essex, in England.

He was the son of John Denison, of Hedon, Yorkshire, and was born in
1783. He came with his father to Canada in 1792, and to Toronto in 1796.
Here he married the only daughter of Captain Richard Lippincott, a noted
U. E. Loyalist, who had fought through the Civil War in the revolted
Colonies now forming the United States. In the war of 1812, Mr. Denison
served as Ensign in the York Volunteers, and was frequently employed on
special service. He was the officer who, with sixty men, cut out the
present line of the Dundas Road, from the Garrison Common to Lambton
Mills, which was necessary to enable communication between York and the
Mills to be carried on without interruption from the hostile fleet on
the lake. During the attack on York, in the following year, he was
commissioned to destroy our vessels in the Bay, to save them from
falling into the enemy's hands. With some he succeeded, but on one
frigate the captain refused to obey the order, and while the point was
in dispute, the enemy settled the question by capturing the ship, in
consequence of which Mr. Denison was held as a prisoner for several
months, until exchanged.

Of his services and escapes during the war many amusing stories are
told. He was once sent with a very large sum in army bills--some
$40,000--to pay the force then on the Niagara River. To avoid suspicion,
the money was concealed in his saddle-bags, and he wore civilian's
clothing. His destination was the village of St. David's. Within a mile
or two of the place, he became aware of a cavalry soldier galloping
furiously towards him, who, on coming up, asked if he was the officer
with the money, and said he must ride back as fast as possible; the
Yankees had driven the British out of St. David's, and parties of their
cavalry were spreading over the country. Presently another dragoon came
in sight, riding at speed and pursued by several of the enemy's
horsemen. Ensign Denison turned at once, and after an exciting chase for
many miles, succeeded in distancing his foes and escaping with his
valuable charge.

On another occasion, he had under his orders a number of boats employed
in bringing army munitions from Kingston to York. Somewhere near Port
Hope, while creeping alongshore to avoid the United States vessels
cruising in the lake, he observed several of them bearing down in his
direction. Immediately he ran his boats up a small stream, destroying a
bridge across its mouth to open a passage, and hid them so effectually
that the enemy's fleet passed by without suspecting their presence.

About the year 1821, Captain Denison formed the design to purchase the
farm west of the city, now known as the Rusholme property. The owner
lived at Niagara. A friend who knew of his intention, told him one
summer's morning, while he was looking at some goods in a store, that he
would not get the land, as another man had left that morning for
Niagara, in Oates's sloop, to gain the start of him. The day being
unusually fine, Mr. Denison noticed that the sloop was still in sight,
becalmed a mile or two off Gibraltar Point. Home he went, put up some
money for the purchase, mounted his horse and set out for Niagara round
the head of the lake, travelling all day and through the night, and
arriving shortly after daybreak. There he saw the sloop in the river,
endeavouring with the morning breeze to make the landing. To rouse up
the intending vendor, to close the bargain, and get a receipt for the
money, was soon accomplished; and when the gentleman who had hoped to
forestall him came on the scene, he was wofully chopfallen to find
himself distanced in the race.

From the close of the war until the year 1837, Mr. Denison was occupied,
like other men of his position, with his duties as a magistrate, the
cultivation of his farm, and the rearing of his family. In 1822, he
organized the cavalry corps now known as the Governor-General's
Body-Guard. When the rebellion broke out, he took up arms again in
defence of the Crown, and on the day of the march up Yonge Street, was
entrusted with the command of the Old Fort. At about noon a body of men
was seen approaching. Eagerly and anxiously the defenders waited,
expecting every moment an onset, and determined to meet it like men. The
suspense lasted some minutes, when suddenly the Major exclaimed, "Why
surely that's my brother Tom!" And so it was. The party consisted of a
number of good loyalists, headed by Thomas Denison, of Weston, hastening
to the aid of the Government against Mackenzie and his adherents. Of
course, the gates were soon thrown open, and, with hearty cheers on both
sides, the new-comers entered the Fort.

For six months Major Denison continued in active service with his
cavalry, and in the summer of 1838, was promoted to command the
battalion of West York Militia. His eldest son, the late Richard L.
Denison, succeeded to the command of the cavalry corps, which was kept
on service for six months in the winter of 1838-9.

Mr. Denison was elected an alderman of Toronto in the year 1834, and
served in the same capacity up to the end of 1843.

That he was quite independent of the "Family Compact," or of any other
official clique, is shown by the fact, that on Mackenzie's second
expulsion from the House of Assembly in 1832, Alderman Denison voted
for his re-election for the County of York.

Our old friend died in 1853, leaving four sons, viz.: Richard L.
Denison, of Dover Court, named above; the late George Taylor Denison, of
Rusholme; Robert B. Denison, of Bellevue, now Deputy-Adjutant-General
for this district; Charles L. Denison, of Brockton: and also one
daughter, living. Among his grandchildren are Colonel George T. Denison,
commanding the Governor-General's Body Guard, and Police Magistrate;
Major F. C. Denison, of the same corps: and Lieutenant John Denison, R.
N. The whole number of the Canadian descendants of John Denison, of
Hedon, now living, is over one hundred.

       *     *     *     *     *

Col. Richard Lippincott Denison, eldest son of the above, was born June
13th, 1814, at the old family estate near Weston, on the Humber River,
and followed the occupation of farming all his life. During the troubles
of 1837-8, he served his country as captain in command of a troop of the
Queen's Light Dragoons. He took a prominent part in the organization of
the Agricultural and Arts Association in 1844, and for twenty-two years
was its treasurer. In 1855, he was a commissioner from Canada at the
great exposition in Paris, France. He also held a prominent position in
the different county and township agricultural societies for over
forty-five years; was one of the first directors of the Canada Landed
Credit Company, and served on its board for several years; was at one
time President of the late Beaver Fire Insurance Company; and at the
time of his death, President of the Society of York Pioneers. For many
years he commanded the Militia in the West Riding of the City of
Toronto; and was alderman for St. Stephen's Ward in the City Council,
which he represented at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia in

As a private citizen, Richard L. Denison was generally popular,
notwithstanding his strongly-marked Toryism, and outspoken bluntness of
speech. His portly presence, handsome features, flowing beard, and
kindly smile were universally welcomed; and when he drove along in his
sleigh on a bright winter's day, strangers stopped to look at him with
admiration, and to ask who that fine-looking man was? Nor did his
personal qualities belie his noble exterior. For many years his house at
Dover Court was one continuous scene of open-handed hospitality. He was
generous to a fault; a warm friend, and an ever reliable comrade.

He died March 10th, 1878, at the age of sixty-four years, leaving his
widow and eight sons and one daughter. Few deaths have left so wide a
gap as his, in our social circles.

       *     *     *     *     *

Colonel George T. Denison, of Rusholme, second son of Alderman George T.
Denison, sen., was born 17th of July, 1816, at Bellevue, Toronto. He was
educated at Upper Canada College, and became a barrister in 1840.

He was a volunteer in Col. Fitzgibbon's rifle company, prior to the
Rebellion of 1837, and attended every drill until it was disbanded. On
the Rebellion breaking out, he served for a while as one of the guard
protecting the Commercial Bank; and was in the force that marched out to
Gallows Hill and dispersed Mackenzie's followers. A few days after, he
went as lieutenant in a company of militia, forming part of the column
commanded by Col. Sir A. MacNab, to the village of Scotland, in the
County of Brant, and from thence to Navy Island, where he served
throughout the whole siege. He was one of the three officers who carried
the information to Sir Allan, which led to the cutting out and
destruction of the steamer _Caroline_.

In November, 1838, he was appointed lieutenant in his father's troop of
cavalry, now the Governor-General's Body Guard; and then just placed
under the command of his brother, the late Col. Richard L. Denison. He
served for six months in active service that winter, and put in a course
of drill for some weeks with the King's Dragoon Guards, at Niagara.

He was alderman for St. Patrick's ward for some years. In 1849, when
Lord Elgin, in Toronto, opened the session of Parliament, Col. G. T.
Denison escorted His Excellency to and from the Parliament House.

The following account of this affair is copied from the "Historical
Record of the Governor-General's Body Guard," by Capt. F. C. Denison:--

    "In Montreal, during the riots that followed the passage of the
    Rebellion Losses bill, the troops of cavalry that had been on
    regular service for over ten years, forgot their discipline,
    forgot their duty to their Queen's representative, forgot their
    _esprit de corps_, and sat on their horses and laughed while the
    mob were engaged in pelting Lord Elgin with eggs. This Toronto
    troop acted differently, and established a name then for
    obedience to orders, that should be looked back to with pride by
    every man who ever serves in its ranks. Unquestionably there was
    a great deal politically to tempt them from their duty, and to
    lead them to remain inactive if nothing worse. But their sense
    of duty to their Queen, through her representative, was so
    strong, that they turned out, taking the Governor-General safely
    to and from the Parliament Buildings, much against the will of a
    noisy, turbulent crowd. This was an excellent proof of what
    _esprit de corps_ will do, and of the good state the troop must
    have been in. His Excellency was so pleased with the loyalty,
    discipline and general conduct of the escort on this occasion,
    that he sent orders to the officer commanding, to dismount his
    men, and bring them into the drawing room. By His Excellency's
    request, Captain Denison presented each man individually to him,
    and he shook hands with them all, thanking them personally for
    their services. They were then invited to sit down to a handsome
    lunch with His Excellency's staff."

In 1855, when the volunteer force was created, Col. Denison took a
squadron of cavalry into the new force, and afterwards organized the
Toronto Field Battery, and in 1860, the Queen's Own Rifles; and was
appointed commandant of the 5th and 10th Military Districts, which
position he held until his death. He was recommended, with Colonel
Sewell and Colonel Dyde, for the order of St. Michael and St. George;
but before the order was granted he had died, and Col. Dyde, C.M.G.,
alone of the three, lived to enjoy the honour. Col. Denison was the
senior officer in Ontario at the time of his death, and may be said to
have been the father of the volunteer force of this district.

       *     *     *     *     *


Few persons engaged in business took a more prominent part in the early
history of Toronto, and in the political events of the time, than the
subject of this sketch. For several years he was engaged in trade in the
City of Dublin, being the proprietor of the most extensive business of
the kind, in saddlery and hardware, having the contracts for the supply
of the cavalry in the Dublin garrison, and also the Viceregal
establishment. At that time he took a very active part in the political
warfare of the day, when Daniel O'Connell was in the zenith of his
power. He and Mr. S. P. Bull--father of the late Senator Harcourt P.
Bull--were active agents in organizing the "Brunswick Lodges," which
played no inconsiderable part in the politics of that exciting period.
The despondency that fell upon Irish Protestant loyalists when the
Emancipation Bill became law, induced many to emigrate to America, and
among them Mr. Dixon. Though actively employed in the management of his
business both in Dublin and Toronto, yet he had found time to lay in a
solid foundation of standard literature, and even of theological lore,
which qualified him to take a position in intellectual society of a high
order. He also possessed great readiness of speech, a genial,
good-natured countenance and manner, and a fund of drollery and comic
wit, which, added to a strong Irish accent he at times assumed, made him
a special favourite in the City Council, as well as at public dinners,
and on social festive occasions. I had the privilege of an intimate
acquaintance with him from 1838 until his death, and can speak with
confidence of his feelings and principles.

Though so thoroughly Irish, his ancestors came originally from
Lanarkshire in Scotland, in the reign of James I., and held a grant of
land in the north of Ireland. He felt proud of one of his ancestors, who
raised a troop of volunteer cavalry, lost an arm at the Battle of the
Boyne, and was rewarded by a captain's commission given under King
William's own hand a few days after. His own father served in the "Black
Horse," a volunteer regiment of much note in the Irish rebellion.

When Mr. Dixon came to York, his intention was to settle at Mount
Vernon, in the State of Ohio, where he had been informed there was an
Episcopal College, and a settlement of Episcopalians on the College
territory. In order to satisfy himself of the truth of these statements,
he travelled thither alone, leaving his family in the then town of York.
Disappointed in the result of his visit, he returned here, and had
almost made up his mind to go back to Dublin, but abandoned the
intention in consequence of the urgent arguments of the Hon. John Henry
Dunn, Receiver-General,[12] who persuaded him to remain. His first step
was to secure a lease of the lot of land on King Street, where the
Messrs. W. A. Murray & Co's. warehouses now stand. He built there two
frame shops, which were considered marvels of architecture at that day,
and continued to occupy one of them until Wellington Buildings, between
Church and Toronto Streets, were erected by himself and other
enterprising tradesmen. Merchants of all ranks lived over their shops in
those times, and very handsome residences these buildings made.

In 1834, Mr. Dixon was elected alderman for St. Lawrence Ward, which
position he continued to hold against all assailants, up to the end of
1850. He was also a justice of the peace, and did good service in that
capacity. In the City Council no man was more useful and industrious in
all good works, and none exercised greater influence over its

When the troubles of 1837 began, Alderman Dixon threw all his energies
into the cause of loyalty, and took so active a part in support of Sir
F. B. Head's policy, that his advice was on most occasions sought by the
Lieutenant-Governor, and frequently acted upon. Many communications on
the burning questions of the day passed between them. This continued
throughout the rule of Sir George Arthur, and until the arrival of the
Right Hon. C. Poulett Thomson, who cared little for the opinions of
other men, however well qualified to advise and inform. Mr. Dixon was
too independent and too incorruptible a patriot for that accomplished

Few men in Toronto have done more for the beautifying of our city. The
Adelaide Buildings on King Street were long the handsomest, as they were
the best built, of their class. His house, at the corner of Jarvis and
Gerrard Streets, set an example for our finest private residences. The
St. Lawrence Hall, which is considered by visitors a great ornament to
the city, was erected from plans suggested by him. And among religious
edifices, Trinity Church and St. James's Cathedral are indebted to him,
the former mainly and the latter in part, for their complete adaptation
in style and convenience, to the services of the Church to which he
belonged and which he highly venerated. To Trinity Church, especially,
which was finished and opened for divine service on February 14th, 1844,
he gave himself up with the most unflagging zeal and watchfulness,
examining the plans in the minutest details, supervising the work as it
progressed, almost counting the bricks and measuring the stonework, with
the eye of a father watching his infant's first footsteps. In fact, he
was popularly styled "the father and founder of Trinity Church," a
designation which was justly recognised by Bishop Strachan in his
dedication sermon.[13]

As a friend, I had something to say respecting most of his building
plans, and fully sympathized with the objects he had in view; one of the
fruits of my appreciation was the following poem, which, although of
little merit in itself, is perhaps worth preserving as a record of
honourable deeds and well employed talents:


  Wake, harp of Zion, silent long,
    Nor voiceless and unheard be thou
  While meetest theme of sacred song
    Awaits thy chorded numbers now!

  Too seldom, 'mid the sounds of strife
    That rudely ring unwelcome here,
  Thy music soothes this fever'd life
    With breathings from a holier sphere.

  The warrior, wading deep in crime,
    Desertless, lives in poets' lays;
  The statesman wants not stirring rhyme
    To cheer the chequer'd part he plays:

  And Zion's harp, to whom alone,
    Soft-echoing, higher themes belong,
  Oh lend thy sweet aerial tone--
    'Tis meek-eyed Virtue claims the song.

       *     *     *     *     *

  Beyond the limits of the town
    A summer's ramble, may be seen
  A scattered suburb, newly grown,
    Rude huts, and ruder fields between.

  Life's luxuries abound not there,
    Labour and hardship share the spot;
  Hope wrestles hard with frowning care,
    And lesser wants are heeded not.

  Religion was neglected too--
    'Twas far to town--the poor are proud--
  They could not boast a garb as new,
    And shunn'd to join the well-drest crowd.

  No country church adorned the scene,
    In modest beauty smiling fair,
  Of mien so peaceful and serene,
    The poor man feels his home is there.

  Oh England! with thy village chimes,
    Thy church-wed hamlets, scattered wide,
  The emigrant to other climes
    Remembers thee with grateful pride;

  And owns that once at home again,
    With fonder love his heart would bless
  Each humble, lowly, haloëd fane
    That sanctifies thy loveliness.

  But here, alas! the heart was wrung
    To see so wan, so drear a waste--
  Life's thorns and briars rankly sprung,
    And peace and love, its flowers, displaced.

  And weary seasons pass'd away,
    As time's fast ebbing tide roll'd by,
  To thousands rose no Sabbath-day,
    They lived--to suffer--sin--and die!

  Then men of Christian spirit came,
    They saw the mournful scene with grief;
  To such it e'er hath been the same
    To know distress and give relief.

  They told the tale, nor vainly told--
    They won assistance far and wide;
  His heart were dull indeed and cold
    Who such petitioner denied.

  They chose a slightly rising hill
    That bordered closely on the road,
  And workmen brought of care and skill,
    And wains with many a cumbrous load.

  With holy prayer and chanted hymn
    The task was sped upon its way;
  And hearts beat high and eyes were dim
    To see so glad a sight that day.

  And slowly as the work ascends,
    In just proportions strong and fair,
  How watchfully its early friends
    With zealous ardour linger near.

  'Tis finished now--a Gothic pile,
    --Brave handiwork of faith and love--
  In England's ancient hallowed style,
    That pointeth aye, like hope, above:

  With stately tower and turret high,
    And quaint-arch'd door, and buttress'd wall,
  And window stain'd of various dye,
    And antique moulding over all.

  And hark! the Sabbath-going bell!
    A solemn tale it peals abroad--
  To all around its echoes tell
    "This building is the house of God!"

       *     *     *     *     *

  Say, Churchman! doth no still, small voice
    Within you whisper--"while 'tis day
  Go bid the desert place rejoice!"
    Your Saviour's high behest obey:

  "Say not your pow'rs are scant and weak,
    What hath been done, may be anew;
  He addeth strength to all who seek
    To serve Him with affection true."

Alderman Dixon was not only a thorough-going and free-handed Churchman,
but was very popular with the ministers and pastors of other religious
denominations. The heads of the Methodist Church, and even the higher
Roman Catholic clergy of Toronto, frequently sought his advice and
assistance to smooth down asperities and reconcile feuds. He was every
man's friend, and had no enemies of whom I ever heard. He wrote with
facility, and argued with skill and readiness. His memory was
exceedingly retentive; he knew and could repeat page after page from
Dryden's "Virgil" and Pope's "Homer." Any allusion to them would draw
from him forty or fifty lines in connection with its subject. Mickle's
"Lusiad" he knew equally well, and was fond of reciting its most
beautiful descriptions of scenery and places in South Africa and India.
He was an enthusiastic book-collector, and left a valuable library,
containing many very rare and curious books he had brought from Dublin,
and to which he made several additions. It is now in the possession of
his eldest son, Archdeacon Dixon, of Guelph.

With the Orange body, Alderman Dixon exercised considerable influence,
which he always exerted in favour of a Christian regard for the rights
and feelings of those who differed from them. On one occasion, and only
one, I remember his suffering some indignity at their hands. He and
others had exerted themselves to induce the Orangemen to waive their
annual procession, and had succeeded so far as the city lodges were
concerned. But the country lodges would not forego their cherished
rights, and on "the 12th"--I forget the year--entered Toronto from the
west in imposing numbers. At the request of the other magistrates,
Alderman Dixon and, I think, the late Mayor Gurnett, met the procession
opposite Osgoode Hall, and remonstrated with the leaders for
disregarding the wishes of the City Council and the example of their
city brethren. His eloquence, however, was of no avail, and he and his
colleague were rudely thrust aside.

As president of the St. Patrick's Society, he did much to preserve
unanimity in that body, which then embraced Irishmen of all creeds among
its members. His speeches at its annual dinners were greatly admired for
their ability and liberality; and it was a favourite theme of his, that
the three nationalities--Irish, Scotch and English--together formed an
invincible combination; while if unhappily separated, they might have to
succumb to inferior races. He concluded his argument on one occasion by
quoting Scott's striking lines on the Battle of Waterloo:--

  "Yes--Agincourt may be forgot,
  And Cressy be an unknown spot,
    And Blenheim's name be new:
  But still in glory and in song,
  For many an age remembered long,
  Shall live the tow'rs of Hougoumont
    And Field of Waterloo."

The peals of applause and rapture with which these patriotic sentiments
were received, will not easily be forgotten by his hearers.

Nor were his literary acquirements limited to such subjects. The works
of Jeremy Taylor and the other great divines of the Stewart period, he
was very familiar with, and esteemed highly. He was also a great
authority in Irish history and antiquities; enquiries often came to him
from persons in the United States and elsewhere, respecting disputed and
doubtful questions, which he was generally competent to solve.

Mr. Dixon was long an active member of the committee of the Church
Society; and the first delegate of St. James's Church to the first
Diocesan Synod. In these and all other good works, he was untiring and
disinterested. Whenever there was any gathering of clergy he received as
many as possible in his house, treating them with warm-hearted

Mr. Dixon died in the year 1855, leaving a large family of sons and
daughters, of whom several have acquired distinction in various ways.
His eldest son, Alexander, graduated in King's College, at the time when
Adam Crooks, Judge Boyd, Christopher Robinson, Judge Kingsmill, D.
McMichael, the Rev. W. Stennett, and others well known in public life,
were connected with that university. Mr. Dixon was university prizeman
in History and Belles-Lettres in his third year; took the prize for
English oration; and wrote the prize poem two years in succession. He is
now Rector of Guelph, and Archdeacon of the northern half of the Niagara
diocese. He was also one of the contributors to the "Maple Leaf."

William, second son of Alderman Dixon, was Dominion Emigration Agent in
London, England, where he died in 1873. Concerning him, the Hon. J. H.
Pope, Minister of Agriculture, stated that he "was the most correct and
conscientious administrator he had ever met." He said further in

    "The Premier had gone so far as to state that the present Agent
    General was a person of wonderful ability, and had done more
    than his predecessors to promote emigration to Canada. He (Mr.
    Pope) regretted more than he could express the death of Mr.
    Dixon, the late agent. He was held in high esteem both here and
    in the old country, and was a gentleman who never identified
    himself with any political party, but fairly and honestly
    represented Canada."

Another son, Major Fred. E. Dixon, is well known in connection with the
Queen's Own, of Toronto.

[Footnote 12: Father of the lamented Lieut.-Col. A. R. Dunn, who won the
Victoria Cross at Balaklava, and died as is believed, by the accidental
discharge of a gun in Abyssinia.]

[Footnote 13: The Building Committee of Trinity Church comprised,
besides Alderman Dixon, Messrs. William Gooderham, Enoch Turner, and
Joseph Shuter, all since deceased.]




My first introduction to this gentleman was on the day after I landed at
Barrie, in 1833. He was then living at his log cottage at Shanty Bay, an
indentation of the shore near the mouth of Kempenfeldt Bay, at the
south-west angle of Lake Simcoe. I was struck with the comparative
elegance pervading so primitive an establishment. Its owner was
evidently a thorough gentleman, his wife an accomplished lady, and their
children well taught and courteous. The surrounding scenery was
picturesque and delightful. The broad expanse of the bay opening out to
Lake Simcoe--the graceful sweep of the natural foliage sloping down from
high banks to the water's edge--are impressed vividly upon my memory,
even at this long interval of fifty years. It seemed to me a perfect gem
of civilization, set in the wildest of natural surroundings.

I was a commissioner of the Court of Requests at Barrie, along with Col.
O'Brien, in 1834, and in that capacity had constant opportunities of
meeting and appreciating him. He had seen service as midshipman in the
Royal Navy, as well as in the Army; was an expert yachtsman of course;
and had ample opportunities of indulging his predilection for the water,
on the fine bay fronting his house. At that time it was no unusual thing
in winter, to see wolves chasing deer over the thick ice of the bay. On
one occasion, being laid up with illness, the Captain was holding a
magistrate's court in his dining-room overlooking the bay. In front of
the house was a wide lawn, and beyond it a sunken fence, not visible
from the house. The case under consideration was probably some riotous
quarrel among the inhabitants of a coloured settlement near at hand, who
were constantly at loggerheads with each other or with their white
neighbours. In the midst of the proceedings, the Captain happened to
catch sight of a noble stag dashing across the ice, pursued by several
wolves. He beckoned a relative who assisted on the farm, and whispered
to him to get out the dogs. A few seconds afterwards the baying of the
hounds was heard. The unruly suitors caught the sound, rushed to the
window and door, then out to the grounds, plaintiff, defendant,
constables and all, helter skelter, until they reached the sunken fence,
deeply buried in snow, over which they tumbled _en masse_, amid a chorus
of mingled shouts and objurgations that baffles description. Whether the
hearing of the case was resumed that day or not, I cannot say, but it
seems doubtful.

His naval and military experience naturally showed itself in Colonel
O'Brien's general bearing; he possessed the polished manners and
high-bred courtesy of some old Spanish hidalgo, together with a
sufficient share of corresponding hauteur when displeased. The first
whispers of the Rebellion of 1837, brought him to the front. He called
together his loyal neighbours, who responded so promptly that not a
single able-bodied man was left in the locality; only women and
children, and two or three male invalids, staying behind. With his men
he marched for Toronto; but, when at Bond Head, received orders from the
Lieutenant-Governor to remain there, and take charge of the district,
which had been the head quarters of disaffection. When quiet was
restored, he returned to Shanty Bay, and resided there for several
years; occupying the position of chairman of the Quarter Sessions for
the Simcoe District. After the erection of the County of Simcoe into a
municipality, he removed with his family to Toronto, where he entered
into business as a land agent; was instrumental in forming a company to
construct a railroad to Lake Huron _via_ Sarnia, of which he acted as
secretary; afterwards organized and became manager of the Provincial
Insurance Company, which position he occupied until 1857.

In the year 1840, died Mr. Thos. Dalton, proprietor and editor of the
_Toronto Patriot_ newspaper; the paper was continued by his widow until
1848, when Col. O'Brien, through my agency, became proprietor of that
journal, which I engaged to manage for him. The editor was his brother,
Dr. Lucius O'Brien, a highly educated and talented, but not popular,
writer. Col. O'Brien's motive in purchasing the paper was solely
patriotic, and he was anxiously desirous that its columns should be
closed to everything that was not strictly--even
quixotically--chivalrous. His sensitiveness on this score finally led to
a difference of opinion between the brothers, which ended in Dr.
O'Brien's retirement.

At that time, as a matter of course, the _Patriot_ and the _Globe_ were
politically antagonistic. The _Colonist_, then conducted by Hugh Scobie,
represented the Scottish Conservatives in politics, and the Kirk of
Scotland in religious matters. Therefore, it often happened, that the
_Patriot_ and _Colonist_ were allied together against the _Globe_; while
at other times, the _Patriot_ stood alone in its support of the English
Church, and had to meet the assaults of the other two journals--a
triangular duel, in fact. A spiteful correspondent of the _Colonist_ had
raked up some old Edinburgh slanders affecting the personal reputation
of Mr. Peter Brown, father of George Brown, and joint publisher of the
_Globe_. Those slanders were quoted editorially in the _Patriot_,
without my knowledge until I saw them in print on the morning of
publication. I at once expressed my entire disapproval of their
insertion; and Col. O'Brien took the matter so much to heart, that,
without letting me know his decision, he removed his brother from the
editorship, and placed it temporarily in my hands. My first editorial
act was, by Col. O'Brien's desire, to disavow the offensive allusions,
and to apologize personally to Mr. Peter Brown therefor. This led to a
friendly feeling between the latter gentleman and myself, which
continued during his lifetime.

On the 25th of May, 1849, the great fire occurred in Toronto, which
consumed the _Patriot_ office, as well as the cathedral and many other
buildings. Soon afterwards Col. O'Brien sold his interest in the
_Patriot_ to Mr. Ogle R. Gowan.

I have been favoured with the perusal of some "jottings" in the
Colonel's own hand-writing, from which I make an extract, describing his
first experience of the service at the age of fourteen, as midshipman on
board H. M. 36 gun Frigate _Doris_, commanded by his father's cousin,
Capt. (afterwards Admiral) Robert O'Brien:

    "The _Doris_ joined the outward-bound fleet at Portsmouth, where
    about 1700 vessels of all sizes, from first-class Indiamen of
    1400 tons to small fruit-carriers from the Mediterranean of 60
    tons, were assembled for convoy. At first, and along the more
    dangerous parts of the Channel from privateers, the convoy
    continued to be a large one, including especially many of the
    smaller men-of-war, but among them were two or three
    line-of-battle ships and heavy frigates under orders for the
    Mediterranean. The whole formed a magnificent sight, not often
    seen. After a while the outsiders dropped off, some to one
    place, some to another, one large section being the North
    American trade, another the Mediterranean, until the _Doris_ was
    left commodore of the main body, being the West Indiamen, South
    American traders, and Cape and East Indiamen, and a stately
    fleet it was. With the _Doris_ was the _Salsette_, a frigate of
    the same class, and some smaller craft. This convoy, though
    small apparently for such a fleet in that very active war, was
    materially strengthened by the heavy armaments of the regular
    traders in the East India Company's service in the China trade,
    of which there were twelve, I think. These ships were arranged
    in two lines, between which all the others were directed to keep
    their course; the _Doris_ leading in the centre between the two
    lines of Chinamen, and the _Salsette_ bringing up the rear,
    while two or three sloops of war hovered about. My berth on
    board the _Doris_ was that of signal midshipman, which was
    simply to keep an eye on every individual craft in the
    fleet. . . . . On reaching the Canaries, the fleet came to an anchor
    in Santa Cruz roads, at the island of Teneriffe, for the purpose of
    filling up water, and enabling the Indiamen to lay in a stock of
    wine for the round voyage. The _Doris_ and larger ships outside,
    and the _Salsette_ and smaller ones closer in, and an uncommon
    tight pack it was. The proper landing place, and only place
    indeed where casks could be conveniently shipped, was the mole,
    a long, narrow, high pier or wharf, with a flight of stairs or
    steps to the water. This was generally one jam from end to end,
    as well on the pier as on the water, crowded above by casks of
    all sizes, wine and water, every spare foot or interstice
    between the casks crammed with idle, lazy, loafing Portuguese,
    the scum and chief part of the population of the town, assembled
    there certainly not to work, but amazingly active and busy in
    looking on, swearing, directing and scolding--terribly in the
    seamen's way, and by them very unceremoniously kicked and flung
    aside and into the next man's path. Sometimes there was a
    scuffle, and then a rare scrimmage caused by a party of soldiers
    from the mole rushing in to keep the peace. They were
    immediately pitched into by the blue jackets, who instead of
    rolling their casks towards their boats, tacked as they called
    it, and sent the barrels flying among the soldiers' legs. More
    than one cask of wine in this manner went the wrong way over the
    pier, down among the boats below, where there was, in its own
    way, much the same state of confusion, with a good deal more
    danger. Ships' boats, from the jolly-boat manned by lads,
    hurried ashore to seek stray pursers' clerks with their small
    plunder, or stewards and servants with bundles of washed
    clothing--to the heavy launch loaded with water casks pushing
    out or striving to get in--each boat's crew utterly reckless,
    and under no control, intent only on breaking their own way in
    or out, so that it was marvellous how any escaped damage. And
    the thing reached its climax, when at daylight on the last day,
    the signal was made to prepare to weigh anchor. I had been
    ashore the day before, with a strong working party and three of
    the frigate's boats, under the command of one of the
    lieutenants, assisting the Indiamen in getting off their wine
    and water; and so, when sent this morning on the same duty, I
    was somewhat up to the work. I had therefore put on my worst
    clothes; all I wanted was to have my midshipman's jacket as
    conspicuous as possible, having discovered in the previous day's
    experience the value of the authority of discipline. Our work
    this day was also increased by the sure precursor of bad
    weather, a rising sea; and as the town is situated on an open
    roadstead, the surf on the beach, which, though always more or
    less an obstruction, had been hitherto passable, was now
    insurmountable; all traffic had to be crowded over the pier,
    including late passengers, men and women, and more than one
    bunch of children, with all the odds and ends of
    clothes-baskets, marketing, curiosities, &c., &c. What a scene!
    We naval mids found ourselves suddenly raised to great
    importance; and towards noon I became a very great man indeed.
    The _Doris_ being outside, she was of course the first under
    weigh, and around her were the larger Indiamen, also getting
    under sail--the commodore constantly enforcing his signals by
    heavy firing. But big as these ships were, and notwithstanding
    their superior discipline, they had nearly as many laggards as
    the smaller fry. . . . All the forenoon the weather had been
    getting more and more threatening, and the breeze and sea rose
    together. About 11 o'clock a.m. we all knew that we were in for
    something in the shape of a gale, and the _Doris_ made signal
    for her boats and the working party to return to the ship; and
    soon after, for the _Salsette_ and the inshore ships to get
    under weigh. Our lieutenant, however, seeing the state of things
    ashore, directed me to remain with one of the cutters and three
    or four spare hands; and if the frigate should be blown off
    during the night, to get on board a particular vessel--a fast
    sailing South Sea whaler, that had acted as tender to the
    frigate, and whose master promised to look after us, as well as
    any others of the _Doris's_ people who might still be on shore.
    Thus I was left in sole command, as the _Salsette_ had also
    recalled her boats and working parties. Although she would send
    no help ashore, she remained still at anchor. Capt. Bowen, her
    commander, contenting himself with sheeting home his top-sails,
    and repeating the commodore's signal to the inshore ships. We
    afterwards found out the secret of all this. Bowen disliked the
    idea of playing second fiddle, and wanted to be commodore
    himself, and this was a beautiful opportunity to divide the
    fleet. But as matters got worse, and difficulties increased, we
    succeeded in getting them more under control. The crowd, both of
    casks and live stock on the wharf, and of boats beneath,
    gradually diminished. The merchant seamen, and especially the
    crews of the larger boats of the Indiamen, worked manfully. The
    smaller boats were taken outside, and regular gangs formed to
    pass all small parcels, and especially women and children
    passengers, across the inner heavy tier to them. This, the
    moment the seamen caught the idea, became great fun; and a
    rousing cheer was raised when a fat, jolly steward's wife was
    regularly parbuckled over the side of the pier, and passed,
    decently and decorously (on her back, she dare not kick for fear
    of showing her legs) like a bale of goods, from hand to hand, or
    rather from arms to arms, to a light gig outside all. This being
    successfully achieved, I turned to a party of passengers
    standing by, and who, though anxious themselves, could not help
    laughing, and proposed to pass them out in the same manner;
    making the first offer to a comely nurse-maid of the party. I
    was very near getting my ears boxed for my kindness and
    courtesy, so I turned to the mistress instead, who however
    contented herself by quietly enquiring whether there was no
    other way; of course another way was soon found; a few chairs
    were got, which were soon rigged by the seamen, by means of
    which, first the children, and then their elders, men and women,
    were easily passed down to the boats below, and from thence to
    the boat waiting safely outside. In all this work I was not only
    supported in authority by the different ships' officers and
    mates superintending their own immediate concerns, but also by a
    number of gentlemen, merchants and others, most of whom came
    down to the pier to see and assist their friends among the
    passengers safe off. By their help also I was enabled, not
    knowing a word of their language myself, to get material help
    from the Portuguese standing by; and also got the officer in
    command of the guard at the mole-head, to clear the pier of all
    useless hands, and place sentries here and there over stray
    packages, put down while the owners sought their own proper
    boats among the crowd. And so at length our work was fairly
    pushed through, and though late, I managed to get my party safe
    aboard our friend the whaler, who had kept his signal lights
    burning for us. Long before, the _Doris_ had bore up, and under
    bare poles had drifted with a large portion of the fleet to the
    southward; and I saw no more of her, until some months
    afterwards I joined her in Macao Roads."

This was in the year 1814; soon afterwards the peace with America put an
end to our midshipman's prospects of advancement in the navy, to his
great and life-long regret. He obtained a commission in the Scots Greys,
and exchanged into the 58th Regiment, then under orders for service in
the West Indies, where his health failed him, and he was compelled to
retire on half-pay. But his love for the sea soon induced him to enter
the merchant service, in which he made many voyages to the East. This
also, a severe illness obliged him to resign, and to abandon the sea for
ever. He then came to Canada, to seek his fortune in the backwoods,
where I found him in 1833.

Mr. O'Brien's relations with his neighbours in the backwoods were always
kindly, and gratifying to both parties. One evening, some friends of his
heard voices on the water, as a boat rowed past his grounds. One man
asked "Who lives here?" "Mr. O'Brien," was the reply. "What is he like?"
"He's a regular old tory." "Oh then, I suppose he's very proud and
distant?" But that he was either proud or distant, his neighbour would
not allow, and other voices joined in describing him as the freest and
kindest of men--still they all agreed that he was a "regular old tory."
The colonel was the last man in the world to object to such an epithet,
but those who used it meant probably to describe his sturdy,
uncompromising principles, and manly independence. A more utterly
guileless, single-hearted man never breathed. Warm and tender-hearted,
humble-minded and forgiving, he deplored his hastiness of temper, which
was, indeed, due to nervous irritability, the result of severe illness
coupled with heavy mental strain when young, from the effects of which
he never entirely recovered. He was incapable of a mean thought or
dishonourable deed, and never fully realized that there could be others
who were unlike him in this respect. Hence, during the long course of
his happy and useful, but not wholly prosperous life, he met each such
lapse from his own high standard of honour with the same indignant
surprise and pain. His habitual reverent-mindedness led him to respect
men of all shades of thought and feeling, while to sympathize with
sorrow and suffering was as natural to him as the air he breathed.

A neighbour who had had a sudden, sharp attack of illness, meeting one
of the colonel's family, said very simply, "I knew you had not heard
that I was ill, for Mr. O'Brien has not been to see me; but please tell
him I shall not be about for some time." The man looked upon it as a
matter of course that his old friend the colonel would have gone to see
him if informed of his illness.

And if Mr. O'Brien's friends and neighbours have kindly recollections of
him and of his family, these latter on their part are never tired of
recalling unvarying friendliness and countless acts of kindness from all
their neighbours.

Before leaving this subject, it may be appropriately added that Mrs.
O'Brien (his wife) was his guardian angel--a mother in Israel--the nurse
of the sick, the comforter of the miserable; wise, discreet, loving,
patient, adored by children, the embodiment of unselfishness. To her
Toronto was indebted for its first ragged school.

A few years before the colonel's death, his foreman on the farm, living
at the lodge, had five children, of whom three died there of diphtheria.
Mrs. O'Brien brought the remainder to her own house--"The Woods,"--to
try and save them, the parents being broken-hearted and helpless. It is
said to have been a touching spectacle to see the old Colonel carrying
about one poor dying child to soothe it, while Mrs. O'Brien nursed the
other. Of these two, one died and the other recovered.

The selfish are--happily--forgotten. The unselfish, never. Their memory
lives in Shanty Bay as a sweet odour that never seems to pass away. It
is still a frequent suggestion, "what would Mrs. O'Brien or the Colonel
have done under the circumstances."

In his declining years, failing health, and disease contracted in India,
dimmed the cheerfulness of Mr. O'Brien's nature. But none so
chivalrously anxious to repair an unintentional injury or a hasty word.

He and his wife lie side by side in the burial ground of the church he
was mainly instrumental in building. Over them is a simple monument in
shape of an Irish cross--on it these words:--

    "In loving remembrance of Edward George O'Brien, who died
    September 8, 1875, age 76: and of Mary Sophia his wife, who died
    October 14, 1876, age 78: This stone is raised by their
    children. He, having served his country by sea and land, became
    A.D. 1830 the founder of the settlement and mission of Shanty
    Bay. She was a true wife and zealous in all good works. Faithful
    servants, they rest in hope."


"Squire Gamble"--the name by which this gentleman was familiarly known
throughout the County of York--was born at the Old Fort in Toronto, in
1799. His father, Dr. John Gamble, was stationed there as resident
surgeon to the garrison. The family afterwards removed to Kingston,
where the boy received his education. It was characteristic of him, that
when about to travel to York, at the age of fifteen, to enter the store
of the late Hon. Wm. Allan, he chose to make the journey in a canoe, in
which he coasted along by day, and by night camped on shore. In course
of time, he entered extensively into the business of a miller and
country merchant, in which he continued all his life with some

In manner and appearance Mr. Gamble was a fine specimen of a country
magistrate of half a century ago. While the rougher sort of farming men
looked up to him with very salutary apprehension, as a stern represser
of vice and evil doing, they and everybody else did justice to his
innate kindness of heart, and his generosity towards the poor and
suffering. He was, in the best sense of the phrase, a popular man. His
neighbours knew that in every good work, either in the way of personal
enterprise, in the promotion of religious and educational objects, or in
the furtherance of the general welfare, Squire Gamble was sure to be in
the foremost place. His farm was a model to all others; his fields were
better cleared; his fences better kept; his homestead was just
perfection, both in point of orderly management and in an intellectual
sense--at least, such was the opinion of his country neighbours, and
they were not very far astray. Add to these merits, a tall manly form,
an eagle eye, and a commanding mien, and you have a pretty fair picture
of Squire Gamble.

As a member of parliament, to which he was three times elected by
considerable majorities, Mr. Gamble was hard-working and independent. He
supported good measures, from whichever side of the House they might
originate, and his vote was always safe for progressive reforms. His
toryism was limited entirely to questions of a constitutional character,
particularly such as involved loyalty to the throne and the Empire. And
in this, Mr. Gamble was a fair representative of his class. And here I
venture to assert, that more narrowness of political views, more
rigidity of theological dogma, more absolutism in a party sense, has
been exhibited in Canada by men of the Puritan school calling themselves
Reformers, than by those who are styled Tories.

Perhaps the most important act of Mr. Gamble's political life, was the
part he took in the organization of the British American League in 1849.
Into that movement he threw all his energies, and the ultimate
realization of its views affords the best proof of the correctness of
his judgment and foresight. About it, however, I shall have more to say
in another chapter.

Mr. Gamble, as I have said, was foremost in all public improvements. To
his exertions are chiefly due the opening and construction of the
Vaughan plank road, from near Weston, by St. Andrew's, to Woodbridge,
Pine Grove, and Kleinburg; which gave an easy outlet to a large tract of
country to the north-west of Toronto, and enabled the farmers to reach
our market to their and our great mutual advantage.

He was a man who made warm friends and active enemies, being very
outspoken in the expression of his opinions and feelings. But even his
strongest political foes came to him in full confidence that they were
certain to get justice at his hands. And occasionally his friends found
out, that no inducement of personal regard could warp his judgment in
any matter affecting the rights of other men. In this way he made some
bitter adversaries on his own side of politics.

Among Mr. Gamble's public acts was the erection of the church at Mimico,
and that at Pine Grove; in aid of which he was the chief promoter,
giving freely both time and means to their completion. For years he
acted as lay-reader at one or other of those churches, travelling some
distance in all weathers to do so. His whole life, indeed, was spent in
benefiting his neighbours in all possible ways.

He died in December, 1873, and was buried at Woodbridge.



I have mentioned that I was educated as a Swedenborgian, or rather a
member of the New Jerusalem Church, as the followers of Emanuel
Swedenborg prefer to be called. As a boy, I was well read in his works,
and was prepared to tilt with all comers in his cause. But I grew less
confident as I became more conversant with the world and with general
literature. At the age of fifteen I was nominated a Sunday-school
teacher in a small Swedenborgian chapel in the Waterloo road, and
declined to act because the school was established with the object of
converting from the religion of their parents the children of poor Roman
Catholic families in that neighbourhood, which I thought an insidious,
and therefore an evil mode of disseminating religious doctrine. Of
course, this was a sufficiently conceited proceeding on the part of so
young a theologian. But the same feeling has grown up with me in after
life. I hold that Christians are ill-employed, who spend their strength
in missionary attempts to change the creed of other branches of the
Christian Church, while their efforts at conversion might be much better
utilised in behalf of the heathen, or, what is the same thing in effect,
the untaught multitudes in our midst who know nothing whatever of the
teachings of the Gospel of Christ.

It will, perhaps, surprise some of my readers to hear that Swedenborg
never contemplated the founding of a sect. He was a civil engineer, high
in rank at the Swedish court, and was ennobled for the marvellous feat
of transporting the Swedish fleet from sea to sea, across the kingdom
and over a formidable chain of mountains. He was also what would now be
called an eminent scientist, ranking with Buffon, Humboldt, Kant,
Herschel, and others of the first men of his day in Europe, and even
surpassing them all in the extent and variety of his philosophical
researches. His "Animal Kingdom" and "Physical Sciences" are wonderful
efforts of the human mind, and still maintain a high reputation as
scientific works.

At length Swedenborg conceived the idea that he enjoyed supernatural
privileges--that he had communings with angels and archangels--that he
was permitted to enter the spiritual world, and to record what he there
saw and heard. Nay, even to approach our Saviour himself, in His
character of the Triune God, or sole impersonation of the Divine
Trinity. Unlike Mahomet and most other pretenders to inspired missions,
Swedenborg never sought for power, honour or applause. He was to the day
of his death a quiet gentleman of the old school, unassuming, courteous,
and a good man in every sense of the word.

I remember that one of my first objections to the writings of
Swedenborg, was on account of his declaring the Church of France to be
the most spiritual of all the churches on earth; which dogma immensely
offended my youthful English pride. His first "readers" were members of
various churches--clergymen of the Church of England, professors in
universities, literary students, followers of Wesley, and generally
devout men and women of all denominations. In time they began to
assemble together for "reading meetings;" and so at length grew into a
sect--a designation, by the way, which they still stoutly repudiate. I
remember one clergyman, the Rev. John Clowes, rector of a church in
Manchester, who applied to the Bishop of Lichfield for leave to read and
teach from the works of Swedenborg, and was permitted to do so on
account of their entirely harmless character.

When still young, I noticed with astonishment, that the transcendental
virtues which Swedenborg inculcated were very feebly evidenced in the
lives of his followers; that they were not by any means free from pride,
ostentation, even peculation and the ordinary trickery of trade--in
fact, that they were no better than their fellow-Christians generally.
When I came to Toronto, I of course mixed with all sorts of people, and
found examples of thoroughly consistent Christian life amongst all the
various denominations--Roman Catholics, English Churchmen, Methodists,
Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, and many others--which
taught me the lesson, that it is not a man's formal creed that is of
importance, so much as his personal sincerity as a follower of Christ's
teachings and example.

I was at the same time forcibly impressed with another leading
idea--that no where in the Scriptures have we any instance of a
divinely regulated government, in which the worship of God did not
occupy a chief place. I thought--I still think--that the same beneficent
principle which makes Christianity a part of the common law of England,
and of all her colonies, including the United States, should extend to
the religious instruction of every soul in the community, gentle or
simple, and more especially to what are called the off-scourings of

Looking around me, I saw that of all the churches within my purview, the
Church of England most completely met my ideal--that she was the Church
by law established in my motherland--that she allowed the utmost
latitude to individual opinion--in fine, that she held the Bible wide
open to all her children, and did her best to extend its knowledge to
all mankind. Had I been a native of Scotland, upon the same reasoning I
must have become a Presbyterian, or a Lutheran in Holland or Germany, or
a Roman Catholic in France or Spain. But that contingency did not then
present itself to me.

So I entered the Church of England; was confirmed by Bishop Strachan, at
St. James's Cathedral, in the year 1839, if I remember rightly, and have
never since, for one instant, doubted the soundness of my conclusions.

On this occasion, as on many others, my emotions shaped themselves in a
poetical form. The two following pieces were written for the _Church_
newspaper, of which I was then the printer, in partnership with the
Messrs. Rowsell:--



    "Christ is risen from the dead and become the first fruits of
    them that slept. "For since by man came death; by man came also
    the resurrection of the dead. "For as in Adam all die; even so
    in Christ shall all be made alive."

  Christ is risen! Jesu lives;
    He lives His faithful ones to bless;
  The grave to life its victim gives--
    Our grief is changed to joyfulness.

  The sleeping Saints, whom Israel slew,
    Waking, shall list the joyful sound;
  He--their first fruits--doth live anew,
    Hell hath a mighty conqueror found.

  Paschal offering! spotless Lamb!
    For us was heard thy plaintive cry;
  For us, in agony and shame,
    Thy blood's sweet incense soar'd on high.

  By erring man came woe--the grave--
    The ground accurs'd--the blighted tree--
  Jesus, as man, for ransom gave
    Himself, from death to set us free.

  Christ is risen! saints, rejoice!
    Your hymns of praise enraptured pour--
  Ye heavenly angels, lend your voice--
    Jesus shall reign for evermore!
                           Hallelujah! Amen.


        Oh for a conscience free from sin!
        Oh for a breast all pure within--
        A soul that, seraph winged, might fly
        'Mid heav'n's full blaze unshrinkingly,
        And bask in rays of wisdom, bright
        From His own throne of life and light.

  Peace, pining spirit! know'st thou not that Jesus died for thee--
  For thee alone His last sigh breathed upon th' accursed tree;
  For thee His Omnipresence chain'd within a mortal "clod"--
  And bore _thy_ guilt, to be as well thy Saviour as thy God:
  Aye, suffered anguish more--far more--than thou canst e'en conceive,
  _Thy_ sins to cleanse--_thy_ self-earnt condemnation to relieve.

        And did He suffer so for me?
        Did HE endure upon the tree
        A living death--a mortal's woe,
        With pangs that mortals _cannot_ know!
        Oh triumph won most wofully!
        My SAVIOUR died for me--for _me_!

  And have I basely wish'd to make this wondrous off'ring vain;
  Shall love so vast, be unrepaid by grateful love again?
  Oh! true affection never chafes at obligation's chain,
  But hugs with joy the gracious yoke whose guidance is its gain;
  And such the Saviour's ardent love--His suff'ring patience--these
  Most unlike human bonds, are cancell'd by their own increase.

        Rejoice, my soul! though sin be thine,
        Thy refuge seek in grace divine:
        And mark His Word--more joy shall be
        In heav'n for sinners such as thee
        Repenting, than can e'er be shown
        For scores whom guilt hath never known.

       *     *     *     *     *

In explanation of my having become, in 1840, printer of the _Church_
newspaper, I must go back to the date of Lord Sydenham's residence in
Toronto. The Loyalist party, as stated already, became grievously
disgusted with the iron grasp which that nobleman fastened upon each and
every person in the remotest degree under government control. Not only
the high officers of the Crown, such as the Provincial Treasurer and
Secretary, the Executive Councillors, the Attorney-General and the
Sheriff, but also the editors of newspapers publishing the government
advertisements, in Toronto and elsewhere, were dictated to, as to what
measures they should oppose, and what support. It was "my
government,"--"my policy"--not "the policy of my administration," before
which they were required to bow down and blindly worship. There were,
however, still men in Toronto independent enough to refuse to stoop to
the dust; and they met together and taking up the _Toronto Herald_ as
their mouth-piece, subscribed sufficient funds for the payment of a
competent editor, in the person of George Anthony Barber, English Master
of Upper Canada College, now chiefly remembered as the introducer and
fosterer of the manly game of cricket in Toronto. He was an eloquent and
polished writer, and created for the paper a wide reputation as a
conservative journal.

About the same time, Messrs. Henry and William Rowsell, well-known
booksellers, undertook the printing of the _Church_ newspaper, which was
transferred from Cobourg to Toronto, under the editorship of Mr. John
Kent,--a giant in his way--and subsequently of the Rev. A. N. Bethune,
since, and until lately, Bishop of Toronto.

Being intimate friends of my own, they offered me the charge of their
printing office, with the position of a partner, which I accepted; and
made over my interest in the _Herald_ to Mr. Barber.

[Footnote 14: Easter salutation of the Primitive Church.]



I have lately astonished some of my friends with the information, that
William Lyon Mackenzie was originally an advocate of the Clergy
Reserves--that is, of state endowment for religious purposes--a fact
which makes his fatal plunge into treason the more to be regretted by
all who coincide with him on the religious question.

In Lindsey's "Memoirs" we read (vol. 1, p. 46):

    "A Calvinist in religion, proclaiming his belief in the
    Westminster Confession of Faith, and a Liberal in politics, yet
    was Mr. Mackenzie, at that time, no advocate of the voluntary
    principle. On the contrary, he lauded the British Government for
    making a landed endowment for the Protestant clergy in the
    Provinces, and was shocked at the report that, in 1812,
    voluntaryism had robbed three millions of people of all means of
    religious ordinances. 'In no part of the constitution of the
    Canadas,' he said, 'is the wisdom of the British Legislature
    more apparent than in its setting apart a portion of the
    country, while yet it remained a wilderness, for the support of

    . . . "Mr. Mackenzie compared the setting apart of one-seventh
    of the public lands for religious purposes to a like dedication
    in the time of the [early] Christians. But he objected that the
    revenues were monopolized by one church, to which only a
    fraction of the population belonged. The envy of the
    non-recipient denominations made the favoured Church of England

    . . . "Where the majority of the present generation of Canadians
    will differ from him, is that on the Clergy Reserves question,
    he did not hold the voluntary view. At that time, he would have
    denounced secularization as a monstrous piece of sacrilege."[15]

How much to be regretted is it, that instead of splitting up the Clergy
Reserves into fragments, the friends of religious education had not
joined their forces for the purpose of endowing all Christian
denominations with the like means of usefulness. We are now extending
across the entire continent what I cannot help regarding as the
anti-Christian practice of non-religious popular education. We are, I
believe, but smoothing the road to crime in the majority of cases.
Cannot something be done now, while yet the lands of the vast North-West
are at our disposal? Will no courageous legislator raise his voice to
advocate the dedication of a few hundred thousand acres to unselfish
purposes? Have we wiled away the Indian prairies from their aboriginal
owners, to make them little better than a race-course for speculating

Even if the jealousy of rival politicians--each bent upon
self-aggrandizement at the expense of more honourable aims--should
defeat all efforts in behalf of religious endowments through the
Dominion Legislature, cannot the religious associations amongst us
bestir themselves in time? Cannot the necessity for actual settlement be
waived in favour of donations by individuals for Church uses? Cannot the
powerful Pacific Railway Syndicate themselves take up this great duty,
of setting apart certain sections in favour of a Christian ministry?

The signs of the times are dark--dark and fearful. In Europe, by the
confession of many eminent public writers, heathenism is overspreading
the land. In the United States, a community of the sexes is shamelessly
advocated; and there is no single safeguard of public or private order
and morality, that is not openly scoffed at and set at nought.

Oh, men! men! preachers, and dogmatists, and hierarchs of all sects! see
ye not that your strifes and your jealousies are making ye as traitors
in the camp, in the face of the common enemy? See ye not the multitudes
approaching, armed with the fell weapons of secular knowledge--cynicism,
self-esteem, greed, envy, ambition, ill-regulated passions unrestrained!

One symptom of a nobler spirit has shown itself in England, in the
understanding lately suggested, or arrived at, that the missions of any
one Protestant Church in the South Sea Islands shall be entirely
undisturbed by rival missionaries. This is right; and if right in
Polynesia, why not in Great Britain? why not in Canada? Why cultivate
half-a-dozen contentious creeds in every new township or village? Would
it not be more amiable, more humble, more self-denying, more
exemplary--in one word, more like our Master and Saviour--if each
Christian teacher were required to respect the ministrations of his next
neighbour, even though there might be some faint shade of variety in
their theological opinions; provided always that those ministrations
were accredited by some duly constituted branch of the Christian Church.

I profess that I can see no reason why an endowment should not be
provided in every county in the North-West, to be awarded to the first
congregation, no matter how many or how few, that could secure the
services of a missionary duly licensed, be he Methodist, Presbyterian,
Baptist, Congregationalist, Disciple--aye, even Anglican or Roman
Catholic. No sane man pretends, I think, that eternal salvation is
limited to any one, or excluded from any one, of those different
churches. That great essential, then, being admitted, what right have I,
or have you, dear reader, to demand more? What right have you or I to
withhold the Word of God from the orphan or the outcast, for no better
reason than such as depends upon the construction of particular words or
texts of Holy Scripture, apart from its general tenor and teaching?

Again I say, it is much to be deplored that Canada had not more
Reformers, and Conservatives too, as liberal-minded as was W. L.
Mackenzie, in regard to the maintenance and proper use of the Clergy

It was not the Imperial Government, it was not Lord John Russell, or Sir
Robert Peel, or Lords Durham and Sydenham, that were answerable for the
dispersion of the Clergy Reserves. What they did was to leave the
question in the hands of the Canadian Legislature. It was the old, old
story of the false mother in the "Judgment of Solomon," who preferred
that the infant should be cut in twain rather than not wrested from a
rival claimant.

I would fain hope that the future may yet see a reversal of that
disgrace to our Canadian Statute Book. Not by restoring the lands to the
Church of England, or the Churches of England and Scotland--they do not
now need them--but by endowing all Christian churches for the religious
teaching of the poorer classes in the vast North-West.

[Footnote 15: Mackenzie afterwards drew up petitions which prayed,
amongst other things, for the secularization of the Clergy Reserves, but
I judge that on that question these petitions rather represented the
opinions of other men than his own, and were specially aimed at the
Church of England monopoly.]



From the arrival of Sir Charles Bagot in January, 1842, up to the
departure of Lord Metcalfe in November, 1844, was a period chiefly
remarkable for the struggles of political leaders for power, without any
very essential difference of principle between them. Lord Cathcart
succeeded as Administrator, but took no decided stand on any Canadian
question. And it was not until the Earl of Elgin arrived, in January,
1847, that anything like violent party spirit began again to agitate the

In that interval, some events happened of a minor class, which should
not be forgotten. It was, I think, somewhere about the month of May,
1843, that there walked into my office on Nelson Street, a young man of
twenty-five years, tall, broad-shouldered, somewhat lantern jawed, and
emphatically Scottish, who introduced himself to me as the travelling
agent of the New York _British Chronicle_, published by his father. This
was George Brown, afterwards publisher and editor of the _Globe_
newspaper. He was a very pleasant-mannered, courteous, gentlemanly
young fellow, and impressed me favourably. His father, he said, found
the political atmosphere of New York hostile to everything British, and
that it was as much as a man's life was worth to give expression to any
British predilections whatsoever (which I knew to be true). They had,
therefore, thought of transferring their publication to Toronto, and
intended to continue it as a thoroughly Conservative journal. I, of
course, welcomed him as a co-worker in the same cause with ourselves;
little expecting how his ideas of conservatism were to develop
themselves in subsequent years. The publication of the _Banner_--a
religious journal, edited by Mr. Peter Brown--commenced on the 18th of
August following, and was succeeded by the _Globe_, on March 5th, 1844.

About the same time, there entered upon public life, another noted
Canadian politician, Mr. John A. Macdonald, then member for Kingston,
with whom I first became personally acquainted at the meeting of the
British American League in 1849, of which I shall have occasion to speak
more fully in its order; as it seems to have escaped the notice of
Canadian historians, although an event of the first magnitude in our



It was in the year 1841, that the Rev. Dr. John McCaul entered upon his
duties as Vice-President of King's College, after having been Principal
of Upper Canada College since 1838. With this gentleman are closely
connected some of the most pleasurable memories of my own life. He was a
zealous promoter of public amusement, musical as well as literary. Some
of the best concerts ever witnessed in Toronto were those got up by him
in honour of the Convocation of the University of Toronto, October 23rd,
1845, and at the several public concerts of the Philharmonic Society, of
which he was president, in that and following years. As a member of the
managing committee, I had the honour of conducting one of the Society's
public concerts, which happened, being a mixed concert of sacred and
secular music, to be the most popular and profitable of the series,
greatly to my delight.

In 1846, 1847 and 1848, Dr. McCaul edited the _Maple Leaf, or Canadian
Annual_, a handsomely illustrated and bound quarto volume, which has not
since been surpassed, if equalled, in combined beauty and literary
merit, by any work that has issued from the Canadian press.

Each volume appeared about Christmas day, and was eagerly looked for.
The principal contributors were Dr. McCaul himself; the Hon. Chief
Justice Hagarty; the late Rev. R. J. McGeorge, then of Streetsville,
since of Scotland; the late Hon. Justice Wilson, of London; Miss Page,
of Cobourg; the Rev. Dr. Scadding; the late Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie; the
late Hon. J. Hillyard Cameron; the Rev. Alex. (now Archdeacon) Dixon, of
Guelph; the Rev. Walter Stennett, of Cobourg; C. W. Cooper, Esq., now of
Chicago; the late T. C. Breckenridge; the late Judge Cooper, of
Goderich; and myself; besides a few whose names are unknown to me.

My own connection, as a writer, with the "Maple Leaf" originated thus:
While printing the first volume, I had ventured to send to Dr. McCaul,
through the post-office, anonymously, a copy of my poem entitled
"Emmeline," as a contribution to the work. It did not appear, and I felt
much discouraged in consequence. Some months afterwards, I happened to
mention to him my unsuccessful effusion, when he at once said that he
had preserved it for the second volume. This was the first ray of
encouragement I had ever received as a poet, and it was very welcome to
me. He also handed me two or three of the plates intended for the second
volume, to try what I could make of them, and most kindly gave me
carte-blanche to take up any subject I pleased. The consequence of which
was, that I set to work with a new spirit, and supplied four pieces for
the second and five for the third volume. Two of my prose pieces--"A
Chapter on Chopping," and "A First Day in the Bush"--with two of the
poems, I have incorporated in these "Reminiscences:" my other accepted
poems, I give below. After this explanation, the reader will not be
surprised at the affection with which I regard the "Maple Leaf." I know
that the generous encouragement which Dr. McCaul invariably extended to
even the humblest rising talent, in his position as head of our Toronto
University, has been the means of encouraging many a youthful student to
exertions, which have ultimately placed him in the front rank among our
public men. Had I met with Dr. McCaul thirty years earlier, he would
certainly have made of me a poet by profession.


  The faynt-rayed moone shynes dimme and hoar,
  The nor-wynde moans with fittful roare,
  The snow-drift hydes the cottage doore,
  I wander lonelie on the moore,

  Thou sittest in the castle halle
  In festal tyre and silken palle,
  'Mid smylinge friendes--all hartes thy thrall,
  My best-beloved--my lyfe--my all,

  I marke the brightness quit thy cheeke,
  I knowe the thought thou dost not speake,
  Some absent one thy glances seeke,
  I pace alone the mooreland bleake,

  Thy willfull brother--woe the daye!
  Why did hee cross mee on my waye?
  I slewe him that I would not slaye,
  I cannot washe his bloode awaye,

  Oh, why, when stricken from his hande,
  Far flew his weapon o'er the strande--
  Why did hee rush upon my brande?
  Colde lyes his corse upon the sande,

  Thou'rt too, too younge--too younge and fayre
  To learne the wearie rede of care--
  My bitter griefe thou must not share,
  I could not bidde thee wedde despaire,

  Through noisome fenne and tangled brake,
  Where crawle the lizard and the snake,
  My mournfull hopelesse way I take,
  To live a hermitt for thy sake,

  Thy buoyaunt spirit may forgett
  The happie houre when last we mett--
  My sunne of hope is darklie sett,
  I'll bee thy guardian-angell yett,



  Smiles the sunbeam on the waters--
    On the waters glad and free;
  Sparkling, flashing, laughing, dancing--
    Emblem fair of childhood's glee.

  Ruddy on the waves reflected,
    Deeper glows the sinking ray;
  Like the smile of young affection
    Flushed by fancy's changeful play.

  Mist-enwreathing, chill and gloomy,
    Steals grey twilight o'er the lake--
  Ah! to days of autumn sadness
    Soon our dreaming souls awake.

  Night has fallen, dark and silent,
    Starry myriads gem the sky;
  Thus, when earthly hopes have failed us,
    Brighter visions beam on high.


  An aged man sat lonesomely within a rustic porch,
  His eyes in troubled thoughtfulness were bent upon the ground:
  Why pondered he so mournfully, that venerable man?
  He dreamt sad dreams of early days, the happy days of youth.

  He dreamt fond dreams of early days, the lightsome days of youth;
  He saw his distant island home--the cot his fathers built--
  The bright green fields their hands had tilled--the once accustomed haunts;
  And, dearer still, the old churchyard where now their ashes lie.

  Long, weary years had slowly passed--long years of thrift and toil--
  The hair, once glossy brown, was white, the hands were rough and hard;
  Deep-delving care had plainly marked its furrows on the brow;
  The form, once tall and lithe and strong, now bent and stiff and weak.

  His many kind and duteous sons, his daughters, meek and good,
  Like scattered leaves from autumn gales, were reft the parent tree;
  Tho' lands, and flocks, and rustic wealth, an ample store he owned,
  They seemed but transitory gains--a coil of earthly care.

  Old neighbours, from that childhood's home, have paused before his door;
  Oh, gladly hath he welcomed them, and warmly doth he greet;
  They bring him--token of old love--a little cage of birds,
  The songsters of his native vale, companions of his youth.

  Those warbled notes, too well they tell of other, happier hours,
  Of joyous, childish innocence, of boyhood's gleeful sports,
  A mother's tender watchfulness, a father's gentle sway--
  The silent tear rolls stealthily adown his furrowed cheek.

  Sweet choristers of England's fields, how fondly are ye prized!
  Your melody, like mystic strains upon the dying ear,
  Awakes a chord that, all unheard, long slumbered in the breast,
  That vibrates but to one loved sound--the sacred name of "Home."


  "Come lay thy head upon my breast,
  And I will kiss thee into rest."

  Wherefore art thou sad, my brother? why that shade upon thy brow,
  Like yon clouds each other chasing o'er the summer landscape now?
  What hath moved thy gentle spirit from its wonted calm the while?
  Shall not Zayda share thy sorrow, as she loves to share thy smile?

  Tell me, hath our cousin Hassan passed thee on a fleeter steed?
  Hath thy practised arm betrayed thee when thou threwst the light jereed?
  Hath some rival, too ungently, taunted thee with scoffing pride?
  Tell me what hath grieved thee, Selim--ah, I will not be denied.

  Some dark eye, I much mistrust me, hath too brightly answered thine;
  Some sweet voice hath, all too sweetly, whispered in the Bezestein.
  Nay, doth sadder, deeper feeling dim the gladness of thine eye?
  Tell me, dearest, tell me truly, why thou breath'st that mournful sigh?

  Oh, if thou upon poor Zayda cast one look of cold regard,
  Whither shall she turn for comfort in a world unkind and hard?
  Since our tender mother, dying, gave me trustfully to thee,
  Selim, brother, thou hast always been far more than worlds to me.

  Take this rose--upon my bosom I have worn it all the day;
  Like thy sister's true affection, never can its scent decay:
  As the pure wave, murm'ring fondly, lingers round some lonely isle,
  Life-long shall my love enchain thee, Selim, asking but a smile.


  Ho! gentlemen of Venice!
    Ho! soldiers of St. Mark!
  Pile high your blazing beacon-fire,
    The night is wild and dark,
  Behoves us all be wary,
    Behoves us have a care
  No traitor spy of Austria
    Our watch is prowling near.

  Time was, would princely Venice
    No foreign tyrant brook;
  Time was, before her stately wrath
    The proudest Kaiser shook;
  When o'er the Adriatic
    The Wingéd Lion hurled
  Destruction on his enemies--
    Defiance to the world.

  'Twas when the Turkish crescent
    Contended with the cross,
  And many a Christian kingdom rued
    Discomfiture and loss;
  We taught the turban'd Paynim--
    We taught his boastful fleet,
  Venetian freemen scorned alike
    Submission or retreat.

  Alas, for fair Venezia,
    When wealth and pomp and pride
  --The pride of her patrician lords--
    Her freedom thrust aside:
  When o'er the trembling commons
    The haughty nobles rode,
  And red with patriotic blood
    The Adrian waters flowed.

  'Twas in the year of mercy
    Just fourteen fifty two
  --When Francis Foscari was Doge,
    A valiant prince and true--
  He won for the Republic
    Ravenna--Brescia bright--
  And Crema--aye, and Bergamo
    Submitted to his might:

  Young Giacopo, his darling,
    --His last and fairest child--
  A gallant soldier in the wars,
    In peace serene and mild--
  Woo'd gentle Mariana,
    Old Contarini's pride,
  And glad was Venice on that day
    He claimed her for his bride.

  The Bucentaur showed bravely
    In silks and cloth of gold,
  And thousands of swift gondolas
    Were gay with young and old;
  Where spann'd the Canalazo
    A boat-bridge wide and strong,
  Amid three hundred cavaliers
    The bridegroom rode along.

  Three days were joust and tourney,
    Three days the Plaza bore
  Such gallant shock of knight and steed
    Was never dealt before,
  And thrice ten thousand voices
    With warm and honest zeal,
  Loud shouted for the Foscari
    Who loved the Commonweal.

  For this the Secret Council--
    The dark and subtle Ten--
  Pray God and good San Marco
    None like may rule again!
  Because the people honoured
    Pursued with bitter hate,
  And foully charged young Giacopo
    With treason to the state.

  The good old prince, his father--
    Was ever grief like his!--
  They forced, as judge, to gaze upon
    His own child's agonies!
  No outward mark of sorrow
    Disturb'd his awful mien--
  No bursting sigh escaped to tell
    The anguish'd heart within.

  Twice tortured and twice banish'd,
    The hapless victim sighed
  To see his old ancestral home,
    His children and his bride:
  Life seem'd a weary burthen
    Too heavy to be borne,
  From all might cheer his waning hours
    A hopeless exile torn.

  In vain--no fond entreaty
    Could pierce the ear of hate--
  He knew the Senate pitiless,
    Yet rashly sought his fate;
  A letter to the Sforza
    Invoking Milan's aid,
  He wrote, and placed where spies might see--
    'Twas seen, and was betrayed.

  Again the rack--the torture--
    Oh! cruelty accurst!--
  The wretched victim meekly bore--
    They could but wreak their worst;
  So he but lay in Venice,
    Contented, if they gave
  What little space his bones might fill--
    The measure of a grave.

  The white-haired sire, heart-broken,
    Survived his happier son,
  To learn a Senate's gratitude
    For faithful service done;
  What never Doge of Venice
    Before had lived to tell,
  He heard for a successor peal
    San Marco's solemn bell.

  When, years before, his honours
    Twice would he fain lay down,
  They bound him by his princely oath
    To wear for life the crown;
  But now, his brow o'ershadow'd
    By fourscore winters' snows,
  Their eager malice would not wait
    A spent life's mournful close.

  He doff'd his ducal ensigns
    In proud obedient haste,
  And through the sculptured corridors
    With staff-propt footsteps paced;
  Till on the giant's staircase,
    Which first in princely pride
  He mounted as Venezia's Doge,
    The old man paused--and died.

  Thus govern'd the Patricians
    When Venice owned their sway,
  And thus Venetian liberties
    Became a helpless prey:
  They sold us to the Teuton,
    They sold us to the Gaul--
  Thank God and good San Marco,
    We've triumph'd over all!

  Ho! gentlemen of Venice!
    Ho! soldiers of St. Mark!
  You've driven from your palaces
    The Austrian, cold and dark!
  But better for Venezia
    The stranger ruled again,
  Than the old patrician tyranny,
    The Senate and the Ten!

[Footnote 16: This and the preceding poem were written as illustrations
of two beautiful plates which appeared in the Maple Leaf. One, Zayda
presenting a rose to her supposed brother, Selim; the other, the Doge
Foscari passing sentence of exile upon his son. The incidents in the
Venetian story are all historical facts.]



My new partner, Mr. William Rowsell, and Mr. Geo. A. Barber, are
entitled to be called the founders of the St. George's Society of
Toronto. Mr. Barber was appointed secretary at its first meeting in
1835, and was very efficient in that capacity. But it was the
enthusiastic spirit and the galvanic energy of William Rowsell that
raised the society to the high position it has ever since maintained in
Toronto. Other members, especially George P. Ridout, William Wakefield,
W. B. Phipps, Jos. D. Ridout, W. B. Jarvis, Rev. H. Scadding, and many
more, gave their hearty co-operation then and afterwards. In those early
days, the ministrations of the three national societies of St. George,
St. Andrew, and St. Patrick, were as angels' visits to thousands of poor
emigrants, who landed here in the midst of the horrors of fever and
want. Those poor fellows, who, like my companions on board the _Asia_,
were sent out by some parochial authority, and found themselves, with
their wives and half a dozen young children, left without a shilling to
buy their first meal, must have been driven to desperation and crime but
for the help extended to them by the three societies.

The earliest authorized report of the Society's proceedings which I can
find, is that for the year 1843-4, and I think I cannot do better than
give the list of the officers and members entire:


  _Officers for 1844._

    Patron--His Excellency the Right Hon. Sir Charles T. Metcalfe,
    Bart., K. G. B., Governor-General of British North America, &c.

    President--William Wakefield. Vice-Presidents--W. B. Jarvis, G.
    P. Ridout, W. Atkinson. Chaplain--The Rev. Henry Scadding, M. A.
    Physician--Robt. Hornby, M. D. Treasurer--Henry Rowsell.
    Managing Committee--G. Walton, T. Clarke, J. D. Ridout, F.
    Lewis, J. Moore, J. G. Beard, W. H. Boulton. Secretary--W.
    Rowsell. Standard Bearers--G. D. Wells, A. Wasnidge, F. W.
    Coate, T. Moore.

  _List of Members, March, 1844._

    E. H. Ades, E. S. Alport, Thos. Armstrong, W. Atkinson.

    Thos. Baines, G. W. Baker, Jr.; G. A. Barber, F. W. Barron,
    Robert Barwick, J. G. Beard, Robt. Beard, Edwin Bell, Matthew
    Betley, J. C. Bettridge, G. Bilton, T. W. Birchall, W. H.
    Boulton, Josh. Bound, W. Bright, Jas. Brown, Jno. Brown, Thos.
    Brunskill, E. C. Bull, Jas. Burgess, Mark Burgess, Thos.

    F. C. Capreol, W. Cayley, Thos. Champion, E. C. Chapman, Jas.
    Christie, Edw. Clarke, Jno. Clarke, Thos. Clarke, Thos.
    Clarkson, D. Cleal, F. W. Coate, Edw. Cooper, C. N. B. Cozens.

    Jno. Davis, Nath. Davis, G. T. Denison, Sen., Robt. B. Denison,
    Hon. W. H. Draper.

    Jno. Eastwood, Jno. Elgie, Thos. Elgie, Jno. Ellis, Christopher
    Elliott, J. P. Esten, Jas. Eykelbosch.

    C. T. Gardner, Jno. Garfield, W. Gooderham, G. Gurnett.

    Chas. Hannath, W. Harnett, Josh. Hill, Rich. Hockridge, Joseph
    Hodgson, Dr. R. Hornby, G. C. Horwood, J. G. Howard.

    Æ. Irving, Jr.

    Hon. R. S. Jameson, W. B. Jarvis, H. B. Jessopp.

    Alfred Laing, Jno. Lee, F. Lewis, Henry Lutwych, C. Lynes, S. G.

    Hon. J. S. Macaulay, Rich. Machell, J. F. Maddock, Jno. Mead,
    And. Mercer, Jas. Mirfield, Sam. Mitchell, Jno. Moore, Thos.
    Moore, Jas. Moore, Jas. Morris, W. Morrison, J. G. Mountain, W.

    J. R. Nash.

    Thos. Pearson, Jno. E. Pell, W. B. Phipps, Sam. Phillips, Hiram
    Piper, Jno. Popplewell, Jno. Powell.

    M. Raines, J. D. Ridout, G. P. Ridout, Sam. G. Ridout, Ewd.
    Robson, H. Rowsell, W. Rowsell, F. Rudyerd.

    Chas. Sabine, J. H. Savigny, Hugh Savigny, Geo. Sawdon, Rev. H.
    Scadding, Jas. Severs, Rich. Sewell, Hon. Henry Sherwood, Jno.
    Sleigh, I. A. Smith, L. W. Smith, Thos. Smith (Newgate Street),
    Thos. Smith, (Market Square), J. G. Spragge, Jos. Spragge, W.
    Steers, J. Stone.

    Leonard Thompson, S. Thompson, Rich. Tinning, Enoch Turner.

    Wm. Wakefield, Jas. Wallis, Geo. Walton, W. Walton, Alf.
    Wasnidge, Hon. Col. Wells, G. D. Wells, Thos. Wheeler, F.
    Widder, H. B. Williams, J. Williams, W. Wynn.

    Thos. Young.

The list of Englishmen thus reproduced, may well raise emotions of love
and regret in us their survivors. Most of them have died full of years,
and rich in the respect of their compatriots of all nations. There are
still living some twenty out of the above one hundred and thirty-seven

The following song, written and set to music by me for the occasion, was
sung by the late Mr. J. D. Humphreys, the well-known Toronto tenor, at
the annual dinner held on the 24th April, 1845:--


  The Rose, the Rose of England,
    The gallant and the free!
  Of all our flow'rs the fairest,
    The Rose, the Rose for me!
  Our good old English fashion
    What other flow'r can show?
  Its smiles of beauty greet its friends,
    Its thorns defy the foe!
        _Chorus_--The Rose, the Rose of England,
                         The gallant and the free!
                       Of all our flow'rs the fairest,
                         The Rose, the Rose for me!

  Though proudly for the Thistle
    Each Scottish bosom swell,
  The Thistle hath no charms for me
    Like the Rose I love so well.
  And Erin's native Shamrock,
    In lonely wilds that grows,
  Its modest leaflet would not strive
    To vie with England's Rose.
        _Chorus_--The Rose, the Rose, etc.

  Yet Scotia's Thistle bravely
    Withstands the rudest blast,
  And Erin's cherished Shamrock
    Keeps verdant to the last;
  And long as British feeling
    In British bosoms glows,
  Right joyfully we'll honour them,
    As they will England's Rose.
        _Chorus_--The Rose, the Rose, etc.

Before closing my reminiscences of the St. George's Society, it may not
be out of place to give some account of its legitimate congener, the
North America St. George's Union. Englishmen in the United States, like
those of Canada, have formed themselves into societies for the relief of
their suffering brethren from the Fatherland, in all their principal
cities. The necessity of frequent correspondence respecting cases of
destitution, naturally led the officers of those societies to feel an
interest in each other's welfare and system of relief, which at length
gave rise to a desire for formal meeting and consultation, and that
finally to the establishment of an organized association.

In 1876, the fourth annual convention of the St. George's Union was for
the first time held in Canada, at the City of Hamilton; in 1878 at
Guelph; in 1880 at Ottawa; and in August, 1883, at Toronto--the
intervening meetings taking place at Philadelphia, Bridgeport and
Washington, U. S., respectively.

To give an idea of what has been done, and of the spirit which actuates
this great representative body of Englishmen, I avail myself of the
opening speech of the President, our fellow-citizen and much esteemed
friend, J. Herbert Mason, Esq., which was delivered at the City Hall
here, on the 29th of August last. After welcoming the delegates from
other cities, he went on to say:--

    "Met together to promote objects purely beneficent, for which,
    in the interests of humanity, we claim the support of all good
    citizens, of whatever flag or origin, we may here give
    expression to our sentiments and opinions without reserve, and
    with confidence that they will be received with respect, even by
    those who may not be able to share in the glorious memories, and
    vastly more glorious anticipations, with which we, as Englishmen
    and the descendants of Englishmen, are animated.

    "And in the term Englishmen, I wish to be understood as
    including all loyal Irishmen, Scotchmen, and Welshmen. There
    need be no division among men of British origin in regard to the
    objects we are banded together to promote.

    "The city of Toronto is in some respects peculiarly suitable as
    a place for holding a convention of representative men of
    English blood. Its Indian name, Toronto, signifies a place of
    meeting. Ninety years ago its site was selected as that of the
    future capital of Upper Canada, by General Simcoe, a Devonshire
    man, distinguished both as a soldier and a statesman, who, in
    the following year, founded the city.

    "At that time the shore of our beautiful bay, and nearly the
    entire country from the Detroit river to Montreal, was a dense
    forest, the home of the wolf, the beaver and the bear. In
    earlier years the surrounding country had been inhabited by
    powerful Indian tribes; but after a prolonged contest, carried
    on with the persistence and ferocity which distinguished them,
    the dreaded Iroquois from the southern shores of Lake Ontario
    had exterminated or driven away the Hurons, their less warlike
    kinsmen, and at the time I speak of, the only human beings that
    were found here was a single family of the Mississaga Indians.
    The story of the contest which ended in the supremacy of the
    Iroquois Confederacy, taken from the records of the Jesuit
    fathers, who shared in the destruction of their Huron converts,
    so graphically described by Parkman, the New England historian,
    furnishes one of the most interesting and romantic chapters of
    American history. In the names and general appearance of its
    streets, the style of its habitations, in its social life, and
    the characteristics of its people (if the opinions of tourists
    and visitors may be accepted), Toronto recals to Englishmen
    vivid impressions of home in a greater degree than any other
    American city.

    "The opening up of the Canadian North-West, and the increased
    tendency of English emigration towards this Continent, instead
    of, as formerly, towards those great English communities in the
    Southern hemisphere, proportionately increases the
    responsibility thrown upon their kindred living here, to see
    that all reasonable and necessary counsel and assistance are
    afforded to them on their arrival. One of the most suitable
    agencies for effecting this object is the formation of St.
    George's Societies in every city and town where Englishmen
    exist. To the friendless immigrant, suddenly placed in a new and
    unknown world, not understanding the conditions of success, and,
    in many cases, suffering in health from change of climate, the
    familiar tones, the kindly hand, and the brotherly sympathy of a
    fellow-countryman, are most welcome. It supplies to the stranger
    help of the right kind when most needed, and is one of those
    acts of divine charity which covers a multitude of sins. One of
    the chief objects of the St. George's Union is to increase the
    number and usefulness, and enlarge the membership of such
    societies, and if, under its fostering influence and encouraging
    example, Englishmen generally, and their descendants, are
    aroused to a more faithful discharge of their duty in this
    respect, the Union is surely well worth maintaining. In this
    connection, and for the information and example of younger
    societies, permit me to point out some features of the work of
    the St. George's Society of this city. It was organized in 1835,
    when the population of the city was only 8,000. In the nearly
    fifty years of its existence, it has had enrolled among its
    chief officers, men of distinguished position and high moral
    excellence. It is a notable circumstance, that at the time of
    the meeting of this Union in Toronto, the Lieutenant-Governor of
    Ontario, whose official residence is here, as well as the Mayor,
    the Police Magistrate, the Treasurer, the Commissioners, the
    Acting Engineer, and the Chairman of the Free Library Board of
    Toronto, are all members of the St. George's Society, and two of
    them past-presidents of it. It has a membership of about six
    hundred, an annual income of about $2,400, and invested funds to
    the amount of nearly $9,000. The office of the Society is open
    daily, where cases requiring immediate advice or assistance are
    promptly attended to by its indefatigable Secretary, Mr. J. E.
    Pell. The Committee for General Relief meets weekly. Every case
    is investigated and treated on its merits. Efforts are made to
    secure employment for those who are able to work, and all
    tendencies towards pauperism, or the formation of a pauper
    class, are severely discouraged. One feature in the work of this
    society I invite special attention to, which is its annual
    distribution of 'Christmas Cheer' to the English poor. Last
    Christmas Eve there were given away 7,500 pounds of excellent
    beef; 4,400 pounds of bread; 175 pounds of tea, and 650 pounds
    of sugar. Each member of the society had, therefore, the
    satisfaction of knowing when he sat down to his Yule-tide table,
    loaded with the good things of this life, and surrounded by the
    happy faces of those he loved best, that every one of his needy
    fellow-countrymen was, on that day, bountifully supplied with
    the necessaries of life."

From the Annual Report of the Committee I gather a few items:

    "Reports from nineteen societies (affiliated to the Union) show
    the following results:--

  Membership (excluding honorary members)             3,247
  Receipts during the year                          $19,618
  Expended for charity during the year (excluding
  private donations)                                 12,003
  Value of investments, furniture and fixtures       96,568

    "The Society of St. George, of London, England, has intimate
    relations with the Union. The General Committee embraces such
    eminent names as those of the Duke of Manchester, Lord Alfred
    Churchill, Sir Philip Cunliffe Owen; Messrs. Beresford-Hope and
    Puleston, of the House of Commons; Blanchard Jerrold and Hyde
    Clarke, while death has removed from the Committee Messrs. W.
    Hepworth Dixon and Walter Besant. St. George's Day has been
    publicly celebrated ever since the institution of the Society in
    1879. A new history of the titular saint, by the Rev. Dr.
    Barons, has been promoted by the Society, and by its efforts
    appropriate mortuary honours were paid to Colonel Chester, the
    Anglo-American antiquarian, who died while prosecuting in
    England his researches concerning the genealogy of the Pilgrim
    Fathers. Through the industry and zeal of the chairman of the
    Executive Committee there has been much revival of interest, at
    home and abroad, respecting England's patron saint and the
    ancient celebrations of his legendary natal day."

After the official business of the convention had been disposed of, the
American and Canadian visitors were hospitably entertained, on Wednesday
the 30th, at "Ermeleigh," the private residence of the President, on
Jarvis street; on Thursday afternoon at Government House, as guests of
the Lieutenant-Governor and Mrs. Robinson; and in the evening at the
Queen's Hotel, where a handsome entertainment was provided.



The 7th of April, 1849, will be fresh in the memory of many old
Torontonians. It was an unusually fine spring day, and a large number of
farmers' teams thronged the old market, then the only place within the
city where meat was allowed to be sold. The hotel stables were crowded,
and among them those of Graham's tavern on King and George Streets. At
two o'clock in the afternoon, an alarm of fire was heard, occasioned by
the heedlessness of some teamster smoking his after-dinner pipe. It was
only a wooden stable, and but little notice was taken at first. The
three or four hand-engines which constituted the effective strength of
the fire brigade of that day, were brought into play one by one; but the
stable, and Post's stable adjoining, were soon in full blaze. A powerful
east wind carried the flames in rear of a range of brick stores
extending on the north side of King Street from George to Nelson (now
Jarvis) Street, and they attacked a small building on the latter street,
next adjoining my own printing office, which was in the third story of a
large brick building on the corner of King and Nelson Streets,
afterwards well-known as Foy & Austin's corner. The _Patriot_ newspaper
was printed there, and the compositors and press-men not only of that
office, but of nearly all the newspaper offices in the city, were busily
occupied in removing the type and presses downstairs. Suddenly the
flames burst through our north windows with frightful strength, and we
shouted to the men to escape, some by the side windows, some by the
staircase. As we supposed, all got safely away; but unhappily it proved
otherwise. Mr. Richard Watson was well known and respected as Queen's
Printer since the rebellion times. He was at the head of the profession,
universally liked, and always foremost on occasions of danger and
necessity. He had persisted in spite of all remonstrance in carrying
cases of type down the long, three-story staircase, and was forgotten
for a while. Being speedily missed, however, cries were frantically
raised for ladders to the south windows; and our brave friend, Col.
O'Brien, was the first to climb to the third story, dash in the
window-sash--using his hat as a weapon--but not escaping severe cuts
from the broken glass--and shouting to the prisoner within. But in vain.
No person could be seen, and the smoke and flames forcing their way at
that moment through the front windows, rendered all efforts at rescue

In the meantime, the flames had crossed Nelson Street to St. James's
buildings on King Street; thence across King Street to the old city hall
and the market block, and here it was thought the destruction would
cease. But not so. One or two men noticed a burning flake, carried by
the fierce gale, lodge itself in the belfry of St. James's Cathedral,
two or three hundred yards to the west. The men of the fire brigade were
all busy and well-nigh exhausted by their previous efforts, but one of
them was found, who, armed with an axe, hastily rushed up the
tower-stairs and essayed to cut away the burning woodwork. The fire had
gained too much headway. Down through the tower to the loft over the
nave, then through the flat ceiling in flakes, setting in a blaze the
furniture and prayer-books in the pews; and up to the splendid organ not
long before erected by May & Son, of the Adelphi Terrace, London, at an
expense of £1200 sterling, if I recollect rightly. I was a member of the
choir, and with other members stood looking on in an agony of suspense,
hoping against hope that our beloved instrument might yet be saved; but
what the flames had spared, the intense heat effected. While we were
gazing at the sea of fire visible through the wide front doorway, a
dense shower of liquid silvery metal, white hot, suddenly descended from
the organ loft. The pipes had all melted at once, and the noble organ
was only an empty case, soon to be consumed with the whole interior of
the building, leaving nothing but ghostly-looking charred limestone

Next morning there was a general cry to recover the remains of poor
Watson. The brick walls of our office had fallen in, and the heat of the
burning mass in the cellar was that of a vast furnace. But nothing
checked the zeal of the men, all of whom knew and liked him. Still
hissing hot, the burnt masses were gradually cleared away, and after
long hours of labour, an incremated skeleton was found, and restored to
his sorrowing family for interment, with funeral obsequies which were
attended by nearly all the citizens.

Shortly afterwards, Col. O'Brien's interest in the _Patriot_ newspaper
was sold to Mr. Ogle R. Gowan, and it continued to be conducted by him
and myself until, in 1853, we dissolved partnership by arbitration, he
being awarded the weekly, and I the daily edition.



On the 25th of the same month of April, 1849, the Parliament Houses at
Montreal were sacked and burnt by a disorderly mob, stirred up to riot
by the unfortunate act of Lord Elgin, in giving the royal assent to a
bill for compensating persons whose property had been destroyed or
injured during the rebellion in Lower Canada in 1837-8. That the payment
of those losses was a logical consequence of the general amnesty
proclaimed earlier in the same year, and that men equally guilty in
Upper Canada, such as Montgomery and others, were similarly compensated,
is indisputable. But in Upper Canada there was no race hatred, such as
Lord Durham, in the Report written for him by Messrs. C. Buller & E. G.
Wakefield, describes as existing between the French and British of Lower
Canada.[17] The rebels of Gallows Hill and the militia of Toronto were
literally brothers and cousins; while the rival factions of Montreal
were national enemies, with their passions aroused by long-standing
mutual injuries and insults. Had Lord Elgin reserved the bill for
imperial consideration, no mischief would probably have followed. What
might have been considered magnanimous generosity if voluntarily
accorded by the conquerors, became a stinging insult when claimed by
conquered enemies and aliens. And so it was felt to be in Montreal and
the Eastern Townships. But the opportunity of putting in force the new
theory of ministerial responsibility to the Canadian commons, seems to
have fascinated Lord Elgin's mind, and so he "threw a cast" which all
but upset the loyalty of Lower Canada, and caused that of the Upper
Province almost to hesitate for a brief instant.

In Toronto, sympathy with the resentment of the rioters was blended with
a deep sense of the necessity for enforcing law and order. To the
passionate movement in Montreal for annexation to the English race south
of the line, no corresponding sentiment gained a hold in the Upper
Province. And in the subsequent interchange of views between Montreal
and Toronto, which resulted in the convention of the British American
League at Kingston in the following July, it was sternly insisted by
western men, that no breath of disloyalty to the Empire would be for a
moment tolerated here. By the loss of her metropolitan honours which
resulted, Montreal paid a heavy penalty for her mad act of lawlessness.

[Footnote 17: As originally introduced by the Lafontaine-Baldwin
Ministry, the bill recognised no distinction between the claims of men
actually in arms and innocent sufferers, nor was it until the last
reading that a pledge not to compensate actual criminals was wrested
from the Government.]



The Union of all the British American colonies now forming the Dominion
of Canada, was discussed at Quebec as long ago as the year 1815; and at
various times afterwards it came to the surface amid the politics of the
day. The Tories of 1837 were generally favourable to union, while many
Reformers objected to it. Lord Durham's report recommended a general
union of the five Provinces, as a desirable sequel to the proposed union
of Upper and Lower Canada.

But it was not until the passage of the Rebellion Losses Bill, that the
question of a larger confederation began to assume importance. The
British population of Montreal, exasperated at the action of the
Parliament in recognising claims for compensation on the part of the
French Canadian rebels of 1837--that is, on the part of those who had
slain loyalists and ruined their families--were ready to adopt any
means--reasonable or unreasonable--of escaping from the hated domination
of an alien majority. The Rebellion Losses Bill was felt by them to
imply a surrender of all those rights which they and theirs had fought
hard to maintain. Hence the burning of the Parliament buildings by an
infuriated populace. Hence the demand in Montreal for annexation to the
United States. Hence the attack upon Lord Elgin's carriage in the same
city, and the less serious demonstration in Toronto. But wiser men and
cooler politicians saw in the union of all the British-American
Provinces a more constitutional, as well as a more pacific remedy.

The first public meetings of the British American League were held in
Montreal, where the movement early assumed a formal organization;
auxiliary branches rapidly sprang up in almost every city, town and
village throughout Upper Canada, and the Eastern Townships of Lower
Canada. In Toronto, meetings were held at Smith's Hotel, at the corner
of Colborne Street and West Market Square, and were attended by large
numbers, chiefly of the Tory party, but including several known
Reformers. In fact, from first to last, the sympathies of the Reformers
were with the League; and hence there was no serious attempt at a
counter demonstration, notwithstanding that the Government and the
_Globe_ newspaper--at the time--did their best to ridicule and contemn
the proposed union.

The principal speakers at the Toronto meetings were P. M. Vankoughnet,
John W. Gamble, Ogle R. Gowan, David B. Read, E. G. O'Brien, John Duggan
and others. They were warmly supported.

After some correspondence between Toronto and Montreal, it was arranged
that a general meeting of the League, to consist of delegates from all
the town and country branches, formally accredited, should be held at
Kingston, in the new Town Hall, which had been placed at their disposal
by the city authorities. Here, in a lofty, well-lighted and
commodiously-seated hall, the British American League assembled on the
25th day of July, 1849. The number of delegates present was one hundred
and forty, each representing some hundreds of stout yeomen, loyal to the
death, and in intelligence equal to any constituency in the Empire or
the world. The number of people so represented, with their families,
could not have been less than half a million.

The first day was spent in discussion (with closed doors) of the manner
in which the proceedings should be conducted, and in the appointment of
a committee to prepare resolutions for submission on the morrow. On the
26th, accordingly, the public business commenced.[18]

The proceedings were conducted in accordance with parliamentary
practice. The chairman, the Hon. George Moffatt, of Montreal, sat on a
raised platform at the east end of the hall; at a table in front of him
were placed the two secretaries, W. G. Mack, of Montreal, and Wm.
Brooke, of Shipton, C. E. On either side were seated the delegates, and
outside a rail, running transversely across the room, benches were
provided for spectators, of whom a large number attended. A table for
reporters stood on the south side, near the secretaries' table. I was
present both as delegate and reporter.

The business of the day was commenced with prayer, by a clergyman of

Mr. John W. Gamble, of Vaughan, then, as chairman of the committee
nominated the previous day, introduced a series of resolutions, the
first of which was as follows:--

    "That it is essential to the prosperity of the country that the
    tariff should be so proportioned and levied, as to give just and
    adequate protection to the manufacturing and industrial classes
    of the country, and to secure to the agricultural population a
    home market with fair and remunerative prices for all
    descriptions of farm produce."

    Resolutions in favour of economy in public expenditure, of equal
    justice to all classes of the people, and condemnatory of the
    Government in connection with the Rebellion Losses Bill, were
    proposed in turn, and unanimously adopted, after discussions
    extending over two or three days. The principal speakers in
    support of the resolution were J. W. Gamble, Ogle R. Gowan, P.
    M. Vankoughnet, Thos. Wilson, of Quebec, Geo. Crawford, A. A.
    Burnham,--Aikman, John Duggan, Col. Frazer, Geo. Benjamin, and
    John A. Macdonald.

    At length, the main object of the assemblage was reached, and
    embodied in the form of a motion introduced by Mr. Breckenridge,
    of Cobourg.

    That delegates be appointed to consult with similar delegates
    from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, concerning the
    practicability of a union of all the provinces.

    This resolution was adopted unanimously after a full discussion.
    Other resolutions giving effect thereto were passed, and a
    committee appointed to draft an address founded thereon, which
    was issued immediately afterwards.

    On the 1st November following, the League reassembled in the
    City Hall, Toronto, to receive the report of the delegates to
    the Maritime Provinces, which was altogether favourable. It was
    then decided, that the proper course would be to bring the
    subject before the several legislatures through the people's
    representatives; and so the matter rested for the time.

    In consequence of the removal of the seat of government to
    Toronto, I was appointed secretary of the League, with Mr. C. W.
    Cooper as assistant secretary. Meetings of the Executive
    Committee took place from time to time. At one of these Mr. J.
    W. Gamble submitted a resolution, pledging the League to join
    its forces with the extreme radical party represented by Mr.
    Peter Perry and other Reformers, who were dissatisfied with the
    action of the Baldwin-Lafontaine-Hincks administration, and the
    course of the _Globe_ newspaper in sustaining the same. This
    proposition I felt it my duty to oppose, as being unwarranted by
    the committee's powers; it was negatived by a majority of two,
    and never afterwards revived.

I subjoin Mr. Gamble's speech on Protection to Native Industry, reported
by myself for the _Patriot_, July 27, 1849, as a valuable historical
document, which the _Globe_ of that day refused to publish:

    J. W. Gamble, Esq., in rising to support the motion said:--He
    came to this convention to represent the views and opinions of a
    portion of the people of the Home District, and to deliberate
    upon important measures necessary for the good of the country,
    and not to subserve the interests of any party whatever; to
    consider what it was that retarded the onward progress of this
    country in improvement, in wealth, in the arts and amenities of
    life; why we were behind a neighbouring country in so many
    important respects. Unless we made some great change, unless we
    learnt speedily how to overtake that country, it followed in the
    natural course of events that we should be inevitably merged in
    that great republic, which he (Mr. G.) wished to avoid. The
    political questions which would engage the attention of the
    convention, embracing gross violations of our constitution and
    involving momentous consequences, were yet of small importance
    when compared with the great question of protection to native
    industry. A perusal of the statutes enacted by the Parliament of
    Great Britain from the time of the conquest of Canada to the
    abolition of the corn laws, for the regulation of the commercial
    intercourse of this colony, leads to the unavoidable conviction,
    that the first object of the framers of those statutes was to
    protect and advance the interests of the people of England and
    such of them as might temporarily resort to the colony for the
    purpose of trade; and that when their tendency was to promote
    colonial interests, that tendency was more incidental than their
    chief purpose. That such a course of legislation was to be
    expected in the outset it was but reasonable to suppose, and
    that a continuation of enactments in the same spirit should be
    suffered by the British Canadians, with but few and feeble
    remonstrances on their part, might be accounted for and even
    anticipated when we remember the material of which a large
    portion of the original population of Canada was composed. Ten
    thousand U. E. Loyalists had emigrated from the United States
    to Upper Canada in 1783, rather than surrender their allegiance
    to the British throne; their enthusiastic attachment to the
    Crown of Great Britain had made them ever prone to sacrifice
    their own, to what had been improperly termed the _interests of
    the empire_. He (Mr. G.) was himself a grandson of one of those
    U. E. Loyalists, and might be said to have imbibed his British
    feelings with his mother's milk. He remembered the time well,
    when the utterance of a word disrespectful of the Sovereign was
    looked upon as an insult to be resented on the spot. Remembering
    all this, and that these same people, Canada's earliest
    settlers, rather than live under a foreign government, though
    the people of that government were their own countrymen, yea,
    their very kinsmen and relatives--that they had forsaken their
    cultivated farms, their lands and possessions, to take up their
    abode with their families in a wilderness; remembering these
    circumstances, it need excite no surprise that the old colonial
    commercial system was allowed to continue without any very
    weighty remonstrance from the colonists, until it expired in
    Britain's free trade policy. Although that same system,
    primarily intended for Britain's benefit, was not calculated to
    advance the settlement, the improvement, or the wealth of
    Canada, with equal rapidity to that of the adjoining country,
    whose inhabitants enacted their own commercial regulations with
    a view to their own immediate benefit and without reference to
    that of others. The United States had legislated solely for
    their own interests. Our commercial legislation, instead of
    consulting exclusively our good, had been directed for the
    benefit of England. If that same policy were continued
    hereafter, to overtake our neighbours would be hopeless, and he
    reiterated that the consequences would be fatal to our connexion
    with Great Britain.

    We must protect the industry of our country. The people of this
    country surely are the first entitled to the benefits of the
    markets of their country. He had been brought up a commercial
    man, and until lately held to the free trade principles of
    commercial men. From his youth, Smith's "Wealth of Nations" had
    been almost as familiar to him as his Catechism, and was
    regarded with almost equal deference; but practical experience
    had of late forced upon him the conviction, that that beautiful
    theory was not borne out by corresponding benefits; he had
    looked at its practical results, and was constrained to
    acknowledge, in spite of early predilections, that that theory
    was a fallacy. He had adopted the views of the American
    Protectionists as those most consonant with sound reason and
    common sense. Their arguments he looked upon as unanswerable;
    with them he believed that economists and free trade advocates
    had overlooked three principles which to him appeared like
    economic laws of nature, and the disregard of which alone was
    sufficient to account for the present position of our country.
    They say, and he believed with them, that the earth, the only
    source of all production, requires the refuse of its products to
    be returned to its soil, or productiveness diminishes and
    eventually ceases. That the expense of carriage to distant
    markets not only wastes the manure of animals on the road, but
    that the expenses of freight and commissions, of charges to
    carriers and exchangers, are in themselves a _waste_, avoided by
    a home market whenever the _consumer_ is not separated from the
    _producer_; and that those productions fitted for distant
    markets, such as wheat and other grains, are only _yielded by
    bushels_, while those adapted for the use of the home consumer,
    and unsuited for distant transportation, as potatoes, turnips,
    cabbages, are yielded by tons. These were facts well worthy the
    attention of our agriculturists--eight-tenths of our whole
    population--and which could not be too often or too plainly
    placed before them. It is essential to the prosperity of every
    agricultural country that the consumer should be placed side by
    side with the producer, the loom and anvil side by side with
    the plough and harrow. The truth of these principles is well
    known in England, and practically carried out there by her
    agriculturists every day. She possesses within herself unlimited
    stores of lime, chalk and marl, besides animal manures, valued
    in McQueen's Statistics in 1840 at nearly sixty millions of
    pounds, more than the then value of the whole of her cotton
    manufactures. Yet England employs whole fleets in conveying
    manure, guano and animal bones to her shores; yes, has ransacked
    the whole habitable globe for materials to enrich her fields,
    and yet, forsooth, her economists and hosts of other writers
    would fain persuade all nations and make the world believe, that
    all countries are to be enriched by sending their food, their
    raw produce, their wheat, their rye, their barley, their oats
    and their grains to her market, to be eaten upon her ground,
    which thus receives the benefit of the refuse of the food of
    man, while that of animals employed in its carriage is wasted on
    the road, and the grower's profits are reduced by freight to her
    ship-owners and commission to her merchants. Behold the
    inconsistency, behold the practice of England and the preaching
    of England; behold how it is exemplified in the countries most
    closely in connection with her: look at Portugal, "our ancient
    ally." By the famous Methuen treaty she surrendered her
    manufactures for a market for her wines, and thus separated the
    _producer_ from the consumer. From that hour Portugal declined,
    and is now--what?--the least among the nations of the earth.
    Next, let us direct our attention to the West India Islands.
    They do not even refine their own sugar, but import what they
    consume of that article from England, whither they send the raw
    material from which it is made, in order, he supposed, to enrich
    the British ship-owner with two voyages across the Atlantic, and
    the British refiner in England, instead of bringing him and his
    property within their own islands. Such is their commercial
    policy; and with free trade the West India planter has been
    ruined, the prospects of the country are blighted, and discord
    and discontent pervade the land. Next comes the East Indies:
    partial free trade with England has destroyed her manufactures.
    He (Mr. G.) could well recollect when Indian looms supplied the
    nation with cottons; here in Canada they were the only cottons
    used: he appealed to the chairman, who could corroborate his
    statement, and must remember the Salampores and Baftas of India.
    But Arkwright's invention of the spinning jenny enabled England
    to import the raw material from India, and send back the
    finished article better and cheaper than the native operatives
    could furnish it. It was forced into their markets in spite of
    their earnest protests, which only sought for the imposition on
    British goods in India of like duties to those levied upon
    Indian products in Britain, and which was denied them. Now, mark
    the result. The agriculture of India is impoverished, many
    tracts of her richest soil have relapsed into jungle, and both
    her import and export trade are now in a most unsatisfactory
    state--at least so says the "Economist," the best free trade
    journal in England. India was prosperous while clothed in
    fabrics the work of her own people. What country can compare
    with her in the richness of her raw products? But England forced
    her to separate the producer and consumer, and bitter
    fruits--the inevitable results of the breach of that economic
    law of nature which requires they should be placed side by
    side--have been the consequence. Turn next to Nova Scotia, New
    Brunswick and our own Canada. Are those countries in a
    prosperous condition? (No, No!) Are we prosperous in Canada? The
    meeting of this convention tells another story. Canada exports
    the sweat of her sons; she sends to England her wheat, her
    flour, her timber, and other raw produce, the product of manual
    labour, and receives in return England's cottons, woollens and
    hardwares, the product of labour-saving, self-acting and
    inexpensive machinery. We separate the consumer and the
    producer; we seek in distant markets a reward for our labour; it
    is denied us, and this suicidal policy must exist no longer.
    Behold its effects in our currency; not a dollar in specie can
    we retain, unless it is circulated at a greater value than it
    bears in the countries of our indebtedness, while our government
    is obliged to issue shin-plasters to eke out its revenue. The
    true policy for Canada is to consult her own interests, as the
    people of the United States have consulted theirs, irrespective
    of the interests of any other country. Leave others to take care
    of themselves. Our present system has inundated us with English
    and Foreign manufactures, and has swept away all the products of
    our soil, all the products of our forests, all the capital
    brought into the country by emigration, all the money expended
    by the British Government for military purposes, and leaves us
    poor enough. Why does not Canada prosper equally with the
    adjacent republic? He had often asked the question. "Oh, the
    Americans have more enterprise, more capital, and more
    emigration than Canada," is the universal answer. It is true,
    these are causes of prosperity in the Union, but they are
    secondary causes only; in the first instance, they are effects,
    the legitimate effects of her commercial code, which protects
    the industry of her citizens, stimulates enterprise and largely
    rewards labour. Why does the poor western emigrant leave
    Canada?--because in the union he gets better reward for his
    labour. * * * * This was strictly a labour question. He desired
    not to see the wages of labour reduced until a man's unremitting
    toil procured barely sufficient for the supply of his animal
    wants--he desired to behold our labourers, mechanics, and
    operatives a well fed, well clothed and well educated part of
    the community. The country must support its labour; is it not
    then far preferable to support it in the position of an
    independent, intelligent body, than as a mass of paupers--you
    may bring it down, down, down, until, as in Ireland, the man
    will be forced to do his daily work for his daily potatoes. He
    had forgotten Ireland, a case just in point; she exports to
    England vast quantities of food, of raw produce--who has not
    heard in the English markets of Irish wheat, Irish oats, Irish
    pork, beef and butter. Ireland has but few manufactures--she has
    separated the producer and consumer, and has reaped the
    consequence of exporting her food, in poverty, wretchedness and
    rags. Ireland has denied the earth the refuse of its
    productions, and the earth has cast out her sons. Ask the
    reason--it is the con-acre system, says one; it is the absentee
    landlords, says another. But if the absenteeism invariably
    produced such results, why is it not the case in Scotland?
    Scotland, since the union, has doubled, trebled, aye, quadrupled
    her wealth, he knew not how often. Since the union, Scotland
    exports but little food, the food produced by the soil is there
    consumed upon the soil, and to her absentee landlords, she pays
    the rent of that soil in the produce of her looms and her
    furnaces. This led him to consider the policy of those countries
    that support the greatest number of human beings in proportion
    to their area. First, Belgium, the battle field of Europe; that
    country had suffered immeasurably from the effects of war, yet
    her people were always prosperous, quiet and contented, amid the
    convulsions of Europe, for there the consumer and producer were
    side by side. In Normandy, China, the North of England, and
    South of Scotland, in the Eastern States, the same system
    prevailed. The speaker that preceded him (Mr. Gowan), had said
    that under the present system we were led to speculate in human
    blood, upon the chance of European wars; it was too true, it was
    horrible to contemplate; but he would say, was it not more
    horrible still, to speculate upon the chance of famine? Had we
    never looked, never hoped, for a famine in Ireland, England or
    the continent of Europe, that we might increase our store
    thereby!!! put money in our pockets!!! to such dreadful shifts,
    dreadful to reflect upon, had the disregard of the great
    principle he had enunciated reduced us. The proper remedy was to
    protect our native industry, to protect it from the surplus
    products of the industry of other countries--surplus products
    sold in our markets without any reference to the cost of
    production. Manufacturers look at home consumption in the first
    place for their profits; that market being filled, they do not
    force off their surplus among their own people--that might
    injure their credit, or permanently lower the value of their
    manufactures at home. They send their surplus abroad to sell for
    what it will bring. Another view of the question was, that in
    the exchanging produce for foreign manufactures, one half of the
    commodities is raised by native industry and capital, and one
    half by foreign. One half goes to promote native industry and
    capital, and the other half foreign industry and capital, but if
    the exchange is made at home, it stands to common sense, that
    all the commodities are raised by native industry and capital,
    and the benefit of the barter if retained _at home_, to promote
    and support them. Where the raw material produced in any country
    is worked up in that country, the difference between the value
    of the material and the finished article is retained in the

       *     *     *     *     *

He would be met, he supposed, with a stale objection that protection is
a tax imposed for the benefit of one class upon the rest of the
community. Never was any assertion more fallacious. Admitting that the
value of an article was enhanced by protection, which he (Mr. G.) did
not admit, the rest of the community were benefited a thousand fold by
that very protection; for instance, if a farmer paid a little more for
his coat, was he not doubly, quadruply compensated for his wool, to say
nothing of the market, also at his own door, for his potatoes, turnips,
cabbages, eggs, and milk. But he denied that increase of price
invariably followed a protective policy; that policy furnished the
manufacturer a market at home _for quantity and quantity only_, while
home competition, stimulated by a system securing a fair reward for
industrial pursuits, soon brought down the manufactured article as low
as it ought to be. He might be answered, your system will destroy our
foreign trade altogether. The fact was the very reverse; the saving made
by home consumption of food and raw produce on the soil where it was
grown, to the producer, enabled that producer to purchase a greater
quantity of articles brought from a distance, and made him a greater
consumer of those very articles than when the value of the produce of
his own farm was diminished by carriage to, and by charges in a distant
market. He had now in his possession statistical tables of the United
States, for successive periods, sufficient to convince the most
sceptical, that during the periods their manufacturers had been most
strongly protected, the average prices of such manufactures had been
less, while the amount of imported goods had exceeded that of similar
periods under low duties. Mr. Gowan had alluded to a case in which the
very sand of the opposite shore was turned into a source of wealth by a
glass manufactory, and also to the rocks of New Hampshire. He had also
visited the Eastern States, and was delighted with the industry, the
economy and intelligence of the people; but as to the country, he
believed it would be a hard matter to induce a Canadian to take up his
abode among its granite rocks and ice, yet those very rocks and that ice
were by that thrifty people converted into wealth, and formed no small
item in their resources.

Such are the results, the legitimate results of a protective policy, but
the United States have not always followed that policy. The revolution
did not do away with their prejudices in favour of British goods; for a
long period after, nothing would go down but British cloths, cottons,
and hardware. Then came the war of 1812, which showed them that they
were but nominally independent while other nations supplied their
wants; the war forced them to manufacture for themselves. After that
war, excepting in some coarse goods, low _ad valorem_ duties were
imposed; the consequence was, a general prostration of the manufacturing
interests, followed by low prices in all agricultural staples. In 1824
recourse was again had to protection; national prosperity was soon
visible; but why should he further detail the experiments made by that
country? Suffice it to say, three times was the trial of free trade
made, and three times had they to retrace their steps and return to the
protective system, now so successfully in operation. England herself,
with above one hundred millions of unprotected subjects, now declares
the partially protected United States her best customer; in 1844 the
amount of her exports to that country was eight millions, a sum equal to
the whole of her exports to all her colonies. In 1846 the amount of
cotton goods imported into the United States was one-fifth of their
whole consumption, the amount of woollens likewise a fifth, and the
amount of iron imported one-eighth of the entire quantity consumed. What
proportion our importation of these articles in Canada bears to our
consumption he had not been able to ascertain; but his conviction was,
that if we adopted a similar commercial policy to that of the United
States, the time would come when we should only import one-fifth of our
cottons, one-fifth of our woollens, one-eighth of our iron; and when
that time did come, and not till then, might we hope to cast our eye
upon our republican neighbour without envying her greater prosperity.

[Footnote 18: Although no notice of the annexation movement in Montreal
was taken publicly at the meeting, it was well known that in the
discussions with closed doors, all violence, and all tendencies towards
disloyalty were utterly condemned and repudiated. The best possible
testimony on this point is contained in the following extract from the
Kingston correspondence of the _Globe_ newspaper, of July 31st, 1849,
the perusal of which now must, I think, rather astonish the well-known
writer himself, should he happen to cast his eye upon these pages:

"The British Anglo-Saxons of Lower Canada will be most miserably
disappointed in the League. They have held lately that they owed no
allegiance to the crown of England, even if they did not go for
annexation. _The League is loyal to the backbone_; many of the Lower
Canadians are Free Traders, at least they look to Free Trade with the
United States as the great means for promoting the prosperity of the
Province--_the League is strong for protection as the means of reviving
our trade_. * * * * Will the old Tory compact party, with protection and
vested rights as its cry, ever raise its head in Upper Canada again,
think you?"]



The very brief summary which I have been able to give in the preceding
chapter, may suffice to show, as I have desired to do, that no lack of
progressiveness, no lack of patriotism, no lack of energy on great
public occasions, is justly chargeable against Canadian Tories. I could
produce page after page of extracts, in proof that the objects of the
League were jeered at and condemned by the Reform press, led by the
_Globe_ newspaper. But in that instance stance Mr. George Brown was
deserted by his own party. I spoke at the time with numbers of Reformers
who entirely sympathized with us; and it was not long before we had our
triumph, which was in the year 1864, when the Hon. George Brown and the
Hon. John A. Macdonald clasped hands together, for the purpose of
forming an administration expressly pledged to effect the union of the
five Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
and Prince Edward Island.

In the importance of the object, the number and intelligence of the
actors, and, above all, in the determined earnestness of every man
concerned, the meetings of the British American League may well claim
to rank with those famous gatherings of the people, which have marked
great eras in the world's progress both in ancient and modern times. In
spite of every effort to dwarf its importance, and even to ignore its
existence, the British American League fulfilled its mission.

By the action of the League, was Canada lifted into a front rank amongst
progressive peoples.

By the action of the League, the day was hastened, when our rivers, our
lakes, our canals, our railroads, shall constitute the great highway
from Europe to Eastern Asia and Australasia.

By the action of the League, a forward step was taken towards that great
future of the British race, which is destined to include in its
heaven-directed mission, the whole world--east, west, north and south!



My first step in public life was in 1848. I had leased from the heirs of
the late Major Hartney (who had been barrack-master of York during its
siege and capture by the American forces under Generals Pike and
Dearborn in 1813) his house on Wellington street, opposite the rear of
Bishop Strachan's palace. I thus became a resident ratepayer of the ward
of St. George, and in that capacity contested the representation of the
ward as councilman, in opposition to the late Ezekiel F. Whittemore,
whose American antecedents rendered him unpopular just then. As neither
Mr. Whittemore nor myself resorted to illegitimate means of influencing
votes, we speedily became fast friends--a friendship which lasted until
his death. I was defeated after a close contest. Before the end of the
year, however, Mr. Whittemore resigned his seat in the council and
offered me his support, so that I was elected councilman in his stead,
and held the seat as councilman, and afterwards as alderman,
continuously until 1854, when I removed to Carlton, on the Davenport
Road, five miles north-west of the city. The electors have since told me
that I taught them how to vote without bribery, and certainly I never
purchased a vote. My chief outlay arose from a custom--not bad, as I
think--originated by the late Alderman Wakefield, of providing a hearty
English dinner at the expense of the successful candidates, at the
Shades Hotel, in which the candidates and voters on both sides were wont
to participate. Need I add, that the company was jovial, and the toasts
effusively loyal.

The members of the council, when I took my seat, were: George Gurnett,
Mayor, who had been conspicuous as an officer of the City Guard in
1837-38; aldermen, G. Duggan, jr., Geo. P. Ridout, Geo. W. Allan, R.
Dempsey, Thos. Bell, Jno. Bell, Q.C., Hon. H. Sherwood, Q.C., Robt.
Beard, Jas. Beatty, Geo. T. Denison, jr., and Wm. A. Campbell; also,
councilmen Thos. Armstrong, Jno. Ritchey, W. Davis, Geo. Coulter, Jas.
Ashfield, R. James, jr., Edwin Bell, Samuel Platt, Jno. T. Smith, Jno.
Carr and Robt. B. Denison. My own name made up the twenty-four that then
constituted the council. The city officers were: Chas. Daly, clerk; A.
T. McCord, chamberlain; Clarke Gamble, solicitor; Jno. G. Howard,
engineer; Geo. L. Allen, chief of police; Jno. Kidd, governor of jail;
and Robt. Beard, chief engineer of fire brigade.

During the years 1850, '1, '2 and '3, I had for colleagues, in addition
to those of the above who were re-elected: aldermen John G. Bowes, Hon.
J. H. Cameron, Q.C., R. Kneeshaw, Wm. Wakefield, E. F. Whittemore, Jno.
B. Robinson, Jos. Sheard, Geo. Brooke, J. M. Strachan, Jno. Hutchison,
Wm. H. Boulton, John Carr, S. Shaw, Jas. Beaty, Samuel Platt, E. H.
Rutherford, Angus Morrison, Ogle R. Gowan, M. P. Hayes, Wm. Gooderham
and Hon. Wm. Cayley; and councilmen Jonathan Dunn, Jno. Bugg, Adam
Beatty, D. C. Maclean, Edw. Wright, Jas. Price, Kivas Tully, Geo. Platt,
Chas. E. Romain, R. C. McMullen, Jos. Lee, Alex. Macdonald, Samuel
Rogers, F. C. Capreol, Samuel T. Green, Wm. Hall, Robert Dodds, Thos.
McConkey and Jas. Baxter.

The great majority of these men were persons of high character and
standing, with whom it was both a privilege and a pleasure to work; and
the affairs of the city were, generally speaking, honestly and
disinterestedly administered. Many of my old colleagues still fill
conspicuous positions in the public service, while others have died full
of years and honours.

My share of the civic service consisted principally in doing most of the
hard work, in which I took a delight, and found my colleagues remarkably
willing to cede to me. All the city buildings were re-erected or
improved under my direct charge, as chairman of the Market Block and
Market committees. The St. Lawrence Hall, St. Lawrence Market, City
Hall, St. Patrick's Market, St. Andrew's Market, the Weigh-House, were
all constructed in my time. And lastly, the original contract for the
esplanade was negotiated by the late Ald. W. Gooderham and myself, as
active members of the Wharves and Harbours committee. The by-laws for
granting £25,000 to the Northern Railway, and £100,000 to the Toronto &
Guelph Railway, were both introduced and carried through by me, as
chairman of the Finance committee, in 1853.

The old market was a curiously ugly and ill-contrived erection. Low
brick shops surrounded three sides of the square, with cellars used for
slaughtering sheep and calves; the centre space was paved with rubble
stones, and was rarely free from heaps of cabbage leaves, bones and
skins. The old City Hall formed the fourth or King Street side, open
underneath for fruit and other stalls. The owners of imaginary vested
rights in the old stalls raised a small rebellion when their dirty
purlieus were invaded; and the decision of the Council, to rent the new
stalls by public auction to avoid charges of favouritism, brought
matters to a climax. On the Saturday evening when the new arcade and
market were lighted with gas and opened to the public, the Market
committee walked through from King to Front Street to observe the
effect. The indignation of the butchers took the form of closing all
their shutters, and as a last expression of contempt nailing thereon
miserable shanks of mutton! Dire as this omen was meant to be, it does
not seem to have prevented the St. Lawrence Market from being a credit
to the city ever since.

There is a historical incident connected with the old market, of a very
tragic character. One day towards the latter end of 1837, William Lyon
Mackenzie held there a political meeting to denounce the Family Compact.
There was a wooden gallery round the square, the upright posts of which
were full of sharp hooks, used by the butchers to expose their meat for
sale, as were also the cross beams from post to post. A considerable
number of people--from three to four hundred--were present, and the
great agitator spoke from an auctioneer's desk placed near the western
stalls. Many young men of Tory families, as well as Orangemen and their
party allies, attended to hear the speeches. In the midst of the
excitement--applauding or derisive, according to the varying feelings of
the crowd--the iron stays of the balcony gave way and precipitated
numbers to the ground. Two or three were caught on the meat-hooks, and
one--young Fitzgibbon, a son of Col. Fitzgibbon who afterwards commanded
at Gallows Hill--was killed. Others were seriously wounded, amongst whom
was Charles Daly, then stationer, and afterwards city clerk, whose leg
was broken in the fall. I well remember seeing him carried into his own
shop insensible, and supposed to be fatally hurt.

The routine of city business does not afford much occasion for
entertaining details, and I shall therefore only trouble my readers with
notices of the principal civic events to which I was a party, from 1849
to 1853.



On the 9th day of October, 1849, Lord Elgin made his second public entry
into Toronto. The announcement of his intention to do so, communicated
to the mayor, Geo. Gurnett, Esq., by letter signed by his lordship's
brother and secretary, Col. Bruce, raised a storm of excitement in the
city, which was naturally felt in the city council. The members were
almost to a man Tories, a large proportion of whom had served as
volunteers in 1837-8. The more violent insisted upon holding His
Excellency personally responsible for the payment of rebels for losses
arising out of the rebellion in Lower Canada; while moderate men
contended, that as representative of the Queen, the Governor-General
should be received with respect and courtesy at least, if not with
enthusiasm. So high did party feeling run, that inflammatory placards
were posted about the streets, calling on all loyal men to oppose His
Excellency's entrance, as an encourager and abettor of treason. A
special meeting of the council was summoned in consequence, for
September 13th, at which the Hon. Henry Sherwood, member for the city,
moved a resolution declaring the determination of the council to repress
all violence, whether of word or deed, which was carried by a large

The draft of an address which had been prepared by a committee of the
citizens, and another by Ald. G. T. Denison, were considered at a
subsequent meeting of the council held on the 17th, and strongly
objected to--the first as too adulatory, the second as too political. As
I had the readiest pen in the council, and was in the habit of helping
members on both sides to draft their ideas in the form of resolutions,
the mayor requested me to prepare an address embodying the general
feelings of the members. I accordingly did so to the best of my ability,
and succeeded in writing one which might express the loyalty of the
citizens, without committing them to an approval of the conduct of the
Hincks-Taché government in carrying through Parliament the Rebellion
Losses Bill. The other addresses having been either defeated or
withdrawn, I submitted mine, which was carried by a majority of
seventeen to four. And thus was harmony restored.

His Excellency arrived on the appointed day, being the 9th of October.
The weather was beautiful, and the city was alive with excitement, not
unmingled with apprehension. Lieut.-Col. and Ald. G. T. Denison had
volunteered the services of the Governor-General's Body Guard, which
were graciously accepted. A numerous cortege of officials and prominent
citizens met and accompanied the Vice-regal party from the Yonge St.
wharf to Ellah's Hotel, on King St. west. As they were proceeding up
Yonge street, one or two rotten eggs were thrown at the
Governor-General's carriage, by men who were immediately arrested.

On arriving at Ellah's Hotel, His Excellency took his stand on the
porch, where the City Address was presented, which with the reply I give
in full:--


_To His Excellency the Right Hon. James Earl of Elgin and Kincardine,
Governor-General, &c., &c._

    May it Please Your Excellency,

    We, the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the City of Toronto,
    in Common Council assembled, beg leave to approach Your
    Excellency as the representative of our Most Gracious and
    beloved Sovereign, with renewed assurances of our attachment and
    devotion to Her Majesty's person and government.

    We will not conceal from Your Excellency, that great diversity
    of opinion, and much consequent excitement, exists among us on
    questions connected with the political condition of the
    Province; but we beg to assure Your Excellency, that however
    warmly the citizens of Toronto may feel on such subjects, they
    will be prepared on all occasions to demonstrate their high
    appreciation of the blessings of the British Constitution, by
    according to the Governor-General of this Province that respect
    and consideration which are no less due to his exalted position,
    than to the well tried loyalty and decorum which have ever
    distinguished the inhabitants of this peaceful and flourishing

    The City of Toronto has not escaped the commercial depression
    which has for some time so generally prevailed. We trust,
    however, that the crisis is now past, and that the abundant
    harvest with which a kind Providence has blessed us, will ere
    long restore the commerce of the country to a healthy tone.

    We watch with lively interest the prospect which the completion
    of our great water communications with the ocean, will open to
    us; and we fervently hope that the extension of trade thus
    opened to Her Majesty's North American Provinces will tend to
    strengthen the union between these Provinces and the Parent

    We congratulate Your Excellency and Lady Elgin upon the birth of
    an heir to Your Excellency's house; and we truly sympathise with
    Her Ladyship upon her present delicate and weak state, and
    venture to hope that her tour through Upper Canada will have the
    effect of restoring her to the enjoyment of perfect health.


    Gentlemen,--I receive with much satisfaction the assurance of
    your attachment and devotion to Her Majesty's person and

    That the diversities of opinion which exist among you, on
    questions connected with the political condition of the
    Province, should be attended with much excitement, is greatly to
    be regretted, and I fully appreciate the motives which induce
    you at the present time, to call my attention to the fact. I am
    willing, nevertheless, to believe that however warmly the
    citizens of Toronto may feel on such subjects, they will be
    prepared, on all occasions, to demonstrate their high
    appreciation of the blessings of the British Constitution, by
    according to the Governor-General that respect and consideration
    which are no less due to his position than to their own
    well-tried loyalty and decorum.

    It is my firm conviction, moreover, that the inhabitants of
    Canada, generally, are averse to agitation, and that all
    communities as well as individuals, who aspire to take a lead in
    the affairs of the Province, will best fit themselves for that
    high avocation, by exhibiting habitually in their demeanour, the
    love of order and of peaceful progress.

    I have observed with much anxiety and concern the commercial
    depression from which the City of Toronto, in common with other
    important towns in the Province, has of late so seriously
    suffered. I trust, however, with you, that the crisis is now
    past, and that the abundant harvest, with which a kind
    Providence has blessed the country, will ere long restore its
    commerce to a healthy tone.

    The completion of your water communications with the ocean must
    indeed be watched with a lively interest by all who have at
    heart the welfare of Canada and the continuance of the
    connection so happily subsisting between the Province and the
    Parent State. These great works have undoubtedly been costly,
    and the occasion of some financial embarrassment while in
    progress. But I firmly believe that the investment you have made
    in them has been judicious, and that you have secured thereby
    for your children, and your children's children, an inheritance
    that will not fail them so long as the law of nature endures
    which causes the waters of your vast inland seas to seek an
    outlet to the ocean.

    I am truly obliged to you for the congratulations which you
    offer me on the birth of my son, and for the kind interest which
    you express in Lady Elgin's health: I am happy to be able to
    inform you, that she has already derived much benefit from her
    sojourn in Upper Canada.

As not a little fictitious history has been woven out of these events, I
shall call in evidence here the _Globe_ newspaper of the 11th, the
following day, in which I find this editorial paragraph:--

    "It is seldom we have had an opportunity of speaking in terms of
    approbation of our civic authorities, but we cannot but express
    our high sense of the manly, independent manner in which all
    have done their duty on this occasion. The grand jury[19] is
    chiefly composed of Conservatives, the Mayor, Aldermen and the
    police are all Conservatives, but no men could have carried out
    more fearlessly their determination to maintain order in the

Of all the Governors-General who have been sent out to Canada, Lord
Elgin was by far the best fitted, by personal suavity of manners,
eloquence in speech, and readiness in catching the tone of his hearers,
to tide over a stormy political crisis. He had not been long in Toronto
before his praises rang from every tongue, even the most embittered.
Americans who came in contact with him, went away charmed with his
flattering attentions.

[Footnote 19: The grand jury, who happened to be in session, had
presented some thirteen young men as parties to an attempt to create a
riot. Some months afterwards, the persons accused were brought to trial,
and three of them found guilty and sentenced to short terms of



The number of citizens is becoming few indeed, who remember Toronto Bay
when its natural surroundings were still undefaced and its waters pure
and pellucid. From the French Fort to the Don River, curving gently in a
circular sweep, under a steep bank forty feet high covered with
luxuriant forest trees, was a narrow sandy beach used as a pleasant
carriage-drive, much frequented by those residents who could boast
private conveyances. A wooden bridge spanned the Don, and the road was
continued thence, still under the shade of umbrageous trees, almost to
Gibraltar Point on the west, and past Ashbridge's Bay eastward. At that
part of the peninsula, forming the site of the present east entrance,
the ground rose at least thirty feet above high-water mark, and was
crested with trees. Those trees and that bank were destroyed through the
cupidity of city builders, who excavated the sand and brought it away in
barges to be used in making mortar. This went on unchecked till about
the year 1848, when a violent storm--almost a tornado--from the east
swept across the peninsula, near Ashbridge's Bay, where it had been
denuded of sand nearly to the ordinary level of the water. This aroused
public attention to the danger of further neglect.

The harbour had been for some years under the charge of a Board of
Commissioners, of which the chairman was nominated by the Government,
two members by the City Council, and two by the Board of Trade. The
Government, through the chairman, exercised of course the chief control
of the harbour and of the harbour dues.

In the spring of 1849, the chairman of the Harbour Commission was Col.
J. G. Chewett, a retired officer I think of the Royal Engineers; the
other members were Ald. Geo. W. Allan and myself, representing the City
Council; Messrs. Thos. D. Harris, hardware merchant, and Jno. G. Worts,
miller, nominees of the Board of Trade. I well remember accompanying
Messrs. Allan, Harris and Worts round the entire outer beach, on wheels
and afoot, and a very pleasant trip it was. The waters on retiring had
left a large pool at the place where they had crossed, but no actual gap
then existed. Our object was to observe the extent of the mischief, and
to adopt a remedy if possible. Among the several plans submitted was one
by Mr. Sandford Fleming, for carrying out into the water a number of
groynes or jetties, so as to intercept the soil washed down from the
Scarboro' heights, and thus gradually widen the peninsula as well as
resist the further erasion of the existing beach. At a subsequent
meeting of the Harbour Commission, this suggestion was fully discussed.
The chairman, who was much enfeebled by age and ill-health, resented
angrily the interference of non-professional men, and refused even to
put a motion on the subject. Thereupon, Mr. Allan, who was as zealously
sanguine as Col. Chewett was the reverse, offered to pay the whole cost
of the groynes out of his own pocket. Still the chairman continued
obdurate, and became so offensive in his remarks, that the proposition
was abandoned in disgust.[20]

In following years, the breach recurred again and again, until it
produced an established gap. Efforts were made at various times to have
the gap closed, but always defeated by the influence of eastern property
owners, who contended that a free current through the Bay was necessary
to the health of the east end of the city. The only thing accomplished
from 1849 to 1853, was the establishment of buoys at the western
entrance of the harbour, and a lighthouse and guide light on the Queen's
wharf; also the employment of dredges in deepening the channel between
the wharf and the buoys, in which Mr. T. D. Harris took a lively
interest, and did great service to the mercantile community.

Beyond the erection of wharves at several points, no attempt was made to
change the shore line until 1853, when it became necessary to settle the
mode in which the Northern and Grand Trunk Railways should enter the
city. An esplanade had been determined upon so long ago as 1838; and in
1840 a by-law was passed by the City Council, making it a condition of
all water-lot leases, that the lessees should construct their own
portion of the work. In May, 1852, the first active step was taken by
notifying lessees that their covenants would be enforced. The Mayor,
John G. Bowes, having reported to the Council that he had made verbal
application to members of the government at Quebec, for a grant of the
water-lots west of Simcoe Street, then under the control of the
Respective Officers of Her Majesty's Ordnance in Upper Canada, a formal
memorial applying for those lots was adopted and transmitted

The Committee on Wharves, Harbours, etc., for 1852, consisted of the
Mayor, Councilmen Tully and Lee, with myself as chairman. We were
actively engaged during the latter half of the year and the following
spring, in negotiations with the Northern and Grand Trunk Railway
boards, in making surveys and obtaining suggestions for the work of the
Esplanade, and in carrying through Parliament the necessary legislation.
Messrs. J. G. Howard, city engineer; William Thomas, architect; and
Walter Shanly, chief engineer of the Grand Trunk Railway, were severally
employed to prepare plans and estimates; and no pains were spared to get
the best advice from all quarters. The Mayor was indefatigable on behalf
of the city's interests, and to him undoubtedly, is mainly due the
success of the Council in obtaining the desired grant from Government,
both of the water-lots and the peninsula.

The chairman of the Committee on Wharves and Harbours, etc., for 1853,
was the late Alderman W. Gooderham, a thoroughly respected and
respectable citizen, who took the deepest interest in the subject. I
acted with and for him on all occasions, preparing reports for the
Council, and even went so far as to calculate minutely from the
soundings the whole details of excavation, filling in, breastwork, etc.,
in order to satisfy myself that the interests of the city were duly

In September, 1853, tenders for the work were received from numerous
parties, and subjected to rigorous examination, the opinions of citizens
being freely taken thereon. In the meantime, it was necessary, before
closing the contract, to obtain authority from the Government with
respect to the western water lots, and I was sent to Quebec for that
purpose, in which, but for the influence of the Grand Trunk Company, and
of Messrs. Gzowski & Macpherson, I might have failed. The Hon. Mr.
Hincks, then premier, received me rather brusquely at first, and it was
not until he was thoroughly satisfied that the railway interests were
fairly consulted, that I made much progress with him. I did succeed,
however, and brought back with me all necessary powers both as to the
water lots and the peninsula.

Finally, the tender of Messrs. Gzowski & Co. was very generally judged
to be most for the interests of the city. They offered to allow £10,000
for the right of way for the Grand Trunk Railway along the Esplanade;
and engaged for the same sum to erect five bridges, with brick abutments
and stone facings, to be built on George, Church, Yonge, Bay, and either
York or Simcoe Streets, to the wharves.[21] The contract also provided
that the cribwork should be of sufficient strength to carry stone facing

When canvassing St. George's Ward in December, 1852, for re-election as
alderman, I told my constituents that nothing but my desire to complete
the Esplanade arrangements could induce me to sacrifice my own business
interests by giving up more than half my time for another year: and it
was with infinite satisfaction that on the 4th of January, 1854--the
last week but one of my term in the Council--I saw the Esplanade
contract "signed, sealed and delivered" in the presence of the Wharves
and Harbours Committee. On the 11th January, a report of the same
committee, recommending the appointment of a proper officer to take
charge of the peninsula, and put a stop to the removal of sand, was
adopted in Council.

I heartily wish that my reminiscences of the Esplanade contract could
end here. I ceased to have any connection with it, officially or
otherwise; but in 1854, an agitation was commenced within the Council
and out of doors, the result of which was, the cancellation by mutual
consent of the contract made with Messrs. Gzowski & Co., and the making
a new contract with other parties, by which it was understood the city
lost money to the tune of some $50,000, while Messrs. Gzowski & Co.
benefited to the extent of at least $16,000, being the difference
between the rates of wages in 1853 and 1855. The five bridges were set
aside, to which circumstance is due the unhappy loss of life by which we
have all been shocked of late years. Of the true cause of all these
painful consequences, I shall treat in my next chapter.

[Footnote 20: After I had left the Council, the question of harbour
preservation was formally taken up at Mayor Allan's instance, and three
premiums offered for the best reports on the subject. The first prize
was adjudged to the joint report of Mr. Sandford Fleming and Mr. H. Y.
Hind, in which the system of groynes was recommended. The reports were
printed, but the Council--did nothing. Mr. Allan again offered to put
down a groyne at his own expense, Mr. Fleming agreeing to superintend
the work. The offer, however, was never accepted.]

[Footnote 21: The necessary plans and specifications for these five
bridges were prepared by Mr. Shanly accordingly,--their value when
completed, being put at fully £15,000.]

[Footnote 22: The same year, I was chairman of the Walks and Gardens
Committee, and in that capacity instructed Mr. John Tully, City
Surveyor, to extend the surveys of all streets leading towards the Bay,
completely to the water line of the Esplanade. This was before any
concession was made to the Northern, or any other railway. I mention
this by way of reminder to the city authorities, who seem to me to have
overlooked the fact.]



Of all the members of the City Council for 1850, and up to 1852, John G.
Bowes was the most active and most popular. In educational affairs, in
financial arrangements, and indeed, in all questions affecting the
city's interests, he was by far the ablest man who had ever filled the
civic chair. His acquirements as an arithmetician were extraordinary;
and as a speaker he possessed remarkable powers. I took pleasure in
seconding his declared views on nearly all public questions; and in
return, he showed me a degree of friendship which I could not but highly
appreciate. By his persuasion, and rather against my own wish, I
accepted, in 1852, the secretaryship of the Toronto and Guelph Railway
Company, which I held until it was absorbed by the Grand Trunk Company
in 1853.[23]

In the same year, rumours began to be rife in the city, that Mr. Bowes,
in conjunction with the Hon. Francis Hincks, then premier, had made
$10,000 profits out of the sale of city debentures issued to the
Northern Railway Company. Had the Mayor admitted the facts at once,
stating his belief that he was right in so doing, it is probable that
his friends would have been spared the pain, and himself the loss and
disgrace which ensued. But he denied in the most solemn manner, in full
Council, that he had any interest whatever in the sale of those
debentures, and his word was accepted by all his friends there. When, in
1854, he was compelled to admit in the Court of Chancery, that he had
not only sold the debentures for his own profit to the extent of $4,800,
but that the Hon. Francis Hincks was a partner in the speculation, and
had profited to the same amount, the Council and citizens were alike
astounded. Not so much at the transaction itself, for it must be
remembered that more than one judge in chancery held the dealing in city
debentures to be perfectly legal both on the part of Mr. Bowes and Sir
Francis Hincks, but at the palpable deception which had been perpetrated
on the Finance Committee, and through them on the Council.

While the sale of the $50,000 Northern Railway debentures was under
consideration, Mr. Bowes as Mayor had been commissioned to get a bill
passed at Quebec to legalize such sale. On his return it was found that
new clauses had been introduced into the bill, and particularly one
requiring the debentures to be made payable in England, to which
Alderman Joshua G. Beard and myself took objection as unnecessarily
tying the hands of the Council. Mr. Bowes said, "Mr. Hincks would have
it so." Had the committee supposed that in insisting upon those clauses
Mr. Hincks was using his official powers for his own private profit,
they could never have consented to the change in the bill, but would
have insisted upon the right of the Council to make their own debentures
payable wheresoever the city's interests would be best subserved.[24]

It is matter of history, that the suit in Chancery resulted in a
judgment against Mr. Bowes for the whole amount of his profits, and that
in addition to that loss he had to pay a heavy sum in costs, not only of
the suit, but of appeals both here and in England. The consequence to
myself was a great deal of pain, and the severance of a friendship that
I had valued greatly. In October, 1853, a very strong resolution
denouncing his conduct was moved by Alderman G. T. Denison, to which I
moved an amendment declaring him to have been guilty of "a want of
candour," which was carried, and which was the utmost censure that the
majority of the Council would consent to pass. For this I was subjected
to much animadversion in the public press. Yet from the termination of
the trial to the day of his death, I never afterwards met Mr. Bowes on
terms of amity. At an interview with him, at the request and in presence
of my partner, Col. O. R. Gowan, I told the Mayor that I considered him
morally responsible for all the ill-feeling that had caused the
cancellation of the first Esplanade contract, and for the loss to the
city which followed. I told him that it had become impossible for any
man to trust his word. And afterwards when he became a candidate for a
seat in parliament, I opposed his election in the columns of the
_Colonist_, which I had then recently purchased; for which he denounced
me personally, at his election meetings, as a man capable of

Notwithstanding, I believe John G. Bowes to have been punished more
severely than justice required; that he acted in ignorance of the law;
and that his great services to the city more than outweighed any injury
sustained. His subsequent election to Parliament, while it may have
soothed his pride, can hardly have repaid him for the forfeiture of the
respect of a very large number of his fellow-citizens.

[Footnote 23: I was offered by Sir Cusack Roney, chief secretary of the
G. T. R. Co., a position worth $2,000 a year in their Montreal office,
but declined to break up my connections in Toronto. On my resigning the
secretaryship, the Board honoured me with a resolution of thanks, and a
gratuity of a year's salary.]

[Footnote 24: The judgment given by the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council expressly stated that "the evidence of Ald. Thompson and
Councilman Tully was conclusive as to the effect of their having been
kept in ignorance of the corrupt bargain respecting the sale of the city
debentures issued for the construction of the Northern Railway; and that
they would not have voted for the proposed bill for the consolidation of
the city debt, if they had been aware of the transaction."]



In 1853, I removed to the village of Carlton West, on the gravel road to
Weston, and distant seven miles north-west of the city. My house stood
on a gravel ridge which stretches from the Carlton station of the
Northern Railway to the River Humber, and which must have formed the
beach of the antediluvian northern ocean, one hundred and eighty feet
above the present lake, and four hundred and thirty above the sea. This
gravel ridge plainly marks the Toronto Harbour at the mouth of the
Humber, as it existed in those ancient days, before the Niagara River
and the Falls had any place on our world's surface. East of Carlton
station, a high bluff of clay continues the old-line of coast, like the
modern, to Scarboro' Heights, showing frequent depressions caused by the
ice of the glacial period. In corroboration of this theory, I remember
that for the first house built on the Avenue Road, north of Davenport
Road, the excavations for a cellar laid bare great boulders of granite,
limestone, and other rock, evidently deposited there by icebergs, which
had crossed the clay bluff by channels of their own dredging, and melted
away in the warmer waters to the south. I think it was Professor
Chapman, of Toronto University, who pointed this out to me, and
mentioned a still more remarkable case of glacial action which occurred
in the Township of Albion, where a limestone quarry which had been
worked profitably for several years, turned out to the great
disappointment of its owner to be neither more nor less than a vast
glacial boulder, which had been transported from its natural site at a
distance of at least eighty miles. This locomotive rock is said to have
been seventy feet in thickness and as much in breadth.

While speaking of the Carlton gravel ridge, it is worth while to note
that, in taking gravel from its southern face, at a depth of twenty
feet, I found an Indian flint arrow-head; also a stone implement similar
to what is called by painters a muller, used for grinding paint. Several
massive bones, and the horns of some large species of deer, were also
found in the same gravel pit, and carried or given away by the workmen.
The two articles first named are still in my possession. Being at the
very bottom of the gravel deposit, they must have lain there when no
such beach existed, or ever since the Oak Ridges ceased to be an ocean

My house on the Davenport Road was a very pleasant residence, with a
fine lawn ornamented with trees chiefly planted by my own hands, and was
supplied with all the necessaries for modest competence. It is worth
recording, that some of the saplings--silver poplars (abeles) planted by
me, grew in twelve years to be eighteen inches thick at the butt, and
sixty feet in spread of branches; while maples and other hardwoods did
not attain more than half that size. Thus it would seem, that our
North-West prairies might be all re-clothed with full-grown ash-leaved
maples--their natural timber--in twenty-five years, or with balm of
Gilead and abele poplars in half that time. Would it not be wise to
enact laws at once, having that object in view?

I have been an amateur gardener since early childhood; and at Carlton
indulged my taste to the full by collecting all kinds of flowers
cultivated and wild. I still envy the man who, settling in the new
lands, say in the milder climates of Vancouver's Island or British
Columbia, may utilize to the full his abundant opportunities of
gathering into one group the endless floral riches of the Canadian
wilderness. We find exquisite lobelias, scarlet, blue and lilac;
orchises with pellucid stems and fairy elegance of blossom; lovely
prairie roses; cacti of infinite delicacy and the richest hues. Then as
to shrubs--the papaw, the xeranthemum of many varieties, the Indian pear
(or saskatoon of the North-West), spiræa prunifolia of several kinds,
shrubby St. John's-wort, oenothera grandiflora, _cum multis aliis_.

Now that the taste for wild-flower gardens has become the fashion in
Great Britain, it will doubtless soon spread to this Continent. No
English park is considered complete without its special garden for wild
flowers, carefully tended and kept as free from stray weeds as the more
formal parterre of the front lawn. Our wealthier Canadian families
cannot do better than follow the example of the Old Country in this
respect, and assuredly they will be abundantly repaid for the little
trouble and expenditure required.



In May, 1853, I sold out my interest in the _Patriot_ to Mr. Ogle R.
Gowan, and having a little capital of my own, invested it in the
purchase of the _Colonist_ from the widow of the late Hugh Scobie, who
died December 6th, 1852. It was a heavy undertaking, but I was sanguine
and energetic, and--as one of my friends told me--thorough. The
_Colonist_, as an organ of the old Scottish Kirk party in Canada, had
suffered from the rivalry of its Free Kirk competitor, the _Globe_; and
its remaining subscribers, being, as a rule, strongly Conservative, made
no objection to the change of proprietorship; while I carried over with
me, by agreement, the subscribers to the daily _Patriot_, thus combining
the mercantile strength of the two journals.

I had hitherto confined myself to the printing department, leaving the
duties of editorship to others. On taking charge of the _Colonist_, I
assumed the whole political responsibility, with Mr. John Sheridan Hogan
as assistant editor and Quebec correspondent. My partners were the late
Hugh C. Thomson, afterwards secretary to the Board of Agriculture, who
acted as local editor; and James Bain, now of the firm of Jas. Bain &
Son, to whom the book-selling and stationery departments were committed.
We had a strong staff of reporters, and commenced the new enterprise
under promising circumstances. Our office and store were in the old
brick building extending from King to Colborne Street, long previously
known as the grocery store of Jas. F. Smith.

The ministry then in power was that known as the Hincks-Taché
Government. Francis Hincks had parted with his old radical allies, and
become more conservative than many of the Tories whom he used to
denounce. People remembered Wm. Lyon Mackenzie's prophecy, who said he
feared that Francis Hincks could not be trusted to resist temptation.
When Lord Elgin went to England, it was whispered that his lordship had
paid off £80,000 sterling of mortgages on his Scottish estates, out of
the proceeds of speculations which he had shared with his clever
minister. The St. Lawrence and Atlantic purchase, the £50,000 Grand
Trunk stock placed to Mr. Hincks' credit--as he asserted without his
consent--and the Bowes transaction, gave colour to the many stories
circulated to his prejudice. And when he went to England, and received
the governorship of Barbadoes, many people believed that it was the
price of his private services to the Earl of Elgin.

Whatever the exact truth in these cases may have been, I am convinced
that from the seed then sown, sprang up a crop of corrupt influences
that have since permeated all the avenues to power, and borne their
natural fruit in the universal distrust of public men, and the
wide-spread greed of public money, which now prevail. Neither political
party escapes the imputation of bribing the constituencies, both
personally at elections, and by parliamentary grants for local
improvements. The wholesale expenditure at old country elections, which
transferred so much money from the pockets of the rich to those of the
poor, without any prospect of pecuniary return, has with us taken the
form of a speculative investment to be "re-couped" by value in the shape
of substantial government favours.

Could I venture to enter the lists against so tremendous a rhetorical
athlete as Professor Goldwin Smith, I should say, that his idea of
abolishing party government to secure purity of election is an utter
fallacy; I should say that the great factor of corruption in Canada has
been the adoption of the principle of coalitions. I told a prominent
Conservative leader in 1853, that I looked upon coalitions as
essentially immoral, and that the duty of either political party was to
remain contentedly "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition," and to support
frankly all good measures emanating from the party in office, until the
voice of the country, fairly expressed, should call the Opposition to
assume the reins of power legitimately. I told the late Hon. Mr. Spence,
when he joined the coalition ministry of 1854, that we (of the
_Colonist_) looked upon that combination as an organized attempt to
govern the country through its vices; and that nothing but the violence
of the _Globe_ party could induce us to support any coalition
whatsoever. And I think still that I was right, and that the Minister
who buys politicians to desert their principles, resembles nothing so
much as the lawyer who gains a verdict in favour of his client by
bribing the jury.

The union of Upper and Lower Canada is chargeable, no doubt, with a
large share of the evils that have crept into our constitutional system.
The French Canadian _habitans_, at the time of the Union, were true
scions of the old peasantry of Normandy and Brittany, with which their
songs identify them so strikingly. All their ideas of government were
ultra-monarchical; their allegiance to the old French Kings had been
transferred to the Romish hierarchy and clergy, who, it must be said,
looked after their flocks with undying zeal and beneficent care. But
this formed an ill preparation for representative institutions. The
_Rouge_ party, at first limited to lawyers and notaries chiefly, had
taken up the principles of the first French revolution, and for some
years made but little progress; in time, however, they learnt the
necessity of cultivating the assistance, or at least the neutrality of
the clergy, and in this they were aided by ties of relationship. As in
Ireland, where almost every poor family emaciates itself to provide for
the education of one of its sons as a "counsellor" or a priest, so in
Lower Canada, most families contain within themselves both priest and
lawyer. Thus it came to pass, that in the Lower Province, a large
proportion of the people lived in the hope that they might sooner or
later share in "government pap," and looked upon any means to that end
as unquestionably lawful. It is not difficult to perceive how much and
how readily this idea would communicate itself to their Upper Canadian
allies after the Union; that it did so, is matter of history.

In fact, the combination of French and British representatives in a
single cabinet, itself constitutes a coalition of the most objectionable
kind; as the result can only be a perpetual system of compromises. For
example, one of the effects of the Union, and of the coalition of 1854,
was the passage of the bill secularizing the Clergy Reserves, and
abolishing all connection between church and state in Upper Canada,
while leaving untouched the privileges of the Romish Church in the Lower
Province. That some day, there will arise a formidable Nemesis spawned
of this one-sided act, when the agitation for disendowment shall have
reached the Province of Quebec, who can doubt?

In 1855 and subsequently, followed a series of struggles for office,
without any great political object in view, each party or clique
striving to bid higher than all the rest for popular votes, which went
on amid alternate successes and reverses, until the denouement came in
1859, when neither political party could form a Ministry that should
command a majority in parliament, and they were fain to coalesce _en
masse_ in favour of confederation. At one time, Mr. George Brown was
defeated by Wm. Lyon Mackenzie in Halton; at another, he voted with the
Tories against the Hincks ministry; again, he was a party to a proposed
coalition with Sir Allan MacNab. I was myself present at Sir Allan's
house in Richey's Terrace, Adelaide Street, where I was astonished to
meet Mr. Brown himself in confidential discussion with Sir Allan. I
recollect a member of the Lower House--I think Mr. Hillyard
Cameron--hurrying in with the information that at a meeting of
Conservative members which he had just left, they had chosen Mr. John A.
Macdonald as their leader in place of Sir Allan, which report broke up
the conference, and defeated the plans of the coalitionists. This was, I
think, in 1855. Then came on the "Rep. by Pop." agitation led by the
_Globe_, in 1856.[25] In 1857, the great business panic superseded all
other questions. In 1858, the turn of the Reform party came, with Mr.
Brown again at their head, who held power for precisely four days.

In 1858, also, the question of protection for native industry, which had
been advocated by the British-American League, was taken up in
parliament by the Hon. Wm. Cayley and Hon. Isaac Buchanan separately. In
1859, came Mr. Brown's and Mr. Galt's federal union resolutions, and Mr.
Cayley's motion for protection once more.

All these years--from 1853 to 1860--I was in confidential communication
with the leaders of the Conservative party, and after 1857 with the
Upper Canadian members of the administration personally; and I am bound
to bear testimony to their entire patriotism and general
disinterestedness whenever the public weal was involved. I was never
asked to print a line which I could not conscientiously endorse; and had
I been so requested, I should assuredly have refused.

[Footnote 25: The same year occurred the elections for members of the
Legislative Council. I was a member of Mr. G. W. Allan's committee, and
saw many things there which disgusted me with all election tactics. Men
received considerable sums of money for expenses, which it was believed
never left their own pockets. Mr. Allan was in England, and sent
positive instructions against any kind of bribery whatsoever, yet when
he arrived here, claims were lodged against him amounting to several
thousand dollars, which he was too high-minded to repudiate.]



Up to the year 1857, I had gone on prosperously, enlarging my
establishment, increasing my subscription list, and proud to own the
most enterprising newspaper published in Canada up to that day. The
_Daily Colonist_ consisted of eight pages, and was an exact counterpart
of the _London Times_ in typographical appearance, size of page and
type, style of advertisements, and above all, in independence of
editorial comment and fairness in its treatment of opponents. No
communication courteously worded was refused admission, however caustic
its criticisms on the course taken editorially. The circulation of the
four editions (daily, morning and evening, bi-weekly and weekly)
amounted to, as nearly as I can recollect, 30,000 subscribers, and its
readers comprised all classes and creeds.

In illustration of the kindly feeling existing towards me on the part of
my political adversaries, I may record the fact that, when in the latter
part of 1857, it became known in the profession that I had suffered
great losses arising out of the commercial panic of that year, Mr.
George Brown, with whom I was on familiar terms, told me that he was
authorized by two or three gentlemen of high standing in the Liberal
party, whom he named, to advance me whatever sums of money I might
require to carry on the _Colonist_ independently, if I would accept
their aid. I thanked him and replied, that I could publish none other
than a Conservative paper, which ended the discussion.

The Hon. J. Hillyard Cameron, being himself embarrassed by the
tremendous pressure of the money market, in which he had operated
heavily, counselled me to act upon a suggestion that the _Colonist_
should become the organ of the Macdonald-Cartier Government, to which
position would be attached the right of furnishing certain of the public
departments with stationery, theretofore supplied by the Queen's Printer
at fixed rates. I did so, reserving to myself the absolute control of
the editorial department, and engaging the services of Mr. Robert A.
Harrison (of the Attorney-General's office, afterwards Chief Justice),
as assistant editor. Instead, however, of alleviating, this change of
base only intensified my troubles.

I found that, throughout the government offices, a system had been
prevalent, something like that described in _Gil Blas_ as existing at
the Court of Spain, by which, along with the stationery required for the
departments, articles for ladies' toilet use, etc., were included, and
had always theretofore been charged in the government accounts as a
matter of course. I directed that those items should be supplied as
ordered, but that their cost be placed to my own private account, and
that the parties be notified, that they must thereafter furnish separate
orders for such things. I also took an early opportunity of pointing out
the abuse to the Attorney-General, who said his colleagues had suspected
the practice before, but had no proof of misconduct; and added, that if
I would lay an information, he would send the offenders to the
Penitentiary; as in fact he did in the Reiffenstein case some years
afterwards. I replied, that were I to do so, nearly every man in the
public service would be likely to become my personal enemy, which he
admitted to be probable. As it was, the apparent consequence of my
refusal to make fraudulent entries, was an accusation that I charged
excessive prices, although I had never charged as much as the rate
allowed the Queen's Printer, considering it unreasonable. My accounts
were at my request referred to an expert, and adjudged by him to be fair
in proportion to quality of stationery furnished. Gradually I succeeded
in stopping the time-honoured custom as far as I was concerned.

Years after, when I had the contract for Parliamentary printing at
Quebec, matters proved even more vexatious. When the Session had
commenced, and I had with great outlay and exertion got every thing into
working order, I was refused copies of papers from certain sub-officers
of the Legislature, until I had agreed upon the percentage expected upon
my contract rates. My reply, through my clerk, was, that I had
contracted at low rates, and could not afford gratuities such as were
claimed, and that if I could, I would not. The consequence was a
deadlock, and it was not until I brought the matter to the attention of
the Speaker, Sir Henry Smith, that I was enabled to get on with the
work. These things happened a quarter of a century ago, and although I
suffer the injurious consequences myself to this day, I trust no other
living person can be affected by their publication now.

The position of ministerial organist, besides being both onerous and
unpleasant, was to me an actual money loss. My newspaper expenses
amounted to over four hundred dollars per week, with a constantly
decreasing subscription list.[26] The profits on the government
stationery were no greater than those realized by contractors who gave
no additional _quid pro quo_; and I was only too glad, when the
opportunity of competing for the Legislative printing presented itself
in 1858, to close my costly newspaper business in Toronto. I sold the
goodwill of the _Colonist_ to Messrs. Sheppard & Morrison,[27] and on my
removal to Quebec next year, established a cheap journal there called
the _Advertiser_, the history of which in 1859-60, I shall relate in a
chapter by itself.

[Footnote 26: The late Mr. George Brown has often told me, that whenever
the _Globe_ became a Government organ, the loss in circulation and
advertising was so great as to counter-balance twice over the profits
derived from government advertising and printing.]

[Footnote 27: On my retirement from the publication of the _Colonist_,
the Attorney-General offered me a position under Government to which was
attached a salary of $1,400 a year, which I declined as unsuited to my
tastes and habits.]



When I began to feel the effects of official hostility in Quebec, as
above stated, I was also suffering from another and more vital evil. I
had taken the contract for parliamentary printing at prices slightly
lower than had before prevailed. My knowledge of printing in my own
person gave me an advantage over most other competitors. The consequence
of this has been, that large sums of money were saved to the country
yearly for the last twenty-four years. But the former race of
contractors owed me a violent grudge, for, as they alleged, taking the
contract below paying prices. I went to work, however, confident of my
resources and success. But no sooner had I got well under weigh, than my
arrangements were frustrated, my expenditure nullified, my just hopes
dashed to the ground, by the action of the Legislature itself. A joint
committee on printing had been appointed, of which the Hon. Mr. Simpson,
of Bowmanville, was chairman, which proceeded deliberately to cut down
the amount of printing to be executed, and particularly the quantity of
French documents to be printed, to such an extent as to reduce the work
for which I had contracted by at least one-third. And this without the
smallest regard to the terms of my contract. Thus were one-half of all
my expenditures--one-half of my thirty thousand dollars worth of
type--one-half of my fifteen thousand dollars worth of presses and
machinery--literally rendered useless, and reduced to the condition of
second-hand material. I applied to my solicitor for advice. He told me
that, unless I threw up the contract, I could make no claim for breach
of conditions. Unfortunately for me, the many precedents since
established, of actions on "petition of right" for breach of contract by
the Government and the Legislature, had not then been recorded, and I
had to submit to what I was told was the inevitable.

I struggled on through the session amid a hurricane of calumny and
malicious opposition. The Queen's Printers, the former French
contractor, and, above all, the principal defeated competitor in
Toronto, joined their forces to destroy my credit, to entice away my
workmen, to disseminate but too successfully the falsehood, that my
contract was taken at unprofitable rates, until I was fairly driven to
my wits' end, and ultimately forced into actual insolvency. The cashier
of the Upper Canada Bank told me very kindly, that everybody in the
Houses and the Bank knew my honesty and energy, but the combination
against me was too strong, and it was useless for me to resist it,
unless my Toronto friends would come to my assistance.

I was not easily dismayed by opposition, and determined at least to send
a Parthian shaft into my enemies' camp. The session being over, I
hastened to Toronto, called my creditors together at the office of
Messrs Cameron & Harman, and laid my position before them. All I could
command in the way of valuable assets was invested in the business of
the contract. I had besides, in the shape of nominal assets, over a
hundred thousand dollars in newspaper debts scattered over Upper Canada,
which I was obliged to report as utterly uncollectable, being mainly due
by farmers who--as was generally done throughout Ontario in 1857--had
made over their farms to their sons or other parties, to evade payment
of their own debts. All my creditors were old personal friends, and so
thoroughly satisfied were they of the good faith of the statements
submitted by me, that they unanimously decided to appoint no assignee,
and to accept the offer I made them to conduct the contract for their
benefit, on their providing the necessary sinews of war, which they
undertook to do in three days.

What was my disappointment and chagrin to find, at the end of that term,
that the impression which had been so industriously disseminated in
Quebec, that my contract prices were impracticably low, had reached and
influenced my Toronto friends, and that it was thought wisest to
abandon the undertaking. I refused to do so.

Among my employees in the office were four young men, of excellent
abilities, who had grown into experience under my charge, and had, by
marriage and economy, acquired means of their own, and could besides
command the support of monied relatives. These young men I took into my
counsels. At the bailiff's sale of my office which followed, they bought
in such materials as they thought sufficient for the contract work, and
in less than a month we had the whole office complete again, and with
the sanction of the Hon. the Speaker, got the contract work once more
into shape. The members of the new firm were Samuel Thompson, Robert
Hunter, George M. Rose, John Moore, and François Lemieux.


  QUEBEC IN 1859-60.

I resided for eighteen months in the old, picturesque and many-memoried
city. My house was a three-story cedar log building known as the White
House, near the corner of Salaberry Street and Mount Pleasant Road. It
was weather-boarded outside, comfortably plastered and finished within,
and was the most easily warmed house I ever occupied. The windows were
French, double in winter, opening both inwards and outwards, with
sliding panes for ventilation. It had a good garden, sloping northerly
at an angle of about fifteen degrees, which I found a desolate place
enough, and left a little oasis of beauty and productiveness. One of my
amusements there was to stroll along the garden paths, watching for the
sparkle of Quebec diamonds, which after every rainfall glittered in the
paths and flower-beds. They are very pretty, well shaped octagonal
crystals of rock quartz, and are often worn in necklaces by the Quebec
demoiselles. On the plains of Abraham I found similar specimens
brilliantly black.

Quebec is famous for good roads and pleasant shady promenades. By the
St. Foy Road to Spencer Wood, thence onward to Cap Rouge, back by the
St. Louis Road or Grande Allée, past the citadel and through the
old-fashioned St. Louis Gate, is a charming stroll; or along the by-path
from St. Louis Road to the pretty Gothic chapel overhanging the Cove,
and so down steep rocky steps descending four hundred feet to the mighty
river St. Lawrence; or along the St. Charles river and the country road
to Lorette; or by the Beauport road to the old chateau or manor house of
Colonel Gugy, known by the name of "Darnoc." The toll-gate on the St.
Foy Road was quite an important institution to the simple _habitans_,
who paid their shilling toll for the privilege of bringing to market a
bunch or two of carrots and as many turnips, with a basket of eggs, or
some cabbages and onions, in a little cart drawn by a little pony, with
which surprising equipage they would stand patiently all morning in St.
Anne's market, under the shadow of the old ruined Jesuits' barracks, and
return home contented with the three or four shillings realized from
their day's traffic.

One of the specialties of the city is its rats. In my house-yard was a
sink, or rather hole in the rock, covered by a wooden grating. A large
cat, who made herself at home on the premises, would sit watching at the
grating for hours, every now and then inserting her paw between the bars
and hooking out leisurely a squeaking young rat, of which thirty or
forty at a time showed themselves within the cavity. I was assured that
these rats have underground communications, like those of the rock of
Gibraltar, from every quarter of the city to the citadel, and so
downward to the quays and river below. Besides the cat, there was a
rough terrier dog named Cæsar, also exercising right of occupancy. To
see him pouncing upon rats in the pantry, from which they could not be
easily excluded by reason of a dozen entrances through the stone
basement walls, was something to enchant sporting characters. I was not
of that class, so stopped up the rock with broken bottles and mortar,
and provided traps for stray intruders.

The Laurentine mountains, distant a few miles north of the city, rise to
a height of twenty-five hundred feet. By daylight they are bleak and
barren enough; but at night, seen in the light of the glorious Aurora
Borealis which so often irradiates that part of Canada, they are a
vision of enchanting beauty. This reminds me of a conversation which I
was privileged to have with the late Sir William Logan, who most kindly
answered my many inquisitive questions on geological subjects. He
explained that the mountains of Newfoundland, of Quebec, of the height
of land between the St. Lawrence and Lake Nipissing, and of Manitoba and
Keewatin in the North-West, are all links of one continuous chain, of
nearly equal elevation, and marked throughout that vast extent by
ancient sea-beaches at an uniform level of twelve hundred feet above the
sea, with other ancient beaches seven hundred feet above the sea at
various points; two remarkable examples of which latter class are the
rock of Quebec and the Oak Ridges eighteen miles north of Toronto. He
pointed out further, that those two points indicate precisely the level
of the great ocean which covered North America in the glacial period,
when Toronto was six hundred feet under salt water, and Quebec was the
solitary rock visible above water for hundreds of miles east, west and
south--the Laurentides then, as now, towering eighteen hundred feet
higher, on the north.

In winter also, Quebec has many features peculiar to itself. Close
beside, and high above the little steep roofed houses--crowded into
streets barely wide enough to admit the diminutive French carts without
crushing unlucky foot-passengers,--rise massive frowning bastions
crowned with huge cannon, all black with age and gloomy with desperate
legends of attack and defence. The snow accumulates in these streets to
the height of the upper-floor windows, with precipitous steps cut
suddenly down to each doorway, so that at night it is a work of no
little peril to navigate one's way home. Near the old Palace Gate are
beetling cliffs, seventy feet above the hill of rocky debris which forms
one side of the street below. It is high carnival with the Quebec
_gamins_, when they can collect there in hundreds, each with his frail
handsleigh, and poising themselves on the giddy edge of the "horrent
summit," recklessly shoot down in fearful descent, first to the sharp
rocky slope, and thence with alarming velocity to the lower level of the
street. Outside St. John's Gate is another of these infantile
race-grounds. Down the steep incline of the glacis, crowds of children
are seen every fine winter's day, sleighing and tobogganing from morning
till night, not without occasional accidents of a serious nature.

But the crowning triumph of Quebec scenery, summer and winter, centres
in the Falls of Montmorenci, a seven mile drive, over Dorchester bridge,
along the Beauport road, commanding fine views of the wide St. Lawrence
and the smiling Isle of Orleans, with its pilot-inhabited houses painted
blue, red and yellow--all three colours at once occasionally--(the
paints wickedly supposed to be perquisites acquired in a professional
capacity from ships' stores)--and so along shady avenues varied by
brightest sunshine, we find ourselves in front and at the foot of a
cascade four hundred feet above us, broken into exquisite facets and
dancing foam by projecting rocky points, and set in a bordering of
lovely foliage on all sides. This is of course in summer. In winter how
different. Still the descending torrent, but only bare tree-stems and
icy masses for the frame-work, and at the base a conical mountain of
snow and ice, a hundred and fifty feet high, sloping steeply on all
sides, and with the frozen St. Lawrence spread out for miles to the
east. He who covets a sensation for life, has only to climb the gelid
hill by the aid of ice-steps cut in its side, and commit himself to the
charge of the habitant who first offers his services, and the thing is
soon accomplished. The gentleman adventurer sits at the back of the
sleigh,--which is about four feet long--tucks his legs round the
habitant, who sits in front and steers with his heels; for an instant
the steersman manoeuvres into position on the edge of the cone, which
slightly overhangs--then away we go, launching into mid-air, striking
ground--or rather ice--thirty feet below, and down and still down, fleet
as lightning, to the level river plain, over which we glide by the
impetus of our descent fully half-a-mile further. I tried it twice. My
companion was severely affected by the shock, and gave in with a bad
headache at the first experiment. The same day, several reckless young
officers of the garrison would insist upon steering themselves, paying a
guinea each for the privilege. One of them suffered for his freak from a
broken arm. But with experienced guides no ill-consequences are on

An appalling tragedy is related of this ice-mountain. An American
tourist with his bride was among the visitors to the Falls one day some
years back. They were both young and high-spirited, and had immensely
enjoyed their marriage trip by way of the St. Lawrence. Standing on the
summit of the cone, in raptures with the cataract, the cliffs
ice-bedecked, the trees ice-laden, their attention was for an instant
diverted from each other. The young man, gazing eastward across the
river, talking gaily to his wife, was surprised at receiving no reply,
and looking round found himself alone. Shouting frantically, no
answering cry could be distinguished,--the roaring of the cascade was
loud enough to drown any human voice. Hanging madly over the edge next
the Falls, which is quite precipitous, there was nothing to be seen but
a boiling whirlpool of angry waters. The poor girl had stepped
unconsciously backward,--had slipped down into the boiling surf,--had
been instantaneously carried beneath the ice of the river.

Another peculiarity of Quebec is its ice-freshets in spring. Near the
vast tasteless church of St. John, on the road of that name, a torrent
of water from the higher level crosses the street, and thunders down the
steep ways descending to the Lower Town. At night it freezes solidly
again, and becomes so dangerously slippery, that I have seen ladies
piloted across for several hundred feet, by holding on to the
courteously extended walking stick of the first gentlemanly stranger to
whom they could appeal for help in their utter distress and perplexity.
These freshets flood the business streets named after St. Peter and St.
Paul on the level of the wharves. To cross them at such times, floating
planks are put in requisition, and no little skill is required to escape
a wetting up to the knees.

The social aspects of the city are as unique as its natural features.
The Romish hierarchy exercises an arbitrary, and I must add a
beneficial, rule over the mixed maritime and crimping elements which
form its lowest stratum. Private charity is universal on the part of the
well-to-do citizens. It is an interesting sight to watch the numbers of
paupers who are supplied weekly from heaps of loaves of bread piled
high on the tradesmen's counters, to which all comers are free to help

The upper classes are divided into castes as marked as those of
Hindostan. French Canadian seigniors, priestly functionaries of high
rank, government officials of the ruling race, form an exclusive, and it
is said almost impenetrable coterie by themselves. The sons or nephews
of Liverpool merchants having branch firms in the city, and wealthy
Protestant tradesmen, generally English churchmen, constitute a second
division scarcely less isolated. Next to these come the members of other
religious denominations, who keep pretty much to themselves. I am sorry
to hear from a respected Methodist minister whom I met in Toronto
lately, that the last named valuable element of the population has been
gradually diminishing in numbers and influence, and that it is becoming
difficult to keep their congregations comfortably together. This is a
consequence, and an evil consequence, of confederation.

Another characteristic singularity of Quebec life arises from the
association, without coalescing, of two distinct nationalities having
diverse creeds and habits. This is often ludicrously illustrated by the
system of mixed juries. I was present in the Recorder's Court on one
occasion, when a big, burly Irishman was in the prisoner's dock, charged
with violently ejecting a bailiff in possession, which I believe in
Scotland is called a deforcement on the premises. It appeared that the
bailiff, a little habitant, had been riotously drunk and disorderly,
having helped himself to the contents of a number of bottles of ale
which he discovered in a cupboard. The prisoner, moved to indignation,
coolly took up the drunken offender in his arms, tossed him down a
flight of steps into the middle of the street, and shut the door in his
face. The counsel for the complainant, a popular Irish barrister,
lamented privately that he was on the wrong side, being more used to
defending breaches of the laws than to enforcing them--that there was no
hope of a verdict in favour of authority--and that the jury were certain
to disagree, however clearly the facts and the law were shown. And so it
proved. The French jurors looked puzzled--the English enjoyed the
fun--the judge charged with a half smile on his countenance--and the
jury disagreed--six to six. On leaving the court, one of the jurors
whispered to the discharged prisoner, "Did you think we were agoing to
give in to them French fellows?"



I suppose it is in the very nature of an autobiography to be
egotistical, a fault which I have desired to avoid; but find that my own
personal affairs have been often so strangely interwoven with public
events, that I could not make the one intelligible without describing
the other. My departure from Quebec, for instance, was caused by
circumstances which involved many public men of that day, and made me an
involuntary party to important political movements.

I have mentioned that, with the sanction of the Upper Canadian section
of the Ministry, I had commenced the publication in Quebec of a daily
newspaper with an evening edition, under the title of the _Advertiser_.
I strove to make it an improvement upon the style of then existing
Quebec journals, but without any attempt at business rivalry, devoting
my attention chiefly to the mercantile interests of the city, including
its important lumber trade. I wrote articles describing the various
qualities of Upper Canadian timber, which I thought should be made known
in the British market. This was to some degree successful, and as a
consequence I gained the friendship of several influential men of
business. But I did not suspect upon how inflammable a mine I was
standing. A discourteous remark in a morning contemporary, upon some
observations in the _Courrier du Canada_, in which the ground was taken
by the latter that French institutions in Europe exceeded in liberality,
and ensured greater personal freedom than those of Great Britain, and by
consequence of Canada, induced me to enter into an amicable controversy
with the _Courrier_ as to the relative merits of French imperial and
British monarchical government. About the same time, I gave publicity to
some complaints of injustice suffered by Protestant--I think
Orange--workmen who had been dismissed from employment under a local
contractor on one of the wharves, owing as was asserted to their
religious creed. Just then a French journalist, the editor of the
_Courrier de Paris_, was expelled by the Emperor Louis Napoleon for some
critique on "my policy." This afforded so pungent an opportunity for
retort upon my Quebec friend, that I could not resist the temptation to
use it. From that moment, it appears, I was considered an enemy of
French Canadians and a hater of Roman Catholics, to whom in truth I
never felt the least antipathy, and never even dreamt of enquiring
either the religious or political principles of men in my employment.

I was informed, that the Hon. Mr. Cartier desired that I should
discontinue the _Advertiser_. Astonished at this, I spoke to one of his
colleagues on the subject. He said I had been quite in the right; that
the editor of the _Courrier_ was a d--d fool; but I had better see
Cartier. I did so; pointed out that I had no idea of having offended any
man's prejudices; and could not understand why my paper should be
objectionable. He vouchsafed no argument; said curtly that his friends
were annoyed; and that I had better give up the paper. I declined to do
so, and left him.

This was subsequent to the events related in Chapter xlix. I spoke to
others of the Ministers. One of them--he is still living--said that I
was getting too old [I was fifty], and it was time I was
superannuated--but that--they could not go against Cartier! My pride was
not then subdued, and revolted against such treatment. I was under no
obligations to the Ministry; on the contrary, I felt they were heavily
indebted to me. I waited on the Hon. L. V. Sicotte, who was on neutral
terms with the government, placed my columns at his disposal, and
shortly afterwards, on the conclusion of an understanding between him
and the Hon. J. Sandfield Macdonald, to which the Hon. A. A. Dorion was
a party, I published an article prepared by them, temperately but
strongly opposed to the policy of the existing government. This
combination ultimately resulted in the formation of the
Macdonald-Sicotte Ministry in 1862.

But this was not all. The French local press took up the quarrel
respecting French institutions--told me plainly that Quebec was a
"Catholic city," and that I would not be allowed to insult their
institutions with impunity--hinted at mob-chastisement, and other
consequences. I knew that years before, the printing office of a friend
of my own--since high in the public service--had been burnt in Quebec
under similar circumstances. I could not expose my partners to absolute
ruin by provoking a similar fate. The Protestants of the city were quite
willing to make my cause a religious and national feud, and told me so.
There was no knowing where the consequences might end. For myself, I had
really no interest in the dispute; no prejudices to gratify; no love of
fighting for its own sake, although I had willingly borne arms for my
Queen; so I gave up the dispute; sold out my interest in the printing
contract to my partners for a small sum, which I handed to the rightful
owner of the materials, and left Quebec with little more than means
enough to pay my way to Toronto.



In chapter XXXV. I noticed the almost simultaneous entrance of these two
men into political life. Their history and achievements have been
severally recorded by friendly biographers, and it is unnecessary for me
to add anything thereto. Personally, nothing but kindly courtesy was
ever shown me by either. In some respects their record was much alike,
in some how different. Both Scotchmen, both ambitious, both resolute and
persevering, both carried away by political excitement into errors which
they would gladly forget--both unquestionably loyal and true to the
empire. But in temper and demeanour, no two men could be more unlike.
Mr. Brown was naturally austere, autocratic, domineering. Sir John was
kindly, whether to friends or foes, and always ready to forget past

A country member, who had been newly elected for a Reform constituency,
said to a friend of mine, "What a contrast between Brown and Macdonald!
I was at the Reform Convention the other day, and there was George
Brown dictating to us all, and treating rudely every man who dared to
make a suggestion. Next day, I was talking to some fellows in the
lobby, when a stranger coming up slapped me on the shoulder, and said
in the heartiest way 'How d'ye do, M----? shake hands--glad to see you
here--I'm John A.!'"

Another member, the late J. Sheridan Hogan--who, after writing for the
_Colonist_, had gone into opposition, and was elected member for
Grey--told me that it was impossible to help liking Sir John--he was so
good-natured to men on both sides of the House, and never seemed to
remember an injury, or resent an attack after it was past.

Hence probably the cause of the differing careers of these two men.
Standing together as equals during the coalition of 1862, and separating
again after a brief alliance of eighteen months' duration, the one
retained the confidence of his party under very discouraging
circumstances, while the other gradually lapsed into the position of a
governmental impossibility, and only escaped formal deposition as a
party leader by his own violent death.

I am strongly under the impression that the assassination of George
Brown by the hands of a dismissed employee, in May, 1880, was one of the
consequences of his own imperious temper. Many years ago, Mr. Brown
conceived the idea of employing females as compositors in the _Globe_
printing office, which caused a "strike" amongst the men. Great
excitement was created, and angry threats were used against him; while
the popular feeling was intensified by his arresting several of the
workmen under an old English statute of the Restoration. The ill-will
thus aroused extended among the working classes throughout Ontario, and
doubtless caused his party the loss of more than one constituency. It
seems highly probable, that the bitterness which rankled in the breast
of his murderer, had its origin in this old class-feud.

Sir John is reported to have said, that he liked supporters who voted
with him, not because they thought him in the right, but even when they
believed him to be in the wrong. I fancy that in so saying, he only gave
candid expression to the secret feeling of all ambitious leaders. This
brusque candour is a marked feature of Sir John's character, and no
doubt goes a great way with the populace. A friend told me, that one of
our leading citizens met the Premier on King Street, and accosted him
with--"Sir John, our friend ---- says that you are the d--st liar in
all Canada!" Assuming a very grave look, the answer came--"I dare say
it's true enough!"

Sir John once said to myself. "I don't care for office for the sake of
money, but for the sake of power, and for the sake of carrying out my
own views of what is best for the country." And I believe he spoke
sincerely. Mr. Collins, his biographer, has evidently pictured to
himself his hero some day taking the lead in the demand for Canadian
independence. I trust and think he is mistaken, and that the great
Conservative leader would rather die as did his late rival, than quit
for a moment the straight path of loyalty to his Sovereign and the



I have several times had occasion to mention this gentleman, who first
came into notice on his being arrested, when a young man, and
temporarily imprisoned in Buffalo, for being concerned in the burning of
the steamer _Caroline_, in 1838. He was then twenty-three years old, was
a native of Ireland, a Roman Catholic by religious profession, and
emigrated to Canada in 1827. I engaged him in 1853, as assistant-editor
and correspondent at Quebec, then the seat of the Canadian legislature.
He had previously distinguished himself at college, and became one of
the ablest Canadian writers of his day. He was the successful competitor
for the prize given for the best essay on Canada at the Universal
Exhibition of 1856, and had he lived, might have proved a strong man in
political life.

In 1858, Mr. Hogan suddenly disappeared, and it was reported that he had
gone on a shooting expedition to Texas. But in the following spring, a
partially decomposed corpse was found in the melting snow near the mouth
of the Don, in Toronto Bay. Gradually the fearful truth came to light
through the remorse of one of the women accessory to the crime. A gang
of loose men and women who infested what was called Brooks's Bush, east
of the Don, were in the habit of robbing people who had occasion to
cross the Don bridge at late hours of the night. Mr. Hogan frequently
visited a friend who resided east of the bridge, on the Kingston Road,
and on the night in question, was about crossing the bridge, when a
woman who knew him, accosted him familiarly, while at the same moment
another woman struck him on the forehead with a stone slung in a
stocking; two or three men then rushed upon him, while partially
insensible, and rifled his pockets. He recovered sufficiently to cry
faintly, "Don't murder me!" to a man whom he recognised and called by
name. This recognition was fatal to him. To avoid discovery, the
villains lifted him bodily, in spite of his cries and struggles, and
tossed him over the parapet into the stream, where he was drowned. In
1861, some of the parties were arrested; one of them, named Brown, was
convicted and hanged for the murder; two others managed to prove an
_alibi_, and so escaped punishment.



The Rev. Henry C. Cooper was the eldest of a family of four brothers,
who emigrated to Canada in 1832, and settled in what is known as the old
Exeter settlement in the Huron tract. He was accompanied to Canada by
his wife and two children, afterwards increased to nine, who endured
with him all the hardships and privations of a bush life. In 1848 he was
appointed to the rectory of Mimico, in the township of Etobicoke, to
which was afterwards added the charge of the church and parish of St.
George's, Islington, including the village of Lambton on the Humber.

In 1863, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became my wife. Our married
life was in all respects a happy one, saddened only by anxieties arising
from illness, which resulted in the death of one child, a daughter, at
the age of six months, and of two others prematurely. These losses
affected their mother's health, and she died in November, 1868, aged 36
years. To express my sense of her loss, I quote from Tennyson's "In

  "The path by which we twain did go,
    Which led by tracts which pleased us well,
    Through four sweet years arose and fell,
  From flower to flower, from snow to snow:

  "And we with singing cheer'd the way,
    And crown'd with all the season lent,
    From April on to April went,
  And glad at heart from May to May:

  "But where the path we walked began
    To slant the fifth autumnal slope,
    As we descended, following Hope,
  There sat the Shadow fear'd of man;

  "Who broke our fair companionship,
    And spread his mantle dark and cold,
    And wrapt thee formless in the fold,
  And dull'd the murmur on thy lip;

  "And bore thee where I could not see
    Nor follow, tho' I walk in haste,
    And think that somewhere in the waste
  The Shadow sits and waits for me."

For the following epitaph on our infant daughter, I am myself
responsible. It is carved on a tomb-stone where the mother and her
little ones lie together in St. George's churchyard:

  We loved thee as a budding flow'r
    That bloomed in beauty for awhile;
  We loved thee as a ray of light
    To bless us with its sunny smile;

  We loved thee as a heavenly gift
    So rich, we trembled to possess,--
  A hope to sweeten life's decline,
    And charm our griefs to happiness.

  The flower, the ray, the hope is past--
    The chill of death rests on thy brow--
  But ah! our Father's will be done,
    We love thee as an angel now!

Mr. Cooper died Sept. 10, 1877, leaving behind him the reputation of an
earnest, upright life, and a strong attachment to the evangelical school
in the English Church. His widow still resides at St. George's Hill,
with one of her daughters. Two of her sons are in the ministry, the Rev.
Horace Cooper, of Lloydtown, and the Rev. Robert St. P. O. Cooper, of

One of Mr. H. C. Cooper's brothers became Judge Cooper, of Huron, who
died some years since. Another, still living, is Mr. C. W. Cooper,
barrister, formerly of Toronto, now of Chicago. He was recording
secretary to the B. A. League, in 1849, and is a talented writer for the



In 1860, soon after my return to Toronto, I was asked by my old friend
and former partner, Mr. Henry Rowsell, to take charge of the Beaver
Mutual Fire Insurance Company, which had been organized a year or two
before by W. H. Smith, author of a work called "Canada--Past, Present,
and Future," and a Canadian Gazetteer. Of this company I became managing
director, and continued to conduct it until the year 1876, when it was
legislated out of existence by the Mackenzie government. I do not
propose to inflict upon my readers any details respecting its operations
or fortunes, except in so far as they were matters of public history.
Suffice it here to say, that I assumed its charge with two hundred
members or policy holders; that, up to the spring of 1876, it had issued
seventy-four thousand policies, and that not a just claim remained
unsatisfied. Its annual income amounted to a hundred and fifty thousand
dollars, and its agencies numbered a hundred. That so powerful an
organization should have to succumb to hostile influences, is a striking
example of the ups and downs of fortune.



The summer of 1870 will be long remembered as the year of the Ottawa
fires, which severely tried the strength of the Beaver Company. On the
17th August in that year, a storm of wind from the south-west fanned
into flames the expiring embers of bush-fires and burning log-heaps,
throughout the Counties of Lanark, Renfrew, Carleton and Ottawa,
bordering on the Ottawa River between Upper and Lower Canada. No rain
had fallen there for months previously, and the fields were parched to
such a degree as seemingly to fill the air with inflammable gaseous
exhalations, and to render buildings, fences, trees and pastures so dry,
that the slightest spark would set them in a blaze. Such was the
condition of the Townships of Fitzroy, Huntley, Goulburn, March, Nepean,
Gloucester, and Hull, when the storm swept over them, and in the brief
space of four hours left them a blackened desert, with here and there a
dwelling-house or barn saved, but everything else--dwellings,
out-buildings, fences, bridges, crops, meadows--nay, even horses, horned
cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, all kinds of domestic and wild animals,
and most deplorable of all, twelve human beings--involved in one common
destruction. Those farmers who escaped with their lives did so with
extreme difficulty, in many cases only by driving their waggons laden
with their wives and children into the middle of the Ottawa or some
smaller stream, where the poor creatures had to remain all night, their
flesh blistered with the heat, and their clothing consumed on their

The soil in places was burned so deeply as to render farms worthless,
while the highways were made impassable by the destruction of bridges
and corduroy roads. To the horrors of fire were added those of
starvation and exposure; it was many days before shelter could be
provided, or even food furnished to all who needed it. The harvest, just
gathered, had been utterly consumed in the barns and stacks; and the
green crops, such as corn, oats, turnips and potatoes, were so scorched
in the fields as to render them worthless.

The number of families burnt out was stated at over four hundred, of
whom eighty-two were insurers in the Beaver Company to the extent of
some seventy thousand dollars, all of which was satisfactorily paid.

The government and people of Canada generally took up promptly the
charitable task of providing relief, and it is pleasant to be able to
add that, within two years after, the farmers of the burnt district
themselves acknowledged that they were better off than before the great
fire--partly owing to a succession of good harvests, but mainly to the
thorough cleansing which the land had received, and the perfect
destruction of all stumps and roots by the fervid heat.

One or two remarkable circumstances are worth recording. A farmer was
sitting at his door, having just finished his evening meal, when he
noticed a lurid smoke with flames miles off. In two or three minutes it
had swept over the intervening country, across his farm and through his
house, licking up everything as it went, and leaving nothing but ashes
behind it. He escaped by throwing himself down in a piece of wet swamp
close at hand. His wife and children were from home fortunately. Every
other living thing was consumed. Another family was less fortunate. It
consisted of a mother and several children. Driven into a swamp for
shelter, they became separated and bewildered. The calcined skeletons of
the poor woman and one child were found several days afterward. The rest

The fire seems to have resembled an electric flash, leaping from place
to place, passing over whole farms to pounce upon others in rear, and
again vaulting to some other spot still further eastward.



In the course of the ordinary routine of a fire insurance office,
circumstances are frequently occurring that may well figure in a
sensational novel. One or two such may not be uninteresting here. I
suppress the true names and localities, and some of the particulars.

One dark night, in a frontier settlement of the County of Simcoe, a
young man was returning through the bush from a township gathering, when
he noticed loaded teams passing along a concession line not far distant.
As this was no unusual occurrence, he thought little of it, until some
miles further on, he came to a clearing of some forty acres, where there
was no dwelling-house apparently, but a solitary barn, which, while he
was looking at it, seemed to be lighted up by a lanthorn, and after some
minutes, by a flickering flame which gradually increased to a blaze, and
shortly enveloped the whole building. Hastening to the spot, no living
being was to be seen there, and he was about to leave the place; but
giving a last look at the burning building, it struck him that there was
very little fire inside, and he turned to satisfy his curiosity. There
was nothing whatever in the barn.

In due course, a notice was received at our office, that on a certain
night the barn of one Dennis ----, containing one thousand bushels of
wheat, had been burnt from an unknown cause, and that the value thereof,
some eight-hundred dollars, was claimed from the company. At the same
time, an anonymous letter reached me, suggesting an inquiry into the
causes of the fire. The inquiry was instituted accordingly. The holder
of the policy, an old man upwards of sixty years of age, a miser,
reputed worth ten thousand dollars at least, was arrested, committed to
---- gaol, and finally tried and found guilty, without a doubt of his
criminality being left on any body's mind who was present. Through the
skill of his counsel, however, he escaped on a petty technicality; and
considering his miserable condition, the loss he had inflicted on
himself, and his seven months' detention in gaol, we took no further
steps for his punishment.

A country magistrate of high standing and good circumstances at ----,
had a son aged about twenty-seven, to whom he had given the best
education that grammar-school and college could afford, and who was
regarded in his own neighbourhood as the model of gallantry and spirited
enterprise. His father had supplied him with funds to erect substantial
farm buildings, well stocked and furnished, in anticipation of his
marriage with an estimable and well-educated young lady. Amongst the
other buildings was a cheese-factory, in connection with which the young
man commenced the business of making and selling cheese on an extensive
scale. So matters went on for some months, until we received advices
that the factory which we had insured, had been burnt during the night,
and that the owner claimed three-thousand dollars for his loss. Our
inspector was sent to examine and report, and was returning quite
satisfied of the integrity of the party and the justice of the claim,
when just as he was leaving the hotel where he had staid, a bystander
happened to remark how curious it was that cheese should burn without
smell. "That is impossible," said the landlord. "I am certain," said the
former speaker, "that this had no smell, for I remarked it to Jack at
the time."

The inspector reported this conversation, and I sent a detective to
investigate the case. He remained there, disguised of course, for two or
three weeks, and then reported that large shipments of cheese to distant
parts had taken place previously to the fire; but he could find nothing
to criminate any individual, until accidentally he noticed what looked
like a dog's muzzle lying in a corner of the stable. He picked it up,
and untying a string that was wound around it, found it to be the leg of
a new pair of pantaloons of fine quality. Watching his opportunity the
same evening, while in conversation with the claimant, he produced the
trowser-leg quietly, and enquired where the fellow-leg was? Taken by
surprise, the young man slunk silently away. He had evidently cut off a
leg of his own pants, and used it to muzzle his house-dog, to silence
its barking while he set the factory afire. He left the country that
night, and we heard no more of the claim.

A letter was received one day from a Roman Catholic priest, which
informed me that a woman whose dying confession he had received, had
acknowledged that several years before she had been accessary to a fraud
upon our company of one hundred dollars. Her husband had insured a horse
with us for that amount. The horse had been burnt in his stable. The
claim was paid. Her confession was, that the horse had died a natural
death, and that the stable was set on fire for the purpose of recovering
the value of the horse. In this case, the woman's confession becoming
known to her husband, he left the country for the United States. The
woman recovered and followed him.



In the year 1875, the blow fell which destroyed the Beaver Insurance
Company, and well nigh ruined every man concerned in it, from the
president to the remotest agent. In April of that year, a bill was
passed by the Dominion Legislature relative to mutual fire insurance
companies. It so happened that the Premier of Canada was then the Hon.
Alexander Mackenzie, for whose benefit, it was understood, the Hon.
George Brown had got up a stock company styled the Isolated Risk
Insurance Co., of which Mr. Mackenzie became president. There was a
strong rivalry between the two companies, and possibly from this cause
the legislation of the Dominion took a complexion hostile to mutual
insurance. Be that as it may, a clause was introduced into the Act
without attracting attention, which required the Beaver Company to
deposit with the Government the sum of fifty-thousand dollars, being the
same amount as had been customary with companies possessing a stock
capital. For eighteen months this clause remained unobserved, when the
Hon. J. Hillyard Cameron, being engaged as counsel in an insurance case,
happened to light upon it, and mentioned it to me at the last meeting
of the Board which he attended before his death, which took place two or
three weeks afterwards. At the following Board meeting, I stated the
facts as reported by him, and was instructed to take the opinion of Mr.
Christopher Robinson, the eminent Queen's counsel, upon the case. I did
so at once, and was advised by him to submit the question to Professor
Cherriman, superintendent of insurance, by whom it was referred to the
law officers of the Crown at Ottawa. Their decision was, that the Beaver
Company had been required by the new Act to make a deposit of fifty
thousand dollars before transacting any new business since April, 1876,
and that nothing but an Act of Parliament could relieve the company and
its agents from the penalties already incurred in ignorance of the

On receipt of this opinion, immediate notice was sent by circular to all
the company's agents, warning them to suspend operations at once. A bill
was introduced at the following session, in February, 1877, which
received the royal assent in April, remitting all penalties, and
authorizing the company either to wind up its business or to transmute
itself into a stock company. But in the meantime, fire insurance had
received so severe a shock from the calamitous fire at St. John, N. B.,
by which many companies were ruined, and all shaken, that it was found
impossible to raise the necessary capital to resume the Beaver

Thus, without fault or error on the part of its Board of Management,
without warning or notice of any kind, was a strong and useful
institution struck to the ground as by a levin-bolt. The directors, who
included men of high standing of all political parties, lost, in the
shape of paid-up guarantee stock and promissory notes, about sixty
thousand dollars of their own money, and the officers suffered in the
same way. The expenses of winding up, owing to vexatious litigation,
have amounted to a sum sufficient to cover the outside liabilities of
the company.

These particulars may not interest the majority of my readers, but I
have felt it my duty to give them, as the best act of justice in my
power to the public-spirited and honourable men, with whom for
twenty-three years I have acted, and finally suffered. That the members
of the company--the insured--have sustained losses by fire since
October, 1876, to the amount of over $45,000, which remain unpaid in
consequence of its inability to collect its assets, adds another to the
many evils which are chargeable to ill-considered and reckless
legislation, in disregard of the lawful vested rights of innocent
people, including helpless widows and orphans.



On the 20th day of April, 1844, I was standing outside the railing of
St. James's churchyard, Toronto, on the occasion of a very sad funeral.
The chief mourner was a slightly built, delicate-looking young man of
prepossessing appearance. His youthful wife, the daughter of the late
Hon. H. J. Boulton, at one time Chief Justice of Newfoundland, had died,
and it was at her burial he was assisting. When the coffin had been
committed to the earth, the widowed husband's feelings utterly overcame
him, and he fell insensible beside the still open grave.

This was my first knowledge of John Hillyard Cameron. From that day,
until his death in November, 1876, I knew him more or less intimately,
enjoyed his confidence personally and politically, and felt a very
sincere regard for him in return. I used at one time to oppose his views
in the City Council, but always good-naturedly on both sides. I was
chairman of the Market Committee, and it was my duty to resist his
efforts to establish a second market near the corner of Queen and Yonge
Streets, in the rear of the buildings now known as the Page Block. He
was a prosperous lawyer, highly in repute, gaining a considerable
revenue from his profession, and being of a lively, sanguine
temperament, launched out into heavy speculations in exchange operations
and in real estate.

As an eloquent pleader in the courts, he excelled all his
contemporaries, and it was a common saying among solicitors, that
Cameron ruled the Bench by force of argument, and the jury by power of
persuasion. In the Legislature he was no less influential. His speeches
on the Clergy Reserve question, on the Duval case, and many others,
excited the House of Assembly to such a degree, that on one occasion an
adjournment was carried on the motion of the ministerial leader, to give
time for sober reflection. So it was in religious assemblies. At
meetings of the Synod of the Church of England, at missionary meetings,
and others, his fervid zeal and flowing sentences carried all before
them, and left little for others to say.

In 1849, Mr. Cameron married again, this time a daughter of General
Mallett, of Baltimore, who survives him, and still resides in Toronto.
After that date, and for years until 1857, everything appeared to
prosper with him. A comfortable residence, well stored with valuable
paintings, books and rarities of all kinds. The choicest of society and
hosts of friends. An amiable growing family of sons and daughters.
Affluence and elegance, popular favour, and the full sunshine of
prosperity. Honours were showered upon him from all sides.
Solicitor-General in 1846, member of Parliament for several
constituencies in turn, Treasurer of the Law Society, and Grand Master
of the Orange Association. Judgeships and Chief-Justiceships were known
to be at his disposal, but declined for personal reasons.

My political connection with Mr. Cameron commenced in 1854, when, having
purchased from the widow of the late Hugh Scobie the _Colonist_
newspaper, I thought it prudent to strengthen myself by party alliances.
He entered into the project with an energy and disinterestedness that
surprised me. It had been a semi-weekly paper; he offered to furnish
five thousand dollars a year to make it a daily journal, independent of
party control; stipulated for no personal influence over its editorial
views, leaving them entirely in my discretion, and undertaking that he
would never reclaim the money so advanced, as long as his means should
last. I was then comparatively young, enterprising, and unembarrassed in
circumstances, popular amongst my fellow-citizens, and mixed up in
nearly every public enterprise and literary association then in
existence in Toronto. Quite ready, in fact, for any kind of newspaper

My arrangement with Mr. Cameron continued, with complete success, until
1857. The paper was acknowledged as a power in the state; my relations
with contemporary journals were friendly, and all seemed well.

In the summer of 1857 occurred the great business panic, which spread
ruin and calamity throughout Canada West, caused by the cessation of the
vast railway expenditure of preceding years, and by the simultaneous
occurrence of a business pressure in the United States. The great house
of Duncan Sherman & Co., of New York, through which Mr. Cameron was in
the habit of transacting a large exchange business with England, broke
down suddenly and unexpectedly. Drafts on London were dishonoured, and
Mr. Cameron's bankers there, to protect themselves, sold without notice
the securities he had placed in their hands, at a loss to him personally
of over a hundred thousand pounds sterling.

Mr. Cameron was for a time prostrated by this reverse, but soon rallied
his energies. Friends advised him to offer a compromise to his
creditors, which would have been gladly accepted; but he refused to do
so, saying, he would either pay twenty shillings in the pound or die in
the effort. He made the most extraordinary exertions, refusing the
highest seats on the judicial bench to work the harder at his
profession; toiling day and night to retrieve his fortunes; insuring his
life for heavy sums by way of security to his creditors; and felt
confident of final success, when in October, 1876, while attending the
assize at Orillia, he imprudently refreshed himself after a night's
labour in court, by bathing in the cold waters of the Narrows of Lake
Couchiching, and contracted a severe cold which laid him on a sick bed,
which he never quitted alive.

I saw him a day or two before his death, when he spoke of a heavy draft
becoming due, for which he had made provision. In this he was
disappointed. He tried to leave his bed to rectify the error, but fell
back from exhaustion, and died in the struggle--as his friends
think--from a broken heart.



About the year 1843, the first effort to establish a free public library
in Toronto, was made by myself. Having been a member of the Birkbeck
Institute of London, I exerted myself to get up a similar society here,
and succeeded in enlisting the sympathies of several of the masters of
Upper Canada College, of whom Mr. Henry Scadding (now the Rev. Dr.
Scadding) was the chief. He became president of the Athenæum, a literary
association, of which I was secretary and librarian. In that capacity I
corresponded with the learned societies of England and Scotland, and in
two or three years got together several hundred volumes of standard
works, all in good order and well bound. Meetings for literary
discussion were held weekly, the principal speakers being Philip M.
Vankoughnet (since chancellor), Alex. Vidal (now senator), David B. Read
(now Q.C.), J. Crickmore,-- Martin, Macdonald the younger (of
Greenfield), and many others whose names I cannot recall. I recollect
being infinitely amused by a naïve observation of one of these young
men-- "Remember, gentlemen, that we are the future legislators of
Canada!" which proved to be prophetic, as most of them have since made
their mark in some conspicuous public capacity.

We met in the west wing of the old City Hall. The eastern wing was
occupied by the Commercial News room, and in course of time the two
associations were united. As an interesting memento of many honoured
citizens, I copy the deed of transfer in full:

    "We, the undersigned shareholders of the Commercial News Room,
    do hereby make over, assign, and transfer unto the members, for
    the time being, of the Toronto Athenæum, all our right, title,
    and interest in and to each our share in the said Commercial
    News Room, for the purposes and on the terms and conditions
    mentioned in the copy of a Resolution of the Committee of the
    said Commercial News Room, hereunto annexed.

"In witness whereof we have hereunto placed our hands and seals this 3rd
day of September, 1847."

    Thos. D. Harris.
    Jos. D. Ridout.
    W. C. Ross.
    A. T. McCord.
    D. Paterson.
    Wm. Proudfoot.
    F. W. Birchall.
    Geo. Perc. Ridout.
    Alexander Murray.
    W. Allan.
    J. Mitchell.
    James F. Smith.
    W. Gamble.
    Richard Kneeshaw.
    John Ewart.
    George Munro.
    Thos. Mercer Jones.
    Joseph Dixon.

    Signed, sealed and delivered  }
    in the presence of            }
    Samuel Thompson.              }

After the destruction by fire of the old City Hall, the Athenæum
occupied handsome rooms in the St. Lawrence Hall, until 1855, when a
proposition was received to unite with the Canadian Institute, then
under the presidency of Chief Justice Sir J. B. Robinson. Dr. Wilson
(now President Toronto University) was its leading spirit. It was
thereupon decided to transfer the library and some minerals, with the
government grant of $400, to the Canadian Institute. In order to
legalize the transfer, application was made to Parliament, and on the
19th May, 1855, the Act 18 Vic., c. 236, received the royal assent. The
first clause reads as follows:-- "The members of the Toronto Athenæum
shall have power to transfer and convey to the Canadian Institute, such
and so much of the books, minerals, and other property of the said
Toronto Athenæum, whether held absolutely or in trust, as they may
decide upon so conveying, and upon such conditions as they may think
advisable, which conditions, if accepted by the said Canadian Institute,
shall be binding."

Accordingly a deed of transfer was prepared and executed by the two
contracting parties, by which it was provided:

    "That the library formed by the books of the two institutions,
    with such additions as may be made from the common funds, should
    constitute a library to which the public should have access for
    reference, free of charge, under such regulations as may be
    adopted by the said Canadian Institute in view of the proper
    care and management of the same."

The books and minerals were handed over in due time, and acknowledged in
the _Canadian Journal_, vol. 3, p. 394, old series. On the 9th February,
1856, Professor Chapman presented his report as curator, "on the
minerals handed over by the Toronto Athenæum," which does not appear to
have been published in the _Journal_. The reading room was subsequently
handed over to the Mechanics' Institute, which was then in full vigour.

It will be seen, therefore, that the library of the Canadian Institute
is, to all intents and purposes, a public library by statute, and free
to all citizens for ever. I am sorry to add, that for many years back
the conditions of the trust have been very indifferently carried
out--few citizens know their rights respecting it, and still fewer avail
themselves thereof. The Institute now has a substantial building, very
comfortably fitted up, on Richmond Street east; has a good reading room
in excellent order, and very obliging officials; gives weekly readings
or lectures on Saturday evenings, and has accumulated a valuable library
of some eight thousand volumes.

I have thus been identified with almost every movement made in Toronto,
for affording literary recreation to her citizens, and rejoice to see
the good work progressing in younger and abler hands.



In the month of July, 1850, the Mayor and citizens of Buffalo, hearing
that our Canadian legislators were about to attend the formal opening of
the Welland Canal, very courteously invited them to extend their trip to
that city, and made preparations for their reception. Circumstances
prevented the visit, but in acknowledgment of the good will thus shown,
a number of members of the Canadian Parliament, then in session here,
acting in concert with our City Council, proposed a counter-invitation,
which was accordingly sent and accepted, and a joint committee formed to
carry out the project.

The St. Lawrence Hall, then nearly finished, was hurriedly fitted up as
a ball-room for the occasion, under the volunteered charge chiefly of
Messrs. F. W. Cumberland and Kivas Tully, architects. The hall was lined
throughout, tent-fashion, the ceiling with blue and white, the walls
with pink and white calico, in alternate stripes, varied with a
multitude of flags, British and American, mottoes and other showy
devices. The staircase was decorated with evergreens, which were also
utilized to convert the unfinished butchers' arcade into a bowery vista
500 feet long, lighted with gas laid for the occasion, and extending
across Front Street to the entrance of the City Hall, then newly
restored, painted and papered.

Lord Elgin warmly seconded the hospitable views of the joint committee,
and Colonel Sir Hew Dalrymple promised a review of the troops then in
garrison. All was life and preparation throughout the city.

On Friday, August 8th, the steamer _Chief Justice_ was despatched to
Lewiston to receive the guests from Buffalo. On her return, in the
afternoon, she was welcomed with a salute of cannon, the men of the Fire
Brigade lining the wharf and Front Street, along which the visitors were
conveyed in carriages to the North American Hotel.

Soon after nine o'clock, the Hall began to fill with a brilliant and
joyous assemblage of visitors and citizens with their ladies. Lord and
Lady Elgin arrived at about ten o'clock, and were received with the
strains of "God Save the Queen," by the admirable military band, which
was one of the city's chief attractions in those times.

The day was very wet, and the evening still rainy. The arcade had been
laid with matting, but it was nevertheless rather difficult for the fair
dancers to trip all the way to the City Hall, in the council chamber of
which supper had been prepared. However, they got safely through, and
seemed delighted with the adventure. Never since, I think, has the City
Hall presented so distinguished and charming a scene. Of course there
was a lady to every gentleman. The fair Buffalonians were loud in their
praises of the whole arrangements, and thoroughly disposed to enjoy

On a raised dais at the south side of the room was a table, at which
were seated Mayor Gurnett as host, with Lady Elgin; the Governor-General
and Mrs. Judge Sill, of Buffalo; Mayor Smith, of Buffalo, and Madame
Lafontaine; the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with Mrs.
Alderman Tiffany of Buffalo, and the Hon. Mrs. Bruce. Four long tables
placed north and south, and two side tables, accommodated the rest of
the party, amounting to about three hundred. All the tables were
tastefully decorated with floral and other ornaments, and spread with
every delicacy that could be procured. The presiding stewards were the
Hon. Mr. Bourret, Hon. Sir Allan N. McNab, Hon. Messrs. Hincks, Cayley,
J. H. Cameron, S. Taché, Drummond and Merritt.

Toasts and speeches followed in the usual order, after which everybody
returned to the St. Lawrence Hall, where dancing was resumed and kept up
till an early hour next morning.

The next day, being the 9th, the promised review of the 71st Regiment
took place, with favourable weather, and was a decided success.

In the afternoon, Lord Elgin gave a fête champêtre at Elmsley Villa,
where he then resided, and which has since been occupied as Knox's
College. The grounds then extended from Yonge Street to the University
Park, and an equal distance north and south. They were well kept, and on
this occasion charmingly in unison with the bright smiles and gay
costumes of the ladies who, with their gentlemen escorts, made up the
most joyous of scenes.

Having paid my respects at the Government House on New Year's day, I was
present as an invited guest at the garden party. His Excellency showed
me marked attention, in recognition probably of my services as a
peacemaker. The corporation, as a body, were not invited, which was the
only instance in which Lord Elgin betrayed any pique at the unflattering
reception given him in October, 1849.[28] While conversing with him, I
was amused at the enthusiasm of a handsome Buffalo lady, who came up,
unceremoniously exclaiming, "Oh, my lord, I heard your beautiful speech
(in the marquee), you should come among us and go into politics. If you
would only take the stump for the Presidency, I am confident you would
sweep every state of the Union!"

An excellent déjeuner had been served in a large tent on the lawn.
Speeches and toasts were numerous and complimentary. The conservatory
was cleared for dancing, which was greatly enjoyed, and the festivities
were wound up by a brilliant display of fireworks.

The guests departed next morning, amid hearty handshaking and
professions of friendship. Before leaving the wharf, the Mayor of
Buffalo expressed in warm and pleasing terms, his high sense of the
hospitality shown himself and his fellow-citizens. And so ended the
Buffalo Fête.

[Footnote 28: Some members of the corporation were much annoyed at their
exclusion, and inclined to resent it as a studied insult, but wiser
counsels prevailed.]



The year 1851 is memorable for the celebration, at Boston, of the
opening of the Ogdensburg Railway, to connect Boston with Canada and the
Lakes, and also of the Grand Junction Railway, a semicircular line by
which all the railways radiating from that city are linked together, so
that a passenger starting from any one of the city stations can take his
ticket for any other station on any of those railways, either in the
suburbs or at distant points. I am not aware that so perfect a system
has been attempted elsewhere. The natural configuration of its site has
probably suggested the scheme. Boston proper is built on an irregular
tri-conical hill, with its famous bay to the east; on the north the wide
Charles River, with the promontory and hills of Charlestown and East
Cambridge; on the south Dorchester Heights. Between the principal
elevations are extensive salt marshes, now rapidly disappearing under
the encroachments of artificial soil, covered in turn by vast
warehouses, streets, railway tracks, and all the various structures
common to large commercial cities.

It was in the month of July, that a deputation from the Boston City
Council visited our principal Canadian cities, as the bearers of an
invitation to Lord Elgin and his staff, with the government officials,
as well as the mayors and corporations and leading merchants of those
cities, and other principal towns of Upper and Lower Canada, to visit
Boston on the occasion of a great jubilee to be held in honour of the
opening of its new railway system.

Numerous as were the invited Canadian guests, however, they formed but a
mere fraction of the visitors expected. Every railway staff, every
municipal corporation throughout the Northern States, was included in
the list of invitations; free passes and free quarters were provided for
all; and it would be hard to conceive a more joyous invasion of merry
travellers, than those who were pouring in by a rapid succession of
loaded trains on all the numerous lines converging upon "the hub of the

Our Toronto party was pretty numerous. Mr. J. G. Bowes was mayor, and
among the aldermen present were Messrs. W. Wakefield (who was a host of
jollity in himself), G. P. Ridout, R. Dempsey, E. F. Whittemore, J. G.
Beard, Robt. Beard, John B. Robinson, Jos. Sheard and myself; also
councilmen James Ashfield, James Price, M. P. Hayes, S. Platt, Jonathan
Dunn, and others. There were besides, of leading citizens, Messrs. Alex.
Dixon, E. G. O'Brien, Alex. Manning, E. Goldsmith, Kivas Tully, Fred.
Perkins, Rice Lewis, George Brown, &c. We had a delightful trip down
the lake by steamer, and at Ogdensburg took the cars for Lake Champlain.
We arrived at Boston about 10 a.m. Waiting for us at the Western
Railroad Depot were the mayor and several of the city council of Boston,
with carriages for our whole party. But we were too dusty and tired with
our long journey to think of anything but refreshments and baths, and
all the other excellent things which awaited us at the American Hotel.
Here we were confidentially informed that the Jubilee was to be
celebrated on temperance principles, but that in compliment to the
Canadian guests, a few baskets of champagne had been provided for our
especial delectation; and I am compelled to add, that on the strength
thereof, two or three worshipful aldermen of Toronto got themselves
locked up for the night in the police stations.

It is but justice to explain here, that a very small offence is
sufficient to procure such a distinction in Boston. Even the smoking of
a cigar on the side-walks, or the least symptom of unsteadiness in gait,
is enough to consign a man to durance vile. The police were everywhere.

The first day of the Jubilee was occupied by the members of the
committee in receiving their visitors, providing them with comfortable
and generally luxurious quarters, and introducing the principal guests
to each other--also in exhibiting the local lions. On the second day
there was an excursion down the harbour, which is many miles long and
broad. Six steamboats and two large cutters, gay with flags and
streamers, conveyed the party; champagne was in abundance (always for
the Canadian visitors!)--each boat had its band of music--very fine
German bands too. Then, as the flotilla left the wharf and passed in
succession the fortifications and other prominent points, salvoes of
cannon boomed across the bright waters, re-echoing far and wide amid the
surrounding hills. President Fillmore and his suite were on board the
leading vessel, and to him, of course, these honours were paid. On every
boat was spread a banquet for the guests; toasts and sentiments were
given and duly honoured; and to judge by the noise and excited
gesticulations of the banqueters, nothing could be more complete than
the fusion of Yankees and Canadians.

At noon, a regatta was held, which, the weather being fine, with a light
breeze, was pronounced by yachtsmen a distinguished success. At five
o'clock the citizens crowded in vast numbers to the Western Railway
Station, there to meet His Excellency the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine,
with his brother Colonel Bruce and a numerous staff. He was welcomed by
Mayor Bigelow, a fine venerable old man of the Mayflower stock. Mutual
compliments were exchanged, and the new comers escorted to the Revere
House, a very handsome hotel, the best in Boston. Everywhere the streets
were lined with throngs of people, who cheered our Governor-General to
the uttermost extent of their lung-power.

On the third day took place a monster procession, at least a mile and
a-half in length, and modelled after the plan of the German trades
festivals. Besides the long line of carriages filled with guests, from
the President and the Governor-General down to the humblest city
officer, there was an immense array of "trades expositions" or pageants,
that is, huge waggons drawn by four, six, eight and sometimes ten
horses, each waggon serving as a model workshop, whereon printers,
hatters, bootmakers, turners, carriage-makers, boat-riggers,
stone-cutters, silversmiths, plumbers, market-men, piano-forte makers,
and many other handicraftsmen worked at their respective callings.

The finest street of private residences was Dover Street, a noble avenue
of cut stone buildings, occupied by wealthy people of old Boston
families. The decorations here were both costly and tasteful; and the
hospitality unbounded. As each carriage passed slowly along, footmen in
livery presented at its doors silver trays loaded with refreshments, in
the shape of pastry, bon-bons, and costly wines. The ladies of each
house, richly dressed, stood on the lower steps and welcomed the
visitors with smiles and waving of handkerchiefs. At two or three places
in the line of procession, were platforms handsomely festooned, occupied
by bevies of fair girls in white, or by hundreds of children of both
sexes, belonging to the common schools, prettily dressed, and bearing
bouquets of bright flowers which they presented to the occupants of the

I could not help remarking to my companion, one of the members of the
Boston City Council, that more aristocratic-looking women than these
Dover Street matrons, were not, I thought, to be found in all Europe. He
told me not to whisper such a sentiment in Boston, for fear it might
expose the objects of my complimentary remark to being mobbed by the

At length the procession came to an end. But it was only a prelude to a
still more magnificent demonstration, which was the great banquet given
to four thousand people under one vast tent covering half an acre of
ground on the Common. Thither the visitors were escorted in carriages,
with the usual attention and solicitude for their every comfort, and
when within, and placed according to their several ranks and localities,
it was truly a sight to be remembered. The tent was two hundred and
fifty feet in length by ninety in width. The roof and sides were all but
hidden by the profusion of flags and bunting festooned everywhere. A
raised table for the visitors extended around the entire tent. For the
citizens proper were placed ten rows of parallel tables running the
whole length of the inner area; altogether providing seats for three
thousand six hundred people, besides smaller tables at convenient
spots. There were present also a whole army of waiters, one to each
dozen guests, and indefatigable in their duties.

The repast included all kinds of cold meats and temperance drinks.
Flowers for every person and great flower trophies on the tables;
abundance of huge water and musk melons, and other fruits in great
variety and perfection, especially native grown peaches and Bartlett
pears, which Boston produces of the finest quality. Also plenty of
pastry of many tempting kinds. It took scarcely twenty minutes to seat
the entire "dinner party" comfortably, so excellent were the

Before dinner commenced, Mayor Bigelow, who presided, announced that
President Fillmore was required to leave for Washington on urgent state
business; which he did after his health had been proposed and
acknowledged. A little piece of dramatic acting was noticeable here,
when the President and Lord Elgin, one on each side of the Mayor, shook
hands across his worshipful breast, the President retaining his
lordship's hand firmly clasped in his own for some time; a tableau which
gave rise to a tumultuous burst of applause from the whole assemblage.

Then commenced in earnest the play of knives and forks, four thousand of
each, producing a unique and somewhat droll effect. After the President
had gone, Lord Elgin became the chief lion of the day, and right well
did his lordship play his part, entering thoroughly into the prejudices
of his auditors while disclaiming all flattery, pouring out witticism
after witticism, sometimes of the broadest, and altogether carrying the
audience with him until they were worked up into a perfect frenzy of

"The health of Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland" having been proposed by His Honour Mayor John P.
Bigelow, was received, as the Boston account of the Jubilee says, "with
nine such cheers as would have made Her Majesty, had she been present,
forget that she was beyond the limits of her own dominions; and the band
struck up 'God save the Queen,' as if to complete the illusion." The
compliment was acknowledged by Lord Elgin, who said:

    "Allow me, gentlemen, as there seems to be in America some
    little misconception on these points, to observe, that we,
    monarchists though we be, enjoy the advantages of
    self-government, of popular elections, of deliberative
    assemblies, with their attendant blessings of caucuses, stump
    orators, lobbyings and log-rollings--(Laughter)--and I am not
    sure but we sometimes have a little pipe-laying--(renewed
    laughter)--almost, if not altogether, in equal perfection with
    yourselves. I must own, gentlemen, that I was exceedingly amused
    the other day, when one of the gentlemen who did me the honour
    to visit me at Toronto, bearing the invitation of the Common
    Council and Corporation of the City of Boston, observed to me,
    with the utmost gravity, that he had been delighted to find,
    upon entering our Legislative Assembly at Toronto, that there
    was quite as much liberty of speech there as in any body of the
    kind he had ever visited. (Laughter.) I could not help thinking
    that if my kind friend would only favour us with his company in
    Canada for a few weeks, we should be able to demonstrate, to his
    entire satisfaction, that the tongue is quite as 'unruly' a
    'member' on the north side of the line as on this side. (Renewed

    "Now, gentlemen, you must not expect it, for I have not the
    voice for it, and I cannot pretend to undertake to make a
    regular speech to you. I belong to a people who are notoriously
    slow of speech. (Laughter.) If any doubt ever existed on this
    point, it must have been set at rest by the verdict which a high
    authority has recently pronounced. A distinguished American--a
    member of the Senate of the United States, who has lately been
    in England, informed his countrymen, on his return, that sadly
    backward as poor John Bull is in many things, in no one
    particular does he make so lamentable a failure as when he tries
    his hand at public speaking. (Laughter.) Now, gentlemen,
    deferring, as I feel bound to do, to that high authority, and
    conscious that in no particular do I more faithfully represent
    my countrymen than in my stammering tongue and embarrassed
    utterance (continued laughter), you may judge what my feelings
    are when I am asked to address an assembly like this, convened
    under the hospitable auspices of the Corporation of Boston, I
    believe to the tune of some four thousand, in this State of
    Massachusetts, a State which is so famous for its orators and
    its statesmen, a State that can boast of Franklins, and Adamses,
    and Everetts, and Winthrops and Lawrences, and Sumners and
    Bigelows, and a host of other distinguished men; a State,
    moreover, which is the chosen home, if not the birthplace of the
    illustrious Secretary of State of the American Union.

    "But, gentlemen, although I cannot make a speech to you, I must
    tell you, in the plain and homely way in which John Bull tries
    to express his feelings when his heart is full--that is to say,
    when they do not choke him and prevent his utterance altogether
    (sensation)--in that homely way I must express to you how deeply
    grateful I and all who are with me (hear, hear), feel for the
    kind and gratifying reception we have met with in the City of
    Boston. For myself, I may say that the citizens of Boston could
    not have conferred upon me a greater favour than that which they
    have conferred, in inviting me to this festival, and in thus
    enabling me not only to receive the hand of kindness which has
    been extended to me by the authorities of the City and of the
    State, but also giving me the opportunity, which I never had
    before, and perhaps may never have again, of paying my respects
    to the President of the United States. (Applause.) And although
    it would ill become me, a stranger, to presume to eulogise the
    conduct or the services of President Fillmore, yet as a
    bystander, as an observer, and by no means an indifferent or
    careless observer, of your progress and prosperity, I think I
    may venture to affirm that it is the opinion of all impartial
    men, that President Fillmore will occupy an honourable place on
    the roll of illustrious men on whom the mantle of Washington has
    fallen. (Applause and cheers.)

    "Somebody must write to the President, and tell him how that
    remark about him was received. (Laughter.)

    "Gentlemen: I have always felt a very deep interest in the
    progress of the lines of railway communication, of which we are
    now assembled to celebrate the completion. The first railway
    that I ever travelled upon in North America, forms part of the
    iron band which now unites Montreal to Boston. I had the
    pleasure, about five years ago, of travelling with a friend of
    mine, whom I see now present--Governor Paine--I think as far as
    Concord, upon that line.

    "Ex-Governor Paine, of Vermont--It was Franklin.

    "Lord Elgin--He contradicts me; he says it was not Concord, but
    Franklin; but I will make a statement which I am sure he will
    not contradict; it is this--that although we travelled together
    two or three days--after leaving the cars, over bad roads, and
    in all sorts of queer conveyances, we never reached a place
    which we could with any propriety have christened Discord.
    (Laughter and applause.)

           *     *     *     *     *

    "As to the citizens of Boston, I shall not attempt to detail
    their merits, for their name is Legion; but there is one merit,
    which I do not like to pass unnoticed, because they always seem
    to have possessed it in the highest perfection. It is the virtue
    of courage. Upon looking very accurately into history, I find
    one occasion, and one only upon which it appears to me that
    their courage entirely failed them. I see a great many military
    men present, and I am afraid that they will call me to account
    for this observation (laughter)--and what do you think that
    occasion was? I find, from the most authentic records, that the
    citizens of Boston were altogether carried away by panic, when
    it was first proposed to build a railroad from Boston to
    Providence, under the apprehension that they themselves, their
    wives and their children, their stores and their goods, and all
    they possessed, would be swallowed up bodily by New York.

    "I hope that Boston has wholly recovered from that panic. I
    think it is some evidence of it, that she has laid out fifty
    millions in railways since that time."

After his lordship, followed Edward Everett, whose speech was a complete
contrast in every respect. Eloquent exceedingly, but chaste, terse and
poetical; it charmed the Canadian visitors as much as Lord Elgin's had
delighted the natives. Here are a few extracts:--

    "It is not easy for me to express to you the admiration with
    which I have listened to the very beautiful and appropriate
    speech with which his Excellency, the Governor-General of
    Canada, has just delighted us. You know, sir, that the truest
    and highest art is to conceal art; and I could not but be
    reminded of that maxim, when I heard that gentleman, after
    beginning with disabling himself, and cautioning us at the onset
    that he was slow of speech, proceed to make one of the happiest,
    most appropriate and eloquent speeches ever uttered. If I were
    travelling with his lordship in his native mountains of Gael, I
    should say to him, in the language of the natives of those
    regions, sma sheen--very well, my lord. But in plain English,
    sir, that which has fallen from his lordship has given me indeed
    new cause to rejoice that 'Chatham's language is my mother
    tongue.' (Great cheering.)

           *     *     *     *     *

    "We have, Sir, in this part of the country long been convinced
    of the importance of this system of communication; although it
    may be doubted whether the most sagacious and sanguine have even
    yet fully comprehended its manifold influences. We have,
    however, felt them on the sea board and in the interior. We have
    felt them in the growth of our manufactures, in the extension of
    our commerce, in the growing demand for the products of
    agriculture, in the increase of our population. We have felt
    them prodigiously in transportation and travel. The inhabitant
    of the country has felt them in the ease with which he resorts
    to the city markets, whether as a seller or a purchaser. The
    inhabitant of the city has felt them in the facility with which
    he can get to a sister city, or to the country; with which he
    can get back to his native village;--to see the old folks, aye,
    Sir, and some of the young folks--with which he can get a
    mouthful of pure mountain air--or run down in dog days to
    Gloucester or Phillips' beach, or Plymouth, or Cohassett, or New

    "I say, Sir, we have felt the benefit of our railway system in
    these and a hundred other forms, in which, penetrating far
    beyond material interests, it intertwines itself with all the
    concerns and relations of life and society; but I have never had
    its benefits brought home to me so sensibly as on the present
    occasion. Think, Sir, how it has annihilated time and space, in
    reference to this festival, and how greatly to our advantage and

    "When Dr. Franklin, in 1754, projected a plan of union for these
    colonies, with Philadelphia as the metropolis, he gave as a
    reason for this part of the plan, that Philadelphia was situated
    about half way between the extremes, and could be conveniently
    reached even from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in eighteen days! I
    believe the President of the United States, who has honoured us
    with his company at this joyous festival, was not more than
    twenty-four hours actually on the road from Washington to
    Boston; two to Baltimore, seven more to Philadelphia, five more
    to New York, and ten more to Boston.

    "And then Canada, sir, once remote, inaccessible region--but now
    brought to our very door. If a journey had been contemplated in
    that direction in Dr. Franklin's time, it would have been with
    such feelings as a man would have now-a-days, who was going to
    start for the mouth of Copper Mine River, and the shores of the
    Arctic Sea. But no, sir; such a thing was never thought
    of--never dreamed of. A horrible wilderness, rivers and lakes
    unspanned by human art, pathless swamps, dismal forests that it
    made the flesh creep to enter, threaded by nothing more
    practicable than the Indian's trail, echoing with no sound more
    inviting than the yell of the wolf and the warwhoop of the
    savage; these it was that filled the space between us and
    Canada. The inhabitants of the British Colonies never entered
    Canada in those days but as provincial troops or Indian
    captives; and lucky he that got back with his scalp on.
    (Laughter.) This state of things existed less than one hundred
    years ago; there are men living in Massachusetts who were born
    before the last party of hostile Indians made an incursion to
    the banks of the Connecticut river.

    "As lately as when I had the honour to be the Governor of the
    Commonwealth, I signed the pension warrant of a man who lost his
    arm in the year 1757, in a conflict with the Indians and French
    in one of the border wars, in those dreary Canadian forests. His
    Honour the Mayor will recollect it, for he countersigned the
    warrant as Secretary of State. Now, Sir, by the magic power of
    these modern works of art, the forest is thrown open--the rivers
    and lakes are bridged--the valleys rise, the mountains bow their
    everlasting heads; and the Governor-General of Canada takes his
    breakfast in Montreal, and his dinner in Boston;--reading a
    newspaper leisurely by the way which was printed a fortnight ago
    in London. [Great Applause.] In the excavations made in the
    construction of the Vermont railroads, the skeletons of fossil
    whales and paloeozoic elephants have been brought to light. I
    believe, Sir, if a live spermaciti whale had been seen spouting
    in Lake Champlain, or a native elephant had walked leisurely
    into Burlington from the neighbouring woods, of a summer's
    morning, it would not be thought more wonderful than our fathers
    would have regarded Lord Elgin's journey to us this week, could
    it have been foretold to them a century ago, with all the
    circumstances of despatch, convenience and safety. [Applause.]

    "I recollect that seven or eight years ago there was a project
    to carry a railroad into the lake country in England--into the
    heart of Westmoreland and Cumberland. Mr. Wordsworth, the lately
    deceased poet, a resident in the centre of this region, opposed
    the project. He thought that the retirement and seclusion of
    this delightful region would be disturbed by the panting of the
    locomotive, and the cry of the steam whistle. If I am not
    mistaken, he published one or two sonnets in deprecation of the
    enterprise. Mr. Wordsworth was a kind-hearted man, as well as a
    most distinguished poet, but he was entirely mistaken, as it
    seems to me, in this matter. The quiet of a few spots may be
    disturbed; but a hundred quiet spots are rendered accessible.
    The bustle of the station house may take the place of the
    Druidical silence of some shady dell; but, Gracious Heavens!
    sir, how many of those verdant cathedral arches, entwined by the
    hand of God in our pathless woods, are opened to the grateful
    worship of man by these means of communication. (Cheers).

    "How little of rural beauty you lose, even in a country of
    comparatively narrow dimensions like England--how less than
    little in a country so vast as this--by works of this
    description. You lose a little strip along the line of the road,
    which partially changes its character; while, as the
    compensation, you bring all this rural beauty--

  "The warbling woodland, the resounding shore,
    The pomp of groves, the garniture of fields,"

    within the reach, not of a score of luxurious, sauntering
    tourists, but of the great mass of the population, who have
    senses and tastes as keen as the keenest. You throw it open,
    with all its soothing and humanizing influences, to thousands
    who, but for your railways and steamers, would have lived and
    died without ever having breathed the life giving air of the
    mountains; yes, sir, to tens of thousands, who would have gone
    to their graves, and the sooner for the privation, without ever
    having caught a glimpse of the most magnificent and beautiful
    spectacle which nature presents to the eye of man--that of a
    glorious combing wave, a quarter of a mile long, as it comes
    swelling and breasting towards the shore, till its soft green
    ridge bursts into a crest of snow, and settles and dies along
    the whispering sands!" (Immense cheering.)

    "But even this is nothing compared with the great social and
    moral effects of this system, a subject admirably treated, in
    many of its aspects, in a sermon by Dr. Gannett, which has been
    kindly given to the public. All important also are its
    political effects in binding the States together as one family,
    and uniting us to our neighbours as brethren and kinsfolk. I do
    not know, Sir, [turning to Lord Elgin,] but in this way, from
    the kindly seeds which have been sown this week, in your visit
    to Boston, and that of the distinguished gentlemen who have
    preceded and accompanied you, our children and grandchildren, as
    long as this great Anglo-Saxon race shall occupy the continent,
    may reap a harvest worth all the cost which has devolved on this
    generation." [Cheers.]

Other speeches followed, which would not now interest my readers. In due
time the assemblage broke up, and the guests streamed away over the
lovely Common in all directions, forming even in their departure a
wonderful and pleasing spectacle.

We Canadians remained in Boston several days, visiting the public
institutions, presenting and receiving addresses, and participating in a
series of civic pageants, the more enjoyable because to us altogether
novel and unprecedented. Our hosts informed us, that they were quite
accustomed to and always prepared for such gatherings.



In chapters xlvi. and l. of this book, I have referred to certain
conversations I had with Sir Wm. Logan, on the existence of ocean
beaches, extending from Newfoundland to the North-West Territory, at an
altitude of from twelve to fifteen hundred feet above the present sea
level. Also of a secondary series of beaches, seven hundred feet above
Lake Ontario, at Oak Ridges, eighteen miles north of Toronto; and a
third series, one hundred and eighty to two hundred feet above the Lake,
which I believe also occur at many points on the opposite lake-shore. In
chapter xlvi. I mentioned the fact of my finding evidences of human
remains at the very base of one of these lower beaches, at Carlton, on
the Weston and Davenport Roads, near Toronto.

When I wrote those chapters, and until this present month of January,
1884, I was doubtful whether I should not be regarded as fanciful or
unreliable. I have now, however, just seen in _Good Words_ for this
month, an article headed "Geology and the Deluge," from the pen of the
Duke of Argyle, which appears to me conclusive on the points to which I
allude, namely, first, that there was spread over the whole northern
portion of this continent, a sea fifteen hundred feet above the land;
secondly, that the depth of water was reduced to a thousand feet, and
remained so during the formation of our Oak Ridges; and lastly, that a
further subsidence of eight hundred feet took place, reducing the sea to
the height of the Carlton beach; and that the latest of these
subsidences must have occurred after our earth had been long peopled,
and within historic times--probably at the date of the deluge recorded
by Moses.

His Grace says:--

    "I think I could take any one, however unaccustomed he might be
    to geological observation or to geological reasoning, to a place
    within a few miles of Inverary, and point out a number of facts
    which would convince him that the whole of our mountains, the
    whole of Scotland, had been lying deeper in the sea than it does
    now to a depth of at least 2,000 feet. . . . I believe that the
    submergence of the land towards the close of what is called the
    Glacial Period, was to a considerable extent a sudden
    submergence, probably more sudden to the south of the country
    than it was here, and that the Deluge was closely connected with
    that submergence. . . . The enormous stretch of country which
    lies between Russia and Behring's Straits is very little known,
    and almost uninhabited. It is frozen to within a very few feet
    of the surface all the year round. In that frozen mud the
    Mammoth has been preserved untouched. There have been numerous
    carcases found with the flesh, the skin, the hair and the eyes
    complete. . . . Has this great catastrophe of the submergence
    of the land to the depth of at least two or three thousand feet,
    taken place since the birth of Man? In answer to this question I
    must refer to the fact now clearly ascertained, that Man
    co-existed with the Mammoth, and that stone implements are found
    in numbers in the very gravels and brick earths which contain
    the bones of those great mammalia."

I should be glad to quote more, but this is enough to account for the
circumstances I have myself noted, and to explain also, I think, the
vast deposit of mud which forms the prairies of the Western States, and
of the Canadian North-West; which has its counterpart in the European
prairie countries of Moldavia and Wallachia. But the Duke appears to me
to overlook the circumstance, that the vast accumulation of animal
remains in Siberia, mostly of southern varieties, to which he refers,
must have been swept there, not by an upheaval, but by a depression in
the northern hemisphere, and a corresponding rise in the southern,
whence all these mammoths, lions and tigers, are supposed to have been
swept. To account for their present elevated position, a second
convulsion restoring the depressed parts to their original altitude,
must apparently have occurred--at least that is my unscientific
conclusion. It would seem that we ought to look for similar
accumulations of animal matter in our own Hudson's Bay territory, where,
also, it is stated, the ground remains frozen throughout summer to
within three feet of the surface, as in Siberia.



While I was a member of the City Council, the question of the proper
qualification for electors of municipal councils and of the legislature,
was much under discussion. I told my Reform opponents, who advocated an
extremely low standard, that the lower they fixed the qualification for
voters, the more bitterly they would be disappointed; that the poorer
the electors the greater the corruption that must necessarily prevail.
And so it has proved.

In thinking over the subject since, I have been led to compare the body
politic to a pyramid, the stones in every layer of which shall be more
numerous than the aggregate of all the layers above it. And this
comparison is by no means strained, as I believe it will be found, that
each and every class is indeed numerically greater than all the classes
higher in social rank--the idlers than the industrious--the workers than
the employers--the children than the parents--the illiterate than the
instructed--and so on. Thus it follows as a necessary consequence, that
the adoption of the principle of manhood suffrage, now so much
advocated, must necessarily place all political power in the hands of
the worst offscourings of the community--law-breakers, vagrants, and
outcasts of all kinds. This would be equivalent to inverting the
pyramid, and expecting it to remain poised upon its apex--which is a
mere impossibility.

Whether the capstone of the social pyramid ought to be king or
president, is not material to my argument. On republican principles--and
with the French King, Louis Philippe, I hold that the British
constitutional monarchy is "the best of all republics"--the true theory
of representative institutions must be, that each class of the electors
should have a voice in the councils of the country equal to, and no
greater than, each of the several classes (or strata) above. This would
greatly resemble the old Scandinavian storthings, in which there were
four orders of legislators--king, nobles, clergy, and peasants, each of
which had a veto on all questions brought before any one of them.

Thus, the election of members of local municipal councils would be
vested in the rate-payers, much as at present. The district (not county)
councils would be elected by the local municipalities; and would
themselves be entitled to elect members of the provincial legislatures.
These latter again might properly be entrusted with the election of the
Dominion House of Commons. And to carry the idea a step further, the
Dominion Legislature itself would be a fitting body to nominate
representatives to a great council of the Empire, which should decide
all questions of peace or war, of commerce, and other matters affecting
the whole body politic. To make the analogy complete, and bind the whole
structure together, each class should be limited in its choice to the
class next above it, by which process, it is to be presumed, "the
survival of the fittest" would be secured, and every man elected to the
higher bodies must have won his way from the municipal council up
through all the other grades.

I should give each municipal voter such number of votes as would
represent his stake in the municipality, say one vote for every four
hundred dollars of assessable property, and an additional vote for every
additional four hundred dollars, up to a maximum of perhaps ten votes,
and no more, which would sufficiently protect the richer ratepayers
without neutralizing the wishes of the poorer voters.

On such a system, every voter would influence the entire legislation of
the country to the exact extent of his intelligence, and of his
contributions to the general expenditure. Corruption would be almost,
and intimidation quite, impracticable.

To meet the need for a revisory body or senate, the retired judges of
the Upper Courts, and retired members of the House of Commons, after ten
or twenty years' service, should form an unexceptionable tribunal for
any of the colonies.

I am aware that the election of legislators by the county councils has
been already advocated in Canada, and that in other respects this
chapter may be considered not a little presumptuous; but I conclude,
nevertheless, to print it for what it is worth.



I have, I believe, in the preceding pages, established beyond
contradiction the historical fact, that the Conservative party, whatever
their other faults may have been, are not justly chargeable with making
use of the Protection cry as a mere political manoeuvre, only adopted
immediately prior to the general elections of 1878.

I have mentioned, that when I was about eighteen years of age, the
Corn-Law League was in full blast in England. I was foreman and
proof-reader of the printing office whence all its principal
publications issued, and was in daily communication with Col. Peyronnet
Thompson, M. P., and the other free-trade leaders. I was even then
struck with the circumstance, that while loudly professing their
disinterested desire for the welfare of the whole human race, the
authors of the movement urged as their main argument with the
manufacturers and farmers, that England could undersell the whole world
in cheap goods, while her agriculturists could never be under-sold in
their own markets. This reasoning appeared to me both hypocritical and
fraudulent; and I hold that it has proved so, and that for England and
Scotland, the day of retribution is already looming in the near future.
As righteously might a single shop-keeper build his hopes of profit upon
the utter ruin of all his trade competitors, as a single country dare to
speculate, as the British free-trader has done, on the destruction of
the manufacturing industries of all other nations.

The present troubles in Ireland, are they not the direct fruit of the
crushing out of its linen industry? The Scindian war in India, was it
not caused by the depopulation of a whole province of a million and a
half of people, through the annihilation of its nankeen manufacture. And
if Manchester and Birmingham had their way, would not France and
Germany, and Switzerland and America--including Canada--become the mere
bond-slaves of the Cobdens and the Brights--_et hoc genus omne_?

But there is a Power above all, that has ordered events otherwise. I
assume it to be undeniable, that according to natural laws, the country
which produces any raw material, must ultimately become its cheapest
manipulator. England has no inherent claim to control any manufactures
but those of tin, iron, brass and wool; and with time, all or most of
these may be wrested from her. Her cotton mills must ultimately fade
away before those of India, the Southern States, and Africa. Her grain
can never again compete with that of Russia and the Canadian North-West.
Her iron-works with difficulty now hold their own against Germany and
the United States. Birmingham and Sheffield are threatened by
Switzerland, by the New England States, and--before many decades--by
Canada. And so on with all the rest of England's monopolies. Dear
labour, dear farming, dear soil, will tell unfavourably in the end, in
spite of all trade theories and _ex parte_ arguments.

Yet more. It would not be hard to show, I think, that the tenant-right
and agrarian agitations of the present day are due to Free Trade; that
the cry, "the land belongs to the labourer," is the direct offspring of
the Cobden teaching; and that the issue will but too probably be, a
disastrous revulsion of labour against capital, and poverty against
wealth. They who sow the wind, must reap the whirlwind! God send that it
may not happen in our day!



I may venture, I hope, to put down here some of the conclusions to which
my fifty years' experience in Canada, and my observation of what has
been going on during the same term in the United States, have led me. It
is a favourite boast with our neighbours, that all North America must
ultimately be brought under one government, and that the manifest
destiny of Canada will irresistibly lead her on to annexation. And we
have had, and still have amongst us, those who welcome the idea, and
some who have lately grown audacious enough to stigmatize as traitors
those who, like myself, claim to be citizens, not of the Dominion only,
but of the Empire.

To say nothing of the semi-barbarous population of Mexico, who would
have to be consulted, there is a section of the Southern States which
may yet demand autonomy for the Negro race, and which will in all
probability seize the first opportunity for so doing. Then in Canada, we
have a million of French Canadians, who make no secret of their
preference for French over British alliance; and who will surely claim
their right to act upon their convictions the moment British authority
shall have become relaxed. Nor can they be blamed for this, however we
may doubt the soundness of their conclusions. Then we have the Acadians
of Nova Scotia, who would probably follow French Canada wheresoever she
might lead; nor could the few British people of New Brunswick and Prince
Edward Island--unaided by England--escape the same fate. Even Eastern
Ontario might have to fight hard to escape a French Republican régime.

There remain Middle and Western Ontario, and the North-West--two
naturally isolated territories, neither of which could be expected to
incur the horrors of war for the sake of the other. It is not, I think,
difficult to foresee, that, given independence, Ontario must inevitably
cast her lot in with the United States. But with the North-West, the
case is entirely different.

From Liverpool to Winnipeg, _via_ Hudson's Bay, the distance is less by
eleven hundred miles than by way of the St. Lawrence. From Liverpool to
China and Japan, _via_ the same northern route, the distance is--as a
San Francisco journal points out--a thousand miles shorter than by any
other trans-American line. It is really _two thousand miles_ shorter
than _via_ San Francisco and New York. From James's Bay as a centre, the
cities of Quebec, Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, London, and
Winnipeg, are pretty nearly equidistant. How immense, then, will be the
power which the possession of the Hudson's Bay, and of the railway route
through to the Pacific, must confer upon Great Britain, so long as she
holds it under her sole control. And where is the nation that can
prevent her so holding it, while her fleets command the North Atlantic
Ocean. Is it not utterly inconceivable, that English statesmen can be
found so mad or so unpatriotic, as to throw away the very key of the
world's commerce, by neglecting or surrendering British interests in the
North-West; or that Manchester and Birmingham--Sheffield and
Glasgow--should sustain for a moment any government that could dream of
so doing. I firmly believe, in fine, that either by the St. Lawrence or
the Hudson's Bay route, or both, British connexion with Canada is
destined to endure, all prognostications to the contrary
notwithstanding. England may afford to be shut out of the Suez canal, or
the Panama canal, or the entire of her South African colonies, better
than she can afford to part with the Dominion, and notably the Canadian
North-West. If there be any two countries in the world whose interests
are inseparable, they are the British Isles and North-Western
Canada--the former being constrained by her food necessities, the latter
by her want of a secure grain market. Old Canada, some say, has her
natural outlet in the United States--which is only very partially true,
as the reverse might be asserted with equal force. Not so the
North-West. She has her natural market in Great Britain; and Great
Britain, in turn, will find in the near future her best customer in
Manitoba and the North-Western prairies.

So mote it be!



The following account of the rise and progress of this institution, has
been obligingly furnished me by one of its earliest and best friends,
Mr. William Edwards, to whom, undoubtedly, more than to any other man,
it has been indebted for its past success and usefulness:

    The Toronto Mechanics' Institute was established in January,
    1831, at a meeting of influential citizens called together by
    James Lesslie, Esq., now of Eglinton. Its first quarterly
    meeting of members was held in Mr. Thompson's school-room; the
    report being read by Mr. Bates, and the number of enrolled
    members being fifty-six. Dr. W. W. Baldwin (father of the Hon.
    Robert Baldwin), Dr. Dunlop, Capt. Fitzgibbon, John Ewart, Wm.
    Lawson, Dr. Rolph, James Cockshutt, James and James G. Worts,
    John Harper, E. R. Denham, W. Musson, J. M. Murchison, W. B.
    Jarvis, T. Carfrae, T. F. (the late Rev. Dr.) Caldicott, James
    Cull, Dr. Dunscombe, C. C. Small, J. H. Price, Timothy Parsons,
    A. Thomson, and others, were active workers in promoting the
    organization and progress of the Institute.

    Where the institute was at first located, the writer has not
    been able to ascertain; but meetings were held in the "Masonic
    Lodge" rooms in Market (now Colborne) Street, a wooden building,
    on the ground floor of which was the common school taught by
    Thomas Appleton. A library and museum were formed, lectures
    delivered, and evening classes of instruction carried on for the
    improvement of its members.

    During the year 1835, a grant of £200 was made by the
    legislature, for the purchase of apparatus. The amount was
    entrusted to Dr. Birkbeck, of London, and the purchases were
    made by him or by those to whom he committed the trust. The
    apparatus was of an expensive character, and very incomplete,
    and was never of much value to the Institute.

    The outbreak of the rebellion of Upper Canada in December, 1837,
    and the excitement incident thereto, checked the progress of the
    Institute for awhile; but in 1838, the directors reported they
    had secured from the city corporation a suite of rooms for the
    accommodation of the Institute, in the south-east corner of the
    Market Buildings--the site of the present St. Lawrence Market.

    In the year 1844, the Institute surrendered the rooms in the
    Market Buildings, and occupied others above the store No. 12
    Wellington Buildings, just east of the Wesleyan Book-room; and,
    through the kindness of the late sheriff, W. B. Jarvis, had the
    use of the county court-room for its winter lectures. During
    this year the city corporation contracted to erect a two-story
    fire-hall on the site of the present fire-hall and police-court
    buildings. On the memorial of the Institute, the council
    extended its ground plan, so as to give all necessary
    accommodation to the fire department in the lower story, and the
    Institute continued the building of the second story for its
    accommodation, and paid to the contractors the difference
    between the cost of the extended building and the building first
    contracted for, which amounted to £465 5s. 6d.--this sum being
    raised by voluntary subscriptions of from 1s. to £1 each.

    The foundation stone of the building was laid on the 27th of
    August, 1845, and the opening of the rooms took place (John
    Ewart, Esq., in the chair), on the 12th of February, 1846; when
    the annual meeting of the Institute was held, and the Hon. R. B.
    Sullivan delivered an eloquent address, congratulatory to the
    Institute on its possession of a building so convenient for its

    The statute for the incorporation of the Institute was assented
    to on the 28th July, 1847, and a legislative grant of money was
    made to the Institute during the same year.

    In 1848, the Institute inaugurated the first of a series, of
    exhibitions of works of art and mechanism, ladies' work,
    antiquities, curiosities, &c. This was kept open for two weeks,
    and was a means of instruction and amusement to the public, and
    of profit to the Institute funds. Similar exhibitions were
    repeated in 1849, 1850, 1851, 1861, and 1866; and in 1868 an
    exclusively fine arts exhibition was held, of upwards of 700
    paintings and drawings--many of them being copies of the old
    masters. In obtaining specimens for, and in the management of
    nearly all these exhibitions, as well as in several other
    departments of the Institute's operations, Mr. J. E. Pell was
    always an indefatigable worker.

    In 1851, the members of the Institute began to realize the fact
    that their hall accommodation was too limited; and in September,
    1853, the site at the corner of Church and Adelaide Streets was
    purchased by public auction, for £1,632 5s. 0d., and plans for a
    new building were at once prepared, and committees were
    appointed to canvas for subscriptions. The appeal to the
    citizens was nobly responded to, and before the close of the
    year the sum of £1,200 was contributed. The president of the
    Institute, the late F. W. Cumberland, Esq., generously
    presented the plans and specifications and superintendence,
    free of charge. A contract for the erection of the new building
    was entered into in November, and the chief corner stone was
    laid with Masonic honours on the 17th of April, 1854.

    During the year 1855, the Provincial Government leased the
    unfinished building for four years, for departmental purposes,
    the Government paying at the time $5,283.20 to enable the
    Institute to discharge its then liabilities thereon. At the
    expiration of the lease, the Government paid to the Institute
    the sum of $16,000, to cover the expense of making the necessary
    changes in the building, and to finish it as nearly as possible
    in accordance with the original plans. The building had a
    frontage of eighty feet on Church Street, and of 104 feet on
    Adelaide Street, and its cost to the Institute when finished was
    $48,380.78. The amount received by subscription was $8,190.49;
    sale of old hall, $2,000; sale of old building on the new site,
    $14.50; from Government, to meet building fund liabilities,
    $5,283.20; by loans from the U. C. College funds, $18,400; and
    from the Government for completion of the building, $16,000;
    leaving a balance to be expended for general purposes of
    $1,507.41. This commodious building was finished and occupied
    during the year 1861. A soiree was held as a suitable
    entertainment for the inauguration; and this was followed by a
    bazaar--the two resulting in a profit of about $400 to the funds
    of the Institute.

    During the year 1862, the very successful annual series of
    literary and musical entertainments was instituted. From the
    first organization of the Institute, evening class instruction,
    in the rudimentary and more advanced studies, had been a special
    feature of its operations; but the session of 1861-2 inaugurated
    a more complete system than had before been carried out. These
    classes were continued annually with marked success until the
    winter of 1879-80; when the Institute gave up this portion of
    its work in consequence of the Public School Board establishing
    evening classes in three of its best city schoolhouses.

    In 1868, the Institute purchased a vacant lot on the east of its
    building, on Adelaide Street, with the intention of erecting
    thereon a larger music hall than it possessed. The contemplated
    improvement was not carried out by the Institute; but the Free
    Library Board has now made the extension very much as at first
    intended, but for library purposes only.

    In the year 1871, the Ontario Government purchased the property
    from the Institute for the sum of $36,500, for the purposes of a
    School of Technology, then being established. The sale left in
    the Institute treasury upwards of $11,000, after paying off all
    its liabilities; and owing to the liberality of the Government
    in allowing the Institute to occupy the library, reading-room,
    and boardroom free of rent during its tenancy, it was placed in
    a very favourable position, and considerably improved its
    finances. In 1876, the Government resolved to erect a more
    suitable building for the School of Technology (then named
    "School of Science"), in the University Park, and re-sold the
    property it had purchased to the Institute for $28,000. Many
    alterations were made in the building when the Institute got
    possession. A ladies' reading-room was established, the music
    hall was made a recreation-room, with eleven billiard tables,
    chess-boards, &c., for the use of the members. This latter
    feature was a success, both financially and otherwise.

    In the year 1882, the "Free Libraries Act" was passed, which
    provided that if adopted in any municipality, the Mechanics'
    Institute situated therein may transfer to such municipality all
    its property for the purposes of the Act. The ratepayers of
    Toronto having, by a large majority, decided to establish a Free
    Library, the members of the Institute in special general meeting
    held on 29th March, 1883, by an almost unanimous vote, resolved
    to make over all its property, with its assets and liabilities,
    to the City Corporation of Toronto for such library purposes;
    and both the parties having agreed thereto, the transfer deed
    giving legal effect to the same, was executed on the 30th day of
    June, in the said year 1883.

    With the adoption of the Free Library system in this city, the
    usefulness of the Institute as an educator would have passed
    away. It was better for it to go honourably out of existence,
    than to die a lingering death, of debt and starvation. During
    its fifty-three years of existence it had done a good work.
    Thousands of the young men of this city, by its refining and
    educating influences, had their thoughts and resolves turned
    into channels of industry and usefulness, that might otherwise
    have run in directions far less beneficial to themselves and to
    society. Its courses off winter lectures in philosophy,
    mechanics, and historical and literary subjects, inaugurated
    with its earliest life and provided year by year in the face of
    great difficulties until the year 1875, led many of its members
    to study the useful books in the library, to join with their
    fellows in the class-rooms, and in after years to take
    responsible positions in the professions and in the workshops,
    that only for the Institute they would not have attained to.

    Until the Canadian Institute--which was nursed into existence in
    the Mechanics' Institute, through the energy and activity of
    Sandford A. Fleming, Esq., one of its members--the Institute had
    the lecture field in Toronto to itself. Next came the Young
    Men's Christian Association, with its lectures, and free
    reading-room and library. In the face of all these noble and
    better sustained associations, it would have been but folly to
    have endeavoured to keep the Mechanics' Institute in existence.

    This notice of the Institute in some of the leading events in
    its history, is necessarily brief; but it would be unjust to
    close without noticing some of those who have for extended
    periods been its active workers. They have been so many, that I
    fear to name any when I cannot name them all. I give, however,
    the names of those who served the Institute in the various
    positions of president, vice-presidents, treasurer, secretaries,
    librarians and directors, for periods of from eight to thirty
    years in all, as follows:--

    W. Edwards (30 years consecutively), W. Atkinson (17), J. E.
    Pell (15), Hiram Piper, R. Edwards, Thos. Davison (each 13),
    John Harrington, M. Sweetnam (each 12), Francis Thomas, W. H.
    Sheppard, Charles Sewell (each 11), F. W. Cumberland, R. H.
    Ramsay, J. J. Withrow, John Taylor, Lewis Samuel, Walter S. Lee
    (each 10), Daniel Spry, Prof. Croft, Patrick Freeland, Rice
    Lewis (each 9), James Lesslie, H. E. Clarke, Dr. Trotter (each 8

    Except for the years 1833, 5, 8, 9 and 1840, of which no records
    have been found, the successive presidents of the Institute have
    been as follows: John Ewart, (1831, 1844), Dr. Baldwin (1832, 4,
    7), Dr. Rolph (1836), R. S. Jameson (1841), Rev. W. T. Leach
    (1842), W. B. Jarvis (1843), T. G. Ridout, (1845, 6, 8), R. B.
    Sullivan (1847), Professor Croft (1849, 1850), F. W. Cumberland
    (1851, 2, 1865, 6), T. J. Robertson, (1853), Patrick Freeland
    (1854, 9), Hon. G. W. Allan (1855, 1868, 9), E. F. Whittemore
    (1856), J. E. Pell (1857), John Harrington (1858), J. D. Ridout
    (1860), Rice Lewis (1861, 2), W. Edwards (1863), F. W. Coate
    (1864), J. J. Withrow (1867), James McLennan (part of 1870),
    John Turner (part of 1870), M. Sweetnam (1871, 2, 3, 4), Thos.
    Davison (1875, 6, 8), Lewis Samuel (1877), Donald C. Ridout
    (1879), W. S. Lee (1880, 1), James Mason (1882, 3).

    The recording secretaries have been in the following order and
    number of years' service: Jos. Bates (1831), T. Parson (1832, 3,
    4, 5, 6), C. Sewell (1837, 8 and 1841), J. F. Westland (1840
    and 1842), W. Edwards (1843, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1850, 1859,
    1860), R. Edwards (1851, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), G. Longman (1861,
    2, 3, 4, 5, 6), John Moss (1867), Richard Lewis (1868), Samuel
    Brodie (1869, 1870, 1), John Davy (1872, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
    1880, 1, 2, 3).

    The corresponding secretaries have been A. T. McCord (1836), C.
    Sewell (1842, 3, 4, 5), J. F. Westland (1841), W. Steward
    (1846), Alex. Christie (1847, 8, 9, 1850, 3), Patrick Freeland
    (1851, 2), M. Sweetnam (1854, 5), J. J. Woodhouse (1856), John
    Elliott (1857), J. H. Mason (1858, 9, 1860). From this date the
    office was not continued.

    The treasurers have been, James Lesslie (1831, 4, 5, 6), H. M.
    Mosley (1832), T. Carfrae (1833), W. Atkinson (1840, 1, 2, 3, 4,
    5, 6), John Harrington (1847, 8, 9, 1850, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6),
    John Paterson (1857, 8, 9, 1860, 1, 2), John Cowan (1863), W.
    Edwards (1864, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1870), John Hallam (1871), Thos.
    Maclear (1872, 3, 4, 5), W. B. Hartill (1876), R. H. Ramsay
    (1877, 1881, 2, 3), G. B. Morris (1878, 9), John Taylor (1880).



The establishment of Free Libraries, adapted to meet the wants of
readers of all classes, has made rapid progress within the last few
years. Some, such as the Chetham Library of Manchester, owe their origin
to the bequests of public-spirited citizens of former days; some, like
the British Museum Library, to national support; but they remained
comparatively unused, until the modern system of common school
education, and the wonderful development of newspaper enterprise, made
readers of the working classes. I remember when London had but one daily
journal, the _Times_, and one weekly, the _News_, which latter paper was
sold for sixpence sterling by men whom I have seen running through the
streets on Sunday morning, blowing tin horns to announce their approach
to their customers.

The introduction of Mechanics' Institutes by the joint efforts of Lord
Brougham and Dr. Birkbeck, I also recollect; as a lad I was one of the
first members. They spread over all English-speaking communities, throve
for many years, then gradually waned. Scientific knowledge became so
common, that lectures on chemistry, astronomy, &c., ceased to attract
audiences. But the appetite for reading did not diminish in the least,
and hence it happened that Free Libraries began to supersede Mechanics'

Toronto has heretofore done but little in this way, and it remained for
a few public-spirited citizens of the present decade, to effect any
marked advance in the direction of free reading for all classes. In
August, 1880, the Rev. Dr. Scadding addressed a letter to the City
Council, calling its attention to the propriety of establishing a Public
Library in Toronto. In the following December, Alderman Taylor, in an
address to his constituents, wrote--"In 1881 the nucleus of a free
Public Library should be secured by purchase or otherwise, so that in a
few years we may boast of a library that will do no discredit to the
educational centre of the Dominion. Cities across the lake annually vote
a sum to be so applied, Chicago alone voting $39,000 per annum for a
similar purpose. Surely Toronto can afford say $5,000 a year for the
mental improvement of her citizens." In the City Council for 1881, the
subject was zealously taken up by Aldermen Hallam, Taylor and Mitchell.
Later in the year, Alderman Hallam presented to the council an
interesting report of his investigations among English public libraries,
describing their system and condition.

Early in 1882, an Act was passed by the Ontario Legislature, giving
power to the ratepayers of any municipality in Ontario to tax themselves
for the purchase or erection and maintenance of a Free Public Library,
limiting the rate to be so levied to one half mill on the dollar on
taxable property.[29] The Town of Guelph was the first to avail itself
of the privilege, and was followed by Toronto, which, on 1st January,
1883, adopted a by-law submitted by the City Council in accordance with
the statute, the majority thereon being 2,543, the largest ever polled
at any Toronto city election for raising money for any special object.

This result was not obtained without very active exertions on the part
of the friends of the movement, amongst whom, as is admitted on all
hands, Alderman Hallam is entitled to the chief credit. But for his
liberal expenditure for printing, his unwearied activity in addressing
public meetings, and his successful appeals through the children of the
common schools to their parents, the by-law might have failed. Ald.
Taylor and other gentlemen gave efficient aid. Professor Wilson,
President of Toronto University, presided at meetings held in its
favour; and Messrs. John Hague, W. H. Knowlton and other citizens
supported it warmly through the press. The editors of the principal city
papers also doing good service through their columns.

In Toronto, as elsewhere, the Mechanics' Institute has had its day. But
times change, and the public taste changes with them. A library and
reading-room supported by subscription, could hardly hope to compete
with an amply endowed rival, to which admission would be absolutely
free. So the officers of the Mechanics' Institute threw themselves
heartily into the new movement, and after consultation with their
members, offered, in accordance with the statute, to transfer their
property, valued at some twenty thousand dollars, exclusive of all
encumbrances, to the City Council for the use of the Free Library, which
offer was gladly accepted.

The first Board of Management was composed as follows:--The Mayor, A. R.
Boswell (ex-officio); John Hallam, John Taylor and George D'Arcy
Boulton,[30] nominated by the City Council; Dr. George Wright, W. H.
Knowlton and J. A. Mills, nominees of the Public School Board; and James
Mason and Wm. Scully, representing the Board of Separate School
Trustees. At their first meeting, held February 15th, 1883, the new
Board elected John Hallam to be their chairman for the year, and myself
as secretary _pro tem_.

The following extract from the Chairman's opening address, illustrates
the spirit in which the library is to be conducted:

    "Toronto is pre-eminently a city of educational institutions. We all
    feel a pride in her progress, and feel more so now that it is
    possible to add a free public library to her many noble and useful
    institutions. I feel sure that the benefit to the people of a
    reference and lending library of carefully selected books, is
    undisputed by all who are interested in the mental, moral, and
    social advancement of our city. The books in such a library should
    be as general and as fascinating as possible. I would have this
    library a representative one, with a grand foundation of solid,
    standard fact literature, with a choice, clear-minded, finely-
    imaginative superstructure of light reading, and avoid the vulgar,
    the sensuously sensational, the garbage of the modern press. A rate-
    supported library should be practical in its aims, and not a mere
    curiosity shop for a collection of curious and rare books--their
    only merit being their rarity, their peculiar binding, singular
    type, or quaint illustrations. It is very nice to have these
    literary rare-bits; but the taxes of the people should not be spent
    in buying them. A library of this kind, to be valuable as far as our
    own country is concerned, should contain a full collection of--

    "1. Manuscript statements and narratives of pioneer settlers;
    old letters and journals relative to the early history and
    settlement of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New
    Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, and the wars
    of 1776 and 1812; biographical notes of our pioneers and of
    eminent citizens deceased, and facts illustrative of our Indian
    tribes, their history, characteristics, sketches of their
    prominent chiefs, orators, and warriors.

    "2. Diaries, narratives, and documents relative to the U. E.
    Loyalists, their expulsion from the old colonies, and their
    settlement in the Maritime Provinces.

    "3. Files of newspapers, books, pamphlets, college catalogues,
    minutes of ecclesiastical conventions, associations,
    conferences, and synods, and all other publications relating to
    this and other provinces.

    "4. Indian geographical names of streams and localities, with
    their signification, and all information generally respecting
    the condition, language, and history of different tribes of the

    "5. Books of all kinds, especially such as relate to Canadian
    history, travels, and biography in general, and Lower Canada or
    Quebec in particular, family genealogies, old magazines,
    pamphlets, files of newspapers, maps, historical manuscripts and
    autographs of distinguished persons.

    "I feel sure such a library will rank and demand recognition
    among the permanent institutions in the city for sustaining,
    encouraging and stimulating everything that is great and good.

    "Free libraries have a special claim on every ratepayer who
    desires to see our country advance to the front, and keep pace
    with the world in art, science, and commerce, and augment the
    sum of human happiness. This far-reaching movement is likely to
    extend to every city and considerable town in this Province. The
    advantages are many. They help on the cause of education. They
    tend to promote public virtue. Their influence is on the side of
    order, self-respect, and general enlightenment. There are few
    associations so pleasant as those excited by them. They are a
    literary park where all can enjoy themselves during their
    leisure hours. To all lovers of books and students, to the rich
    and poor alike, the doors of these institutions are open without
    money and without price."

The year 1883 was employed in getting things into working order. The
City Council did their part by voting the sum of $50,000 in debentures,
for the equipment and enlargement of the Mechanics' Institute building
for the purposes of the main or central library and reading room; the
opening of branch libraries and reading rooms in the north and west; and
for the purchase of 25,000 volumes of books, of which 5,000 each were
destined for the two branches.

On the 3rd July, the Board of Management appointed Mr. James Bain, jr.,
as librarian-in-chief, with a staff of three assistant librarians, and
four junior assistants (females). The duties of secretary were at the
same time attached to the office of first assistant-librarian, which was
given to Mr. John Davy, former secretary and librarian to the Mechanics'
Institute. I was relegated to the charge of the Northern Branch, at St.
Paul's Hall; while the Western Branch, at St. Andrew's Market, was
placed in the hands of Miss O'Dowd, an accomplished scholar and teacher.

The Chairman and Librarian, Messrs. Hallam and Bain, proceeded in
October to England for the purchase of books, most of which arrived here
in January. _The Week_ for December 13th last says of the books
selected, that they "would make the mouth water of every bibliophile in
the country." While I am writing these lines they are being catalogued
and arranged for use, and the Free Library of Toronto will become an
accomplished fact, almost simultaneously with the publication of these

[Footnote 29: "Whatever may be its fate, the friends of progress will
remember that the Province is indebted for this bill (the Free Libraries
Act) to the zeal and public spirit of an alderman of the City of
Toronto, Mr. John Hallam. With a disinterested enthusiasm and an
assurance that the inhabitants of the towns and villages of Ontario
would derive substantial benefits from the introduction of free public
libraries, Mr. Hallam has spared no pains to stimulate public opinion in
their favour. He has freely distributed a pamphlet on the subject, which
embodies the result of much enquiry and reflection, gathered from
various sources, and he seems to be very sanguine of success."--See Dr.
Alpheus Todd's paper "_On the Establishment of Free Libraries in
Canada_," read before the Royal Society of Canada, 25th May, 1882.]

[Footnote 30: Mr. Boulton retired January 1st, 1884, and Alderman
Bernard Saunders was appointed in his stead.]



After having spent the greater part of half a century in various public
capacities--after having been the recipient of nearly every honorary
distinction which it was in the power of my fellow-citizens to
confer--there now remains for me no further object of ambition, unless
to die in harness, and so escape the taunt--

  "Unheeded lags the veteran on the stage."

Three times have I succeeded in gaining a position of reasonable
competence; and as often--in 1857, 1860 and 1876--the "great
waterfloods" have swept over me, and left me to begin life anew. It is
too late now, however, to scale another Alp, so let us plod on in the
valley, watching the sunshine fading away behind the mountains, until
the darkness comes on; and aye singing--

  "Night is falling dark and silent,
     Starry myriads gem the sky;
   Thus, when earthly hopes have failed us,
     Brighter visions beam on high."

  =Transcriber's Notes:=
  hyphenation, spelling and grammar have been preserved as in the original
  Page 13, and occassionally all night ==> and occasionally all night
  Page 34, want of a bating." ==> want of a bating."'
  Page 38, and of the world ==> and of the world.
  Page 62, have cutdown trees enough ==> have cut down trees enough
  Page 74, the appeoach of daybreak ==> the approach of daybreak
  Page 105, streamlet know to travellers ==> streamlet known to travellers
  Page 127, further north Many prisoners ==> further north. Many prisoners
  Page 136, greater discriminatiou his ==> greater discrimination his
  Page 156, Thomson, Bonar &. Co. ==> Thomson, Bonar & Co.
  Page 166, Mr Denison served ==> Mr. Denison served
  Page 169, it was The party ==> it was. The party
  Page 181, many a cumbrous load ==> many a cumbrous load.
  Page 258, (Mr. G) did not admit ==> (Mr. G.) did not admit
  Page 362, signed the pen ion warrant ==> signed the pension warrant
  Page 362, the vallesy rise ==> the valleys rise
  Page 364, on this generation. ==> on this generation."
  Page 383, T. G. Ridout, 1845, 6, 8) ==> T. G. Ridout, (1845, 6, 8)
  Page 389, 2. "Diaries, narratives ==> "2. Diaries, narratives
  Page 389, 3. "Files of newspapers ==> "3. Files of newspapers

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