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Title: The Canadian Portrait Gallery: Volume I
Author: Dent, John Charles (1841-1888)
Date of first publication: 1880
Place and date of edition used as base for this ebook: Toronto: John B. Magurn, 1880 (First Edition)
Date first posted: 25 June 2008
Date last updated: 17 June 2014
Faded Page ebook#20080606

This ebook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, Carlo Traverso, Mark Akrigg & the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

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5 Jordan Street, Toronto.

Entered according to Act of Parliament, in the Year Eighteen Hundred and Eighty,
by John B. Magurn in the office of the Minister of Agriculture.

Transcriber's Note: Footnotes and Errata are placed at the end of this file.


[A Preface and an Alphabetical Index will be Given at the close of the last volume.]
The Marquis of Lorne 1
The Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald 5
The Hon. Robert Baldwin 17
The Hon. Luc Letellier De St. Just 47
The Hon. Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley 54
Joseph Brant—Thayendanegea 59
The Hon. Sir George Etienne Cartier 73
The Hon. Adams George Archibald 86
The Hon. T. A. R. Laflamme 91
The Right Rev. John Strachan, D.D. 94
The Hon. Réné Edouard Caron 116
The Hon. Edward Barron Chandler 118
The Hon. Edward Blake 120
Major-General Sir Isaac Brock 129
The Most Rev. John Joseph Lynch 141
The Hon. Edmund Burke Wood 146
Professor Goldwin Smith 150
Samuel De Champlain 157
The Very Rev. George Munro Grant 167
Governor Simcoe 174
The Hon. John Campbell Allen 185
The Rev. Egerton Ryerson, D.D. 187
Sir James Douglas 202
The Rev. John Hugh Mackerras, M.A. 209
The Hon. Sir William Buell Richards 212
Major-General James Wolfe 215
The Hon. Sir Francis Hincks 229
The Hon. Alexander Mackenzie 246
The Hon. Thomas Moss 254

The Marquis of Lorne
The Marquis of Lorne.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by W. J. Topley, Ottawa

Princess Louise
Princess Louise.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by W. J. Topley, Ottawa

Pg 1



It has become the fashion, in sketching the life of the present Governor-General of Canada, to preface the narrative of his personal career by an historical account of the great Scottish family to which he belongs. Such an account is very easy to write, for the materials are ample; and very easy to read, for the subject-matter is interesting. Those persons, however, who desire such information will be at no loss where to look for it. In the present sketch we can merely afford space to glance at two or three of the most noteworthy events in the history of the great house of Argyll.

Our late Governor-General, in his picturesque work of travel called “Letters from High Latitudes,” indulges in a monologue which he calls “The Saga of the Clan Campbell,” wherein he goes over the accumulated traditionary lore of centuries, and brings the account of the family down to the present times. The account is half mythical and wholly poetical, but doubtless contains a large element of fact. The earliest records of the house of Argyll are enveloped in the twilight of fable. During the comparatively modern period of the eleventh century, Gillespick Campbell acquired by marriage the Lordship of Lochow, in Argyleshire, and from him descended Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow, who, distinguished as well by the great acquisitions he had made to his estate as by his valorous achievements in war, obtained the surname of “Mohr,” or “Great.” From him the chief of the house is to this day styled, in Gaelic, MacCallum Mohr—a corruption of “the Great Colin.” He was knighted by Alexander III., in 1280, and in 1291 was one of the prominent adherents of Robert Bruce in the contest for the Scottish Crown. This chieftain was slain in a contest with his powerful neighbour the Lord of Lorne, at a place called the String of Cowal. The event occasioned continued feuds for a series of years between the houses of Lochow and Lorne, which terminated at last, after the fashion in which such quarrels frequently terminated in those days, by the marriage of the first Earl of Argyll with the heiress of Lorne. The history of the family for several centuries after this event may almost be said to be the history of Scotland. Early in the seventeenth century the head of the house, called Gillespie Grumach, or Archibald the Grim, became the first and last Marquis of Argyll, and during Cromwell's Protectorate was brought to the scaffold for his espousal of the Royalist cause. His son and heir escaped to the continent, but subsequently returned to Scotland to co-operate with the Duke of Monmouth's ill-starred rising in the south. Upon the defeat of that enterprise he was captured and put to death. The estates were confiscated, and the family name seemed doomed to extinction. The Revolution of 1688, however, brought it once more to the front, Pg 2 and its representative was created Duke of Argyll and Marquis of Lorne. The next successor to the title, though a somewhat unstable politician, played a very conspicuous part in the history of his time, and has been immortalized in verse by Pope, and in prose by Sir Walter Scott. The chief representative of the family at the present time is the eighth Duke of Argyll, a statesman who has held office under several administrations, and who has achieved some reputation as a scientist and a man of letters. The last official position held by him was that of Secretary of State for India, which he held from the time of the formation of Mr. Gladstone's cabinet, in December, 1868, down to the deposition of the Liberal Government in February, 1874. While still young he took an active part in the controversy respecting patronage in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. He arrayed himself on the side of Dr. Chalmers, by whom he was esteemed as a potent adherent, and both his voice and his pen were vigorously lifted up in exposition of his views on ecclesiastical matters. In 1844 he married Lady Elizabeth Georgiana Sutherland Leveson-Gower, eldest daughter of the second Duke of Sutherland, and late Mistress of the Royal Robes. To the extra-Parliamentary world the present Duke of Argyll is probably best known by his “Reign of Law,” a series of essays published in 1866, in which the evidences of a presiding will, as opposed to those who would refer all phenomena to the operation of non-intelligent causes, are ably brought out. His work on “Primæval Man,” published in 1869, deals with a similar subject, and attacks in an acute, a popular, and withal a scientific fashion, the theories of evolution and development. His latest important work, “The Eastern Question, from the Treaty of Paris, 1856, to the Treaty of Berlin, 1878, and to the second Afghan War,” made its appearance at the beginning of last year. It was the first adequate attempt to set forth in detail the important subject of which it treats: an attempt in which the author was remarkably successful. The book threw new light on a great deal of matter which had previously been unknown to the world at large, and no one who is unacquainted with its contents is capable of intelligently criticising or discussing the Eastern Question. The Duke's visit to this country last year, and his intelligent criticisms subsequently published on both sides of the Atlantic, are still fresh in the minds of all readers of these pages. He has a numerous family, the eldest of whom, John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, by courtesy known as the Marquis of Lorne, is the present Governor-General of Canada. Another son is a banker in London; and another is, or recently was, prominently connected with the trade of London, Liverpool and New York.

On the corner of the Green Park and the avenue known as “The Mall,” with its west front overlooking the former and its south front facing St. James's Park, stands Stafford House, the town residence of the Duke of Sutherland, the finest private residence in London, and, in its interior appointments, probably the most splendid private mansion in the world. It is readily accessible to the public, and philanthropists and other persons interested in social reform are occasionally permitted to hold meetings in the magnificent drawing-rooms, which are in their way as well worth seeing as anything that London has to show. Many of our readers will recall the novel exhibition of multiform wicker coffins held there several years ago, when the question of human sepulture was the subject of so much discussion. In one of the imperial chambers of this mansion, on the 6th of August, 1845, was born the subject of the present sketch. The only information respecting his childish days which has come under our notice is contained in Her Majesty's Pg 3 “Journal of Our Life in the Highlands,” under date of August, 1847, at which time Her Majesty and the late Prince Consort paid a visit to Inverary, the ancestral seat of the Argylls. Speaking of the reception at the Castle, the Royal journalist writes:—“It was in the true Highland fashion. The pipers walked before the carriage, and the Highlanders on either side, as we approached the house. Outside stood the Marquis of Lorne, just two years old, a dear, white, fat, fair little fellow, with reddish hair, but very delicate features, like both his father and mother; he is such a merry, independent little child. He had a black velvet dress and jacket, with a sporran, scarf, and Highland bonnet.” The Royal visitor took the little fellow in her arms and kissed him. About nine months subsequent to this event Her Majesty gave birth to a daughter, who was destined to become the bride of the “white, fat, fair little fellow” eulogized in the foregoing passage.

His early education was received at Eton, whence, later on, he passed successively to the University of St. Andrew's and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1866 he was appointed Captain of the London Scottish Rifle Volunteers, and subsequently became Lieutenant-Colonel of the 105th Rifle Volunteers. During the same year he made a tour through the West Indies and the eastern part of the North American continent. The result of his observations during this trip were published under the title of “A Tour in the Tropics,” a work said to display a keenness of observation and a soundness of judgment not often found in the productions of titled or untitled travellers. His tour included brief visits to the principal cities of the Dominion, and the work contains short notices of Niagara, Toronto, Kingston, and Ottawa. In 1868 he entered the House of Commons as member for Argyleshire, and continued to represent that constituency down to the time of his appointment to his present high position. During part of his father's tenure of office as Secretary of State for India the Marquis acted as his private secretary. On the 21st of March, 1871, occurred what up to the present time has been the most important event of his life—his marriage with Her Royal Highness the Princess Louise. The wedding took place in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and was solemnized with imposing ceremonies. There is as yet no issue of the marriage. Soon after this event his name was spoken of in connection with the Governor-Generalship of Canada, and it was then for a short time believed that he would succeed Sir John Young; but after some delay it was considered expedient to appoint Lord Dufferin to the office. He subsequently devoted himself chiefly to literary and artistic pursuits, for which he has a highly cultivated taste and considerable ability. Several years ago he published “Guido and Lita, a Tale of the Riviera,” a poem of much sweetness and beauty, which would have attracted attention even if it had proceeded from an obscure and unknown hand. In August, 1877, he put forth another poetical venture, “The Book of Psalms Literally Rendered in Verse.” The rendering is smooth and harmonious, and has been highly praised for the taste, industry, and general literary ability displayed in its composition.

When Lord Dufferin's term of office had nearly expired, and it became necessary to appoint a successor, it began to be rumoured that the appointment was to be conferred upon the Marquis of Lorne. Towards the end of July, 1878, the announcement was made that the appointment had been actually offered to and accepted by him. In advising Her Majesty to confer this appointment upon her son-in-law, Lord Beaconsfield signally manifested his aptitude for gauging the sympathies of the English people in this country. The feeling of effusive loyalty which he has of late years been so assiduous in cultivating in the public mind of Great Pg 4 Britain found a hearty echo on this side the Atlantic when it became known that the Marquis of Lorne and his consort were to take up their abode among us. The appointment was hailed with satisfaction in all parts of the Dominion, and the new Governor-General entered upon his term of office with the hearts of the people strongly prepossessed in his favour. In Canada, loyalty has by no means degenerated into a mere feeble sentiment of expediency. Throughout the length and breadth of our land the name of Queen Victoria is regarded with an affectionate love and veneration which is felt for no other human being, and this love has gone out with fervour towards the fair young daughter who, during her residence among us, has been, and will be—and that in no merely conventional sense—the first lady in the land.

His Excellency has not yet been long enough among us to enable us to know him as we had all learned to know Lord Dufferin before his departure from our shores, and it is perhaps too early to pass a final judgment upon him. Instead of any comments of our own upon his qualifications for the high position which he occupies, we submit the opinion of the London Times, which in a recent article remarked that “The experiment which was tried when the Marquis of Lorne was appointed Governor-General of the Dominion has been crowned by complete success. It has been found possible to appeal effectively to the loyalty of our colonial fellow-subjects without placing in jeopardy for a moment the dignity of the Crown or the solid interests of the Imperial connection. It is only fair to acknowledge that Lord Lorne has played a difficult part with remarkable ability. The very enthusiasm of which his illustrious consort was the object might easily have misled him. The Canadians, like other colonists, are painfully susceptible. They are on the watch for slights which are never intended; they resent bitterly anything which seems like an assumption that they are aliens, but not less so anything which may be construed to mean that they are dependents.”

Her Royal Highness Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, Duchess of Saxony, was born March 18th, 1848, and at the time of her marriage had just completed her twenty-third year. She is the sixth child and fourth daughter of Her Majesty. Since her marriage brought her prominently before the public she has been regarded with affectionate interest by the people of Great Britain, and her personal qualities, independently of her high rank, are such as to have earned for her the love and respect of her associates. She is very proficient in art and music, and it is said that some of the brightest fashion and art notes in one of the leading fashionable journals were written or inspired by her. Her work on lace is pronounced by competent critics to be of exceptionally high merit, and she has also shown much ability in design. The bridal veil of Honiton lace worn by her at her marriage was designed by her, and her etchings and sculpture repeatedly exhibited at the Royal Academy are said to show a high degree of excellence.

Sir John Alexander Macdonald
Sir John Alexander Macdonald
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by Notman & Fraser

Pg 5



No other public man has held influential positions in the government of Canada so long as Sir John Macdonald. And yet he has not far passed that time of life when English statesmen are held to be in their prime. If he had the constitution of a Palmerston or a Brougham, he might still count on fifteen years of future activity.

In looking back on the public career of Sir John, one cannot avoid asking what are the qualities which have enabled him to take a prominent part in the government for an exceptionally long period. The shortest answer that could be given would perhaps be that he possesses unusual facility for falling into well defined grooves of public opinion, and of conciliating opponents when conciliation becomes necessary. In this way he profits by the labour of others, and knows how to reap where he had not sown. Sometimes, so far from having encouraged the sowers, he did all he could to obstruct their operations. When the crop was ripe, he was ready to put in the sickle. To this power of appropriation, which enabled him to profit by the labour of others, he owes much of his success. He recognizes the truth that there is a time to oppose and a time to accept. He will pursue one line of policy as long as it is tenable, and abandon it for an opposite line when it has ceased to be practicable. This treatment he extends to measures; so that, in the progress of his public career, it has happened that he has accepted at one period what he had previously rejected, combated, and decried. In this way, Sir John has kept nearly abreast of matured public opinion, and he may always be relied on to move with the current, when it has become strong enough to bear down the minor forces which impeded its progress, and a reliance on which, for a time, best suited his purpose. In the early and hopeless stages of an agitation for some new reform, his conservative instincts are indulged; when the hour of victory approaches, he recognizes the necessity of the change. A man whose Conservatism is thus qualified and limited is the reverse of a doctrinaire, but in the path of practicable political progress he can never be far behind others.

Sir John's power of appropriation is not confined to measures. He is at least equally successful in utilizing men, in overcoming their antipathies, and in gaining the assistance of old opponents. He has the rare faculty of attaching these recruits to his banner at the very time when he has the most need of them; sometimes when his political fortunes would be desperate without their aid. His personal magnetism, here of the greatest use to him, combined with the attractions of office, proves stronger than old party ties, stronger than the recollection of old alliances, and even stronger than the fear which men have of losing that sympathy which comes in the form of the expression Pg 6 of a favourable opinion from those whose disregard is most dreaded. In thus strengthening himself, Sir John is seldom able very seriously to weaken the enemy. The changed personal convictions and the new sense of duty implied in these accretions to the forces of the minister are generally confined to a few, and are often deviations from the rising current of public opinion. The recruit who goes into battle for the new cause recognizes the danger he runs, if he takes the trouble to count up the victims of these somewhat miraculous conversions. But Sir John gets the needed accession of strength, his policy is sustained, and his administration continued. The enmities he makes in the collision of political strife are never, on his side, implacable. He must have made it a rule of his public life never to refuse to co-operate with any public man on account of former antagonism; for he has always shown himself ready, if there were a good reason for it, to accept as colleagues men by whom he had been bitterly opposed, and whose hostility he had duly reciprocated. The allegiance borne him by his party is a willing and voluntary allegiance; but, in individual cases, its ardour is often damped, and mutiny threatened in muffled tones to some confidential friend. This usually happens when distance removes the follower from the personal influence of the leader; but a single interview generally converts a rebellious subject into a devoted partisan. The secret of this influence, which is so commanding as to be almost irresistible, is chiefly personal. Sir John's estimate of motives seldom errs by ranking them too high; but there cannot be a doubt that, on the whole, he measures men with a singular degree of accuracy. It has happened scores of times that, in half an hour, he has reclaimed an old friend whose feelings had been almost wholly alienated. By what secret magic did he bring about this result? In most cases, it will be found that he has promised no part of the patronage which it is in the power of a first minister to bestow. He has removed some misapprehension under which the semi-rebellious subject laboured; he has met every objection with a plausible if not unanswerable reply, and has so managed to get the better of the argument. It has been charged against him that he insinuates promises in so general a way that he can never be called upon to fulfil them; as if the reverse of that which Clarendon said of Lord Falkland were true of him, that “he could as easily have given himself leave to steal as to dissemble, or to suffer any man to think that he would do a thing which he resolved not to do; which he thought a more mischievous kind of lying than a positive averring what could be more easily contradicted.” We do not believe that the insinuation, put in this gross form, is true, though it may well be that many have too hastily inferred, without any direct promise, that Sir John would do what they had asked of him. The misapprehension, when such exists, is, we believe, frequently on their side.

The practice of keeping up the strength of his parliamentary following by winning recruits from the enemy, is one that has often shaken, for the moment, the mental fidelity of old friends, though the discontent may not have been translated into any overt act. The new recruits which have so often closed up the shattered ranks of the ministerial party, have not unfrequently been worked upon by the envious as successful rivals for the favour of the distribution of patronage, and they have lamented that their own claims, which they have believed to be paramount and incontrovertible, have been postponed to those of men who, till yesterday, had always been found in the opposite camp. But these complaints, which in a personal view were not altogether without foundation, were almost invariably silenced in the first interview between the Pg 7 offending minister and the offended follower. It was easy for the minister to show that the measure taken was the best for the party, and that in no other way could its effective strength have been kept up, and its hold on power maintained.

It must sometimes happen that the supply of new supporters won from the ranks of the opposition will fall short of the requirement. Under some conditions, Sir John has found it all but impossible to obtain from the ranks of either party the material to fill vacancies in the Cabinet, or to give a little much needed additional strength in the House. There have been other occasions in which tenders of outside support have been refused, on account of the conditions attached to them. It has happened, too, that conditions which the minister refused one day, would have been accepted the next, when the danger of defeat became imminent, unless the ministerial forces could be recruited. It may safely be said that Sir John never seeks or accepts outside aid from preference; every new alliance of the kind under consideration is, in some measure, forced upon him by the pressure of necessity. These new recruits are generally the most timid of mortals; fearing, as the worst punishment that could overtake them, to forfeit the good opinion of those whom they appear to desert. The manifestation of this fear has many degrees; the greatest of which is that of encountering the scoffs which they know will follow their changing their habitual manner of voting. Some old opponents who have joined with Sir John in the same Cabinet, whom the public would not generally credit with a want of courage, have made the change with fear and trembling; they have never felt at ease under the hostile criticism to which their new position exposed them, and have soon been at a loss whether to retreat or advance. A man who felt that he could, by a determined effort, recover his position, would probably retreat; a man of less force, and smaller personal resources, had nothing to do but to remain where he was, enjoying his present opportunity, and finally go down with the ship on which he had embarked. A minister with such a contingent of allies and supporters has more than the usual opportunities of seeing the different sides of public men. The knowledge thus obtained is far from being useless to him if, like Sir John, he possesses in an eminent degree the faculty of turning it to account.

Sir John's power of placating sullen followers, or of alluring recruits from the hostile camp, is probably about equally great. A remarkable instance of the latter occurred soon after the epoch of Confederation, and it may be given as an example. Nova Scotia had been protesting against the union, into which Mr. Howe and his friends complained that he had been dragged. Everything short of rebellion, and very little short of that, had been threatened. The leader of the Federal Government saw the necessity of allaying an opposition which was as persistent as it was fervent and active; and the best way of doing this was to reconcile Howe, the most stalwart son of Nova Scotia, to the new state of things, and induce him to aid in working the detested machine of Confederation; a feat the accomplishment of which would be a guarantee to Mr. Howe's friends that its supposed dangerous qualities would be minimized in the operation. At this time the leader of the Ontario Government had, for some reason, become thoroughly disaffected to the Premier of the Dominion. The hostility, though not very notorious, was restrained with difficulty, and was in danger of finding open expression on some unforeseen emergency. In obtaining the services of Mr. Howe, the aid of the Ontario Premier would be very useful if it could be got. Sir John resolved to ask this aid; though most persons in his position would probably have concluded that Mr. Pg 8 Howe, to whom a seat in the Cabinet could be offered, would prove an easier conquest than the Ontario Premier, who was already in possession of all Sir John had to give him, and whose ill-concealed hostility was taking a more personal form than that of Mr. Howe. When the two Premiers met in the Queen's Hotel, Toronto, there was much reason to fear an explosion, for it was with great difficulty that Mr. Sandfield Macdonald restrained the expression of his feelings. They walked separately to the Attorney-General's office, and when they were left alone their mutual friends feared that an open rupture would be the result of their meeting. What happened? In less than an hour the Ontario Premier confided to a friend, whom he met in the street, that he and his namesake of the Dominion were to start next morning, by different routes, to win over Howe, by their joint persuasions. Such an exertion of personal influence over a man who could himself exercise no small share of magnetic influence, is as remarkable as it is rare, and it attests the possession by Sir John of those qualities which pre-eminently qualify a man to be a leader of men.

Sir John's habit of delaying, often for weeks together, to fill offices that fall vacant, has been an enigma alike to friends and foes. There is no reason to conclude that it is referable to constitutional indolence. It is the result of some inexplicable calculation of policy; but it is not the less difficult to believe that it is a policy that pays. When remonstrated with on the seeming folly of disappointing fifty persons, whose applications might easily have been forestalled, and the opposite policy of Sir Francis Hincks has been held up in contrast, he has, in vindication of his own course, pointed to the fact that the life of his administration has been much longer than that of the gentleman named. It may be that when a large number of men, more or less influential, have asked favours from the head of the government, they feel to a certain extent in his power, and that to do anything that might, under the circumstances, look like desertion, would be a disgrace. Once, on quitting office, Sir John gave mortal offence to his followers by leaving, as a prize for his successor, half a hundred offices vacant; but on a subsequent occasion, resolving not again to subject himself to a like reproach, he ran too near the wind by making a large number of appointments when his administration was in a moribund condition, and almost virtually defunct.

Mr. Macdonald had not the advantage of a University education, and was put to the law when a lad of fifteen years of age, having been born on the 11th January, 1815. His father, who had emigrated from Sutherlandshire, Scotland, in 1820, and settled in business at Kingston, Ontario, sent his son to the Royal Grammar School, in the latter town, where at first the boy had Dr. Wilson, and afterwards Mr. George Baxter, for teachers. Here the pupil showed more than the average talent for mathematics. Beyond this, his teachers did not observe in the pupil any marked signs that he was destined for the career he has actually run. At twenty-one our future statesman was called to the bar, an age at which law students of the present day very often only enter on their studies. It is impossible to believe that this early maturing was an advantage, in point of thoroughness; the only thing in its favour was that it gave the subject of it an early start in the career of active life. Greater leisure, more prolonged preliminary studies, the opportunity of travelling before settling down to serious work, would have given the young lawyer an advantage similar to that which a man gets from a run before he jumps. But his genius for government, added to long experience, went far to supply the want of those advantages.

The young lawyer commenced practice in Pg 9 the town where his father lived, and where he had pursued his studies. He was attentive to the duties of his profession, and soon acquired a considerable practice. As barristers often owe much to the occurrence of some conspicuous opportunity for the display of their talents, the trial of Von Shultz, who had led the band of marauders which came across the border, in the name of liberators and sympathizers, in 1838, gave this opportunity to young Macdonald. Von Shultz had been entrapped, as it were, by illusive representations, into an enterprise which was an anachronism and a folly, for the rebellion had long before been put down, and the invasion had not the remotest chance of success. Mr. Macdonald could not prevent his client being convicted and hanged—that would have been impossible, in the face of the evidence—but he gave proof of the possession of forensic talents which at once established his reputation, and gave him no mean position among the leaders of the bar. This was accomplished in the year 1839, when the advocate was only twenty-five years of age. That year he had entered into a law partnership with Mr. (now Senator) Campbell.

If a very early call to the bar be a doubtful advantage, an early connection with politics is almost essential to success in that line. A man who has no taste for politics till he is forty, had better conclude that his vocation is to be sought elsewhere. At thirty-one, Mr. Macdonald was elected to represent Kingston in the second legislature under the union. The times were not propitious for the formation, out of raw materials, of promising Conservative statesmen. Portentous clouds overcast the political horizon. Responsible Government was then only struggling for recognition; and Sir Charles Metcalfe, the new Governor-General, jealous of his own supposed prerogatives, and conscientious in the discharge of what he believed to be the duties of his position, was prepared to resist its application in the way his ministers thought it ought to be applied. If the ministerial contention were true, that the government must mainly be conducted on the English model, the great anxiety of Sir Charles was to know what would become of the Governor-General? That question assumed additional importance in his eyes from the fact that the person who asked it happened to be Governor-General. He could not brook the thought that the Governor-General should be reduced to the deplorable condition of the sovereign. He had governed in India, he had governed in Jamaica, and he had come to Canada to govern; and what was more, he was not going to be driven from the path of duty, which was to him also the path of honour. A quarrel with his ministry over appointments to office led to their resignation before the end of November. Nothing could show more convincingly that during the whole of its existence this administration had been under some external restraint, than the fact that, of all the officials gazetted, it had consented to become responsible for the appointment of a majority of them from the ranks of its political opponents.

The battle of Responsible Government was now to be fought; and the Conservatives who succeeded to office were in a measure bound to adopt, in theory at least, the views of the Governor-General. To do so was in exact accord with the habitual temper of the old official party. Young Macdonald was fated to take his first practical lessons in statesmanship in an illiberal school; but his elastic mind was destined in due time to break through the restraints of their unconstitutional doctrines. He was not spoiled by the bad training he underwent. He did not plunge with premature impetuosity, as young members often do, into the debates of the House; he had the discretion and the good sense to speak only when he had something Pg 10 to say. In 1847 his official experience began; in May, he was selected by Mr. Draper for the office of Receiver-General. As he was destined in future to hold by turns nearly every office in the Government, so it was not long before he was transferred to the Crown Lands. In these days, the Crown Lands Office was as much noted as the Court of Chancery in England, its worst days, for the interminable delays that prevented adjudication upon rival claims and disputed questions. Mr. Macdonald obtained, as most of his successors afterwards obtained, credit for his prompt decisions. Before the Draper Administration had been defeated in the beginning of 1848, the country had, through a change of Governors, been assured of a constitutional régime. Lord Cathcart filled the gap between the retirement of Lord Metcalfe and the arrival of Lord Elgin. Lord Elgin, who was thoroughly imbued with constitutional ideas, carried out to its full and legitimate extent the principle which Metcalfe had lashed the Province into a storm of anger to defeat. But at no time could the Draper Ministry have existed a single day without a majority in the Legislative Assembly; and it is remarkable by what a small majority this administration was enabled to hold power from November, 1844, to March, 1848.

Mr. Macdonald, with his party, was now in opposition, where he was destined to remain until 1854; and then only to share power with the other party, in a Coalition Government. These years of opposition were years of valuable experience and useful discipline. Before he went back to office, his powers of debate had been greatly strengthened, and there was but a single antagonist in the House for whom he was not a full match. In 1849 he opposed the reform of King's College, which, by the abolition of the Divinity chair, took away its sectional character and gave it the impress of a national institution; but after the second reading of the bill his opposition practically ceased. The Rebellion Losses Bill of the same year found in him, as well as in the whole Conservative party, a persistent opponent. Regarding the intended object and certain results of the measure, the two parties expressed the most opposite views. The Conservatives described it as a Bill to compensate rebels for the loss of property which they had suffered as the consequence of their own acts, by which great injuries had been inflicted upon others; the Government and its supporters contending that this class would be utterly excluded from its benefits. The violence of party excitement reached its highest pitch. If this state of feeling had long continued, the public interests would have greatly suffered. As a consequence of the excitement the Parliament buildings had already been burned by an infuriated mob, which comprised many persons of the highest reputed respectability. Never were the two political parties in a state of more bitter antagonism. But the truth of the adage that there is a tendency of extremes to come together was soon to be exemplified in a remarkable degree. The Lafontaine-Baldwin Ministry had not been a year in existence when it became apparent that more was expected from it than was likely to be realized. As time wore on, men listened in vain for any response to the demand that the Clergy Reserves should be secularized. The violent opposition to the Rebellion Losses Bill, by uniting the supporters of the Government, arrested the forces of disintegration for a while. In 1851 they again acquired activity. After the retirement of the two leaders of the double-headed Government this year, and after Mr. Hincks had become premier, all hope of preventing a disruption of the Reform party was gone. At the head of one section was Mr. Brown; at the head of the other the First Minister. Besides this Pg 11 new opposition, the Government encountered the whole force of the Conservative party. Against an opposition composed of two distinct sections the Government was able to bear up till the close of 1853; but it was evident that its doom was soon to be pronounced. The two opposite parties, which had casually united in the House, had reason to expect greater results from their union in the constituencies; and they were not disappointed. Their united forces served to rout the Government party, and win for themselves a victory at the polls. The coalition in the constituencies was destined to be reproduced in the House, but not in the same form. The defeated wing of the Reform party took the place which the successful wing might have been expected to take in the new Coalition. Mr. Macdonald now, for the first time, obtained an office which was directly in the line of his profession, the Attorney-Generalship. To these events the McNab-Morin Coalition owed its birth; and of that Coalition Mr. Macdonald had become a member. Numerous were the speculations as to which wing of the Coalition would ultimately prevail over the other; whether the balance would incline in favour of the Conservative or the Reform section. At first, judging by the programme carried out, a stranger might have thought the Reformers held full sway; but a closer inspection would have revealed the fact that the real control was in the Conservatives. To that result the tact and ability of Mr. Macdonald contributed in no small degree.

Though Sir John had always been a Conservative, his name was henceforth to become connected with several measures of Reform. The connection has generally been that of a passive recipient, not of a persistent advocate. If we except the adjustment of the mere mechanism of the Government, it must be allowed that the two greatest Reform measures that have been passed, in this country, are the abolition of the Feudal Tenure of Lower Canada, and the secularization of the Clergy Reserves. These measures, which the Lafontaine-Baldwin Government refused to initiate or accept, were carried by the Coalition of which Sir John was a member. The part acted by the Coalition was to carry out a pre-concerted programme; a programme framed by the party that had been beaten in the election. Nothing but the conviction that the last battle over the Clergy Reserves which there had been the slightest chance of winning had been fought, coupled with a stern sense of duty, induced some members of the Conservative section to vote for secularization. The voice of the country had so often been heard declaring for secularization that further resistance was out of the question. The Conservative section, including Sir John, accepted the inevitable, some of them with visible signs of painful regret. The policy of conforming to public opinion under such circumstances, had no terrors for Sir John; it pointed to the line that he would naturally follow. So completely dead was the Feudal Tenure of Lower Canada that it retained no real support even in Conservative opinion. The last argument made, against abolition was the argument of an advocate retained by the Seigniors, at the bar of the House. For such a reform Sir John was quite prepared, and he accepted it with a good will.

Good faith required that the abolition of the Seignorial Tenure should not assume the character of a spoliation of the Seigniors, and that the life claims of those in possession of the Clergy Reserves should be respected. The Coalition was in a good position to do the special work of securing these guarantees, and it was done with substantial justice to all parties. Sir John bore his part in this work with courage and success. The practical carrying out of these two great reforms was thus tempered with Pg 12 a spirit of conservative justice, conservative not in a party sense, but in the sense of commuting vested rights, pecuniarily beneficial to individuals, in the act of decreeing their abolition in the public interest.

On another question, which formed an item in this programme—an elective second chamber—Sir John has shown that, under different circumstances, he could be equally ready to recede or to advance. The change from nomination to election was voted with an approach to unanimity seldom witnessed in the Legislative Assembly; there being but one dissentient voice. When the bases of Confederation came to be laid, this step was retraced, and nomination revived. The reaction was not the work or the fault of an individual; it was due to the accession of Provinces in which the affection for nomination had not lost its influence.

Till the year 1856, Sir John nominally occupied only a secondary position in his party and his Province. Sir Allan McNab was, by right of seniority and possession, the Upper Canada leader of the Conservatives; by right of the strongest, it at last came to belong to Sir John. Repeated attacks of gout made it evident to all observers that as leader Sir Allan must soon give place to another; and it was well understood that he was desirous that Mr. Hillyard Cameron should be his successor. Mr. Cameron was apparently as anxious to obtain as Sir Allan was to secure for him a reversionary interest in the leadership. Sir John and Mr. Cameron, both members of the same party, came to be looked upon as rivals. Mr. Cameron, miscalculating the power of the press when employed for the promotion of individual aims, made arrangements which converted the Colonist into a personal organ; but his chances of succeeding to the leadership were rather lessened than increased by his costly expedient, in which he is believed to have laid out forty thousand dollars; for other and more influential journals took up the cause of his rival. Whatever may have been the effect of these extraneous influences, Sir John was to win by the force of his own inherent qualities. In the spring of this year Sir Allan McNab was suffering from a prolonged attack of his old enemy, the gout. Parliament was in session, and the continued absence from the House of the leader of the Government was a source of daily embarrassment. A section of the ministerial supporters, becoming impatient, declared Sir John their leader; and a crisis was brought about which compelled the valetudinarian minister to resign. He threw the blame on Sir John, and gave free vent to his indignation; having been almost carried to his seat for that purpose, when the ministerial explanations were made. Sir John succeeded naturally, and without any further contest, to the leadership of the Upper Canada Conservatives, which he has retained for a period of twenty-five years.

Like all public men, Sir John Macdonald has sometimes found it necessary to defer to the opinions of colleagues, in which he did not share. Against the policy of what is known as the double-shuffle, in 1858, his own opinion was unequivocal. But he took the responsibility of the course which his colleagues were anxious to pursue. A few words will describe the double-shuffle. A Government which had been formed, with Mr. Brown for its Upper Canada, and Mr. Dorian for its Lower Canada chief, encountering a hostile vote in a House elected under the auspices of their opponents, retired, and the Conservatives came back to office. Under cover of a law passed to enable any minister to change from one executive office to another without the necessity of reëlection, all the Ministers, in going back, temporarily took offices which they did not intend to hold, for the mere purpose of being Pg 13 able to evade the ordeal of the constituencies by making a wholesale exchange. Although it was quite clear that the framers of the Act never contemplated such a contingency, the wording would bear the construction on which Ministers acted; and so the courts held. But Sir John was not proud of the victory, the result of which was a moral gain for the Opposition. The effect was to produce a profound impression on his mind that he was never safe in acting against his own better judgement.

In Lower Canada, Sir George Cartier was the coming man; and in him Sir John found not only a trusty colleague but a firm personal friend. Their friendship lasted many years, but was once interrupted before the death of Sir George, and was probably never so cordial as before. It was a trivial thing that snapped asunder what was apparently one of the strongest bonds that ever united two personal and political friends. In the distribution of imperial honours among those who had taken a prominent part in bringing about a federal union of the Provinces, Sir George considered himself slighted, and he attributed that slight to the advice of his colleague. Sir John did what he could to heal the wound which had been given to Sir George's susceptibilities, by recommending him for a higher mark of distinction than he had himself received. But the broken glass was not to be restored to its former condition. Sir John, accepting knighthood for himself, obtained a baronetcy for his colleague. But the difficulty was that he took imperial honours for himself first, and only obtained imperial honours for his colleague after the latter had given vent to the bitterness of his indignation at the disappointment Both transactions serve to illustrate the character of Sir John. He feels that he is entitled to the first consideration among colleagues; and he will make concessions under political pressure that he would not voluntarily make if he were free.

To Sir George Cartier, Sir John Macdonald owed the majorities by which he carried on his Government. Lower Canada, with a population which, at the time of the union, had been much greater than that of the other Province, and which has now become inferior in numbers, thought her safety consisted in retaining an equal number of representatives; while Upper Canada insisted that the representation ought to bear a fair proportion to the respective populations. On this question, Lower Canada was long a unit; and Sir George Cartier, rowing with the stream, was assured of his majority. In Upper Canada, Sir John Macdonald, buffeting the waves of a fast rising tide, went back to the House from each succeeding election with a diminished majority. His whole parliamentary strength came through Sir George Cartier; and it is not surprising if the latter was able to exact favourable terms for his Province. By the nature of his position, Sir John was condemned to be, in one sense, an unpopular ruler in his own Province. From this disability, Confederation, by removing the irritation caused by a galling sense of inadequate representation, rescued him; and, as the last general election to the House of Commons showed, there is now no reason why he should not command a majority in any Province of the Dominion. If, in presence of the large majority obtained, we are to suppose the recollection of the Pacific scandal in any degree weakened his strength in the constituencies, it will be understood how much he lost in former times by the sense of inadequate representation under which Upper Canada smarted. Why then did he cling to a losing cause? The truth is, no one could see whence a remedy was to come; for not a single Lower Canada vote could be got in favour of changing the basis of the representation. Confederation changed the issue. Numerical representation was not the same thing when applied to four Provinces—that being Pg 14 the original number—under a federation, that it was when applied to two Provinces, one of which had a large majority of inhabitants of French and the other a large majority of English speaking people, under a legislative union. Besides, there is a time for all things; and it is very doubtful whether Confederation could have been brought about even a single year sooner than it was. Sir John Macdonald was one of that large number of persons who opposed great constitutional changes till the necessity for them had been fully demonstrated, and a majority of the electors who had to be consulted had become convinced that there was no longer anything to be gained by further delay. He was not a convert to representation of numbers during the many years it found advocates even in the ranks of his own party; he was not in favour of Confederation when it was first mooted; but when the time came that the change could be made with advantage, his objections were put aside, and he was one of its foremost advocates. Here we get a glimpse of the line where his conservatism ends and his readiness to reform begins. He will not consent to be hurried; but no one can say that; on any given question, his finality of to-day may not be his starting point at some future time.

Though born on the other side of the water, Sir John Macdonald may be called a Canadian; for that is a man's country where his mind is formed and attains maturity. And take him all in all, his faults and his virtues, his weaknesses and his public services, his figure occupies a larger space than that of any other public man on the stage of Canada; and to him we should have to point if obliged to select the most distinguished son of this Dominion. In many particulars, others leave him far behind, but, taken all in all, he stands unrivalled. His enemies delight to dwell on his blemishes and magnify his faults. As our aim is to act in a judicial spirit, we are obliged to touch on the weaknesses of our foremost statesman; but we have no pleasure in the task. The Pacific scandal has been condoned, but it has not been and cannot be justified. As leader of the Government, Sir John Macdonald took, for party election purposes, large sums of money from Sir Hugh Allan, who had an Atlantic mail contract with the Government, and was to get the contract for building the Pacific Railway. These sums were altogether too large to be regarded as ordinary contributions from a supporter of the Government towards a fund for election purposes, and they were too large to be consistent with the supposition that they were to be employed only for legal purposes. Coming from a person who had one contract with the Government and was on the point of getting another, the natural inference is that they represented an undefined and indefinite assessment on the profits of the actual or the prospective contract, or both; that the giver was in effect purchasing or paying for favours which the Government had then or previously had it in its power to withhold; and that, in this way, the Government could, indirectly, take so much money out of the public treasury for party election purposes. It has been said, in excuse, that Sir John Macdonald became the custodian of this election fund, in default of such party machinery as exists in other countries for that purpose. The answer is that a change of the custodian, though it might have veiled the transaction, would not have altered its character. It is quite true that electoral corruption was not the exclusive weapon of any party. But no one would give such large sums as Sir Hugh gave, unless he were dealing with the Government, and expected to be recouped by contracts of which the Government had the disposal. Bribery is bribery, whether the sum be large or small; the briber is equally Pg 15 guilty of a crime whether he operate on a large or a small scale; but he who gives his own money commits one crime the less than he who takes the money he distributes in bribes indirectly out of the public treasury, through the forms of a contract. We make these statements with a sense of pain; for it is duty and not pleasure that causes us to point to the stain on the robe of the statesman whom, in spite of this fault, the electorate of Canada have found reasons for placing in the highest position of trust which it is their prerogative to confer.

Although we place Sir John Macdonald in the highest niche reserved for our public men, we are far from saying that there may not be, even now, in public life in Canada men who may not live to make a higher mark than he has been able to reach. Twenty-seven years ago, he was the best debater in the House with the exception of Sir Francis Hincks; he lived to distance all others in this particular; but, if he has not already lost this pre-eminence, the sceptre is visibly passing over to the left of the Speaker. As a speaker, distinguished from a debater, Sir John has steadily improved, and his latest efforts are the best. He will be remembered as the author of three great speeches, whatever may become of his other efforts in that line: the first on the Treaty of Washington; the second in his own defence when the Pacific scandal charges were before the House; the third on the Letellier case. On the two former occasions he spoke with the embarrassment of a man under accusation. He had assisted in making a treaty in which, in the general belief, the interests of Canada had been sacrificed to Imperial considerations. When he was appointed one of the English Commissioners, it was too hastily assumed that he represented Canada in some special manner. But it was England, not Canada, that was making the treaty, and the negotiators were acting in strict accordance with the instructions of the British Cabinet. Sir John received his appointment from the British Government, and by their instructions he was bound to be guided. Whether he ought to have placed himself in this position may be a question. But he could furnish important local information to his colleagues with which they could not, on the instant, have furnished themselves. He might argue in favour of Canadian claims; and though what he did do, in this particular, the protocols tell not, it is no secret that he did not please the British Government. The Fenian claims were excluded, assuredly by no fault of his; the omission it was not in his power to prevent. But he got in lieu of direct payment an Imperial guarantee of a Canadian loan which served to lessen the cost of our railway expenditure; and no one will now undertake to say that, under the operation of that treaty, we have not been liberally paid for the concession to the Americans of the rights to fish on our coasts. On the whole, the Washington Treaty has proved much less injurious than it was feared it would. In any case, the responsibility for that treaty rests with the British Government. So long as treaties binding on Canada are made by a Government not her own, they will be likely to be more favourable to that Government than to her.

The speech on the Pacific scandal was a great effort, without being a great success. But it showed the power and resource of the speaker better than they had ever been shown before, except, perhaps, on the one occasion before mentioned. The speech on the Letellier case, whether the ground taken was right or wrong, showed that he possessed the faculty of grasping the full import of difficult constitutional questions.

Whatever estimate may be formed of Sir John as a constitutional lawyer, the fact remains that the ground he takes on constitutional questions generally proves, in the end, to be the true one. This can hardly be Pg 16 the result of accident or lucky blundering. The man who generally gives a correct opinion on constitutional questions cannot be an indifferent or unfair constitutional lawyer. Some critics have taken the ground that Sir John has no convictions on the question of the National Policy; that, wanting a cry, and finding this one ready to his hand, he utilized it without any regard to his own real opinions. This is certainly an error. He is known to have entertained, for twenty years, views similar to those on which his Government has now acted. But he was too busy most of the time to engage in the work of agitation: he waited till a maturing opinion filled the sails of the vessel on which he had, at any time, been ready to embark. He believed that the abolition of the protective system, under which the colonies had grown up and prospered, would deal a severe blow at their prosperity; though he did not concur with the opinion despondingly expressed by Lord Cathcart in a despatch written, in 1846, in his capacity of Governor-General, that the political consequences would be the alienation of Canada from the mother country and its annexation to the United States. On the question of a national tariff policy, Sir John has never held but one opinion. He may not be the most profound of political economists—it would be difficult to point to any of our public men who are—but no statesman would perform his whole duty if he confined himself to carrying out the prescriptions of the political economists. A nation has other and higher interests that demand consideration.

The result of the electoral battle of 17th September, 1878, which brought Sir John back to power, had not been universally foreseen. That the National Policy had a large share in bringing it about, is beyond question; though there were, no doubt, by-currents that helped to swell the main stream. Expectation had risen beyond the possibility of fulfilment. Whether, in the face of revenue necessities, this policy can ever be completely reversed, is doubtful; though it may be taken for granted that the ballot-box is pregnant with surprises not less startling than that of September. That Sir John is premier to-day is proof of the high estimate in which the country holds his abilities, and that on his shortcomings it is willing to look with an indulgent, if regretful eye. Out of respect for the magnitude and importance of his public services, posterity will not grudge him a high place in the Canadian Pantheon.

Robert Baldwin
Robert Baldwin

Pg 17



The life of Robert Baldwin forms so important an ingredient in the political history of this country that we deem it unnecessary to offer any apology for dealing with it at considerable length. More especially is this the case, inasmuch as, unlike most of the personages included in the present series, his career is ended, and we can contemplate it, not only with perfect impartiality, but even with some approach to completeness. The twenty and odd years which have elapsed since he was laid in his grave have witnessed many and important changes in our Constitution, as well as in our habits of thought; but his name is still regarded by the great mass of the Canadian people with feelings of respect and veneration. We can still point to him with the admiration due to a man who, during a time of the grossest political corruption, took a foremost part in our public affairs, and who yet preserved his integrity untarnished. We can point to him as the man who, if not the actual author of Responsible Government in Canada, yet spent the best years of his life in contending for it, and who contributed more than any other person to make that project an accomplished fact. We can point to him as one who, though a politician by predilection and by profession, never stooped to disreputable practices, either to win votes or to maintain himself in office. Robert Baldwin was a man who was not only incapable of falsehood or meanness to gain his ends, but who was to the last degree intolerant of such practices on the part of his warmest supporters. If intellectual greatness cannot be claimed for him, moral greatness was most indisputably his. Every action of his life was marked by sincerity and good faith, alike towards friend and foe. He was not only true to others, but was from first to last true to himself. His useful career, and the high reputation which he left behind him, furnish an apt commentary upon the advice which Polonius gives to his son Laertes;—

“This above all: to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

To our thinking there is something august in the life of Robert Baldwin. So chary was he of his personal honour that it was next to impossible to induce him to pledge himself beforehand, even upon the plainest question. Once, when addressing the electors at Sharon, some one in the crowd asked him if he would pledge himself to oppose the retention of the Clergy Reserves. “I am not here,” was his reply, “to pledge myself on any question. I go to the House as a free man, or I go not at all. I am here to declare to you my opinions. If you approve of my opinions, and elect me, I will carry them out in Parliament. If I should alter those opinions I will come back and surrender my trust, when you will have an opportunity of reëlecting me or of choosing Pg 18 another candidate; but I shall pledge myself at the bidding of no man.” A gentleman still living in Toronto once accompanied him on an electioneering tour into his constituency of North York. There were many burning questions on the carpet at the time, on some of which Mr. Baldwin's opinion did not entirely coincide with that of the majority of his constituents. His companion remembers hearing it suggested to him that his wisest course would be to maintain a discreet silence during the canvass as to the points at issue. His reply to the suggestion was eminently characteristic of the man.

“To maintain silence under such circumstances,” said he, “would be tantamount to deceiving the electors. It would be as culpable as to tell them a direct lie. Sooner than follow such a course I will cheerfully accept defeat.” He could not even be induced to adopt the suppressio veri. So tender and exacting was his conscience that he would not consent to be elected except upon the clearest understanding between himself and his constituents, even to serve a cause which he felt to be a just one. Defeat might annoy, but would not humiliate him. To be elected under false colours would humiliate him in his own esteem; a state of things which, to a high-minded man, is a burden intolerable to be borne.

It has of late years become the fashion with many well-informed persons in this country to think and speak of Robert Baldwin as a greatly over-estimated man. It is on all hands admitted that he was a man of excellent intentions, of spotless integrity, and of blameless life. It is not disputed, even by those whose political views are at variance with those of the party to which he belonged, that the great measures for which he contended were in themselves conducive to the public weal, nor is it denied that he contributed greatly to the cause of political freedom in Canada. But, it is said, Robert Baldwin was merely the exponent of principles which, long before his time, had found general acceptance among the statesmen of every land where constitutional government prevails. Responsible Government, it is said, would have become an accomplished fact, even if Robert Baldwin had never lived. Other much-needed reforms with which his name is inseparably associated would have come, it is contended, all in good time, and this present year, 1880, would have found us pretty much where we are. To argue after this fashion is simply to beg the whole question at issue. It is true that there is no occult power in a mere name. Ship-money, doubtless, was a doomed impost, even if there had been no particular individual called John Hampden. The practical despotism of the Stuart dynasty would doubtless have come to an end long before the present day, even if Oliver Cromwell and William of Orange had never existed. In the United States, slavery was a fated institution, even if there had been no great rebellion, and if Abraham Lincoln had never occupied the Presidential chair. But it would be a manifest injustice to withhold from those illustrious personages the tribute due to their great and, on the whole, glorious lives. They were the media whereby human progress delivered its message to the world, and their names are deservedly held in honour and reverence by a grateful posterity. Performing on a more contracted stage, and before a less numerous audience, Robert Baldwin fought his good fight—and won. Surrounded by inducements to prove false to his innate convictions, he nevertheless chose to encounter obloquy and persecution for what he knew to be the cause of truth and justice.

“Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,”

says Professor Lowell. The moment came to Robert Baldwin early in life. It is not Pg 19 easy to believe that he ever hesitated as to his decision; and to that decision he remained true to the latest hour of his existence. If it cannot in strictness be said of him that he knew no variableness or shadow of turning, it is at least indisputable that his convictions never varied upon any question of paramount importance. What Mr. Goldwin Smith has said of Cromwell might with equal truth be applied to Robert Baldwin: “He bore himself, not as one who gambled for a stake, but as one who struggled for a cause.” These are a few among the many claims which Robert Baldwin has upon the sympathies and remembrances of the Canadian people; and they are claims which we believe posterity will show no disposition to ignore.

In order to obtain a clear comprehension of the public career of Robert Baldwin it is necessary to glance briefly at the history of one or two of his immediate ancestors. In compiling the present sketch the writer deems it proper to say that he some time since wrote an account of Robert Baldwin's life for the columns of an influential newspaper published in Toronto. That account embodied the result of much careful and original investigation. It contained, indeed, every important fact readily ascertainable with reference to Mr. Baldwin's early life. So far as that portion of it is concerned there is little to be added at the present time, and the writer has drawn largely upon it for the purposes of this memoir. The former account being the product of his own conscientious labour and investigation, he has not deemed it necessary to reconstruct sentences and paragraphs where they already clearly expressed his meaning. With reference to Mr. Baldwin's political life, however, the present sketch embodies the result of fuller and more accurate information, and is conceived in a spirit which the exigencies of a newspaper do not admit of.

At the close of the Revolution which ended in the independence of the United States, there resided near the city of Cork, Ireland, a gentleman named William Willcocks. He belonged to an old family which had once been wealthy, and which was still in comfortable circumstances. About this time a strong tide of emigration set in from various parts of Europe to the New World. The student of history does not need to be informed that there was at this period a good deal of suffering and discontent in Ireland. The more radical and uncompromising among the malcontents staid at home, hoping for better times, and many of them eventually took part in the troubles of '98. Others sought a peaceful remedy for the evils under which they groaned, and, bidding adieu to their native land, sought an asylum for themselves and their families in the western wilderness. The success of the American Revolution combined with the hard times at home to make the United States “the chosen land” of many thousands of these self-expatriated ones. The revolutionary struggle was then a comparatively recent affair. The thirteen revolted colonies had become an independent nation, had started on their national career under favourable auspices, and had already become a thriving and prosperous community. The Province of Quebec, which then included the whole of what afterwards became Upper and Lower Canada, had to contend with many disadvantages, and its condition was in many important respects far behind that of the American Republic. Its climate was much more rigorous than was that of its southern neighbour, and its territory was much more sparsely settled. The western part of the Province, now forming part of the Province of Ontario, was especially thinly peopled, and except at a few points along the frontier, was little better than a wilderness. It was manifestly desirable to offer strong incentives to immigration, with a view to the speedy settlement of the Pg 20 country. To effect such a settlement was the imperative duty of the Government of the day; and to this end, large tracts of land were allotted to persons whose settlement here was deemed likely to influence colonization. Whole townships were in some cases conferred, upon condition that the grantees would settle the same with a certain number of colonists within a reasonable time. One of these grantees was the William Willcocks above-mentioned, who was a man of much enterprise and philanthropy. He conceived the idea of obtaining a grant of a large tract of land, and of settling it with emigrants of his own choosing, with himself as a sort of feudal proprietor at their head. With this object in view he came out to Canada in or about the year 1790, to spy out the land, and to judge from personal inspection which would be the most advantageous site for his projected colony. In setting out upon this quest he enjoyed an advantage greater even than was conferred by his social position. A cousin of his, Mr. Peter Russell, a member of the Irish branch of the Bedfordshire family of Russell, had already been out to Canada, and had brought home glowing accounts of the prospects held out there to persons of capital and enterprise. Mr. Russell had originally gone to America during the progress of the Revolutionary War, in the capacity of Secretary to Sir Henry Clinton, Commander-in-chief of the British forces on this continent. He had seen and heard enough to convince him that the acquisition of land in Canada was certain to prove a royal road to wealth. After the close of the war he returned to the old country, and gave his relatives the benefit of his experience. Mr. Russell also came out to Canada with Governor Simcoe in 1792, in the capacity of Inspector-General. He subsequently held several important offices of trust in Upper Canada. He became a member of the Executive Council, and as senior member of that body the administration of the Government devolved upon him during the three years (1796-1799) intervening between Governor Simcoe's departure from Canada and the appointment of Major-General Peter Hunter as Lieutenant-Governor. His residence in Canada, as will presently be seen, was destined to have an important bearing on the fortunes of the Baldwin family. Meanwhile, it is sufficient to note the fact that it was largely in consequence of the valuable topographical and statistical information furnished by him to his cousin William Willcocks that the latter was induced to set out on his preliminary tour of observation.

The result of this preliminary tour was to convince Mr. Willcocks that his cousin had not overstated the capabilities of the country, as to the future of which he formed the most sanguine expectations. The next step to be taken was to obtain his grant, and, as his political influence in and around his native city was considerable, he conceived that this would be easily managed. He returned home, and almost immediately afterwards crossed over to England, where he opened negotiations with the Government. After some delay he succeeded in obtaining a grant of a large tract of land; forming part of the present township of Whitchurch, in the county of York. In consideration of this liberal grant he on his part agreed to settle not fewer than sixty colonists on the land so granted within a certain specified time. An Order in Council confirmatory of this arrangement seems to have been passed. The rest of the transaction is involved in some obscurity. Mr. Willcocks returned to Ireland, and was soon afterwards elected Mayor of Cork—an office which he had held at least once before his American tour. Municipal and other affairs occupied so much of his time that he neglected to take steps for settling his trans-Atlantic domain until the period allowed Pg 21 him by Government for that purpose had nearly expired. However, in course of time—probably in the summer of 1797—he embarked with the full complement of emigrants for New York, whither they arrived after a long and stormy voyage. They pushed on without unnecessary delay, and in due course arrived at Oswego, where Mr. Willcocks received the disastrous intelligence that the Order in Council embodying his arrangement with the Government had been revoked. Why the revocation took place does not appear, as there had been no change of Government, and the circumstances had not materially changed. Whatever the reason may have been, the consequences to Mr. Willcocks and his emigrants were very serious. The poor Irish families who had accompanied him to the New World—travel-worn and helpless, in a strange land, without means, and without experience in the hard lines of pioneer life—were dismayed at the prospect before them. Mr. Willcocks, a kind and honourable man, naturally felt himself to be in a manner responsible for their forlorn situation. He at once professed his readiness to bear the expense of their return to their native land. Most of them availed themselves of this offer, and made the best of their way back to Ireland—some of them, doubtless, to take part in the rising of '98. A few of them elected to remain in America, and scattered themselves here and there throughout the State of New York. Mr. Willcocks himself, accompanied by one or two families, continued his journey to Canada, where he soon succeeded in securing a considerable allotment of land in Whitchurch and elsewhere. It is probable that he was treated liberally by the Government, as his generosity to the emigrants had greatly impoverished him, and it is certain that a few years later he was the possessor of large means. Almost immediately after his arrival in Canada he took up his abode at York, where he continued to reside down to the time of his death. Being a man of education and business capacity he was appointed Judge of the Home District Court, where we shall soon meet him again in tracing the fortunes of the Baldwin family. He had not been long in Canada before he wrote home flattering reports about the land of his adoption to his old friend Robert Baldwin, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch. Mr. Baldwin was a gentleman of good family and some means, who owned and resided on a small property called Summer Hill, or Knockmore, near Carragoline, in the county of Cork. Influenced by the prospects held out to him by Mr. Willcocks, he emigrated to Canada with his family in the summer of 1798, and settled on a block of land on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in what is now the township of Clarke, in the county of Durham. He named his newly-acquired estate Annarva (Ann's Field), and set about clearing and cultivating it. The western boundary of his farm was a small stream which until then was nameless, but which has ever since been known in local parlance as Baldwin's Creek. Here he resided for a period of fourteen years, when he removed to York, where he died in the year 1816. He had brought with him from Ireland two sons and four daughters. The eldest son, William Warren Baldwin, was destined to achieve considerable local renown as a lawyer and a politician. He was a man of versatile talents, and of much firmness and energy of character. He had studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and had graduated there two years before his emigration, but had never practised his profession as a means of livelihood. He had not been many weeks in this country before he perceived that his shortest way to wealth and influence was by way of the legal rather than the medical profession. In those remote times, men of education and mental ability were by no means numerous in Upper Canada. Pg 22 Every man was called upon to play several parts, and there was no such organization of labour as exists in older and more advanced communities. Dr. Baldwin resolved to practise both professions, and, in order to fit himself for the one by which he hoped to rise most speedily to eminence, he bade adieu to the farm on Baldwin's Creek and came up to York. He took up his quarters with his father's friend and his own, Mr. Willcocks, who lived on Duke street, near the present site of the La Salle Institute. In order to support himself while prosecuting his legal studies, he determined to take in a few pupils. In several successive numbers of the Gazette and Oracle—the one newspaper published in the Province at that time—we find in the months of December, 1802, and January, 1803, the following advertisement:—“Dr. Baldwin, understanding that some of the gentlemen of this town have expressed some anxiety for the establishment of a Classical School, begs leave to inform them and the public, that he intends, on Monday the 1st day of January next, to open a school, in which he will instruct Twelve Boys in Writing, Reading, Classics and Arithmetic. The terms are, for each boy, eight guineas per annum, to be paid quarterly or half-yearly; one guinea entrance and one cord of wood to be supplied by each of the boys on opening the School. N.B.—Mr. Baldwin will meet his pupils at Mr. Willcocks' house on Duke street. York, December 18th, 1802.” This advertisement produced the desired effect. The Doctor got all the pupils he wanted, and several youths who in after life rose to high eminence in the colony received their earliest classical teaching from him.

It was not necessary at that early day that a youth should spend a fixed term in an office under articles as a preliminary for practice, either at the Bar or as an attorney. On the 9th of July, 1794, during the regime of Governor Simcoe, an Act had been passed authorizing the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or person administering the Government of the Province, to issue licenses to practise as advocates and attorneys to such persons, not exceeding sixteen in number, as he might deem fit. We have no means of ascertaining how many persons availed themselves of this statute, as no complete record of their names or number is in existence. The original record is presumed to have been burned when the Houses of Parliament were destroyed during the American invasion in 1813. It is sufficient for our present purpose to know that Dr. Baldwin was one of the persons so licensed. By reference to the Journals of the Law Society at Osgoode Hall, we find that this license was granted on the 6th of April, 1803, by Lieutenant-Governor Peter Hunter. We further find that on the same day similar licenses were granted to four other gentlemen, all of whom were destined to become well-known citizens of Canada, viz., William Dickson, D'Arcy Boulton, John Powell, and William Elliott. Dr. Baldwin, having undergone an examination before Chief Justice Henry Alcock, and having received his license, authorizing him to practise in all branches of the legal profession, married Miss Phœbe Willcocks, the daughter of his friend and patron, and settled down to active practice as a barrister and attorney. He took up his abode in a house which had just been erected by his father-in-law, on what is now the north-west corner of Front and Frederick streets. [It may here be noted that Front street was then known as Palace street, from the circumstance that it led down to the Parliament buildings at the east end of the town, and because it was believed that the official residence or “palace” of the Governor would be built there.] Here on the 12th of May, 1804, was born Dr. Baldwin's eldest son, known to Canadian history as Robert Baldwin. Pg 23

The plain, unpretending structure in which Robert Baldwin first saw light has a history of its own. Dr. Baldwin resided in it only about three years, when he removed to a small house, long since demolished, on the corner of Bay and Front streets. Thenceforward the house at the foot of Frederick street was occupied by several tenants whose names are famous in local annals. About 1825 it was first occupied by Mr. William Lyon Mackenzie, who continued to reside in it for several years. It was here that the Colonial Advocate was published by that gentleman, at the time when his office was wrecked and the type thrown into the bay by a “genteel mob,” a further account of which lawless transaction will be found in the sketch of the life of Mackenzie, included in the present series. The building subsequently came into the possession of the Cawthra family—called by Dr. Scadding “the Astors of Upper Canada”—who carried on a large and marvellously successful mercantile business within its walls. It was finally burned down in the winter of 1854-5.

Dr. Baldwin applied himself to the practice of his several professions with an energy and assiduity which deserved and secured a full measure of success. His legal business was the most profitable of his pursuits but in the early years of his residence at York he seems to have also had a fair share of medical practice. It might not unreasonably have been supposed that the labour arising from these two sources employment would have been sufficient for the energies and ambition of any man; but we find that for at least two years subsequent to his marriage he continued to take in pupils. Half a century later than the period at which we have arrived, Sir John Beverley Robinson, then a baronet, and Chief Justice of the Province, was wont to pleasantly remind the subject of this sketch that their mutual acquaintance dated from a very early period in the latter's career. At the time of Robert Baldwin's birth, John Robinson, then a boy in his thirteenth year, was one of a class of seven pupils who attended daily at Dr. Baldwin's house for classical instruction. Two or three days after the Doctor's first-born came into the world, Master Robinson was taken into the nursery to see “the new baby.” Differences of political opinion in after years separated them far as the poles asunder on most public questions, but they never ceased to regard each other with personal respect. The late Chief Justice Maclean was another pupil of Dr. Baldwin's, and distinctly remembered that a holiday was granted to himself and his fellow students on the day of the embryo statesman's birth. Doctor Baldwin seems to have been fully equal to the multifarious calls upon his energies, and to have exercised his various callings with satisfaction alike to clients, patients, and pupils. It was no uncommon occurrence in those early days, when surgeons were scarce in our young capital, for him to be compelled to leave court in the middle of a trial, and to hurry away to splice a broken arm or bind up a fractured limb. Years afterwards, when he had retired from the active practice of all his professions, he used to cite a somewhat ludicrous instance of his professional versatility. It occurred soon after his marriage. He was engaged in arguing a case of some importance before his father-in-law, Judge Willcocks, in the Home District Court, when a messenger hurriedly arrived to summon him to attend at the advent of a little stranger into the world. The circumstances were explained to the Judge, and—it appearing that no other surgical aid was to be had at the moment—that functionary readily consented to adjourn the further consideration of the argument until Dr. Baldwin's return. The latter hurriedly left the court-room with the messenger, and after the lapse of somewhat more than an hour, again presented himself and prepared Pg 24 to resume his interrupted argument. The Judge ventured to express a hope that matters had gone well with the patient; whereupon the Doctor replied, “Quite well. I have much pleasure in informing your Honour that a man-child has been born into the world during my absence, and that both he and his mother are doing well.” The worthy Doctor received the congratulations of the Court, and was permitted to conclude his argument without any further demands upon his surgical skill.

Almost from the outset of his professional career, Dr. Baldwin took a strong interest in political matters. The fact that he was compelled to earn his living by honest labour excluded him from a certain narrow section of the society of Little York. The society from which he was excluded, however, was by no means of an intellectual cast, and it is not likely that he sustained much loss thereby. By intellectual society in Toronto he was regarded as a decided acquisition. He could well afford to despise the petty littleness of the would-be aristocrats of the Provincial capital. Still, it is probable that his political convictions were intensified by observing that, among the members of the clique above referred to, mere merit was regarded as a commodity of little account. He became known for a man of advanced ideas, and whenever a more than ordinarily flagrant instance of injustice occurred, was not slow in expressing his disapprobation of the way in which government was carried on. In 1812 he became treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and while filling that position he projected a scheme for constructing a suitable building for the Society's occupation. The times, however, were unpropitious for such a scheme, which fell through in consequence of the impending war with the United States.

His son was meanwhile quietly pursuing his studies at school, and unconsciously fitting himself for the battle of life that was before him. The boyhood of Robert Baldwin was remarkably free from incident. There is absolutely nothing to tell about this portion of his life, except that he attended the Home District Grammar School in “College Square,” as it was called, where he received all the education he ever acquired. This seat of learning was situated a short distance to the north-east of the present site of St. James's Cathedral, and was presided over by Dr.—afterwards Bishop—Strachan. We find Robert Baldwin's name in a class list of that institution published in 1816. Three years later (in 1819) we find that he was the “head boy,” and that he delivered the “prologue” at a public examination held at the school on the 11th of August. The prologue bears internal evidence of having been composed by Dr. Strachan himself. Among other scholars who attended the school and took part in the exercises at this date we find several whose names have since become well known in Toronto and its neighbourhood. Glancing down the leaf at random, we read the names of Thomas Ridout, Wm. McMurray, Saltern Givens, William Boulton, Richard Oates, Francis Heward, Abraham Nelles, James Baby, Allan Macaulay, and Warren Claus. The testimony of Robert Baldwin's school-fellows goes to show that he was even in those early days a rather shy, retiring youth, little addicted to boyish sports, and never known to take part in freaks of mischief. His thoughts seemed to come to him slowly, and his perceptive faculties were not very acute. His mind seems to have matured late. Dr. Strachan pronounced him the most diligent pupil in the establishment, and prophesied that if he ever made his mark in the world it would be rather by reason of his industry and close application than from the natural quickness of his parts. As is generally the case, the boy in this instance was father to the man. His Pg 25 industrious habits clung to him throughout his life, and his triumphs were won by means of persistent and untiring exertion, rather than by natural aptitude for public life. In this same year (1819) he entered upon the study, of the law in his father's office, and was called to the Bar in Trinity Term, 1825. He immediately entered into partnership with his father, the style of the firm being “W. W. Baldwin & Son.”

Meanwhile a great change had taken place in the pecuniary circumstances of Dr. Baldwin. He had, as we have already seen, been more than moderately successful in his professional pursuits, and had steadily accumulated wealth. From another source, however, his means received an accession which made him probably the wealthiest professional man in Upper Canada. The Hon. Peter Russell, already referred to, was never married, and by consequence he left no direct heirs. Upon his death, in the year 1808, his large landed and other possessions devolved upon his maiden sister, Miss Elizabeth Russell. This lady survived until 1822. She was a distant connection of the Baldwins, a very warm friendship had always subsisted between the two families. She resided with the Doctor's family—or, rather, the Doctor's family resided with her—during the last eight or nine years of her life. Upon her death she bequeathed all her possessions to Dr. Baldwin, who thus acquired a handsome fortune. He had in 1813, immediately after the American invasion of York, removed to Russell Abbey, on Front street, a mansion which had previously belonged to the Hon. Peter Russell, and which at this date belonged to his sister. After Miss Russell's death Dr. Baldwin began to entertain projects to which his mind had theretofore been a stranger. He designed to subject the large estate to a strict entail, and to found an opulent Canadian family. The Doctor, as we have seen, was a sincere and pronounced Liberal in his political views. He was a man of high principles, honestly desirous of promoting the welfare of his fellow-men; but he was nevertheless strongly influenced by the motions of social caste which were all but universal among educated persons of British stock in those days. He purchased a block of land on the summit of the acclivity which rises to the northward of Toronto, a short distance beyond the city limits. Here, on one of the most imposing sites of the neighborhood, he built a cosy-looking white house of comfortable proportions, which he intended to be merely the nucleus of a much more stately structure. He called his new estate “Spadina,” which is an Italianized form of an Indian word signifying a pleasant hill. The greater part of the land intervening between the base of Spadina Hill and Queen street—covering a distance of nearly two miles—had formerly belonged to the Russells, and was now the property of Dr. Baldwin. He laid out through his property a broad and stately highway a hundred and twenty feet in width, which has ever since been known as Spadina Avenue. He removed to his new home and soon came to be known as “Baldwin of Spadina”—an honorary title which he hoped to transmit to his posterity in future ages. “There was to be for ever,” says Dr. Scadding, “a Baldwin of Spadina. It is singular that the first inheritor of the newly-established patrimony should have been the statesman whose lot it was to carry through the Legislature the abolition of the right of primogeniture. The son grasped more readily than the father what the genius of the North American continent will endure, and what it will not.” Dr. Baldwin, however, did not live to see this measure carried through Parliament. He died on the 8th of January, 1844, and the Act abolishing primogeniture did not become law until 1851. As, in the course of this sketch, we shall not again have occasion to make any extended reference to Pg 26 Dr. Baldwin, we may here state that he subsequently entered Parliament as member for Norfolk, and did good service to the cause of Reform in Upper Canada. He continued to take an active part in politics down to a short time before his death in 1844. In 1843, only a few months before his death, he was called to a seat in the Legislative Council. He was devotedly loyal to the Crown, but spoke manfully for the rights of the people whenever those rights were invaded—and they were very often invaded in those days. It was from him that his son inherited those principles which wrought such important changes in our Constitution, and which have so effectually served the cause of free thought, free speech, and free deeds in our land. The reverence which all Canadians justly feel for the name of Robert Baldwin is also due in no slight degree to the father, who early instilled into his son's mind the “one idea” which is inseparably associated with his name.

Meanwhile the legal business continued to be carried on under the style of “W. W. Baldwin & Son,” the son being the active member of the firm. The business was large and remunerative, and included the prosecution of some of the most important causes before the courts in those days. On the 31st of May, 1827, when Robert Baldwin had just completed his twenty-third year, he married his cousin, Miss Augusta Elizabeth Sullivan, a daughter of Mr. Daniel Sullivan, and a sister of Mr. Robert Baldwin Sullivan, a young lawyer who afterwards attained eminence in his profession, and was raised to the judicial bench. On the 1st of March, 1829, young Sullivan formed a legal partnership with the Baldwins, and the style of the firm became “Baldwin & Sullivan.”

Robert Baldwin had already begun to take an active interest in political affairs. Liberal principles had legitimately descended to him from his father, but he was also a constitutional Reformer from mature deliberation and conviction. It is impossible to estimate his character rightly, however, unless it is borne in mind that his views were very far removed from those of extreme Radicals. In some respects, indeed, he had many of the qualities of a Conservative. Change, considered merely as change, was distasteful to him, and he was disposed to look favourably upon existing institutions until they were proved to be prejudicial to the public welfare. But he had already pondered seriously, and with a conscientious desire to arrive at a just opinion, as to the reciprocal obligations of the governing classes and the governed. His high sense of justice convinced him that there were many things in our colonial polity which it was the imperative duty of every well-wisher of the country to do his utmost to remove. He had made no secret of his views, and his high personal character, social position, and acknowledged abilities were such as to give those views additional weight. He had already proved himself a wise and prudent adviser on one or two election committees, and had come to be looked upon as “the coming man” of the Reform party. That party was then in its infancy in this Province, and may be said to have come into existence about the year 1820. It grew rapidly, and soon began to occasion uneasiness to the faction which swayed the destinies of the Province with so high a hand. It was not difficult for farsighted men to perceive that momentous changes were imminent. The idea of a responsible Executive had already presented itself to the minds of the thoughtful, and the Baldwins, both father and son, had expressed strong opinions on the subject. The result of the general elections of 1824 was a Reform majority in the House of Assembly, and several important Government measures were defeated. The Legislative Council, however, was of course still in the hands of Pg 27 the oligarchy. The Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Peregrine Maitland, began to entertain gloomy forebodings of disaster. “The long shadows of Canadian Radicalism,” says a Canadian writer, “were already settling down on his administration, and the Colonial Advocate, controlled by William Lyon Mackenzie, sadly disturbed his prospects of dignified repose with pungent diatribes on packed juries and Government abuses. Even then the clouds were gathering for the storm of 1838.” As yet, however, there was little in common between Mr. Mackenzie and the Baldwins except hatred of oppression and a desire to see the Government of the country in the hands of capable and disinterested men. Even Mackenzie at this time entertained no thought of rebellion, and was a loyal subject to the Crown. It is, of course, unnecessary to say that none of the Baldwins ever sympathized with or countenanced the rebellion at any time.

In 1828 there was a general election, and Robert Baldwin, in conjunction with Mr. James E. Small, afterwards Judge of the County Court of the county of Middlesex, offered himself as a candidate for the county of York. Both these gentlemen were defeated by their opponents, Messrs. William Lyon Mackenzie and Jesse Ketchum. In July of the following year, however, Mr. John Beverley Robinson, member for the town of York and Attorney-General of the Province, was promoted to the dignity of Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench. Robert Baldwin once more presented himself as a candidate for legislative honours, this time as Mr. Robinson's successor in the representation of York. He was returned by a majority of forty-one votes. His opponent was the same Mr. Small who had been his coadjutor of the previous year. Mr. Mackenzie, who had opposed them both in 1828, threw all his personal and journalistic influence into the scale in favour of Mr. Baldwin, and probably contributed not a little to the result. At the close of the poll the votes stood 92 for Baldwin and 51 for Small. A petition, praying that the election might be declared void, was presented by Mr. Small, upon the ground that the writ had been irregularly issued. The petition was successful, for the irregularity was fatal, the writ having been issued by the Lieutenant-Governor instead of by the Speaker of the House. Mr. Baldwin was unseated, but immediately presented himself for reëlection. This time he was opposed by Mr. William Botsford Jarvis, Sheriff of the county. Mr. Jarvis was defeated, and upon the opening of the session, on the 8th of January, 1830, Robert Baldwin, then in his twenty-sixth year, for the first time took his seat in Parliament.

It was about this time that the scheme of Responsible Government may be said to have first taken something like definite shape in Upper Canada. This great project is inseparably associated with Robert Baldwin's name, though it is absurd to say, as has been said more than once, that he was the first to conceive the idea. There exists indisputable evidence that before Robert Baldwin had emerged from schoolboy life, his father, Peter Perry, and other leading Reformers had laid down most of the general principles upon which Responsible Government is founded. It may be said, indeed, that those principles were a necessary product of the political situation of affairs in Canada in those days, and that no particular individual can lay claim to having been their sole originator. The scheme of Responsible Government in Canada simply contemplated the application to this country of the principles which underlie the Constitution of Great Britain. It claimed that the acts of the Executive should be approved of by a majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly. Those who contended for it claimed nothing which was not clearly their right. They Pg 28 sought to engraft no foreign or radical change upon the Constitution. This was clearly understood a few years later by Lord Durham, as witness the following extract from his celebrated Report:—“It needs no change in the principles of government, no invention of a new constitutional theory, to supply the remedy which would, in my opinion, completely remove the existing political disorders. It needs but to follow out consistently the principles of the British Constitution, and introduce into the government of these great colonies those wise provisions by which alone the working of the representative system can in any country be rendered harmonious and efficient.... But the Crown must, on the other hand, submit to the necessary consequences of representative institutions, and if it has to carry on the government in unison with a representative body, it must consent to carry it on by means of those in whom that representative body has confidence.... This change might be effected by a single despatch containing such instructions, or, if any legal enactment were requisite, it would only be one that would render it necessary that the official acts of the Governor should be countersigned by some public functionary. This would induce responsibility for every act of the Government, and as a natural consequence it would necessitate the substitution of a system of administration by means of competent heads of departments for the present rude machinery of an executive council.... I admit that the system which I propose would in fact place the internal government of the colony in the hands of the colonists themselves, and that we should thus leave to them the execution of the laws of which we have long entrusted the making solely to them.” This was precisely the stand taken by the advocates of Responsible Government. This, in a word, was Responsible Government, and it was principally with a view to bring about such a state of things that Robert Baldwin determined to enter political life, in the autumn of 1829. A signal example of the necessity for Responsible Government had just occurred. In the autumn of the year 1827, John Walpole Willis, an English barrister, had been appointed to the position of a puisné judge in Upper Canada. Mr. Willis was a gentleman of spotless character, kind and amiable manners, and wide and various learning. He was beyond comparison the ablest jurist who, up to that time, had sat on the judicial bench in this Province. Having a high and proper idea of the dignity of the judicial character, he observed the strictest impartiality of conduct, both on the bench and elsewhere, and refused to ally himself with either of the political parties in the Province. This line of procedure, which in our days would be regarded as a matter of course in a man in such a position, was then an honourable distinction, for too many of Judge Willis's predecessors had been mere tools in the hands of the ruling faction. That faction, with Sir Peregrine Maitland, the Lieutenant-Governor, at its head, determined that Willis should either identify himself with them or lose his place. They were soon made to understand in the most unmistakable manner that he was a judge, and not a mere self-seeking partisan. It was accordingly determined that he should be got rid of. In the month of June, 1829, a pretext offered itself for his dismissal. He refused to sit in Term by himself, in the absence of Sir William Campbell, the Chief Justice (who was then in England), and of the other associate judge. Sir Peregrine promptly dismissed him, and appointed Mr. Christopher Hagerman to the vacant position. Judge Willis appealed to the Home authorities, who sustained him in his conduct, and dismissed the newly-appointed judge. It was not deemed advisable, however, to reinstate Mr. Willis in his Upper Canadian Pg 29 judgeship, as it was evident that he would be subjected to perpetual annoyance from the Executive, and that his usefulness would be seriously interfered with. He was appointed to a judicial position in another colony, where his honour and integrity were fully appreciated, and where he won golden opinions from all classes of the community. But he had none the less been dismissed by Sir Peregrine Maitland, and a large and influential class among the people of Upper Canada were righteously indignant. Robert Baldwin, himself a lawyer, with a high sense of the august character which ought to appertain to the judicial bench, felt and spoke strongly on the subject. The leading members of the Reform Party were unanimous in their condemnation of the Lieutenant-Governor's arbitrary conduct. Public meetings were held, and strong language, though hardly stronger than the occasion called for, was the order of the day. Finally, an address, signed by nearly all the prominent Reformers in the Province, was presented to Judge Willis, in which the subscribers expressed their esteem for his character, and their high appreciation of his conduct as a judge. A petition, which is believed to have been drawn by Robert Baldwin himself, was also forwarded to the King. Whether entirely drawn by Mr. Baldwin himself or not, there is no doubt that he had a share in its compilation, and that its contents were fully in accord with his views, as, apart from his being one of the signatories, a copy of it, initialed and annotated by him, was found among his papers after his death. This petition is important, as showing that the constitutional changes of a later date had already been carefully considered and outlined by the Reformers of this Province. It sets out by humbly thanking His Majesty for having sent Mr. Willis among them in the capacity of a judge, and extols his virtues, both judicial and personal. It then represents that the country had been deprived of one of its greatest blessings, in the arbitrary removal of a judge who, by the impartial discharge of his duties, had become endeared to the Canadian people. Then comes the following recital:—“It has long been the source of many grievances, and of their continuance, that the Legislative Council is formed not of an independent gentry, taken from the country at large, but of executive councillors and placemen, the great majority of whom are under the immediate, active, and undue influence of the person administering Your Majesty's Provincial Government, holding their offices at his mere will and pleasure. Hence arises, in a great measure, the practical irresponsibility of executive councillors and other official advisers of Your Majesty's representative, who have hitherto, with impunity, both disregarded the laws of the land and despised the opinions of the public.”

In entering active political life for the first time, Mr. Baldwin enjoyed the advantage of having been carefully trained in sound liberal principles by his father. He had the further advantage of possessing the esteem and respect even of those most bitterly opposed to his views on political matters, and his wealth and social position exalted him far above the petty ambitions of meaner men. With the modesty becoming in a young member, he spoke little during his first Parliamentary session, and as events turned out he had no future opportunity of addressing the House until after the lapse of some years, during which interval the political situation of the country had undergone many and important changes. By the death of George IV. a dissolution of Parliament took place, and a new election was ordered. Mr. Baldwin once more presented himself to the electors of the town of York, and was again opposed by Mr. W. B. Jarvis, who was this time successful, and his opponent was left without a seat in the Assembly. That Pg 30 he was not free from a feeling of disappointment at this result is very probable, but it is certain that he was less so than were many of his supporters, for he had been irresistibly led to the conclusion that his presence in the House at that time would be of little service to the country. He clearly perceived that a Reform House of Assembly could make little headway in the direction of constitutional progress so long as that House was hampered by an irresponsible Executive. Many of the leaders of the Reform Party of that day, both in Upper and Lower Canada, contended for an elective Legislative Council, believing that such a reform would, to some extent at least, remedy the evils by which the country was beset. In the views of these persons Mr. Baldwin could not coincide. He maintained that the only effectual cure was to make the Executive, as in England, directly dependent upon the will of the people, and that until such a change should be brought about it was a matter of secondary importance whether the Legislative Councillors were elected by the people or not. To establish a Responsible Executive had now become the great object of his life, and he availed himself of every opportunity which presented itself of urging his views. All the members of his party were agreed as to the desirability of bringing about such a state of things, but many of them despaired of being able to accomplish it, and regarded the project as practically unattainable. Others thought that Mr. Baldwin attached too much importance to it, and were wont to speak of him as “the man of one idea.” The history of the next few years affords the best refutation to such opinions. Upon the successful carrying out of this “one idea” depended the liberties of the Canadian people, and Mr. Baldwin continued to strive for the desired end until it became an accomplished fact. Meanwhile he accepted his defeat with the best grace he could. He retired to private life, and although he still continued largely to direct the policy of the Reform Party in the Upper Province, he devoted most of his time to the practice of his profession.

On the 11th of January, 1836, he sustained a serious loss in the death of his wife. He was a man of domestic habits, devotedly attached to his family, and felt the blow very keenly. Only a few weeks after sustaining this bereavement he was for a short time called upon to act as a constitutional adviser to Sir Francis Bond Head. The extraordinary circumstances under which Sir Francis became Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, and the disastrous consequences of his administration, will be fully detailed in the sketch of his life to be included in this series. It must be admitted that his position was one of much difficulty, and would have tried the powers of a much abler and wiser man. The new Governor was soon engaged in bickerings with some of the members of the House on important constitutional questions. His predecessor, Sir John Colborne, had recommended Robert Baldwin to the Home Office as a proper person to be called to a seat in the Legislative Council. Such a step was certain to be favourably regarded by a majority in the Assembly, and Sir Francis, acting probably under instructions from Lord Glenelg, the Colonial Secretary, sent for Mr. Baldwin, sought his advice, and finally requested him to become one of the Executive. There were then three vacancies in that body, three of the old members having recently been dismissed. The vacancies were offered respectively to Robert Baldwin, John Rolph, and John Henry Dunn, all of whom stood high in the confidence of the Reform Party. Sir Francis was especially desirous that Mr. Baldwin should accept office, not merely because the latter was a man of good judgment who knew the country's needs, but because his character and social position Pg 31 were such that his name would in itself lend great weight to any administration. This is sufficiently proved by the tenor of Sir Francis's own despatch to Lord Glenelg, dated February 22nd, 1836, the full text of which is to be found in the fourth chapter of his extraordinary “Narrative.” “After making every inquiry in my power,” says Sir Francis, “I became of opinion that Robert Baldwin, advocate, a gentleman already recommended to your Lordship by Sir John Colborne for a seat in the Legislative Council, was the first individual I should select, being highly respected for his moral character, moderate in his politics, and possessing the esteem and confidence of all parties.” It is to be borne in mind, too, that the Governor's estimate of Mr. Baldwin's character and position before the country had been formed from the reports of his bitterest political opponents. Sir Francis himself had only been a few weeks in the country, and had had but slight opportunities for forming an independent personal estimate. The fact that Mr. Baldwin's opponents should have given such a report of him affords incontrovertible proof of two things: first, that even the bitter animosities of the times had not extinguished all sense of truth and justice; and second, that Robert Baldwin, notwithstanding his pronounced opinions, was esteemed and respected as no other man in Canadian political life has ever been, either before his time or since.

While in conference with Mr. Baldwin, the Governor learned that, according to that gentleman's interpretation of the Constitutional Act of 1791, the Council was already legally responsible to the people. Sir Francis himself had probably never considered the matter, and did not commit himself to a positive opinion. He, however, made use of several expressions from which Mr. Baldwin not unreasonably inferred that there was no great difference of opinion between them on the point, and that the Government would thenceforth be conducted on that assumption. An important discussion also took place between them as to the position of a Lieutenant-Governor in the colony, and as to the true relation existing between him, his constitutional advisers, and the Parliament. On these matters Sir Francis was disposed to retain his own opinions, and yielded little to the reasoning of his interlocutor. The final result of the discussion was that Sir Francis made some concessions, and that Mr. Baldwin agreed to enter, and did actually enter, the administration, as did also Dr. Rolph and Mr. Dunn. They had not held office many days ere they discovered that they were in a false position. They found that the Governor had merely prevailed upon them to accept office in order to strengthen his Government, and to set himself in a favourable light before the country. He had no intention of permitting them to have any voice in the real administration of public affairs. Without consulting them, he appointed several members of the Family Compact to office. The members of the Council found that they were kept in total ignorance of the Government's policy, and that their functions were restricted to insignificant matters of detail. Much to the general surprise, this line of conduct on the part of the Governor was opposed by the old members of the Council, as well as by the three gentlemen who had recently entered it. They repeatedly remonstrated against his course of procedure, but their remonstrances were quietly ignored. There was, consequently, but one course open to them—to resign office. This course they accordingly adopted on the 4th of March, when Mr. Baldwin and his two colleagues had held office about three weeks. More obsequious councillors were soon found to fill their places, in the persons of Robert Baldwin Sullivan, Augustus Baldwin, John Elmsley, and William Pg 32 Allan. Robert Baldwin, mortified and disgusted with Sir Francis's double-dealing, shook the dust of the Council Chamber from his feet and once more retired to private life. The House of Assembly passed a vote of want of confidence, and stopped the supplies. Then followed the dissolution of Parliament, a new general election, and a new House of Assembly packed by the Governor to support the old Family Compact policy. The next thing that followed, as every one knows, was the Rebellion of 1837-8.

Within a few weeks after resigning office, Mr. Baldwin, despairing of being able to effect anything for the public good, and still suffering from grief for the loss of his wife, determined to pay a visit to the home of his ancestors, in Ireland, and to spend a season abroad. He was absent nearly a year, the greater part of which was spent in London and in the neighbourhood of Cork. During his stay in London he received intelligence of the success of the Tories at the recent elections in Upper Canada. Knowing, as he did, by what corrupt means that success had been achieved, he deemed it his duty to acquaint the Colonial Office with the inevitable result which would follow the Governor's machinations. Tory influence was predominant there, and he was not admitted to an interview with Lord Glenelg, but his views, elaborated into a series of papers, were placed before the Secretary, by whom they were submitted to the Imperial Cabinet. In these papers the project of Responsible Government was strongly urged as the only effectual remedy for the troubles in Canada. It was also urged that the policy which had theretofore been pursued by successive Lieutenant-Governors was steadily alienating the affections of the Canadian people from the mother country. These views, temperately but firmly expressed, were not without effect at the Home Office. Upon Mr. Baldwin's return to his native land he found that matters had not stood still during his absence, and that the Governor's policy had produced its legitimate fruit. The word “rebellion” was now frequently in the mouths of men who had always been regarded as loyal subjects. The Governor, as though bent upon precipitating matters, was more despotic than ever, and was engaged in daily squabbles with the Assembly. Mr. Baldwin, to whom even the tyranny of Sir Francis Head was preferable to actual rebellion, kept aloof from the extreme sections of both parties, and continued quietly to perform his duties as a citizen. He had lived with his father ever since his marriage. Doctor Baldwin, finding that Spadina at certain seasons of the year was an inconvenient place of abode, and that it would be advisable for him to have a town residence, had erected a building on the corner of King and Yonge streets, in what is now the commercial heart of the city. This building stood almost intact until about two years ago, when it was pulled down to make way for the magnificent new structure of the Dominion Bank. The family had removed thither during the autumn of 1831, and had resided there nearly four years. Dr. Baldwin, who was fond of building operations, had meanwhile erected a fine brick mansion on the site of the small house occupied by him many years before on the corner of Bay and Front streets. This mansion is the one now used for the offices of the Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway Company. In 1835 the family removed hither from the corner of Yonge and King streets, and it was here that Mrs. Robert Baldwin breathed her last. The family continued to reside here until the proximity of railways and other causes combined to make it an undesirable place of abode, when they removed back to Spadina.

Early in December the rebellion became a reality. William Lyon Mackenzie and his adherents encamped themselves on the northern Pg 33 outskirts of Toronto, and threatened to advance upon the city. Sir Francis, old soldier though he was, was panic-stricken. He knew the detestation in which he was held by those who were in arms against his Government, and deemed it probable that if he were captured by the rebels his life would be sacrificed. Meanwhile the militia were pouring into the capital from all quarters, and the forces at the Governor's command would soon be sufficiently numerous to enable him to laugh at the insurrection. It was manifestly important to gain time, as additions to the militia were coming in hour by hour. In this extremity Sir Francis had recourse to Robert Baldwin. The Sheriff was despatched in hot haste to the house on the corner of Bay and Front streets, and on the Governor's behalf he begged Mr. Baldwin to be the bearer of a flag of truce to the insurgents. “Demand from them,” urged Sir Francis, “why they appear in arms in hostility to their lawful Governor, and call on them in my name to avoid the effusion of human blood.” The Sheriff and his orderly seem to have been kept tolerably busy for some time, carrying messages to and fro between Mr. Baldwin and the Governor. Mr. Baldwin did not feel justified in declining a request urged under such circumstances, but stipulated that some other trustworthy person should accompany him. The errand on which he was about to be despatched was an important one. Negotiations might perhaps be proposed by the insurgent chief, and it was highly desirable that the majesty of Upper Canada should be represented by more than one man. To this view Sir Francis acceded, and asked Mr. Baldwin to choose his coadjutor. Mr. Baldwin at once mentioned Marshall Spring Bidwell, in whose integrity and prudence he had entire confidence. An orderly was accordingly despatched for Mr. Bidwell, who was asked to join his friend Mr. Baldwin in the expedition. Mr. Bidwell had no heart for such an undertaking. He had no sympathy with the insurrection, which he moreover knew must prove utterly futile. He was essentially a man of peace, and did not believe in righting wrongs by the strong hand. While sympathizing deeply with the grievances to which the people of Upper Canada were subjected, he was in favour of redressing these grievances by constitutional means, and not by open rebellion. He begged to be excused from undertaking the mission. He suggested that Dr. Rolph would be a very suitable messenger, and that he would probably undertake the mission without reluctance. Mr. Baldwin could assign no valid objection to Dr. Rolph, who was accordingly sent for. He accepted the mission with alacrity, and he and Mr. Baldwin set out on horseback for Gallows Hill. Upon their arrival they explained their errand to Mr. Mackenzie, who asked to see their authority. Mr. Baldwin was compelled to reply that his authority was oral only. “Then,” said Mr. Mackenzie, “go back to Sir Francis Head, and tell him that we want independence, and nothing but independence; and he must give us his answer in writing within an hour.” The rest of this episode is not a pleasant one to tell, but it has already appeared in print, and our narrative would be incomplete without it. Dr. Rolph rode up to two of the insurgents, and said something to them in so low a voice that Mr. Baldwin could not hear it. The latter did not approve of this secret conference, and rode back to town alone. He delivered Mr. Mackenzie's message to the Sheriff, by whom it was conveyed to the Governor. By this time Sir Francis felt safe, and refused to ratify his embassy. Mr. Baldwin was therefore compelled to return to Mr. Mackenzie with an admission that the Governor had declined to furnish any written authority. This transaction is not the least scandalous of Sir Francis Head's achievements. By refusing to accredit his ambassador Pg 34 he placed Mr. Baldwin in an equivocal light before the country, and furnished the political enemies of the latter with a pretext for repeated insults. Everybody knows the rest of the story. Next day Dr. Rolph lost no time in making the best of his way across the Niagara River, where he admitted his complicity in the rebellion. Both Mr. Mackenzie and the unhappy men who suffered on the gallows for their share in that day's work gave the same account of the message delivered by Dr. Rolph to the insurgents, which, as they declared, enjoined the latter to wait until nightfall, and then not to lose a moment in advancing on the city, as the Governor was only pretending to negotiate in order to gain time. Assuming this message to have been really delivered by Dr. Rolph, it must be admitted that it places him in an unenviable light, for in that case he was guilty not merely of treason to his country, but of treachery to his friend. Mr. Baldwin never forgave him, and was never again on speaking terms with him.

The rebellion was, for a time, a serious blow to the Reform Party in Upper Canada. The ruling faction and their adherents saw their opportunity, and used it without stint. A cry of disloyalty was raised, and everything was done to create a false idea in the public mind as to what really constitutes Reform principles. Disloyalty and rebellion were represented as the inevitable outcome of the principles of Upper Canadian Reformers. Every man who professed liberal opinions was declared to be a rebel. Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Bidwell were placed in the same category as Mackenzie and Rolph. Those who were instrumental in promulgating this doctrine were morally guilty of a great crime, for none knew better than they that the leading spirits among the Reformers of Upper Canada were patriots, in the truest and best sense of that word. For some time Mr Baldwin treated these calumnies with silent contempt. By some, his silence was construed into inability to defend himself, and more than four years afterwards one gentleman—the late Sir Allan Macnab—presumed so far upon Mr. Baldwin's forbearance as to taunt him in a speech delivered in the House of Assembly. This was on the 13th of October, 1842. Mr. Baldwin rose to his feet and replied to the member for Hamilton in words which, so far as he was concerned, effectually silenced all further insinuations of disloyalty. He detailed the circumstances under which he had been induced to ride out with the flag of truce, and how the Governor had not had sufficient magnanimity to avow his own act. When the speaker resumed his seat the house resounded with cheers, and Sir Allan Macnab subsequently apologized for his language.

The unmerited reproach which had been brought upon the Reform Party was not the only disadvantage under which it laboured at this period. Not only was it subjected to public obloquy, and to the bitter taunts of its foes, but it contained discordant and irreconcilable elements within itself. It was for a time threatened with utter ruin. During the progress of the year 1838, Robert Baldwin set himself diligently to work to reconcile such discordant elements as were capable of assimilation, and to reconstruct the party on a consistent and definite basis of constitutional reform. The watchword of the reconstructed party was “Responsible Government.” In May of the same year, Lord Durham arrived in Canada, in the double capacity of Governor-General and of Her Majesty's Commissioner for the purpose of inquiring into and reporting upon our political institutions. After spending nearly six months in the country, he returned home and compiled his elaborate report, in which he recommended the establishment of Responsible Government, and the legislative union of the two Provinces. The subsequent history of these recommendations belongs Pg 35 more appropriately to the life of Lord Durham than to that of Robert Baldwin. At present it will be sufficient to record the fact that most of Lord Durham's recommendations with reference to Canadian affairs were adopted by the Home Government, and that during the session of 1839 a Bill providing for the union of Upper and Lower Canada was introduced into the Imperial Parliament. It was found, however, when the details of the measure came up for discussion in the Commons, that the House had not sufficient facts before them to enable them to deal with it satisfactorily. It became necessary to shelve the matter until the following session, and to send out to Canada some capable man to obtain the required information. The man fixed upon for this mission was Mr. Charles Poulett Thomson, afterwards Lord Sydenham, who held the post of President of the Imperial Board of Trade. Mr. Thomson accordingly came over to this country as Governor-General, armed with the same full powers which had previously been conferred upon Lord Durham. How he discharged his difficult task will be related at length in the sketch particularly devoted to his life. It may meanwhile be remarked that in the Upper Province the bulk of the Tories arrayed themselves in hostility to the policy of the Home Government. In their organ, the Toronto Patriot, they denounced Lord Durham and his Report in unmeasured terms. The new Governor-General also came in for a full share of censure. That gentleman soon discovered that the Legislature of the Upper Province would not easily be prevailed upon to consent to the proposed measures. The difficulty arose from the opposition of the Legislative Council. He put forth a message, in which he appealed strongly to the loyalty of the House, and urged the necessity of their co-operation. He also published a despatch from Lord John Russell, in which a similar appeal was embodied. The Family Compact, members whereof composed a large majority in the Council, saw that their reign, which had long been insecure, would cease at once and forever upon the advent of Responsible Government. The Governor, however, had appealed to their loyalty, and ever since the Rebellion they had been proclaiming their devotion to the Crown in fulsome terms which left them no choice but to comply with what was asked of them, or else to admit that they had been preaching doctrines which they were not disposed to practise. The proposed measures, moreover, originated with the Government, and the members of the Council were thus compelled either to support them or to resign their places. By adopting the former course they would at least postpone the evil day. They accordingly supported the Government. The Assembly had all along approved of the proposed changes, and resolutions were paused in accordance with the policy outlined in the Governor's message. A Union Bill was framed and transmitted to England, where, with some slight modifications, it soon received the assent of both Houses. On the 23rd of July, 1840, it received the Royal sanction. A clause in the Bill provided that it should come into operation by royal proclamation. A protracted session of the Special Council in the Lower Province delayed the issue of the proclamation, and the Act of Union did not take effect until the 10th of February, 1841.

Robert Baldwin had meanwhile remained in the retirement of private life. A time had arrived, however, when he was once more to take an active part in the politics of his country. At the urgent request of the Governor-General, and upon the assumption that Government was to be carried on in accordance with the principles for which he had all along contended, he accepted the office of Solicitor-General, as successor to Mr.—afterwards Chief-Justice—Draper, who had been appointed Attorney-General Pg 36 in place of Mr. Hagerman. Mr. Baldwin's acceptance of office did more than anything else could have done to strengthen the hands of the Governor, and to gain confidence for the Administration. This office he subsequently resigned under circumstances which occasioned not a little embarrassment to the Governor; and as he has been censured for this step, it is very desirable that we should clearly understand the motives by which he was actuated. We are fortunately able to arrive at such an understanding. Shortly after his appointment to office, in the month of February, 1840, being determined that there should be no misapprehension as to his actions, he wrote and published a letter in which occur the following words:—“In accepting office I consider myself to have given a public pledge that I have a reasonably well-grounded confidence that the Government of my country is to be carried on in accordance with the principles of Responsible Government, which I have ever held. It is therefore right that it should be distinctly understood that I have not come into office by means of any coalition with the Attorney-General, or with any others now in the public service, but have done so under the Governor-General, and expressly from my confidence in him.”

So far all is clear enough. A year later—that is to say, on the 13th of February, 1841—the Governor, having determined to constitute the principal officers of Government the Executive Council, wrote to Mr. Baldwin as follows:

“I am called upon to name an Executive Council for this Province without delay, which at present will be composed exclusively of the chief officers of the Government, and I have therefore included your name in the list.”

Now, the members of the Cabinet, with three exceptions, were persons with whom Mr. Baldwin had never acted, and with whom he had very little political affinity. He moreover had good reason for believing that a Cabinet so composed would not find favour when the House should meet. He was desirous to make the Union a success, and was loth to embarrass the Governor at such a time by refusing to accede to his request, but he again resolved that there should be no misunderstanding as to his position. He accordingly, on the 19th of the month, replied to Lord Sydenham's letter as follows:

“With respect to those gentlemen,”—referring to the members of the Council,—“Mr. Baldwin has himself an entire want of political confidence in all of them except Mr. Dunn, Mr. Harrison and Mr. Daly.... He deems it a duty which he owes to the Governor-General, at once to communicate his opinion that such arrangement of the Administration will not command the support of Parliament.”

By writing a letter couched in such language, Mr. Baldwin must certainly have meant to reserve to himself perfect freedom of action. He believed that the proper time for action would be when he was in possession of the facts as to the political situation, and this he could not possibly be until the assembling of Parliament. Here again, however, his perfect good faith towards all men was signally displayed. It would manifestly be disingenuous were he to accept a seat in the Council without acquainting his colleagues with his opinions. To Lord Sydenham he had, as we have seen, been sufficiently explicit already. He now wrote to each individual member, with the exception of the three gentlemen already named, acquainting them straightforwardly of his utter want of confidence in them politically.

The course pursued by him in this often-debated matter was thoroughly consistent throughout. When the members of the Parliament of the United Provinces met at Kingston, on the 13th of June, 1841, and previous to the opening of the session, Mr. Baldwin called together a meeting of Pg 37 the Liberal members from both sections. The summoning of such a meeting was a political necessity, for many of the members from the different Provinces were totally unacquainted with each other, and were very imperfectly acquainted with each other's views on the questions of the day. One of Mr. Baldwin's principal objects was to ascertain how far the Government possessed the confidence of the Liberal party of the United Provinces. It was soon apparent that very few of the members felt any confidence whatever in the Government as a whole, although even the members from the Lower Province were almost unanimous in expressing confidence in Mr. Baldwin himself. Here again his course seemed perfectly clear. He must cease to hold office in a Government which had not the confidence of the people. Either there must be a reconstruction of the Cabinet or he must resign. He proposed the former alternative to Lord Sydenham, but his proposal was rejected. Accordingly, on the day when the session opened, he resigned his office. There can be no doubt that this was an embarrassing state of affairs for the Governor, but Mr. Baldwin was compelled to choose between two evils, and he chose what seemed to him to be the less. It was better that the Governor should be embarrassed than that a high-minded statesman should prove false to his convictions. He was assailed with coarse vituperation in the House for his resignation. He replied in moderate, but forcible language, explaining his position at considerable length. His opponents were not accessible to argument, but outside the House his conduct met with the full approbation of his constituents, and of the Reform party generally. At the next elections, as if to show how fully his course was approved of, he was returned for two constituencies—the County of Hastings and the North Riding of York. He chose to sit for the former, and recommended his friend Mr. Lafontaine to North York. The latter was triumphantly returned for that Riding. All his former colleagues retaining their places, Mr. Baldwin found himself in Opposition. He took part in several warm debates during the session, and moved some important amendments to the Municipal Bill, which was the most hotly-contested measure before the House, and which, after repeated divisions, was finally passed. He also strenuously advocated a policy of conciliation towards the Lower Canadians. Early in September he moved and passed a series of resolutions in support of his “one idea” of Responsible Government. Almost immediately afterwards Lord Sydenham's death took place, and the session was brought to a close.

Sir Charles Bagot having succeeded Lord Sydenham as Governor-General, entered upon his duties early in January, 1842. He wisely resolved not to directly identify himself with either of the political parties in the country, but to carry on the Government in accordance with the popular will. After spending a few months in making himself acquainted with the condition of affairs, he discovered that no ministry could expect to command the public sympathy unless it favoured Responsible Government. The existing Ministry was evidently doomed as it stood, and needed reconstruction. Soon after the opening of the following session, the new Governor accordingly made overtures to Robert Baldwin and Mr. Lafontaine, and a Government, with them at its head, was soon formed; several of the old members, including Sir Francis Hincks, retaining their seats. The new members returned to their constituents for reëlection, and found themselves warmly supported. Thus was formed the Hincks-Baldwin Administration, as it was called in Upper Canada, in which Mr. Hincks held office as Inspector-General and Robert Baldwin as Attorney-General West. It came into existence on the 16th of September, 1842, when this, the first Responsible Pg 38 Ministry under the Union was sworn in, and Mr. Baldwin's “one idea” was realized. The ensuing session was a short but industrious one, and was signalized by the passing of several important measures, one of which was an Act authorizing the raising of a large loan for public works. The House was prorogued on the 22nd of October, and almost immediately afterwards the state of the Governor's health compelled his resignation.

Then followed the memorable contest with Sir Charles Metcalfe. Upon Sir Charles Bagot's death a good deal of anxiety was felt in Canada as to who would be his successor. The late Lord Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby—father of the present representative of the title—was at this time Secretary of State for the Colonies in the Imperial Government. This nobleman disapproved of the recent changes in the Constitution of this country, and was vehemently opposed to the system of Responsible Government which had been introduced here. His selection of Sir Charles Metcalfe (afterwards Lord Metcalfe) as Bagot's successor, and his subsequent instructions to that gentleman, led to the conclusion that he had resolved upon the overthrow of our newly-acquired constitutional system. Sir Charles Metcalfe was a man of ability, who had spent a great part of his life in the service of the East India Company. He had had some experience in administering the despotic governments of Indian Provinces, but had no knowledge of Parliamentary Government, and was about as unfit a man as could have been sent out to fill such a position as that of Governor-General of Canada. He remained here nearly three years, during which period he, with the best intentions, contrived to bring the country to the verge of ruin. The training and experience of a lifetime had totally unfitted him for constitutional rule. Responsible Government in a colony where Party Government prevailed was to him an anomaly, and he could never be brought to understand it. He saw, however, that it had a firm hold upon the popular sympathies, and without meaning to be absolutely dishonest he was guilty of some dissimulation. While professing to approve of Responsible Government he was constantly showing his hostility to it. He had no sympathies in common with its advocates, and chose his associates and advisers from among the members of the defunct Compact. He endeavoured to exalt his own office by circumscribing the power of the Cabinet. He was wont to sneer at the pretensions of his Ministers, and in one of his letters he compares his position to that of an Indian Governor compelled to rule by means of a Mahommedan Ministry and a Mahommedan Parliament. It will readily be believed that there could be little unanimity of sentiment between such a man and Robert Baldwin. Their natures were thoroughly antagonistic, and this began to be apparent ere the new Governor-General had been many weeks in the country. They had several warm discussions as to the right of patronage. Mr. Baldwin, on behalf of himself and his colleagues, urged—what one would have thought must be sufficiently obvious in a country boasting of Responsible Government—that public appointments should be made in accordance with the will of the people. Sir Charles utterly scouted such a doctrine. He claimed that, as the representative of the Crown, the right of patronage was vested in himself alone. He was defective in perception, and surrendering himself to evil counsellors, formed most erroneous ideas as to the character and aims of the members of the Government. How erroneous those ideas were is sufficiently apparent from the language of his biographer, Mr.—afterwards Sir John William—Kaye. The latter gentleman never was in Canada, and knew nothing of Mr. Baldwin except what he gathered from the papers of Lord Metcalfe. His estimate of Mr. Baldwin may Pg 39 therefore fairly be taken to have been that of Lord Metcalfe himself. People who are well-informed as to his life and character may well open their eyes when they read that Robert Baldwin was “the son of a gentleman of Toronto, of American descent, who had formerly been a member of what was called the 'Family Compact;'”—that “the elder Baldwin had quarrelled with his party, and with the characteristic bitterness of a renegade had brought up his son in extremest hatred of his old associates;”—that “the son grew up to be an enthusiast—almost a fanatic;”—that “he was to the last degree uncompromising and intolerant;”—that “he seemed to delight in strife;”—that “the might of mildness he laughed to scorn;”—that “he was not satisfied with a victory unless it was gained by violence;”—that “concessions were valueless to him unless he wrenched them with a strong hand from his opponent;”—that being “of an unbounded arrogance and self-conceit, he made no allowances for others, and sought none for himself;”—that “there was a sort of sublime egotism about him—a magnificent self-esteem, which caused him to look upon himself as a patriot whilst he was serving his own ends by the promotion of his ambition, the gratification of his vanity or his spite.” Those of us “to the manner born” do not need to be informed that the proportion of truth to error in the foregoing extract is even less than the proportion of bread to sack in Falstaff's tavern-score. It is difficult, indeed, to understand how any one could have read the character of Robert Baldwin so utterly awry. The above passages are quoted from the early edition of Kaye's “Life of Charles Lord Metcalfe.” In the later edition he modifies a few of the details, but the general portraiture of the man remains unchanged. All the assertions are so far the reverse of fact that it is hard to believe them to have been honestly made. The “gentleman of American descent” was Dr. Baldwin who, as has already been seen, was an Irishman, and native of the county Cork. His journey from Ireland to Canada was made by way of Quebec, and he probably never spent ten consecutive days in the United States, with the republican institutions whereof he had little sympathy. So far from his ever having been a member of the Family Compact, he had always been a pronounced Liberal whose character and political opinions were so well known from the time of his first settlement in this country that it was deemed hopeless to attempt to allure him to the side of the oligarchy. Even Sir Francis Bond Head refers to him as “more ultra in his theory of reform than his son”. The delineation of the son's character and principles is equally at variance with fact. It is not going too far to say that no man occupying an equally pronounced position in the arena of political life was ever less swayed by animosity or spite than Robert Baldwin. Sir Francis Hincks, a thoroughly competent and trustworthy authority, in his pamphlet on “The Political History of Canada between 1840 and 1855,” published at Montreal several years ago, says, in speaking of the Baldwins:—“Neither the Doctor nor his son entertained bitter feelings against their opponents, and although firm in their adherence to cherished political opinions, they were both highly and universally respected.” Sir Francis Head's early impressions of the son were chiefly derived from the leaders of the Family Compact—notably from its head and front, Sir John Beverley Robinson. Yet we find the Governor referring to that son, in a communication to Lord Glenelg, written in February, 1836, as “a gentleman highly respected for his moral character, being moderate in his politics and possessing the esteem and confidence of all parties.” It would be easy enough to fill page after page with extracts from books equally well Pg 40 known, and equally contradictory of each other. Even Lord Sydenham's biographer fails to do justice to the motives which swayed Robert Baldwin. The fact that we encounter such contradictions in books to be found on the shelves of all large libraries is an additional reason why it is desirable that a true account of Robert Baldwin's life should be written.

The difference between the Governor and Mr. Baldwin involved, of course, differences between the Governor and the Ministry. The Ministry was composed of the following members: Attorney-General West, Robert Baldwin; Attorney-General East, Louis H. Lafontaine; Solicitor-General West, James Edward Small; Solicitor-General East, T. C. Aylwin; Receiver-General, J. H. Dunn; Inspector-General, Francis Hincks; Commissioner of Crown Lands, A. N. Morin; President of the Council, Robert Baldwin Sullivan; Provincial Secretary for Upper Canada, Dominick Daly; President of Board of Works, H. H. Killaly. The Surveyor-General, Mr. Thomas Parke, and the Commissioner of Customs, Mr. Malcolm Cameron, were not members of the Cabinet. The breach between Governor and Ministry gradually became wider and wider, for the former would not give way in the smallest particular, and had the Ministry given way they would have been false to the trust reposed in them by the public. Legislation was interfered with, and the general business of the country obstructed. A strong feeling arose throughout the land that the Governor-General was a tyrant and an aristocrat who had no sympathies in common with the people he had been sent out to govern. Some of Mr. Baldwin's colleagues advocated resignation, but he himself was loath to imperil Responsible Government by such a step, and clung to the hope that calmer thoughts would ere long prevail.

It may justly enough be concluded that the Governor's position was not a particularly enviable one, but we are led unavoidably to the conclusion that for the most disagreeable features of it he was personally responsible. He was stubborn, fond of having his own way, and unable to recede with a good grace. “He was called upon,” says his biographer, “to govern, or to submit to the government of Canada by a party; and the party by which he was to govern was one with which he had no sympathy.” The answer to this is sufficiently obvious. He was not sent out to Canada to indulge his personal sympathy for any party, but to administer a Constitutional Government according to its constitution. A contemporary writer puts this matter very clearly. “How had he (Lord Metcalfe) seen the Queen, his Sovereign, act within the period of his return to England and his departure for Canada? Had he not seen her transfer her confidence from Lord Melbourne, for whom she had a filial attachment, to Sir Robert Peel, whom she never really liked? And why? Because she knew, as a Constitutional Sovereign, that her business was to give her confidence to, and call to her councils, those men who had the support of the representatives of the people.” 1

Finally, towards the close of November, 1843, the Governor, as though wilfully to defy and provoke his Council, made an appointment without reference to them, and when remonstrated with by Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Lafontaine he declared that he had acted within the legitimate scope of his power. He positively declined to pledge not to make any further appointments without the sanction of his Ministers. Mr. Baldwin, still peacefully inclined, left the matter open for two days, at the expiration of which he and his colleague, Mr. Lafontaine, once more pressed their views upon the Governor. The latter was adamant. “You, Mr. Baldwin,” said he, “are not so Pg 41 fond of giving pledges yourself that you should demand them from others.” “I trust, your Excellency,” was Mr. Baldwin's reply, “that I shall always be willing to pledge myself on matters as to which my sentiments cannot possibly undergo any change.” And thus, with mutual courtesies, the two Ministers withdrew. A conference was held that same night, and the result was that all the members of the Ministry except Mr. Dominick Daly resigned their seats. Several days afterwards—on the 2nd of December—the Assembly passed a vote approving of the conduct of the retired Ministers.

A good deal of difficulty was experienced in forming a new Ministry. In about a fortnight, however, a Provisional Government was formed under the leadership of Mr. Draper and the Hon. D. B. Viger. Then followed the dissolution of the House, and an appeal to the country. It is simply a matter of fact that the Governor-General interfered with the elections for his own purposes, and used every influence within his reach to secure the return of members hostile to the late Ministry. He succeeded in securing a small majority favourable to his policy. Mr. Baldwin was returned for North York, and from that time until the month of March, 1848, he remained in Opposition. His services to his party during this interval were invaluable. His conduct was then, as always, marked by prudence and moderation, and won respect even from his political opponents. It is possible enough that had he been less moderate; had he been a man of greater energy and determination; had he resorted to crooked measures to accomplish his ends; he might have proved himself more than a match for Metcalfe, and might have compelled that Governor's resignation at an earlier period of his career in this country. But it may be doubted whether such a policy would in the end have proved beneficial to the permanent interests of our land, for Metcalfe's three years' tenure of power furnished the best possible evidence of the desirability of establishing Responsible Government on a firm basis.

After Metcalfe's departure from our shores the Earl of Cathcart administered affairs for a little more than a year. In 1846 there was a change in the Imperial Government, and the new Colonial Minister, Earl Grey, appointed Lord Elgin to the office of Governor-General of Canada. Lord Elgin reached Canada early in 1847. A general election took place at the close of the year, which resulted in a sweeping Reform victory both in the Upper and Lower Provinces. The old Ministry resigned, and Lord Elgin called on Mr. Lafontaine to form a Ministry. The call was responded to. Mr. Lafontaine conferred with Mr. Baldwin, and thus was formed what is known as the Baldwin-Lafontaine Administration, one of the ablest Administrations known to Canadian political history. Its original composition was as follows:—Robert Baldwin, Louis H. Lafontaine, the Hon. William Hume Blake, Robert Baldwin Sullivan, T. C. Aylwin, Francis Hincks, James Lesslie, D. B. Viger, James Hervey Price, Etienne P. Taché, R. E. Caron, and Malcolm Cameron. It subsequently underwent several modifications, but as a Government it continued in power until the session of 1851, when Mr. Baldwin resigned his position. The ostensible ground of his resignation was a vote on a resolution moved by Mr. William Lyon Mackenzie to abolish the Court of Chancery. This resolution, though hostile to the views of the Ministry, was supported by a majority of Upper Canadian votes, several of the hostile voters being members of the legal profession. Mr. Baldwin was surprised as well as mortified, and promptly resigned office. At the election which followed he offered himself as a candidate for his old constituency of North York. He was opposed by Mr. Joseph Pg 42 Hartman, who was returned by a considerable majority. This was also a surprise and a disappointment to Mr. Baldwin, who forthwith retired from active political life. His friend and ally, Mr. Lafontaine, retired soon afterwards, and the political career of both these distinguished men may be said to have closed with the year 1851.

The Baldwin-Lafontaine Administration was signalized by many public measures of the greatest importance. Early in its history came the furious debate on the Rebellion Losses Bill, a legacy left by the preceding Administration. The account of this Bill belongs more properly to the life of Lord Elgin, and will be given at length there. We have referred to the vote on the resolution for the abolition of the Court of Chancery as being Mr. Baldwin's ostensible reason for resigning office. There were, however, other causes which doubtless actuated him in taking that step. His health had already begun visibly to decline, and his physicians informed him that his official labours were rapidly shortening his life. He was sensitive—almost morbidly sensitive—on the subject of his personal popularity. The vote on Mr. Mackenzie's resolution was no fair test of that popularity, and many members who had supported it begged Mr. Baldwin to reconsider his determination, alleging that they would without hesitation have opposed the resolution if they had believed he would take the matter so much to heart. But he was also aware that many prominent members of the Reform Party were not fully in accord with his views on other important public questions. He was too conservative for them. The demand for the secularization of the Clergy Reserves had become imperative, and though Mr. Baldwin approved of the principles of that measure, and had previously voted in favour of it, he was not disposed to go so far as public opinion required. He was a sincere and zealous Churchman, and had a high respect for vested rights. His zeal for Episcopacy did not blind him to the public weal, and he had given adequate testimony of his high and disinterested sense of justice by rescuing our University from Episcopal control. At the same time, he could not see his way to dealing with the Clergy Reserves in such a manner as at once to satisfy his conscience and the country's imperative demands. Mr. Mackenzie, the late Premier of the Dominion, in a speech delivered several years since, referred to Robert Baldwin as a pure-minded but timid statesman. True, he was, in a certain sense, timid; but the sense is one in which he has had few imitators. He was afraid to do wrong. In the sense of being true to his conscience, and ready in expressing his sincere convictions at all times and in all places, no Canadian statesman has ever been more fearless than Robert Baldwin.

His speech to the electors of North York in 1851, after the poll had been closed, and when his defeat was made known, was his last public utterance. As his remarks on that occasion were eminently characteristic of the man, and fully explanatory of his sentiments, we subjoin the following epitome of them. He began by saying that the audience had just heard the declaration of a fact that severed the political tie which had for the last eleven years connected him with the North Riding of York. It might be said, and no doubt was said by many, that he ought to have withdrawn from the representation of the Riding, rather than contest it under the circumstances which led to the result just announced. He did not view the matter in that light. He felt that a strong sense of duty required him to take a different course, and not to take on himself the responsibility of originating the disruption of a bond which had been formed, and repeatedly renewed, between him and the electors of the North Riding. So far as Pg 43 he was able impartially to review the course he had hitherto, and especially for the last four years, pursued, he could see no change in himself; nothing which should have induced them to withdraw a confidence repeatedly expressed at former elections. All circumstances duly considered, he could not recall any act of importance which he had performed, or for which he was responsible, that his sense of duty to his country did not require, or, at least, did not justify. In the course of the canvass just ended, he had had frequent opportunities of explaining his views to those who sustained, and occasionally to those who opposed him. It was unnecessary for him then to repeat those views; but he felt it due to his own sense of right, and to the opinions of his friends, to say that under present circumstances he saw no reason to withhold a sincere re-assertion of them. In his own mind he could find nothing that would justify him, under all the circumstances, in pursuing a different course from that which he had taken. He had the satisfaction of knowing that there were intelligent men of a noble spirit in the Riding who concurred with him—staunch friends of former days, who had on the recent occasion given him their assistance and votes, in the face of, as the result showed, very discouraging circumstances. Principles so approved in his own mind, and so supported by such friends, he could not abandon. Until constitutionally advised to the contrary by the votes of the majority, he felt bound to believe that what he had always supported—what his constituents had frequently affirmed at former elections—what he still believed to be right—what he knew to be still sustained by men of valuable character, was also concurred in by a majority, at least, of his constituents. He believed, indeed, that his successful opponent did not differ from him in his view of his (Mr. Baldwin's) position. Under these circumstances he felt he would not be justified in accepting any evidence of a change in the minds of his constituents less doubtful than that of their own recorded votes. It could not now be said of him in leaving that he had abandoned them. These considerations had impelled him not to shrink from the ordeal of a contest, nor from the announcement now made of its result, however discouraging that result might be considered. It only remained for him now to return his cordial thanks, first and most especially to the staunch friends who in the face of disheartening circumstances had manfully recorded their votes for him, and actively assisted him at the polls and otherwise. To these he felt he could not adequately express his obligations. He would also say that his acknowledgments were due to those who had been his supporters, on former occasions, not excepting out of this number his successful rival, for the kindness he had met with among them, and for the courteous manner to himself personally, in which the opposition to him had been conducted. They would part, but part in friendship. They had withdrawn their political confidence from him, and he was now free from responsibility to them. There were, among the points of difference between him and their member elect, some not unimportant principles, but although he could not without some alarm observe a tendency which he considered evil, still, to all of them personally he wished the utmost prosperity and happiness they could desire. To his friends, then, of the North Riding, gratefully, and not without regret; to his opponents without any feeling of unkindness, he would now say—Farewell!

During his tenure of office Mr. Baldwin laboured with might and main in the direction of law reform. If some of his measures were less practicable in their working than might have been desired, there were others which must be regarded in the lightPg 44 of national blessings. He contributed very materially towards the establishing of our excellent municipal system, and while Attorney-General extended and codified that system into a complete and harmonious whole. He remodelled the Courts of law, and extended the scope of those of inferior jurisdiction. His successful efforts at University Reform have already been referred to. From the time of his defeat in North York down to the day of his death he never emerged from the seclusion of private life. He continued to reside at Spadina, spending his time chiefly in study, and preparing himself for the end which he knew was not far distant. His close application to his official labours had undermined his constitution, and for several years his system had shown unmistakable symptoms of decay. He lingered on for seven years longer, but declined perceptibly from year to year. He attended to no business, but continued to receive visits from his friends, and occasionally drove into town. In December, 1854, the dignity of Companion of the Bath was conferred upon him by Her Majesty—a very inadequate requital for all his valuable public services to his country and the Empire. In the autumn of 1858 it was evident that he was rapidly sinking. Early in December he had an attack of angina pectoris, and on the 9th of the month he breathed his last. His mortal remains were interred in the private family sepulchre called St Martin's Rood, at Spadina, where his wife and father and other members of his family had previously been laid to rest. The sepulchre remained undisturbed until the month of September, 1874, when—Spadina having meanwhile passed out of the possession of the Baldwin family—the remains were removed to St. James's Cemetery, where they now repose.

Ever since his call to the Bar, Mr. Baldwin had been a prominent member of the Law Society. He had been elected to the dignity of a Bencher as early as 1830, and had been Treasurer of the Society since 1850. Two days after his death a meeting of the members of the Bar was held in the Convocation Room at Osgoode Hall, for the purpose of paying a tribute to his memory. Appropriate resolutions were passed, and the members agreed to attend the funeral in their professional robes, and to wear mourning for a period of one month. The funeral was one of the largest ever seen in this Province. Among those assembled were the Judges of the Superior Courts, a large array of members of the Bar, the Bishop of Toronto, and a numerous body of the Clergy, most of the members of the Government, many members of both branches of the Legislature, a large number of prominent non-professional residents of the city, and a considerable representation of the country districts. The burial service of the Church of England was read by the Rev. Mr. Grasett. During the afternoon business was suspended in most of the stores on the principal streets of the city, and, pursuant to a recommendation of the City Council, a similar mark of respect was paid to Mr. Baldwin's memory in Hamilton. His death, indeed, was felt from one end of the Province to the other. Of all the long array of Canadian statesmen who have passed away, not one has been more widely regretted, and not one has left behind him a more spotless name.

Mr. Baldwin's personal appearance was not remarkably striking, and was suggestive of the quiet, subdued, prosperous, portly, and withal rather delicate professional man. He was above the medium height—about five feet ten inches—but did not look so tall, owing, more especially during his later years, to his stoutness of physique. He was broad in the shoulders, and stooped perceptibly. Even in youth his features were rather pale and stolid, and his eyes, which were gray, were wanting in sharpnessPg 45 and brilliance. His hair was dark brown, of fine texture, and, during the last few years of his life, inclined to iron gray. In manner he was reserved, and not given to unnecessary self-assertion. He had little imagination, and, as a public speaker, was not fluent or brilliant. He could, however, rise with an occasion, and was sometimes eloquent. At times, too, he was not wanting in a ready humour, which was all the more expressive coming from a quarter where such a quality was not looked for. Once, while in Opposition, in the course of a speech in the Assembly, he compared the Hon. Dominick Daly to the lily of the valley—“for,” said he, “the honourable gentleman toils not, neither does he spin,”—and quoted the rest of the passage. This quality of this jeu d'esprit will be materially enhanced to those who remember the character and appearance of the gentleman referred to. Such attempts as these, however, were the exception, and by no means the rule, with Robert Baldwin, who was of too kindly and amiable a nature to take pleasure in saying severe things. There was little of that personal magnetism about him which attracts a numerous circle of warm friends, and by many he was—though unjustly—considered cold and repellent. The great secret of his success was his unbending honesty, and his adherence to the convictions which he arrived at by the exercise of a well-trained, though not extraordinarily powerful, intellect. One of his contemporaries has justly said of him that his whole career supplies a pregnant example of the homage which even bad men pay to virtue, and a brighter star could not be set up for the guidance of Canadian politicians. The truth is that Mr. Baldwin contended during his whole political life for the simplest rights of the people of Canada—rights of which, as British subjects, no man should ever have thought of depriving them. His keen sense of justice induced him to take the part he did; and in pursuing his course he was not actuated by any love of change for its own sake. No unprejudiced man can doubt that he was a sincere patriot, or that he was induced to enter public life chiefly by a desire to promote the general good. His frequent sacrifices of personal advantages when required by adherence to his principles are sufficient proof of this; and he will long be remembered in Canada as possessing singular purity of motive, and freedom from the lower influences which operate upon politicians. Our country has perhaps produced greater men, but she has produced none better, and there is no name in our annals to which we can point with more unfeigned respect and admiration than his.

Mr. Baldwin left four children. Eva Maria, the eldest, died unmarried in Toronto in 1866. The other three still survive. William Willcocks Baldwin, called after his maternal grandfather, lived for some years at Larchmere, a fine property in the township of Whitchurch, in the county of York, originally settled by his maternal grandfather, Mr. William Willcocks. He now resides in Toronto, and is Distributor of Stamps to the Law Society at Osgoode Hall. Eliza, the third child, is the widow of the late Hon. John Ross, of Toronto, and now resides at Brighton, England. Robert, the youngest, named after his father, also resides in Toronto, and is Secretary of the Upper Canada Bible Society. William Augustus Baldwin, a younger brother of the deceased statesman, and the only surviving child of Dr. Baldwin, resides at Mashquoteh, an estate a short distance north of Toronto.

But little has been said as to the religious side of Mr. Baldwin's life. It will readily be inferred, however, that a man with such tenderness of conscience, and with such a high sense of duty to his country and toPg 46 his fellow-men, would not be unmindful of his responsibility to his Maker. Robert Baldwin was neither a bigot nor a fanatic, but he was in the best and truest sense of the word a Christian. He was strict in his observance of religious duties, and brought up his children to seek those things which make for righteousness rather than the things of this world. His piety was an ever-present influence in his life, and was practically manifested in his daily walk and conversation. As we contemplate the fifty-four years which made up the measure of his earthly span, we cannot fail to be impressed by its uniform consistency, its thorough conscientiousness, its devotion to high and noble objects. It is a grand thing to acquire a famous name, but it is a much grander thing to live a pure and noble life; and in estimating the character of Robert Baldwin it should be remembered that he was not merely a statesman and a lawyer, but was, over and above all else, a man and a Christian.

The compilation of the foregoing sketch has been a grateful, but withal a somewhat laborious task. Mr. Baldwin was not in the habit of keeping a journal, and he left behind him few manuscripts or papers bearing upon the most important epochs in his career. He was not a man who wore his heart upon his sleeve. He was of a singularly retiring, self-contained disposition, and was not accustomed to unbosom himself unreservedly, either to his most intimate friends, or even to the members of his own family. Finally, many of his contemporaries who knew him well, and who fought by his side in the struggle to which a great part of his life was devoted, have passed away. These are a few among the difficulties to be encountered by the biographer of Robert Baldwin. In the foregoing pages, however, the principal events of his life have been outlined somewhat more in detail than has been done heretofore, and there has been an honest attempt to pourtray his character and idiosyncrasies with some approach to historic truthfulness.

Luc Letellier
Luc Letellier de St. Just.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by W. J. Topley, Ottawa

Pg 47



The name of M. Letellier has been conspicuously before the public of his native province for a period of thirty years or thereabouts. During more than half that period his celebrity has not been confined to the Province of Quebec, but has been recognized throughout the country at large. Within the last year or two, certain complications—to be hereafter more fully referred to—have combined to bring his name into special prominence, and his position has been discussed in every land where constitutional government prevails. His conduct has been made the subject of rigid scrutiny, and of important diplomatic correspondence. After due consideration, and a delay not greater than the importance of the subject demanded, judgment has been pronounced upon his case. So far as at present appears, that judgment must be regarded as final; but it can hardly be said that the discussion aroused by the circumstances which gave rise to it has even yet entirely quieted down. Sufficient time has elapsed to enable outsiders, of whatever shade of political opinion, to take a calm and dispassionate view of the matter, but it will probably be long before the people of the Lower Province will be able to discuss the situation with entire freedom from political bias. It will be for the disinterested historian of the future to review the question in all its bearings, and to strike a perfectly fair and judicial balance between the parties to the dispute.

Whatever conclusion may be arrived at as to the main incidents in M. Letellier's career, it must be admitted that that career has been very largely of his own making; the result of exceptionally high abilities, and of great energy and strength of character. From both his parents he inherited a good social position, but for the eminence which he has attained in political life he is largely, if not altogether, indebted to his personal talents and qualifications. His social status was doubtless of assistance in enabling him for the first time to obtain a seat in Parliament, but he has since needed no adventitious aid to ensure him a foremost place among the legislators of his Province.

His great-grandfather, on the paternal side, was a soldier in the French army, who retired from active military service about the time of the Conquest of Canada. Upon his retirement he received a certificate authorizing his withdrawal from the army. This certificate, which is still preserved by his descendants, refers to his long and meritorious services in Louisiana and elsewhere, and describes him by the family patronymic of “St. Just.” His son, François Letellier, the father of the subject of this memoir, devoted himself to agricultural pursuits, and in process of time settled down upon a farm near the village of St. Valier, the county of Bellechasse. He had received a better education than commonly falls to the lot of persons in hisPg 48 walk of life, and seems to have been a man of high character, shrewd common sense, and liberal and enlightened views. He married a daughter of the late Charles Casgrain, Seigneur of Rivière Ouelle, where the late Lieutenant-Governor was born on the 12th of May, 1820.

Not long before his birth a gentleman named Slevin had been induced to take up his abode in the neighbourhood of St. Valier. Mr. Slevin was a sound and accomplished scholar, whose reading had been wide and various, and who possessed in an eminent degree the faculties requisite for a successful instructor of youth—qualities which were much less common in the rural districts of Canada in those days than they are at the present time. From this gentleman young Letellier received his earliest educational training. Soon after he had completed his tenth year he was entered by his father as a seminarian at the College of Ste. Anne. Here he remained for some time, but he does not seem to have taken kindly to the discipline of the establishment, which he found irksome, and unsuited to the energy and enthusiasm of his temperament. The prosaic and monotonous life enjoined by the rules and course of study in vogue at the college was not in accordance with the bent of his mind, and he longed for change. It is to be presumed that this state of things was due not so much to any defect in the management of the seminary itself as to the natural promptings of an active and enthusiastic boyish mind. Whatever the inducement may have been, he proposed to his father that he should be permitted to abandon his scholastic pursuits, and devote his future life to agriculture. His father, who knew his son's character, and had much more faith in the efficacy of lessons taught by experience than in those inculcated by precept merely, determined to comply with the request, rightly judging that the passion for agriculture would not be of long duration. A private understanding was accordingly arrived at between the father and a neighbouring farmer, and then the happy youth, full of glee at what he considered his escape from dry and barren studies, was indentured with due formality to serve as a farmer's boy for a term of five years. Imagination will serve to depict the result upon young Letellier's feelings of a few weeks' experience of heavy farm work. For a week or two he endeavoured bravely to endure the hardships of his position, until finally he acknowledged that he had gained wisdom by experience, and asked to be released from his engagement. This request was met with a stern refusal. He was informed that a solemn obligation had been entered into with his master, which could not be thus lightly set aside. Disheartened and disappointed, young Letellier next had recourse to his master, and vainly endeavoured to obtain his release. He was again told that the solemn engagement, which had been entered into with his full knowledge and consent, could not be terminated without the payment of damages, or the consent of all the parties interested. Nor was it until after the future Lieutenant-Governor had become fully impressed with the nature of an obligation of this kind, and had learned by bitter experience—and therefore well—a lesson which has never been forgotten, that he found himself freed from his self-imposed bondage, and able to return to his books and his college. One can easily conceive that so salutary a lesson must have been an important event in the young man's career. He doubtless found the restrictions imposed by the collegiate discipline much less irksome than they had seemed before his self-imposed rustication, and resumed his studies with a zeal which he had never previously displayed. He soon became known as a diligent and promising scholar, and those who knew him bestPg 49 began to form sanguine anticipations as to his future. He determined to fit himself for the profession of a notary, and entered upon a course of study with that end in view. Upon attaining his majority he was admitted to practice. A year or two previous to this time he sustained a heavy bereavement by his father's death, which event threatened to seriously interfere with his views, as he was left without the means of maintaining himself as a student. The difficulty was bridged over, however, by the kindly intervention of his uncle, the late Hon. Judge Panet, who took the young man under his own special protection, treated him in every way as a son, and furnished him with the means of pursuing his professional studies.

A somewhat unusual incident occurred in connection with M. Letellier's admission as a notary. The licenses authorizing candidates to practise the various professions were at that time issued by the Governor in Council, and it happened that simultaneously with the issue of the batch of licenses which included young Letellier's, the Government issued a number of commissions appointing new Legislative Councillors. Through some official blunder Luc Letellier, instead of his license to practise as a notary, received a commission appointing him a Legislative Councillor. He knew that an error had been committed, and showed the document to his guardian, who told him that the day would assuredly come when he would in reality be a member of the Legislative Council, inasmuch as he possessed within himself the material of which legislators are made. The Judge was not accustomed to speak confidently as to matters respecting which he had no certain knowledge, and the fact that he indulged in such a prediction is evidence of the high estimate which he had formed of his ward's qualifications. His prediction has been abundantly verified. M. Letellier has not only sat in the Legislative Council, but has creditably filled a much higher place. Independently of the imbroglio which culminated last year there has been nothing in his official life to which even the bitterest of his opponents can take serious exception.

But at the period under consideration these triumphs were still in the far future. Meanwhile M. Letellier was simply a young notary with small provision for the future, except such as was furnished by his own ability. He devoted himself assiduously to his profession and soon succeeded in building up a practice which though not so large as was that of some of his competitors, lay largely among the wealthy and intellectual people, and was attended with much pecuniary profit. He soon came to be looked upon as a rising man who would sooner or later have to find his way into political life. The time was not long in arriving. At the elections which took place in the autumn of 1850, M. Letellier for the first time offered himself to the electors of the county of Kamouraska as a candidate for a seat in the House of Assembly of Canada. He was successful and during the following session took his seat in the House as member for that constituency. He presented himself for reëlection at the general elections which took place in 1852 but this time his opponent, M. Chapais headed the poll, and M. Letellier was left without a seat. It may be noticed, in passing, that nowhere in the Lower Province are the lines of party more finely drawn than in the county of Kamouraska. This has been the case ever since the Union of the Provinces in 1841. A local writer, who is well acquainted with the state of political feeling there, recently recorded that “the people of this fine agricultural constituency guard their allegiance to their party-leaders about as scrupulously as their adhesion to their articles of faith, and defections from the ranks of either political party in Kamouraska are thereforePg 50 of very rare occurrence.” Up to this day the inhabitants of the county are in the habit of speaking of their neighbours as “un Chapais,” or “un Letellier”—meaning that the person referred to is an adherent of the Chapais or the Letellier faction, as the case may be. For more than twenty years, and in many an election contest, the fight was maintained between the leaders of the two parties, the present Senator Chapais on the one side, and the subject of this sketch on the other. The conflict was always close, and always carried on with much bitterness.

At the general election of 1857, M. Letellier was again compelled to endure defeat. Three years later he offered himself as a candidate for the Legislative Council for the Grandville Division, which includes the county of Kamouraska. His candidature on that occasion was successful, and he continued to sit in the Council until the Union. In the month of May, 1863, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture in the Sandfield Macdonald-Dorion Government, and upon presenting himself before his constituents he was reëlected by acclamation. This position he held until March, 1864, retaining meanwhile his seat in the Legislative Council. In May, 1867, he was called to the Senate, by royal proclamation, for the Division of Grandville, During the next five or six years he was leader of the Opposition in the Senate. The abolition of dual representation not having then been effected, he was induced in February, 1869, to offer himself as a candidate for election to the Quebec Assembly for the county of Kamouraska, and in 1871 for the county of L'Islet. He was unsuccessful in both these contests, but on each occasion the majority against him was very small, owing to the close division of party lines above referred to, which lines seem to be drawn almost as finely in L'Islet as in Kamouraska.

On the 7th of November, 1873, Sir John A. Macdonald's Ministry having resigned, a new Government being in process of formation, M. Letellier, who had spent the whole of his political career in Opposition, was sworn of the Privy Council, and appointed Minister of Agriculture in the Government of the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie. He was also ex-officio Commissioner of Patents, and co-leader with the Hon. R. W. Scott for the Government in the Senate, up to the date of his appointment as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec. He was also President of the Canadian Division at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia, in 1875. Towards the close of the following year—on the 13th of December, 1876—the Lieutenant-Governorship of the Province of Quebec became vacant in consequence of the death of the Hon. Réné Edouard Caron. The vacant position was offered to, and accepted by M. Letellier de St. Just, who assumed his governmental functions on the 15th of the month.

His tenure of office was characterized, as is well known, by a series of events which produced great excitement in the minds of the people of his Province. He had not long occupied the position of Lieutenant-Governor before he began to find himself more or less at variance with certain members of the Local Government, especially with the Premier, M. De Boucherville. The variance originally arose partly from the different points of view from which they contemplated public affairs generally, and each seems to have been of opinion that the other was trying to usurp functions foreign to his office. M. De Boucherville on several occasions showed a disposition to substitute the power of the Executive for that of the ordinary Courts of Law. It is fair to add that he was urged on to this course by some of his colleagues, and that the offence was by no means confined to him alone. The Lieutenant-Governor all along manifested a good deal of firmness, and used great plainness of speech in his conferences with the Premier. By degrees the differences between them became widerPg 51 and wider, and erelong all the members of the Administration were parties to the dispute. Finally, on the 24th of March, 1878, matters were brought to a crisis. On that day it was announced to the world that the Lieutenant-Governor had dismissed his Cabinet, and was about to form a new one. The Province was thrown into a state of the greatest excitement by this announcement, which soon extended in a less degree over all the Dominion. The principal cause of disagreement between the Lieutenant-Governor and M. De Boucherville arose out of a Bill relating to the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway. This Bill had been introduced into the Assembly, and had actually passed that House before the Lieutenant-Governor was made acquainted with its provisions. This the Lieutenant-Governor believed to be not only an evil in itself, and an infringement upon his prerogative, but actually subversive of the Constitution. It is impossible to understand the nature of this dispute without some knowledge of the history of the measure which directly occasioned it. A few years ago, the Quebec Government, yielding to urgent petitions from the various municipalities situated along the north shore of the river St. Lawrence, agreed to assume a charter previously granted to a private company to build a railway along the north shore, from Quebec to Ottawa. The route of the projected road was laid out, and the municipalities through which it ran granted bonuses to assist in its construction. The bonuses varied in amount, and were presumed to be proportionate to the actual benefit which the respective municipalities were to derive from the projected railway. Then began a reign of wire-pulling and bribery such as the lobbyists at Washington have long been familiar with, but which we in Canada have fortunately had but little experience of. Rings, partly composed, in some cases, of members of the Local Legislature, were formed for the securing of undue advantages in connection with this and other enterprises. The most shameless corruption was practised, and M. De Boucherville, the head of the Administration, declared his inability to restrain the evil. The location of the line was altered in places, and in many instances the original features of the undertaking were completely changed. The municipalities affected by the change of route protested, but to no purpose; and finding that their representations were of no avail, and that the agreement with them had been violated, they refused to pay over their bonuses. Here the trouble culminated. The Provincial Exchequer was empty. The work on the railway was unpaid for; contractors were clamorous, and the Government determined to appropriate the bonuses itself as the most direct way out of the difficulty. To effect this they introduced a Bill to the Assembly which, among other things, empowered the Government to determine the date of the maturity of the whole or of part of the municipal subscriptions. It then declared that no objection, exception, reason, plea, or opposition should avail to justify any of the municipalities or corporations in refusing to sign, execute, and deliver to the Treasurer of the Province its debentures, appropriated to the construction of the road, as soon as the Lieutenant-Governor in Council should have declared that the debentures might be exacted. As if these provisions were not sufficiently stringent, it was further enacted that, in the event of a municipality or corporation refusing to pay its subscriptions, or to sign and execute its debentures, the mayor or warden should be vested with authority to sign and execute them without the consent of the municipal council; and should the mayor or warden decline to act, the Government could proceed to appoint a syndic, with power to issue debentures in the name of the municipality for the amountPg 52 of its subscription. When the contents of this Bill came to the knowledge of the Lieutenant-Governor he expressed great astonishment and disapproval, and it was in resisting its adoption that he found himself at variance with his advisers. M. De Boucherville said that the measure had the sanction of the majority of the people's representatives. The Lieutenant-Governor took the ground that in his opinion the majority did not reflect the views of the people on that subject. He positively refused to accept their verdict, and asked M. De Boucherville to name his successor. This M. De Boucherville declined to do, and M. Letellier had then no resource left but to select a successor himself, and appeal to the country. M. Joly, leader of the Opposition, was asked to undertake the task of forming a new Administration, and he shortly afterwards appealed to the people on the distinct announcement that he assumed full responsibility for the course taken by the Lieutenant-Governor. His appeal was successful, the Government formed by him being sustained by a small majority. Soon afterwards, in consequence, it is presumed, of pressure brought to bear upon him by his Quebec supporters, Sir John A. Macdonald introduced into the House of Commons a motion condemnatory of M. Letellier's conduct. The motion was defeated, but the change of Government, consequent upon the elections of the following September, aroused in the opponents of the Lieutenant-Governor the hope of his dismissal by the Governor-General, on the advice of his Ministers. On the 7th of November, three gentlemen who had been members of M. De Boucherville's Government, Messrs. Chapleau, Church and Angers, took a decisive step. They addressed a petition to Sir Patrick L. Macdougall, in his official capacity, as Administrator of the Government, praying that M. Letellier might be dismissed from his office of Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec. In this petition all the grounds of dispute were set forth at great length. A copy of it was officially forwarded to M. Letellier, who formally replied to it, traversing its allegations, and defending his conduct by elaborate and well-sustained arguments. There was a subsequent rejoinder and sur-rejoinder, after which the matter was referred to the Home Government for decision. The sequel is still fresh in the memories of all readers of these pages. The Home Government declined to interfere in the matter. In the Colonial Secretary's despatch on the subject to the Governor-General of Canada, however, it was intimated that under the British North America Act the Lieutenant-Governor of a Province has an unquestionable constitutional right to dismiss his Provincial Ministers, if from any cause he feels it incumbent upon him to do so. In the exercise of this right, as of any other of his functions, he should, of course, maintain the impartiality towards rival political parties which is essential to the proper performance of the duties of his office; and for any action he may take he is, under the 59th section of the Act, directly responsible to the Governor-General. It was further intimated that the power to dismiss a Lieutenant-Governor rests with the Governor-General and the Dominion Cabinet, and not with the Governor-General alone. The latter was recommended to discuss the matter carefully with his Ministers, and to be guided by their views. Under these circumstances there was but one course open to His Excellency, who found that the minds of his Ministers were fully made up on the subject. On the 25th of July last His Excellency signed the Order in Council dismissing M. Letellier from his office. A day or two elapsed before his successor was appointed in the person of Dr. Robitaille. The interval gave occasion to a prominent Montreal newspaper to discuss the usefulness of Local Governors generally. It was askedPg 53 whether, if a Province can get along without a Lieutenant-Governor, being in the interval ruled from Ottawa, for forty-eight hours, such a functionary might not be altogether dispensed with. The final decision, so long delayed, was contrary to the expectations commonly entertained throughout the country, and may be said to have taken the public by surprise. The most opposite opinions were expressed by the various organs of opinion as to the Premier's conduct, and some of the papers in the Lower Province even went so far as to express disapproval of what they termed His Excellency's supineness. For the latter, imputation there is, it is scarcely necessary to say, no justification whatever. His Excellency had no other course open to him than to submit to the advice of his Ministers. The Premier's conduct will be estimated according to the political sympathies of the person sitting in judgment upon it. The political allies of M. Letellier throughout the Dominion felt strongly on the subject, and expressed the opinion that a great wrong had been inflicted on the late Lieutenant-Governor personally, and on the people of his Province who had stood by him and endorsed his acts. Public demonstrations in his favour were held in Quebec and elsewhere, and strong sympathy was expressed for his position. The anxiety and worry consequent upon the ordeal through which he had passed were not without effect upon M. Letellier's health, and during the few months which have elapsed since that time he has not taken any prominent part in public affairs. There has since been a change of Government in Quebec, M. Joly's Ministry having given place to that formed by M. Chapleau.


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Samuel Leonard Tilley, son of Thomas N. Tilley, and great-grandson of Samuel Tilley, whose name figures in Sabine's “Loyalists of the American Revolution” as a grantee of the city of St. John, was born at Gagetown, Queen's County, N.B., on the 8th of May, 1818. The first twelve years of his life were passed in his native village, one of the most picturesque and inviting spots on the river St. John. He was educated here at the county grammar school. In 1830 he went to St. John, became an apothecary's apprentice, and before going into business on his own account entered the employ of Mr. Wm. O. Smith, druggist. Mr. Smith, whose death occurred in March 1871, was an exceedingly able public man, and it has been said that young Tilley received much of his political education and ambition from his old employer; though in after years he differed from him on questions of policy, Mr. Smith being a Conservative, and the future statesman an ardent Liberal.

The family name of Tilley is of Dutch origin, and was originally written “Tilly,” the great grandsire of the subject of this sketch never spelling his name otherwise than without the “e.” Samuel Tilly was in early life a resident of Brooklyn. New York. He was a U. E. Loyalist, and at the close of the American revolution left the United States and settled in St John.

Samuel Tilley
Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo. by W. J. Topley, Ottawa

The fact that young Tilley belonged to Loyalist “stock” was a signal passport to success, in a Province which is as clannish and as proud of her sons as any county in Scotland. Smart, active, of pleasing address, of irreproachable character and genial manners, he soon attracted very general attention in the commercial capital. While yet young he went into business with a gentleman who belonged to a family distinguished in the prominent politics of the time. He joined a debating society, and became a strong exponent of the temperance cause. His eloquence and argument in the former, and his zeal and fervour in the latter, soon won to his side a large number of admirers who have followed his fortunes ever since, with the same anxiety and pleasure as a mother watching the career of a favourite son. It was not, however, till 1849 that Mr. Tilley's name appeared in connection with the politics of the country. A vacancy had been caused in the House of Assembly by the elevation of the Hon. R. L. Hazen to the Legislative Council Mr. B. Ansley was nominated for the seat by Mr. L. H. Deveber, and the seconder on his paper was Mr. S. L. Tilley, who took an exceedingly active and prominent part in the election of his candidate, who was returned by a good majority, on the Protection platform. The Protective policy of the Government, however, was found to please nobody. The scheme provided for the levying of a duty of ten per cent on all articles alike, and an Pg 55ad valorem duty, additional, on spirits, tobacco, sugar, molasses, etc. This movement created intense dissatisfaction among merchants and consumers, and a petition, numerously signed in St. John, was sent up to the House requesting members not to pass the bill. This had the desired effect, and the tariff was changed. In this same year Mr. Tilley's name was again before the people, and this time in a much more ambitious way. He became a foremost member of the New Brunswick Railway League—an organization which was formed for the purpose of building a line of railway from St. John to Shediac. This league grew out of a five-hour indignation meeting of citizens in St. John, which was called to denounce the action of the Legislature in defeating the various schemes of railway enterprise which had been before that body during the session. The failure of the Shediac scheme, in which the hopes of so many were bound up, enraged the people beyond all reason, and a petition was at once prepared and despatched to the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Edmund Walker Head, asking him to dissolve the House. Mr. Tilley's activity in this movement gave him a prominence in the affairs of his native land from which he has never receded. The general elections were held in the Province in June 1850, and Mr. Tilley's patience was rewarded by a seat in the Assembly as the representative for the city of St. John. The old coalition government was broken up, and the Reformers of that day rejoiced greatly over their success. In 1851, however, the Liberals were much exercised over the defection from their side of two of the leading men in their party, viz., the Hon. J. H. Gray, now a Supreme Court Judge in British Columbia, and the author of a History of Confederation, and the Hon. R. D. Wilmot, now Speaker of the Canadian Senate. These gentlemen entered the Government on the day their secession was made known to their former allies and friends. Messrs. Tilley, Ritchie and Simonds were indignant, and the whole Liberal party were greatly astonished and pained at the treachery of their quondam associates. A meeting was held and an agreement made between Messrs. Tilley, Simonds, Ritchie, and W. H. Needham, that was, to say the least of it, most extraordinary. These four members issued a card to their constituents in which they put forward their views regarding the conduct of the recreant members, and asked the electors to pronounce their judgment on Messrs. Wilmot and Gray's course by their votes at the polls. Should the deserters be sustained by the people, the four representatives declared their intention of immediately relinquishing their seats in the House. The issue was placed before the electors fairly and squarely, and the fickle public choosing at a former election two men to oppose the present Government, now returned them triumphantly as members of that same ministry which had proved so obnoxious in their eyes but a few months before. Messrs. Tilley, Simonds and Ritchie at once resigned their seats in accordance with their promise. Mr. Needham, however, clung to his place in the House, and with the remark that “it was too much trouble to get there,” he refused to resign. Mr. Tilley retired into private life.

In 1854 the general elections were held, and the staunch Reformer, elected by a fine majority, was offered in November a portfolio in a Liberal Government. He accepted office, and began from that day a long lease of power which has continued almost unbroken up to the present time. On two occasions he suffered defeat, but his absence from the House was, in each case, of a few months' duration only. In June, 1856, he was beaten at the polls on the Prohibitory Liquor Law question. The act had become law during the session, butPg 56 the people had expressed themselves so strongly against it that pressure being brought to bear, the Lieutenant-Governor remonstrated with his advisers and hinted at a dissolution. The Ministry resigned, and an appeal was made to the country on the direct issue. The result was a disastrous defeat. The new Government met a House determined on a repeal of the obnoxious act. It was repealed, but on other measures the tenure of power was so slight and the smooth working of affairs so uncertain, that in the following year a dissolution took place, and Mr. Tilley and his confreres were victoriously returned to power. In a few days he was reinstated in his old position as Provincial Secretary of the Province, and shortly afterwards became leader of the Government. In these years, 1854 and 1856, two new political terms were invented which attached themselves to the fortunes of the two parties for a period extending from that day up to the date of the union of the provinces, when their usefulness ceased. These were the well known words, “Smasher,” and “Stub-tail,” phrases which old politicians in New Brunswick will readily recall. Their origin is of sufficient interest to note down here; indeed so popular were they at one time that “Liberal” and “Tory” readily gave place to “Smasher” and “Stub-tail,” and a famous journalist predicted that they would become historic, and that the local parties would be known by them for all time to come. “Smasher” was first used in 1854. A leading member of the Legislature announced in the House that the policy of the Liberal party, should be “to the victors belong the spoils.” Great objection was taken to this assertion by the Opposition, and they called the party “smashers,” as it appeared they seemed disposed to break up all old usages in respect to the tenure of office. At the general election in 1856, it was alleged that the then Opposition sought to influence votes by liberal distribution of an inferior description of flour, the brand being “stub-tail.” The result was that the party were nicknamed the “stub-tail” party.

From June, 1857, to March 1865, Mr. Tilley remained at the head of affairs. In 1864, he went to Quebec, as one of the New Brunswick delegates to the Confederation Scheme Conference. Thirty-three representatives met together on the 10th of October, in a room in the old parliament buildings, to discuss the great project which had occupied men's minds since 1808. At one time, earlier in the year, a plan was on foot for a legislative union of the Maritime Provinces, and a conference was arranged to take place at Charlottetown, P. E. I. Thither Mr. Tilley and his confreres had gone; when some members of the Canadian Government, then on a visit to the Lower Provinces, hearing of the meeting, intimated a wish to be present. Invitations were sent to them, and they attended, and so carried the delegation away with them that the smaller scheme was thrown aside for that broader and larger confederation which was to embrace all the Provinces belonging to British North America. The greater assembly met in the ancient capital, with closed doors, and sat from day to day, until the 27th of October, when the famous “Quebec scheme,” as it was popularly termed in New Brunswick, was completed. The plan proposed was for the different governments to submit the question to the Houses of Assembly in each Province, without allowing a line of its provisions to be changed. The utmost secrecy was enjoined, and until the subject should come regularly before the House it was agreed that no publication of the scheme should be made. Public curiosity had not long to wait, however, for some one did reveal the plan and scope of the design, and a Prince Edward Island newspaper by some surreptitious means secured a copy of the importantPg 57 document, and published it. The people of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were filled with alarm and consternation. The greatest excitement prevailed, and war on the Confederates was instantly declared. The country was over-run with pamphlets and broadsides. Printing presses were kept going night and day; and pamphleteers on both sides exhausted themselves in finding arguments for and against the topic which was uppermost in every one's mind. The rival parties, forgetting that they were Liberals and Tories, Smashers and Stub-tails, allied themselves under fresh banners, and were known henceforth as Confederates and Anti-Confederates. In March the elections were held, and Mr. Tilley, with all his popularity and prestige, was beaten in his stronghold by a large majority. His party suffered severely with him, and not a single member of the ill-fated conference was returned. The whole Province, with but few exceptions, pronounced an adverse opinion against the hopes and ambitions of the Confederate party, who though defeated, did not in the least despair of a later triumph. An Anti-Confederate Government was formed, under the auspices of the Hons. A. J. Smith, and George L. Hatheway, aided by a strong and vigorous support in the Assembly. But while the Lower Chamber was Anti-Confederate in its views, the Upper House was entirely the other way. That body, led by the Hon. Peter Mitchell, presented an address to the Hon. A. H. Gordon, Lieutenant-Governor of the Province. The Colonial Secretary, Mr. Cardwell, informed the representative of the Queen that the Imperial Government approved of Confederation. These and other means had their effect on the Government and the people, and a convenient Fenian excitement coming on about this time, a complete reaction immediately set in. The Smith Cabinet resigned; Mr. Tilley was sent for; a new election took place, and in 1866 the Anti-Confederates experienced even a more disastrous reverse than their opponents had endured the previous year. The Liberal Premier found only a mere corporal's guard to oppose him in the new House; and New Brunswick entered the Confederation with the almost unanimous consent of the people. Delegates from Old Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, were next sent to London, to complete the terms of union: and at this conference Mr. Tilley filled no unimportant place. In 1867 he was made a C.B. (civil), as a reward for distinguished colonial services; and on resigning his seat in the New Brunswick Assembly for a seat in the Commons, he was sworn of the Canadian Privy Council, and appointed Minister of Customs in the first Cabinet of the Dominion. From November, 1868, to April, 1869, he was acting Minister of Public Works; and on the 22nd of February, 1873, he was made Minister of Finance, until his Government resigned on the 5th of November, in the same year; when he accepted the Lieutenant-Governorship of his native Province, as the successor of the Hon. Lemuel A. Wilmot. This office he held until the 11th of July, 1878, and could have retained it for a second term, had he felt so disposed; but yielding to the importunities of his friends, and the wishes of his former colleagues, he allowed himself to be nominated in his old constituency for a seat in the Commons. The elections took place on the 17th of September, 1878; and notwithstanding his extraordinary popularity he was elected by a bare majority of nine votes. This was altogether due to his espousal of the National Policy, as a part of the platform of the Liberal Conservatives—a measure which found little favour in a city bred on the strictest principles of free trade. In October the member for St. John City accepted the portfolio of Minister of Finance, and on presenting himself for reëlection he was returned by acclamation. On the 13th of February, Pg 58 1879, the Fourth Parliament of the Dominion held its first session; and in due time Mr. Tilley formulated the Protective Policy of the Ministry, in a masterly speech of great power and force. This important measure was carried, after much discussion, and has since become the policy of the country. On May 24th the Finance Minister was created a Knight of the noble order of St. Michael and St. George, at an investiture of the Order held in Montreal by the Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General of Canada. The honourable gentleman also holds a patent of rank and precedence from Her Majesty, as an Ex-councillor of New Brunswick; is a Commissioner to assist the Speaker in the internal economy of the House of Commons; President of the Diocesan Church Society, N.B.; Vice-president of the Auxiliary Bible Society, Ottawa; and a local director of the Canada Life Assurance Co.

He has been twice married—first to Julia Ann, daughter of James T. Hanford, of St. John; and second, in 1867, to Alice, elder daughter of Z. Chipman, of St. Stephen, N.B.

Sir Leonard Tilley has always been a consistent temperance man, and during his occupancy of Government House no liquors of any kind were allowed to be used in his household. He is an attractive and convincing speaker, ready in debate, fond of opposition, quick at figures, and nervous and rapid in utterance. He has great tact, and fine administrative talent, and never makes an enemy of a political opponent. He has always commanded respect, and may be said to have won his present high and honourable position through his own individual efforts, unwearying industry, and an unswerving faith in himself.

Joseph Brant
Joseph Brant


Pg 59


Few tasks are more difficult of accomplishment than the overturning of the ideas and prejudices which have been conceived in our youth, which have grown up with us to mature age, and which have finally become the settled convictions of our manhood. The overturning process is none the less difficult when, as is not seldom the case, those ideas and convictions are widely at variance with facts. Most of us have grown up with very erroneous notions respecting the Indian character—notions which have been chiefly derived from the romances of Cooper and his imitators. We have been accustomed to regard the aboriginal red man as an incarnation of treachery and remorseless ferocity, whose favourite recreation is to butcher defenceless women and children in cold blood. A few of us, led away by the stock anecdotes in worthless missionary and Sunday-school books, have gone far into the opposite extreme, and have been wont to regard the Indian as the Noble Savage who never forgets a kindness, who is ever ready to return good for evil, and who is so absurdly credulous as to look upon the pale-faces as the natural friends and benefactors of his species. Until within the last few years, no pen has ventured to write impartially of the Indian character, and no one has attempted to separate the wheat from the chaff in the generally received accounts which have come down to us from our forefathers. The fact is that the Indian is very much what his white brother has made him. The red man was the original possessor of this continent, the settlement of which by Europeans sounded the death-knell of his sovereignty. The aboriginal could hardly be expected to receive the intruder with open arms, even if the latter had acted up to his professions of peace and good-will. It would have argued a spirit of contemptible abjectness and faintness of heart if the Indian had submitted without a murmur to the gradual encroachments of the foreigner, even if the latter had adopted a uniform policy of mildness and conciliation. But the invader adopted no such policy. Not satisfied with taking forcible possession of the soil, he took the first steps in that long, sickening course of treachery and cruelty which has caused the chronicles of the white conquest in America to be written in characters of blood. The first and most hideous butcheries were committed by the whites. And if the Indian did not tamely submit to the yoke sought to be imposed upon their necks, they only acted as human beings, civilized and uncivilized, have always acted upon like provocation. Those who have characterized the Indian as inhuman and fiendish because he put his prisoners to the torture, seem to have forgotten that the wildest accounts of Indian ferocity pale beside the undoubtedly true accounts of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Christian Spain—nay, evenPg 60 Christian England—tortured prisoners with a diabolical ingenuity which never entered into the heart of a pagan Indian to conceive. And on this continent, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, men of English stock performed prodigies of cruelty to which parallels can be found in the history of the Inquisition alone. For the terrible records of battle, murder, torture and death, of which the history of the early settlement of this continent is so largely made up, the white man and the Christian must be held chiefly responsible. It must, moreover, be remembered that those records have been written by historians who have had every motive for distorting the truth. All the accounts that have come down to us have been penned by the aggressors themselves, and their immediate descendants. The Indians have had no chronicler to tell their version of the story. We all know how much weight should be attached to a history written by a violent partisan; for instance, a history of the French Revolution written by one of the House of Bourbon. The wonder is, not that the poor Indian should have been blackened and maligned, but that any attribute of nobleness or humanity should have been accorded to him.

Of all the characters who figure in the dark history of Indian warfare, few have attained greater notoriety, and none has been more persistently vilified than the subject of this sketch. Joseph Brant was known to us in the days of our childhood as a firm and staunch ally of the British, it is true; but as a man embodying in his own person all the demerits and barbarities of his race, and with no more mercy in his breast than is to be found in a famished tiger of the jungle. And for this unjust view of his character American historians are not wholly to blame. “Most historians of that period wrote too near the time when the events they were describing occurred, for a dispassionate investigation of the truth; and other writers who have succeeded have been content to follow the beaten track, without incurring the labour of diligent and calm inquiry.” And, as is too often the case with writers, historical and other, many of them cared less for truth than for effect. Even the author of “Gertrude of Wyoming” falsified history for the sake of a telling stanza in his beautiful poem; and when, years afterwards, Brant's son convinced the poet by documentary evidence that a grave injustice had been done to his father's memory, the poet contented himself by merely appending a note which in many editions is altogether omitted, and in those editions in which it is retained is much less likely to be read than the text of the poem itself. It was not till about forty-two years ago that anything like a comprehensive and impartial account of the life of Brant appeared. It was written by Colonel William L. Stone, from whose work the foregoing quotation is taken. Since then, several other lives have appeared, all of which have done something like justice to the subject; but they have not been widely read, and to the general public the name of Brant still calls up visions of smoking villages, raw scalps, disembowelled women and children, and ruthless brutalities more horrible still. Not content with attributing to him ferocities of which he never was guilty, the chroniclers have altogether ignored the fairer side of his character.

“The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.”

We have carefully gone through all the materials within our reach, and have compiled a sketch of the life of the Great Chief of the Six Nations which we would fain hope may be the means of enabling readers who have not ready access to large libraries to form something like a fair and dispassionate estimate of his character.

Joseph Brant—or to give him his IndianPg 61 name, Thayendanegea—was born in the year 1742. Authorities are not unanimous as to his paternity, it being claimed by some that he was a natural son of Sir William Johnson; consequently that he was not a full-blood Indian, but a half-breed. The better opinion seems to be that none but Mohawk blood flowed through his veins, and that his father was a Mohawk of the Wolf Tribe, by name Tehowaghwengaraghkin. It is not easy to reconcile the conflicting accounts of this latter personage (whose name we emphatically decline to repeat), but the weight of authority seems to point to him as a son of one of the five sachems who attracted so much attention during their visit to London in Queen Anne's reign, and who were made the subject of a paper in the Spectator, by Addison, and of another in the Tatler, by Steele. Brant's mother was an undoubted Mohawk, and the preponderance of evidence is in favour of his being a chief by right of inheritance. His parents lived at Canajoharie Castle, in the far-famed valley of the Mohawk; but at the time of their son's birth they were far away from home on a hunting expedition along the banks of the Ohio. His father died not long after returning from this expedition. We next learn that the widow contracted an alliance with an Indian whose name was Barnet, which name, in process of time, came to be corrupted into Brant. The little boy, who had been called Joseph, thus became known as “Brant's Joseph,” from which the inversion to “Joseph Brant” is sufficiently obvious. No account of his childhood has come down to us, and little or nothing is known of him until his thirteenth year, when he was taken under the patronage of that Sir William Johnson who has by some writers been credited with being his father. Sir William was the English Colonial Agent for Indian Affairs, and cuts a conspicuous figure in the colonial annals of the time. His connection with the Brant family was long and intimate. One of Joseph's sisters, named Molly, lived with the baronet as his mistress for many years, and was married to him a short time before his death, in 1774. Sir William was very partial to young Brant, and took special pains to impart to him a knowledge of military affairs. It was doubtless this interest which gave rise to the story that Sir William was his father; a story for which there seems to be no substantial foundation whatever.

In the year 1755, the memorable battle of Lake George took place between the French and English colonial forces and their Indian allies. Sir William Johnson commanded on the side of the English, and young Joseph Brant, then thirteen years of age, fought under his wing. This was a tender age, even for the son of an Indian Chief, to go out upon the war-path, and he himself admitted in after years that he was seized with such a tremor when the firing began at that battle that he was obliged to steady himself by seizing hold of a sapling. This, however, was probably the first and last time that he ever knew fear, either in battle or out of it. The history of his subsequent career has little in it suggestive of timidity. After the battle of Lake George, where the French were signally defeated, he accompanied his patron through various campaigns until the close of the French war, after which he was placed by Sir William at the Moor Charity School, Lebanon, Connecticut, for the purpose of receiving a liberal English education. How long he remained at that establishment does not appear, but he was there long enough to acquire something more than the mere rudiments of the English language and literature. In after years he always spoke with pleasure of his residence at this school, and never wearied of talking of it. He used to relate with much pleasantry an anecdote of a young half-breed who was a student in the establishment. The half-breed, whose name was William,Pg 62 was one day ordered by his tutor's son to saddle a horse. He declined to obey the order, upon the ground that he was a gentleman's son, and that to saddle a horse was not compatible with his dignity. Being asked to say what constitutes a gentleman, he replied—“A gentleman is a person who keeps racehorses and drinks Madeira wine, and that is what neither you nor your father do. Therefore, saddle the horse yourself.” The grammar of this reply might be improved, but the sentiment was doubtless the legitimate result of the young man's daily observation.

In 1763, Thayendanegea, then twenty-one years of age, married the daughter of an Oneida chief, and two years afterwards we find him settled at Canajoharie Castle, in Mohawk Valley, where he for some years lived a life of quiet and peaceful repose, devoting himself to the improvement of the moral and social condition of his people, and seconding the efforts of the missionaries for the conversion of the Indians to Christianity. Both missionaries and others who visited and were intimate with him during this time were very favourably impressed by him, and have left on record warm encomiums of his intelligence, good-breeding, and hospitality. Early in 1772 his wife died of consumption, and during the following winter he applied to an Episcopal minister to solemnize matrimony between himself and his deceased wife's sister. His application was refused, upon the ground that such a marriage was contrary to law; but he soon afterwards prevailed upon a German ecclesiastic to perform the ceremony. Not long afterwards he became seriously impressed upon the subject of religion, and experienced certain mental phenomena which in some communities is called “a change of heart.” He enrolled himself as a member of the Episcopal Church, of which he became a regular communicant. The spiritual element, however, was not the strongest side of his nature, and his religious impressions were not deep enough to survive the life of active warfare in which he was soon afterwards destined to engage. Though he always professed—and probably believed in—the fundamental truths of Christianity, he became comparatively indifferent to theological matters, except in so far as they might be made to conduce to the civilization of his people.

Sir William Johnson died in 1774. He was succeeded in his office of Colonial Agent for Indian affairs by his son-in-law, Colonel Guy Johnson. Brant was as great a favourite with the Colonel as he had been with that gentleman's predecessor. The new agent required a private secretary, and appointed Brant to that office. The clouds that had been gathering for some time over the relations between the mother country and her American colonies culminated in the great war of the revolution. The Americans, seeing the importance of conciliating the Six Nations, made overtures to them to cast in their lot with the revolutionists. These overtures were made in vain. Brant then and ever afterwards expressed his firm determination to “sink or swim with the English;” a determination from which he never for a moment swerved down to the last hour of his life. Apart altogether from the consideration that all his sympathies impelled him to adopt this course, he felt himself bound in honour to do so, in consequence of his having long before pledged his word to Sir William Johnson to espouse the British side in the event of trouble breaking out in the colonies. Similar pledges had been given by his forefathers. Honour and inclination both pointing in the same direction, he exerted all his influence with the native tribes, who did not require much persuasion to take the royal side. Accordingly, when Colonel Guy Johnson fled westward to avoid being captured by the Americans, Brant and the principalPg 63 warriors of the Six Nations accompanied him. The latter formed themselves into a confederacy, accepted royal commissions, and took a decided stand on the side of King George. To Brant was assigned the position of Principal War Chief of the Confederacy, with the military degree of a Captain. The Crown could not have secured a more efficient ally. He is described at this time as “distinguished alike for his address, his activity and his courage; possessing in point of stature and symmetry of person the advantage of most men even among his own well-formed race; tall, erect and majestic, with the air and mien of one born to command; having been a man of war from his boyhood, his name was a tower of strength among the warriors of the wilderness. Still more extensive was his influence rendered by the circumstance that he had been much employed in the civil service of the Indian Department under Sir William Johnson, by whom he was often deputed upon embassies among the tribes of the confederacy, and to those yet more distant, upon the great lakes and rivers of the north-west, by reason of which his knowledge of the whole country and people was accurate and extensive.”

In the autumn of 1775 he sailed for England, to hold personal conference with the officers of the Imperial Government. Upon his arrival in London he was received with open arms by the best society. His usual dress was that of an ordinary English gentleman, but his Court dress was a gorgeous and costly adaptation of the fashions of his own people. In this latter dress, at the instigation of that busiest of busybodies, James Boswell, he sat to have his portrait painted. The name of the artist has not been preserved, nor is the preservation of much importance, as this is the least interesting of the various pictures of Brant, the expression of the face being dull and commonplace. A much better portrait of him was painted during this visit for the Earl of Warwick, the artist being George Romney, the celebrated painter of historical pictures and portraits. It has been reproduced by our engraver for these pages.

The effect of this visit was to fully confirm him in his loyalty to the British Crown. Early in the following spring he set sail on his return voyage. He was secretly landed on the American coast, not far from New York, from whence he made his way through a hostile country to Canada, at great peril of his life. Ill would it have fared with him if he had fallen into the hands of the American soldiery at that time. No such contingency occurred, however, and he reached his destination in safety. Upon his arrival in Canada he at once placed himself at the head of the native tribes, and took part in the battle of “the Cedars,” about forty miles above Montreal. This engagement ended disastrously for the Americans; and after it was over, Brant did good service to the cause of humanity by preventing his savage followers from massacring the prisoners. From that time to the close of the war in 1782, Joseph Brant never ceased his exertions in the royal cause. From east to west, wherever bullets were thickest, his glittering tomahawk might be seen in the van, while his terrific war-whoop resounded above the din of strife. In those stirring times it is not easy to follow his individual career very closely; but one episode in it has been so often and so grossly misrepresented that we owe it to his memory to give some details respecting it. That episode was the massacre at Wyoming.

This affair of Wyoming can after all scarcely be called an episode in Brant's career, inasmuch as he was not present at the massacre at all, and was many miles distant at the time of its occurrence. Still, historians and poets have so persistently associated it with his name, and have been so determined to saddle upon him whatever obloquy attaches to the transaction, that aPg 64 short account of it may properly be given here.

The generally-received versions are tissues of exaggerations and absurdities from first to last. Wyoming has been uniformly represented as a terrestrial paradise; as a sort of Occidental Arcadia where the simple-hearted pious people lived and served God after the manner of patriarchal times. Stripped of the halo of romance which has been thrown around it, Wyoming is merely a pleasant, fertile valley on the Susquehanna, in the north-eastern part of the State of Pennsylvania. In the year 1765 it was purchased from the Delaware Indians by a company in Connecticut, consisting of about forty families, who settled in the valley shortly after completing their purchase. Upon their arrival they found the valley in possession of a number of Pennsylvanian families, who disputed their rights to the property, and between whom and themselves bickerings and contests were long the order of the day. Their mode of life was as little Arcadian as can well be imagined. Neither party was powerful enough to permanently oust the other; and although their warlike operations were conducted upon a small scale, they were carried on with a petty meanness, vindictiveness and treachery that would have disgraced the Indians themselves. From time to time one party would gain the upper hand, and would drive the other from the valley in apparently hopeless destitution; but the defeated ones, to whichsoever side they might belong, invariably contrived to re-muster their forces, and return to harass and drive out their opponents in their turn. The only purpose for which they could be induced to temporarily lay aside their disputes and band themselves together in a common cause was to repel the incursions of marauding Indians, to which the valley was occasionally subject. When the war broke out between Great Britain and the colonies, the denizens of the valley espoused the colonial side, and were compelled to unite vigorously for purposes of self-defence. They organized a militia, and drilled their troops to something like military efficiency; but not long afterwards these troops were compelled to abandon the valley, and to join the colonial army of regulars under General Washington. On the 3rd of July, 1778, a force made up of four hundred British troops and about seven hundred Seneca Indians, under the command of Colonel John Butler, entered the valley from the north-west. Such of the militia as the exigencies of the American Government had left to the people of Wyoming arrayed themselves for defence, together with a small company of American regular troops that had recently arrived in the valley, under the command of Colonel Zebulon Butler. The settlers were defeated and driven out of the valley. In spite of all efforts on the part of the British to restrain them, the Indian troops massacred a good many of the fugitives, and the valley was left a smoking ruin. But the massacre was not nearly so great as took place on several other occasions during the revolutionary war, and the burning was an ordinary incident of warfare in those troubled times. Such, in brief, is the true history of the massacre in the Wyoming valley, over which the genius of Thomas Campbell has cast a spell that will never pass away while the English language endures. For that massacre, Brant was no more responsible, nor had he any further participation in it, than had George Washington. He was not within fifty (and probably not within a hundred) miles of the valley. Had he been present his great influence would have been put forward, as it always was on similar occasions, to check the ferocity of the Indians; but it is doubtful whether even he could have prevented the massacre.

Another place with which the name of Brant is inseparably associated is CherryPg 65 Valley. He has been held responsible for all the atrocities committed there, and even the atrocities themselves have been grossly exaggerated. There is some show of justice in this, inasmuch as Brant was undoubtedly present when the descent was made upon the valley. But it is not true that he either prompted the massacre or took any part in it. On the other hand, he did everything in his power to restrain it, and wherever it was possible for him to interfere successfully to prevent bloodshed he did so. Candour compels us to admit that his conduct on that terrible November day stands out in bright contrast to that of Butler, the white officer in command. Brant did his utmost to prevent the shedding of innocent blood; but even if he had been in command of the expedition, which he was not, Indians are totally unmanageable on the field of battle. There is at least evidence that he did his best to save life. Entering one of the houses, while the massacre was raging, he found there a woman quietly engaged in sewing. “Why do you not fly, or hide yourself?” he asked; “do you not know that the Indians are murdering all your neighbours, and will soon be here?” “I am not afraid,” was the reply: “I am a loyal subject of King George, and there is one Joseph Brant with the Indians, who will save me.” “I am Joseph Brant,” responded the Chief, “but I am not in command, and I am not sure that I can save you; but I will do my best.” At this moment the Indians were seen approaching. “Get into bed, quick,” said Brant. The woman obeyed, and when the Indians reached the threshold he told them to let the woman alone, as she was ill. They departed, and he then painted his mark upon the woman and her children, which was the best assurance of safety he could give them. This was merely one of several similar acts of Brant upon that fatal day; acts which do not rest upon mere tradition, but upon evidence as strong as human testimony can make it.

It would not be edifying to follow the great Chief through the various campaigns—including those of Minisink and Mohawk Valley—in which he was engaged until the Treaty of 1782 put an end to the sanguinary war. In that Treaty, which restored peace between Great Britain and the United States, the former neglected to make any stipulation on behalf of her Indian allies. Not only was this the case: not only was Thayendanegea not so much as named in the Treaty: but the ancient country of the Six Nations, “the residence of their ancestors from the time far beyond their earliest traditions,” was actually included in the territory ceded to the United States. This was a direct violation of Sir Guy Carleton's pledge, given when the Mohawks first abandoned their native valley to do battle on behalf of Great Britain, and subsequently ratified by General Haldimand, to the effect that as soon as the war should be at an end the Mohawks should be restored, at the expense of the Government, to the condition in which they had been at the beginning of the war. No sooner were the terms of the Treaty made known than Brant repaired to Quebec, to claim from General Haldimand the fulfilment of his pledge. General Haldimand received his distinguished guest cordially, and professed himself ready to keep to the spirit of his promise. It was of course impossible to fulfil it literally, as the Mohawk Valley had passed beyond British control; but the Chief expressed his willingness to accept in lieu of his former domain a tract of land on the Bay of Quinté. The General agreed that this tract should at once be conveyed to the Mohawks. The arrangement, however, was not satisfactory to the Senecas, who had settled in the Genesee Valley, in the State of New York. The Senecas were apprehensive of further trouble with the United States, and were anxious that the Mohawks should settle in their own neighbourhood, to assist them in the event ofPg 66 another war. They offered the Mohawks a large tract of their own territory, but the Mohawks were determined to live only under British rule. Accordingly, it was finally arranged that the latter should have assigned to them a tract of land on the Grand River (then called the Ouse), comprehending six miles on each side of the stream, from the mouth to the source. This tract, which contains some of the most fertile land in the Province, was formally conveyed to them by an instrument under Governor Haldimand's hand and seal, in which it was stipulated that they should “possess and enjoy” it forever. The Indians, unversed in technicalities, supposed that they now had an absolute and indefeasible estate in the lands. Of course they were mistaken. Governor Haldimand's conveyance did not pass the fee, which could only be effected by a crown patent under the Great Seal.

These several negotiations occupied some time. Towards the close of the year 1785, Brant, feeling aggrieved at the non-payment of certain pecuniary losses sustained by the Mohawks during the war, again set sail for England, where in due course he arrived. As on the occasion of his former visit, he was received with the utmost consideration and respect, not by the nobility and gentry alone, but by royalty itself. He seems to have lived upon terms of equality with the best society of the British capital, and to have so borne himself as to do no discredit to his entertainers. The Baroness Riedesel, who had formerly met him at Quebec, had an opportunity of renewing acquaintance with him, and has left on record the impression which he produced upon her. She writes: “His manners are polished. He expresses himself with great fluency, and was much esteemed by General Haldimand. His countenance is manly and intelligent, and his disposition very mild.”

During this visit a dramatic episode occurred which occupies a conspicuous place in all books devoted to Brant's life. The present writer has told the story elsewhere as follows:

One gusty night in the month of January, 1786, the interior of a certain fashionable mansion in the West End of London presented a spectacle of amazing gorgeousness and splendour. The occasion was a masquerade given by one of the greatest of the city magnates; and as the entertainment was participated in by several of the nobility, and by others in whose veins ran some of the best blood in England, no expense had been spared to make the surroundings worthy of the exalted rank of the guests. Many of the dresses were of a richness not often seen, even in the abodes of wealth and fashion. The apartments were brilliantly lighted, and the lamps shone upon as quaint and picturesque an assemblage as ever congregated in Mayfair. There were gathered together representatives of every age and clime, each dressed in the garb suited to the character meant to be personified. Here, a magnificently-attired Egyptian princess of the time of the Pharaohs languished upon the arm of an English cavalier of the Restoration. There, high-ruffed ladies of Queen Elizabeth's court conversed with mail-clad Norman warriors of the time of the Conqueror. A dark-eyed Jewess who might have figured at the court of King Solomon jested and laughed with a beau of Queen Anne's day. If the maiden blushed at some of the broad jokes of her companion, her blushes were hidden by the silken mask which, in common with the rest of the guests, she wore upon the upper part of her face, and which concealed all but the brilliancy of her eyes. Cheek by jowl with a haughty Spanish hidalgo stood a plaided Highlander, with his dirk and claymore. Athenian orators, Roman tribunes, Knights of the Round Table, Scandinavian Vikings and Peruvian Incas jostled one anotherPg 67 against the rich velvet and tapestry which hung from ceiling to floor. Truly, a motley assemblage, and one well calculated to impress the beholder with the transitoriness of mortal fame. In this miscellaneous concourse the occupants of the picture frames of all the public and private galleries of Europe seemed to have been restored to life, and personally brought into contact for the first time. And though, artistically speaking, they did not harmonize very well with each other, the general effect was in the highest degree marvellous and striking.

But of all the assembled guests, one in particular is the cynosure of all eyes—the observed of all observers. This is the cleverest masquer of them all, for there is not a single detail, either in his dress, his aspect or his demeanour, which is not strictly in conformity with the character he represents. He is clad in the garb of an American Indian. He is evidently playing the part of one of high dignity among his fellows, for his apparel is rich and costly, and his bearing is that of one who has been accustomed to rule. The dress is certainly a splendid make-up, and the wearer is evidently a consummate actor. How proudly he stalks from room to room, stately, silent, leonine, majestic. Lara himself—who, by the way, had not then been invented—had not a more chilling mystery of mien. He is above the average height—not much under six feet—and the nodding plumes of his crest make him look several inches taller than he is in reality. His tomahawk, which hangs loosely exposed at his girdle, glitters like highly-polished silver; and the hand which ever and anon toys with the haft is long and bony. The dark, piercing eyes seem almost to transfix every one upon whom they rest. One half of the face seems to be covered by a mask, made to imitate the freshly-painted visage of a Mohawk Indian when starting out upon the war path. He is evidently bent upon preserving a strict incognito, for the hours pass by, and still no one has heard the sound of his voice. The curiosity of the other guests is aroused, and, pass from room to room as often as he may, a numerous train follows in his wake. One of the masquers composing this train is arrayed in the loose vestments of a Turk, and indeed is suspected to be a genuine native of the Ottoman Empire who has been sent to England on a diplomatic mission. Being emboldened by the wine he has drunk, the Oriental determines to penetrate the mystery of the dusky stranger. He approaches the seeming Indian, and after various ineffectual attempts to arrest his attention, lays violent hold of the latter's nose. Scarcely has he touched that organ when a blood-curdling yell, such as has never before been heard within the three kingdoms, resounds through the mansion.

“Ah, then and there was hurrying to and fro!”

The peal of the distant drum did not spread greater consternation among the dancers at Brussels on the night before Waterloo. What wonder that female lips blanched, and that even masculine cheeks grew pale? That yell was the terrible war-whoop of the Mohawks, and came hot from the throat of the mysterious unknown. The truth flashed upon all beholders. The stranger was no disguised masquerader, but a veritable brave of the American forest. Of this there could be no doubt. No white man that ever lived could learn to give utterance to such an ejaculation. The yell had no sooner sounded than the barbarian's tomahawk leapt from its girdle. He sprang upon the luckless Turk, and twined his fingers in the poor wretch's hair. For a second the tomahawk flashed before the astonished eyes of the spectators; and then, before the latter had time—even if they could have mustered the courage—to interfere, its owner gently replaced it in his girdle, and indulged in a low chuckle of laughter. The amazed andPg 68 terrified guests breathed again, and in another moment the mysterious stranger stood revealed to the company as Joseph Brant, the renowned warrior of the Six Nations, the steady ally of the British arms, and the terror of all enemies of his race. Of course the alarm soon quieted down, and order was restored. It was readily understood that he had never intended to injure the terrified Oriental, but merely to punish the latter's impertinence by frightening him within an inch of his life. Probably, too, that feeling of self-consciousness from which few minds are altogether free, impelled him to take advantage of the interest and curiosity which his presence evidently inspired, to create an incident which would long be talked about in London drawing-rooms, and which might eventually be handed down to posterity.

The anecdotes preserved of his stay in London at this time are almost innumerable. He was a great favourite with the King and his family, notwithstanding the fact that when he was first introduced at Court he declined to kiss His Majesty's hand; adding, however, with delightful naïveté, that he would gladly kiss the hand of the Queen. The Prince of Wales also took great delight in his company, and occasionally took him to places of questionable repute—or rather, to places as to the disrepute of which there was no question whatever, and which were pronounced by the Chief to be “very queer places for a prince to go to.” His envoy was successful, and his stay in London, which was prolonged for some months, must have been very agreeable, as “he was caressed by the noble and great, and was alike welcome at Court and at the banquets of the heir-apparent.” After his return to America his first act of historical importance was to attend the great Council of the Indian Confederacy in the far west. He used his best endeavours to preserve peace between the Western Indians and the United States, and steadily opposed the confederation which led to the expedition of Generals St. Clair and Wayne. We next find him engaged in settling his people upon the tract which had been granted to them on the banks of the Grand River. The principal settlement of the Mohawks was near the bend of the river, just below the present site of the city of Brantford. They called the settlement “Mohawk Village.” The name still survives, but all traces of the village itself have disappeared. Brant built the little church which still stands there, and in which service has been held almost continuously every Sunday since its bell first awoke the echoes of the Canadian forest. Brant himself took up his abode in the neighbourhood for several years, and did his best to bring his dusky subjects under the influence of civilization. In order to facilitate his passage across the Grand River he threw a sort of temporary boom across, at a spot not far from where the iron bridge now spans the stream at Brantford. From this circumstance the place came to be known as “Brant's ford;” and when, years afterwards, a village sprang up close by, the name of “Brantford” was given to it.

The Indians had not been long settled at Mohawk Village before difficulties began to arise between them and the Canadian Government as to the nature of the title to their lands. The Indians, supposing their title to be an absolute one, began to make leases and sales to the white settlers in the neighbourhood. To this proceeding the Government objected, upon the ground that the Crown had a pre-emptive right, and that the land belonged to the Indians only so long as they chose to occupy it. Many conferences were held, but no adjustment satisfactory to the Indians was arrived at. There has been a good deal of subsequent legislation and diplomacy over this vexed question, but so far as any unfettered power of alienation of the lands is concerned Governor Haldimand'sPg 69 grant was practically a nullity, and so remains to this day. These disputes embittered the Chief's declining years, which were further rendered unhappy by petty dissensions among the various tribes composing the Six Nations; dissensions which he vainly endeavoured to permanently allay. Another affliction befell him in the shape of a dissipated and worthless son, whom he accidentally killed in self-defence. The last few years of his life were passed in a house built by him at Wellington Square, now called Burlington, a few miles from Hamilton. He had received a grant of a large tract of land in this neighbourhood, and he built a homestead there in or about the year 1800. Here he kept up a large establishment, including seven or eight negro servants who had formerly been slaves. He exercised a profuse and right royal hospitality, alike towards the whites and the Indian warriors who gathered round him. On the first of May in each year he used to ride up with his coach-and-four, to Mohawk Village, to attend the annual Indian festival which was held there. On these occasions he was generally attended by a numerous retinue of servants in livery, and their procession used to strike awe into the minds of the denizens of the settlements through which they passed.

He died at his house at Wellington Square, after a long and painful illness, on the 24th November, 1807, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. His last thoughts were for his people, on whose behalf he had fought so bravely, and whose social and moral improvement he had been so desirous to promote. His nephew, leaning over his bed, caught the last words that fell from his lips: “Have pity on the poor Indians; if you can get any influence with the great, endeavour to do them all the good you can.”

His remains were removed to Mohawk Village, near Brantford, and interred in the yard of the little church which he had built many years before, and which was the first Christian church erected in Upper Canada. And there, by the banks of the Grand River,

“After life's fitful fever he sleeps well.”

Sufficient has been said in the course of the preceding sketch to enable the reader to form a tolerably correct idea of the character of this greatest representative of the heroic Six Nations. No expression of opinion was ever more unjust than that which has persistently held him up to the execration of mankind as a monster of cruelty. That the exigencies of his position compelled him to wink at many atrocities committed by his troops is beyond question. That, however, was a necessary incident of Indian warfare; nay, of all warfare; and after a careful consultation and comparison of authorities we can come to no other conclusion than that, for an Indian, reared among the customs and traditions of the Six Nations, Joseph Brant was a humane and kind-hearted man. No act of perfidy was ever brought home to him. He was a constant and faithful friend, and, though stern, by no means an implacable enemy. His dauntless courage and devotion to his people have never been seriously questioned. The charges of self-seeking and peculation which Red Jacket attempted to fasten upon him only served to render his integrity more apparent than it would otherwise have been. He was not distinguished for brilliant flights of eloquence, as were Tecumseh and Cornstalk; but both his speeches and writings abound with a clear, sound common-sense, which was quite as much to the purpose in his dealings with mankind. His early advantages of education were not great, but he made the best use of his time, and some of his correspondence written during the latter years of his life would not discredit an English statesman. He translated a part of the prayers and services of the Church of England, and also a portionPg 70 of the Gospels, into the Mohawk language, and towards the close of his life made some preparation for a voluminous history of the Six Nations. This latter work he did not live to carry out. In his social, domestic and business relations he was true and honest, and nothing pleased him better than to diffuse a liberal and genial hospitality in his own home. Taking him for all in all, making due allowance for the frailties and imperfections incidental to humanity, we must pronounce Joseph Brant to have possessed in an eminent degree many of the qualities which go to make a good and a great man.

Brant was thrice married. By his first wife, Margaret, he had two children, Isaac and Christina, whose descendants are still living. By his second wife he had no issue. His third wife, Catharine, whom he married in 1780, survived him, and was forty-eight years of age at the time of his death. She was the eldest daughter of the head chief of the Turtle tribe, the tribe first in dignity among the Mohawks. By the usages of that nation, upon her devolved the right of naming her husband's successor in the chieftaincy. The canons governing the descent of the chieftaincy of the Six Nations recognize, in a somewhat modified form, the doctrine of primogeniture; but the inheritance descends through the female line, and the surviving female has a right, if she so pleases, to appoint any of her own male offspring to the vacant sovereignty. Catharine Brant exercised her right by appointing to that dignity John Brant, her third and youngest son. This youth, whose Indian name was Ahyouwaighs, was at the time of his father's death only thirteen years of age. He was born at Mohawk village, on the 27th of September, 1794, and received a liberal English education. Upon the breaking out of the war of 1812 the young chief took the field with his warriors, on behalf of Great Britain, and was engaged in most of the actions on the Niagara frontier, including the battles of Queenston Heights, Lundy's Lane, and Beaver Dams. When the war closed in 1815 he settled at “Brant House,” the former residence of his father, at Wellington Square. Here he and his sister Elizabeth dispensed a cheerful hospitality for many years. In 1821 he visited England for the purpose of trying to do what his father had failed in doing; viz., to bring about a satisfactory adjustment of the disputes between the Government and the Indians respecting the title of the latter to their lands. His mission, however, was unsuccessful. While in England he called upon the poet Campbell, and endeavoured to induce that gentleman to expunge certain stanzas from the poem of “Gertrude of Wyoming”—with what success has already been mentioned.

In the year 1827 Ahyouwaighs was appointed by the Earl of Dalhousie to the rank of Captain, and also to the superintendency of the Six Nations. In 1832 he was elected as a member of the Provincial Parliament for the county of Haldimand, but his election was contested and eventually set aside, upon the ground that many of the persons by whose votes he had been elected were merely lessees of Indian lands, and not entitled, under the law as it then stood, to exercise the franchise. Within a few months afterwards, and in the same year, he was carried off by cholera, and was buried in the same vault as his father. He was never married, and left no issue. His sister Elizabeth was married to William Johnson Kerr, a grandson of that same Sir William Johnson who had formerly been a patron of the great Thayendanegea. She died at Wellington Square in April, 1834, leaving several children, all of whom are since dead. By his third wife Brant had several other children, whose descendants are still living in various parts of Ontario. His widow died at the advanced age ofPg 71 seventy-eight years, on the 24th of November, 1837, being the thirtieth anniversary of her husband's death.

The old house in which Joseph Brant died at Wellington Square is still in existence, though it has been so covered in by modern improvements that no part of the original structure is outwardly visible. Mr. J. Simcoe Kerr, a son of Brant's daughter Elizabeth, continued to reside at the old homestead down to the time of his death in 1875. It has since been leased and refitted for a summer hotel, and is now known as “Brant House.” The room in which the old chief was so unhappy as to slay his son is pointed out to visitors, with stains—said to be the original blood-stains—on the floor. Among the historical objects in the immediate neighbourhood is a gnarled oak, nearly six feet in diameter at the base, known as “The Old Council Tree,” from the fact that the chief and other dignitaries of the Six Nations were wont to hold conferences beneath its spreading branches. Close by is a mound where lie the bodies of many of Brant's Indian contemporaries, buried, native fashion, in a circle, with the feet converging to a centre.

Thirty years ago the wooden vault in which Brant's remains and those of his son John were interred had become dilapidated. The Six Nations resolved upon constructing a new one of stone, and re-interring the remains. Brant was a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity in his day, and the various Masonic lodges throughout the neighbourhood lent their aid to the Indians in their undertaking. The project was finally carried out on the 27th of November, 1850. There was an immense gathering at Mohawk village on the occasion, which is generally referred to as “Brant's second funeral.” The Indians and whites vied with each other in doing honour to the memory of the departed chief. The remains were interred in a more spacious vault, over which a plain granite tomb was raised. Upon the slab which covers the aperture is the following inscription:

This Tomb
Is erected to the memory of


Principal Chief and
Warrior of
The Six Nations Indians,
By his Fellow Subjects,
Admirers of his Fidelity and
Attachment to the
British Crown.

Born on the Banks of the
Ohio River, 1742, died at
Wellington Square, U.C., 1807.

It also contains the remains
Of his son Ahyouwaighs, or


Who succeeded his father as


And distinguished himself
In the war of 1812-15.

Born at the Mohawk Village, U.C., 1794;
Died at the same place, 1832.

Erected 1850.

This sketch would be incomplete without some allusion to the project which was set in motion about sis years ago, having for its object the erection of a suitable monument to the great Chiefs memory. On the 25th of August, 1874, His Excellency the Earl of Dufferin, in response to an invitation from the Six Nations, paid them a visit at their Council House, in the township of Tuscarora, a few miles below Brantford. He was entertained by the chiefs and warriors, who submitted to him, for transmission to England, an address to His Royal Highness Prince Arthur, who had been enrolled an Honorary Chief of the Confederacy on the occasion of his visit to Canada in 1869. ThePg 72 address, after referring to Brant's many and important services to the British Crown, expressed the anxious desire of his people to see a fitting monument erected to his memory. Lord Dufferin transmitted the address, and received Prince Arthur's assurances of his approval of, and good will towards, the undertaking. A committee, consisting of many of the leading officials and residents of the Dominion, was at once formed, and a subscription list was opened at the Bank of British North America, at Brantford. A good many contributions have since come in, but the fund is still insufficient to enable the committee to carry out their project in a fitting manner. We have referred to the fact that no village is now in existence at Mohawk. The Indians have deserted the neighbourhood and taken up their quarters elsewhere. Brant's tomb by the old church, being in an out-of-the-way spot, remote from the haunts of men, has fallen a prey to the sacrilegious hands of tourists and others, who have shamefully mutilated it by the repeated chipping-off of fragments which have been carried away as relics. It is proposed to place the new monument in the centre of Victoria Park, opposite the Court House, in Brantford, where it will be under the surveillance of the local authorities, and where there will be no danger of mutilation. That Brant's memory deserves such a tribute is a matter as to which there can be no difference of opinion, and the undertaking is one that deserves the hearty support of the Canadian people. We owe a heavy debt to the Indians; a heavier debt than we are likely to pay. We have not, perhaps, been utterly unmindful of our obligations to them; nor have we, like our neighbours across the lines, carried on against them a systematic course of robbery and spoliation. We have not set ourselves deliberately to work to kill them off with firewater, nor have we in anywise carried on against them a war of extermination. But, on the other hand, we have been too much accustomed to treat and think of them as a dwindling race of mere barbarians; as a people whose doom has long since been pronounced; as hindrances to civilization, which have been imposed upon us by the ruthless force of circumstances. That the Indian, in his higher development, is something more than a barbarian, does not, at the present day, stand in any need of proof. But it is incumbent upon us to keep faith, even with barbarians. It becomes us to prove that we are not insensible to courageous deeds done in our behalf, and to true fealty gratuitously rendered to us at a time when the market-price of fealty was high. It does not reflect credit upon our national sense of gratitude that no fitting monument marks our appreciation of the services of those two great Indians, Brant and Tecumseh.

George Etienne Cartier
Sir George Etienne Cartier
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by W. J. Topley, Ottawa


Pg 73


In the village of St. Antoine, in the county of Verchères, was born, on the 6th of September, 1814, George Etienne Cartier. It was claimed for him that he was descended from one of the nephews of Jacques Cartier, the adventurous Breton navigator, who showed to France the ocean pathways to a Western Empire. But George Etienne stood in no need of the dim and flickering lustre reflected from remote family achievement. He made for himself, in the history of his country, a name and a fame which, by right of native ability and resolute and fortunate effort, are permanently his own.

His immediate ancestors were of the better class of French Canadians. His grandfather, a successful merchant, was one of the first members chosen for the county of Verchères, when the Constitutional Act of 1791 gave to Lower Canada the right to representative institutions. In Lower Canada, in the early days of George Etienne Cartier, two avocations possessed, and still possess, a strong attraction for the more gifted amongst the younger population. These avocations were the Church and the Bar. Cartier chose the latter. To qualify himself for his intended profession, he pursued, for eight years, a course of study at the College of St. Sulpice, in the city of Montreal. There is no tradition to show that he was a brilliant student. In this respect he adds another to the number of eminent men who reserved, not for the ideal world of the school-room, but for the actual world of after life, powers and faculties previously unsuspected, because undisplayed. After leaving college he entered upon the study of the law; in 1835 he began practice in the city of Montreal. The legal profession, crowded at that period, over-crowded at the present time, still affords, to use the simile of Daniel Webster, “room in the upper story.” To that place of vantage Cartier made his way. The explanation of his success is not far to seek. He possessed at that time, and until the end of his life, an industry that never knew cessation, an energy that never faltered, and an ever-present consciousness of his own ability.

But, for young Cartier, another pursuit besides law presented imperative claims to attention. This was politics. To him, and to the majority of his countrymen, they seemed to mean political existence, and the preservation of their language and institutions. Cartier had scarcely begun the practice of his profession when he was drawn into the vortex. Louis Joseph Papineau, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly since the year 1817, had been flaming, like a portentous meteor, in the troubled sky of Canadian politics. Under his influence, Cartier, like the over-whelming majority of French-Canadians, fell. It was no wonder. Papineau was an impetuous leader; he had a popular cause; he appeared to be fighting an unequal battle. To narrate in detail the causes which created a leader out of Papineau, Pg 74 and which attracted to his banner all the more enthusiastic among the French-Canadians, would be to fill volumes: to write a history of a country, and not the brief biography of a man. But a few words may serve to convey a faint idea of the political condition of Lower Canada, at the time when Cartier ventured into the perilous pathways of the Provincial politics of that epoch.

From the conquest of Canada, in 1760, to 1791 (the year of the passing of the Constitutional Act), Canada was a portion of the British Empire, but was an alien in respect to British institutions. This Act divided what was known as the Province of Quebec into two new Provinces—Upper and Lower Canada. A Legislature was, by the Act, established in each Province. It consisted of a House of Assembly and a Legislative Council. The people elected the Assembly; the Crown nominated the Council. Herein lay the monstrous defect of the Constitutional Act; the poisonous leaven that corrupted the body politic in Upper and Lower Canada; the pestilent germ that developed into outrageous misgovernment, jeopardy of British connection, and ultimate rebellion. The Upper House, nominated by the Crown, was not only irresponsible to the people, but set their wishes at absolute defiance. The popular Assembly might pass necessary measures; the Council expunged the provisions that made them useful, or trampled them under foot. The oligarchy, which was continually in a minority in the Assembly, but always in a majority in the Council, lorded it over Lower Canada in contemptuous indifference to the wishes of the French Canadian majority.2 The Governor, who was commissioned to represent the King, was the mere puppet of the oligarchy. While they flattered him they ruled him, and cajoled while they enslaved. Thus, for long and weary years, was enacted the wretched drama of despotism under a constitutional mask. There seemed no sign of relief. The Governors and the oligarchy, by their machinations, had gained the ear of the Imperial authorities, and tricked them into the belief that to rule in contempt of British institutions was the only means of perpetuating British rule in Upper and Lower Canada. With the intention to act justly, the British Government above all others, seemed, at this period, to be beyond the reach of the warnings of experience; seemed doomed never to know the truths as to the dismal history of colonial misgovernment. The loss of the thirteen Colonies had been a lesson taught in vain. Not until the Earl of Durham, in a state paper which eclipses, for ability, conscientiousness, vast industry, and fearless truthfulness, any other of the kind in the diplomatic literature of the British American Colonies—not until he laid bare the ulcers and festering wounds on the Canadian body politic, did the Imperial authorities learn the truth, and set themselves to prepare a remedy. In the year 1837 the patience and prudence of the French-Canadian leaders gave way. The pleading for Reform had been scouted as treason; now insurrection was about to take the place of argument. Among the deplorable elements engendered in the long struggle for a better state of things was that of race-hatred. For this dangerous passion, Papineau, often violent in language and unwise in denunciation, was more responsible than his opponents. To this passion, Cartier, even in his hot youth, would not surrender himself. But, when the movement which Papineau for nearly a quarter of a century had fostered, burst away from his control, and leapt from agitation into rebellion, George Etienne Cartier, Pg 75 throwing to the winds considerations of selfishness and prudence, boldly took his life in his hand, and appealed to the arbitrament of the sword.

The autumn of 1837 was ominous of coming troubles. The Government, even if no other sources of information had been at their command, could not fail to perceive in the speeches of the more impetuous of the French Canadian leaders that an appeal to arms was in immediate contemplation.

After waiting for a period which to their friends seemed perilously prolonged, the authorities determined at length to grapple with the incipient insurrection.

On the 16th of November, 1837, warrants for high treason were issued against the Montreal agitators who were inciting the people to rebellion. Papineau was included in the number, but he had been warned in time. He placed the St. Lawrence between himself and arrest, and made good his way towards the Richelieu River. His arrival in that locality brought to a focus the latent elements of revolt. The disaffected peasantry of the surrounding districts trooped to their headquarters, a village named Debartzch in the parish of St. Charles.

But, in addition to the encampment at St. Charles, there was another and more memorable mustering-place of the “patriots.” This was at St. Denis, on the Chambly River. The leader of the patriots was Dr. Wolfred Nelson, a man whose energy, courage and principles won him the unshaken confidence of the peasantry.

At St. Denis we find George Etienne Cartier.

A British Force under Colonel Gore, a Waterloo veteran, was sent against St. Denis. Accompanying the expedition was a deputy-sheriff armed with a warrant for the arrest of Dr. Wolfred Nelson on a charge of high treason.

On the morning of the 23rd of November, 1837, the troops, after a twelve hours' march through the sloughs, mud, and pit-falls of a winter road in Lower Canada, approached the village of St. Denis. A contemporary account thus narrates the result of the attack on the position of the insurgents:—

“The necessary orders were given for the troops to advance; an order which was promptly obeyed, notwithstanding the harassing and fatiguing march of the night. Towards the north-eastern entrance of the village of St. Denis there is a large stone house, of three or four stories, which was discovered to be full of armed men, who opened, a sharp and galling fire upon the troops. The skirmishing party here consisted of the light company of the 32nd, under Captain Markham. Within a quarter of an hour after the firing commenced, Captain Markham was severely wounded in the leg; and, almost at the same moment, received two dangerous wounds in the neck, which brought him to the ground. In conveying him to the rear, he received another wound, a proof of the dexterity and precision of the fire kept up by the patriots. It was found by Colonel Gore that the infantry, deprived of the assistance of Colonel Wetherall's force, was inadequate to cope with the terrible fire of musketry that was kept up and directed against them from the stone house. The field-piece, accordingly, was brought to bear upon this fort of the insurgent army, and injured it considerably, sending many of the inmates to their final account. Notwithstanding, as the ammunition was nearly exhausted, it was deemed prudent to retire, in order to maintain the communication with Sorel, as many of the inhabitants were seen, gathering from all directions to the scene of action. About half-past two in the afternoon, the order to fall back was given; and, with the loss of six men killed and ten wounded, a retreat was commenced. The roads were so bad it was impossible to get farther than three miles that night, and Colonel Gore wasPg 76 under the necessity of bivouacking till daylight of Friday morning (24th), when he again commenced his march upon Sorel, which he reached that afternoon.”

On the 25th of November, 1837, Lieutenant-Colonel Wetherall and a British force drove the patriots from their position at St. Charles. A few days after this event Colonel Gore, with his command reinforced, marched upon St. Denis. But the victory at St. Charles had caused defections in the ranks of Dr. Nelson. He did not await a second attack, but abandoned his position, and sought to make his escape to the United States. Thus ended the operations on the Richelieu, and with them the rebellion south of the River St. Lawrence.

George E. Cartier was with Dr. Nelson in the combat at St. Denis. In after life, a political opponent would sometimes taunt him with cowardice on that occasion. To such reproaches he never replied, and hence there were some persons who suspected that there might be truth in the accusation. But Cartier himself knew better, and could afford to be silent. Ten years or so after St. Denis his conduct was described by Dr. Nelson, who was qualified to speak on the subject. In La Minerve, of Montreal, under date of September 4th, 1848, Dr. Nelson's “attestation,” dated Montreal, 21st August, 1848, was published in French. “Seeing,” says the Doctor, “that an appeal has been made to me to give my testimony concerning certain events at St. Denis, in 1837, I will do so in the interests of truth and justice. I owe this to my friends, and to the country in general.

“It is true that M. Henri Cartier 3 remarked that it would be well to retreat, seeing the destruction caused by the discharges of the enemy, the want of munitions, and the flight of a number of persons of consequence. I strongly opposed this retreat; but, notwithstanding that, M. Henri Cartier vigorously supported us during all the day. M. George Cartier never made allusion to the retreat, and he, like his cousin, M. H. Cartier, valiantly and effectively contributed to the success of this struggle. And these gentlemen only left me when I was myself obliged to leave, nine days after this event, when the second expedition of troops moved against St. Denis; resistance then having become impossible. I sent M. George Cartier, towards two o'clock in the afternoon, for some stores to St. Antoine, and he promptly returned with succour, after about an hour's absence. M. George Cartier did not wear a tuque bleu 4 on the day of the battle.

Wolfred Nelson.

Montreal, 21st August, 1848.”

The authority of Dr. Wolfred Nelson must be accepted as conclusive evidence respecting the personal courage of Cartier, who, it would seem, acted in the capacity of Aide-de-camp to the valiant Doctor. Cartier, at this battle, was in the twenty-third year of his age. It was also charged against him by some of his political opponents that, for his participation in the events of 1837, a reward was offered for his head. The present writer has not been able to verify this fact. The name of Cartier does not appear in the lists of those for whose apprehension the Governor proclaimed rewards. Some time after the fight at St. Denis, Cartier took refuge in the United States. Although he was unnamed in the proclamations, his course of action was well known to the Government. He would have been arrested at the time if it had been possible, and his fate would probably have been like that of hisPg 77 commander at St. Denis—banishment. He returned secretly from the United States to Canada, and remained in hiding for a time. His seclusion, however, was not of very long duration. An intimation from the authorities assured him that on presenting himself in public he would not be arrested. The promise was faithfully kept.

The result of M. Cartier's participation in the rebellion of 1837 was that for nearly ten years after its close he took no active part in public life. In 1848, yielding to the pressure of his friends, he was returned to Parliament as the representative of his native county of Verchères. He could not have made his entry into public life at a more favourable moment for a man of the liberal tendencies which then dominated him. The Governor-General was the Earl of Elgin, the greatest man, with the exception of the Earl of Durham, ever commissioned by the British Government to perform the functions of Viceroy of Canada. The Lafontaine-Baldwin Cabinet, never before or since excelled for ability and administrative talent, swayed the political destinies of the Province. A seat in the House of Assembly, for two sessions, in the time of Baldwin and Lafontaine, was in itself a political education. Cartier was an apt learner. In the session of 1850 he showed how well he understood the needs of his native Province. In that year Lafontaine proposed, in the House of Assembly, a series of resolutions for the abolition of the Seignorial Tenure. Like every other abuse which has the plea of age for its defence, the Seignorial System found determined advocates. But its opponents were not only more numerous, but had an infinitely better cause. Some great debates arose on this subject, for it was one that went home to the whole body of the French Canadian peasantry. It appealed, also, to the dearest interests of the seigneurs. Cartier was one of those who offered strong opposition to the tenure. As the representative of a purely agricultural country he could take no other course, but the position he assumed was in accordance with his convictions. In his place in the House he boldly stated that that portion of the Province which had been settled under the Seignorial Tenure had not made as much progress as the part which had been settled under the Free Tenure. He contended that it was as much the advantage of the seigneur as of the tenant to abolish the Feudal System; and that the proper time for so doing had presented itself. The general opinion of the House was that the session was too far advanced to deal effectively with the question. It was also considered that the seigneurs had not had time enough afforded them to plead their cause. The Hon. Robert Baldwin and M. Cartier were in favour of settling the Seignorial question at once, and would have prolonged the session for that purpose; but M. Lafontaine refused to consent. He considered that the legal remedies proposed would not lead to a definite settlement of the problem. He had no desire to reform and perpetuate the Tenure; he wished to sweep it out of existence.

The Tenure was abolished in the year 1854, by the Hincks-Morin Administration. Those two leaders having retired in 1855, Sir Edmund Head, then Governor-General, called upon Sir Allan Macnab to form a Cabinet. Sir Allan allied himself with Col. E. P. Taché; and the latter, on the 27th of January, 1855, selected M. Cartier as Provincial Secretary. He was not eager for office. Under the previous Administration he had refused the position of Commissioner of Public Works.

The Legislature, in 1856, devoted a great deal of attention to the subject of public education. M. Cartier entered heartily into the question. He had the principal share in preparing two measures which were adopted by the House. The one providedPg 78 for the establishment of a Council of Public Instruction for Lower Canada, and for allowing school municipalities to levy their own quotas. The other authorized the establishment of Normal Schools in Lower Canada, and created a permanent fund of $88,000, to be devoted to superior education in that Province. Part of this money was made up out of the revenues of the Jesuits' estates; $20,000 of it came from the Consolidated Fund. A sum of $20,000 was at the same time voted for the purposes of superior education in Upper Canada.

The Opposition endeavoured to alter these two measures. It was contended that the distribution of $88,000 by the Superintendent of Education, under an Order in Council, would be placing means of corruption in the hands of the Government. It was further contended that it was unconstitutional to deprive the House of Assembly of the right to vote, annually, the public moneys. The arguments of the Opposition were sound, but were urged in vain, and the Government measures were carried.

The Macnab-Taché Administration, in 1856, fell to pieces. There was weakness within its membership. There was, in addition, the disturbing question of the settlement of the seat of Government. The House, at the end of a long and exciting debate, resolved that, after the year 1859, the city of Quebec should be the permanent capital of Canada. A considerable number of the representatives of Upper Canada were discontented with this arrangement. They considered that Quebec was too far removed from the centre of the Province.

The Government, in accordance with the Resolution of the House, placed in the estimates the sum of $200,000 for the erection of Public Buildings. The Hon. Luther Hamilton Holton proposed the following amendment:—

“That the conduct of the Administration on the subject of the question of the seat of Government, and on other questions of public importance, has disappointed the just expectation of the great majority of the people of this Province.”

The discussion which followed lasted some days. The amendment of Mr. Holton was defeated by a majority of twenty-three. But, among the forty-seven yeas, were thirty-three members from Upper Canada; while, from that Province, twenty-seven only voted with the Ministry. The vote was followed by the resignation of two members of the Government, Messrs. Spence and Morrison. These gentlemen belonged to the Upper Canada section of the Ministry. The Hon. John A. Macdonald was the next to secede. He was of opinion that the vote on the question of the capital had weakened the Government, and as there was no security that the same votes would not be repeated he thought it best to remain no longer in the Cabinet. The Hon. Mr. Cayley, also from Upper Canada, followed the footsteps of Mr. Macdonald. Sir Allan Macnab was reluctantly forced to resign. The Governor-General requested Colonel Taché to form a new Administration. He chose for his colleague the Hon. John A. Macdonald, in the stead of Sir Allan Macnab. The new Ministry was virtually a continuation of the old one, with two exceptions: Mr. Vankoughnet replaced Sir Allan Macnab in the Upper Canada section; Mr. Terril replaced Mr. Drummond in the Lower Canada section.

M. Cartier, in passing from one Ministry to the other, changed his portfolio. He became Attorney-General for Lower Canada, in the place of Mr. Drummond. His new office was no sinecure. The session which opened on the 26th of February, 1857, was signalized by a Ministerial project which was of far-reaching importance to Lower Canada. This was the codification of the Civil Laws, and of the Laws of Procedure. The measure was the work of Attorney-General Cartier. He expended on it great industry; he madePg 79 it a labour of love. As he himself observed, the necessity of codification made itself felt the more because the Province was settled by people of different races. The knowledge which everyone should possess of the laws of his country could only be attained by codification. The sources whence those laws were derived were so varied that an acquaintance with them demanded great research. Part of the Civil Laws of Lower Canada had been borrowed from the Roman Law; part from a body of jurisprudence known as the Custom of Paris; part was found in the Edicts and Ordonnances, and in the Provincial Statutes.

The time was ripe for this great and beneficent work. The peasantry of Lower Canada had been emancipated from the control of the Seigneurs. The Land Laws which had ruled them had been swept away, and an improved system of jurisprudence, suited to the new state of things, was demanded. M. Cartier was determined to satisfy this demand. But there were those in Parliament who wished to proceed farther than he then wanted to go. The Hon. Mr. Drummond, Attorney-General in the late Administration, and an able jurist, was of opinion that the laws of both Provinces should be assimilated, so that there might be but one code for Canada. The reply of Attorney-General Cartier was to the effect that it was necessary to begin first with the codification of those laws which Lower Canada imperatively demanded. After this, it would be time to think about accomplishing what was proposed. The measure passed through the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council without opposition. The commissioners appointed by the Government to codify the laws began their labours in 1859, and finished them in 1864.

Some readers of this sketch will remember the occasion on which, in the Legislative Assembly in the city of Quebec, Attorney-General Cartier rose to move the resolution which would make the Civil Code the law of the land. He addressed the House in French, and with more seriousness and deliberation than marked his ordinary utterances. He spoke with the feeling of a man who is conscious that he is placing the crowning stone on an edifice which has cost him years of labour and anxiety to build. As he finished with the words, “I desire no better epitaph than this—'He accomplished the Civil Code,'” the House did honour to itself and to him by a hearty burst of applause.

The Eastern Townships of Lower Canada are peopled mainly by an English-speaking population. But the French-Canadians, in course of time, found their way into these districts. The result was, that there were two systems of Civil Law. To remedy this evil, M. Cartier prepared and carried through Parliament a measure which introduced the French Civil Laws into the Eastern Townships, and rendered uniform the holding of lands.

Another most important measure which he succeeded in passing during the session of 1857 was an Act for the Decentralization of Justice. Its object was to cheapen justice, and to render it more easily attainable. “The administration of justice in criminal cases, and in all civil matters where the amount involved was over fifty pounds, was confined to seven places: Quebec, Montreal, Three Rivers, St. Francis, Aylmer, Sherbrooke and Gaspé, in a country exceeding seven hundred or eight hundred miles in length.” The Act divided Lower Canada into nineteen Judicial Districts, adding twelve to those already mentioned. It provided for the erection of Courts of Justice and prisons in the new districts, increased the number of the Judges of the Superior Court to eighteen, and the number of the Judges of the Court of Appeal to five. The Act provided that therePg 80 should be four terms of the Court of Appeal in Quebec, and made other regulations respecting procedure and the salaries of the Judges. The care and labour which this statute imposed on M. Cartier, in originating it, in passing it through the House, and in devising the multifarious machinery necessary to put it into successful operation, were enough to have overcome a man of less mental and physical energy. The majority of the people of Lower Canada welcomed the Act with open arms, and it endeared its author to his French-Canadian fellow-countrymen.

The Parliament of 1857 had not been long in session when the question of the permanent seat of Government again came to the front. In the previous session, as we have seen, the Assembly had decided that Quebec should be the capital, and had authorized the expenditure of $200,000 for the erection of necessary buildings. But the Legislative Council had refused its assent to the supplies. The question, therefore, in 1857, was practically undecided; and so thought a great many of the members. The Ministry decided to overlook the Assembly's vote of last session in favour of Quebec; and resolved to leave the question of the permanent seat of Government to the decision of the Queen. The Ministry further proposed that a vote of $900,000 should be taken for the erection of new Parliamentary and Departmental Buildings. Attorney-General Cartier was of opinion that many of the members could not have been serious in voting in favour of Quebec; his reason being that they had voted immediately afterwards against the expenditure of the $200,000. Besides, the Legislative Council had refused assent to the supplies. The Government would not act unless the two branches of the Legislature were in agreement; but it was impossible to have the consent of the Council. The better plan, therefore, in his opinion, was to leave to Her Majesty the selection of the future capital of Canada. This proposition was opposed by many members from the Lower Province. M. J. E. Thibaudeau moved an amendment to the effect that it was not expedient to take into consideration the question of the seat of Government, because it had been decided the previous session. He contended that the rejection of the supplies by the Legislative Council was not a sufficient ground for annulling the decision of the Legislative Assembly, the more especially as many Councillors from Lower Canada were absent when the vote was taken. The amendment was lost. The same fate befell a motion to make Montreal the seat of Government. The result was that an address to the Queen, praying her to select the capital, was carried by a majority of nine. Her Majesty selected Ottawa as the seat Of Government.

On the 25th of November, 1857, Colonel Taché, the nominal head of the Administration, resigned office. The Hon. John A. Macdonald was called upon to form a new Government. He made no change in the Upper Canada section of the Cabinet. At his request, M. Cartier proceeded to select the Ministers for Lower Canada. His object was to combine the two political parties in his native Province. Two moderate Liberals, Messrs. Belleau and Sicotte, accepted office under M. Cartier. The offer of a portfolio to the Hon. A. A. Dorion was, with the consent of M. Cartier, made through M. Sicotte. But M. Dorion refused the inducement, and remained true to his political allegiance. The Macdonald-Cartier Administration was formed, on the 26th of November, 1857. M. Cartier was the only Lower-Canadian Minister who belonged to the old Cabinet. His colleagues from that Province were all new men.

On the 28th of July, 1858, M. Piche moved an amendment: “That, in the opinion of this Chamber, the city of OttawaPg 81 ought not to be the seat of the Government of this Province.” The amendment was carried by a majority of six. The Ministry, on account of this vote, tendered their resignation next day, the 29th of July.

Sir Edmund Head requested Mr. George Brown to form an Administration. This gentleman, as the leader of the Opposition, had for years waged a resolute battle against the party represented by the defeated Ministry. Following constitutional precedents, it was the duty of the Governor-General to ask Mr. Brown to form a Cabinet. It was also his duty to smooth the way for the accomplishment of the object he wished Mr. Brown to accomplish. But the Governor, instead of removing obstacles from Mr. Brown's path, was the first to place them in that gentleman's way. He would not give to Mr. Brown the promise of a dissolution, but he would consent to a prorogation, if one or two measures were passed, and if a vote of credit were taken for the Supplies.

Mr. Brown was thus over-weighted from the very beginning. Still, with that political courage which has always characterized him, he undertook the formation of a Cabinet. He chose as his colleague, and as leader of the Lower Canada section of the Government, the Hon. A. A. Dorion, a gentleman with an untarnished political record. On the 2nd of August, 1858, Mr. Brown had completed his task, and the Cabinet took the oath of office. The subsequent history of this Administration, which was the shortest known to our history, will be given at length in the sketch of the life of Mr. Brown. At present it will be sufficient to say that after holding office two days, the new Cabinet resigned.

The Governor-General having in vain requested Mr. Galt to form a Cabinet, M. Cartier became the head of a new Administration. He chose the Hon. John A. Macdonald as the leader of the Upper Canada section. The Government was completed on the 6th of August. Then followed what is known as the “Double Shuffle.” By the Independence of Parliament Act of 1857, it was provided that if a Cabinet Minister in either House should resign his office, and within a month afterwards accept another, he should not go back to his constituents. Some of the members of the Macdonald-Cartier Government, who had entered the Cartier-Macdonald Government, took advantage of this law in order to avoid the ordeal of reëlection. They accepted, on the 6th of August, in the Cartier-Macdonald Cabinet, offices different from those they had held in the Macdonald-Cartier Cabinet. But on the 7th of August they discarded their portfolios of the 6th, and resumed those which they had held in the Macdonald-Cartier Administration when it resigned on the 29th of July. M. Cartier, when he resigned, on the 29th of July, was Attorney-General for Lower Canada. On the 6th of August he became Inspector-General. On the 7th of August he resumed the office of Attorney-General. This constituted the “Double Shuffle.” The action cannot be defended, and he never attempted to defend it. The Ministry seemed to be ashamed of the part they had played. Many of their own supporters blamed them. The political conscience of the country seemed to have become sensitive, when it fully realized the extent of the wrong which had been done to Constitutional and Parliamentary Government. The Ministry were forced, by public opinion, to repeal the Independence of Parliament Act, under which they had accomplished the “Double Shuffle.”

The Cartier-Macdonald Administration, after it had been formed, announced that it would give serious attention to the question of a Federal Union of the Provinces of North America. They further promised that they would approach the Imperial authorities on the subject, and also enter into communication with the Governments of the MaritimePg 82 Provinces. After the Session of 1858, Messrs. Cartier, Galt and Ross visited England in the interests of a Federal Union. To communications from the Colonial Secretary on the subject of union, the Governments of the Maritime Provinces answered by requesting time for the consideration of the project. The result was that no action was at that time taken. The Cartier-Macdonald Government proceeded no farther in the direction of union. On this visit to England, Attorney-General Cartier was, for three days, the guest of the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Parliament was opened, in Toronto, in the month of January, 1859. The question of the seat of Government again came to the front. The Ministry stated that they were obliged to uphold the Queen's decision in favour of Ottawa. Mr. Sicotte, who had left the Cabinet on this question, proposed an amendment to the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne. He had seceded because he held that, after the vote of the Legislative Assembly at its last session, the Government could not abide by the decision of the Queen without violating the principle that the majority should rule. The amendment he now proposed was to the effect that the principles of the Constitution required that the opinion of the majority should be respected; and that, in declaring, during the preceding session, that Ottawa should not be the capital, the House had expressed its views in conformity with the ordinary and constitutional exercise of its privileges. M. Langevin seconded the amendment. He was of opinion that Attorney-General Cartier could not make any one believe that Ottawa was the most convenient place for the seat of Government. The capital ought not to be fixed before the question of Confederation was decided. M. Cartier argued that the conduct of the Cabinet in this matter was constitutional. The simple declaration, by the House, that Ottawa ought not to be the capital, did not suffice to set aside the Queen's decision, and bind the Ministry to take account of it. The choice of Ottawa was a good one, because the immediate pressure of public opinion would make itself less felt there than elsewhere. The French-Canadians would find, in Ottawa, a population in part Catholic, and having the same institutions. The result of the debate was a Government majority of only five. The Upper Canada Opposition contributed to the victory so narrowly won. Ottawa, sorely pressed, snatched the capital from the other competitors.

The session of 1859 was marked by another advantage secured by M. Cartier for his native Province. This was an Act to amend the Seignorial Act of 1859. The object of his measure was the complete redemption of the Seignorial rights, with one exception. It was stated that the funds provided by the Seignorial Act of 1834 had proved insufficient for the redemption of certain feudal obligations still pressing upon the habitants. For this purpose a new appropriation of between $1,600,000 and $2,000,000 was demanded by M. Cartier. With the exception of one member, Mr. Somerville, all the Lower Canada representatives supported this measure. But the Upper Canada Liberals, led by the Hon. George Brown, assailed the proposal with the utmost vigour. They proclaimed that it was nothing more than an attempt to rob Upper Canada. They opposed it in the press, and combated it with unflinching courage on the floor of the House. But in vain: the Lower Canada phalanx voted down all attempts to amend the measure, and with them voted their Upper Canada allies. The end was, that the law was carried by 66 to 28.

The Session of 1861 was marked by a long and vehement debate on the question of Representation by Population. It wasPg 83 opened by Mr. Ferguson proposing an amendment to the Address. The amendment declared the regret of the House that the Governor-General had not been advised to allude to the recent census of the people, which census the House could not but regard as preliminary to legislation upon the great question of Parliamentary Reform, based upon the numbers and wealth of the people, etc. The amendment was voted down by 72 to 38. The Lower Canada phalanx and its Upper Canada allies were again victorious. Mr. Ferguson then proposed a measure in modification of the existing system of representation. The new project was to give to a county of at least 15,000 inhabitants one representative; to a county of 20,000, two representatives. M. Cartier, in a strong and uncompromising speech, announced his unalterable opposition to what he styled the unjust pretensions of Upper Canada. He maintained that the Upper Province had no right, under the Union Act, to claim a larger representation than Lower Canada. The union had been consummated with the understanding that the equality of the representation would be maintained. He concluded in protesting that he would never sacrifice the rights of Lower Canada. The Government of which he was First Minister would not yield Representation by Population, in spite of the efforts of the members from Upper Canada who advocated that measure.

It must be admitted that, on this particular question, M. Cartier shows to great disadvantage. The lawyer and the sectionalist are seen everywhere: the statesman and the Canadian nowhere. Because the Union Act was silent on the subject of representation, the great Upper Province must chafe under a galling injustice. Containing 285,000 people more than Lower Canada, this vast number was to remain without a voice to make known their wishes in the councils of the country. In this instance, M. Cartier showed himself devoid of that rare element, political equity: the element that distinguishes the statesman from the politician. After a discussion prolonged through several days, the measure of Mr. Ferguson was defeated by a majority of 18. For the motion, 49; against it, 67. Upper Canada had 49 representatives who voted for the motion, and a dozen who voted against it. If M. Cartier had been a man of ordinary political prescience on this question he would have foreseen, from this vote, that Upper Canada was determined to have her claims satisfied, and that it would not be possible much longer to refuse them.

The Parliament was prorogued on the 18th of May, 1861. On the 16th of June following, it was dissolved by Proclamation. In the general election which followed, M. Cartier defeated M. Dorion in Montreal East.

The Seventh Parliament of the Province of Canada was opened on the 20th of March, 1862. In the debate on the Address, the burning question of Representation by Population again came up. The Hon. William Macdougall, one of its most able and ardent supporters, moved an amendment to the Address. It set forth that, by the recent census, the population of Upper Canada exceeded that of Lower Canada, in February, 1861, by no fewer than 285,427 souls. The amendment expressed the regret of the House that the Governor-General had not been advised to recommend some measure for securing to this large population in Upper Canada their rightful share of the Parliamentary representation, and their just influence in the Government. The Hon. John Hillyard Cameron, thorough Conservative as he was, raised his eloquent voice in favour of the claims of Upper Canada. But facts, reasoning, justice, pleaded in vain. The Lower Canada majority, to a man, voted down Mr. Macdougall's proposition; but he was supported by forty-twoPg 84 of the representatives of Upper Canada. M. Cartier, this session, failed again to see that the headlong voting of his followers was paralyzing the constitution which, in their common political blindness, they fancied they were perpetuating. But the day of his supremacy was drawing to a close. His colleague, the Hon. John A. Macdonald, brought forward a measure intended to increase the efficiency of the militia. It was based on the suggestions of a special commission, amongst whose members were M. Cartier and Mr. Macdonald. The commissioners recommended that an active force of 50,000 men should submit to a drill extending over twenty-eight days in each year; and that a reserve of an equal number should be embodied. The Opposition at once began to question the Ministry. The Hon. Mr. Galt, the Minister of Finance, informed them that he would ask for $850,000 to set the new scheme in operation. After this outlay, the annual expenditure would be about $500,000. The French-Canadian constituencies took the alarm. They dreaded a conscription which would every year take away so many thousands of needed workers from their homes and farms. They raised their voices against the enormous increase of the Provincial liabilities which this new scheme would necessitate. Some of the friends of the Government sought in vain to induce them to modify the measure. They defied a vote. On the second reading the vote was taken. The Government was beaten by 61 to 54. Mr. Macdonald was supported by a majority of seven votes from Upper Canada; but M. Cartier was left in a minority of thirteen. His political power was shattered. On the 21st of May, 1862, he tendered his resignation.

The Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald, at the invitation of Lord Monck, succeeded in forming a Cabinet. How it was compelled to resign, and how successive cabinets were subjected to a similar ordeal; how the scheme of Confederation was matured, as the only way out of the dead-lock; it will be the province of other sketches to detail. At present, our concern is with M. Cartier alone. To those who can remember the political events of 1864 and 1865, it is needless to say that M. Cartier succeeded in forcing the scheme of Confederation on Lower Canada. He had managed to array on his side, amongst other influences, those of the Roman Catholic Church. Against a scheme thus supported the efforts of the Liberals were directed in vain. The “cry” of Confederation swept Lower Canada like a hurricane.

Under the new system of Confederation, M. Cartier was, on the 18th of July, 1867, appointed Minister of Defence for the Dominion. In August, 1868, he was created a Baronet of the United Kingdom. He represented Montreal East in the Quebec Legislature from the union until the general election of 1871, when he was chosen as Member for Beauharnois. He remained in the Local Parliament until the abolition of dual representation. To his credit be it said that the majority of the British population of Lower Canada looked up to him, when he was a member of the Quebec Assembly, as their special champion. This they did, to the setting aside of the timid and trimming Representatives of their own nationality.

It must be admitted that, from the era of Confederation, the political stature of Sir George Cartier began to grow less. Larger interests than those of Lower Canada usurped the public attention. His Province had no grievances to bring into the Confederation. He was still her foremost man, but she needed him no longer as her champion. In the general election of 1872 he suffered the mortification of defeat in Montreal East. He sought political shelter in the distant Manitoban county of Provencher, a region wherein he had never set foot. He was inPg 85 England when, in 1873, the Pacific Scandal burst, like a thunder-clap, upon the people of Canada. That Sir George was deeply implicated in the degrading bargain was only too clear.

He died in England, on the 20th of May, 1873. On the 13th of June following, his remains were accorded, in Montreal, the honour of a public funeral. Men of all ranks and nationalities made up the multitudes who escorted his remains to their last resting-place, in the cemetery on the Montreal mountain.

Contemporary opinion as to M. Cartier differed as widely as it is wont to differ when friends and opponents pronounce judgment on a public man. A compatriot of his own thus portrays him:—“Mr. Cartier did not possess the elevated sense, the calm and profound judgment of Lafontaine; the breadth of understanding, the political science and the spirit of sacrifice of M. Morin; neither the moderation nor the political dignity of either of them. But he surpassed them in action, in energy, in knowledge of the world, in Parliamentary strategy, in fecundity of intellect, in ardour and ability in contest. They were men of principle: he was a man of success; a man of combat above everything. M. Cartier was essentially a party chief; an organizer; an administrator. The ruling traits in his character were energy, impetuosity, the spirit of domination, the desire to make a name, confidence in himself and love of work. His vivacity, his impatience, and his absolutism caused him to bear, with difficulty, contradiction and resistance. He saw little of anything outside of himself. He wished to concentrate everything, to absorb everything, to see in his orbit none but his satellites; and believing that he personified all his race, he thought that all was going well from the moment that he himself became satisfied. If he had been able to excommunicate, as heretics, all those who did not think as he did, he would not have failed to do so; he would even have burned them. He did not spare them, at least offensive words, persecutions and mortifications; his friends themselves had sometimes trouble to bear up under his harshness and his fits of anger. This contributed, without doubt, to deprive him of the support and counsels of many men of talent; others remained attached to him only by terror. His discourses were dry as the desert of Sahara; the flowers of literature and eloquence did not flourish in them.... His words resounded in the Chamber (Parliament) like the blows of a hammer on the anvil. His eloquence, rough, unconstrained, sarcastic, and solid, pleased, however, the people and the majority of the Chamber.”

Sir George Cartier was wont to describe himself as “An Englishman speaking French.” In this light he was regarded by the majority of the British population of Lower Canada. In his veins there was no taint of the bitter poison of an exclusive nationalism. On St. George's Day he would wear the flower of England on his breast, because it was the festival of his Patron Saint, and because he was so strong, politically and socially, that he could dare to display the emblem. No French-Canadian public man, since the days of Lafontaine, wielded equal power. That power he devoted, often with reason, sometimes without reason, to the political and material aggrandizement of his native Province. There may arise in Lower Canada, in the near or in the immediate future, men who may stand as high in her regard. But the troubles which she called upon him to settle, the grievances she urged upon him to abolish, will not, in the nature of things, again arise. As the years pass, and the healing hand of time pours the balm of oblivion on the wounds which he gave to his own reputation, his biography will again have to be written.


Pg 86


The Archibalds belong to one of the oldest as well as one of the most prominent families in Nova Scotia. For many years they have been more or less intimately associated with almost every public question which has, from time to time, agitated that Province. Few men have deserved so well of their country as the Archibalds, and in the various leading positions which, at different periods in their lives, they have been called upon to fill, their administration of such offices has been characterised by firmness, executive skill, and abilities of no common order. The subject of this sketch was born at Truro, Nova Scotia, on the 18th of May, 1814. He is the son of Samuel Archibald, and grandson of the late James Archibald, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Nova Scotia. He was educated at the Pictou Academy, when, under the management of the late Rev. Dr. McCulloch, that favoured institution took a high rank among the educational establishments of the Maritime Provinces. While at school young Archibald was a boy of great promise, quick to learn, bright and chivalrous to a degree. He possessed characteristics that made him courted by his youthful companions; nor was this popularity confined to the members of his own class. His teachers took a warm and parental interest in him from the first, and he got on rapidly with his studies. Designed for a lawyer, he was placed at an early age in a law office. In 1838 he was called to the Bar of Prince Edward Island, and a year later he became a barrister of his native Province. In June, 1843, he married Elizabeth A., the only daughter of the late Rev. John Burnyeat.

Previous to August 14th, 1856, when he became a member of the Executive Council of Nova Scotia, as Solicitor-General, Mr. Archibald had taken no very active part in the politics of the day, though he had represented Colchester county since 1851. He was conspicuous, however, in 1854, as the seconder of an important motion which had grown out of the Reciprocity question. In December of that year the Legislature of Nova Scotia met to consider the treaty with the United States. Prominent members such as the Hon. Joseph Howe, Johnston and others, strongly condemned the conduct of the Imperial authorities in settling so momentous a treaty without consulting Nova Scotia, whose interests were so much involved by it. Great offence had been caused in June by Great Britain's ready acquiescence in the demand of the American Government that American fishermen should not be molested if they at once used the privilege conferred by the stipulations of the treaty, without waiting for their ratification by the Colonial Legislature. The bitterness was aggravated tenfold when it became known that the United States Government had intimated its inability to grant interim reciprocal advantages. The ReciprocityPg 87 Bill was passed in the Nova Scotia Assembly, after a warm expression of opinion had been heard, by 32 to 10. Later, Mr. Howe and Mr. Archibald introduced a series of resolutions vindicating the right of the Province to be consulted on questions in which her people were deeply concerned. On the 14th of February, 1857, the Ministry resigned.

Adams George Archibald
Adams George Archibald.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by W. Notman, Halifax

From 1854 to 1857, the Government of Nova Scotia discussed in her Legislature the question of union with the other British North American provinces, and in June of the last named year Mr. Archibald, then in opposition, and the Hon. J. W. Johnston, Attorney-General, were sent to England to confer with the Secretary of State for the Colonies—Mr. Labouchere—on the subject. They were informed that the decision of the question must rest with the Colonies themselves. The Imperial Government, however, would not oppose the scheme should it be harmoniously decided upon. At this time also, the delegates were entrusted with a most important mission, the arrangement of terms of settlement with the British Government, and the General Mining Association, with respect to the Nova Scotia mines. This question had been a vexed one for over half a century. The Duke of York had obtained from his brother, King George IV., a lease of the ungranted mines and minerals of the country. In 1825 he transferred this lease to Rundell, Bridge & Co., on condition that he was to be paid a share of the profits as they accrued. The firm, discovering that there was no copper ore, turned their attention to coal, and proceeded to develop that industry, under the name of The General Mining Association. From time to time the different Provincial Governments declared that the King had no right to cede away the minerals of the Province without the consent of the people having been obtained. Things went on in this way until 1845, when the Crown entered into arrangements with the Association, and in 1849 a contract was framed. In this same year, but before the contract was made, the Civil List Act was passed in the Provincial Legislature, and by its terms the legal estate of the Crown was vested in that body. This Act clearly established the fact that no lease could be considered valid until or unless it emanated from the Assembly of Nova Scotia. The result of this legislation, of course, had a disastrous effect on the mining business of the Province. Things came to a standstill, and there was immediately a dead-lock. It was to settle this affair that a prominent member of the Government and an equally prominent member of the Opposition were despatched to England to make terms. Both gentlemen performed their duties with great tact and judgment, and the conclusion of their labours was an agreement which secured to the Association all their rights and liberties. This greatly helped the mining affairs of Nova Scotia. On the return of the delegates, the House went into a debate on their report, and after an earnest discussion a vote of 30 to 19 established the confidence which the Assembly had in their Commissioners.

In February, 1860, on a change of Ministry, Mr. Archibald was called upon to take the position of Attorney-General. This office he retained until the 11th of June, 1863. In 1861 he attended the conference in Quebec on the subject of the Intercolonial Railway. In 1864 Mr. Archibald seconded Dr. Tupper's motion in the Assembly for an address to His Excellency, the Administrator of the Government, requesting him to appoint delegates, not more than five, to confer with the delegates who might be appointed by the Governments of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, for the purpose of considering the subject of the union of the three Provinces under one Government and Legislature. In the samePg 88 year Mr. Archibald went to the Charlottetown, P.E.I., Conference, and later in the same year to Quebec, and to the final conference in London, England, to complete the terms of the union in 1866-67. Both in Halifax and in London Mr. Archibald worked zealously for Confederation. In the former city he, with Dr. Tupper and others, held public meetings and delivered speeches in favour of the scheme, and met the counter demonstrations which were held by the Annand-Power Party. In England Mr. Archibald took an active part in the pamphlet war which raged so violently for a time between the Confederate Party on the one side, and the Anti-Confederates, led by Messrs. Howe and Annand, on the other.

When Mr. Archibald returned home the greatest excitement prevailed. The Anti-Confederates had worked unceasingly to break up the scheme, and to visit with condign punishment all those who had taken part in the movement which had brought about so much opposition among the people. In March, 1867, the House of Assembly met. General Williams, who was Administrator at the time, congratulated the members on the success which the delegates had achieved in London. The reply to the Address was moved by the Hon. J. Bourinot, and a great and able debate followed. In this discussion Mr. Archibald took an important part, and made one of the happiest and best speeches of his life. Among other things he said: “When the British Parliament found it necessary to change the arrangements connected with the succession to the Crown, and to bring in a new dynasty—when those noble men who guarded the rights of the country, and were determined to get rid of the Stuart family, had induced Parliament to adopt their views, there was not an appeal to the people, although the leading men in the movement knew that their action might be made a ground of impeachment. There was a union consummated in the history of England to which I might refer, although it is not exactly a precedent. I refer to the union of Scotland with England. It was hardly to be expected in that case that the lesser nation would have concurred. We all know the spirit of Scotchmen—how the ancestors of the men of our day had, with their backs to the unconquerable Highlands, and their faces to the foe, repelled the English invader on every occasion—and the same spirit led them to oppose the union with England. They feared, as our opponents profess to do, that the smaller state would be swamped by the greater—but what was the result? From that day Scotland went on in the path of improvement, and Scotchmen could take their place with Englishmen in any part of the world.... From the date of the union, there has not been a Ministry in England in which Scotland has been unrepresented.”

On the 7th of May the House was prorogued, and in September the elections were held. The scheme of union—the “Quebec Scheme” as it was popularly called—was made the question on which the appeal to the people was to be fought out. The measure had been carried in the Assembly, and because the electors had not been afforded an opportunity of rendering their verdict for or against the scheme, the utmost hostility towards it existed among the inhabitants of Nova Scotia. So bitter indeed was this feeling that out of thirty-eight seats in the Local Legislature, two unionists only were returned, and out of the nineteen seats in the Commons, but one—Dr. Tupper—succeeded in gaining his election.

During his career as a member of the Legislature of Nova Scotia, Mr. Archibald was very prominently identified with the various bills which provided for the regulation of Municipal Assessments, the gold fields, restricting the election franchise, and a number of educational measures. Pg 89

On the 1st of July, 1867, he was sworn of the Privy Council of Canada, and became Secretary of State for the Provinces from that period until the beginning of 1868, when he resigned. On the 20th of May, 1870, he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba and the North-West Territories. This office he filled with faithfulness and great capacity until May, 1873, when he resigned. His administration of affairs in the newly created Province developed one important issue, and from a circumstance which grew out of it the authority of Lieutenant-Governors with special reference to the Royal Prerogative of pardon was firmly established. In 1871 the Province was agitated over the threatened attack of a body of Fenians, under the leadership of a man named O'Donoghue. The executive had no resources at command by which this invasion of the territory by a band of lawless men, acting in concert, it was said, with the French Metis, could be met. The Lieutenant-Governor was alone, and far beyond the ear of the central authorities. The case was an urgent one, and it demanded prompt and vigorous action. Thrown upon his own resources entirely, Mr. Archibald resolved to appeal to the loyalty of the French insurgents and their leaders, Riel and Lepine. Writs had been issued for the apprehension of these men for the murder of the unfortunate Scott, whose savage butchery had sent a thrill of horror throughout Canada. Extraordinary circumstances only could justify a Lieutenant-Governor's action in opening up communication with outlaws and murderers. But there was no other course open to Mr. Archibald. He had no military force at his command worthy of the name. He was powerless either to defend or to attack. Under all the circumstances he did the best, perhaps the only thing that could be done in a like situation. He entered into relations with Riel and Lepine, received the troops under their command, accepted their services, and in return for these favours he promised them what was afterwards construed into a free pardon. Mr. Archibald admitted that he had promised the leaders at least temporary immunity from molestation, and that he had shaken hands with them. He also through his secretary addressed them an official reply, and complimented them on their loyalty and the efficient character of the services which they had rendered. He also clearly established the fact that without the aid of these men he would have been powerless to do anything, and that his action gave the Dominion a Province to defend and not one to conquer—a sentiment which has since passed into the history of the country. Mr. Archibald had fall faith in the fidelity of Riel and Lepine, though Sir John Macdonald and others at a distance had serious misgivings on this point. In reviewing this important case, Lord Dufferin, while holding that the Lieutenant-Governor had no legal right to promise a pardon—that power being vested solely in the hands of the Governor-General of Canada—admitted that he would have difficulty in convincing himself “that after the Governor of a Province has put arms into the hands of a subject, and invited him to risk his life—for that, of course, is the implied contingency—in defence of Her Majesty's Crown and dignity, and for the protection of her territory,—with a full knowledge at the time that the individual in question was amenable to the law for crimes previously committed,—the Executive is any longer in a position to pursue the person thus dealt with as a felon.” “The acceptance of the service,” he continued in this ablest of his state papers, “might be held to bar the prosecution of the offender; for, undesirable as it may be that a great criminal should go unpunished, it would be still more pernicious that the Government of the country should show a want of fidelity to its engagements, or exhibit a narrowPg 90 spirit in its interpretation of them.” The case went home for settlement, and Lord Carnarvon in his despatch said: “Mr. Archibald cannot, in my opinion, be held to have represented the Crown in such a way as to have any power of pledging its future actions in regard to such transactions as those now under review. The Lieutenant-Governors of the Provinces of the Dominion, however important locally their functions may be, are a part of the Colonial Administrative Staff, and are more immediately responsible to the Governor-General in Council. They do not hold their Commissions from the Crown, and neither in power nor privilege resemble those Governors, or even Lieutenant-Governors of Colonies, to whom, after special consideration of their personal fitness, the Queen, under the Great Seal and her own hand and signet, delegates portions of her prerogatives, and issues her own instructions.” This clearly established the fact that Lieutenant-Governors had no authority to pardon offenders, however momentous and peculiar the circumstances might be. Though Mr. Archibald's action was not sustained by either the Imperial or Dominion authorities, his ability as an administrator and a statesman was held in high esteem by Lord Lisgar, who referred to him in terms of great praise. Lord Dufferin spoke of him as “an undoubtedly able, prudent and conscientious man.” The Queen created him a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1872, and in various other ways his country recognized his paramount ability and talent. On the 24th of June, 1873, he became Judge in Equity of Nova Scotia. This position, however, be held only until the 4th of July of the same year, when, upon the death of the late Lieutenant-Governor Howe, Mr. Archibald was raised to the dignity of that high office. So acceptably and well has he carried out his duties that on the expiration of the term for which he had been appointed, he was earnestly solicited by the Government to resume his functions as Lieutenant-Governor for another term—a position which he accepted, and continues to occupy. He has been a Queen's Counsel, President of the Acadia Provident Association, and has filled several other positions of more or less note.

Toussaint Laflamme
Toussaint A. R. Laflamme.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by W. Notman, Montreal.


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On the 15th of May, 1827, the subject of this sketch was born at Montreal. His father was Toussaint Laflamme, a merchant in good standing in the commercial capital of Canada, and his mother was Marguerite Suzanne Thibaudeau, of Pointe Claire—a lady who traced her descent from one of the first families of France. Her father had lived in Grand Pré at the time of the expulsion of the Acadians, and he, in common with his compatriots, was forced to leave the land of his birth, for reasons which are familiar to all students of the history of French domination in America. Coming from such a stock, and early inheriting the active principles of civil and religious liberty, young Laflamme did not in the least surprise his friends, when, even before he had arrived at man's estate, and while still very young, he boldly espoused the Liberal cause, and identified himself with the great national political movements of the day. He was educated at St. Sulpice College, and while there exhibited remarkable powers of study and love for the classics. When the time came for him to make choice of a profession, he selected that of the law. He entered the office of the Hon. L. T. Drummond, Q.C., afterwards a Judge of the Court of Queen's Bench. Here he made rapid progress, and in 1849 he was called to the Bar of Lower Canada.

Two years before this, however, and while barely in his twentieth year, young Laflamme was elected to the responsible post of President of the Institut Canadien of Montreal, a society which he had been mainly instrumental in founding, and which in its time has exercised considerable influence on the mental activity of the Province of Lower Canada. He was by birth, instinct, and education a Liberal, and when the Rouge element formed itself into a strong party machine, Laflamme became one of its first and earliest members. Young, impetuous, ardent and full of the fancied wrongs which he inherited from his grandfather, he soon became a leading spirit among the youthful politicians of the period. These young men, the oldest of whom had scarcely reached his twenty-second year, had banded themselves together for a purpose, which it was their pride and boast to reveal. Had they been men in 1837, they would have been found at the side of Louis Joseph Papineau, with whose cause every one of them heartily sympathized. As it was, these young men, whose talent and sincerity cannot be doubted, plunged into the veriest excesses of political partisanship. They sought to reform not only the political world, but the whole social fabric of civilization, and the regeneration of the country was also included in their programme. The organization spread, and, its success assured, the next step was to found a newspaper devoted to the interests of the Rouge party. Pg 92 L'Avenir was accordingly started, and Laflamme, one of the boldest and most brilliant members of the Club, was chosen to take a leading position on the editorial staff of the paper. The policy of the party was re-echoed in the impassioned columns of the new journal. A programme containing twenty-one articles was published. One of these advocated the election of Justices of the Peace, another the annual parliament, while the twenty-first paragraph advised annexation to the United States. These various features were discussed in the broadest light possible, and so largely did revolutionary ideas prevail among the Rouge party of that day, that every outbreak of the people in other lands was warmly and openly applauded by the conductors of L'Avenir, who lost no opportunity of showing their hostility to existing institutions. The young party, however, went too far with their reforms, and they too openly espoused anarchy and revolution. The Church became alarmed, and the clergy waged a bitter war against Laflamme and his friends. Against such a formidable and perfect organization as the Roman Catholic Church, as it existed in those days, the young Liberals found themselves unable to cope. Nor was that powerful force their only opponent. The English population denounced the Rouge policy, and entered the lists against them with all their strength. In the end, after a short but brilliant battle, the party succumbed before the superior force which had been allied against them. The moderate men left the organization and formed another and less hot-headed party, calling themselves Liberal-Conservatives, and joining the ranks of the Conservatives of Upper Canada. The minority remained true to their principles, and when the division between Mr. Papineau and Mr. Lafontaine occurred, they left the latter in a body, and associated themselves with their old leader. For a quarter of a century the Rouges remained in Opposition, though they managed from time to time to initiate a number of valuable reforms. In 1852 the Pays was started as the organ of the Moderates, while L'Avenir continued its advocacy of ultra-Liberal views.

Mr. Laflamme was very active as the professional adviser of the Seigneurs who claimed their indemnity in virtue of the Seignorial Act, 1857-8. While one of the editors of L'Avenir he had done much to bring about a settlement of the vexed Seignorial question. He had thus for a long time made the subject a special study, and was well qualified to act in the capacity of counsel for the Seigneurs, a position which he filled with great ability and judgment. On several occasions he appeared before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England. In 1856 McGill College, Montreal, conferred on him the honorary degree of B.C.L., and, in 1873 that of D.C.L. In 1863 he was created a Queen's Counsel. He is a professor of the Law of Real Estate in McGill University, and a member of the Executive of the Reform Association of the Parti Nationale of Montreal. In 1875 he was offered a puisné judgeship in the Supreme Court—an honour which he declined.

Though Mr. Laflamme has for many years interested himself in politics, and intimately associated himself with the marked public events of his time, it was not until the general elections of 1872 that he was returned to Parliament. He was elected the representative in the Commons for Jacques Cartier County, and in 1874 he was chosen by acclamation. In November 1876 he was sworn of the Privy Council, as Minister of Inland Revenue, vice the Hon. Mr. Geoffrion, and was reëlected on November 28th. On the 8th of June, 1877, Mr. Laflamme became Minister of Justice, a position which he continued to hold until September, 1878. While administeringPg 93 the affairs of this office, he introduced a bill for further securing the independence of Parliament. This act provided a remedy in cases where the former bill was found hampered with difficulties, and after a few modifications in the Senate it was agreed to and passed. Another bill which was introduced under his auspices was the measure which gives to the decrees of the Ontario Maritime Court the same meaning and force as are attached to those of the Court of Chancery. On the same day, the 18th of March, 1878, Mr. Laflamme's other bill did not fare so well. This was the scheme for the abolition of the office of Receiver-General and the creation of the office of Attorney-General, who should be a Cabinet Minister and preside over the Law Department along with the Minister of Justice. This bill the Senate rejected on various grounds, several of the honourable gentlemen taking the view that while the abolition of the Receiver-Generalship was a wise move, the creation of an Attorney-Generalship was a most injudicious and unnecessary step. An act was passed during this session, under Mr. Laflamme's advice, amending the Supreme Court Act, so as to increase the number of the terms of the court from two to four—a veritable boon to litigants—also to regulate appeals from the Lower Provinces. A bill to amend the Elections Act, introduced by Mr. Laflamme, also became law about this time.

Mr. Laflamme is the head of the important law firm in Montreal of Laflamme, Huntington & Laflamme, and is unmarried.


Pg 94



The life of the late Bishop Strachan was marked by a much greater variety of incident than commonly falls to the lot of a clergyman of the Church of England. That it was also marked by an unusual degree of physical vigour is sufficiently evidenced by the fact that it embraced a period of nearly ninety years, and that until a short time before his death he never knew what it is to be seriously ill. That his mental vigour was at least of no common order is rendered sufficiently obvious by the variety and extent of his intellectual labours, and by the respect which was paid to his opinions by persons of undoubted mental capacity. No name in our history suggests a stronger individuality, or has left a more distinct impress behind, than his. If he was not intellectually in advance of his time, he was at least capable of quickly and firmly grasping, the salient points of new movements, and of adapting himself to any situation in which he found himself placed. If he disapproved of the movements he always had the courage of his opinions, and fought against the innovations with a dauntless intrepidity which knew no fear. If worsted in the combat, as not unfrequently happened, he disciplined his mind to accept defeat. There were subjects on which he was not open to conviction, and as to which his mind was as thoroughly made up after being worsted in the dispute a score of times as it had been when the matter had first come up for discussion. He arrived in this country without a pound in his pocket, or at his command. He rose to wealth, affluence, and a power of dictatorship which was almost imperial. In matters ecclesiastical he early obtained complete ascendency in this Province, and his political ascendency was long paramount to that of any of his contemporaries. The latter supremacy was not destined to be permanent, but the former was maintained with untiring energy and vigour long after he had reached an age at which most men would have been glad enough to resign it to younger hands. He was subject to disadvantages which would have effectually precluded even the temporary success of a commonplace man. Those disadvantages be not only contrived to surmount, but even in some cases to make subservient to his ambition. He was not clever. He was not brilliant. He made up for his defects by daring courage, dogged persistence, and a native tact and shrewdness which are among the most noteworthy characteristics of his countrymen. His education, for a high ecclesiastical dignitary, was singularly defective, and his reading was not wide. He began to fight the stern battle of life at an age too early to admit of his having acquired profound learning, and his subsequent career was too busy for systematic reading or study. But he covered up his deficiencies by never venturing beyond his depth, and his innate sagacity was such Pg 95that, with many persons whom it would be unfair to set down as illiterate, he passed for a learned prelate. Like the Lady of Burleigh, he was subjected to

“the burthen of an honour
Unto which he was not born;”

but, though not possessed of “woman's meekness,” he “shaped his heart to all duties of his rank,” and, though himself of humble origin, became the leader and mouthpiece of the most exclusive aristocracy in Upper Canada. Though a clergyman of a Church wherein the English language is generally spoken with a pleasantness of modulation and a purity of accent which are the peculiar birthright of educated Englishmen, his dialect was of the broadest and most uncouth Doric of his native Aberdeen. His rasping pronunciation and strident voice seemed as much out of place in the pulpit of an Episcopal cathedral as a red plush waistcoat and a billycock hat would seem on the person of an Archbishop of Canterbury. No matter; his sermons were generally full to overflowing with practical wisdom and good sense. Those persons who were privileged to listen to them generally felt that they had been sitting under a preacher who had a genuine message to deliver to his flock. Over and above all these things, he possessed the will and the power to speak with effect on behalf of the hierarchy, both in the pulpit, on the platform, and in the Executive Council. He had a special faculty for administration, and had ever a shrewd eye to the practical. His whole heart and soul were given up to the welfare of his Church. That Church owes a heavy debt to his memory, and has never shown any disposition to shirk its responsibility. Of all these anomalies the facts of his life go far to furnish an explanation.

Rev. John Strachan
Rev. John Strachan

His father, John Strachan, after whom he was named, was an overseer of some of the famous granite quarries in the neighbourhood of Aberdeen, Scotland, and resided within the city limits. His mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Findlayson. The couple were in humble circumstances, but not indigent, the husband's income being sufficient for the comfortable maintenance of the family. They enjoyed the respect of their neighbours, and lived a happy, domestic life. The head of the family was a nonjuror and an Episcopalian, and attended St. Paul's Chapel, in the Gallowgate, whither the subject of this memoir, when in his childhood, was wont to accompany him. The mother was a Presbyterian, and so continued to the end of her life; but the pair were tolerant of each other's opinions, and lived together in the utmost harmony. Bishop Strachan's biographer, the late Bishop Bethune, records the curious fact that his mother, though a staunch Presbyterian, used to make her children sign themselves with the sign of the cross, every night before retiring to rest.

The future Bishop of Toronto was born at the paternal home in Aberdeen, on the 12th of April, 1778. He was early set apart by his parents for the clerical profession, and to this end they pinched and denied themselves, after the manner of Scottish folk of their class, in order to give him an education. It does not appear that his parents had settled between themselves whether their son was to be a minister of the Kirk or a clergyman of the Church of England. It was probably agreed between them—though of this there is no evidence either on one side or the other—that in so serious a matter the lad should be permitted to choose for himself, upon arriving at years of discretion. He was taught his letters and his catechism by his mother, and at six years of age began to attend one of the common schools in Aberdeen. Later on, he entered the grammar school, where he manifested a good deal of industry and application, but no special precocity or talent. In the month of May, 1794, when he was sixteen years old, his father fell a victim to a blasting accidentPg 96 in one of the quarries where he was employed as overseer, and died two days afterwards. The family—which, in addition to the mother, and John, who was the first-born, contained at least one other son and two daughters—were thus left without any means of support. It was necessary that John should obtain employment. Through the intervention of the poet Beattie, who had long held the chair of Moral Philosophy in Marischal College, and who had been a sort of patron of his father, the young man obtained employment as a private tutor. He contrived to study diligently, and to contribute to the support of his family, as well as to pass through the University of King's College, Aberdeen, where he obtained his master's degree in 1796. The economy which he practised during this period must have been most rigid, and his industry very great, as he was compelled to earn sufficient during the vacations to support himself all the rest of the year, besides rendering assistance to his mother. His only source of revenue was teaching, the recompense for which was very small. It was fortunate for him that the College sessions extended over only about five months in the year, thus leaving the remaining seven at his disposal. These intervals he spent in coaching boys for College, and in teaching the elementary branches of education in various parts of Aberdeenshire and the country thereabout. Upon the opening of the session he would return to his mother and place his small earnings in her hands. He also obtained a small bursary of five or six pounds per annum, and this sum, insignificant as it seems when compared with the munificent scholarships of Oxford and Cambridge, made all the difference to his family between absolute want and comparative comfort. He seems to have been tenderly attached to his mother. Years afterwards, when he had gained wealth, fame, and social position, he often recalled the last years spent by him beneath her roof. “Never,” said he, “was there a more excellent mother than mine. She made religion amiable to me, and the source of moral strength.”

After obtaining his master's degree he found employment in a parish school near St. Andrew's, at a salary of thirty pounds a year. While so employed he joined the Divinity class of the neighbouring University, and formed the acquaintance of several persons who afterwards rose to high eminence in various walks of life. With two of them, Dr. Chalmers and Professor Thomas Duncan, he kept up a correspondence which only terminated with their lives. After leaving St. Andrew's he was for a short time engaged in private tuition in Angusshire, but his earnings were so small that he found it necessary to look out for more remunerative employment. When he had barely reached the age of nineteen he heard of a vacancy in the parish school of Kettle, in Fifeshire, where the salary was fifty pounds a year. He offered himself as a candidate, but before the day of examination came he learned that there were five other applicants for the position, all of whom were older than himself, as well as more experienced in teaching. He lost heart, and had serious thoughts of withdrawing his application, but the minister of the parish, who had taken a liking to him, urged him to persevere. This minister was the Rev. Dr. Barclay, father of the gallant naval officer, Captain Robert H. Barclay, who in after years served under Nelson, and later on, in May, 1813, fought with such undaunted bravery in defence of Canada against Commodore Perry on Lake Erie. Another son of Dr. Barclay's has also a passing interest for Canadian readers, having been stationed in charge of a Presbyterian congregation at Kingston, in Upper Canada, from 1822 to 1826. Dr. Barclay would not hear of his young protégé's withdrawing his application, and bade him keep up his courage. Pg 97 He even went so far as to predict that young Strachan would be the successful candidate. The youth was much encouraged by the worthy minister's support, and agreed to allow his application to stand. He meanwhile called upon Dr. Hunter, at St. Andrew's, and consulted him as to his fitness for the position. The Doctor subjected him to a searching examination in Greek, Latin and Mathematics, and finally informed him with some gruffness that he was “no great things,” but that he was competent to fill the vacant position, and would probably obtain it. The result verified the prediction. He gained the situation, and took charge of a school numbering over a hundred pupils.

One of these pupils was a lad who, when Mr. Strachan took charge of the school at Kettle, was about twelve years of age. He was a bright, intelligent looking boy, but cared little for books, and could not be made to learn his lessons. He was looked upon as somewhat of a dunce, and it was feared that he would never be able to earn a living for himself. His father, who was the minister of the neighbouring parish of Cults, was sore discouraged by reason of the lad's frivolity, and took an early opportunity of waiting upon “the new dominie” to take counsel about the best means of dealing with “Daft Davie,” as his son was jocularly nicknamed. It appeared that the only occupation in which the little fellow took any interest was the covering of every piece of blank paper he could lay his hands on with grotesque drawings, depicting likenesses of his tutors and playfellows, and of the various members of his family. He had even been known to delineate the “meenister” himself, in an attitude singularly lifelike, singularly undignified, and singularly provocative of laughter in the beholder. Sad to relate, he had even been known to desecrate the house of God, by drawing various odd characters as they slept or snored in their pews during service. His father had done his utmost to scourge the indolent frivolity out of him, but to no purpose. He besought the new tutor to punish his pupil without stint if he caught him indulging in his favourite recreation. Now, Mr. Strachan, at this time, could hardly have possessed much artistic knowledge; but he was not long in coming to the conclusion that little Davie Wilkie possessed a good deal of aptitude for art. Ere he had been many days in charge of the Kettle school he detected the young delinquent in his reprehensible practices. As time went on he became convinced that the youth's taste for drawing was ineradicable. In spite of stern prohibitions and repeated punishments, the lad became known as the portrait painter of the school. Nothing delighted him so much as to assemble a host of his playfellows around him, arrange them in groups, and depict them in all sorts of characteristic attitudes. Even his most hurried performances had a graphic realism about them which could not fail to impress everyone who looked at them. Master Strachan, feeling assured that the lad's natural bent was something more than a mere passion for imitation, gradually began to take an interest in his performances, and at last prevailed upon his father to withdraw his opposition and send him to the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh. The father's means were limited, but an uncle was pressed into the service, and the desired result was brought about. Years afterwards, when the little boy had grown into a great man; when he had accomplished for Scottish art what Robert Burns had accomplished for the national dialect; when his name had become known in every land where art is held in honour; when kings and nobles contended for the honour of sitting to him; when his pictures had drawn tears from the eyes of representatives of every civilized nation under the sun, and were eagerly sought after by the wealthiest and most discriminating patrons of art; when he had receivedPg 98 knighthood at the hands of His Majesty King William IV.—the pupil and his former tutor, who had also become a great man on his own account, delighted to meet and talk over the old days at Kettle. “Often,” says the Bishop—writing when a nation was in mourning for the great painter's death—“often did Sir David Wilkie, at the height of his fame, declare that he owed everything to his revered teacher, and that but for his interference he must have remained in obscurity.” It is probable that Bishop Strachan—perhaps unconsciously—took more credit to himself in this transaction than justly belonged to him. It does not seem probable that such a light as David Wilkie's could forever have remained under a bushel; but the propulsion may very likely have come from his tutor's representations to the boy's father; and the achievement was one upon which the Bishop was justified in feeling an honest pride.

Another of Mr. Strachan's pupils at Kettle was the Robert H. Barclay above referred to, whose father, as we have seen, was minister of the parish. A warm friendship subsisted between the minister and the dominie, and the latter was a constant visitor at the manse during his sojourn at Kettle. His life here seems to have been very serene and happy. His augmented income enabled him to increase his benefactions to his family, who were thus comfortably provided for. There does not seem to be any ground for the assertion so often made, and so devoutly believed, that during the period of his sojourn at Kettle, or at any other time, Mr. Strachan was a probationary minister of the Church of Scotland, or that he received a license to preach. The only direct connection he ever seems to have had with Presbyterianism arose from the fact that his mother was a member of that body. As we have seen, he attended lectures for a short time at St Andrew's—where the theology taught was Presbyterian—but did not take orders; although there can be no reasonable doubt that he contemplated doing so.

But a great change in his circumstances and prospects was at hand. In order to understand precisely how this change was brought about, it will be necessary to take a hurried glance at the state of educational matters in Upper Canada at this period.

During Governor Simcoe's tenure of office in this Province he had taken a warm interest in the subject of popular education, and had contemplated the establishment of grammar schools in the various districts, with a university at their head. Even so early as the year 1794, the necessity for providing instruction for the youth of the Province had become pressing, more especially among the wealthier families—such families, for instance, as the Cartwrights, the Stuarts, and the Hamiltons. The heads of these families agreed to co-operate for their common interest, and to procure from beyond sea a capable tutor for their children. To procure such a teacher in Canada was simply impossible. The country was being rapidly settled, but the settlers were persons who were fitted neither by attainments nor inclination for schoolmasters. These matters were represented to Governor Simcoe, who accordingly authorized Mr. Richard Cartwright to procure a man capable of taking charge of a High School, which should ultimately be converted into a University. Mr. Cartwright, acting on this authority, wrote over to Scotland, to his friend Dr. Hamilton, of Gladsmuir, in East Lothian, representing the nature of the case, and asking that some youth, able and willing to undertake educational duties, might be sent over to Canada. The duties were to consist of the charge of an academy, “which was afterwards to become a college, under the patronage of the Government of the Province.” This was doubtless either under the impression that Governor SimcoePg 99 was likely to remain in Canada, or that his educational policy would be carried out by his successor. The bright prospects of the country were enlarged upon, as was also the project of establishing a University. The salary offered—eighty pounds sterling a year, with free board and lodging—was considered a very liberal stipend in those times; and it was agreed that all expenses of the journey should be provided. It was represented that the opening was a particularly inviting one for a young man endowed with a moderate share of patience. He would be first in the field, and would thus have a claim upon the country when its University should have become an accomplished fact. All this was perfectly true, and there were doubtless scores of needy young men in Scotland who would gladly have accepted the situation. Dr. Hamilton, however, does not seem to have applied himself with much energy to the discharge of the commission entrusted to him, and was so long in completing his negotiations that Governor Simcoe's residence in Canada meanwhile came to an end. The Doctor applied in the first place to several young gentlemen who clearly saw their way to a bright future in their own country, and who had therefore no motive for expatriating themselves. The first of these was Mr.—afterwards Dr.—Chalmers, already mentioned. The next was Mr.—afterwards Professor—Duncan. There were also a third and a fourth, whose names have not come down to us. The fifth application was made to the dominie of Kettle school, John Strachan, who accepted the offer, and resigned his situation accordingly. He paid a brief visit to Aberdeen and took an affectionate farewell of his mother, after which, towards the latter end of August, 1799, he embarked at Greenock for New York.

In the year 1799 people were not able to traverse the ocean in first-class hotels, nor were trans-Atlantic voyages made in eight days. The vessel on board of which Mr. Strachan embarked was a slow trader, which was often becalmed on the voyage, and had to contend against adverse winds. We have no certain information as to the actual time occupied in the sea-voyage, but it is reasonable to suppose that Mr. Strachan did not loiter on the way after reaching the shore, and we are met by the astounding fact that he did not reach Kingston, Upper Canada, until the 31st of December—the last day of the year. He had thus been upwards of four months—more than the third of a year—on the way. In a charge delivered by him to the clergy of his Diocese, nearly sixty years after this time, he refers to this passage of his career, and describes his early impressions of the country which was thenceforth to be his home. His journey from New York was made by way of Montreal, and must have been long and wearisome enough. He describes himself as having reached his destination “much fatigued in body, and not a little disappointed at the desolate appearance of the country,” which was everywhere enveloped in snow. “But,” he adds “a new and still more severe trial awaited me. I was informed that Governor Simcoe had some time before returned to England, but of which I had received no information, and that the establishing of the projected University had been postponed. I was deeply moved and cast down, and had I possessed the means I would have instantly returned to Scotland. A more lonely or destitute condition can scarcely be conceived.” In a private letter addressed to a friend in England in after years he gives us a further insight into the unhappy position in which he found himself placed. He says:—“Though gifted with a happy disposition, and disposed to see the best side of things, I was so beat down that, if I had been in possession of twenty pounds, I should have returned at once; but in truth I had not twenty shillings, and was therefore obligedPg 100 to make the best of it. My situation was, indeed, desolate; for I knew not a creature. The gentleman in whose house I was to reside, had no convenience for a person of retired and studious habits; and he seemed reserved and distant in his manners. The few young men of the town, or rather village, were uneducated, and inclined to practices in which I could not join.” The gentleman referred to was the Mr. Cartwright already mentioned, and the young emigrant had not long been an inmate of his house before he formed a much more favourable opinion of his host. That gentleman proposed that Mr. Strachan should take charge of the education of his four sons, and of a select number of pupils, for a term of three years. “This,” said Mr. Cartwright, “will provide you with honourable employment at a fair remuneration, and if at the expiration of that period the country does not present a reasonable prospect of advancement you might then return to Scotland with credit.” It was further represented that the establishment of the Grammar Schools and University could only be a matter of time, and that a young man of good constitution and education might soon have the ball at his feet in a new country such as Upper Canada then was. The youth made the best of a bad bargain, and accepted Mr. Cartwright's proposal. It is unnecessary to say that he never had occasion to repent his decision. A warm personal friendship eventually sprang up between him and the Cartwright family; a friendship which lasted uninterruptedly during their respective lives.

The young man continued to reside in Mr. Cartwright's house, at Kingston, for the full term agreed upon. A study was built and furnished expressly for his accommodation, and he found himself in the enjoyment of a comfortable home, pleasant society, and fair prospects. He had twelve pupils, several of whom were destined to make a figure in our Canadian annals. His discipline and plan of instruction were eminently successful, and he gave the highest satisfaction to the parents. But a more ambitions career awaited him. He had made up his mind to enter the Christian ministry. And as this resolution, and its fulfilment, are matters as to which there is a good deal of misapprehension, it may be as well to explain how it was that he espoused the doctrines and ministry of the Church of England.

As has already been intimated, it has often been asserted, and is generally believed, that previous to his emigration from Scotland to Upper Canada, he had been ordained a minister of the Presbyterian Church. This belief, as we have seen, is erroneous. He had undoubtedly attended the Presbyterian services for some years prior to leaving his native land, and there is good reason for believing that he was a communicant. Had he remained in Scotland it is extremely probable that he would have become a minister of the national Church. But instead of remaining in a country where Presbyterianism was powerful and popular, he came to a land where the doctrines of that body were not then much in demand. It is most unjust and superficial, however, to say that he regarded the matter from the point of self-interest alone. The fundamental differences between Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism are not so wide as to render it impossible for the human mind to pass conscientiously from one to the other. His circumstances, too, were peculiar. Upon reaching Kingston he was stationed in the house of an Episcopalian. All his pupils were the sons of Episcopalian parents, all his associates and acquaintances were Episcopalians, as were all the families of good social position in and around Kingston in those days. He lived in an atmosphere of Episcopacy, and received daily benefactions and kindnesses from Episcopalian hands. The strongest influences were brought toPg 101 bear upon him. It should also be remembered that he had been accustomed to attend an Episcopal church in the days of his childhood, and that he had never occupied a position antagonistic to Episcopacy. Episcopacy, moreover, was regarded as the established religion of the land. That Mr. Strachan ceased to be a Presbyterian and became an Episcopalian, taken by itself, proves nothing. It might even be urged that he saw within the pale of the Church of England a wider sphere of usefulness, in the then state of public opinion in this Province. We can readily understand a thoroughly high-minded and conscientious man arguing with himself in this manner, and acting upon his arguments. It is only fair to Bishop Strachan's memory to give him credit for honesty of purpose, although, as a mere matter of self-interest, of course there can be no doubt that everything pointed in the same direction. The pulpit of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, at the beginning of this century, held out few inducements to an ambitious young man. The Church of England, on the contrary, had good prizes in possession, and splendid ones in remainder.

Mr. MacMullen, in his History of Canada, indulges in some statements respecting Mr. Strachan's career which we believe to be entirely erroneous. They are, at all events, erroneous as to some of the details, and are misleading as to their general purport. We are told that Mr. Strachan continued to be a member of the Presbyterian Church until after his marriage, and that he made application to the Gabriel Street Presbyterian congregation of Montreal to become their minister. He proposed, it is said, that the congregation should pay him a salary of £300 a year, and that he should return to Scotland for ordination. This proposal, it is said, was rejected; whereupon Mr. Strachan's dread of “black prelacy,” and the Book of Common Prayer diminished.

Now, there is evidently something wrong here. In 1803 Mr. Strachan became a deacon of the Church of England. In 1804 he became a priest, and was appointed to the Cornwall mission. It is not pretended that he ever swerved in his allegiance to Episcopacy after he had once embraced Episcopal doctrines. But he was not married until 1807. Mr. MacMullen certainly never intended us to believe that Mr. Strachan wished to withdraw from the Episcopal Church after he had been preaching several years, for the sake of taking charge of the Gabriel Street Presbyterian congregation. With regard to the “black prelacy,” and the Book of Common Prayer, Mr. Strachan, as we have seen, had lived in an Episcopalian atmosphere when young, and would not be likely to have any very bitter antipathy to the vestments and services of the Church of England. A youth whose father was an Episcopalian, and whose Presbyterian mother taught him to make the sign of the cross every night at bedtime, could not be expected to be furiously antagonistic to the ordinary rites and ceremonies of prelacy.

We have, moreover, the Bishop's own ipse dixit to the effect that immediately after taking up his abode in Mr. Cartwright's house he made up his mind to enter the ministry of the Church of England. He says: “I devoted all my leisure time during the three years of my engagement with Mr. Cartwright to the study of divinity, with a view of entering the Church at its expiration.” This, as he informs us, was done at the suggestion of the Rev. Dr. Stuart, rector of Kingston. This gentleman, who was the bishop's commissary for Upper Canada, was himself the son of a Scottish Presbyterian, and had doubtless been a Presbyterian himself in his youth. In fact, these changes of opinion were very common in Upper Canada, from the time of its original settlement down to a period comparatively recent, and do not of themselves form any ground forPg 102 impugning the honesty or good faith of the persons affected by them.

The friendship between Dr. Stuart and Mr. Strachan dated from the day of their first interview, which took place within a few days after the latter arrived in Upper Canada. The Archdeacon—such was practically his position—assisted the young man with advice, and with theological teaching. On the 22nd of May, 1803, Mr. Strachan received ordination as a deacon at the hands of Bishop Mountain. A year later—on the 3rd of June, 1804—he was admitted to the priesthood, and was immediately afterwards appointed to the mission of Cornwall. He entered on his duties in a temporary building, pending the erection of a church, which was completed and opened for service in the autumn of 1805.

His clerical duties for some time were not heavy, and he found himself with considerable spare time on his hands. He determined to turn this time to account by taking in pupils. By this means he was soon busily employed, and his school—subsequently known far and wide as the Cornwall Grammar School—in full operation. One of his earliest pupils was Master John Beverley Robinson, a bright-eyed little fellow who remained at the establishment until he had completed his education, and whose highly successful career will be told at length in its proper place in these pages. The late Sir James B. Macaulay, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, Chief Justice Archibald N. Maclean, the Hon. Henry John Boulton, and the Hon. Jonas Jones, were also among the early pupils. An interesting account of this famous school, and of the course of study pursued there, will be found in the life of Bishop Strachan written by the late Bishop Bethune, who was himself a pupil at the establishment under the régime of its founder.

His duties as preceptor of this school were many and onerous, but they were not permitted to interfere in any way with his clerical work. He conscientiously prepared new sermons for every Sunday throughout the year, besides visiting the sick and distressed of his parish. Every night regularly brought with it the necessity for secular study, for, as he himself afterwards confessed, he was educationally not much in advance of his best scholars, and had to study hard to keep pace with them. His ordinary daily duties consumed sixteen hours, and he was left with very little leisure time on his hands. He liked hard work, however, and hard work agreed with him. Referring to this period of his life, half a century later, he pronounced it the happiest time he had ever known. His charge embraced a large tract of country, but his visitations were made with the utmost faithfulness and regularity. In the early years of his ministry he could not afford to keep a horse, and all his travelling was done on foot. By degrees, however, as his position became more assured, his income increased, and was soon amply sufficient for all his requirements. In 1807 the University of St. Andrew's conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D. The same year was rendered noteworthy to him by his marriage. A man who had shown such good judgment in providing for himself in the ordinary affairs of the world would not be likely to make a grievous mistake in so important a matter as the choice of a wife. It has been said of him that he showed his taste by marrying the prettiest, his prudence by marrying the richest, and his good fortune by marrying the nicest young gentle-woman in the old town of Cornwall. The lady of his choice was a young widow, the relict of the late Mr. Andrew McGill, of Montreal, and the daughter of Dr. George Thompson Wood, a retired army surgeon, resident in Cornwall. By this lady, who was of gentle and amiable manners, and aPg 103 devoted wife and mother, he had a numerous family, consisting of four sons and four daughters, none of whom now survives. She was well off in worldly goods, and did not go to her husband empty-handed. From the time of his marriage Dr. Strachan never knew what it was to be straitened in means. The pair were destined to enjoy more than fifty-eight years of wedded life together, and their deaths were only about two years asunder.

Notwithstanding his marriage, and his largely-increased income, Dr. Strachan continued to carry on the Grammar School, which had by this time gained a high reputation, not only throughout Upper Canada, but even throughout the sister Province. It was resorted to by nearly all the wealthy Protestant youth in the country, and yielded what in those days must have been a handsome revenue. His strength of character is in nothing more apparent than in the esprit de corps which he contrived to impart to his scholars at this establishment. To the end of his life, and long after many of his pupils had risen to high position in the land, he continued to regard them as his “boys.” They, on their parts, continued to look up to him as their guide, philosopher and friend. Many years after his tutorship had come to an end, a number of judges and other magnates, all of whom had been under his tutelage, gave him a dinner in Toronto, and presented him with a costly token of their kindly remembrance of those days when he had been their educational director. When the assembly was ready to sit down to dinner, his voice was heard in the old familiar tone of authoritative command: “Boys, take your places;” and the behest was obeyed as though by instinct. Some of the “boys” were of mature age, and already had “boys” of their own who had nearly attained to manhood; but the injunction seemed to come as naturally from those lips in the summer of 1833 as it had ever done in the days when no one would have ventured to question its authority.

In 1811 the Doctor's alma mater, the University of Aberdeen, conferred upon him the degree of D.D. The same year was signalized by the death of his friend Dr. Stuart, and this circumstance led to an important change in his own sphere of action. Dr. Stuart's death left the rectory of Kingston vacant. The vacancy was filled by the appointment thereto of his son, the Rev. George O'Kill Stuart, who up to that time had held charge in York, the capital of the Province, where he had also filled the post of teacher of the Home District School. This, however, left the charge at York vacant. The position was offered to Dr. Strachan, who at first declined it. He had no disposition to relinquish his prosperous school and his comfortable parsonage-house at Cornwall for a position where the pecuniary recompense would not be materially increased, and where the cost of living would be very much greater. The Hon. Francis Gore, however, and his successor in the administration of the Government, General Brock, both urged the matter with some persistence; and an additional inducement was held out in the shape of the chaplaincy to the troops, to which was attached a stipend of £150 a year. Dr. Strachan finally consented, and in the summer of 1812 removed to the capital of the Province, which was thenceforward to be his home for a continuous period of fifty-five years.

It was the period of the American War, and the journey from Cornwall to York, by water—the most convenient method of transit in those times—was not unattended with danger. It was in the month of July that Dr. Strachan embarked, with his wife, children, and all his worldly possessions, in an open boat, whereby they made their way up the St. Lawrence to Kingston. Here they were transferred to a schooner, thePg 104 skipper whereof would seem to have been a most abject poltroon. They made all sail for York, but had not proceeded far ere a vessel was seen hovering in the distance, towards the American coast. It soon began to bear down on them. The valiant commander, supposing it to be a United States vessel, went down to Dr. Strachan's cabin to consult as to the propriety of surrendering at discretion. Now, Dr. Strachan, notwithstanding his sacred calling, was about the least likely man in the world to show the white feather. He was endowed with invincible courage, and was ever ready to do battle in a cause that seemed to him to be a good one. The American invasion was a subject on which he felt very strongly. In defence of Canadian freedom he was ready, if need were, to shed the last drop of his blood. He at once announced a policy of “No Surrender,” and inquired of the skipper what means of defence he had at command. The latter replied that there were a four-pounder, a few muskets, and a small stock of ammunition on board. The good Doctor's valour seems for once to have out-run his discretion. Finding that the captain was entirely overcome by fear, and could not be wrought up to fighting-point, he bade him remain below with Mrs. Strachan and the children, and himself went on deck to take the command. He found the four-pounder fastened to the deck, on the side of the craft opposite to that on which the schooner was approaching. It was therefore useless for purposes of present defence. While he was casting about in his mind what to do next, the supposed hostile schooner approached near enough to make it evident that she was a Canadian vessel, and that nothing was to be feared from her. The intrepid commander was accordingly restored to his functions, and the little craft proceeded on its way to York without any further adventure.

The Upper Canadian capital, in the year 1812, was not very metropolitan in its aspect. It was built entirely of wood, and its population was only between six and seven hundred. Dr. Strachan's ordinary parish work was not extensive enough to tax his energies very severely, even had those energies been less than they were. But the time was an altogether exceptional one. The country had been plunged into war. York, as the Provincial capital, was the official residence of the man who united in himself the functions of Civil Administrator and Commander of the Forces. It was consequently the centre and focus of all military arrangements, and the headquarters of the regular troops. No patriotic man needed to be short of employment at such a time, and Dr. Strachan was as patriotic a citizen as was to be found in the Province. He felt, moreover, that, apart altogether from his pastoral duties, he had a stake in the country, and he very soon had his hands full. He was a wise and prudent counsellor, and was of much service to Sir Isaac Brock. There was an imperative demand for public funds, and there was a depleted Provincial exchequer. Dr. Strachan set himself to work with a will, and was chiefly instrumental in founding and keeping afloat the Loyal and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada, as it was called. The object of this society was to relieve the wounded among the militia and volunteers, to succour the widows and orphans of the slain, and to assist and support the families of those who were called out on military duty. Its establishment was an important step in the direction of our national defence, and it is said to have been of greater efficacy than half-a-dozen regiments would have been. Its existence was a guarantee to the public that the country would be defended to the last, and that the families of those taking part in its defence would not be neglected.

All through the troubled period of the war Dr. Strachan did his duty gallantly, Pg 105 both as a clergyman and a patriot. As chaplain of the forces he was always at hand in the hour of danger. He attended to the temporal needs of the sick and wounded, and to the spiritual wants of the dying. His dauntless bravery was conspicuously manifested times without number, and on more than one occasion he narrowly escaped with life. It was largely due to his zeal and fearlessness that the house-holders of York were not plundered and maltreated during the brief occupation of the American soldiery in 1813. He boarded the American commander's flag-ship, and urged upon him, in language which must have moved that veteran, that his soldiers must be made to respect the rights of private property. The American treated him with rudeness, yet—though of a sufficiently irascible disposition—he kept his temper under control for the sake of his parishioners, until he had gained his point. Again, while passing along the street one day, he received intelligence that two American soldiers had just entered the house of his friend Colonel Givins, and had not only been rude to the inmates, but had despoiled them of their property by carrying away whatever they could stow about their persons—one of the articles so “conveyed” being a silver tea-pot. The doughty Doctor's spirit waxed wroth within him, and he lost no time in seeking out the two marauders, whom he found standing by themselves on the Garrison common. He bore down on them with black lightning in his eye, and with words of denunciation on his lips, as he demanded the restoration of the plunder. They replied by presenting their muskets at his head, telling him to go about his business or they would blow his brains out. He refused to retreat, and finally declared that if they did not voluntarily surrender the stolen things to him he would either take them back by force or perish in the attempt. What the final result of the altercation would have been can only be conjectured, for an American officer just then advanced to ascertain the cause of the dispute, and upon being made acquainted with the facts, at once compelled the restitution of the stolen property.

Within a short time of this occurrence the garrison explosion took place, by which General Pike, a brave and noble young American officer, lost his life. In revenge for this—which after all was, so far as was then known, the result of accident—General Dearborn announced his determination to burn the little town to ashes. Dr. Strachan, hearing of this resolve, made his way into the General's presence, and begged him, as he valued his soul's future happiness, to abandon his cruel resolution. The interview, which was a stormy one, lasted some time. At first, General Dearborn was very firm in his language, declaring that the garrison had been wilfully exploded by the Canadians, and that their town should “smoke for it.” Dr. Strachan, per contra, asserted that the explosion had been an accident, and that it would be both culpable and unwise for the Americans to act as proposed, even leaving the wickedness of such conduct altogether out of the question. The argument was maintained with fervour on both sides. The Doctor threatened the General with all sorts of penalties, both temporal and eternal, in the event of his carrying out his threat. He represented that troops would ere long arrive from England, and that Buffalo, Lewiston, Sackett's Harbour, and Oswego would be given to the flames if York were burned. Whether it was his threats of these unpleasant consequences or his spiritual denunciations that prevailed over the American General, certain it is that the latter finally thought better of his resolution, and that York was spared, with the exception of the Parliament Buildings, and a few houses contiguous to them, which had already fallen a prey to the irascibilityPg 106 of the invaders. That the whole of the little capital would have been burned but for Dr. Strachan is, we think, a reasonably well-authenticated historical fact.

Soon after the Doctor's removal from Cornwall to York he received intelligence of the death of his aged mother, at Aberdeen, in her seventy-fifth year. She did not live to see her best-loved son at the height of his fame, but during her life he tenderly cared for her, and her closing years were passed in comfort and happiness. He cherished her memory with peculiar tenderness, and during the whole of his long life he could not bring himself to speak of her without an emotion which produced a tremulousness of the voice, and which frequently found expression in tears.

Within a short time after the close of the American War, chiefly through the influence of Governor Gore, and in recognition of his great services during the contest, he was appointed to a seat in the Executive Council for Upper Canada. He accepted this dignity, as he himself stated in a private letter which has been published since his death, because it gave him more influence and greater opportunities of promoting plans for the moral and religious instruction of the people. “The appointment,” says Dr. Scadding,5 “of a person in Holy Orders under the Episcopal rank, to such a position, would scarcely have happened, had there not been a scarcity of men in the country qualified to fill such a station. The discernment and decision of mind evinced by Dr. Strachan in regard to secular as well as ecclesiastical matters, stamped him as one that might be thus distinguished by the Crown. In England, to this day, we see men in Holy Orders sitting on the Magistrate's Bench. It is a relic of the policy of bygone ages, when ecclesiastics were chosen to be keepers of the Great Seal; because they, beyond the generality of their contemporaries, were fitted for the office. The policy of the present day, although it has not yet wholly discarded the usage of the past in this respect, is in its tendency opposed to, and will ultimately exclude such appointments; the reason arising from the paucity of qualified men outside the ecclesiastical ranks having long since been cancelled by facts.”

From the time of receiving this appointment Dr. Strachan seems to have regarded himself as the duly authorized State champion of the Church. In the future we shall find him a priest still, but we shall also find him an active politician. This is not the place to discuss the wisdom of Church establishments, nor does the space at our command admit of our going very deeply into the state of ecclesiastical affairs in this Province at the period under consideration. Suffice it to say that from the moment of his joining the Anglican Church, the subject of this memoir had become more Anglican than were those persons who had been reared in that faith from the cradle. He was ever ready to spend himself in the cause of the Church, and he identified his own interests with hers. When political honours began to descend upon him, he rejoiced at least as much on the Church's account as on his own. He gave himself up, to use his own expression, to the task of lengthening her cords and strengthening her stakes. “He looked forward,” says his biographer, “to the day when here, as in our mother country, we should see the church-spire mingled everywhere with the fair and fertile scenery of the land; the Church on hill and valley; the Church in every hamlet. And with the Church, the settled pastor, pursuing from week to week his round of pious ministration,—the young his anxiety, the poor his care,—every duty urged and practised to draw men to the love of God and the love of one another.” There was already, practically, a State Church in Upper Canada, Pg 107 and one-seventh of the entire territory of the Province had been set apart for its support. True, the setting-apart had been for a “Protestant Clergy,” and the Anglican Church had not been specially designated by the Act as the sole recipient of the grant. Still, there were directions as to the establishment of parsonages and rectories—language which seemed to point to the Church of England. Moreover, the word “clergy” was not, in ordinary parlance, used to designate any ministers of religion except those belonging to the Church of England, and had never been so used in any Act of Parliament. In short, there were grounds for contending that the Act had contemplated the application of the “Clergy Reserves” to the Church of England only. This was the stand taken by Dr. Strachan, from the first moment of agitation on that vexed question, which disturbed the peace of Upper Canadian Parliaments for about forty years. Long after almost every other man of intelligence in the country had bowed to the inevitable course of events, he stood forth as the staunch champion of the monopoly. He denounced every supporter of the other side as a sacrilegious innovator; as one who hesitated not to lay hand on what the Lord had caused to be set apart for himself. When we read the despatches of successive Lieutenant-Governors on this prolonged and agitating controversy, we are enabled to form some idea of the immense power which Dr. Strachan had contrived to acquire; for we can see his hand in every one of them. The Lieutenant-Governors were evidently not much more than the media whereby he thought fit to promulgate his views. Robert Gourlay, and, to a less extent, Lord Selkirk, felt the weight of his hand. So did every man who, later on, ventured to raise his voice in support of Responsible Government. The Family Compact found in him a strenuous and voluble mouthpiece. Though impatient of insubordination to his own injunctions, no man was less insubordinate to forms and laws which did not square with his notions of the eternal fitness of things. When the expulsion of Mr. Barnabas Bidwell was under discussion in the Legislative Assembly, one of the members ventured to hint that the proceeding might possibly be contrary to the law. “The law! the law!” exclaimed the Doctor, impatiently, “never mind the law. Toorn him oot! toorn him oot!” The incompatibility of law and gospel was an anomaly which he could never bring himself to understand. If such incompatibility existed, so much the worse for the law. Such a law must forthwith be changed, and meanwhile it must be disobeyed. Was not this man Bidwell a renegade from the United States? Was he not a republican in theory, and a radical in practice? Was he not a dissenter, and a man of Belial? Was he not a friend of Robert Gourlay's, and had he not contributed the information upon which the “Statistical Account” was based? Had not his voice been lifted up in denunciation of Church monopolies? If he were allowed to have his way, would not the inalienable rights of that Church be called in question? What place had such a man in the Councils of a Province where the first care of Government was to provide for the one true and only Church and its supporters? If the law allowed him to occupy such a place, it was a sacrilegious law—a law which every right-thinking man was bound to set at naught. This, which to us seems very much like burlesque, was precisely the aspect in which the question presented itself to Dr. Strachan's mind. On such a subject he was literally impervious to argument, and so remained to the last hour of his life.

Towards the close of the year 1820 he became a Legislative Councillor. For two years before this time he had been residing in his own house—completed in 1818—on the corner of York and Front streets; aPg 108 house which continued to be his home for nearly half a century. Within its walls he breathed his last. His elder brother, Mr. James Strachan, who, by the Doctor's assistance, had been enabled to establish himself in business at Aberdeen as a bookseller, paid a visit to this country in 1819, soon after Dr. Strachan had become settled in his new abode. The brothers had not met for twenty years, and it may well be supposed they had no lack of topics for conversation. There was one theme, however, which was constantly intruding itself into the mind of the elder. How had “brother John,” who, as he well knew, was neither a profound scholar nor a man of genius, managed to set himself so very comfortably on his feet in Upper Canada? As he surveyed the proportions and decorations of the establishment, and marked the evidences of comfort and wealth on every hand, the reflection could not be repressed, and at last found vent in words: “Aw hope it's a' come honestly by, John.” James Strachan, after his return to Scotland, published, at Aberdeen, a work called “A Visit to the Province of Upper Canada in 1819.” It is now somewhat scarce, and is sought after by collectors of works on Canadian topography, but it contains little or nothing of permanent value, and bears internal evidences of having been written or inspired by the Doctor himself.

Sacred and secular matters continued to engross the Doctor's energies in about an equal degree for many years. In 1828 he became Archdeacon of York, contemporarily with the appointment of Dr. Stuart to the Archdeaconry of Kingston. Meanwhile the educational question had come conspicuously to the front in Upper Canada. With the history of that question Dr. Strachan's name is inseparably associated. Reference has already been made to Governor Simcoe's project for establishing a seat of advanced learning in the Province. In 1797 the Legislative Council and the Assembly had concurred in an address to King George III., asking for a specific appropriation of Crown Lands for the endowment of a Grammar School in each district, and also of a College and University. The result of the address was a grant of 549,000 acres of land, and within a few years a number of Grammar Schools were in operation in various parts of the Province. The establishment of these schools was largely due to Dr. Strachan's exertions. For some years they seem to have met the public requirements, and much time elapsed before anything of importance was effected towards the establishment of the contemplated University. Soon after the arrival of Sir Peregrine Maitland as Lieutenant-Governor, however, Dr. Strachan began to move in the matter. The lands which had been set apart for educational purposes were largely composed of waste and remote territory, for which only a very small price could be had. The Doctor prevailed upon the Lieutenant-Governor to solicit the Imperial Government to consent to an exchange of these lands for other Crown Reserves more advantageously situated. Lest the Governor's despatch should be neglected, Dr. Strachan resolved to cross the sea as a special emissary to press the matter upon the authorities in England. He went over in 1826, and his mission was crowned with complete success. On the 15th of March, 1827, a Royal Charter was granted, authorizing the establishment “at or near the town of York, in the Province of Upper Canada,” of a college, to be called “King's College,” with the style and privileges of a University. It was provided that the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor for the time being should be Chancellor; that the Archdeacon of York should be President; that the Bishop of the diocese should be Visitor; and that the Professors should be members of the Church of England, and subscribers to the Thirty-nine Articles asPg 109 set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. It is needless to say that in this Charter Doctor Strachan's hand was visible throughout. The proposed University was to be under Episcopal control, and would practically be an Episcopal institution. On the 3rd of January, 1828, a patent was issued endowing the new University, and the Doctor's project seemed to be rapidly approaching fruition. But no sooner were the terms of the Charter made known in this country than a widespread dissatisfaction began to be apparent. Those persons who opposed the Clergy Reserves naturally arrayed themselves in opposition to the scheme of making the national University a mere sectarian institution. The obnoxious University scheme, and the question of the Clergy Reserves, were the two issues which divided parties in the Province during the general election of 1828. Archdeacon Strachan, both from the pulpit and elsewhere, upheld the domination of his Church, and denounced the opponents of that domination in unsparing terms. Petitions and counter-petitions innumerable were sent over to the Imperial Government, and the controversy extended over a long period. The actual establishment of the University meanwhile remained in abeyance. Finally, by an Act of the Local Parliament, passed by Imperial authority in 1837 (7 Wm. IV., cap. 16), the Charter was remodelled, and most of the objectionable features were expunged. Then the scheme was once more pushed forward. A building of great size was projected, and one wing of it was actually built in what subsequently came to be known as the Queen's Park. This was the building which still stands in isolation near the flagstaff which marks the projected site of the new Houses of Parliament. Here the University of King's College was finally opened for the admission of students on the 8th of June, 1843.

In order to bring Dr. Strachan's life down to the period at which we have now arrived, it may be as well, before proceeding with the account of the educational dispute—which as yet was far from being finally adjusted—to record one or two important events in his career. In addition to his clerical and other duties, he had, for many years after his removal to York, officiated as tutor of the Home District Grammar School, which had previously been presided over by Dr. Stuart. Here his pupils were largely drawn from the same class as at Cornwall. He possessed the faculty of measuring the intellects of his scholars with remarkable discrimination, and his prognostications with regard to their future have generally been verified. As the years rolled on he was by degrees compelled to depute his functions as a schoolmaster to other hands, but he cherished a warm interest in schools during the whole of his life. Other duties, however, demanded his attention, and his hand is perceptible in much of the legislation of the Province. For the establishment of the fifty-seven rectories by Sir John Colborne just before his departure from Upper Canada, the Archdeacon must be held chiefly responsible. Whether the responsibility be an invidious one or not is a question as to which, we presume, there is some difference of opinion, even to the present day. The legality of the step on the part of the Lieutenant-Governor was long contested, but was finally upheld by the Court of Chancery. In 1839 the Diocese of Quebec was divided, and each Province became a separate diocese. There could be no dispute as to who should be the first Bishop of Upper Canada, which thereupon became the Diocese of Toronto. In the summer of 1839, Archdeacon Strachan once more proceeded to England, and in August he was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He will henceforward be known to us as Bishop Strachan.

His great energy and talent for administrationPg 110 soon began to make themselves felt from one end of his diocese to the other. He travelled all over the Province, holding confirmations, and instructing the local clergy as to the management of all their affairs, both sacred and secular. Wherever he went, he preached; and wherever he preached he advanced the interests of his Church. Without having any pretensions to eloquence, he always had something fresh to say—something which his hearers recognized as wise and practical. He organized a Church Society which tended to unite the clergy and laity throughout the diocese, at a time when such union was especially desirable, and when the ordinary synodical machinery was neither known nor practicable. He was at this time past what to most men constitutes middle life, but he had none of the infirmities incidental to age. His mind kept full pace with his body, and was ever fresh, and buoyant. It seemed as though, like Cleopatra, age could not wither him, nor custom stale his infinite variety. He held his primary visitation of the clergy of his diocese in St. James's Cathedral on the 9th of September, 1841. His charge on that occasion is among the ablest of his numerous deliverances, and must have produced a powerful effect upon those who heard it fresh from his lips.

To resume the history of the Educational question:

The Act 7 Wm. IV., cap 16, as has been intimated, removed many of the restrictions contained in the original Charter granted to King's College. There were still certain rules and regulations, however, which savoured of sectarianism, and which were obnoxious to many persons throughout the Province. While the Baldwin-Lafontaine Administration was in power, in 1849, an Act was passed which entirely denuded the institution of its sectarian character. The name of “King's College” was abandoned, and the corporate title became “The University of Toronto.” The theological faculty was abolished, and it was enacted that there should be no professorship, lectureship, or teachership of Divinity within its walls. It was further enacted that no person should be qualified to be appointed by the Crown to any seat in the Senate who should be “a minister, ecclesiastic, or teacher, under or according to any form or profession of religious faith or worship whatsoever;” that no religious observances, according to the forms of any religious denomination, should be imposed upon the members or officers of the University; and that no religious test or qualification should be required either from students or professors.

It is not easy to understand how any man uniting intelligence with integrity of purpose should have seen it to be his duty to oppose this Act. It was passed under the auspices of Robert Baldwin, himself a zealous Churchman, and a man upon whose garments even the muddy waters of Canadian party contests have left no stain. The University was purely and exclusively a national institution, endowed out of national property, and supported at the national expense. The Church of England had no greater right to its sole direction than they had to the exclusive control of any other national enterprise. To Bishop Strachan, however, and those who followed his lead, the question presented itself in a totally different aspect. Finding that there was no longer any hope of maintaining the national University solely as a seat of Episcopal education, he applied himself vigorously to the establishing of another seat of learning, which should be conducted in accordance with his views. On the 7th of February, 1850—about five weeks after the new University Act had come into operation—he addressed a pastoral letter to the clergy and laity of his diocese, recommending a general appeal to the Church inPg 111 Great Britain and Ireland, for aid to establish an Episcopalian University. The pastoral was enthusiastically responded to. Meetings were held in the several parishes, and 11,731 signatures were readily obtained to petitions in support of the appeal. Two months afterwards the Bishop himself repaired once more to England, for the purpose of personally presenting the petition, and of enlisting the sympathies of the members of the Church of England there in the cause which he had so deeply at heart. He was again eminently successful. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts voted £2,000, payable by instalments of £400 per annum, and also gave seven and a half acres of land within the precincts of the City of Toronto. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge granted £3,000, and the University of Oxford £500. Private subscriptions were also obtained to the extent of over £4,000. Bishop Strachan returned in a few months, and next year (1851) an Act was procured incorporating the institution under the name of “Trinity College.” The foundation-stone was laid on the 30th of April in the same year, and on the 15th of January following the inauguration took place, and the regular course of instruction commenced. The University was constituted by Royal Charter dated the 16th of July, 1852, whereby power was given to confer degrees in divinity, arts, law and medicine. This seat of learning has ever since enjoyed a fair share of success, although, as is well known, its affairs have not always escaped criticism. Its instruction and discipline are in accordance with the doctrine and practice of the Church of England, but the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor are empowered to dispense with the usual declaration of membership of that Church, in the case of all degrees except those in divinity.

Bishop Strachan was by this time well advanced in years, and had already passed the age of three score and ten, which is allotted as the utmost verge of active manhood. In everything except years, however, he was still in the prime of life, and a long term of active usefulness was still in store for him. In 1846 he had resigned the Archdeaconry of York and the Rectory of Toronto, in response to a communication from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which, on condition of his resigning all other ecclesiastical preferment, had granted to him an income of £1,250 sterling per annum for the remainder of his life. The Archdeaconry had been conferred upon his old friend and quondam pupil the Rev. Dr. A. N. Bethune, who was ultimately destined to be his biographer, and his successor in the Bishopric of Toronto. The Rectory was conferred upon the Rev. Henry J. Grasett, who still retains the incumbency. The time was now at hand when the long controverted dispute respecting the Clergy Reserves was to be finally disposed of. The question formed the chief party issue during the elections of 1851, and upon the formation of the Hincks-Morin Government the clamour for secularization became louder than ever. In the summer of 1852, the Premier, Mr. Hincks, during a mission to England, pressed upon the Home Government the desirability of authorizing the Canadian Legislature to deal with the question. The expediency of bringing the long struggle to an end was beyond dispute, and during the session of 1853 the authority was granted. Nothing was done in pursuance of this authority, however, until after the formation of Sir Allan Macnab's Coalition Ministry, after the elections of 1854. The question was then once more brought before the attention of Parliament. After a long and heated discussion the Bill for secularization was carried in both Houses by large majorities. In accordance with the terms of the Imperial Act of Authorization, a guarantee was embodied in the CanadianPg 112 Act whereby provision was made for the due preservation of vested rights. It was provided that all clerical stipends which had theretofore been chargeable upon the Clergy Reserves Fund should continue to be paid during the lives of existing incumbents, and a sum was apportioned to meet any other equitable claims which might arise. And thus, after an almost ceaseless controversy of forty years, the great question of the Clergy Reserves was finally set at rest.

It will hardly be supposed that the Secularization Bill met with the approval of Bishop Strachan, or that it was allowed to pass without protest on his part. While its provisions were still under discussion he addressed a strong letter on the subject to Mr. Morin, Sir Allan Macnab's Lower Canadian coadjutor in the Government. He also prepared an elaborate petition to the Parliament, setting out the whole question in detail from an Episcopal point of view; and in order that due consideration should be given to the petition he presented it in person at the Bar of the House, at the head of a number of his clergy, all clad in the vestments of their order. It was a spectacle more in unison with the middle ages than with the middle of the nineteenth century, and gave rise to much comment at the time. In this Parliament, William Lyon Mackenzie, who had several years before returned from his long exile, occupied a seat as member for Haldimand. The Reverend Bishop and Mr. Mackenzie were foes of long standing. In the old days, between 1830 and 1836, when the latter had been subjected to five successive expulsions from the House, he had had no more uncompromising an opponent than the Archdeacon of York, who regarded his schemes with mingled horror and contempt. Time, let us hope, had not been without a chastening effect on the minds of both; but on this occasion Mr. Mackenzie could not let slip so favourable an opportunity for bearing testimony to the fact that the old antagonism, on his side, was not entirely quenched. When the reverend prelate and his clerical retinue had advanced, in full canonicals, to the Bar of the House, the Member for Haldimand rose in his place, and, under the pretext of putting a question to the Speaker, launched out into a voluble and excited harangue. Without directly referring either to the Bishop or the nature of his special mission on this occasion, he deprecated the interruptions to which the House was subjected by the intrusion upon its deliberations of persons who might better be otherwise employed. He referred to the turbulent interference of the clergy in matters which did not come within their jurisdiction; interference which he alleged had always proved disastrous to the public weal. Then, becoming more personal, he called attention to the fact that “these people” were even now “infesting the lobbies of the Legislature, when they should be employed on higher matters, and filling with tumultuous mobs the halls and passages of the House; thronging the very space below the Bar set apart for the accommodation of peaceably-disposed spectators.” Thus he went on for some time, until he had liberated his mind. The Bishop then, with quietness and dignity, and without taking the slightest verbal notice of the attack upon him, presented his petition and withdrew from the House. Needless to say that nothing came of the petition. The Bill, as we have seen, passed both Houses, and tardy justice was done in a cause which had already been too long under debate.

By this time the territorial division of the Diocese of Toronto had become necessary. We have seen that that Diocese comprehended the whole of Upper Canada—an area too wide to admit of the duties incidental to the Bishopric being efficiently discharged by one individual, no matter how great his energy or how good his will. Bishop Strachan hadPg 113 several years previously submitted to the Archbishop of Canterbury a plan for the formation of two new dioceses, one east of Toronto, and the other west. The plan had been approved of, and the boundaries of the respective dioceses had been fixed. In 1857 the Synod of Toronto made provision for the future election of Bishops, and the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Cronyn was elected the first Bishop of the western division, known as the Diocese of Huron. The Bishopric of the eastern division, known as the Diocese of Ontario, owing to dilatoriness in providing an endowment, was not filled until 1861, when the Rev. J. T. Lewis was elected to that dignity.

The tremendous vitality of Bishop Strachan's constitution began about this time to give out unmistakable symptoms of decline. He was more than eighty years of age, and nearly all the friends of his boyhood and youth had passed away. Even the friends of a later generation were one by one sinking into the grave. Of his old pupils at the Cornwall Grammar School very few remained. Early in 1863, the best-loved of all those pupils—the late Chief Justice Robinson—went to his rest. It will readily be conceived that these things would not be without effect in depressing the venerable Bishop's mind. He was ready enough, however, to accept the common lot of humanity, and instead of complaining that he was no longer blessed with the vigour and plenitude of strength which had once been his, was filled with thankfulness in that his life and faculties had been preserved to him far beyond the time vouchsafed to most men. His bodily feebleness, however, steadily increased and he began to be afflicted with deafness, failing sight, and other ills incidental to old age. His confirmation visitations taxed his strength to the limits of his endurance. It became necessary to consider the question of appointing a coadjutor. The matter was first publicly discussed during the Synod of 1863, when the Bishop himself recognized and acquiesced in the necessity. No actual election took place, however, until 1866, when such a step could no longer be delayed. The Rev. Dr. Bethune was elected to the office; and no choice would so fully have met the wishes of Bishop Strachan himself, who had always been warmly attached to his old pupil, and taken a great interest in his welfare. Before this election took place, however, the venerable Bishop had been called upon to sustain the heaviest bereavement of his life. In the autumn of 1865, Mrs. Strachan, his beloved companion for more than fifty-eight years, was taken from him. So heavy a blow as this, coming upon an old man in his eighty-eighth year, who had outlived all the companions of his youth, and was already tottering on the verge of eternity, could not be felt otherwise than very severely. It was observed that from that time forward he was never quite the same man. He continued to attend to his pressing duties, and his faculties seemed to have undergone no perceptible diminution; but there was a change which those who knew him intimately could not fail to mark. The lustre of his life had ceased to shine. During the meeting of the Synod in June, 1867—the last June he was destined to see—he was compelled to delegate his duties to his coadjutor. Every Sunday he was to be seen in his place in St. James's Cathedral, and even after he had ceased to preach he always made a point of pronouncing the benediction. He was still seen occasionally on the streets, and his well-known form was to the last regarded with an interest such as no one else inspired. On Sunday, the 19th of October, 1867, he attended service in his beloved Cathedral for the last time. “He was slightly ill,” says his biographer, “during the service, but rallied before its close; and as if there was on his mind a presentimentPg 114 that he was never to be there again, he bade good-bye to all the attendants of the Church, specially requesting that none might be overlooked. One by one he shook hands with them all, and prayed that God would bless them. He was restless and disconcerted the following days, and on Thursday he was taken so seriously ill that much alarm was felt; and although he subsequently rallied a little, the opinion of the medical men in attendance was that he could not long survive. The strength of his robust constitution was evidently worn out; and there were signs, not to be mistaken, that its dissolution was not far distant. There were returns of vigour and spirit, after intervals of weakness and prostration, but these were the fitful struggles of declining nature—the rise and sinking of the flickering lamp of life. The mind, too, was affected by the weakness of the body; there were wanderings of thought, and words without coherence. There would be a flitting from the past to the present,—from the incidents of years long gone to events of recent occurrence; and the impressions those memories awakened expressed in hurried words, and rapid transition from one subject to another. There was, too, the frequent recitation of fragments of psalms and hymns; the broken utterances of prayer; and at times, in firm voice, the repetition of portions of the Creed. On the evening of Thursday, the 31st October, the Holy Communion was administered to him by his friend and Chaplain, the Rector of the Parish; and then, as all through his illness, every affectionate, soothing, watchful attention was exerted to give ease and comfort to his last hours. The pulsation became gradually weaker, and, at three o'clock in the morning of November 1st, All Saints' Day, he breathed his last.”

The funeral took place on the 5th of November. Such a funeral was an event in the history of the Cathedral, and may almost be said to have been an event in the history of the city. The venerable old man had outlived most of the enmities and jealousies of other days, and all persons, irrespective of creeds, felt that a long-cherished landmark had been removed from its place. During the performance of the funeral obsequies all business was entirely suspended in the city, and many of the principal establishments were draped in solemn mourning. The public schools were closed, and the city flags were hoisted at half-mast. From a contemporary newspaper account we learn that the bells in St. James's Cathedral, which were muffled, began pealing a little before midnight of the night previous, and continued to play a mournful requiem till the body was committed to its last resting place. The solemn music of the bells had a very peculiar effect, being unlike anything of the kind that had ever been heard in Toronto; and all who listened to their mournful notes felt the sadness of the event which had occasioned them. The members of the various literary and benevolent societies, the Law Society, and the Senate, graduates and under-graduates of the University of Toronto; the provost, professors, graduates and under-graduates of Trinity and Victoria Colleges, and the masters and students of Upper Canada College took part in the procession. The professors and graduates were clothed in academical costume, and wore mourning badges on the left arm. In accordance with a previous arrangement the streets along which the funeral procession passed were lined with troops. As the mournful procession moved along the troops reversed their arms, and the spectators uncovered their heads, and in every manner possible showed their great respect for the memory of the first Bishop of Toronto.

He was buried beneath the chancel, in front of the large window in the north end of the Cathedral. Pg 115

There is little necessity for any elaborate summing-up of Bishop Strachan's career. His attributes and personality have been sufficiently indicated in the foregoing pages, which have been written with a conscientious desire to do justice alike to his own memory and to that of those persons who differed from him in their views of life. He was a man by no means devoid of human frailties, and there were points in his character which savoured more of the politician than of the ecclesiastic. That his Christianity was sincere, however, and that his Churchmanship was zealous, are facts which no one who is intimately acquainted with the facts of his long life will venture to doubt. His memory is justly regarded with the reverence due to strength of mind, unflinching courage, and lifelong devotion to his principles. He lived through a critical period in the history of the Church of England in Upper Canada, and took a foremost part in all questions affecting its welfare. The issues for which he fought so valiantly have been finally settled, and can never again arise to disturb the peace of the community. Partly for this reason, and partly because, with all his massive force of character, he was not inherently a great man, the interest which is still felt in his great name in not destined, we think, to be abiding. In his day and generation he exerted a mighty influence upon both our civil and ecclesiastical polity; but that influence we believe to be for an age only, and not for all time.


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The late Hon. Réné Edouard Caron was a fine type of the manly and straightforward politician. His public life was marked by that earnestness of purpose and zealous effort which are inseparable from those whose hearts are in their work, and though his career was not characterized by any very great display, it shed a somewhat conspicuous light on the history of the period wherein he played no unimportant part. All through his life he preserved those principles of honour and integrity, and that love of nationality, which his contemporaries recognized and respected from the beginning to the close of his career. He was the founder of the school of moderate politicians, and has left a blameless record behind him which is full of suggestion and value to the generation which has come after him. He was born in the parish of Ste. Anne, Côte de Beaupré, in the year 1800, and his father, Augustin Caron, was a well-to-do farmer who represented the old county of Northumberland twice in the Parliament of Lower Canada. Réné Edouard was educated first at the College of St. Pierre, Rivière du Sud, and subsequently at the Seminary of Quebec, where he diligently cultivated an acquaintance with the classics. Ending his studies in 1821 he entered the law office of André Hamel, and five years afterwards was called to the Bar of his native Province. Of pleasing address and affable manners, he soon secured a large and lucrative practice. Opportunely for him, the Bar of Lower Canada was at this stage of his career almost depleted of its famous men, and the rising young lawyer soon found himself surrounded by an influential and increasing class of clients. In 1832 be sought civic honours, and was returned a member of the City Council. In March, 1834, he was chosen Mayor of Quebec, which distinguished position he held uninterruptedly until 1837, when the city's Act of incorporation expired by limitation. In the same year that he was made Mayor, he was elected by acclamation as the representative of Upper Town in the House of Assembly. In 1836 M. Caron incurred the displeasure of the fiery and impetuous Papineau, because in a moderate and carefully worded speech he deprecated the attitude of the great French leader in pressing the claims of his people with such persistence and haste on the British Government. He counselled patience on the part of his countrymen, and asked them to await the English project for the amelioration of their condition, before resorting to measures which he could not help regarding as extreme. As might have been expected, these remarks from one of the youngest and most inexperienced members of the House, aimed directly as they were at the man who was so prominently identified with the popular movement which culminated in the Rebellion, Pg 117 created the intensest excitement. M. Papineau, totally unmindful of his duties—for he was Speaker at the time—and in great rage, poured the vials of his savage invective on young Caron with such telling effect, that inside and outside of the walls of Parliament the air rang with the plaudits of the populace, and nearly all Quebec lifted up its voice in praise of the Liberator who, ever regardless of time and place, maintained their interests against the attacks and criticisms of all. In a body, large numbers of the electors called on Papineau and publicly thanked him for the rating he had administered to their representative. Stung to the quick by this act of folly, the young Deputy arose in his place in the Assembly, and after a speech of impassioned eloquence, in which he rebuked the Speaker, and held the electors of his constituency up to ridicule, he resigned his seat and retired from a House which had, in his opinion, attempted to thwart liberty of action and to stifle free speech. M. Caron's part in the insurrection which broke out in the following year was not a showy one, but it was full of humanity and merciful intention. He used all the influence he possessed with the authorities on behalf of those who had taken up arms against the Crown. By Royal Mandamus the Earl of Gosford summoned him to a seat in the Legislative Council of Lower Canada, but the union being formed shortly afterwards, he had no opportunity of enjoying the honour. On Quebec's receiving a fresh Act of Incorporation, M. Caron was appointed Mayor of the city for two years by Lord Sydenham, and when the office became elective he was regularly returned until the year 1846. At the union he took his seat in the Legislative Council. His was the first French-Canadian name on the roll of membership, which embraced some of the ablest spirits in the country. From 1843 to 1847 he was Speaker of this branch of the Legislature, and after the office was made political, May 18th, 1847, and Mr. McGill had filled it for nearly a year, M. Caron was once more installed as Speaker, and continued in the enjoyment of the office until 1853, holding also a conspicuous place in the Lafontaine and Hincks Administration. In the last year he was created a Judge of the Superior Court of Quebec, and later on a Judge of the Court of Queen's Bench; and in 1859 he became one of the Codifiers of the Civil Laws of Lower Canada, together with Messrs. Morin and Day. This work he entered upon with great satisfaction, and the Government of the day soon found that in the choice of the Board of Commissioners a most judicious selection had been made. The codified laws were adopted by the Chamber in 1866, and on the 1st of August they were published in both languages.

On the 11th of February, 1873, Judge Caron succeeded Sir N. F. Belleau as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec—a position which he filled with moderation and capacity until his death, which occurred at Spencer Wood on the 13th of December, 1876.

Among the minor offices which M. Caron held was the Presidency of the St. Jean de Baptiste Society. His literary labours are confined to two interesting series of letters; first, the “Draper-Caron” correspondence in 1845, which afterwards became a sort of state paper, and second, the “Cayley-Caron” letters in 1847, in both of which he appeared to signal advantage, though nothing of value ever came out of them, however much had been expected. In 1828 M. Caron married Miss Josephine de Blois, of Quebec, a lady of fine culture, and a descendant of one of the oldest families in the Province.


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No man in public life in the Province was ever more highly respected and admired for his fine and sympathetic qualities, his integrity, high principle and administrative capacity than the late Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick. To write his biography is equivalent to writing the political and social history of New Brunswick for more than half a century, so closely identified is his name with the several interests of the colony. He belonged to the generation of statesmen of which the Partelows, Hazens, Wilmots and Streets are notable types. He was proud of his descent from the old Loyalist family of Chandlers, which left the United States in 1783, and settled in Nova Scotia, founding a little colony there. Joshua Chandler, the grandfather of the late Lieutenant-Governor, was an uncompromising Loyalist, and a member of the famous General Assembly of 1775. His son, Charles H. Chandler, was for many years High Sheriff of the county of Cumberland, Nova Scotia. Edward Barton Chandler was born at Amherst, N.S., in the year 1800, was educated there, and in 1822 was married to Miss P. W. Millidge, who was a member of one of the most prominent families in the country. In 1823 he was called to the Bar. In the fall of the same year he became Judge of Probates and Clerk of the Peace for the county of Westmoreland, and retained these offices until 1862. In 1827 he was elected to the New Brunswick Assembly, and sat for the constituency of Westmoreland from that year until 1836, when he was called to the Legislative Council. In 1833 he proceeded to England as the Provincial Delegate to secure for the Province the control of the casual and territorial revenues—a grant which was not made, however, until 1837. One result of the mission was the separation in 1834 of the Executive Council from the Provincial Upper House, and the formal constitution of the Legislative Council with nineteen members. In 1844 Mr. Chandler became an Executive Councillor, but he resigned in the spring of the following year along with Messrs. Hazen and Johnston, on the appointment of Mr. Alfred Reade (son-in-law of Lieutenant-Governor Colebrooke) to the post of Provincial Secretary of the Province, rendered vacant by the demise of the Hon. Mr. Odell. Mr. Chandler took the ground that the appointment could in no wise be defended, because Mr. Reade's “character, services and claims to preferment were unknown in this country.” The Lieutenant-Governor carried on the affairs of the Province for almost a year with but two or three members of Government. In February, 1846, the Cabinet was reconstructed, but it was not satisfactory in its personnel to the Liberals, who had united with certain of the Conservatives to depose Mr. Reade, and it was violently assailed by Mr. L. A. Pg 119 Wilmot and others. Mr. Chandler's excuse for going into the Government was based on the fact that the Reade matter had been disposed of, and was no longer likely to embarrass his colleagues, the Colonial Secretary having condemned and disallowed it. In 1848 Mr. Wilmot and Mr. Charles Fisher, both members of the Liberal party, went into the Conservative Government, to the consternation of their confreres, who were just beginning to take heart. Mr. Wilmot became Attorney-General, and Mr. Fisher went in without a portfolio. While some looked upon this movement of the two Liberal chiefs as a desirable step towards coalition, there were others who ranked it as a mere shuffle of the cards. The Government, after several reconstructions and changes, lasted until 1858, experiencing at different times the bitter attacks of the Liberals.

In 1850 Mr. Chandler was a delegate to Toronto with Mr. Howe, on the subject of the Intercolonial Railway. At this period in his career he was by all odds the most prominent public man in New Brunswick. He entered heartily into every great question, and spoke and worked with zeal and energy on all occasions. He early identified himself with the railway interests of the Province, and in the winter of 1852 went to Halifax to confer with the members of the Nova Scotia Government on the Intercolonial project. An agreement was resolved upon to build the road conjointly by the three Provinces, the line to run through the valley of the St. John. Later on in this year Mr. Chandler and Mr. (now Sir) F. Hincks proceeded to England to raise a loan from the Imperial Government. It was refused, however, on the ground that the road should be a military one, and that it should not be by the valley of the St. John. Mr. Chandler was much chagrined at this, but, nothing daunted, he approached the contracting firm of Jackson & Co., and accepted their offer to build all the railways New Brunswick might require for certain subsidies. From this arrangement sprang the European and North American line from St. John to Shediac. In 1854 Mr. Chandler went to Quebec to take part in the preliminary proceedings between the United States and the Provinces with regard to the formation of reciprocal relations between the two countries. In the same year he went to Washington to finally arrange the terms of the treaty, and in 1864 he was an active member of the Charlottetown, P.E.I., Convention on the subject of the Union of the Maritime Provinces. He was also selected as one of the New Brunswick delegates to the Quebec Conference in September of the same year. In 1866 he sailed for London to complete the terms of Confederation. The year 1867 saw him nominated a member of the Canadian Senate by Royal Proclamation—a position, however, which he declined. From 1867 until 1869 he was a member of the Local Government of New Brunswick, and on being appointed in the latter year a Commissioner of the Intercolonial Railway, he resigned his seat in the Executive. Again in this year he declined a senatorship. In July, 1878, on the termination of the gubernatorial career of the Hon. (now Sir) S. L. Tilley, Mr. Chandler was appointed to the office of Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick—a position which he continued to hold until the time of his death. In politics he was a Conservative, and for years was a prominent member of the old “Family Compact Party.” He died on the 6th of February, 1880, of a severe attack of bronchitis.


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Elsewhere in this series will be found a sketch specially devoted to the life of William Hume Blake, the father of the subject of this memoir. From that sketch it will be seen that the present representative of West Durham was born at a place then called Bear Creek, near the present site of the village which is now variously known by the respective names of Cairngorm, Mount Hope, and Katesville, in the township of Adelaide, in the county of Middlesex, Upper Canada, on the 13th of October, 1833. He was christened Dominick Edward, after his paternal grandfather; but the first part of this name has long since been practically discarded, and for many years past he has been known simply as Edward Blake. The circumstances under which his father came to remove from his rural abode in Middlesex to the capital of the Province, when his eldest son was only a few months old, are fully detailed in the sketch above referred to; which sketch should be read in connection with the present one, as the life and character of the father have had an important influence upon those of the son.

Edward Blake
Edward Blake.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by Notman & Fraser

Notwithstanding much that has been written to the contrary, the childhood and early youth of Edward Blake were marked by several distinguishing features. He acquired the rudiments of education at a very early age, and from that time forward became an indefatigable reader, who devoured with avidity whatever literary productions came in his way, and whose regular studies occupied and required but a very small portion of his time. It has been recorded in several sketches of his life that the principal part of his early education was derived from his father. This is true only in a very restricted sense. During the childhood of Edward Blake the life of his father was an exceptionally busy one. He was a man who was fond of his profession, and who found plenty of work to do, both in the way of his profession and in political life. He had, consequently, but scant leisure for imparting rudimentary education to his children. It is true that he was a devoted father, and took great interest in their studies, for which he took care to make ample provision; but his share in their actual teaching, on week-days, chiefly consisted in hearing their Latin lessons, and this was generally done while making his morning toilet. The lessons so imparted were frequently supplemented on Sunday evenings by his hearing them read aloud from the Scriptures, from the sacred poets, and from other works suitable to the occasion. These lessons were by no means barren of results. The children so taught soon became proficient in the more important parts of elocution, and acquired habits of correct and graceful reading which have accompanied them through life. But for the general course of their education they Pg 121were mainly indebted to private tuition. The family lived at Woodlawn, on Yonge street, a pleasant suburban residence situated a short distance north of Toronto, and now occupied by Mr. Justice Morrison. Hither repaired, on several days of each week, a tutor specially engaged for the purpose. One of the earliest of the tutors so engaged was Mr. Courtenay, a gentleman well known in Toronto, a few years since, as a judicious and successful instructor of youth. Mr. Courtenay was, in process of time, succeeded respectively by Messrs. Wedd and Brown, both of whom subsequently became, and now are teachers in Upper Canada College. Edward Blake's attendance at this well known seat of learning began when he was about eleven years of age, by which time, though he was not what is generally called studious, he had read and digested a greater number of books than many men of mature age have found time to get through in the course of there lives. His reading, as has already been intimated, had been in a great measure desultory; but his taste, even at that age, was remarkably good, and he had amassed a fund of useful knowledge much greater than is commonly possessed by lads of his age. For the mere course of study embodied in the College curriculum he had no great predilection, though he always knew his lessons, and stood creditably in his class. He was endowed with a remarkable memory, and when he gave his mind to a set task, could master it in a third of the time required by most of his boyish competitors. It was no uncommon occurrence, when the family were seated around the domestic hearth of an evening, for him to announce that he had learned his lessons for the following day, and that he was ready to read aloud from some work in which he was interested. This he was generally encouraged to do, as it was found that whatever he read aloud was well worth listening to. His criticisms on what he read frequently aroused interesting and instructive discussions among the elders of the family. His memory was a perpetual source of remark. He was wont to astonish the family circle by recounting passages which he had met with in the course of his multifarious reading; passages in which all the family had once been as much interested as himself, but which every one but he had entirely forgotten. In a word, to everyone who knew him, Edward Blake, even in those early days, gave premonitions of the distinction which in later times he was destined to achieve. It was impossible to be long in his company without recognizing the fact that he was no common boy. He had a vivid and brilliant imagination, was passionately fond of poetry, and was even somewhat addicted to poetical composition on his own account. The severe studies and labours incidental to the staid profession to which his maturer years have been devoted have, doubtless, long since quenched this propensity; but there are passages in the speeches and addresses delivered by him on various occasions which display a high degree of poetical inspiration. A gentleman now living in Toronto, who is a good judge of poetry, and a sound critic in literary matters generally, remembers to have seen a copy of verses written by Edward Blake in his schoolboy days. They evinced such genuine poetic feeling, and were altogether so different from the moonings of most youths afflicted with a propensity for rhyming, that the gentleman suggested to the young poet's mother that the taste ought not to be repressed, but assiduously cultivated. It does not appear that any attempt was ever made by his parents to interfere with this propensity, either one way or the other. It is not easy, however, to believe that a man constituted like Edward Blake could ever have made poetry the main purpose of his life. He was born for other things, and there is noPg 122 reason for believing that his country has sustained any loss from his abandonment of what was once a favourite recreation, for the more active arena of law and politics. It is a much more desirable thing to be the foremost lawyer at the Equity Bar of his native Province, and to attain high distinction as a statesman and legislator, than to be the author of a third-rate epic.

His father's business pursuits had meanwhile rendered it necessary for the family to remove to town, and they lived on the southwest corner of Wellington and Bay streets, on the site now occupied by the commercial establishment of Messrs. Wyld, Brock & Darling. This afforded facilities to young Edward for indulging a fondness for boating, in which amusement both he and his brother Samuel, the present Vice-Chancellor, were wont to spend a good many of their leisure hours. Shortly after the completion of Edward's fourteenth year, his father paid a visit to his native land, and afterwards extended the trip to the continent Much to his delight, Master Edward was permitted to accompany his father on this journey, and to taste the delights of foreign travel. They visited Paris, and while there the delights were intermingled with a certain degree of danger, for the time was an exciting one in the French capital, alike for visitors and permanent residents. It was the time when Red Republicanism was rampant, and when Louis Philippe—after resisting the determined struggle of his subjects for electoral reform as long as resistance was possible—finally abdicated the throne, and, under the name of William Smith, fled ingloriously from his capital in a hackney cab. The visit of the Blakes took place just before the breaking out of the June insurrection of 1848, which resulted in the establishment of the Republic under the Presidency of Louis Napoleon. It is needless to say that the visitors kept out of the turmoil and excitement to the utmost of their power, wearing the tricolour whenever they appeared on the streets; but they were, notwithstanding, brought face to face with many turbulent scenes which were not pleasant to witness. The entire journey, which was confined to Great Britain and the more northerly parts of the continent, occupied somewhat more than a year. It was soon after his return home that Edward Blake first became a really hard student, in the ordinary sense of the term. He resumed his attendance at Upper Canada College. He worked early and late, with a fervour of application which knew no weariness, and which made him a man in intellect long before he was a man in years. He was a successful competitor for the Governor-General's prize, upon which occasion he was warmly complimented by Lord Elgin. Soon after leaving Upper Canada College he matriculated at the University of Toronto, and in due course graduated as B.A. Both his own inclinations and those of his father had always led him to look upon the legal profession as his future calling. He was accordingly articled to Mr. Alexander Macdonnell, a former partner of his father's, and the senior member of the firm of A. & J. Macdonnell. Upon the expiration of his articles he was admitted as an attorney in Trinity Term, 1856, and during the following Michaelmas Term he was called to the Bar. In the autumn of 1856 he opened an office and began to practise as an attorney and solicitor. His triumphs as a barrister were still in the future. For a short time he carried on business alone, but in a few months he entered into partnership with Mr. Stephen Maule Jarvis, the style of the firm being “Jarvis & Blake.” This partnership lasted about a year, after which he practised alone until 1859, when he formed a partnership with his younger brother, Samuel Hume Blake, already referred to, who had just been admitted as an attorney and solicitor. Pg 123 This firm, under various modifications, continued in existence until the month of December, 1872, when Mr. S. H. Blake accepted a seat on the Judicial Bench as Vice-Chancellor. Various gentlemen had meanwhile from time to time been admitted as partners, and the firm had been carried on under the styles of “E. & S. H. Blake,” “Blake, Cawthra & Blake,” “Blake, Kerr & Wells,” and “Blake, Kerr & Boyd.” The present style of the firm is “Blake, Kerr, Boyd & Cassels.”

Edward Blake's studies during the term of his articles had been pursued with a special eye to future practice in the Court of Chancery. Only a few years had elapsed since the remodelling of that Court. A knowledge of its practice was by no means widely diffused among professional men, being confined almost exclusively to a few legal firms in Toronto. Edward Blake gave his whole mind to the principles and practice of Equity, and had not been long in business on his own account before his time way fully employed. In 1858 he received his degree of M. A. from his alma mater. About the same time he married Miss Margaret Cronyn, of London, a daughter of the late Right Reverend John Cronyn, Lord Bishop of the Diocese of Huron. There can be no doubt that the name which he had inherited was of great service in attracting business in those days, but he did not long stand in need of any adventitious aids. His own industry and ability soon made him a marked man in his profession, and by the time the partnership with his brother was formed he had secured a large and remunerative business. For a man of such great and manifest capacity he was at first singularly distrustful of his own powers. During the early years of his professional career he did not even hold his own briefs. There were several professional gentlemen in Toronto who had already reached high eminence as Equity Counsel. Mr. Mowat, the present Premier of Ontario, the late Mr. John Roaf, and Mr. S. H. Strong, now one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, had the advantage of Edward Blake in point of time, and were the acknowledged leaders of the Equity Bar. To one of these his briefs were generally assigned. But this state of things was not of long continuance. He had a boundless capacity for hard work, and severe intellectual labour during eighteen hours out of the twenty-four seemed to be without any injurious effect upon his constitution. He began to hold briefs, generally as second counsel to one of the gentlemen above named. He soon did justice to himself, and except in cases of great importance was able to dispense with assistance. It was soon noticed that he was particularly effective in reply, and in the cross-examination of adverse witnesses. These qualities have steadily grown with his increasing years, and he has long been known for the most expert cross-examiner the Bar of Canada has ever produced. His ability in this way is as perceptible in repression as in exercise, and in extracting evidence from a reluctant witness he has the important faculty of knowing—what few know—precisely where to stop. His pre-eminence in cross-examination is so well recognized that he has repeatedly been employed in Common Law cases for the sole purpose of breaking down adverse evidence; and this is the more noteworthy from the fact that he has personally given little attention to the Common Law branch of jurisprudence. In his conduct of a long and searching cross-examination, nothing is more noticeable than his prodigious memory. He recollects every minute little side issue, and by this means has frequently brought discomfiture to an untruthful witness. Little insignificant matters of detail, such as few, counsel would think it worth while to burden their memories with, are as carefully noted by him as matters of seemingly muchPg 124 greater importance. His mental vision seems to be microscopic, and nothing escapes him. These characteristics are as noticeable in him at the present day as they were in the early days of his professional practice.

The growth of his practice has been commensurate with the growth of his reputation, but he had been at least four or five years at the Bar before anyone except his most intimate friends knew how much there was in him. One quality which perhaps did more than anything else to establish his reputation was his perfect mastery of the strong points in the cases of his adversaries. There are men of high reputation at the Canadian Bar at the present day who frequently fail in doing justice to their clients from want of attention to this important matter. This is more especially the case with young and brilliant lawyers, who are almost certain to err from self-confidence. Edward Blake followed in his father's footsteps, and, having first mastered the salient points of his own case, gave his whole mind to the strength of his opponent's side. By this means he was never taken at a disadvantage, and when what is professionally known as “a surprise” was attempted to be sprung upon him he was always found fully prepared—the surprise being generally relegated to his opponent.

The history of Edward Blake's professional career is a continual round of successes. In 1864 he was appointed a Queen's Counsel, having for some time previously been an examiner and lecturer in Equity to the Law Society. As the years flew by, and his position became more and more fully assured, he was retained in every important case which came before the Court in which his splendid abilities had been so unmistakably displayed. Meanwhile the business of the firm of which he was senior partner had grown to enormous proportions. Partners varying in number at different times from four to six together with a numerous staff of clerks, were found barely sufficient to keep pace with the great and ever increasing grist that came to the legal mill. The agency business alone became of such dimensions as to engross the full time of two of the partners and of half-a-dozen assistants. The entire practice was carefully systematized, each partner taking charge of the special department for which he was best fitted. It is perhaps unnecessary to say, after what has been premised, that the lion's share of the heavy counsel work devolved upon the senior partner. Nor were his briefs in any instance a sinecure. They always involved a large amount of hard work. In this country we have not yet arrived at the state of affairs which prevails in England, where a particularly eminent counsel is frequently retained with no expectation or intention that he shall ever open his brief, but for the sole purpose of closing his mouth on the other side. Edward Blake was retained in consequence of what he was expected to do, and not because it was desired that he should simply be silent. Of course the steadily increasing number of retainers involved a corresponding increase in the amount of work to be done. In 1867 an additional burden was imposed upon him. He had up to this time devoted his energies exclusively to his profession, and had neither taken any active part in public affairs nor given much attention to them. Frequent attempts had been made to induce him to enter political life, but without success. During the early months of the year last named, the Reform party having become somewhat disorganized, felt the urgent need of the services of an exceptionally capable man in its front ranks, and overtures were once more made to Mr. Blake to enrol himself in the public service. The emergency was great, and the overtures were pressing. After careful consideration, and some inward reluctance, he consented.

Although he had never hitherto been aPg 125 politician, he was no mere tyro in politics. He was a constitutional lawyer of wide and various reading, and had inherited from his father certain fixed principles. It cannot be said that his father had bestowed upon him any actual political training, but he had taught him the history of this country, and of those great issues which were fought out in former generations. There could be no question as to what side would be espoused by the son of William Hume Blake. Upon announcing his intention to enter public life he was elected as member of the House of Commons by West Durham, the constituency which he now represents, while the electors of South Bruce returned him for the Local Legislature. Those were the days of dual representation, and as there was no objection to such a course he announced his determination to sit for both constituencies, stipulating only that his constant attendance in the House of Commons should not be exacted by the Riding which had chosen him as its representative there. In the Ontario Legislature his attendance was as regular and constant as was that of any member of the House, which met at Toronto on the 27th of December. By many members of the Reform party throughout the Province it was desired that Mr. Blake should take the leadership of the Opposition, but as Mr. Archibald McKellar had a seat in the House, and as his long services to his party and his prominent position alike seemed to point to him as the most fitting person for that position, it was conferred upon him. After filling it for two years, Mr. McKellar, who had meanwhile enjoyed the advantage of Mr. Blake's advice and assistance, resigned the leadership in the latter's favour. Mr. Blake thenceforward became leader of the Opposition.

A short time before, he had been offered the position of Chancellor of Ontario, which had become vacant by the death of the Hon. P. M. M. S. Vankoughnet. This office, flattering as it was to a man of only thirty-four years of age, he had declined. For this course there were abundantly good reasons. The emoluments of the office would not have been much more than a third of Mr. Blake's receipts from his professional labours. Apart from purely personal considerations, he felt that his services were imperatively needed by his country. He continued to act as leader of the Opposition for about eighteen months, during which time he made as conspicuous a mark as a Parliamentary debater as he had previously made at the Bar. By no one was he regarded as a mere politician. He was evidently a statesman, whose solicitude for his country's welfare was infinitely greater than his desire for the success of any political party. His whole Parliamentary career was a convincing proof that, in the words of a recent critic, “To think freely and see both sides of all questions is a mark of superior intellect which honourably distinguishes Mr. Blake from the factious narrowness or humble fidelity of some of his rivals.”6 Another appreciative critic, referring to his early career in the Local Legislature, has recorded that “It was soon seen that in the Legislative Assembly he had no equal in legal knowledge, in a capacity for discussing constitutional questions, or in debating power. In the face of heavy odds and the recreancy of many who had been elected by professions of attachment to Reform principles, a vigorous body of some twenty-five members was kept well together, and was able by its energy and intelligence powerfully to influence the course of legislation. Meantime, as session after session passed by, resolutions framed with consummate skill were placed upon the journals, to be voted down by a confident majority it is true, but presenting, when the time came, a clear and distinctPg 126 issue between the two parties whereby to test the judgment of the country.”7

The result of the local elections for Ontario, held in March, 1871, was the loss to John Sandfield Macdonald's Coalition Government of many of its former supporters. Mr. Blake was reëlected by his constituents in South Bruce by a much greater majority than he had had in 1867. In West Durham he was elected for the Commons by acclamation. On the assembling of the Local House towards the close of the year, he determined to test the strength of the rival parties, and moved an important series of amendments to the Address. The debate which followed extended over two days, when a vote was taken, and Mr. Blake's amendment was supported by a majority of two. A day or two afterwards Mr. Mackenzie moved a direct vote of want of confidence in the Ministry. Mr. Blake supported this motion in a long and powerful speech in which he reviewed the conduct of the Administration, and wound up by an appeal to the Ministers not to obstruct the legislation of the country by prolonging an inglorious and hopeless contest for office. The vote on this motion was 37 to 36. The Hon. E. B. Wood, the present Chief Justice of Manitoba, who held the post of Treasurer, responded to Mr. Blake's appeal by a prompt resignation. The other Ministers still clung to office until the 19th of December, when, a resolution formally demanding their dismissal having been carried by a vote of 45 to 26, they resigned. Mr. Blake was accordingly sent for by the Lieutenant-Governor, and on the following day it was announced that he had succeeded in forming a Ministry.

Mr. Blake thus, contrary to his inclinations, became Premier of Ontario, a position, however, which he retained only a few months. The combined labours incidental to his professional and parliamentary career had proved too great, even for his constitution, and he felt the imperative need of rest. It was only because he felt how greatly his services were needed by the country that he consented to hold office. He felt both unable and unwilling to go through the drudgery incidental to a regular department, and determined to hold office without portfolio. He therefore became President of the Council, without salary. By this step the membership of the Ministry was increased to six, instead of five. An attempt was made to discredit the new Ministry on this score, which attempt signally failed, and Mr. Blake, on returning to his constituency for reëlection, had a walk over. His ministry enjoyed a fair measure of support, although the House had been elected under the auspices of the defeated Government, and many important measures were added to the Statute-book during the progress of the ensuing session. Soon after its close Mr. Blake took a trip to Europe for the benefit of his health, which was much improved by change of air and relief from work. He returned to Canada during the following autumn, and soon afterwards resigned both his office and his seat in the Ontario House, as he intended to take his seat in the Commons upon the assembling of that body; and the Act against dual representation had meanwhile come into force.

In the House of Commons Mr. Blake also took the part to which his abilities and position entitled him. “At Ottawa, no less than at Toronto,” says the writer last quoted from, “Mr. Blake stepped at once into the very front ranks of his party. Men who had for years stood high in the political world gladly welcomed him to a place beside them, and recognized the power with which he grappled with the various questions that came on for consideration.” He declined to take the nominal leadership of the Opposition, Pg 127 which post was filled by Mr. Mackenzie, but his services were of incalculable value to his party, and his speeches were looked forward to as emphatically the speeches of the session. His reply to Sir John A. Macdonald during the debate on the Pacific Scandal, in 1873, has been pronounced one of the most effective speeches ever heard within the walls of a Canadian Parliament.

Upon the formation of Mr. Mackenzie's Cabinet, after the fall of Sir John Macdonald's Ministry in November, 1873, Mr. Blake became a member of the new Administration, but without portfolio or official salary. It was again from a sense of duty, and at the urgent solicitation of his political allies, that he consented even to this qualified acceptance of a membership in the Ministry. He felt that he had overtaxed his powers, and that rest was no longer a matter of choice but of necessity. It was urged, however, that his name would lend great strength to the Administration, that he would not be called upon to perform any duties, and that even this arrangement need only be temporary. He accordingly held office for about three months, by which time it was apparent that the Government enjoyed a large support in the House, and was in no danger of defeat. On the 13th of February, 1874, he resigned his seat in the Cabinet. He had been sworn of the Privy Council on the 7th of the previous November. Meanwhile he continued to represent South Bruce, where all efforts to oust him were found ineffectual. On returning for reëlection after accepting office towards the close of 1873, he had been elected by acclamation. Early in the following year he had been returned by a very large majority, and his political opponents almost began to regard South Bruce as a close borough. Another visit to Europe tended to the further re-establishment of his health. On the 19th of May, 1875, he once more accepted office under Mr. Mackenzie by taking the portfolio of Minister of Justice. During the following year, at the request of Lord Carnarvon, Colonial Secretary in the Imperial Cabinet, he proceeded to England to confer with the Home Government respecting the extradition of criminals between Canada and the United States. Another object of his mission was to confer and report with reference to maritime jurisdiction upon inland waters. The result of the conference was embodied in a Blue Book, and submitted to the House in the following session, when an Act, drawn by him, was passed, which added a good many to the number of extraditable offences. The Act has not yet come into operation, Great Britain and the United States not having arrived at a permanent arrangement of the various questions in dispute. Mr. Blake retained the portfolio of Minister of Justice until June 8th, 1877, when, owing to his health having again become precarious, he resigned, and became President of the Privy Council. It was hoped that by taking this step, and by freeing himself from all other work, his health might be thoroughly and permanently re-established. For some time subsequently, he took no conspicuous part in public affairs, and it was said by some persons, who professed to know whereof they affirmed, that his supineness was due not so much to his ill-health as to serious differences with some of his political allies. This assertion was directly negatived by Mr. Mackenzie in the House of Commons, who, when making the explanation usually made respecting important changes in the composition of the Ministry, declared that Mr. Blake, at the time of his withdrawal from the Government, had been in perfect accord with his colleagues on all questions of public policy. It may be added that Mr. Blake's own remarks to his constituents at Bowmanville in November last, are confirmatory of Mr. Mackenzie's declaration.

To enumerate the various Acts which Mr. Pg 128 Blake has been instrumental in passing during his legislative career would occupy much space, and is not specially called for in a general sketch like the present. Of his political views generally a pretty accurate estimate may be formed from the following summary, compiled from his public utterances at different times. He advocates the maintenance of Canada's connection with the mother country, but does not believe that such connection, as it at present exists, is likely to be permanent. He has plainly intimated his belief that, as the child grows into the man, so the State will come to maturity, and that notwithstanding the enormous difficulties which surround the scheme, there is a possibility and hope of reorganizing the Empire on a Federal basis, so as to reconcile British connection with British freedom. He advocates the cultivation of a national spirit, and regards such cultivation as necessary to the success of Confederation. Political progress he regards as essential to political vitality, and advocates the fullest freedom of discussion on all topics affecting the public interest. He believes in extending the franchise, and making its exercise compulsory. The franchise, he maintains, is not merely a right, but a trust, and the wilful neglect to exercise it should be followed by temporary or total disfranchisement. He supports the adoption of a system of proportional representation, whereby, among other desirable improvements, the strength of the various opinions held by the people may be more nearly represented in Parliament than they are under the present system. He disapproves of the appointment of life Senators, and advocates their periodical election by the different Provinces. Believing that the future of Canada depends very largely on the development of the great North-West, he advocates the construction, as rapidly as the resources of the country will permit, of the sections of the Pacific Railway necessary for communication between that country and our interior seaboard, in conjunction with an extensive scheme of exploration and colonization. He is a champion of Free Trade, and of course disapproves of the National Policy.

At the general election held on the 17th of September, 1878, Mr. Blake was for the first time defeated in South Bruce, his successful opponent being Mr. Shaw, barrister, a resident of the Riding. His election by acclamation for his old constituency of West Durham, in the month of November last, and his speech to the electors on that occasion, are still fresh in the minds of us all. He has since taken his seat in the House, and has given evidence that the old fire has not departed from him.

Mr. Blake is essentially a Canadian statesman, who has both the will and the power to do much for our new nationality. Though an ardent supporter of the party to which he belongs, his intellectual vision, as has already been explained, is far too wide and comprehensive in its swoop to be confined within the narrow limits of any party. Unlike some of his coadjutors, his character, independently of his intellectual powers, inspires a high degree of personal respect, even in the minds of those most vehemently opposed to him; and in expressing the hope that a long and useful public career is still before him we believe that we express the common sentiment of the Canadian people. Should his life be spared, and should the promise of his youth and early manhood be borne out by the fulfilment of his mature age, he will leave a name behind him at least as great as is any to be found on the page of Canadian political history.

Isaac Brock
Sir Isaac Brock.


Pg 129


The name of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock is one of the most illustrious in our colonial annals, and is deservedly held in grateful and affectionate remembrance by the people of Canada. By dwellers in this Upper Province especially is his name a familiar and an honoured one; for it was here that the most memorable scenes in his life were enacted, and that the greenest of his laurels were won. It was here that he achieved those deeds of valour which have been commemorated by costly monuments on both sides of the Atlantic, and which have gained for him an imperishable name upon the page of history. It was here that, after arduous and chivalrous service in the council-chamber and in the field, he yielded up his life in his country's cause, almost with his latest breath cheering on his troops to repel the advance of an invading foe. It would be hard to over-estimate the value of his services to our forefathers, and (by consequence) to ourselves. He came to this country when not far past the hey-day of his youth. He found an army and a people divided by opposing elements of dissatisfaction; desertions from the army a matter of almost daily occurrence; public patriotism lukewarm or dead; weakness and disaffection everywhere. By the bright example of his own life, by unceasing watchfulness and vigilance, and by the exercise of a general prudence and good judgment such as were not to be expected from one of his years, he succeeded in reconciling hostile factions, and in infusing into the breasts of both the people and the army a patriotic fervour which preserved Canada from falling—at least for a time—into the hands of a grasping and formidable enemy. These constitute the chief of his claims to our regard, and they are claims which we have neither the right nor the inclination to forget.

He was one of a numerous family, and was born in the parish of St. Peter-Port, in the Island of Guernsey, on the 6th of October, 1769. The family of Brock is of Saxon origin, but had been settled in Guernsey for nearly two hundred years before his birth, during which time successive generations accumulated considerable property, and had become prominent among the families of the island. There was nothing to specially distinguish his boyhood from that of other men, except that he was more than ordinarily robust in constitution and frame. He attended school at Southampton for about eighteen months, after which he was sent to Rotterdam, in Holland, and placed under the charge of a French Protestant clergyman, by whom, in the course of about a twelvemonth, he was taught to read and speak the French language with considerable facility. On the 2nd of March, 1785, when he was in his sixteenth year, his family purchased for him an ensigncy in the 8th Regiment. He joined at once, and duringPg 130 the next five years was quartered with his regiment in various English towns. He was too young at the time of entering the army for his education to be by any means thorough; but, feeling sensible of his shortcomings, he devoted much of his spare time to study, and added considerably to his stock of knowledge. In 1790 he was promoted to a lieutenancy, and in the course of the same year obtained an independent company, and was put on half-pay. Early in 1791 he exchanged into the 49th Regiment, which he joined at Barbadoes. The regiment was shortly afterwards removed to Jamaica, whither he accompanied it, and remained until 1793, when his health began to suffer from the pestilential climate, and he was compelled to return to England on sick leave. We next find him engaged in the recruiting service in England, and afterwards in the Island of Jersey. On June 24th, 1795, he purchased his majority. Next year his regiment returned from Jamaica, and on the 25th of October, 1797, he purchased his lieutenant-colonelcy, and soon after became senior lieutenant-colonel of the 49th. In consequence of the unusual rapidity of his promotion he was regarded as one of the most fortunate officers in the service.

Erelong he had an opportunity of showing his mettle. The 49th formed part of the force despatched by Great Britain to Holland under Sir Ralph Abercromby, in August, 1799. Throughout this expedition young Brock distinguished himself by his judicious conduct on various occasions, and by several exhibitions of personal bravery. He was wounded, but not seriously, at the battle of Egmont-op-Zee, which was fought on the 2nd of October in the last mentioned year. On the return of the expedition, the 49th was again quartered in Jersey until the spring of 1801, when it was despatched with the fleet for the Baltic under the command of Sir Hyde Parker. Brock took part in the attack on Copenhagen, and at its close he went on board Lord Nelson's flag-ship, and saw the great naval hero write his well-known letter to the Crown Prince of Denmark. The 49th returned to England the same year, and in the following spring was despatched to Canada, where it took up its headquarters at York—now Toronto. A part of the regiment was shortly afterwards placed in garrison at Fort George, under the command of the junior lieutenant-colonel. Here a plot was formed, the origin of which is a matter of some dispute. It seems tolerably clear, however, that the young officer in charge was deficient in tact, and did not understand the management of his men, whom he exasperated by a series of petty annoyances. Whatever may have been the exciting cause, the latter formed a conspiracy to imprison or murder their officer, abandon the garrison, and escape across the river into the United States. The manner of the conspirators was such as to arouse the suspicion of the officer, who wrote to Brock, at York, on the subject. Upon receiving the intelligence the latter at once betook himself to Fort George, where by the promptitude of his measures he soon discovered the whole plot, and arrested the ringleaders, who were tried by a court-martial, found guilty, and shot, at Quebec. Brock was directed to take the command at Fort George, which he did, and soon converted the garrison from a condition of moodiness and discontent into one of cheerful obedience and subordination.

In the month of October, 1805, he became full colonel, and having obtained a year's leave of absence he sailed for England. He had been desirous of making this voyage for some months past, as, apart from his natural wish to visit the home of his boyhood, he was anxious to submit to the Duke of York, who was Commander-in-Chief of the British army, a scheme for the formation of a veteran battalion for service in the Canadas. He conceived that the formationPg 131 of such a battalion would have a most beneficial effect upon the spirit and discipline of the regiments quartered in Canada, where, owing to their proximity to a foreign country, and to the continual inducements held out to them by emissaries from across the lines, the troops were subjected to strong temptations to desert. Early in January he submitted his scheme, and on the 17th of that month he received His Royal Highness's thanks for the suggestion, accompanied by an assurance that it should be taken into consideration. In the early summer, owing to the threatening aspect of affairs in the United States, and the possibility of an invasion of Canada, he determined not to take full advantage of his year's leave of absence, but to return at once to where his services might erelong be urgently needed. On the 26th of June, 1806, he bade farewell to his friends, and sailed for Quebec. He was destined never to see them again.

On the 27th of September, upon the resignation of Colonel Bowes, the command of the military forces in Canada devolved upon Colonel Brock, who took up his quarters at Quebec. He erected a battery there which for some time bore his name, but which was subsequently called “The King's Battery.” Upon the arrival of Sir James Craig, the Governor-General, in October, 1807, Brock was appointed to act as Brigadier, and the appointment was subsequently confirmed by the King, to date from July 2nd, 1808. In August, 1810, he was succeeded as commander at Quebec by the Baron de Rottenburg, and within a fortnight thereafter Brock proceeded to the Upper Province, where he took up his quarters at Fort George, but spent a considerable part of his time at York, the capital of the Province. Meanwhile the prospect across the line had grown more and more threatening, and there was constant expectation of aggressive measures on the part of the United States. The whole course of President Madison's Administration was hostile to Great Britain. That Administration had been in treaty with Bonaparte's Government for some time back; and Madison was desirous of rendering his term of office specially conspicuous by the conquest of Canada. It was sufficiently evident that war must come sooner or later. This war it was the policy of Great Britain to avoid, or at all events to postpone, as her warlike enterprises on the continent of Europe demanded all the armaments and money at her disposal. The instructions to all Canadian officials of whatsoever degree were to studiously avoid giving the Republic any good ground of offence. The military forces in the Province were very small—too small, it might be supposed, to offer any effective resistance to foreign invasion by a powerful nation. The loyalty of many Upper Canadians was matter of grave question, and the Administration of Sir James Craig was decidedly unpopular with the French Canadians in the Lower Province, who were by no means to be depended upon in the event of a struggle. Such was the position of affairs when, on the 4th of June, 1811, Brock was promoted to a Major-Generalship. On the 19th of the same month Sir James Craig embarked for England, leaving the military forces in command of Lieutenant-General Drummond. Those forces consisted in all of 5,454 men, made up of 3,783 regular troops, 1,226 Fencibles, and 445 artillerymen. After an interregnum of nearly three months, Sir James was succeeded by Sir George Prevost, who had for several years previously been Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. On the 9th of October, in consequence of Lieutenant-Governor Gore having returned to England on leave, Major-General Brock, who was already in command of the troops, was appointed President and Administrator of the Government in the Upper Province. The Legislature met atPg 132 York on the 4th of February, 1812. The session was opened by an address from President Brock, in which the existing state of affairs in the Province was explained, and assurance was given of support from England in the event of war with the United States.

During the previous month of December, Brock had received a letter from an official at the Horse Guards, Whitehall, dated October 17th, in which was signified the Duke of York's willingness to accede to Brock's oft-repeated request for active employment in Europe. The Governor-General was authorized to instal some other competent officer in his place, and Major-General Sheaffe was suggested as a proper successor. A message of President Madison to Congress about this time, however, made it evident that war with the United States could not much longer be averted, and Brock had no disposition to go to Europe to find that employment which would soon be ready for him in Canada. Ever since his arrival in the Upper Province he had been making such preparations for a crisis as circumstances admitted of, and his vigorous measures were not diminished after the contents of this proclamation became known to him. He placed the Province in as complete a state of defence as the limited means at his disposal rendered possible; but his regular force in all did not exceed 1,500 men, and with such a force he was soon to be called upon to defend a frontier 1,300 miles in length, without a single well-appointed fortress from one end of it to the other.

At last, on the 18th of June, war was declared, and high military authorities emphatically declared their opinion that there was no possibility of maintaining the country. Brock, who was at York when news of the declaration reached him, was himself compelled to regard the issue as extremely doubtful, but he was hopeful of securing the co-operation of the people, and determined at all events to oppose a bold front to the enemy. He had long devoted himself to the task of conciliating the people generally, and at inspiring them with a proper feeling of patriotism. The militia of the Province was now called out, and instructed to march to the frontiers—a summons which was responded to more generally than even Brock had expected, as the season of harvest was near at hand, and cynics were wont to remark that Canadian farmers cared more for their crops than for the preservation of British connection. A troop of volunteer cavalry was incorporated, and a company of young men, sons of farmers in the neighbourhood of York, came with their draught horses for the equipment of a car-brigade. An extra session of the Legislature was summoned, and after a short conference that body adjourned until the 27th of July. Brock hastened over to Fort George, where he awaited instructions from the Governor-General, Sir George Prevost. With regard to remote districts, however, he rightly conceived that delay might be dangerous, and he despatched intelligence of the declaration of war to Captain Roberts, who was stationed at Fort St. Joseph with a detachment of the 10th Royal Veterans. He instructed that officer to summon to his aid all the Indians he could induce to join him, and to attack Fort Michillimackinack if he could see any reasonable prospect of reducing it. The presence of Brock himself was required on the Niagara frontier, where the American regulars and militia made a daily parade of their forces on the eastern side of the river. Brock could easily have demolished the American Fort Niagara, on the shore opposite to Fort George, but was averse to taking so decided a step without specific instructions. The instructions were somewhat slow in arriving, and when they finally arrived they were not very specific. Their effect was to invest Brock with power to act accordingPg 133 to his discretion, but a good deal was said about the expediency of forbearance until hostilities should be more decidedly marked.

On the 12th of July hostilities were commenced by the American Brigadier-General Hull, who, with a force of 2,500 men, crossed the Detroit River at Sandwich. He unfurled the American standard, and put forth a pretentious and extravagant proclamation, asserting that he came with a force sufficient to look down all opposition, which force was but the vanguard of another much greater. From Sandwich he contemplated an advance upon Amherstburg—called by the Americans Fort Malden—where there was a very small force, altogether insufficient to oppose any prolonged resistance to such an army as Hull had at his back. The American General, however, showed himself incapable of taking advantage of his position, and remained for several days inactive. The results of his inactivity will soon be apparent. Intelligence of this western invasion did not reach General Brock until the 20th of the month—eight days after it had taken place. The Legislature, as we have seen, was to assemble at York on the 27th, and as his presence was necessary there, his going westward in person was for the present out of the question. He issued a counter-proclamation, and despatched Colonel Proctor, of the 41st Regiment, to Amherstburg, with reinforcements. He then hurried over to York, where, on the 29th, he received intelligence of the surrender to Captain Roberts of Fort Michillimackinack. The surrender was an important event, as it inspired the wavering Indians there with unbounded faith in the complete ultimate triumph of the British arms, and determined them to espouse the King's side. They forthwith began to pour into Canada, and to harass the rear and flanks of the invading American army. Hall was much dispirited when news of this affair reached him at Detroit, and from that moment his courage and judgment seem to have in a great measure deserted him. As soon as the public business could be despatched, Brock prepared to march westward at the head of about two hundred volunteers, and with what force he could get together, to drive the invaders from Canadian soil. Not often has an equally formidable enterprise been conducted under more discouraging circumstances. Apart from the insufficiency of his military force, he was without provision, clothing or money. It is under such contingencies as these that character displays itself. By dint of his unconquerable energy he contrived to raise supplies through a number of gentlemen who formed themselves into a company called “The Niagara and Queenston Association,” and issued bills for several thousand pounds. These bills passed current among the people as bank notes, and were afterwards redeemed by the Government. Having thus provided himself with “the sinews of war,” Brock left York on the 6th of August, picked up what regulars and militia he could by the way, at Long Point and elsewhere, and reached Amherstburg a little before midnight on the 13th. He found no Hull there to meet him. That officer, who had sustained three defeats in as many petty skirmishes, and who had been harassed beyond endurance by the Indians, had become much less blood-thirsty than he had been at the date of the issue of his proclamation, and five days before Brock's arrival he had made the best of his way back into Michigan. A further reverse had befallen the American arms within the last few days. A certain Major Van Horne had been sent from Detroit with despatches from General Hull, accompanied by a detachment of two hundred men, to meet another detachment at the River Raisin with a convoy of provisions for Hull's army. Seventy Indians, devoted to the British, and under the command of the redoubtable Tecumseh, surprised this body near Brownstown, Pg 134 killed a good many, chased the rest a distance of seven miles, and captured General Hull's despatches. These despatches were placed in General Brock's hands immediately upon his arrival at Amherstburg. They were couched in a very despondent tone, induced partly by the reverses sustained by the Americans, and partly by a spirit of disaffection which had begun to manifest itself among Hull's troops. The latter's lack of spirit was so apparent that Brock determined upon crossing the river and striking a decisive blow by the capture of Detroit before the enemy could receive reinforcements.

The part played in this war by the dauntless Tecumseh will be related in the sketch devoted to the life of that hero, to be included in the present work. On the night of Brock's arrival at Amherstburg these two great warriors were for the first time brought into personal contact. On account of the lateness of the hour the interview was very brief, and their conversation was hampered by Tecumseh's very imperfect knowledge of English, but it lasted long enough to enable each of them to take a pretty accurate measure of the other. It was impossible, indeed, for any one of average intelligence to be five minutes in Tecumseh's presence without realizing the fact that he was a very extraordinary man. Upon being ushered into Brock's presence, he stepped lightly forward and shook his host cordially by the hand. The latter subsequently admitted that, as the lithe and finely-proportioned figure stood there, with the fire of genius and enthusiasm flashing from his lustrous eyes, he himself felt that he was in the presence of one who, in natural endowments, was the superior of any man he had ever met. Captain Glegg, the aide-de-camp, was present at the interview, and has left the following description of the great Shawnee:—“His appearance was very prepossessing; his figure light and finely formed; his age I imagine to be about five-and-thirty; in height, five feet nine or ten inches; his complexion light copper; countenance oval, with bright hazel eyes beaming cheerfulness, energy and decision. Three small silver crowns or coronets were suspended from the lower cartilage of his aquiline nose; and a large silver medallion of George III., which I believe his ancestor had received from Lord Dorchester, was attached to a mixed coloured wampum string, and hung round his neck. His dress consisted of a plain, neat uniform, trimmed deer-skin jacket, with long trousers of the same material, the seams of both being covered with neatly cut fringe. He had on his feet leather moccasins, ornamented with work made from dyed quills of the porcupine.” After a brief consultation it was agreed that a council should be held on the following morning, and the dusky warrior withdrew to his own quarters. Next day the council was held, and Tecumseh made his appearance with nearly a thousand Indians at his back. General Brock made a short speech in which he communicated his intention to make an attack on Fort Detroit. The Indians approved of his resolution, and expressed their readiness to shed their last drop of blood in the King's service. General Brock's own officers, however, with the single exception of Colonel Nichol, were averse to the measure, and tried to dissuade him from crossing the river. Tecumseh, at the General's request, sketched a rough plan of Detroit and its neighbourhood on a piece of bark, and pointed out what in his opinion was the most feasible method of attacking the enemy. Brock saw at once that Tecumseh's opinion as to the feasibility of attack was worth more than the combined wisdom of his white officers, to whom he turned and quietly remarked:—“Gentlemen, I have decided on crossing; and, instead of any further advice, I entreat you to give me your cordial and hearty support.” Pg 135

On the 15th, a flag was despatched by General Brock to the American commander at Detroit, accompanied by a summons demanding the immediate surrender of the fort. After a delay of two hours, General Hull's reply came back, refusing to make the surrender, and expressing his readiness to oppose any force which might be sent against him. The temerity of Brock's demand must have astonished the American General, who was backed by a force of 2,500 men; whereas Brock's force consisted of little more than half that number, and was chiefly made up of Indians and raw Canadian recruits. Brock's conduct on this occasion has been pronounced desperate and unwise, but the contingency was one calling for strong measures, and he had great confidence in the judgment and fighting qualities of Tecumseh. As events turned out, his bold stroke was the salvation of Canada. Had he shown any vacillation or delay, reinforcements would have arrived for Hull, and resistance would have involved a great and useless sacrifice of life.

At daybreak on the morning of Sunday, the 16th, Brock, with 330 regulars and 400 militia, and with five small pieces of artillery, crossed the river in boats, and landed at Spring Wells, several miles below Detroit. A march against the fort was at once commenced. The Indians had been sent over during the previous night, and now moved through the woods, covering the left flank of the advancing troops; the right flank, resting on the river, being protected by the Queen Charlotte vessel of war. A brisk fire was commenced from the battery on the Canadian side of the river, opposite the fort. While the various columns, having arrived within a mile of the point of attack, were preparing for assault, a flag of truce borne by young Captain Hull, a son of the General, was seen advancing from the fort. The siege was at an end before it could fairly be said to have commenced. The fort was surrendered without resistance, and without the sacrifice of a single drop of British blood. A few Americans were killed by the cannonading from the battery on the opposite bank of the river. Articles of capitulation were signed, whereby the American troops became prisoners of war, and all public stores, arms and documents were given up to the British. Hull and his suite were sent down to Montreal as prisoners of war, whither they arrived on the morning of Sunday the 6th of September. It is gratifying to learn from a Montreal newspaper of the time, that the American General “bore his misfortunes with philosophical resignation.” Four days afterwards he was released on parole, and set out for the United States. He was subsequently tried by court-martial and found guilty of “cowardice, neglect of duty and unofficer-like conduct.” He was sentenced “to be shot dead, and his name to be struck from the rolls of the army.” The latter part of the sentence was carried out on the 25th of April, 1814; but President Madison granted him his life, and he retired to his farm at West Newton, Massachusetts, where the rest of his days were spent. He always maintained that he had done right in surrendering Detroit, and that he had thereby prevented a useless effusion of blood. He reiterated his assertion on his death-bed in November, 1825. There can be no doubt that he was guilty of a grave error of judgment, but a good deal has been written in extenuation of his conduct, and he has probably been made answerable for faults which were more attributable to the Administration than to himself.

The capture of Detroit relieved Canadians from all present fears of a western invasion. General Brock having issued a pacific proclamation to the people of Michigan, left the captured fort in charge of Colonel Proctor, and started for the east, Pg 136 where an invasion might at any time be expected. While en route he learned, much to his mortification, that an armistice had been concluded between Sir George Prevost and General Dearborn, the American Commander-in-chief. This armistice, which caused a delay of nearly a fortnight, prevented General Brock from carrying out a project which he had formed for an immediate attack upon the American naval arsenal at Sackett's Harbour. There is fair reason for believing that such an attack at that time would have been completely successful, as the Americans were ill-prepared for such a contingency, and were badly discouraged by the fall of Detroit. Regret, however, was useless, and Brock pushed on to Fort George, and from thence to York, where he arrived on the 27th. The people received him with great enthusiasm, and hailed him as the saviour of Canada. The Americans themselves did justice to his vigilance and valour. To quote from one of their historians:—“In the short space of nineteen days he had met the Legislature, arranged the public affairs of the Province, travelled about three hundred miles to confront the invaders, and returned the possessor of that invader's whole army and a vast territory about equal in area to Upper Canada.” During the succeeding six weeks, which were the last of his life, he received letters of congratulation from persons in various parts of the world, some of whom he had never seen. All expressed warm admiration of his achievements. His despatches containing particulars as to the fall of Detroit reached London on the 6th of October. Four days afterwards Earl Bathurst wrote to Sir George Prevost requesting the latter to acquaint Major-General Brock that His Royal Highness had been pleased to appoint him an extra Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. The intelligence never reached him. Long before the letter containing it had arrived in Canada he had gone where knighthoods and honourable dignities are not, and where the integrity and purity of a man's life are of more avail than any Order which is the privilege of Royal Highnesses to confer.

At the time of General Brock's return from Detroit, the British force on the Niagara frontier was altogether too small to defend it efficiently in case of any bold effort on the part of the Americans. In consequence of the non-arrival of regular troops from England there were no means of adding to the force, which consisted of about 1,500 men, of whom at least one-half were Indians and militia. This little force was distributed between Fort George, Queenston, Chippewa, and Fort Erie. The American army across the river had been steadily augmented, and early in the month of October amounted to more than 6,000, of whom nearly two-thirds were regulars. This force was distributed between Fort Niagara, Lewiston, Black Rock, and Buffalo, and was under the command of Major-General Van Rensselaer. The American commander was anxious to redeem the national character, which had been lost at Detroit, and General Brock was in the daily expectation of attack. On the 8th of October the British brig Detroit, and the private brig Caledonia, belonging to the North-Western Company, arrived at the head of the Niagara River from Amherstburg, with prisoners and armaments captured from the Americans at Detroit. On the 9th, these vessels were boarded and captured while at anchor by a force under Lieutenant Elliott, of the American Navy. As soon as Brock heard of this occurrence he hastened to Fort Erie, but found that it would be useless to attempt a recapture with such a force as he could command, and returned to Fort George. On the 11th, the enemy assembled a large force at Lewiston, opposite Queenston, and it was evident thatPg 137 a crisis was approaching. Early on the morning of the 13th they crossed the river under cover of a battery, and landed in Canada. As they greatly outnumbered the few troops opposed to them they succeeded in mounting the heights and carrying the battery. Brock, who was at Fort George, heard the firing, and, mounting his horse, rode at full speed to the scene of action, accompanied by Major Glegg and Colonel McDonell. Upon reaching Queenston the three horsemen rode up the heights, exposed to a steady fire from the American battery at Lewiston. They soon reached a redan battery, situated half way up the heights, which was manned by twelve men. Here they dismounted, and looked around to reconnoitre. A crack of musketry in their rear soon proclaimed the fact that the Americans had scaled the heights, and were close upon them. Their position was of course untenable, and not waiting to remount, they seized the bridles and led their horses hurriedly down to the village, followed by the twelve men by whom the battery had been manned. Here Brock despatched a fleet messenger to Fort George with instructions to Major-General Sheaffe to send on reinforcements and to open fire upon Fort Niagara. While this message was being despatched, the Americans, under Captain Wool, ensconced themselves behind the deserted battery, and hoisted the stars and stripes. Brock at once determined to capture this flag and regain the battery. Placing himself at the head of Captain Williams's detachment of one hundred men, he led the way to the foot of the slope, inspiriting his followers by the tones of his voice and by the reckless disregard with which he exposed himself to the fire of the enemy. At this moment the Americans were reinforced by a fresh arrival of troops, who had succeeded in scaling the heights by a private pathway. Brock rapidly advanced at the head of his men, and when he had arrived within a few yards of the battery, through a perfect hailstorm of bullets, the Americans turned and fled towards the brow of the hill. Wool, however, who, to do him justice, was a brave and gallant fellow, rallied his shrinking forces, who turned to meet the onset of the foe, just as Brock was reinforced by the arrival of two flank companies of the York volunteers, with Colonel McDonell at their head. As they advanced to drive the invaders over the heights, the breast of the gallant Brock was pierced by a musket ball, which inflicted a mortal wound. He had just strength to call out “Push on the York Volunteers,” when he fell from his horse, never to rise again. A few minutes more and he had ceased to breathe. He was heard to murmur a request that his death might be concealed from the enemy as long as possible, and that the onset should proceed as though he were still in command. Something, too, he murmured, but too faintly for his words to be distinctly understood, about a message or token to be sent to his sister; and with her name upon his lips the brave warrior passed away.

Thus died, at the age of forty-three years, the man who was long known far and wide as “The Hero of Upper Canada.” His body was at once conveyed down the heights which he had defended so bravely to a house at Queenston, whence, in the afternoon, it was borne to the Government House at Newark (Niagara), where it lay in state three days. On the 16th the funeral took place, and by command of the American General salutes were fired from the batteries at Fort Niagara and Lewiston in token of respect to the memory of a brave enemy. The dead hero was buried in a new bastion at Fort George, the erection of which he had himself superintended not long before. By his side was laid his gallant aide-de-camp, Colonel McDonell, who had succeeded to the command upon the death of his leader, Pg 138 and who had fallen at the head of the York Volunteers within a few minutes afterwards. The latter was an ornament not only to the military, but to the legal profession; and though he was only twenty-five years of age at the time of his death, he had risen to the position of Attorney-General of Upper Canada. These were the only two British officers who fell at the memorable battle of Queenston Heights.

The issue of that engagement is well-known to every Canadian worthy of the name. It lasted, with several interruptions, for more than seven hours, during which time reinforcements were constantly arriving for both the contending parties. The York Volunteers stood fire like veterans. The Indians of the Six Nations, about a hundred in number, under the command of young John Brant (Ahyouwaighs) did good service on our side, and proved that their warlike character had not degenerated during their residence of a quarter of a century on Canadian soil. The 49th Regiment, maddened by the loss of him who had for so many years been its ornament and its pride, fought—with the discipline of British soldiers indeed, but—with the fury of tigers, and were little disposed either to grant or receive quarter. At last, about three o'clock in the afternoon, the Americans came to the conclusion that their way to glory and fame did not lie through Canada. They surrendered to Major-General Sheaffe, who had arrived on the field some hours before, and had, to the utmost of his power, supplied the place of the late commander. Terms of capitulation were agreed upon whereby the entire American force on the Canadian side of the river, including many officers and about nine hundred men, became prisoners of war, and were marched off in triumph to Fort George. In addition to the prisoners the Americans sustained a loss of about one hundred killed. The whole British force engaged did not amount to much more than a thousand, of whom at least half were militia and Indians. And this is the brilliant enterprise which an American historian has pronounced to be, on the whole, a success for the American arms, and “a chef d'œuvre of the war.”

The battle of Queenston Heights is one of which we, as Canadians, have just reason to be proud, for it was in great measure by Canadian valour that the victory was secured to us. It is a matter of regret, however, that it could not be secured at a less cost than the death of the gallant General Brock. His biographer, in commenting upon it, says:—“The victory was complete; but it was felt by the conquerors as a poor compensation for the loss of the British chieftain, thus prematurely cut off in the pride of manhood and in the noontide of his career; while the sorrow manifested throughout both Provinces proved that those who rejoiced in the failure of this second invasion would gladly have foregone the triumph if by such means they could have regained him who rendered the heights of Queenston memorable by his fall.”

General Brock was never married; but, though he left no wife or child to mourn his untimely death, his fall was lamented as a national calamity. The Canadian pulpit and press paid innumerable tributes to his worth, and the Provincial Legislature erected a lofty Tuscan monument to his memory within a few yards of the spot where he fell. Earl Bathurst, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in a despatch to Sir George Prevost, wherein the sentiment is more to be commended than the grammar, wrote as follows: “His Royal Highness the Prince Regent is fully aware of the severe loss which His Majesty's service has experienced in the death of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock. This would have been sufficient to have clouded (sic) a victory of much greater importance. His Majesty has lost in him not only an able and meritorious officer, butPg 139 one who, in the exercise of his functions of Provisional-Governor of the Province, displayed qualities admirably adapted to awe the disloyal, to reconcile the wavering, and to animate the great mass of the inhabitants against successive attempts of the enemy to invade the Province, in the last of which he unhappily fell, too prodigal of that life of which his eminent services had taught us to understand the value.” The House of Commons caused a tabular monument, by Westmacott, to be erected to Sir Isaac's memory in the south transept of St. Paul's Cathedral; and, in compliance with a petition from the Upper Canadian Legislature, a tract of 12,000 acres of land in Upper Canada was granted to his four surviving brothers, together with a pension to each of them of £200 sterling a year for life.

The personal appearance of Sir Isaac was eminently soldierlike and prepossessing. He was about six feet two inches in height, of fair complexion, and notwithstanding the activity of his habits was, during his latter years, so portly as to be almost corpulent. By his soldiers and brother officers he was beloved, not less for his fine military qualities than for the uniform courtesy and kindness which marked his intercourse with them.

It may not be uninteresting to note that during General Brock's residence in this country he became attached to Miss Sophia Shaw, daughter of the Honourable Æneas Shaw, one of the pioneers of Little York, and the great grandfather of Major George A. Shaw, now of Toronto. A marriage engagement was entered into between General Brock and Miss Shaw, the fulfilment of which was only prevented by the death of the former at Queenston Heights, as above recorded. The lady was faithful to her lover's memory, and remained single for his sake until her death, which took place at Toronto a few years since.

On the twelfth anniversary of the battle of Queenston Heights, the monument erected there by the Provincial Legislature having been nearly completed, the remains of General Brock and Colonel McDonell were removed (from the bastion where they had been interred at Fort George) to the vaults beneath the column. A great concourse of people, numbering at least 5,000, assembled from all parts of Canada and the adjacent State of New York to witness this second interment. The monument then inaugurated became a conspicuous attraction of the neighbourhood, and so remained for nearly sixteen years, when it was so disfigured by the act of a traitor and a coward as to render necessary the erection of another structure. The ruffian by whom this mutilation was effected was an Irish-Canadian, named Benjamin Lett, who had been compelled to fly from the Province on account of his participation in the rebellion of 1837-8. On Good Friday, the 17th of April, 1840, he contrived, by means of a train, to explode a quantity of gunpowder which he had introduced into the monument. The edifice was shattered and disfigured to such an extent that it was thought desirable to remove it. Of course Lett's dastardly act aroused universal indignation, and on the 30th of July following a meeting was held on the site, and resolutions were adopted for the erection of another monument. Business in Toronto, and in many other cities and towns in the Province, was totally suspended for the day. There were excursions from various points on the lakes, and the number of persons congregated on the heights was not less than 8,000. Sir George Arthur, the Lieutenant-Governor, was present, and addressed the assembly. Many veterans of the war, too, were there to pay a last tribute to the memory of the brave officer under whom they had marched in years long past. The speakers included many of the leading citizens of Canada, conspicuous among whom were the late Sir Allan Macnab and ChiefPg 140 Justice Robinson. On the same day a meeting for a similar purpose was held at Montreal, and was also largely attended. By virtue of resolutions passed on that day, a Committee was appointed to carry out the project for which the meeting had been convoked. The Committee proceeded to collect subscriptions, and the new monument, due in great measure to their exertions, is a much more splendid and costly edifice than was its predecessor. It was built by voluntary subscriptions of the militia and of the Indians of Canada, supplemented by a Parliamentary grant for the laying out of the adjacent grounds. The monument was designed by Mr. W. Thomas, architect, of Toronto, and the building contract was awarded to the late Mr. J. Worthington, also of Toronto. On the 13th of October, 1853, the foundation stone was laid, and the remains of the two warriors were once more re-interred. The monument, 185 feet in height, and composed of limestone quarried in the neighbourhood, was subsequently completed, and was inaugurated in 1859. Its form is that of a fluted column, standing upon a massive pedestal, and surmounted by a Corinthian capital, upon which stands a colossal statue of General Brock. The north side of the basement contains the following inscription:—

Upper Canada has dedicated this monument to the memory of the late Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, K.B., Provisional Lieutenant-Governor and Commander of the Forces in this Province, whose remains are deposited in the vault beneath. Opposing the invading enemy, he fell in action near these Heights on the 13th of October, 1812, in the forty-third8 year of his age, revered and lamented by the people whom he governed, and deplored by the Sovereign to whose service his life had been devoted.”

The portrait which accompanies this sketch is engraved from a miniature procured from Sir Isaac's relatives in Guernsey by the Education Department of Ontario. The miniature so obtained has been copied under the direction of the Department, and the copy now adorns the ceiling of one of the rooms in the educational museum.

John Joseph Lynch
Rev. John Joseph Lynch.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by Notman & Fraser


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Archbishop Lynch was born in the neighbourhood of the market-town of Clones, in the county of Monaghan, in the diocese of Clogher, Ireland, on the 6th of February, 1816. When he was about two years of age his parents removed to Lucan, a village situated a few miles west of Dublin, and here the future Archbishop grew up to manhood. From his earliest years he had been intended for the priesthood, and when he was about sixteen years of age he commenced his classical studies under the private tuition of a B.A. of Trinity College, Dublin. He made rapid progress, and soon became, for a youth of his years, an excellent classical scholar. He then entered a college of the Carmelite Brothers, near Clondalkin, where he spent twelve industrious months. In 1835 he entered St. Vincent's College, Castleknock. At this establishment, which had then been only a short time in operation, he continued his classical studies with much profit, and also made great progress in Rhetoric, Natural Philosophy and Metaphysics. He was from the first conspicuous above most of his fellow-students, not less by his industry and rapid advancement than by his tact, cheerfulness, and good nature. His superiors were accustomed to speak of him as one marked out by nature for a position of authority in his profession. He was exceedingly popular, both with his fellow students and with the dignitaries of the institution, and was frequently appointed to the office of a monitor. He rose to the position of a Superior long before the period at which such a dignity would ordinarily have been conferred upon him. He was admirably fitted for a disciplinarian, and was practically a ruler among his kind from his seventeenth year. In 1839, when twenty-three years of age, he entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Mission at St. Lazare, Paris, where he pursued the study of theology and other branches of an ecclesiastical education. St. Lazare was the head establishment of Foreign Missionaries of the Roman Catholic Church, and the course pursued there was such as eminently to fit him for the pursuits to which a considerable part of his subsequent life was devoted. During his residence there he consorted with students of divers nationalities, and laid the foundation of many warm friendships which have accompanied him through life. One of the best-loved of his companions and fellow-students was the present Vicar-Apostolic of Persia, a venerable man who has done much to advance the interests of the Roman Catholic Church in the East, and who enjoys the personal respect and friendship of the Shah. While at St Lazare, the young novice also gained a wider knowledge of mankind than his preceding life had enabled him to acquire, and the breadth and liberality of his views on all subjects pertaining to his profession are doubtless largely attributable to his residencePg 142 there. In 1841, having then passed the full period of his novitiate, he took upon him the vows of the Order. During the Easter Term of 1842, he received Tonsure and other minor Orders, and during the Following Trinity Term received ordination at the hands of Monseigneur Affré—known as “The Martyr of the Barricades”—in the Church of St. Sulpice. He had by this time begun to feel great enthusiasm for a missionary's life, and longed to be sent abroad. He had no desire to return to his own country, where there were priests in abundance, but was zealous to be sent where he could preach to the heathen, and win proselytes to his faith. He even offered to go out on a mission to China—certainly not the most inviting field for a young man trained under the influences of western civilization, and necessarily involving a life of much hardship and self-denial. His superiors, however, deemed that a more suitable field would erelong be found for him, and despatched one of his companions on the China mission. Meanwhile he returned to Ireland, and again took up his quarters at St. Vincent's College, where he pursued his theological studies, and discharged the offices of Dean and Moderator of Discipline. During Trinity Term, 1843, he was ordained deacon and priest at Maynooth College, by the Most Reverend Dr. Murray, Archbishop of Dublin. At the ensuing feast of Corpus Christi he celebrated his first mass in the chapel of St. Vincent's College.

He remained at St. Vincent's nearly three years subsequent to his ordination as priest, during which period he went on several missions to various parts of Ireland. He was constantly longing, however, to be despatched on service abroad, and in the summer of 1846 his wish was gratified. Dr. Odin, Vicar-Apostolic of Texas, who subsequently became Archbishop of New Orleans, went over from Texas to Ireland to procure missionaries to labour in the wide and uninviting field which “the Lone Star State” then presented, and which had recently been assigned as a Mission by His Holiness Pope Gregory XVI. Father Lynch eagerly enlisted himself in the service, and a few weeks found him embarked, at Liverpool, on board a sailing vessel bound for New Orleans. The passage was both tedious and stormy. It lasted for seven weeks, and was attended with even greater discomforts than ordinarily attend long trans-Atlantic passages. Father Lynch conceived this to be a fitting season alike for learning and imparting a lesson of self-denial and endurance. By permission of the Captain he fitted up a small oratory on board the vessel, and though often prostrated by sea-sickness and rough weather, performed mass regularly every morning throughout the voyage. Upon reaching New Orleans he had a narrow escape from death. Night came on before the vessel reached the place of mooring, and by the time the anchor had been cast into the yellow waters of the Mississippi the darkness had become intense. Father Lynch, however, and another clerical passenger, had become thoroughly weary of the monotony of shipboard, and determined to make an attempt to get on shore without waiting for daylight. Three other vessels were anchored between their own bark and the shore. Over these they cautiously crept in the thick darkness, feeling their way by the ropes, and listening to the tumultuous rushing of the waters below. A false step would have been certain death, for the mighty stream here acquires a velocity of from fifty to sixty miles an hour. After a toilsome scramble, they stepped from the innermost vessel on to the quay, which was built of boards, and in the almost Egyptian darkness presented the same appearance to the eye as the yellow, muddy waters of the Mississippi. Scarcely had they landed when Father Lynch walked deliberately, Pg 143 though of course unconsciously, over the edge of the quay. His foot was raised, and was just about to plunge into the roaring abyss, when he was grasped by his companion from behind, and thereby preserved from a watery grave. It is needless to say that he returned thanks to the Almighty for his deliverance.

It was the era of the close of the Mexican war. Commerce between that country and the United States had been totally interrupted, and there were no boats plying between New Orleans and Galveston. This necessitated a stay of two months in the capital of Louisiana, which period was taken advantage of by Father Lynch to obtain a knowledge of the characteristics of the negroes, with which people he would necessarily be brought much in contact while labouring in his mission field. At last he succeeded in obtaining a passage in a small river boat, in which he made his way by the coast to his destination. He spent between two and three years in Texas, during which time he travelled over almost the entire area of the State. The mission field was wide, and the labourers were few. There were but four priests in the entire State. Nearly every Catholic nationality under the sun was represented there, the majority being Spanish, Irish, and German. Unnecessary to say that he frequently suffered great hardships, and that his zeal for missionary work was subjected to many a severe test. The Texan country was then much more barbarous and unsettled than it is at the present time; and many parts of it, even now, are not very desirable places of residence for persons wedded to the accompaniments of civilization. Human life was held in light esteem, and murders were matters of daily occurrence. Father Lynch's good nature, and his faculty for dealing with mankind, here stood him in good stead, and his success with the motley population was great beyond his expectations. At last, while travelling in a remote and thinly settled part of the State, he was attacked by a malignant fever, from which he was long in recovering. While still far from convalescence, he betook himself to Galveston, whence he shortly departed for New Orleans. His constitution had sustained a severe shock, and it was evident that the only means whereby he could hope to recover his health would be to seek a more northerly climate. He accordingly repaired to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was soon restored to his former vigour of constitution.

During the spring of 1848 he was appointed Superior of an educational institution in Perry County, Missouri, known as St. Mary's Seminary of the Barrens. Attached to the Seminary was a large tract of land embracing nearly a thousand acres, part of which was worked as an industrial farm by the students and officials. They formed a little community by themselves, and for some time everything went on pleasantly enough. Dr. Lynch's stay here extended over a considerable period, during which, owing in a great measure to his own exertions, a new building was erected, and the membership increased from 30 to 120. The situation of the place, however, was unhealthy, and to the great regret of those connected with the institution, it had to be abandoned. It was contiguous to the Mississippi, and the periodical overflow of the river produced miasma. Both professors and students were attacked from time to time with ague, typhoid and intermittent fevers, and divers other miasmatic maladies which rendered them unfit for either work or play. Father Lynch held out nearly to the last, but the illness of his assistant professors imposed additional cares and duties upon him, and finally he fell a victim to the combined influences of hard work and an insalubrious atmosphere. He was attacked by paralysis of the left side, and was for some weeks in a critical condition. Pg 144 Soon after his recovery he was sent as a deputy from the Congregation of the Mission in the United States to the sexennial assembly of the Order, held at the headquarters, in Paris. After his return to America he was engaged on missions in various parts of the Western States, which occupied his time for several busy years. In 1855 he went on a special mission to Rome, upon which occasion he had a long conference with His Holiness, and received from him many marks of favour. One of these is worthy of being particularly narrated. Father Lynch had frequently been put to great inconvenience from his restricted jurisdiction. A bishop, of course, has no jurisdiction beyond his own diocese, and the various bishops by whom Father Lynch had been empowered to exercise his sacred vocation could only authorize him to act within the limits of the territory over which they possessed ecclesiastical sway. Thus it not unfrequently happened that, while travelling on the Mississippi, he could hear confession and administer absolution on one side of the river, while on the other he had no such power. Upon hearing the state of the case from Father Lynch's own mouth, His Holiness then and there conferred upon him the right to hear confession and absolve penitents throughout the whole world, wherever he might be. This is a boon which the Pope alone has power to bestow, and which as matter of fact is conferred very sparingly, and only upon persons of the most tried prudence and discretion.

Father Lynch returned from Rome in 1856, during which year, in response to the urgent solicitation of Dr. Timon, the Bishop of Buffalo, he consented to found a house of his Order in that diocese. He first laid the foundation of a preparatory seminary temporarily for the winter in Buffalo, but in the following May removed to Niagara, where there is now a fine building, and 320 acres of land. The institution is known by the name of the Seminary of Our Lady of the Angels. It was projected, as an eminent living author says of another ecclesiastical edifice, with an exuberance of faith and an insufficiency of funds. Dr. Lynch began operations with only one hundred dollars, and even this sum was borrowed. By degrees collections and legacies began to flow in, and the present imposing structure—the successor of one which was consumed by fire—is the gratifying result.

Father Lynch's exertions on behalf of this Seminary made him known to the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Canada. In 1859 he was appointed, by apostolic letters, Bishop of Echenas in Partibus Infidelium, and coadjutor of Monseigneur Charbonnel, Bishop of Toronto. He was consecrated Bishop of St. Michael's Cathedral, Toronto, on the 20th of November of that year. During the following year, Bishop Charbonnel having resigned, Bishop Lynch succeeded him in the See of Toronto. In 1862 he again visited Rome, on the occasion of what was known as the “Canonization of the Japanese Martyrs,” and was created Prelate Assistant of the Pontifical Throne. In 1869-70 he was present at the Vatican Council, where he was appointed one of the consultors of Foreign Missions and Oriental Rights, and made a speech in favour of Papal infallibility. On the same day on which this speech was made he had the honour of celebrating mass before the Council.

In 1870, during the session of the Œcumenical Council at Rome, the ecclesiastical Province of Quebec was divided, and Toronto was named as the Metropolitan See of Upper Canada. Bishop Lynch was appointed the first Archbishop of the new See, and in that capacity took his seat in the Council, being conducted to his place by his old friend and predecessor, Bishop Charbonnel.

Since his appointment to the ArchbishopricPg 145 of Toronto, he has devoted himself earnestly to the affairs of his diocese, and has doubtless been the means of extending the power and influence of the denomination to which he belongs. He has interested himself in various social reforms, and while taking due care for the spiritual needs of his flock, has not been unmindful of the practical side of life. He has taken an active part in the establishment of schools and charitable institutions, and is known for an earnest supporter of the temperance cause. He enjoins, more especially upon young people, the advantages of total abstinence. He has great faith in the lessons learned in early life, and believes that the promise of the youth is generally fulfilled in the performance of the man. Acting upon this conviction, when holding confirmations, he exacts from young men and boys a pledge to abstain from intoxicating liquors until the attainment of their majority, and by this means he has doubtless saved many a youth alike from the spiritual and temporal penalties of indulgence in intoxicating drinks. As a prelate he is liberal to a degree almost unprecedented in the history of the hierarchy of his Church. Though a devout Catholic, and a sincere advocate, from conviction, of the doctrine of Papal infallibility, he is willing to accord, so far as the rules of his Church permit him to do so, full liberty of conscience to those who differ from him. He believes that priests should confine themselves to their proper functions, and is opposed to clerical interference with the political consciences of their flock. He has plainly declared that a priest has no more right to dictate to his parishioners how they should vote than he has to interfere in the cut of their clothing, or the quality of their food. In short, Archbishop Lynch, while he recognizes his responsibilities as an Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, has never forgotten the fact that he is also a man—a man dwelling in a community which is chiefly made up of Protestants, and where, by reason of his high position, he is bound to exercise a potent influence either for good or evil.

During his Archiepiscopate be has consecrated to the order of Bishop Prelates, His Grace the present Archbishop of Quebec; the Right Rev. Dr. Jamot, Bishop of Sarepta and Vicar Apostolic of Northern Canada; the Right Rev. Dr. Crinnon, Bishop of Hamilton; and the late Dr. O'Brien, Bishop of Kingston. He established in the diocese the Seminary of St. Mary and St. John; the Order of the Sisters Adorers of the Most Precious Blood; a Carmelite Monastery at Niagara Falls; a House of the Good Shepherd for Magdalenes; a Home for working boys, and a Home for respectable young women, besides other educational establishments.

During the summer of last year Archbishop Lynch made another pilgrimage to Rome in connection with the affairs of his diocese. While there he enjoyed the privilege of a long personal conference with the present Pope: the successor of him from whom, a quarter of a century before, he had received the right of universal jurisdiction in the matters of confession and absolution. On his return journey he spent six weeks in Ireland, daring which he did his utmost to arrive at an understanding of the true nature of the grievances there. He took occasion to call on the Lord Lieutenant and other persons high in authority, and expressed his views on the Irish question very strongly, and withal very decorously. He was listened to with the respect due to his years, and his knowledge of the Irish character, no less than to the high position which he occupies; and he seems to have left a most agreeable impression behind him. His views on these matters have since been published in the local newspapers, and are doubtless well known to all readers of these pages.


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For some years prior to his appointment to his present elevated position, Mr. Wood occupied a foremost place among the public men of Ontario. His step and figure were well known on the streets of almost every town in the western part of this Province, and the ringing tones of his powerful voice were familiar sounds to the juries of half-a-dozen counties. In the county of Brant, where he made his home for twenty years, he was personally known to almost every adult inhabitant, and his influence, both professional and political, was long paramount to that of any of his contemporaries. Alike as a lawyer and a politician, he was one of the most conspicuous men in Ontario, and since his removal to a distant Province his judicial career has been watched with interest by those he has left behind.

Edmund Burke Wood
Edmund Burke Wood.

He is a Canadian by birth, and was born on the 13th of February, 1820, in the county of Welland, near the village of Fort Erie. His father, the late Mr. Samuel Wood, was by occupation a farmer, who emigrated from Ireland to the United States early in the present century, and settled in Upper Canada during or soon after the close of the War of 1812. Young Edmund, in his early boyhood, attended the common schools in the neighbourhood of his home, and afterwards completed his education at Oberlin College, Ohio, where he graduated as B.A. in 1848. His father had meanwhile removed to the township of Beverly, in the county of Wentworth. Edmund, when fresh from college, taught school for a short time near the paternal abode, but soon relinquished a pursuit which had few inherent attractions for him, and which presented no avenue for the gratification of his ambition. He resolved to devote himself to the law, and entered the office of Messrs. Freeman & Jones, Barristers, at Hamilton, as an articled clerk. After some time spent in that office he transferred his services to the late Mr. Archibald Gilkison, of Brantford, where he completed the term of his clerkship. He went up for examination immediately afterwards, and was admitted as an attorney on the 21st of November, 1853. He at once entered upon the practice of his profession in Brantford. The county of Brant had recently been formed, with Brantford as the county town, and Mr. Stephen James Jones, one of Mr. Wood's former principals in Hamilton, had received the appointment of County Judge there. Mr. Wood about the same time received the appointment of Clerk of the County Court and Deputy Clerk of the Crown for the county. This position he soon afterwards resigned, in consequence of his inability to retain it concurrently with the practice of his profession. He was called to the Bar in Trinity Term, 1854. The legal practitioners in Brantford were neither abler nor more learned than those of other provincial Pg 147towns in Canada in those days. Certainly not one of them was intellectually the peer of Edmund Burke Wood, who was not long in making his way to the front. Soon after commencing practice he formed a partnership with the late Mr. Peter Ball Long, and the firm then established under the style of “Wood & Long” soon found themselves in possession of a large and flourishing practice. The counsel business was chiefly committed to the senior partner, who soon came to be recognized as a formidable man before a jury. Even in those early days of his professional career, his forensic learning was far in advance of that of most of his opponents. His native powers of mind were also very much above the average, and he had that ready grasp of the main points of an issue without which no lawyer must expect to achieve much success at the Bar. His learning and native parts were materially aided by a powerful physique, and a deep, sonorous, full-toned voice which proved marvellously effective in enforcing an argument. Words came to him readily, and his delivery was marked by a robust energy which seldom failed to carry conviction to the minds of jurymen. His forensic addresses were perhaps more remarkable for their force than for the elegance of their diction; but juries are much more readily swayed by apt and homely phraseology than by flowers of rhetoric, and at the local Bar he carried all before him. The business continued under the style of “Wood & Long” for about six years, when the firm was dissolved, and each of the partners thenceforward conducted a separate practice.

In the month of April, 1855, Mr. Wood married Miss Jane Augusta Marter, the second daughter of the late Dr. Peter Marter, of Brantford, a gentleman of good family and high social position. This lady still survives, and by her Mr. Wood has a numerous family. When the project was mooted of constructing a line of railway through Brantford, connecting Buffalo with Goderich, Mr. Wood took a conspicuous part in its promotion, and was appointed solicitor to the company. This position, which was in itself the source of a large and profitable business, was retained by Mr. Wood until the amalgamation of the line with the Grand Trunk Railway a few years since.

For some time subsequent to the dissolution of the firm of Wood & Long there is not much of public interest to record in relation to Mr. Wood's life. He continued to engross the lion's share of the local business in connection with his profession, and was engaged in every important case in the local courts. Among the best known of these was the long and complicated Chancery suit of Whitehead vs. The Buffalo and Lake Huron Railway Company, which involved great pecuniary interests and several abstruse questions of law. Captain Barlow, the Managing Director of the company, entered into a contract with the plaintiff—the well-known railway contractor—in his (Barlow's) own name, adding to his signature the words “acting in behalf of the company.” The contract was for the execution of works in the construction of the road, and also for keeping the road in repair. Under this agreement Mr. Whitehead entered upon the work, and had completed the greater part of it when the company repudiated the contract upon the ground that they had previously been unaware of the terms of it; that it was not under seal; and that the prices agreed to be paid were extravagant. The plaintiff, Mr. Whitehead, accordingly filed a bill to enforce the contract. It was held by the Court of Chancery that the contract did not require the company's seal, and that the company was bound to pay for the work done. This decision was subsequently affirmed, in effect, by the Court of Appeal. Another case which also made a good deal of noise at the time was thatPg 148 brought against the same company by Mr. Widder, which, after a long contest, and a large expenditure of money, was ultimately abandoned by the plaintiff. These two suits were rendered specially noteworthy by reason of the great pecuniary interests involved in them. There were many other cases conducted by Mr. Wood which added to his already well-established reputation, but an account of which would only be interesting to legal practitioners.

Mr. Wood had always been attached to the Liberal side in politics, and had repeatedly been urged to enter Parliament. He resisted all such overtures until a short time prior to the general election of 1863, when he consented to stand for the constituency of South Brant. The contest came on, and he was opposed by the late Rev. William Ryerson. Mr. Wood stumped the county with his accustomed energy, and was returned by a large majority. Upon taking his seat he supported the then-existing Macdonald-Dorion Government, and soon became known for one of the readiest and most effective debaters in Parliament. He sat in the House until the accomplishment of Confederation, when, at the first general election under the new order of things, he again offered himself as a candidate for the South Riding of Brant. He was once more successful, being dually elected to the House of Commons and to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Upon the formation of the Coalition Government by the Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald in July, 1867, Mr. Wood accepted the portfolio of Provincial Treasurer, and was sworn in as a member of the Executive Council. His acceptance of office at this time brought him into temporary disfavour with the Reform Party generally, which disapproved of the Coalition; but it is admitted on all hands that the duties incidental to his office were discharged with exceptional promptitude and ability. Those were the days of “economy” and “retrenchment” in the public departments, and Mr. Wood's budget speeches were redolent of a large and steadily-increasing surplus. He continued to discharge the duties of Provincial Treasurer until the month of December, 1871, when he resigned office, but continued to sit in the Assembly as a private member. At the following election for the House of Commons, the Hon. Edward Blake received a double return for West Durham and South Bruce. He elected to represent the latter constituency, and Mr. Wood was pressed to offer himself as a candidate for West Durham. In compliance with this overture, he accordingly resigned his seat in the Local Legislature, and was returned to the Commons by the electors of West Durham by acclamation. He continued to represent that constituency in the House of Commons until his appointment as Chief Justice of Manitoba on the 11th of March, 1874.

His Parliamentary career was marked throughout by an energy and persistency of advocacy which contributed to important results. He was the principal agent on behalf of this Province in bringing about the award in the financial arbitration between Ontario and Quebec. The award, drafted by him, and subsequently acquiesced in by the arbitrators, was one which could not fail to gratify the inhabitants of Ontario. He was an uncompromising opponent of the “better terms” conceded to the Province of Nova Scotia, and was the steady advocate of “Western interests.” He displayed great facility in dealing with all matters relating to finance, and was regarded as the chief local authority on such subjects. His published budget speeches show a clear comprehension of the financial status of the Province at the respective periods when they were delivered, as well as a thorough grasp of the political situation. During his last session in the Local Assembly of Ontario he was the author of the scheme for the settlement ofPg 149 the Municipal Loan Fund of the Upper Province and personally made the calculations which were finally adopted.

Since his elevation to the Judicial Bench he has effected many important reforms in the legal procedure of the courts of Manitoba, and has delivered various elaborate judgments which have attracted a good deal of attention. Several of the latter have been published at the expense of the Local Government for distribution among the magistracy. The first case tried by him after taking his seat on the Bench is perhaps the bent known of all the cases in which he has ever been concerned, either as judge or advocate. It was the cause célèbre of The Queen vs. Ambrose Lepine, for the murder of Thomas Scott, whose tragical death before the bastions of Fort Garry forms so conspicuous an event in the history of the Red River insurrection. The prisoner's counsel repudiated the jurisdiction of the court over the offence charged in the indictment. The Crown demurred to the prisoner's plea, after which the case was argued before the two puisné judges, who allowed the matter to stand over from term to term without venturing to pronounce judgment. Upon Mr. Wood's accession to the Bench the case was at once brought before him. The trial, which involved grave questions both of law and fact, lasted about a fortnight. At the close of the argument he pronounced judgment for the Crown on the demurrer without leaving his seat. He decided that both the court in Manitoba and the courts in the Old Province of Canada, and, since Confederation, in Ontario and Quebec, have concurrent jurisdiction over such offences as that charged, and over the particular case in question. Eminent jurists in all the Provinces unhesitatingly gave it as their opinion that Chief Justice Wood's law was unsound, but his decision was upheld by the law officers of the Crown in England, and his written judgment was pronounced a remarkable specimen of forensic learning and acumen.


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It is a trite observation that the lives of men of letters are seldom marked by much variety of incident. The life of the subject of the present sketch forms no exception to the general rule. He was born on the 13th of August, 1823, at Reading, in Berkshire, England, where his father was a practising physician of high standing and of ample fortune. There is not much to be said about his childhood, except that he was a bright, attractive boy, and was even then remarkable for a capacious and retentive memory. When in his ninth year he was placed at a private school in the neighbourhood of Bath. After remaining at that institution four years he was entered at Eton College, whence, in his nineteenth year, he was transferred to Christ Church, Oxford. It is a circumstance worth noting that a gentleman destined to become one of the most advanced intellectual radicals of his time should have received his scholastic training at the strongholds of High Toryism. His educational career, both at Eton and at Oxford, was marked by unusual brilliancy. Not long after his matriculation he was elected a Demy of Magdalen College, and removed thither. As an undergraduate, he took no conspicuous part in the proceedings of the College debating societies, and seems to have had no ambition to figure before the world as an orator. His triumphs were of a more substantial and enduring kind, and proved him to be the possessor not only of exceptionally brilliant parts, but of an undoubted capacity for hard work. He gained both the Ireland and Hertford scholarships, and the Chancellor's prize for Latin verse. In 1845 he took his baccalaureate degree, and was placed in the first class in classics. Two years afterwards he was elected to a Fellowship in University College, and for some months he officiated as tutor there, having meanwhile taken his degree of M.A.

Goldwin Smith
Goldwin Smith.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by Notman & Fraser

In 1847 he was called to the Bar of Lincoln's Inn, and took up his abode in London. He never engaged, or attempted to engage, in actual practice as a barrister; but he soon became known as a youth of rare talent and rich culture. He espoused the Liberal side in politics, and began to contribute to the daily journals, as well as to quarterly and other reviews. Even in those early days his writing was marked by originality and maturity of thought, and by a vigour and splendour of style which had few rivals in Great Britain. The most sanguine anticipations were formed with reference to his future career. He determined to devote himself to the literary calling, and after spending a season in town he returned to Oxford, where he was again for some time a diligent student. His studies were specially directed to historical research with a view to an important historical work. He devoted himself to a painstaking and thorough examination of the archives of the Pg 151University, and ransacked the manuscript treasures deposited in the Bodleian library. There had long been a good deal of discussion in England on the subject of University Reform, and in 1850 the agitation began to make itself heard to some purpose. It was necessary that some measure directed towards the removal of certain abuses and disabilities at Oxford should be submitted to Parliament. Lord John Russell felt that it would be impossible to deal effectually with so important a matter without fuller knowledge of the subject than was possessed by either the Government or Parliament. A Royal Commission was accordingly appointed with instructions to subject the whole matter to a thorough investigation. Overtures were made to Mr. Smith to give the Commissioners the benefit of his extensive knowledge, and he consented to act as Assistant Secretary. Upon the appointment of the second Commission he became its Secretary, and there can be no doubt that his knowledge enabled many important reforms to be brought about much earlier than they would have been accomplished without his assistance. His services on behalf of University Reform, however, interfered with his project of writing a grave historical work, and the task which was then laid aside has not, so far as we are aware, been resumed.

Early in 1855 the Saturday Review was projected, and in the month of November the first number made its appearance. For the first year or two of its existence Mr. Smith was a regular contributor to its columns. He wrote also for the Daily News—generally under his own signature—and in several other journals, both in London and in the provinces. In 1857 the Regius Professorship of Modern History at the University of Oxford became vacant through the resignation of Professor Vaughan. The choice of a successor to the vacancy lay between Mr. Smith and Mr. James Anthony Froude. Mr. Smith's qualifications for the position were considered to be on the whole superior to those of Mr. Froude, and the chair was accordingly offered to him in the spring of 1858. He accepted the offer, and shortly afterwards began to discharge the duties incidental to the position. He entered upon his task with avidity, and during his tenure of office, which lasted for about eight years, he continued to perform his duties in such a manner as to reflect credit alike upon himself and upon the University. He had by this time become completely identified with the more advanced school of political reformers in Great Britain, and his utterances had come to be looked upon with the respect due to ripe and varied scholarship, a nervous and powerful style of expression, and very unusual powers of mind.

From 1858 to 1861 Mr. Smith was a member of the Popular Education Committee, and during a great part of that time was occupied in framing the report which was subsequently adopted by Parliament as the basis of legislation on the subject.

In 1861 he published several of the most remarkable of his professorial addresses, under the title of “Lectures on the Study of History.” Whatever opinion may be formed as to the correctness of some of the conclusions arrived at in these lectures, there can be but one opinion as to the author's sincerity, earnestness, and mastery of the English language. The Westminster Review, while declining to adopt some of the lecturer's conclusions, prefaced its dissent by such remarks as these: “Mr. Goldwin Smith is clearly master of a power of expression which has scarcely a rival amongst us. His language has a native strength and parity which rises not seldom into true poetry. He is, too, obviously possessed by real convictions and a genuine enthusiasm for moral greatness. These lectures have fine thoughts, stamped in noblePg 152 words.” The publication of the lectures roused a good deal of controversy. They attacked and ridiculed the theories of Mr. Buckle and the Positivists with reference to the feasibility of reducing history to a science. The Positivists rose en masse to repel the attack, and for some months the controversy was carried on with great energy and determination. It can hardly be said that the discussion was productive of any permanent benefit to mankind, or that the question was conclusively settled on either side. We all know the proverb about a man convinced against his will. It is difficult to see, indeed, how either of the parties to the controversy could possibly carry conviction to the mind of the other, for they were not even agreed as to preliminaries. The lecturer represented the theory of the Necessarians, with reference to moral statistics, as teaching that the human will is bound by a law compelling the same number of men to commit the same number of crimes within a certain cycle. The Necessarians scouted this exposition of their doctrines, and claimed that their true theory is that the same number of men with exactly same characters, and in exactly the same circumstances, will commit the same number of crimes. “And,” said they, “the value of the law is this—that as we can change the characters, we can in precisely the same proportion diminish the crime.” The lecturer believed the arguments of his opponents to be founded upon unscientific and accidental circumstances, upon which no permanent or trustworthy theory could be formed. He rejoined—“The cycle, curiously enough coincides with the period of a year, which is naturally selected by the Registrar-General for his reports.” “Truly, a rare bit of wit,” was the response; “does the Professor suppose the law to be less true of a period of ten years or six months? Some limits for the observation must be taken. Why not tell us that the observation curiously enough coincides with the political division called France, or curiously enough applies only to murder and suicide?” “But,” said the Professor, “these statistics tell us only the outward act; not its inward moral character.” “Did they ever profess to tell us more?” asked the other side: “so far as history is concerned, that is all that is required.” And so the controversy went on through column after column. It thus appeared that the contending parties were about as widely at variance, both as to, premises and conclusions, as they very well could be. They were not even agreed as to the real question to be decided. Such being the case, it was manifestly idle to expect that they could ever be brought into unison. The “Autocrat of the Breakfast Table” tells us that much precious time is lost by long arguments on special points between persons who differ as to the fundamental principles upon which those points depend.

Upon the breaking out of the American Civil War, Goldwin Smith arrayed himself on the side of the Federal Government. He wrote extensively on the subject in the Daily News and elsewhere, and did much towards enabling his countrymen to form a correct judgment as to the real merits of the struggle. He published several pamphlets bearing upon the question. In 1863 he issued a pamphlet called “Does the Bible Sanction Slavery?” in which the negro question was vigorously discussed. Another pamphlet which attracted considerable notice in its day was one “On the Morality of the Emancipation Proclamation.” In 1864 he for the first time crossed the Atlantic, and spent some months in making himself acquainted with the practical working of a republic in difficulties. During his visit, the Brown University, of Providence, conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D. He was most enthusiastically received wherever he went, and the representatives of the press throughout thePg 153 country vied with each other in doing him honour. The Hon. Charles G. Loring, in a speech delivered at Boston, declared that Mr. Smith, by his pen and his speech, had done more for the vindication of the States against the misapprehensions of the ignorant and the calumnies of foes than any man in Europe. Still more enthusiastic was the testimony of the North American Review. “America,” said the Review, “is not ungrateful to him who thus serves her, and who in serving her promotes the universal cause of liberty and justice. She pays to him the tribute of heartfelt gratitude, and welcomes him, not as a stranger, but as a son.”

It was a matter of course that Mr. Smith, by his championship of a righteous but unpopular cause, should make for himself enemies. His powerful advocacy of political reform had long since made him unpopular with the Court party in England, and the enmity of Mr. Disraeli had more than once found expression in words. By all who fought under a Liberal banner, on the other hand, Mr. Smith was honoured and recognized as one of the most eminent of living Englishmen, and as one of the most powerful writers of the present century. Richard Cobden, speaking at Rochdale, in Lancashire, in the month of November, 1864, said: “I am a great advocate of culture of every kind, and when I find men like Professor Goldwin Smith and Professor Rogers, who, in addition to profound classical learning, have a vast knowledge of modern affairs, and who, as well as scholars are profound thinkers; these are men whom I know to have a vast superiority over me, and I bow to them with reverence.” If he was disliked by the opponents of progress, it is unquestionable that their dislike was not unmixed with dread, for it is not going too far to say that he writes the English language as it has not often been written since the days of Junius.

Shortly after his return to England the episode of the Jamaica massacres occurred, and Mr. Smith took a very prominent part in the agitation which ensued thereupon. As fifteen years have elapsed since the occurrence of these massacres, and as they are connected with a somewhat striking passage in Mr. Smith's career, it may not be amiss to refresh the reader's memory by giving a brief outline of the facts. In the month of October, 1865, the island of Jamaica was thrown into confusion by the breaking out of an insurrection on the part of the native coloured population. There had been abuses of a very serious character, and the rebels were by no means without some show of excuse for their uprising. There had long been a bitter war of races in the island, and the policy of Eyre, the Governor, had not been of a kind to pacify the feud. Upon the breaking out of the insurrection the white population were seized with dread, as most of the rebels were semi-barbarians, and some of them were fierce, turbulent spirits who were capable of going any lengths to wreak their vengeance upon those whom they regarded as their hereditary oppressors. Public business was totally suspended, and a universal panic prevailed. A local statute was passed authorizing the Governor to proclaim martial law, and the proclamation was forthwith made. Governor Eyre seems to have succumbed to the panic and lost his head. There was a Mr. Gordon who had for some time been at bitter personal enmity with the Governor, and who, it was alleged, had taken a leading part in stirring up disaffection among the natives. He was arrested under the statute, tried by court-martial, and hanged with unseemly haste—his trial having taken place on a Saturday, and his execution on the morning of the Monday following. The promptitude of this proceeding, added to other measures of exemplary severity, soon put an end to the rebellion, and the island was erelong reduced to a state of order. Then it began to be whisperedPg 154 about that Governor Eyre had availed himself of the pretext of the insurrection to remove from his path a hated foe. The whispers soon became open speech, which erelong became so loud that a Royal Commission was sent out from England to inquire into the matter. The report of the commission was to the effect that Mr. Gordon's trial had been conducted with great irregularity; that he had been condemned on insufficient evidence; that the most high-handed measures had been resorted to by the Governor and his satellites; and that a degree of severity altogether uncalled for by the circumstances of the case had been exercised. The Governor was recalled, and immediately afterwards took up his abode in England. Then the lovers of liberty began to make themselves heard. It was monstrous, they said, that a man who was morally, if not legally guilty of murder, should be allowed to go unpunished. It was finally resolved that he should be indicted on a charge of murder. The advocates of brute force, on the other hand, defended the Governor's conduct, and as nearly every man in England leaned to either one side or the other, the country was soon divided into two hostile camps. The Governor's supporters organized an Eyre Defence Fund. It would not have been difficult to predict the respective sides upon which the prominent writers of Great Britain would array themselves. Thomas Carlyle, who had deified Danton and Frederick the Great, and who had defended the massacres at Tredah, took the foremost place on the committee for the defence of Governor Eyre. John Tyndall, whose anthropological studies had doubtless led him to regard the Jamaica negroes as only one degree removed from apes, arrayed himself on the same side; saying, in so many words, that to kill a negro was a very different think from killing an Englishman. Charles Kingsley, John Ruskin and Sir Roderick Murchison, as might have been expected, espoused the cause of brute force; the first-named even going so far as to toast the Governor's health at a public dinner. John Stuart Mill, on the other hand, devoted himself to the cause of law, order, and liberty, and was ably seconded by John Bright, Professor Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and Goldwin Smith. Professor Huxley, whose moral sense revolted against the Governor's tyrannical and despotic conduct, wrote a series of sarcastic letters to the Pall Mall Gazette on the subject, which have been pronounced to be worthy of Swift himself. The writer admitted all that the ex-Governor's friends alleged on that gentleman's behalf—which, after all was very little. It was true, he said, that Governor Eyre and his supporters were honourable and virtuous men; and it was also true that many of the rebels had been vicious and semi-barbarous. Building on this foundation, he adopted the reductio ad absurdum, and went on to discuss the matter in all its bearings. He finally wound up by incontestably proving the right of “all virtuous persons, as such, to put to death all vicious persons, as such.” “The mind,” says Mr. Justin McCarthy, “which was not touched by that incomparable mixture of satire and sense would surely have remained untouched though one rose from the dead.” Nothing could be more clearly indicative of the extent to which public opinion was wrought up on the subject of these Jamaica massacres than the fact that Herbert Spencer, for the first and last time in his life, made his appearance on the public platform. The author of “First Principles” had up to this time lived the life of a literary recluse, and had never been seen by the English public, or even by many English men of letters. “But,” says the writer already quoted, “the Jamaica massacres made a political agitator even of Herbert Spencer.... He appeared in public as an active, hard-working member of a politicalPg 155 organization.... His noble human sympathies, his austere and uncompromising love of justice, his instinctive detestation of brute, blind, despotic force, compelled him to come out from his seclusion, and join those who protested against the lawless and senseless massacre of the wretched blacks of Jamaica.” The sympathies of Goldwin Smith impelled him to strike another blow in the cause of liberty—perhaps the hardest blow he had ever struck. He prepared a series of lectures on Pym, Cromwell, and Pitt; lectures replete with telling allusions to the Jamaica massacres and their defenders. These he delivered before large and appreciative audiences in various cities and towns in the north of England. The proceeds were devoted to the fund for the prosecution of the ex-Governor, Eyre. These lectures were received with the utmost enthusiasm, and not long after their delivery they were published in book form under the title of “Three English Statesmen.” They have gone through several editions, and, like the “Lectures on the Study of History,” have been republished in America, Mr. Smith is somewhat of a hero-worshipper, but his worship is tempered by a critical judgment which detects weaknesses in the moral armour even of those whom he most delights to honour. The character of Cromwell, which is so eminently calculated to lead enthusiastic natures astray, is outlined in these lectures with a calm but eloquent discrimination; and while the writer's devotion imparts fire to his periods it does not render him blind to the shortcomings of the hero of the Commonwealth. The volume contains some sharp and telling hits at Disraeli. The most notable occurs in the discourse on Pym, where, after describing the struggle of the patriots against the impost of ship-money, and how the freeholders of Buckinghamshire rode up to London to protect Hampden from the vengeance of the King, the lecturer asks—“Where are those four thousand freeholders now? And in the place where then our English Hampden stood, speaking for English liberty, who stands now, upholding martial law as the suspension of all law?” What wonder that the Right Honourable Benjamin characterized the lectures as the vapourings of “a wild man of the cloister, going about the country maligning men and things?”

The sequel of the story of the Jamaica massacres may be given in few words. The ex-Governor was in due course summoned to attend before a magistrate in a London police-court to answer a charge of murder. By advice of his counsel he declined to attend, alleging that as he resided in Shropshire, a London police-magistrate, as such, had no jurisdiction to try him, more especially for an offence alleged to have been committed in Jamaica. The prosecutors then summoned him before the petty sessions at Market Drayton, in Shropshire, where he resided. He attended, and after a patient hearing the charge was dismissed. The prosecution were in no way astonished at such a result. It had never been seriously believed that an indictment for murder could be legally maintained. The purpose of the prosecution was fully served by the notoriety which was given to the case, and by the assurance thereby afforded to the English people that there were men in the nation who were not disposed to allow tyranny to go altogether unchecked.

In 1866, in consequence of injuries received in a railway accident, Mr. Smith's father began to suffer from a long and painful illness, which required the constant and watchful attendance of his son. This attendance left the latter no leisure for the preparation of his lectures, and he accordingly determined upon the resignation of his Oxford professorship. The resolution was at once carried out, and during the succeeding eighteen months his attendance upon his father was unremitting. When, Pg 156 in 1868, death put an end to his father's sufferings, he found himself without occupation. The chair of English and Constitutional History in the new Cornell University, at Ithaca, in the State of New York, was pressed upon his acceptance, and after some deliberation he closed with the proposal, and shortly afterwards took up his residence at Ithaca. He presented the University with his magnificent library, and entered upon the active discharge of his official duties. In 1871 he removed to Toronto, where he has ever since resided. His professorship at Cornell being non-resident, his removal did not cause any severance of his connection with the university, and he still continues to deliver his lectures there, where he is greatly beloved, alike by his brother professors and by the students. Shortly after his settlement in Toronto he was appointed a member of the Senate of the University of Toronto, which position he subsequently resigned. During his residence here he has engaged in several literary and journalistic enterprises, and it is undeniable that he has done much to elevate the tone of journalism among us. He practically assumed the editorship of the Canadian Monthly in 1872, and retained the position for two years, when he resigned. He was also for some time a writer in The Nation, a weekly journal, which ceased to appear in September, 1876. On the 30th of September, 1875, he married Harriet, relict of the late Mr. W. H. Boulton, of “The Grange,” Toronto, where he now resides.

Both in England and in this country Mr. Smith has repeatedly been importuned to enter Parliament, but has always declined, preferring a life of literary leisure to the turmoil and agitation consequent on a parliamentary career. His last published work is a volume on “The Political Destiny of Canada,” in which he predicts the ultimate severance of this country from Great Britain and its probable absorption by the United States. The Bystander, a serial publication, commenced in January last, is also currently believed to be the product of his pen. Whatever opinion may be formed as to the expediency of some of the measures which he has seen fit to advocate during the last few years of his life, there can be no dispute as to his great ability, profound learning, and thorough conscientiousness of purpose. At the same time, those who contemplate his life in its entirety will have the impression constantly forced upon their minds that he has not done justice to the powers with which he is endowed. He is, moreover, possessed by a feverish restlessness of temperament which impels him to find fault where more happily constituted natures would smile, hope for the best, and be silent. With an intellect and a fund of multifarious knowledge at his command such as is possessed by few men now living, he seems to lack, or to neglect, the faculty of sustained effort. Other historical writers with a tithe of his historical knowledge, and with an incomparably smaller intellectual grasp, have made for themselves an abiding name in English letters, by mere force of industry and facility in writing. Mr. Smith brings to whatever subject may engage his attention the fulness of rich and varied learning and a matchless power of language; but he works only by spasmodic fits and starts, and has not hitherto devoted himself to that steady and patient labour without which no man must expect to leave his mark upon the age in which he lives. He is still, however, in the prime of life, and it is not too late to hope that he will yet produce something to enable mankind to benefit by his deep researches, his philosophical acumen, and his rare combination of qualifications for a great historian.


Pg 157


Standing on the summit of one of the rocky eminences at the mouth of the Saguenay, and looking back through the haze of two hundred and seventy-seven years, we may descry two small sailing craft slowly making their way up the majestic stream which Jacques Cartier, sixty-eight years before, christened in honour of the grilled St Lawrence. The vessels are of French build, and have evidently just arrived from France. They are of very diminutive size for an ocean voyage, but are manned by hardy Breton mariners for whom the tempestuous Atlantic has no terrors. They are commanded by an enterprising merchant-sailor of St. Malo, who is desirous of pushing his fortunes by means of the fur trade, and who, with that end in view, has already more than once navigated the St. Lawrence as far westward as the mouth of the Saguenay. His name is Pontgravé. Like other French adventurers of his time, he is a brave and energetic man, ready to do, to dare, and, if need be, to suffer; but his primary object in life is to amass wealth, and to effect this object he is not over-scrupulous as to the means employed. On this occasion he has come over with instructions from Henry IV., King of France, to explore the St Lawrence, to ascertain how far from its mouth navigation is practicable, and to make a survey of the country on its banks. He is accompanied on the expedition by a man of widely different mould; a man who is worth a thousand of such sordid, huckstering spirits; a man who unites with the courage and energy of a soldier a high sense of personal honour and a singleness of heart worthy of the Chevalier Bayard himself. To these qualities are added an absorbing passion for colonization, and a piety and zeal which would not misbecome a Jesuit missionary. He is poor, but what the poet calls “the jingling of the guinea” has no charms for him. Let others consume their souls in heaping up riches, in chaffering with the Indians for the skins of wild beasts, and in selling the same to the affluent traders of France. It is his ambition to rear the fleur-de-lis in the remote wilderness of the New World, and to evangelize the savage hordes by whom that world is peopled. The latter object is the most dear to his heart of all, and he has already recorded his belief that the salvation of one soul is of more importance than the founding of an empire. After such an exordium it is scarcely necessary to inform the student of history that the name of Pontgravé's ally is Samuel De Champlain. He has already figured somewhat conspicuously in his country's annals, but his future achievements are destined to outshine the events, of his previous career, and to gain for him the merited title of “Father of New France.”

He was born some time in the year 1567, at Brouage, a small seaport town in thePg 158 Province of Saintongo, on the west coast of France. Part of his youth was spent in the naval service, and during the wars of the League he fought on the side of the King, who awarded him a small pension and attached him to his own person. But Champlain was of too adventurous a turn of mind to feel at home in the confined atmosphere of a royal court, and soon languished for change of scene. Erelong he obtained command of a vessel bound for the West Indies, where he remained more than two years. During this time he distinguished himself as a brave and efficient officer. He became known as one whose nature partook largely of the romantic element, but who, nevertheless, had ever an eye to the practical. Several important engineering projects seem to have engaged his attention during his sojourn in the West Indies. Prominent among these was the project of constructing a ship-canal across the Isthmus of Panama, but the scheme was not encouraged, and ultimately fell to the ground. Upon his return to France he again dangled about the court for a few months, by which time he had once more become heartily weary of a life of inaction. With the accession of Henry IV. to the French throne the long religious wars which had so long distracted the country came to an end, and the attention of the Government began to be directed to the colonization of New France—a scheme which had never been wholly abandoned, but which had remained in abeyance since the failure of the expedition undertaken by the brothers Roberval, more than half a century before. Several new attempts were made at this time, none of which was very successful. The fur trade, however, held out great inducements to private enterprise, and stimulated the cupidity of the merchants of Dieppe, Rouen and St. Malo. In the heart of one of them something nobler than cupidity was aroused. In 1603, M. De Chastes, Governor of Dieppe, obtained a patent from the King conferring upon him and several of his associates a monopoly of the fur trade of New France. To M. De Chastes the acquisition of wealth—of which he already had enough, and to spare—was a matter of secondary importance, but he hoped to make his patent the means of extending the French empire into the unknown regions of the far West. The patent was granted soon after Champlain's return from the West Indies, and just as the pleasures of the court were beginning to pall upon him. He had served under De Chastes during the latter years of the war of the League, and the Governor was no stranger to the young man's skill, energy, and incorruptible integrity. De Chastes urged him to join the expedition, which was precisely of a kind to find favour in the eyes of an ardent adventurer like Champlain. The King's consent having been obtained, he joined the expedition under Pontgravé, and sailed for the mouth of the St. Lawrence on the 15th of March, 1603. The expedition, as we have seen, was merely preliminary to more specific and extended operations. The ocean voyage, which was a tempestuous one, occupied more than two months, and they did not reach the St Lawrence until the latter end of May. They sailed up as far as Tadousac, at the mouth of the Saguenay, where a little trading-post had been established four years before by Pontgravé and Chauvin. Here they cast anchor, and a fleet of canoes filled with wondering natives gathered round their little barques to sell peltries, and (unconsciously) to sit to Champlain for their portraits. After a short stay at Tadousac the leaders of the expedition, accompanied by several of the crew, embarked in a batteau and proceeded up the river past deserted Stadacona to the site of the Indian village of Hochelaga, discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1535. The village so graphically described by that navigator had ceased to exist, and the tribe which had inhabited itPg 159 at the time of his visit had given place to a few Algonquin Indians. Our adventurers essayed to ascend the river stilt farther, but found it impossible to make headway against the rapids of St. Louis, which had formerly presented an insuperable barrier to Cartier's westward progress. Then they retraced their course down the river to Tadousac, re-embarked on board their vessels, and made all sail for France. When they arrived there they found that their patron, De Chastes, had died during their absence, and that his Company had been dissolved. Very soon afterwards, however, the scheme of colonization was taken up by the Sieur de Monts, who entered into engagements with Champlain for another voyage to the New World. De Monts and Champlain set sail on the 7th of March, 1604, with a large expedition, and in due course reached the shores of Nova Scotia, then called Acadie. After an absence of three years, during which Champlain explored the coast as far southward as Cape Cod, the expedition returned to France. A good deal had been learned as to the topographical features of the country lying near the coast, but little had been done in the way of actual colonization. The next expedition was productive of greater results. De Monts, at Champlain's instigation, resolved to found a settlement on the shores of the St. Lawrence. Two vessels were fitted up at his expense and placed under Champlain's command, with Pontgravé as lieutenant of the expedition, which put to sea in the month of April, 1608, and reached the mouth of the Saguenay early in June. Pontgravé began a series of trading operations with the Indians at Tadousac, while Champlain proceeded up the river to fix upon an advantageous site for the projected settlement. This site he found at the confluence of the St Charles with the St Lawrence, near the place where Jacques Cartier had spent the winter of 1535-6. Tradition tells as that when Cartier's sailors beheld the adjacent promontory of Cape Diamond they exclaimed, “Quel bec!”—(“What a beak!”)—which exclamation led to the place being called Quebec. The most probable derivation of the name, however, is the Indian word kebec, signifying a strait, which might well have been applied by the natives to the narrowing of the river at this place. Whatever may be the origin of the name, here it was that Champlain, on the 3rd of July, 1608, founded his settlement, and Quebec was the name which he bestowed upon it. This was the first permanent settlement of Europeans on the American continent, with the exception of those at St. Augustine, in Florida, and Jamestown, in Virginia.

Champlain's first attempts at settlement, as might be expected, were of a very primitive character. He erected rude barracks, and cleared a few small patches of ground adjacent thereto, which he sowed with wheat and rye. Perceiving that the fur trade might be turned to good account in promoting the settlement of the country, he bent his energies to its development. He had scarcely settled his little colony in its new home ere he began to experience the perils of his quasi-regal position. Notwithstanding the patent of monopoly held by his patron, on the faith of which his colonization scheme had been projected, the rights conferred by it began to be infringed by certain traders who came over from France and instituted a system of traffic with the natives. Finding the traffic exceedingly profitable, these traders erelong held out inducements to some of Champlain's followers. A conspiracy was formed against him, and he narrowly escaped assassination. Fortunately, one of the traitors was seized by remorse, and revealed the plot before it had been fully carried out. The chief conspirator was hanged, and his accomplices were sent over to France, where they expiated their crime at the galleys. Having thus promptly suppressedPg 160 the first insurrection within his dominions, Champlain prepared himself for the rigours of a Canadian winter. An embankment was formed above the reach of the tide, and a stock of provisions was laid in sufficient for the support of the settlement until spring. The colony, inclusive of Champlain himself, consisted of twenty-nine persons. Notwithstanding all precautions, the scurvy broke out among them during the winter. Champlain, who was endowed with a vigorous constitution, escaped the pest, but before the advent of spring the little colony was reduced to only nine persons. The sovereign remedy which Cartier had found so efficacious in a similar emergency was not to be obtained. That remedy was a decoction prepared by the Indians from a tree which they called Auneda—believed to have been a species of spruce—but the natives of Champlain's day knew nothing of the remedy, from which he concluded that the tribe which had employed it on behalf of Cartier and his men had been exterminated by their enemies.

With spring, succours and fresh immigrants arrived from France, and new vitality was imported into the little colony. Soon after this time, Champlain committed the most impolitic act of his life. The Hurons, Algonquins, and other tribes of the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, resolved upon taking the war-path against their enemies, the Iroquois, or Five Nations—the boldest, fiercest, and most powerful confederacy known to Indian history. Champlain, ever since his arrival in the country, had done his utmost to win the favour of the natives with whom he was brought more immediately into contact, and he deemed that by joining them in opposing the Iroquois, who were a standing menace to his colony, he would knit the Hurons and Algonquins to the side of the King of France by permanent and indissoluble ties. To some extent he was right, but he underestimated the strength of the foe, an alliance with whom would have been of more importance than an alliance with all the other Indian tribes of New France. Champlain cast in his lot with the Hurons and Algonquins, and accompanied them on their expedition against their enemies. By so doing he invoked the deadly animosity of the latter against the French for all time to come. He did not foresee that by this one stroke of policy he was paving the way for a subsequent alliance between the Iroquois and the English.

On May 28th, 1609, in company with his Indian allies, he started on the expedition, the immediate results of which were so insignificant—the remote results of which were so momentous. The war-party, embarked in canoes, ascended the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the Richelieu—then called the River of the Iroquois—and thence up the latter stream to the lake which Champlain then beheld for the first time, and which until that day no European eye had ever looked upon. This picturesque sheet of water was thenceforward called after him, and in its name his own is still perpetuated. The party held on their course to the head waters of the lake, near to which several Iroquois villages were situated. The enemy's scouts received intelligence of the approach of the invaders, and advanced to repel them. The opposing forces met in the forest on the south-western shore, not far from Crown Point, on the morning of the 30th of July. The Iroquois, two hundred in number, advanced to the onset. “Among them,” says Mr. Parkman, “could be seen several chiefs, conspicuous by their tall plumes. Some bore shields of wood and hide, and some were covered with a kind of armour made of tough twigs, interlaced with a vegetable fibre, supposed by Champlain to be cotton. The allies, growing anxious, called with loud cries for their champion, and opened their ranks that he might pass to the front. He did so, Pg 161 and advancing before his red companions-in-arms stood revealed to the astonished gaze of the Iroquois, who, beholding the warlike apparition in their path, stared in mute amazement. But his arquebuse was levelled; the report startled the woods, a chief fell dead, and another by his side rolled among the bushes. Then there arose from the allies a yell which, says Champlain, would have drowned a thunder-clap, and the forest was full of whizzing arrows. For a moment the Iroquois stood firm, and sent back their arrows lustily; but when another and another gunshot came from the thickets on their flank they broke and fled in uncontrollable terror. Swifter than hounds, the allies tore through the bushes in pursuit. Some of the Iroquois were killed, more were taken. Camp, canoes, provisions, all were abandoned, and many weapons flung down in the panic flight. The arquebuse had done its work. The victory was complete.” The victorious allies, much to the disgust of Champlain, tortured their prisoners in the most barbarous fashion, and returned to Quebec, taking with them fifty Iroquois scalps. Thus was the first Indian blood shed by the white man in Canada. The man who shed it was a European and a Christian, who had not even the excuse of provocation. This is a matter worth bearing in mind when we read of the frightful atrocities committed by the Iroquois upon the whites in after years. Champlain's conduct on this occasion seems incapable of defence, and it was certainly a very grave error, considered simply as an act of policy. The error was bitterly and fiercely avenged, and for every Indian who fell on the morning of that 30th of July, in this, the first battle fought on Canadian soil between natives and Europeans, a tenfold penalty was exacted. “Thus did New France rush into collision with the redoubted warriors of the Five Nations. Here was the beginning, in some measure doubtless the cause, of a long succession of murderous conflicts, bearing havoc and flame to generations yet unborn. Champlain had invaded the tiger's den; and now, in smothered fury the patient savage would lie biding his day of blood.”

Six weeks after the performance of this exploit, Champlain, accompanied by Pontgravé, returned to France. Upon his arrival at court he found De Monts there, trying to secure a renewal of his patent of monopoly, which had been revoked in consequence of loud complaints on the part of other French merchants who were desirous of participating in the profits arising from the fur trade. His efforts to obtain a renewal proving unsuccessful, De Monts determined to carry on his scheme of colonization unaided by royal patronage. Allying himself with some affluent merchants of Rochelle, he fitted out another expedition, and once more despatched Champlain to the New World. Champlain, upon his arrival at Tadousac, found his former Indian allies preparing for another descent upon the Iroquois, in which undertaking he again joined them; the inducement this time being a promise on the part of the Indians to pilot him up the great streams leading from the interior, whereby he hoped to discover a passage to the North Sea, and thence to China and the Indies. In this second expedition he was less successful than in the former one. The opposing forces met near the confluence of the Richelieu and St. Lawrence Rivers, and though Champlain's allies were ultimately victorious, they sustained a heavy loss, and he himself was wounded in the neck by an arrow. After the battle, the torture-fires were lighted, as was usual on such occasions, and Champlain for the first time was an eye-witness to the horrors of cannibalism.

He soon afterwards began his preparations for an expedition up the Ottawa, but just as he was about to start on the journey, a ship Pg 162 arrived from France with intelligence that King Henry had fallen a victim to the dagger of Ravaillac. The accession of a new sovereign to the French throne might materially affect De Monts's ability to continue his scheme, and Champlain once more set sail for France to confer with his patron. The late king, while deeming it impolitic to continue the monopoly in De Monts's favour, had always countenanced the latter's colonization schemes in New France; but upon Champlain's arrival he found that with the death of Henry IV. De Monts's court influence had ceased, and that his western scheme must stand or fall on its own merits. Champlain, in order to retrieve his patron's fortunes as far as might be, again returned to Canada in the following spring, resolved to build a trading post far up the St. Lawrence, where it would be easily accessible to the Indian hunters on the Ottawa. The spot selected was near the site of the former village of Hochelaga, near the confluence of the two great rivers of Canada. The post was built on the site now occupied by the hospital of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, and even before its erection was completed a horde of rival French traders appeared on the scene. This drove Champlain once more back to France, but he soon found that the ardour of De Monts for colonization had cooled, and that he was not disposed to concern himself further in the enterprise. Champlain, being thus left to his own resources, determined to seek another patron, and succeeded in enlisting the sympathy of the Count de Soissons, who obtained the appointment of Lieutenant-General of New France, and invested Champlain with the functions of that office as his deputy. The Count did not long survive, but Henry de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, succeeded to his privileges, and continued Champlain in his high office. In the spring of 1613 Champlain again betook himself to Canada, and arrived at Quebec early in May. Before the end of the month he started on his long-deferred tour of western exploration. Taking with him two canoes, containing an Indian and four Frenchmen, he ascended the Ottawa in the hope of reaching China and Japan by way of Hudson's Bay, which had been discovered by Hendrick Hudson only three years before. In undertaking this journey Champlain had been misled by a French impostor called Nicholas Vignan, who professed to have explored the route far inland beyond the head waters of the Ottawa, which river, he averred, had its source in a lake connected with the North Sea. The enthusiastic explorer, relying upon the good faith of Vignan, proceeded westward to beyond Lake Coulange, and after a tedious and perilous voyage, stopped to confer with Tessouat, an Indian chief, whose tribe inhabited that remote region. This potentate, upon being apprised of the object of their journey, undeceived Champlain as to Vignan's character for veracity, and satisfied him that the Frenchman had never passed farther west than Tessouat's own dominions. Vignan, after a good deal of prevarication, confessed that his story was false, and that what the Indian chief had stated was a simple fact. Champlain, weary and disgusted, abandoned his exploration, and returned to Quebec, leaving Vignan with the Indians in the wildernesses of the Upper Ottawa.

His next visit to France, which took place daring the summer of the same year, was fraught with important results to the colony. A new company was formed under the auspices of the Prince of Condé, and a scheme was laid for the propagation of the Gospel among the Indians by means of Recollet missionaries to be sent out from France for the purpose. These, who were the first priests who settled in Canada, came out with Champlain in May, 1615. A province was assigned to each of them, and they at once entered upon the duties of their respectivePg 163 missions. One of them settled among the Montagnais, near the mouth of the Saguenay; two of them remained at Quebec; and the fourth, whose name was Le Caron, betook himself to the far western wilds. Champlain then entered upon a more extended tour of westward exploration than any he had hitherto undertaken. Accompanied by an interpreter and a number of Algonquins as guides, he again ascended the Ottawa, passed the Isle of Allumettes, and thence to Lake Nipissing. After a short stay here he continued his journey, and descended the stream since known as French River, into the inlet of Lake Huron now called the Georgian Bay. Paddling southward past the innumerable islands on the eastern coast of the bay, he landed near the present site of Penetanguishene, and thence followed an Indian trail leading through the ancient country of the Hurons, now forming the northern part of the county of Simcoe, and the north-eastern part of the county of Grey. This country contained seventeen or eighteen villages, and a population including women and children, of about twenty thousand. One of the villages visited by Champlain, called Cahiague, occupied a site near the present town of Orillia. At another village, called Carhagouha, some distance farther west, the explorer found the Recollet friar Le Caron, who had accompanied him from France only a few months before as above mentioned. And here, on the 12th of August, 1615, Le Caron celebrated, in Champlain's presence, the first mass ever heard in the wilderness of western Canada.

After spending some time in the Huron country, Champlain accompanied the natives on an expedition against their hereditary foes, the Iroquois, whose domain occupied what is now the central and western part of the State of New York. Crossing Lake Couchiching and coasting down the north-eastern shore of Lake Simcoe they made their way across country to the Bay of Quinté, thence into Lake Ontario, and thence into the enemy's country. Having landed, they concealed their canoes in the woods and marched inland. On the 10th of October they came to a Seneca9 village on or near a lake which was probably Lake Canandaigua. The Hurons attacked the village, but were repulsed by the fierce Iroquois, Champlain himself being several times wounded in the assault. The invading war-party then retreated and abandoned the campaign, returning to where they had hidden their canoes, in which they embarked and made the best of their way back across Lake Ontario, where the party broke up. The Hurons had promised Champlain that if he would accompany them on their expedition against the Iroquois they would afterwards furnish him with an escort back to Quebec. This promise they now declined to make good. Champlain's prestige as an invincible champion was gone, and, wounded and dispirited, he was compelled to accompany them back to their country near Lake Simcoe, where he spent the winter in the lodge of Durantal, one of their chiefs. Upon his return to Quebec in the following year he was welcomed as one risen from the dead.

Hitherto, Champlain's love of adventure had led him to devote more attention to exploration than to the consolidation of his power in New France. He determined to change his policy in this respect, and crossed over to France to induce a larger emigration. In July, 1620, he returned with Madame de Champlain, who was received with great demonstrations of respect and affection by the Indians upon her arrival at Quebec. Champlain found that the colony had rather retrograded than advancedPg 164 during his absence, and for some time after his return various causes contributed to retard its prosperity. At the end of the year 162110 the European population of New France numbered only forty-eight persons. Rival trading companies continued to fight for the supremacy in the colony, and any man less patient and persevering than the Father of New France would have abandoned his schemes in despair. This untoward state of things continued until 1627, when an association, known to history by the name of “The Company of the One Hundred Associates,” was formed under the patronage of the great Cardinal Richelieu. The association was invested with the Vice-royalty of New France and Florida, together with very extensive auxiliary privileges, including a monopoly of the fur trade, the right to confer titles and appoint judges, and generally to carry on the government of the colony. In return for these truly vice-regal privileges the company undertook to send out a large number of colonists, and to provide them with the necessaries of life for a term of three years, after which land enough for their support and grain wherewith to plant it was to be given them. Champlain himself was appointed Governor. This great company was scarcely organized before war broke out between France and England. The English resolved upon the conquest of Canada, and sent out a fleet to the St. Lawrence under the command of Sir David Kertk. The fleet having arrived before Quebec, its commander demanded from Champlain a surrender of the place, and as the Governor's supply of food and ammunition was too small to enable him to sustain a siege, he signed a capitulation and surrendered. He then hastened to France, where he influenced the cabinet to stipulate for the restoration of Canada to the French Crown, in the articles of peace which were shortly afterwards negotiated between the two powers. In 1632 this restoration was effected, and next year Champlain again returned in the capacity of Governor. From this time forward he strove to promote the prosperity of the colony by every means in his power. Among the means whereby he zealously strove to effect this object was the establishment of Jesuit missions for the conversion of the Indians. Among other missions so established was that in the far western Huron country, around which the Relations des Jesuites have cast such a halo of romance.

The Father of New France did not live to gather much fruit from the crop which he had sown. His life of incessant fatigue at last proved too much even for his vigorous frame. After an illness which lasted for ten weeks, he died on Christmas Day, 1635, at the age of sixty-eight. His beautiful young wife, who had shared his exile for four years, returned to France.

But few particulars have been preserved with reference to Madame de Champlain's life. Her maiden name was Helen Boullé, and she was the sister of a friend and fellow-navigator of her husband's. After her return to France she renounced the Protestant faith, and became a devout Roman Catholic. Having resolved upon adopting a conventual life, she became an Ursuline nun, under the name of Mother Helen de St. Augustine. She founded a convent at Meaux, in which she immured herself during the remainder of her life. She survived her husband nearly nineteen years, and died on the 20th of December, 1654, at the age of fifty-six. There was no issue of the marriage, and the patrimony, descended to a cousin of the Founder of New France.

Champlain's body was interred in the vaults of a little Recollet church in the Lower Town. This church was subsequentlyPg 165 burned to the ground, and its very site was not certainly known until recent times. In the year 1867 some workmen were employed in laying water-pipes beneath the flight of stairs called “Breakneck Steps,” leading from Mountain Hill to Little Champlain street. Under a grating at the foot of the steps they discovered the vaults of the old Recollet church, with the remains of the Father of New France enclosed.

Independently of his energy, perseverance and fortitude as an explorer, Samuel de Champlain was a man of considerable mark, and earned for himself an imperishable name in Canadian history. He wrote several important works which, in spite of many defects, bear the stamp of no ordinary mind. His engaging in war with the Iroquois was a fatal error, but it arose from the peculiar position in which he found himself placed at the outset of his western career, and it is difficult to see how anything short of actual experience could have made his error manifest. The purity of his life was proverbial, and was the theme of comment among his survivors for years after his death. He foresaw that his adopted country was destined for a glorious future. “The flourishing cities and towns of this Dominion,” says one of his eulogists, “are enduring monuments to his foresight; and the waters of the beautiful lake that bears his name chant the most fitting requiem to his memory, as they break in perpetual murmurings on their shores.”

This sketch would be incomplete without some reference to the mysterious astrolabe which was found about thirteen years ago, and which is supposed by some persons to have been lost by Champlain on the occasion of his first voyage up the Ottawa in 1613, as recounted in the preceding pages. The facts of the case may be compressed into few words, although they have given rise to many learned disquisitions which, up to the present time, have been barren of any useful or satisfactory result.

In the month of August, 1867, some men were engaged in cultivating a piece of ground on the rear half of lot number twelve, in the second range of the township of Ross, in the county of Renfrew, Ontario. While turning up the soil, one of them—the actual settler upon the property, we believe—came upon a queer looking instrument, which upon examination proved to be an astrolabe—an instrument used in former times to mark the position of the stars, and to assist in computing latitudes, but long since gone out of use. Upon its face was engraved the date 1603—the identical year when Champlain first sailed from his native land for New France, in company with Pontgravé. Of the antiquity of the instrument, no one who has carefully examined it, as the present writer has had the privilege of doing, will entertain any doubt, even in these days when manufactories exist for the production genuine Old Masters and other antique curios at a few days' notice, and at a very moderate price. At the time of its discovery it had evidently been undisturbed for a very long period of time. It lay several inches beneath the surface of the ground, being imbedded in decayed vegetable matter. The brass or bell-metal of which it is composed is, however, wonderfully hard and impervious to the action of time and atmospheric influences, so that it is in an excellent state of preservation. It is now in the possession of Mr. Richard S. Cassels, of Toronto, who obtained it from the settler by whom it was discovered in 1867.

Now, Champlain's first journey up the Ottawa was made in the summer of 1613, and he undoubtedly passed over or near the identical spot where the astrolabe was found. It is claimed that this instrument belonged to Champlain, and that it was lost by him in this place. In support of the claim it is represented that Champlain's latitudesPg 166 were always computed with reasonable exactness up to the time of his passing through the portage of which the plot of ground whereon the instrument was found forms a part; whereas the solitary computation subsequently made by him during the journey is so erroneous as to be strongly suggestive of guesswork—so erroneous, indeed, as to have led some readers of his journal very seriously astray in following out his course. This, in reality, is all the evidence to be found as to the ownership of the astrolabe, though there are other minute circumstances which lend some degree of plausibility to that cherished theory. Taken by itself, it is reasonably strong circumstantial evidence. On the other hand it may be contended that astrolabes had pretty well gone out of use before the year 1613, and that Champlain was a man not likely to be behind his times in the matter of scientific appliances. Still, such instruments were doubtless employed by French explorers long subsequent to Champlain's time, and the Baron Lahontan records his having employed one on his western explorations so late as the year 1687—seventy-four years subsequent to Champlain's first voyage up the Ottawa. But the strongest argument is to be found in the fact that Champlain's journal, which contains minute details of everything that happened from day to day, makes no allusion whatever to his having lost his astrolabe—a circumstance, it would seem, not very likely to have been omitted if any such loss had actually occurred. A number of silver cups, on which crests or coats of arms are said to have been engraved, were also found at the same time and place; and it has been conjectured that they also belonged to the Father of New France. Unfortunately for the verification of the theory, the finder of this treasure-trove, little suspecting that it could have any extraordinary value or importance, sold it to a peddler for old silver, and the cups were melted down before they had been seen by any one interested in the settlement of archæological problems. The question is of course an open one, and has given rise, as has already been said, to much discussion among Canadian archæologists. It is, however, of little historical importance, and needs no further allusion in these pages.

George Monro Grant
Rev. George Monro Grant.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by Hunter & Co.


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Dr. Grant has for some years past occupied a prominent place in the Presbyterian pulpit of the Maritime Provinces. He has more recently obtained still wider recognition, not merely as an earnest and effective preacher, but likewise as an author, and a zealous educational reformer. He was born on the 22nd of December, 1835, at Albion Mines, or, as it is sometimes called, Stellarton, a mining village situated on East River, in the county of Pictou, Nova Scotia, about a hundred miles to the north-east of Halifax. At the time of his birth, his father, a native of Scotland, taught a school in the village, and was known as a man of ability and high character. A few years later the family removed to the town of Pictou. In the early days of his boyhood the subject of this sketch attended Pictou Academy, where the foundation of his educational training may be said to have been laid. While a student at that institution he was known for a remarkably clever lad who could learn his lessons without effort, but who was not conspicuous for devotion to his studies. A gentleman who is entitled to speak authoritatively with regard to this period in Master George Grant's life, says that he was fonder of play than of his lessons, and always ready for a scramble, a holiday, or a fight, at a moment's notice. He was impetuous and pugnacious, and had several perilous adventures such as do not commonly fall to a boy's lot. On one occasion he was thrown into the East River, at Pictou, by a big boy with whom he had been fighting, and to whom he refused to acknowledge himself beaten. His antagonist left him to scramble out of the river or drown, as luck might have it. Drowned he would inevitably have been had it not been for the opportune arrival of his father on the scene of action. The effects of another boyish freak were destined to accompany him through life. He and some of his playfellows, for the mere love of mischief, were experimenting with a hay-cutter, in the absence of its owner. George Grant's right hand was caught by the knife and taken completely off. This was at the time regarded as a serious loss, but “use doth breed habit in man,” and by the time the wound was healed he could use his left hand with such facility that he scarcely felt the want of that he had lost. The deprivation has never seriously inconvenienced him, and he has been known to say: “I do not know what I would do with a second hand if I had it.”

Even the loss of his hand did not deter him from subsequently engaging in many freaks of mischief, some of which were attended with more or less disaster. He was so constantly injuring himself in some way or other that doubts were felt and expressed by his relatives as to whether he would live to reach manhood. But, notwithstandingPg 168 his reckless jollity and love of frolic, there was from the very first an earnest side to his character. He had strong religious impressions, and from his earliest years had resolved that his life should be devoted to the Christian ministry. He had even at one time serious thoughts—probably inspired by the perusal of some book of travels—of becoming a missionary. While attending Pictou Academy, his perpetual freaks of fun and mischief, and the frequent unpleasant predicaments in which he contrived to embroil himself, did not prevent him from paying due attention to his lessons. He secured more than his share of prizes, and was regarded as a youth of exceptionally brilliant parts, who would make a figure in the world if he could only be got to apply himself steadily. In those days, the one great prize at the Academy was a silver medal, known as the “Primrose medal,” from the name of the donor, Mr. James Primrose. It was awarded for proficiency in Arithmetic. Master Grant gained it, and carried it home to his mother with a full heart. Since his arrival at years of maturity, he has been known to say that all the prizes he has since gained in the course of his passage through life have seemed very commonplace affairs indeed to him, when compared with the Primrose medal at Pictou Academy. The only other occasion which sent anything like a correspondent glow of pride through his bosom was when one of the masters in the Pictou Academy pointed him out to the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province—who was visiting the institution—as “the best fighter of his age in the school.”

In his sixteenth year he began to attend the West River Seminary of the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia. Here he was drilled in classics and philosophy by Professor Ross, now Principal of Dalhousie College, Halifax. He has ever retained a deep sense of his scholastic obligations to this gentleman, whose teachings he found of inestimable value in after years when he became a student at the University of Glasgow. He remained at the Seminary two years, spending the interval between the sessions in teaching school, and thereby unconsciously fitting himself for the important and honourable duties which were to devolve upon him later in life. Having completed his studies at the Seminary he was elected by the Committee of the Synod of Nova Scotia as one of four bursars to be sent to the University of Glasgow, to be fitted for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. He eagerly availed himself of the privilege afforded him, and, having barely completed his eighteenth year, repaired to Scotland. Having reached his destination, he began a course of hard study which lasted for eight years.

His career at the University of Glasgow was distinguished by exceptional brilliancy, and long before it had come to a close he might truly have been regarded as, for his years, a sound and accomplished scholar. One of the most remarkable things about him was his versatility. His triumphs were not restricted to any one particular branch of study, and were not even confined to scholastic pursuits at all. He was as fond of fun in these years as he had ever been in the old times at Pictou Academy, but the mere love of mischief and frolic had become mellowed into something more befitting his age and pursuits. He was fond of athletics, and, when circumstances were propitious, was delighted enough to exchange a severe morning at dry metaphysics or Greek hexameters for a lively game of football. He enjoyed a high degree of popularity among his fellow-students, and was not only liked as a thoroughly good fellow, but respected as a young man of deep and sincere convictions. He was a diligent and successful student in all his classes; in many taking first prizes; inPg 169 few, if any, coming out without distinction. He took highest honours in Philosophy in his examination for his master's degree—a distinction which had not been achieved for five or six years previously, and which could only be won by passing the written and oral examinations without making a single mistake. He also carried off the first prizes in Classics, Moral Philosophy, and Chemistry, and the second prize in Logic. While attending the Divinity classes he not only gained some of the best prizes, but carried off, along with several other of the University prizes, the Lord Rector's prize of thirty guineas for the best essay on Hindoo Literature and Philosophy. He entered with keen zest into the contests on the occasions of the election of a Lord Rector, and was an indefatigable partisan. Nothing could resist his vehemence and influence over his fellow-students. He was always on the side of manliness; and it says much for him that he concurrently filled the high offices of President of the Conservative Club, of the Missionary Society, and of the Football Club; a testimony of the appreciation by his fellow-students of his platform eloquence, his religious convictions, and his love of manly sport. He also engaged zealously in the work of a private tutor in some of the influential families of the city; so that at the end of his course he could look proudly on the fact that he had not only supported himself during his attendance at College, but was able to return the money which the Bursary Fund of his native Province had advanced on his behalf.

Upon the completion of his theological studies he was ordained a minister of the Church of Scotland. His brilliant success at the University had inspired him with a strong desire to devote his time and strength to literary work in the old country. He had great aptitude for the literary calling, and had he followed the bent of his inclinations he would doubtless have made a name for himself in the world of letters. He had contributed to the Glasgow University Album, a literary magazine conducted by the students, and had received overtures to write for more pretentious and widely-known periodicals. Position and speedy preferment in his sacred calling were also offered him at the other side of the Atlantic; but he was a Canadian by preference as well as by birth, and determined that the rest of his life should be spent in his native land. He probably remembered, too, that he had been sent over to Glasgow with a special view to his ultimately devoting himself to the service of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and, though his pecuniary obligations to the Bursary Fund had been discharged, he not unnaturally felt that Canada had the first claim to his services. Duty and inclination concurring, he returned to his native country early in 1861. Immediately upon his arrival he was appointed a missionary in the county of Pictou. He threw himself ardently into his work, and with happy results. A few months afterwards a more extended sphere of usefulness was opened to him in Prince Edward Island, where he spent the best part of two years. In the month of May, 1863, he was inducted into the pastorate of St. Matthew's Church, Halifax, which he retained until his appointment to his present position in 1877. The fourteen years of his incumbency were busy ones, and have left abundant traces behind them. He was a director of Dalhousie College, a trustee of the Theological Seminary, a member of the various committees of Presbytery and Synod, a zealous advocate of union, and chairman, secretary, or member of various benevolent societies. His love of literature remained unabated, but his active life did not admit of his devoting much time to it, as he was so fully occupied with parochial, philanthropic and church work more immediately connected with his chosenPg 170 profession. When first inducted into the pastorate of St. Matthew's Church the communicants were only one hundred and fifteen in number. When he resigned it fourteen years afterwards the number had more than trebled. The congregation had for some years previously raised a sum of ten thousand dollars annually, half for congregational purposes, and the other half for educational and other kindred objects. That this state of things was largely brought about by the zeal, energy and great personal popularity of the pastor is universally acknowledged. He laboured unremittingly at various charitable projects connected with his church. As Convener of the Home Mission Board he in four years reduced the amount drawn from the Church of Scotland from $6,500 a year to $1,000. This was accomplished by means of efficacious appeals to the public, and without any diminution of the salaries of the ministers. A volume might of written recounting his many other services in the cause of religion, education and charitable works. In 1870 he began to act on the Committee appointed to effect the union of the four branches of the Canada Presbyterian Church. The project gave rise to long negotiations, numerous conferences, and an immense mass of correspondence, in all of which Mr. Grant took his full share. The union was finally effected in 1875, and Mr. Grant, as Moderator, subscribed the articles for the Kirk Synod. During the following year he was Convener, Secretary or Member of the Foreign Missions' Committee of the united Church, the Home Mission Board, the Young Men's Bursary' Fund, the Committee on Supplements, the Board of Superintendence of the Divinity Hall, the Senate of the Hall, the Widows' and Orphans' Fund, and the Hunter Trust. He also took an active part in the management of many other local charitable associations, conspicuous among which may be mentioned the Halifax Association for the Relief of the Poor, the Dispensary, the Boys' Industrial School, and the Night Refuge for the Homeless. It is tolerably safe to assert that no man in Canada ever succeeded as Mr. Grant did while in Halifax in raising money for various worthy objects connected with education, religion, and general benevolence. He raised almost the entire amount required for the erection and equipment of the magnificent Dispensary at Halifax. He stood well with representatives of all the creeds, and it may be worth while to state that, when setting out on his canvass for the enterprise just named, the first two subscriptions of five hundred dollars each came from a Roman Catholic and a Presbyterian respectively. The fortnight before leaving Halifax he obtained two thousand dollars for a club-house for a temperance organization that had been singularly successful in rescuing the most hopeless cases of drunkenness, the Anglican Bishop and the Roman Catholic Archbishop heading the list of subscribers. He must have been instrumental in raising several hundred thousands of dollars, independently of the large sums obtained from his own congregation for missionary and benevolent purposes.

He meanwhile delivered many sermons on important occasions, some of which were published by special request. He also delivered lectures on various secular topics, all of which bore the stamp of his individuality. The most noteworthy of the latter was a lecture delivered before the Halifax Young Men's Christian Association on the evening of the 29th of January, 1867. Its subject was “Reformers of the Nineteenth Century,” and it dealt specially with the effect upon current human thought of the lives of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle. It was published in pamphlet form, and did much to stimulate the thought and widen the views alike of young and old. This lecture has nothing in commonPg 171 with the general run of platform lectures delivered for a specific purpose. It contains fine thoughts, expressed in noble words, and no one can read it conscientiously without being drawn nearer to the man from whom it emanated. It is marked by a critical acumen, an earnest faith, and a broad liberality, which are rarely found combined in a professed theologian, and deserves a much wider circulation than it has ever obtained. Unlike many of his spiritual brethren, Mr. Grant perceives and acknowledges the mighty, earnest faith in God's goodness which underlies all the fantastic, equivocal utterances of the “Seer of Chelsea.” “Take four or five years,” says Mr. Grant, “to read the great works of Carlyle, and then think over them for other four or five years. If you have anything to say then it will probably be better worth listening to than anything you could say now. The chances are, too, that you will have less to say. But the most astonishing thing of all is to hear Carlyle called an infidel. To me it would be incredible did I not remember that so it has always been on this side Anno Domini, and on the other side. No such robust faith has there been in Britain since the days of the Puritans, as his. Indeed, he has been called a Puritan in the guise of the nineteenth century. That does not mean that his creed would square with that of any of the existing churches; but when will men learn that to identify faith with any organization is the root of all Pharisaism, of all persecution, and of all unbelief? If Coleridge was the broadest, and Wordsworth the deepest, then Carlyle is the most intense man of the age, and the fittest therefore to carry out their principles to the utmost moral Reform of man.”

A more voluminous literary production, and one by which its author is much better known, is the work entitled “Ocean to Ocean.” In the summer of the year 1872, it will be remembered, Mr. Sandford Fleming, the Chief Engineer of the Canada Pacific Railway, started on a tour of inspection across the continent, with a view to the location of the line. He was accompanied by a staff of assistants, and Mr. Grant, who felt the need of a change from the long sustained intellectual strain to which his faculties had been subjected, accompanied the expedition in the capacity of Secretary. The party left Toronto on the 16th of July, 1872, and reached Victoria, British Columbia, on the 9th of October following. Mr. Grant kept a careful diary during the long journey, and after his return home threw it into shape and published it in book form, under the title above indicated. It was well received, and obtained favourable notices from the press of Canada, Great Britain and the United States. In 1877 a new edition, to which was added a carefully written appendix, was published, and obtained a large sale. The publication of this work gave the author an extended literary reputation, and the solicitations since made to him by publishers on both sides of the Atlantic have been both numerous and flattering. The exactions of his ordinary work have been such that he has generally been compelled to reject such overtures, but he has acceded to them in a few cases, and has written on a variety of subjects. He wrote for Good Words a series of articles on the “Great North-West,” which were highly appreciated by the readers of that periodical. To the Canadian Monthly he contributed papers on “Joseph Howe,” on “Religion and Culture,” and other subjects. He also contributed occasional articles to the Maritime Monthly, a magazine formerly published in St. John, New Brunswick, the circulation whereof was mainly confined to the Maritime Provinces. He is now contributing a series of four illustrated articles on Canada to Scribner's Magazine, published in New York. Pg 172

Principal Grant has had intimate association with educational matters during the whole of his life, more especially since his ordination to the ministry. His connection with Dalhousie College, Halifax, commenced almost immediately after he succeeded to the pastorate of St. Matthew's Church. In recognition of his successful exertions to effect the reorganization of the College by the co-operation of the Government and the different Presbyterian bodies in Nova Scotia, he was himself nominated a representative by the Kirk Synod, and occupied the post of Governor for about fourteen years. He also took a prominent part as a member of the local School Association, and successfully exerted himself to hasten the formation of the Halifax High School. He took an active part in opposing the measure introduced by the Local Legislature of Nova Scotia to create a University of Halifax on the model of the University of London, and to increase the grants to denominational colleges. His grounds of opposition was that the little Province of Nova Scotia required, not a seventh University but one good College: not more examining bodies, but more thorough and better paid teaching; not the frittering away of a small Provincial grant, but its effectual application to some definite work. Upon the establishment of the University of Halifax he accepted a Fellowship, in order to give the experiment a fair trial, but he soon afterwards resigned it.

It remains only to speak of his career as Principal of Queen's College. He was elected to that position in the month of October, 1877, as successor to Principal Snodgrass. The unanimity of sentiment displayed in the matter of his election by the trustees of the College, his cordial reception by the students of the various faculties, and the warm welcome accorded to him by the citizens of Kingston, all testified to the fact that his labours and abilities had met with recognition. His inaugural address in December, 1877, was a really masterly composition, and tended to increase the respect in which he was held by those who heard it. He had no sooner entered upon his new duties than he perceived that something must be done to place the College on a more secure footing. This was a task for which he was well fitted, both by nature and training, and he at once set himself to work. His inauguration of the Building and Endowment Scheme, and his successful exertions in raising the $150,000 required to carry it out, are too fresh in the public memory to need more than a passing reference in this place. Everyone told him that the raising of such a sum in the short space of six months, and in the middle of hard times, was a sheer impossibility. He did not waste time in argumentative attempts to convince them that they were wrong. He simply went to work with his accustomed energy—and did it. Soon after succeeding to the Principal's chair his alma mater, the University of Glasgow, conferred upon him the degree of D.D.

As Principal of the University Dr. Grant has a general supervision over the finances of the institution. He also directs the general course of administration, and the curriculum of study in the various departments of Arts, Science. Medicine, Law and Divinity. As Primarius Professor of Theology he delivers daily lectures to the students. His labours, though sufficiently arduous, are congenial to him, and are certain to produce important results in the not distant future. A man of such breadth and fervour at the helm of a theological institution can hardly fail to exercise a beneficent and far-reaching influence; and never in the history of mankind was there a time when such an influence was more imperatively required, in every quarter of the globe, than now. His future is bright with promise. He is admirably fitted for the position he occupies, and combines in a rare degree thePg 173 practical knowledge of business with a rich and varied scholarship. Not the least of his qualifications for the position is his ability to make himself agreeable to everyone with whom he comes in contact, and to inspire a genuine esprit de corps among the students of the institution. His lectures are always attractive; and he has the faculty of investing even the dryest subjects with a strong human interest. One reason why he is always interesting is probably because he is always interested himself. His enthusiasm is as fresh and buoyant as in the days of his early youth. He is fond of teaching, and has a keen sympathy with the unattainable, no less than with the attainable aspirations of young men. He has devoted a good deal of attention to scientific research, and keeps himself abreast of the times with regard to the modern theories of evolution, the cosmogony of the universe, and other kindred matters. He advocates the fullest freedom of thought consonant with the teachings of theology, and does not believe in the ostracism of any man on the score of his honest opinions. He recognizes no conflict between the teachings of true religion, in its broadest sense, and the discoveries of modern science. Truth, he believes, must in the end prevail, and whatever will not stand the test of free and enlightened inquiry is unworthy of being accepted as truth. The key-note of his theory in educational matters is that the higher education must inevitably react on the lower, and that education and religion must go hand in hand if they are to prosper, and to bless humanity.

Governor Simcoe
Governor Simcoe


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Among the many Canadians who at one time or another in their lives have visited Great Britain, comparatively few, we imagine, have thought it worth while to travel down to the fine old cathedral city of Exeter, in Devonshire. The sometime capital of the West of England is of very remote antiquity. It was a place of some importance before Julius Cæsar landed in Britain, and eleven hundred years after that event it was besieged and taken by William the Conqueror. Later still, it was the scene of active hostilities during the wars of the Roses and of the Commonwealth. So much for its past. At the present day, for those to the manner born, it is one of the most delightful places of residence in the kingdom. It is not, however, of much commercial importance, and is not on any of the direct routes to the continent. Add to this, that the local society is a very close corporation indeed, and it will readily be understood why the place is somewhat caviare to the general public, and not much resorted to by strangers.

Like every other old English town, it has its full share of historic and noteworthy localities. The Guildhall, with its old-time memories, and Rougemont Castle, once the abode of the West-Saxon kings, are dear to the hearts of local antiquarians. The elm-walk, near the Sessions House, is an avenue of such timber as can be seen nowhere out of England, and is a favourite resort for the inhabitants on pleasant afternoons. The Cathedral-close has been consecrated by the genius of one of the most eminent of living novelists, and its purlieus are familiar to many persons who have never been within thousands of miles of it. But the crowning glory of all is the cathedral itself, a grand old pile founded in the eleventh century, and the building of which occupied nearly two hundred years. Here, everything is redolent of the past. The chance wayfarer from these western shores who happens to stray within the walls of this majestic specimen of mediæval architecture will have some difficulty, for the nonce, in believing in the reality of such contrivances as steamboats and railways. Certainly it is one of the last places in the world where one might naturally expect to see anything to remind him of so modern a spot as the capital of Ontario. But should any Torontonian who is familiar with his country's history ever find himself within those walls, let him walk down the south aisle till he reaches the entrance to the little chapel of St. Gabriel. If he will then pass through the doorway into the chapel and look carefully about him, he will soon perceive something to remind him of his distant home, and of the Province of which that home is the capital. Several feet above his head, on the inner wall, he will notice a medallion portrait in bold relief, by Flaxman, of a bluff, hearty, good-humoured-looking English gentleman, Pg 175 apparently in the prime of life, and attired in the dress of a Lieutenant-General. His hair, which is pretty closely cut, is rather inclined to curl—evidently would curl if it were a little longer. Below the medallion is a mural tablet bearing the following inscription:

“Sacred to the memory of John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-General in the army, and Colonel in the 22nd Regiment of Foot, who died on the 25th day of October, 1806, aged 54. In whose life and character the virtues of the hero, the patriot, and the Christian were so eminently conspicuous, that it may justly be said, he served his King and his country with a zeal exceeded only by his piety towards God.”

On the right of the inscription is depicted the figure of an Indian warrior with a conspicuous scalp-lock. On the left is the figure of a veteran of the Queen's Rangers. To the well-read spectator, the portrait stands confessed as the likeness of the first Governor of Upper Canada, and the founder of the Town of York.

Monumental inscriptions, as a rule, are not the most trustworthy authorities whereby one may be enabled to form an unprejudiced estimate of the moral and intellectual qualities of “those who have gone before.” In visiting any of the noteworthy resting-places of the illustrious dead, either in the old world or the new, we are not seldom astonished, upon reading the sculptured testimony of the survivors, to find that “'tis still the best that leave us.” One may well wonder, with the Arch-Cynic, where the bones of all the sinners are deposited. In the case of Governor Simcoe, however, there is much to be said in the way of just commendation, and the inscription is not so nauseously fulsome as to excite disgust. Toronto's citizens, especially, should take pleasure in doing honour to his memory. But for him, the capital of the Province would not have been established here, and the site of the city might long have remained the primitive swamp which it was when his eyes first beheld it on the morning of the 4th of May, 1793.

His life, from the cradle to the grave, was one of almost uninterrupted activity. He was born at Cotterstock, Northamptonshire, sometime in the year 1752, and was a soldier by right of inheritance. His father. Captain John Simcoe, after a life spent in his country's service, died in the St. Lawrence River, on board H. M. ship Pembroke, of miasmatic disease, contracted in exploring portions of the adjoining country for military purposes. His death took place only a few days before the siege of Quebec, in 1759. He left behind him a widow and two children. The younger of these children did not long survive his father. The elder, who had been christened John Graves, lived to add fresh laurels to the family name, and at the time of his father's death was in his eighth year. Shortly after the gallant Captain's death his widow removed to the neighbourhood of Exeter, where the remaining years of her life were passed. Her only surviving son was sent to one of the local schools until he had reached the age of fourteen, when he was transferred to Eton. Few reminiscences of his boyish days have come down to us. He appears to have been a diligent student, more especially in matters pertaining to the history of his country, and from a very early age he declared his determination to embrace a military life. From Eton he migrated to Merton College, Oxford, where he continued to pursue his studies until he had entered upon his nineteenth year, when he entered the army as an ensign in the 35th Regiment of the line. This regiment was despatched across the Atlantic to take part in the hostilities with the revolted American Colonies, and young Simcoe did his devoirs gallantly throughout the whole course of the war of Independence. InPg 176 June, 1775, he found himself at Boston, and on the 17th of that month he took part in the memorable fight at Bunker Hill. He subsequently purchased the command of a company in the 40th Regiment, and fought at the battle of Brandywine, where he was severely wounded. Upon the formation of the gallant provincial corps called “The Queen's Rangers,” he applied for the command, and as soon as he had recovered from his wound his application was granted. Under his command, the Rangers did good service in many engagements, and fought with a valour and discipline which more than once caused them to be singled out for special mention in the official despatches of the time. Sir Henry Clinton, Commander-in-chief of the royalist forces in America, in a letter written to Lord George Germaine, under the date of 13th May, 1780, says that “the history of the corps under his (Simcoe's) command is a series of gallant, skilful, and successful enterprises. The Queen's Rangers have killed or taken twice their own numbers.”

Upon the close of the war, the Rangers were disbanded, the officers being placed on the half-pay list. Young Simcoe had meanwhile been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. During the progress of hostilities he had conceived an intense dislike to the colonists and their political principles, and the termination of the war caused no change in his sentiments toward them. This aversion accompanied him through life, and, as we shall presently see, was destined to materially affect his subsequent career. Meanwhile, he returned to England with his constitution much impaired by the hard service he had undergone. Rest and regular habits, however, soon enabled him to recover, in a great measure, his wonted vigour. We next hear of him as a suitor to Miss Gwillim, a near relative of Admiral Graves, Commander of the British fleet during the early part of the Revolutionary War. The courtship soon terminated in marriage; and not long afterwards the ambitious young soldier was elected as member of the British House of Commons for the constituency of St. Maw's, Cornwall. The latter event took place in 1790. During the following session, Mr. Pitt's Bill for the division of the Province of Quebec into the two Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada came up for discussion. The member for St. Maw's was a vehement supporter of the measure, and upon its receiving the royal assent the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of the new Province of Upper Canada was conferred upon him. He sailed from London on the 1st of May, 1792, accompanied by a staff of officials to assist him in conducting the administration of his Government. His wife, with her little son, accompanied him into his voluntary exile, and her maiden name is still perpetuated in this Province in the names of three townships bordering on Lake Simcoe, called respectively North, East and West Gwillimbury. The party arrived in Upper Canada on the 8th of June, and after a brief stay at Kingston took up their abode at Newark, near the mouth of the Niagara River.

What Colonel Simcoe's particular object may have been in accepting the position of Lieutenant Governor of such an uninviting wilderness as this Province then was, it is not easy to determine. He had retained his command in the army, and in addition to his receipts from that source, he owned valuable estates in Devonshire, from which he must have derived an income far more than sufficient for his needs. Upper Canada then presented few inducements for an English gentleman of competent fortune to settle within its limits. Its entire population, which was principally distributed along the frontier, was not more than 20,000. At Kingston were a fort and a few houses fit for the occupation of civilizedPg 177 beings. At Newark, there was the nucleus of a little village on the edge of the forest. Here and there along the St. Lawrence, around the Bay of Quinté, and along the Niagara frontier, were occasional little clusters of log cabins. In the interior, except at the old French settlement in the western part of the Province, there was absolutely nothing that could properly be called a white settlement. Roving tribes of Indians spread their wigwams for a season along the shores of some of the larger streams, but the following season would probably find the site without any trace of their presence. A few representatives of the Six Nations had been settled by Joseph Brant at Mohawk, on the Grand River, and there were a few Mississaugas near the mouth of the Credit. There was not a single well-constructed waggon road from one end of the Province to the other. Such was the colony wherein Governor Simcoe took up his abode with seeming satisfaction. It has been suggested that he must have been actuated by philanthropic and patriotic motives, and that he was willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of rendering Upper Canada a desirable place of settlement. Another suggestion is that he believed the flames of war between Great Britain and her revolted colonies likely to be re-kindled; in which case he, as Governor of an adjoining colony, which must be the battle-ground, would necessarily be called upon to play an important part. Whatever his motives may have been, he came over and administered the government for several years with energy and good judgment. He selected Newark as his temporary capital, and took up his quarters in an old storehouse—upon which he bestowed the name of Navy Hall—on the outskirts of the village. Here, on the 16th of January, 1793, was born his little daughter Kate, and here he began to lay the foundation of the great popularity which he subsequently attained. He cultivated the most friendly relations with the Indians in the neighbourhood, who soon began to look upon him as their “Great Father.” They conferred upon him the Iroquois name of Deyonynhokrawen—“One whose door is always open.” At a grand Council-fire kindled a few weeks after his arrival, they conferred upon his little son Frank the dignity of a chieftain, under the title of “Tioga.” The friendliness of the Indians conduced not a little to the Governor's satisfaction; but there were other matters imperatively demanding his attention. The quality of the land in the interior, and even its external features, were subjects upon which very little was accurately known. He directed surveys to be made of the greater part of the country, which was laid out, under his supervision, into districts and counties. He did what he could to promote immigration, and held out special inducements to those former residents of the revolted colonies who had remained faithful to Great Britain during the struggle. These patriots, who are generally known by the name of United Empire Loyalists, received free grants of land in various parts of the Province, upon which they settled in great numbers. Free grants were also conferred upon discharged officers and soldiers of the line. To ordinary emigrants, lands were offered at a nominal price; and under this liberal system the wilderness soon began to wear a brighter aspect.

About two months after his arrival—that is to say, on the 17th of September, 1792—the first Provincial Parliament of Upper Canada met at Newark. The House of Assembly consisted of sixteen representatives chosen by the people; the Upper House of eight representatives appointed for life by the Governor on behalf of the Crown. This Legislature remained in session nearly a month, during which time it passed eight Acts, each of which was a great boonPg 178 to the country, and reflected credit upon the intelligence and practical wisdom of the members. One of these Acts introduced the law of England with respect to property and civil rights, in so far as the same is applicable to the circumstances of a new and sparsely-settled country. Another established trial by jury. Another provided for the easy collection of small debts. Still another provided for the erection of gaols, court-houses and such other public buildings as might be necessary, in each of the four districts (the Eastern, Middle, Home and Western) into which the Province has been divided. The session closed on the 15th of October, when the Governor complimented the members on their having done so much to promote the public welfare and convenience, and dismissed them to their homes.

Governor Simcoe was not long in discovering that Newark was not a suitable place for the capital of the Province. It was not central; and its proximity to the American Fort of Niagara,11 on the opposite bank of the river, was in itself a serious consideration. “The chief town of a Province,” said he, “must not be placed within range of the guns of a hostile fort.” As a temporary measure, he set about the construction of Fort George, on our side of the river, and then began to look about him for a suitable site for a permanent capital. He spent a good deal of time in travelling about the country, in order that he might weigh the advantages of different localities after personal inspection. He travelled through the forest, from Newark to Detroit and back—a great part of the journey being made on foot—and to this expedition the Province is indebted for the subsequent survey and construction of the well-known “Governor's Road.” The site of the future seat of Government meanwhile remained undecided. Lord Dorchester, the Governor-General, who had his headquarters at Quebec, urged that Kingston should be selected, but the suggestion did not accord with Governor Simcoe's views. The question for some time continued to remain an open one. Finally, Governor Simcoe in the course of his travels coasted along the northern shore of Lake Ontario, and after exploring different points along the route he entered the Bay of Toronto, and landed, as we have seen, on the morning of Saturday, the 4th of May, 1793. The natural advantages of the place were not to be overlooked, and he was not long in making up his mind that here should be the future capital of Upper Canada. A peninsula of land12 extended out into Lake Ontario, and then came round in a gradual curve, as though for the express purpose of protecting the basin within from the force of the waves. Here, then, was an excellent natural harbour, closed in on all sides but one. An expanse of more than thirty miles of water intervened between the harbour and the nearest point of the territory of the new Republic. Toronto, too, was accessible by water both from east and west—a point of some importance at a time when there was no well-built highway on shore. These considerations (and doubtless others) presented themselves to the Governor's mind, and having come to a decision, he at once set about making some improvements on the site. To Lieutenant-Colonel Bouchette he deputed the task of surveying the harbour. To Mr. Augustus Jones,13 Deputy Pg 179 Provincial Surveyor, was entrusted the laying out of the various roads in the neighbourhood. The great thoroughfare to the north, called Yonge street, was surveyed and laid out for the most part under the personal supervision of Governor Simcoe himself, who named it in honour of his friend Sir George Yonge, Secretary of War in the Home Government. In the course of the following summer the Governor began to make his home in his new capital. The village, composed of a few Indian huts near the mouth of the Don, had theretofore been known by the name of Toronto, having been so called after the old French fort in the neighbourhood. Discarding this “outlandish” name, as he considered it, he christened the spot York, in honour of the King's son, Frederick, Duke of York. By this name the place continued to be known down to the date of its incorporation in 1834, when its former designation was restored.

At the date of the founding of York, the public press of Upper Canada consisted of a single demy sheet, called the Upper Canada Gazette, published weekly at Newark. Its circulation varied from fifty to one hundred and fifty impressions. It was printed on Thursday, on a little press—the only one in the Province—which also printed the Legislative Acts and the Governmental proclamations. From the issue of August 1st, 1793, we learn that “On Monday evening,” which would be July 29th, “His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor left Navy Hall and embarked on board His Majesty's schooner the Mississaga, which sailed immediately with a favourable gale for York, with the remainder of the Queen's Rangers.” From this time forward, except during the sitting of the Legislature, Governor Simcoe made York his headquarters. The Queen's Rangers referred to in the foregoing extract were a corps which had recently been raised in Upper Canada by the royal command, and named by the Governor after the old brigade at the head of which he had so often marched to victory during the war of the Revolution.

The first Government House in Toronto was a somewhat remarkable structure, and deserves a paragraph to itself. When Colonel Simcoe was about to embark from London to enter upon the duties of his Government in this country, he accidentally heard of a moveable house which had been constructed for Captain James Cook, the famous circumnavigator of the globe. This house was made of canvas, and had been used by its former owner as a dwelling, in various islands of the southern seas. Governor Simcoe learned that this strange habitation was for sale, and upon inspecting it he perceived that it might be turned to good account in the wilds of Upper Canada. He accordingly purchased it, and brought it across the Atlantic with him. He found no necessity for using it as a dwelling at Newark, where the storehouse furnished more suitable accommodation; but upon taking up his quarters at York, Captain Cook's pavilion was brought into immediate requisition. We have been able to find no very minute account of it; but it must have been large, as he not only used it as his general private and official residence, but dispensed vice-regal hospitalities within its canvas walls. It seems to have been a migratory institution, and to have occupied at least half-a-dozen different sites during its owner's stay at York. At one time it was placed on the edge, and near the mouth, of the little stream subsequently known as Garrison Creek. At another time it occupied a plot of ground on or near the present site of Gooderham's distillery. In short, it seems to have been moved about from place to place in accordance with the convenience or caprice of the owner and his family.

But there is one spot so intimately associated with Governor Simcoe's residence at York that it is time to give some accountPg 180 of it. Every citizen of Toronto has heard the name of Castle Frank, and must have some general idea of its whereabouts. It is presumable that the Governor found his canvas house an insufficient protection against the cold during the winter of 1783-4. Perhaps, too (observe, please, this a joke), the idea may have intruded itself upon his mind that there was a sort of vagabondism in having no fixed place of abode. At any rate, during the early spring of 1794 he erected a rustic, nondescript sort of log chateau on the steep acclivity overlooking the valley of the Don, rather more than a mile from the river's mouth. The situation is one of the most picturesque in the neighbourhood, even at the present day, and there must have been a wild semi-savagery about it in Governor Simcoe's time that would render it specially attractive, by mere force of contrast, to one accustomed, as he had been, to the trim hedges and green lanes of Devonshire. It must at least have possessed the charm of novelty. When finished, the edifice was a very comfortable place of abode. From Dr. Scadding's “Toronto of Old” we learn that it was of considerable dimensions, and of oblong shape. Its walls were composed of “a number of rather small, carefully hewn logs, of short lengths. The whole wore the hue which unpainted timber, exposed to the weather, speedily assumes. At the gable end, in the direction of the roadway from the nascent capital, was the principal entrance, over which a rather imposing portico was formed by the projection of the whole roof, supported by four upright columns, reaching the whole height of the building, and consisting of the stems of four good-sized, well-matched pines, with their deeply-chapped, corrugated bark unremoved. The doors and shutters to the windows were all of double thickness, made of stout plank, running up and down on one side, and crosswise on the other, and thickly studded over with the heads of stout nails. From the middle of the building rose a solitary, massive chimney-stack.”

Such was the edifice constructed by Governor Simcoe for the occasional residence of himself and his family. He called it Castle Frank, after his little son, previously mentioned, a lad about five years of age at this time. The cleared space contiguous to the building was circumscribed within rather narrow limits. A few yards from the walls on each side a precipitous ravine descended. Through one of these ravines flows the Don River; while through the other a little murmuring brook meanders on until its confluence with the larger stream several hundred yards farther down. In addition to a numerous retinue of servants, the household consisted of the Governor, his wife, Master Frank, and the infant daughter already mentioned. Dr. Scadding draws a pleasant picture of the spirited little lad clambering up and down the steep hill-sides with the restless energy of boyhood. He was destined to climb other hill-sides before his life-work was over, and to take part in more hazardous performances than when scampering with his nurse along the rural banks of the Don. Seventeen years passed, and the bright-eyed boy had become a man. True to the traditions of his house, he had entered the army, and borne himself gallantly on many a well-contested field in the Spanish Peninsula. He eagerly pursued the path of glory which, as the poet tells us, leads but to the grave. The dictum, as applied to him, proved to be true enough. The night of the 6th of October, 1812, found him “full of lusty life,” hopeful, and burning for distinction, before the besieged outworks of Badajoz. During the darkness of night the siege was renewed with a terrific vigour that was not to be resisted, and the “unconsidered voluntaries” of Estremadura tasted the sharpness of English steel. The town was taken—but at what cost! If anyPg 181 one wishes to know more of that fearful carnage, let him read the description of it in the pages of Colonel Napier, and he will acquiesce in the chronicler's assertion that, “No age, no nation ever sent braver troops to battle than those that stormed Badajoz.” The morning of the 7th rose upon a sight which might well haunt the dreams of all who beheld it. In the breach where the ninety-fifth perished, almost to a man, was a ghastly array, largely consisting of the mangled corpses of young English officers, whose dauntless intrepidity had impelled them to such deeds of valour as have made their names a sacred inheritance to their respective families. Many of them were mere boys,

“With ladies' faces and fierce dragons' spleens,”

upon whose cheeks the down of early manhood had scarce begun to appear. Among the many remnants of mortality taken from that terrible breach was the pallid corpse of young Frank Simcoe.

And what of the little sister, whose first appearance on life's stage was chronicled a few paragraphs back? Poor little Kate was a tender plant, not destined to flourish amid the rigours of a Canadian climate. She died within a year after the building of Castle Frank. Her remains were interred in the old military burying-ground, near the present site of the church of St. John the Evangelist, on the corner of Stewart and Portland streets. The old burying-ground is itself a thing of the past; but the child's death is commemorated by a tablet over her father's grave, in the mortuary chapel on the family estate in Devonshire. The inscription runs thus:—“Katharine, born in Upper Canada, 16th Jan., 1793; died and was buried at York Town, in that Province, in 1794.”

In less than a month from the time of his arrival at York, Governor Simcoe was compelled to return for a short time to Newark, in order to attend the second session of the Legislature, which had been summoned to meet on the 31st of May. During this session thirteen useful enactments were added to the statute book, the most important of which prohibited the introduction of slaves into the Province, and restricted voluntary contracts of service to a period of nine years. After the close of the session the Governor returned to York, and proceeded with the improvements which had already been commenced there under his auspices. The erection of buildings for the accommodation of the Legislature was begun near the present site of the old gaol on Berkeley street, in what is now the far eastern part of the city. Hereabouts various other houses sprang up, and the town of York began to be something more than a name. It laboured under certain disadvantages, however, and its progress for some time was slow. A contemporary authority describes it as better fitted for a frog-pond or a beaver-meadow than for the residence of human beings. It was on the road to nowhere, and its selection by Governor Simcoe as the provincial capital was disapproved of by many persons, more especially by those who had settled on the Niagara peninsula. Lord Dorchester, the Governor-General, opposed the selection by every means in his power. In civil matters relating to his Province, Governor Simcoe's authority was paramount; that is to say, he was only accountable to the Home Government; but the revenue of the Province was totally inadequate for its maintenance, and it was necessary to draw on the Home Government for periodical supplies. In this way, Lord Dorchester, who, from his high position, had great influence with the British Ministry, had it in his power to indirectly control, to some extent, the affairs of Upper Canada. He was, moreover, Commander-in-Chief of British North America, and as such had full control over the armaments. Pg 182 He determined that Kingston should at all events be the principal naval and military station on Lake Ontario, and this determination he carried out by establishing troops and vessels of war there. The military and naval supremacy then conferred upon Kingston has never been altogether lost.

There were other difficulties too, which began to stare Governor Simcoe in the face about this time. The nominal price at which land had been disposed of to actual settlers had caused a great influx of immigrants into the Province from the American Republic. To so great an extent did this immigration proceed that the Governor began to fear lest the American element in the Province might soon be the preponderating one. Should such a state of things come about, invasion or annexation would only be a matter of time. His hatred to the citizens of the Republic was intense, and coloured the entire policy of his administration. In estimating their political and national importance he was apt to be guided by his prejudices rather than by his convictions. In a letter written to a friend about this time, he expressed his opinion that “a good navy and ten thousand men would knock the United States into a nonentity.” As the ten thousand men were not forthcoming, however, he deemed it judicious to guard against future aggression. The north shore of Lake Erie was settled by a class of persons whom he knew to be British to the core. This set him reflecting upon the advisability of establishing his capital in the interior, and within easy reach of these settlers, who would form an efficient militia in case of an invasion by the United States. He finally pitched upon the present site of London, and resolved that in the course of a few years the seat of government should be removed thither. This resolution, however, was never carried out. He did not even remain in the country long enough to see the Government established at York, which did not take place until the spring of 1797. In 1796 he received an appointment which necessitated his departure for the Island of St. Domingo, whither he repaired with his family the same year. Various reasons have been assigned for this appointment. The opposition of Lord Dorchester, we think, affords a sufficient explanation, without searching any farther. It has also been alleged that his policy was so inimical to the United States that the Government of that country complained of him at headquarters, and thus determined the Home Ministry, as a matter of policy, to find some other field for him. After his departure, the administration was carried on by the Honourable Peter Russell, senior member of the Executive Council, until the arrival of Governor Peter Hunter, in 1799.

Two years before his removal from Canada, Governor Simcoe had been promoted to the rank of Major-General. He remained at St. Domingo only a few months, when he retired to private life on his Devonshire estates. In 1798 he became Lieutenant-General, and in 1801 was entrusted with the command of the town of Plymouth, in anticipation of an attack upon that place by the French fleet. The attack never took place, and his command proved a sinecure. From this time forward we have but meagre accounts of him until a short time before his death, which, as the monumental tablet has already informed us, took place on the 25th of October, 1806. During the summer of that year he had been fixed upon as Commander-in-Chief of the East Indian forces, as successor to Lord Lake. Had his life been spared he would doubtless have been raised to the peerage and sent out to play his part in the history of British India. But these things were not to be. Late in September he was detached to accompany the Earl of Rosslyn on an expeditionPg 183 to the Tagus, to join the Earl of St. Vincent; an invasion of Portugal by France being regarded as imminent. Though fifty-four years of age, he sniffed the scent of battle an eagerly as he had done in the old days of the Brandywine, and set out on the expedition in high spirits. The vessel in which he embarked had just been repainted, and he had scarcely got out of British waters before he was seized with a sudden and painful illness, presumed to have been induced by the odour of the fresh paint. The severity of his seizure was such as to necessitate his immediate return. Upon landing at Torbay, not far from his home, he was taken very much worse, and died within a few hours. He was buried in a little chapel on his own estates, and the tablet in Exeter Cathedral was shortly afterwards erected in his honour.

But we Canadians have more enduring memorials of his presence among us than any monumental tablet can supply; and unless the topographical features of this Province should undergo some radical transformation, the name of Governor Simcoe is not likely to be soon forgotten in our midst. The large and important county of Simcoe, together with the lake, the shores whereof form part of its eastern boundary; the county town of the County of Norfolk; and a well-known street in Toronto14—all these remain to perpetuate the name of the first Governor of Upper Canada. It is well that such tributes to his worth should exist among us, for he wrought a good work in our Province, and deserves to be held in grateful remembrance. In many respects he was in advance of his time. In no respect was he very far behind it. The only trace of the “old soldier” about him manifested itself in his dislike of our republican brethren, against whom he had fought, and in whose future stability he had but a very limited degree of confidence. He was not a man of genius. He was not, perhaps, a great man in any sense of the word; but he was upon the whole a wise and beneficent administrator of civil affairs, and was ever wont to display a generous zeal for the progress and welfare of the land which he governed. When we contrast his conduct of the administration with that of some of his successors, we feel bound to speak and think of him with all kindness. His liberal educational policy has already been commented upon in the sketch of the life of the late Bishop Strachan.

After General Simcoe's departure from the Province, his rustic chateau of Castle Frank was never used by any one as a permanent abode. Several of his successors in office, however, as well as various other residents of York, used occasionally to resort to it as a kind of camping ground in the summer time, and it soon came into vogue for pic-nic excursions. Captain John Denison, a well-known resident of Little York, seems to have taken up his quarters in it for a few weeks, but not with any intention of permanently residing there. In or about the month of June, 1829, the building was wantonly set on fire by some fishermen who had sailed up the Don. The timber was dry, and the edifice was soon burned to the ground. It has never been replaced, but the name of Castle Frank survives in that of the residence of Mr. Walter McKenzie, situated about a hundred yards distant. It is commonly applied, indeed, to all the adjoining heights; and on a pleasant Sunday afternoon in spring or summer, multitudes of Toronto's citizens repair thither for fresh air and a picturesque view. The route is through St. James's Cemetery, and thence through the shady ravine and up the hill beyond. Very few persons, we believe, could point out the exact site of the old “castle.” It is, however, easily discoverable by any one who chooses to searchPg 184 for it. A few yards to the right of the fence which is the boundary line between St. James's Cemetery and Mr. McKenzie's property is a slight depression in the sandy soil. That depression marks the site of the historic Castle Frank—a spot which, for centuries to come, will be associated with the memory of Governor Simcoe. Within the last two or three years the depression has been rendered more perceptible than it previously was, by reason of several loads of earth having been excavated and removed from it for gardening purposes by Mr. McKenzie. It should be mentioned, however, that no curious citizen can legally gratify his desire to behold this memento of the past at close quarters without first obtaining Mr. McKenzie's permission, as the site belongs to him, and cannot be reached from the cemetery without scaling the fence.

Besides his son Frank, whose death is recorded in the foregoing sketch, General Simcoe left behind him a younger son, Henry Addington Simcoe, christened after the eminent statesman who subsequently became Lord Sidmouth. The younger son took orders, and officiated for some years as a clergyman in the West of England. After the death of his brother in the breach at Badajoz, he succeeded to the family estates; and in his turn was succeeded by his son, Captain J. K. Simcoe, the present incumbent. From the last-named gentleman, Dr. Scadding, during a visit to Devonshire a few years ago, obtained a very beautiful miniature copy of an original portrait of Governor Simcoe, from which a steel engraving was made for the frontispiece to the Doctor's well-known work, “Toronto of Old.” The portrait which accompanies this sketch is a carefully-enlarged reproduction of the miniature, and is in every respect an admirable representation of the facial lineaments of the first Governor of Upper Canada.


Pg 185


The Chief Justice of New Brunswick comes of U. E. Loyalist stock. Several members of the old and well-known family of Allen made great personal sacrifices to uphold the loyalist cause, and some of them lost their estates, and were attainted of treason by the American authorities, for their fealty to the British Crown. The Hon. Isaac Allen, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He and his wife, Hannah Revel, were born in England. They proceeded to Trenton, N.J., lived there some time, and when the Revolutionary war broke out, Allen, who was an uncompromising adherent of the Royal cause, was appointed to the command of a regiment of New Jersey volunteers. He served with them until the close of hostilities, when he removed to Nova Scotia, and thence to the Province of New Brunswick, where in 1784 he was made a Judge of the Supreme Court of that Province, and appointed a member of His Majesty's Council, which position he filled with much acceptance until his death, which occurred on the 12th of October, 1806. His son, the father of the present Chief Justice, was Captain John Allen, of the New Brunswick Fencibles, a corps raised during the war of 1812. He was afterwards Inspecting Field Officer of the Militia of New Brunswick, and from 1809 to 1847 was one of the representatives for the county of York in the House of Assembly. His son, John Campbell Allen, was born at Kingsclear, York county, N.B., on the 1st of October, 1817. He was educated at the Fredericton Grammar School. In Michaelmas Term, 1840, he was called to the Bar of his native Province, and eleven years later was elected a Bencher of the Barristers' Society. In 1860 he was offered, and declined, a silk gown. For several years he occupied the responsible position of Registrar and Clerk to the Court of Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, as well as that of Reporter to the Supreme Court of New Brunswick. In 1856 he sought political honours, became a candidate for the county of York, and was elected to the House of Assembly—holding his seat uninterruptedly until he was raised to the Bench in 1865. In 1856 he became Solicitor-General, retaining office from May of that year to May 1857, when the Government, on experiencing defeat at the general election, resigned. From 1862 until the dissolution in 1865 Mr. Allen was Speaker of the Assembly. As a public man his career is marked by no very notable political performance. He never took a prominent part in active politics, though his position was always clearly defined. He was opposed to the prohibitory liquor law, because he thought that it possessed mischievous tendencies, and was not a desirable measure for the Province to adopt. With the exception of the scheme of Confederation, no political question of importancePg 186 arose during his career as a legislator. That subject was widely debated, and after much careful consideration Mr. Allen made up his mind that the union of the British North American Provinces was an undesirable event, so far, at least, as New Brunswick was concerned. He at once threw in his lot and influence with the Anti-Confederate party, then marshalled by such men as the Hons. Albert J. Smith. T. W. Anglin, A. R. Wetmore and R. D. Wilmot. He worked earnestly and faithfully with his party, though at the beginning of the campaign he fully expected to be defeated, as did also some of his friends, high in office at the time, who regretted that he had not espoused the side of the Unionists. He was returned for York at the general elections which followed the dissolution of the House, and became Attorney-General in the Administration of the Hon. (now Sir) Albert J. Smith, which assumed office in April, 1865. On the 21st of September of the same year he was appointed a Puisné Judge of the Supreme Court, and on the 8th of October, 1875, he was elevated to the Chief Justiceship of the Province, as successor to Hon. William Johnston Ritchie, who was appointed a Puisné Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Since his appointment Chief Justice Allen has tried many very important causes; among others the celebrated Munroe tragedy case, which was one of the most notable criminal trials which ever took place in New Brunswick. In 1875 he tried a number of persons who were engaged in the riot at Carraquet—a parish in the county of Gloucester, N.B.—caused by resistance to the enforcement of the Common Schools Act. He also tried the Osborn family twice for the alleged murder of Timothy McCarthy at Shediac. This cause also was a marked one in the criminal annals of the country. The first trial in July and August, 1878, occupied over six weeks.

In connection with his professional life, Mr. Allen published in 1847 a small book of the Rules of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, and the Act of Assembly relating to the practice of the court, with notes, which was very useful to the legal profession. He also commenced to publish, from a manuscript book of the late Chief Justice Chipman, the cases decided in the Supreme Court, beginning in 1825, when that able lawyer went on the Bench. One number only of those reports, with notes referring to all the recent decisions on the same points, was published, the venture proving unprofitable in a pecuniary sense, and the author not having time to continue it. Mr. Allen also assisted Mr. David S. Kerr when the latter was reporter of the decisions in the Supreme Court, and when that gentleman resigned his position in 1849, he was himself appointed reporter, and held the office until he became a Judge in 1865; though he discontinued publishing the reports at the end of the year 1860, in consequence of a difference of opinion with the Government as to the amount which he was entitled to receive as reporter. He preserved the notes and judgments, however, and in 1877 the Local Legislature made provision for the expense of publishing the remaining cases, and they were published under his supervision, making in all six volumes of Allen's Reports. Before the Legislature had arranged for the publication of the cases subsequent to 1860, Judge Stevens, of St. Stephen, N.B., published a digest of all the cases decided in the Supreme Court, and Judge Allen furnished him with notes of the unreported cases decided during his incumbency of the office of reporter. This service is fittingly acknowledged in the preface to Judge Stevens's volume.

Egertom Ryerson
Rev. Egerton Ryerson.


Pg 187


Among the hardy and chivalrous band of United Empire Loyalists who, after the close of the American Revolutionary War, sought refuge from republican persecution under the shadow of the British flag, was a valiant young soldier named Joseph Ryerson. Throughout the whole of that memorable contest he had served his king with rare courage and fidelity, had taken part in numerous warlike enterprises, and had gone through as many perilous adventures as a knight-errant of the Middle Ages. The family to which he belonged was of Danish origin, but for some time prior to the seventeenth century had been domiciled in Holland. At an early period in American history—probably during the Dutch occupation of the New Netherlands—the family emigrated from Holland, and settled in what is now the State of New Jersey. They engaged in agricultural pursuits, and, at the time of the breaking out of the war, were in comfortable circumstances and good social position. Notwithstanding their foreign origin, His Britannic Majesty had no stauncher adherents in the colony than were the Ryersons. Joseph and his elder brother Samuel were among the first colonists in New Jersey to announce their antagonism to the Revolution, and to array themselves under the Royal standard. The former was at that time only fifteen years of age, and neither his size nor strength was sufficient to enable him to handle the cumbrous army-musket of those days. Instead of a musket, therefore, a light fowling-piece was given to him, and with this weapon he received his first initiation into the mysteries of military exercise, as a member of the Fourth Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers. A few months after his enrolment as a cadet, a detachment of Light Infantry was formed from various regiments to proceed southward to besiege Charleston. Among the 550 persons who volunteered for this expedition was young Joseph Ryerson. The Inspector-General at first declined to accept him, on the ground that he was too young and too small to endure the hardships of a long and probably desperate campaign. The boy urged that he was growing older and stouter every day, and displayed such genuine enthusiasm for the expedition, that the Inspector smiled approval, and permitted him to have his wish. He was enrolled as a Light Infantry volunteer, and was successively attached to the 37th, the 71st, and the 84th Regiments. The Light Infantry were composed of the genuine fighting-stuff of which good soldiers are made, and gave such an account of themselves that, upon the return of the expedition, three years later, after the evacuation of Charleston, only 86 of the 550 were left to tell the thrilling story of their adventures. The corps was then broken up, and the 86 members were restored to the respective regiments from which they had volunteered. Pg 188 Of these 86, Joseph Ryerson was one. During his southern expedition, he had been distinguished even above most of his fellows by his dauntless bravery, by his reckless exposure of his life, and, more than all, by the number of his hairbreadth escapes from death and capture. He had been entrusted with the carriage of important military despatches from Charleston to a point nearly two hundred miles from the coast. He had delivered them, and returned in safety, though frequently pursued, fired at, and nearly captured. For this service he was made an Ensign. He was subsequently entrusted with other despatches to the northward, by sea, and again acquitted himself successfully. As a reward for this second display of valour and discretion he was promoted to a lieutenancy in the Prince of Wales's Regiment. After his return from Charleston he continued in active service until the close of the war, during which he took part in six pitched battles, and various petty skirmishes. He was wounded only once, and the wound was not dangerous. His brother Samuel, who held a Captain's commission in the Fourth Battalion of New Jersey Volunteers, also distinguished himself throughout the war. When hostilities came to an end, in 1783, the two brothers repaired to that portion of the Maritime Provinces which is now called New Brunswick, but which then formed a part of Nova Scotia. The family property in New Jersey had been confiscated, and they were compelled to begin the world afresh. They settled on the St. John River, in the county of Sunbury, not far from Fredericton, where tracts of land were granted to them by the Government for their loyalty to the British Crown.

Their settlement in New Brunswick took place in 1783. About twenty years before that date a little colony had migrated from the county of Essex, in Massachusetts, to the same neighbourhood, and had ever since resided there. Among these colonists was a gentleman named Stickney, who was descended from one of the early Puritan settlers in Massachusetts. Scarcely had the colonists become domiciled in their new home when a female child was born to the house of Stickney. This child, who was christened Mehetabel, is reported to have been the first offspring of English stock born in the colony subsequent to the Treaty of 1763, whereby the French renounced all claim to both Canada and Acadia. From this circumstance the child was popularly known in local parlance as “the Mother of Nova Scotia.” When the Ryersons settled in Sunbury Miss Stickney had grown up to womanhood. The younger brother fell in love with the lady, and, in 1784, married her. The elder brother also married, and settled down to agricultural pursuits. In 1794, during Governor Simcoe's administration, the latter removed to Upper Canada, and settled in what is now the county of Norfolk, in the neighbourhood of Long Point. It may be mentioned that in his Captain's commission, his name, by a clerical error, had been spelled “Ryerse.” The lands subsequently granted to him in Canada by virtue of this commission—embracing a tract of 2,500 acres—were accordingly granted to him in that name. He did not deem it necessary to obtain a new grant, and he and his descendants have thus come to be known by the name of Ryerse. The error has been perpetuated in the name of the little village of Port Ryerse, which was called after Captain Samuel Ryerse, and which stands on the tract originally granted to him. The correct patronymic, however, is “Ryerson,” which has been retained by all the other branches of the family.

Joseph Ryerson remained in New Brunswick until near the close of the century. In the year 1799 he followed in his elder brother's footsteps, and took up his abode in Upper Canada. During his residence inPg 189 New Brunswick he had taken a prominent part in organizing and training the local militia, and had been appointed a Captain. On his removal to Upper Canada he became a Major, and a few years later was raised to the rank of a Colonel. It will be more convenient, and will perhaps prevent confusion, if we speak of him in future as Colonel Ryerson. He obtained from Government a grant of 600 acres of land in the township of Charlotteville, lying about half way between the present village of Vittoria and Port Ryerse. Here he settled down in the neighbourhood of his brother, and here he made his home during the remaining fifty-five years of his life. It may as well be recorded in this place that he died on the 9th of August, 1854, in the 94th year of his age, having drawn a continuous pension from Government for more than seventy years.

To say that Colonel Ryerson and his family endured great hardships during their journey from New Brunswick to Upper Canada, as well as during the early years of their residence in the Province, would be to convey a very faint idea of the manifold sufferings to which settlers in remote districts were subjected in those days. The hard lines of pioneer life furnished many an apt illustration of the “survival of the fittest” theory. Persons who were weak or delicate in health soon sank into the grave. Those of robust constitutions; those who could stand the wear and tear of such rugged experiences as daily fell to their lot, waxed strong and mighty in the land. Colonel Ryerson must be classed among the latter. He prospered, and steadily gained ground both in wealth and influence. By the Act 38 Geo. III., chapter 5, which became law by proclamation on the 1st of January, 1800, there was a readjustment of the territorial division of Upper Canada. Among the changes which then came into operation was the establishment of the London District. It included, among other territory, the counties of Norfolk, Oxford and Middlesex. Colonel Ryerson was appointed High Sheriff of the District, and for many years had important duties to discharge in connection with that position. There was no court-house, and the administration of justice was attended with much difficulty and delay. It may be interesting to note that during the first three years after the setting apart of the District the courts were held in the house of a Mr. James Munro, in the township of Charlotteville, a few miles from the High Sheriff's abode. In the autumn of 1803, and for several years subsequently, they were held in the house of Mr. Job Loder, a well-known innkeeper of those days, at Turkey Point, where a town had been laid out under Governor Simcoe's directions a few years previously. Here the courts continued to be held until a log gaol and a two-story frame court-house were erected in the neighbourhood. The first story of the new court-house was thereafter used for judicial purposes, the second story, divided off with rough boards, being used for jury-rooms. Here the courts were held until the breaking out of the War of 1812, when the building was required for military purposes. After the close of the War the courts were removed from Turkey Point to the village of Vittoria, whence, nine or ten years later, they were transferred to St. Thomas, pending the erection of a court-house at London. Long before this time, however, Colonel Ryerson had ceased to discharge the functions of High Sheriff, having resigned in favour of his son-in-law, the late Colonel Bostwick, of Port Stanley.

Colonel Ryerson was the father of five sons, all of whom subsequently became preachers of the gospel, and rose to positions of consideration in Upper Canada. George, the eldest, who was born in New Brunswick, and who was in his eleventh year when his family migrated thence to this Province, is still living in Toronto, and hasPg 190 attained to the truly patriarchal age of eighty-nine years. In early life he was a Methodist minister, but during an absence in England at the time when the celebrated Edward Irving was at the height of his fame, he embraced the Irvingite doctrines, and subsequently discharged the functions of a minister of that body for many years in Canada with great fervour and effect. William, the second son, was also born in New Brunswick, and was about three years old when his parents removed to Upper Canada. He was well known throughout the whole of the western peninsula for more than half a century, as one of the most powerful preachers attached to the Wesleyan Conference, and as a strenuous advocate on the temperance platform. He died at his residence in the county of Brant, Ontario, about eight years ago. John, the third son, was also a distinguished Wesleyan Methodist minister. He was born at the family homestead in Charlotteville, within a few months after the settlement of his parents in that township. His expedition to the Hudson's Bay Territory as a missionary, in 1854, was the means of inducing many persons to take an interest in that wild and frigid land; and his published account of his mission had a large sale on both sides of the Atlantic. He died at Simcoe, in the county of Norfolk, on the 5th of October, 1878. These three sons of Colonel Ryerson all took an active part in repelling the American invasion of 1812, '13 and '14. They fought in defence of Canada at Detroit, Fort Erie, Beaver Dams, Lundy's Lane, and elsewhere. At the battle of Fort Erie, George received a somewhat serious wound in one of his jaws, the effects of which are perceptible at the present day. The fourth son, Egerton, is the subject of this sketch. The fifth, Edwy, likewise enrolled himself in the Wesleyan Methodist ministry, and proved himself to have inherited a full share of the eloquence and force of character by which all the members of his family were distinguished. He died at his home in the county of Norfolk about twenty years since. It may be noted that there was also another son, Samuel, who did good service to Canada during the period of the invasion, but who did not live long enough to attain distinction in any of the ordinary walks of life.

The subject of this sketch was born at the paternal abode in the township of Charlotteville, on the 24th of March, 1803. He was christened Adolphus Egerton, after two old military friends of his father, named respectively Captain Adolphus and Dr. Egerton. The first of his Christian names has long ceased to be used by him, and may be said to have been practically discarded in his early youth. He attended a common school in Charlotteville for a short time during his boyhood, but for much of his elementary education, as well as for much spiritual instruction and tender love, he was indebted to his mother. This lady was the “Mother of Nova Scotia” already mentioned. She was a most devoted and affectionate parent, and was much beloved and revered for the sweetness and amiability of her character, not by her own family alone, but by a wide circle of attached friends. The part played by Colonel Ryerson and his three elder sons during the war of 1812 and succeeding years has already been hinted at. Colonel Ryerson himself had charge of the militia of the District, and the three boys fought all over the country, wherever there was any fighting to be done. Little Egerton, then only ten years of age, imbibed the patriotic ardour of his elder brothers, and was filled with regret because he was too young to bear arms in defence of his country. His father's house was the depot where the arms and military stores of the District were kept, and he thus lived, for a time, in a most electric atmosphere. He was taughtPg 191 the ordinary military exercises by his brother George, and was sometimes permitted to gratify his boyish ambition by mounting guard as a fugleman. This state of things lasted till peace was finally proclaimed in 1815, when the people were permitted to resume their ordinary occupations. Young Egerton, as well as his brothers, was early bred to farming pursuits, and was expected to do a man's work long before he was a man in years. He was always given to study, however, and his zeal and vigour of constitution were such that, even when his daily employments were most exacting, he could always find or manufacture time to store his mind with useful knowledge. When his pursuits admitted of his doing so he attended the District Grammar School, which was only about half a mile distant from his father's house, and which was kept by Mr. James Mitchell. This gentleman, who subsequently married the youngest daughter of Colonel Ryerson, and became judge of the London District Court, was an excellent classical scholar, and took a special interest in directing the studies of young Egerton Ryerson. When the latter was about fifteen years of age he had an opportunity of attending a course of instruction by two itinerant Professors of Philology, who spent a season in Charlotteville. These gentlemen confined their instruction to English Grammar, which they taught upon a novel and peculiar plan. They professed to be able to teach a diligent student—even one wholly unacquainted with grammatical rules—to parse any sentence in the English language, in six weeks. The instruction was chiefly oral, by means of lectures. Charts and plans were employed to teach and illustrate the agreement and government of words. The system does not seem to have ever come into general use, but Dr. Ryerson to the present day entertains a strong opinion as to its merits, and has sometimes employed it successfully in the course of his long connection with educational matters in Canada. The probability is that it was precisely one of those systems the success whereof is largely dependent upon the personal qualities of the teachers. The gentlemen by whom it was taught in Upper Canada at the time under consideration were enthusiasts, and had devoted many years to elaborating it. Under their teaching young Egerton Ryerson made rapid progress, and was generally called up before visitors to illustrate the success of the system. He attained to such proficiency in all the details that when one of the teachers was prostrated by illness, he was solicited to fill the latter's engagements. His father assenting to the proposal, and he himself being eager to undertake the responsibility, he was thus temporarily installed in the position of a teacher of English philology before he had completed his sixteenth year.

He had already become deeply impressed on the subject of religion, and had long been a regular attendant at a little Methodist church in the neighbourhood of his home. His three elder brothers had all imbibed a similar spirit, and leaned strongly towards the Methodist doctrines. As time passed by, his religious impressions deepened, and he erelong became, practically speaking, a member of the Methodist fraternity. His feelings on these subjects were tenderly sympathized in by his mother, to whom he went for counsel and comfort in his spiritual perplexities. His father, however, was an adherent of the Church of England, and had no sympathy, at this time, with Methodistical doctrines and practices. When Egerton was eighteen years of age, the Methodist minister in charge of the circuit which embraced that neighbourhood announced that he considered it incompatible with the rules of the church that persons should any longer continue to enjoy the privileges of membership withoutPg 192 actually being enrolled as members. Egerton had for several years previously been accustomed to take part in the love-feasts and sacraments, but had not formally joined the church. The secret of his not having become an actual member was his desire to avoid his father's displeasure. The time had now arrived when he was compelled to choose between incurring that displeasure and being debarred from exercises which had come to be regarded by him in the light of sacred duties. His choice was at once made. He gave in his name to the minister, and was enrolled as a member of the Methodist church. Information of these proceedings soon reached the ears of his father, who, though a kind and well-meaning man, was not spiritually minded, and was somewhat disposed to sternness in his dealings with his family. He spoke his mind on this occasion with a plainness which was not to be mistaken. “Egerton,” said he, “I understand that you have joined the Methodists. You must either leave them, or leave my house.” The fiat had gone forth, and the young man well knew that any appeal against it would be urged in vain. The next day, after a tender farewell to his mother, he left his home.

Within a few days after his departure he obtained a situation as usher, or assistant teacher, in the London District Grammar School. That institution was then presided over by his eldest brother, George, who had succeeded to the position upon the elevation of his predecessor, Mr. Mitchell, to the office of District Judge. The new usher applied himself to his duties with his customary zeal and earnestness, and soon gained the good will both of parents and pupils. Many of the scholars were his seniors in point of years, and had been accustomed to look upon him as their companion and equal. His intellectual supremacy, however, was universally admitted, and his firmness and tact were such that he never experienced any serious difficulty in connection with his duties. He continued to teach at this establishment for two years, when, at his father's request, he returned home, and again devoted himself to farming pursuits. During his absence he had himself hired a farm-labourer to assist his father on the farm, and had, out of his own earnings, paid the wages of the person so hired. The latter, though sufficiently capable and industrious, did not manage matters entirely to the Colonel's satisfaction, and the Colonel one day called upon his son with a request that he would return to his home and take charge of the farm. The request was complied with, and the engagement as a teacher had consequently to be relinquished. During the next year Egerton wrought on the farm with unremitting zeal, ploughing every acre of ground for the season, cradling every field of grain, and getting through with an amount of hard bodily work that aroused the astonishment of the neighbours. His intellectual pursuits, meanwhile, were not neglected. Rising from his bed long before the light of day appeared in his room, he would sit down to severe studies, which he would only lay aside when it was time for him to betake himself to his daily farm work. In the evening he would resume his studies, and pursue them far into the night. This state of things was kept up for months, and such was his zeal and physical strength that he was able to support this double strain upon his energies without any perceptible effect upon his health. Erelong, however, the young man began to feel that his life's work lay in another direction. Overtures were made to him to enter the ministry of the Methodist church. He felt that his duty forbade him to turn a deaf ear to such requests; and, in order to further qualify himself for the ministry, he, with the approval and aid of his eldest brother, placed himself under the tuition of the latePg 193 Mr. Law, who was then Head Master of the Gore District Grammar School, at Hamilton, to read Latin and Greek. Here he applied himself with such assiduity that after about six months he was prostrated by an attack of brain-fever. The attack was very severe, and for some time his life was despaired of. When he finally recovered he resumed his studies with fresh ardour. Within a short time afterwards he attended what is known among the Methodists as a “Quarterly Meeting.” It was held at a place which was then called “the Fifty,” several miles west of the present village of Grimsby. It was expected that his brother William—who had already been called to the ministry, and had been placed in charge of the Niagara circuit—would be present to take part in the exercises. A message arrived from William, however, to the effect that he was dangerously ill, and could not attend. The presiding elder called Egerton aside, and proposed to him to take his brother's place on the circuit. The proposal was one which required, and which received, grave consideration. It was finally assented to. The young man returned to Hamilton, and prepared to enter upon his sacred vocation. On the 24th of March, 1825—his twenty-second birthday—he decided to enter the Methodist ministry; and on the Whitsunday following he preached his first sermon, near Beamsville, from the text: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Such were the circumstances under which Egerton Ryerson was received into the Christian ministry.

The story of his long and useful career as a Minister of the Gospel can be adequately written by no pen but his own. His diary during the early years of his ministry shows that his life was one of constant toil and effort. It was no uncommon thing for him to be compelled to compose his sermons while riding about on horseback from one part of his circuit to another. After doing duty for some time in the Niagara peninsula he was transferred to the Yonge Street circuit, which embraced within its limits the little town of York, the Provincial capital, and nine of the neighbouring townships. He was subsequently stationed as a missionary among the Indians at the Credit. It would take not much less than a page merely to enumerate his other ministerial appointments, and it has been computed that in the course of his long and active life he must have preached nearly ten thousand sermons. His ministerial labours, however, great as they unquestionably have been, form only a moderate part of the work of his life. In 1826 he made his first appearance as an author, and from that time down to the present his pen has never been long idle. His first production was a review of Archdeacon Strachan's sermon on the death of Dr. Mountain, Bishop of Quebec. In this work, which was a powerful specimen of controversial writing, the author discussed at considerable length the respective claims of churchmen and dissenters in Upper Canada. It need hardly be said that he was vehemently opposed to the pretensions of the dominant church; and some passages in Archdeacon Strachan's sermon—which had been published in pamphlet form—had especially aroused his indignation. In that sermon the venerable author traced the history of the Church of England in Canada, and referred to the obstacles to the progress of that church. Among these obstacles it was alleged that “dissenters” occupied a foremost place. Special reference was made to uneducated Methodist preachers, who abandoned their proper vocations, and spent their time in spreading disaffection and subverting the political and religions institutions of the country. A copy of the pamphlet containing this famous sermon fell into the hands of the authorities of the Methodist church, who did not deem it advisable toPg 194 allow such statements as were contained in it to go forth to the world uncontradicted. The subject of this sketch was asked to write a reply. He consented, upon the understanding that his Superintendent (the Rev. James Richardson) should also write a reply, and that the two replies should be compared at a meeting of prominent Methodists to be held in York four weeks afterwards. It was agreed that from the material embodied in the two replies so written, a full rejoinder should be compiled and submitted to the world. During the next four weeks Mr. Ryerson preached no fewer than thirty sermons, and was compelled to perform an unusually large amount of circuit work besides. While riding on horseback, and during brief stoppages in the various houses which he had occasion to visit in the interim, he wrote the whole of his reply. When the four weeks had expired the meeting took place according to appointment. It then appeared that the Superintendent had done nothing towards his share of the projected reply. Mr. Ryerson's paper was read to the little assembly, upon whom it produced a remarkable effect. Contrary to the expressed wish of the author, its publication was resolved upon, and Mr. Ryerson subjected it to a careful revision. It was finally published under the signature of “A Methodist Preacher.” The effect of its publication was very great, and various speculations were indulged in as to who the author might be. Numerous answers were published, in one of which it was declared that, the author was not a Methodist preacher at all, but a crafty politician. This stung Mr. Ryerson to the quick, and the authorship was soon afterwards avowed. Two years later he published a series of letters in which Archdeacon Strachan's famous chart of the various religious bodies in Upper Canada was criticised with remarkable vigor.

It may as well be recorded in this place, as a fact not generally known, that within a few months after entering the Methodist ministry, overtures were made to Mr. Ryerson to accept ordination in the Church of England. He declined; not in consequence of any feeling of hostility to the doctrine of that church, but merely because he felt that he was largely indebted to the Methodist body for his religious instruction, and because he believed that the service of that church opened out to him a wider sphere of usefulness. For the homilies and services of the Church of England he has always expressed a high admiration. During the early years of his ministry the Book of Common Prayer was his constant travelling companion, and an ever fruitful subject of study; and many of his most eloquent pulpit illustrations have been drawn from its pages. Had he been actuated by mercenary motives, the prizes at the disposal of the Church of England in those days were much more tempting than any which the Methodists had to bestow. Looked at from a secular point of view, the Methodist church in those times did not present a very inviting field for a young man ambitious of acquiring wealth. During the first four years of his ministry his salary amounted to less than a hundred dollars per annum. For the next twelve years it never exceeded six hundred dollars, including house and fuel; and out of this sum, during the greater part of the time, he was compelled to maintain a wife and family.

Mr. Ryerson's career as a journalist dates from the year 1829. The American General Conference of the Methodist Church had set apart the Canadian branch as a separate establishment, with a distinct annual conference of its own. The Methodist body in Upper Canada had for some time previously been rapidly increasing in numbers and influence, and had begun to feel a pressing need for a newspaper published in its interests. The Christian Guardian wasPg 195 accordingly founded at York in the year above indicated, and Mr. Ryerson was installed as joint-editor with the Rev. Franklin Metcalfe. The management of this periodical was marked, from the outset, by prudence and good judgment, and its editorial articles were conspicuous for great power of argument and expression. It advocated many, useful reforms in the State, and contributed its full share to the discussion of the vexed question respecting the Clergy Reserves. Its circulation was not confined to members of the church in whose interests it had been established, and it steadily advanced to a high place in public estimation. The prestige then acquired has never been lost. After more than half a century of prosperity and usefulness, the Guardian is still conducted with a genuine power and earnestness which fully maintain for its opinions the respect of all classes in the community. A sketch of the life of its present editor, the Rev. E. H. Dewart, appears elsewhere in these pages.

In 1833 Mr. Ryerson was appointed a delegate to England, and attended the British Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church there, with a view to the projected union with that Conference of the Methodist Episcopal body in Upper Canada. He was absent during the greater part of the year, and successfully accomplished the object of his mission. In 1835, he again proceeded to England. The object of this second mission was to obtain a Royal Charter for the Upper Canada Academy, and to solicit subscriptions in aid of that institution. An agitation for the establishment of a Methodist seat of learning in Upper Canada had been commenced about six years before this time, and during the interval great exertions had been made to raise the funds necessary for so important an undertaking. Cobourg had been fixed upon as the site of the Academy, by the Conference held there in 1833. During Mr. Ryerson's sojourn in Great Britain in that year he had become acquainted with many prominent personages in the kingdom, including nearly all the leading members of the Wesleyan body. He had become convinced that much might be done there in the way of obtaining subscriptions for the Academy, and had made his views known to the Conference in this country. He was accordingly sent over in the spring of 1835 for the double purpose of obtaining the Charter and soliciting subscriptions. He was successful in accomplishing both these objects, and in inducing the Imperial Government to recommend a grant by the Upper Canadian Legislature to the Academy. The Upper Canadian Legislature subsequently complied with the recommendation, and made a grant of a sum of sixteen thousand dollars, contrary to the plainly-expressed wishes of the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Francis Bond Head. The Upper Canada Academy became an accomplished fact. It subsequently developed into the University of Victoria College, and has long been one of the most useful and flourishing educational institutions in our land. A further account of it will be found in the life of the Principal, the Rev. Dr. S. S. Nelles, to be included in a subsequent part of this work.

Mr. Ryerson's second visit to Great Britain was somewhat prolonged, and he did not return to Canada until the spring of 1837. During his stay in London he contributed a series of letters on Canadian affairs to the columns of the Times, under the signature of “A Canadian.” These letters were written to counteract the influence of Messrs. William Lyon Mackenzie, Hume, and Roebuck, who had created a good deal of feeling in England in favour of their projects of Canadian reform. Mr. Ryerson believed that those projects contemplated the establishment of a republican form of Government in this country, and denounced them with all the vigour atPg 196 his command. The publication of his letters attracted much attention, and the British North American Association had them published in pamphlet form and distributed among the members of both Houses of Parliament. They were also numerously circulated in this country, where they exercised no inconsiderable influence upon the elections of 1836. Just after the close of those elections, Dr. Charles Duncombe went over from Upper Canada to England with a petition to the British Parliament, containing a tabulated list of grievances. Mr. Ryerson wrote an additional letter in opposition to this petition, in which be controverted many alleged statements of fact contained in it. The petition was introduced to the notice of the House of Commons by the Hon. Joseph Hume, who supported it in a speech which made a decided impression upon the House. Mr. Gladstone, who had already begun to make his mark as a Parliamentary debater, was in those days opposed to Mr. Hume's views on matters relating to the colonies. He was desirous of replying to the speech while the matter was still fresh in the memory of the House, but he was too little acquainted with the subject to permit of his doing so with effect. Mr. Ryerson, however, was present in the gallery during the delivery of Mr. Hume's speech, and this fact was communicated to Mr. Gladstone. The latter put himself into immediate communication with Mr. Ryerson, who there, under the gallery of the House, and on the spur of the moment, put Mr. Hume's opponent in possession of the necessary materials for a vigorous speech against the petition. The speech was made, and the fate of the petition was sealed.

Within a few months after Mr. Ryerson's return to Canada the rebellion broke out. Though he had no sympathy with the revolutionary projects of those times, he was opposed to the employment of extreme measures against the delinquents, and succeeded, by his representations, in procuring the release of several of them from imprisonment. His brother John, who was then stationed in Toronto, presented and advocated a numerously signed petition against the execution of Messrs. Lount and Matthews, and in support of his advocacy read a letter from the subject of this sketch commenting on the impolicy of capital punishment for political offences. Neither the petition nor the letter, however, produced any effect, and the unhappy men suffered the extreme penalty of the law.

The efforts of the ruling faction in those days to implicate the entire Reform Party of Upper Canada in responsibility for the Rebellion are well known to every student of Canadian history. The Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Francis Bond Head, took the initiative in this policy, and was fond of writing editorials in his organ the Patriot, in which every Reformer in the Province was, either expressly or by implication, held responsible for the wildest excesses of Mackenzie and his adherents. Among others so traduced was the late Speaker of the House of Assembly, Marshall Spring Bidwell. An article appeared, proposing that Mr. Bidwell's name should be struck from the Roll of the Law Society, on account of his having taken part in a traitorous conspiracy against Her Majesty's Government in this Province. Mr. Bidwell was no longer in this country to speak on his own behalf; and his having taken up his abode in New York seemed to lend some colour to the suggestion that he had been more or less concerned in the Rebellion. Mr. Ryerson, however, who knew all the facts relative to Mr. Bidwell's banishment,15 and who recognized the Lieutenant-Governor's hand in the article in the Patriot, was stirred to his inmost soul by the proposal containedPg 197 in it. He was at that time stationed at Kingston, where Mr. Bidwell had formerly carried on the practice of his profession, and where the latter's blameless life and purity of purpose were well known. Having obtained access to some private correspondence between Mr. Bidwell, Sir Francis Head, and Attorney-General Hagerman, in which the whole transaction with Sir Francis was fully set forth, Mr. Ryerson wrote and published in the Upper Canada Herald a singularly eloquent vindication of Mr. Bidwell's character and conduct. The correspondence was freely quoted from, and the Lieutenant-Governor stood convicted, under his own hand, of dealings which, to say the least, were unbecoming and wanting in straightforwardness. Mr. Ryerson's vindication was signed “An United Empire Loyalist.” Attorney-General Hagerman replied to it in a somewhat feeble fashion, and wound up his reply by a suggestion that the writer in the Upper Canada Herald had concealed his name through fear of being prosecuted for sedition. Mr. Ryerson was not the man to sit down quietly under such an imputation. He rejoined, in a paper said to have been the strongest piece of argumentative writing ever penned by him. He exposed the fallacy of the Attorney-General's arguments, bade defiance to his threats of prosecution, and signed his own name. This name, of course, was a sufficient guarantee for the writer's loyalty; and other suggestions in the Attorney-General's reply were proved to be equally wide of the mark. This was the first publication that had issued from the Upper Canadian press since the suppression of the Rebellion in which constitutional freedom was boldly advocated, and its effect upon the country was electric. It is even said that some persons who despaired of the state of things in the Province, and who had resolved to migrate to the United States, were induced to remain by the mere perusal of Mr. Ryerson's reply; saying that freedom was not dead in a land where any man dared to write like that.

During Lord Durham's memorable mission to this country he had frequent interviews with Mr. Ryerson, who furnished numerous data for the celebrated Report of that nobleman. The latter addressed an advance copy of the Report to Mr. Ryerson from England, before it had been laid before the House of Lords. Upon receiving it, Mr. Ryerson read it with great care, and published copious extracts from it in the columns of the Christian Guardian, of which he was then sole editor. His relations with Lord Durham seem to have been most sympathetic and cordial. He also established friendly relations with Lord Sydenham and Sir Charles Bagot, and contributed to the public press eloquent tributes to their respective memories after their deaths. In 1840 he again attended the English Methodist Conference as a delegate on behalf of the Canadian Conference. Upon the incorporation of the University of Victoria College in 1841 Mr. Ryerson was unanimously chosen its first President; and during the same year the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by the Wesleyan University of Middletown, in the State of Connecticut.

During Sir Charles Metcalfe's administration of affairs in Canada, Dr. Ryerson made what many persons have pronounced to have been the great mistake of his life. The particulars of the long and bitter struggle between that Governor and the Reform Party have already been outlined in these pages. In that struggle Dr. Ryerson espoused the side of Sir Charles Metcalfe, and both in the press and on the platform proved one of his most potent allies. Into the merits of that contest it is not our purpose to enter at any great length in this place. Those who have read the sketch of Robert Baldwin's life do not need to be informedPg 198 that we believe the Governor-General to have been altogether in the wrong in the dispute with his Council. Dr. Ryerson, the sincerity of whose convictions, and the integrity of whose motives we do not presume to question, took a different view. He had never been a politician. His father, the Colonel, was of course an old-fashioned Tory; but the Doctor, we believe, has never recorded a vote down to the present day. By the time he had reached manhood he had come to the conclusion that many matters in the Canadian body-politic stood in need of reform; and he had all along opposed the domination of the Family Compact and the Church of England. In purely party questions, however, he had never felt or expressed any very keen interest. He was unable to look at Sir Charles Metcalfe's policy from a purely political point of view. When Sir Charles appointed a Tory to office, it seemed to Dr. Ryerson that he was perfectly justified in doing so, because the person so appointed was fit for the position, and had some sort of moral claim to the support of benevolent and philanthropic men. We presume there are few persons in Canada to-day, to whichsoever side of politics they may belong, who will venture to defend Sir Charles's line of action from a constitutional point of view. It must be remembered that his struggle with his Council was not, strictly speaking, on the ground of his having appointed any particular person to office, but because he persisted in making appointments without the approval of his Council; nay, in direct opposition to their advice. In a word, he substituted his own—and Mr. Draper's—will for that of his Council. If a Governor is not to be guided by the advice of his Ministers, who are responsible at the bar of public opinion, it would seem to be evident enough that there can be no such thing as a genuine Responsible Government. Such is the aspect in which, as we believe, posterity will contemplate the question. No dispute of a similar nature is likely to again arise, and a further discussion of it here is not called for.

Whatever the real merits of the struggle may have been, there can be no doubt that Dr. Ryerson's services to Sir Charles Metcalfe were of inestimable value. His influence among the members of his own religious sect was wide and great, and all the influence at his command was exerted on the Governor-General's behalf. He also fought the Governor's battle vigorously through the medium of the press. In addition to numerous letters and articles in various newspapers of that day, he wrote and published a “Defence” of Sir Charles, which was published separately in pamphlet form. In this work, which was circulated all over the Province, the argument on the Governor's side was certainly presented in clear and luminous language, and with a force and precision which were not without effect on current public opinion. It is only just to Dr. Ryerson to say that he has always maintained that he was as true to the principles of Responsible Government when he wrote in defence of Sir Charles Metcalfe in 1844 as when he wrote in defence of Mr. Bidwell in 1838. He has always contended that the question then at issue was not one of Responsible Government, but of party patronage of the Crown, against which Reformers in previous years had protested, when the patronage had been practised by the old Family Compact. Whatever view readers of the present day may take, of the question, it is undeniable that such service merited and obtained recognition from Sir Charles Metcalfe. In 1844 Dr. Ryerson received the appointment of Superintendent of Public Schools for Upper Canada, as successor to the Rev. Robert Murray (who had been appointed to a Professorship in King's College). Upon receiving the offer of this appointment Dr. Ryerson laid the matter before the Executive Committee of his Conference, Pg 199 by whom he was recommended to accept it. The result of the following elections was the return of a large majority in favour of the Governor-General's policy, and Dr. Ryerson thus felt no scruples at acting upon the recommendation of the Committee. He accepted the appointment, and at once devoted himself to the task of remodelling the educational system of the Province. In the instructions accompanying his appointment it was intimated that he was expected to devise measures for providing proper schoolbooks; for establishing the most efficient system of instruction; and for elevating the character of both teachers and schools. In pursuance of these instructions he made an extensive tour in the United States, Great Britain and continental Europe, to familiarize himself with the various educational systems in vogue in other lands. The results of his tour were embodied in an elaborate “Report,” which was published by order of the Legislative Assembly in 1846. The views presented in this report aroused much discussion and hostility in some quarters, and the author was accused of advocating “Prussian despotism.” His ideas, however, commended themselves to a majority of the members of the Legislature, and a School Act, drafted by him, was passed by both Houses. It remained in force about three years. Upon the accession to power of the Baldwin-Lafontaine Administration, the Hon. Malcolm Cameron, who held the post of Commissioner of Customs, procured the passing of a new Education Act, repealing the Act of 1846, and inaugurating many radical changes in the educational system. The latter was a loosely drawn and impracticable measure, and Dr. Ryerson at once detected its weak points. He urged his views upon Mr. Baldwin, the Attorney-General West, who became so convinced of the inefficient character of the new Act that he took the unusual course of advising the Governor-General (Lord Elgin) to suspend its operation. Mr. Baldwin and Dr. Ryerson then proceeded to prepare an Act, in which all that was useful in the Act of 1846 was retained, with the addition of many important features growing out of the necessities of the time. This new measure received the sanction of Parliament in 1850, and its enactments still form the groundwork of the educational system in this Province.

Dr. Ryerson's life, daring the next quarter of a century, is so intimately connected with our educational system, that the writing of the one would necessarily involve the writing of the history of the other. For such an account these pages afford but limited space, nor is this the sort of work wherein the reader will expect to find it. The merest glimpse at one or two of the more salient incidents is all that will be looked for at our hands. From the time of receiving his appointment in 1844, down to his resignation in 1876—a period of thirty-two years—Dr. Ryerson continued to administer the school-system of this Province with a zeal, a disinterestedness, and an efficiency which have received the highest encomiums, not only from Canadians, but from persons connected with educational matters in Great Britain and the United States. He has left an abiding and ineffaceable mark upon the educational system of his time, and will long be remembered by those who may come after him as a remarkably able and large-minded man: a man who gave many years of his life to the task of thoroughly understanding the educational requirements of the Province, and of directing public opinion in such a channel as to secure the greatest possible measure of public benefit. Bishop Frazer, of Manchester, England, has borne unmistakable testimony to his high appreciation of Dr. Ryerson's labours. In a report on Canadian Schools, published in 1865, he refers to our national educational system as being far in advancePg 200 of that of Great Britain. He adds: “It is indeed very remarkable to me that in a country occupied in the greater part of its area by a sparse and anything but wealthy population, whose predominant characteristic is as far as possible removed from the spirit of enterprise, an educational system so complete in its theory and so capable of adaptation in practice should have been originally organized, and have been maintained in what, with all allowances, must still be called successful operation for so long a period as twenty-five years. It shows what can be accomplished by the energy, determination and devotion of a single earnest man. What national education in England owes to Sir J. K. Shuttleworth, what education in New England owes to Horace Mann, that debt education in Canada owes to Egerton Ryerson. He has been the object of bitter abuse, and of not a little misrepresentation; but he has not swerved from his policy, or from his fixed ideas. Through evil report and good report he has resolved, and he has found others to support him in the resolution, that free education shall be placed within the reach of every Canadian parent for every Canadian child.” The Hon. Adam Crooks, the present Minister of Education for Ontario, has also on more than one occasion borne testimony to his appreciation of Dr. Ryerson's great services to the cause of education in this Province.

In 1848 Dr. Ryerson established the Journal of Education, which he edited from that time down to the date of his resignation of the office of Chief Superintendent of Education in 1876. During his absence in England in 1850 he made preliminary arrangements for the establishment of a Library, and of a map and apparatus depository in connection with the Education Department of Upper Canada; which arrangements were soon afterwards carried into effect. In 1853, chiefly in consequence of Dr. Ryerson's urgent representations, the Legislature caused the Grammar-School Law of the Province to be thoroughly revised. Further improvements in the Grammar School Law in 1865 are also largely traceable to his influence. In 1855, with the aid of Colonel Lefroy, who then held the post of Director of the Provincial Magnetical Observatory at Toronto, Dr. Ryerson established several meteorological stations in connection with the County Grammar-Schools. Ten years later, other stations—making twelve in all—were established in accordance with the terms of legislative enactments on the subject. In 1857 Dr. Ryerson again set out for a comprehensive educational tour in Europe. During his absence he visited the principal seats of art in Holland, Germany, Italy and France, and procured on behalf of his Department a series of copies of paintings by the old masters, in Dutch, Flemish and Italian art. These copies, together with many other paintings and objects of interest, were forwarded to Toronto and placed in the Educational Museum, where they have been the means of educating the public taste, and of diffusing a knowledge of art among the people. Soon after his return from this tour he began to take a prominent part in the discussion of the subject of grants to various outlying universities in this Province. These grants were strenuously advocated by him upon public grounds, both in the columns of various newspapers, and before a Legislative Committee. The Education Bill submitted by Government to Parliament in 1860, and which subsequently became law, was drafted by him, and was the means of effecting many improvements in the details of our educational system. In 1861 he received from the University of Victoria College the honorary degree of LL.D. The results of his wide knowledge and experience in matters pertaining to education are visible in several other measures which have received the sanction ofPg 201 the Legislature, and which have been productive of great benefit to the Province at large.

In the autumn of 1874 the first General Conference of the Methodist Church was held in Toronto, consisting of an equal number of ministers, and laymen, elected by the ministers and laity, throughout the six Conferences of the Dominion of Canada. At this Conference Dr. Ryerson was elected President by ballot, and filled the office for four years, until 1878, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. George Douglas of Montreal. Dr. Ryerson was elected for the third time to represent the Canadian Conference in Great Britain in 1876. He was received by the British Conference with every possible mark of respect and affection, and reference was made to his having appeared before that venerable body as the representative of the Canadian Conference forty-three years before.

For some years previous to his retirement from the position of Chief Superintendent of Education, Dr. Ryerson had felt and expressed a wish to be relieved from the arduous duties which he was compelled to discharge. In 1876 his suggestion was acted upon. The office of Chief Superintendent was abolished, and a Minister of Education was added to the Local Cabinet in the person of the Hon. Adam Crooks, the present incumbent. Dr. Ryerson retired from office on full salary, after thirty-two years of incessant and often severe labour. Though he has since lived in retirement, he still continues to take a warm interest in everything pertaining to the cause of public education. He has for some years past been engaged in the production of a voluminous historical work embodying a History of the United Empire Loyalists, which is now passing through the press, and which will probably be in the hands of the public contemporaneously with the appearance of the present sketch. The subject is one which the author possesses exceptional qualifications for dealing with, and his work cannot fail to be one of permanent historical value and interest.

At the age of seventy-seven years Dr. Ryerson preserves his great mental activity unimpaired, and his physical vigour is still far beyond that of most persons of his age. The storm and contention in which a great part of his early career was passed has long since subsided, and the evening of his life has been wonderfully serene and cloudless. He has been permitted to outlive the enmities of less quiet times, and has long enjoyed the respect, esteem, and good-will of his fellow-countrymen of all creeds and parties.

Dr. Ryerson has been twice married. His first wife, whom he married in 1828, was Miss Aikman, daughter of the late John Aikman, of the township of Barton, in the county of Wentworth. By this lady, who survived her marriage only about four years, he had two children, both of whom died young. In 1833 he married Miss Armstrong, daughter of the late Mr. J. R. Armstrong, of Toronto. By this lady, who still survives, he has two children. It is reasonably to be hoped that years of vigour and usefulness may yet be in store for the venerable old man who has done so much to advance the interests of the Methodist Church in Canada, and who has done more than any other man of his day for the cause of public instruction in Ontario.


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The late Sir James Douglas was a man who could scarcely have failed to make his mark under any conditions of society in which he might have been placed; but it so fell out that early in life he was enrolled in a service which was peculiarly calculated to stimulate and develop the special characteristics for which he was most eminent. Among the many personages who, from obscure beginnings, have risen to fame and fortune in the service of the great fur-trading companies of the North-West, Sir James Douglas will always occupy a foremost place. His achievements in the pathless wilds of the American continent furnish no inapt parallel to the marvellous career of Robert Clive in India daring the last century. If his success was less brilliant than was that of the founder of British Empire in India, it was at least of sufficient splendour to suggest a comparison; and the success of Sir James Douglas was clouded by no serious faults such as must ever be associated with Clive's great name. The success of both was almost entirely due to their individual character, and owed but little to adventitious circumstances. It is no abuse of language to say that James Douglas was born with a positive genius for administration. He began life without means, without education, and without influential friends. He lived to be the founder of two colonies, with both of which his name must ever be inseparably associated. He established two Governments, in both of which he himself occupied the highest place. He was invested by his Sovereign with titles and dignities which might well have satisfied the aspirations of a much more ambitious mind. Unlike many men who have been the sole architects of their own fortunes, he was never spoiled by prosperity, but bore his high honours with a quiet dignity which would have become the proudest scion of aristocracy. When he died, full of years, and all good things which this life affords, he was mourned by thousands who had long regarded him in the light of their common patron; and his memory is still cherished by the inhabitants of an entire Province.

Sir James Douglas
Sir James Douglas.

He was born in or near Demerara, in British Guiana, South America, on the 14th of August, 1803. As his name indicates, he was of Scottish origin. His father, who was in humble circumstances, had emigrated from Scotland to British Guiana not long before his son's birth. Both his parents died while he was a mere boy, and he was thus left to fight the battle of life at a very early age. In the summer of 1815, when he had barely completed his twelfth year, he accompanied an elder brother to the North-West Territory, and engaged in the service of the famous North-West Company. In those times the rivalry between that Company and the still more famous one into which it was finally absorbed was at Pg 203its height, and there was plenty of hard work to be done in its service by young men of willing hands, cool brains, dauntless courage, adventurous spirit, and robust constitution. All these qualifications were united in the person of young James Douglas in a very uncommon degree, and wanted but time and opportunity for their full development. His active, nomadic life, spent largely in the open air, furnished in itself a more admirable physical training than any gymnasium could have afforded, and by the time he had reached manhood he was known throughout the whole of the North-West for a man of almost miraculous vigour and endurance. His frame was cast in a powerful mould; his physical strength was prodigious; and his coolness under circumstances of imminent danger excited the astonishment even of those daring, adventurous spirits among whom his lot was cast His pre-eminence, however, was not confined to feats of strength and endurance. He was equally remarkable for his tact in dealing with the aborigines, and for his excellent judgment in transacting the business of his employers. Whenever a mission requiring the exercise of exceptional prudence and sagacity was determined upon, there never was any dispute as to who was the most fitting agent to be entrusted with it. He had the rare capacity for preserving strict discipline among wild and lawless men, and was always able to enforce obedience to his commands by the mere force of his personal presence and character. The facts of his early life in the North-West have never been made public with any approach to fulness of detail, and there is probably no man now living who is possessed of sufficient data to present a connected narrative of his career previous to the time of his taking up his permanent abode in Vancouver's Island in 1846.

The rivalry between the North-West and Hudson's Bay Companies was terminated by their amalgamation in 1821. Young Douglas, who had entered the service of the former in a subordinate capacity about six years previously, continued in the employ of the amalgamated company, in which he soon rose to a position of influence. He rapidly grew in favour with his superior officers, who fully recognized his merits, and in course of time he became a Chief Factor of the Company. In the discharge of his multiform duties he visited nearly every corner of the North-West which has ever been traversed by the foot of a white man, and passed through innumerable adventures and hairbreadth escapes. On one occasion when conducting an important mission in New Caledonia—now the mainland of British Columbia—he was seized by one of the Indian tribes while passing through their territory, and detained as a captive for many weeks. He at last contrived to make good his escape, and after enduring privations to which a weaker frame and a feebler will would inevitably have succumbed, arrived in safety at one of the Company's forts. He had long been given up as lost, and was welcomed as one risen from the dead. In 1827 he married Miss Connolly, a daughter of the Chief Factor at Red River. By this lady he had a numerous family, five of whom still survive. His eldest and only surviving son is Mr. James W. Douglas, late M.P.P. for the city of Victoria.

Sometime in or about the year 1833, Mr. Douglas became the Chief Agent of the Hudson's Bay Company for all their territory west of the Rocky Mountains. Soon after being appointed to this responsible position he made his headquarters at Fort Vancouver, in what was then the territory of Oregon. In 1842 he passed over from Fort Vancouver to Vancouver's Island, for the purpose of establishing an Indian trading port there on behalf of the Company. At a point which has since been calledPg 204 Esquimault, about three miles from Victoria, he found an excellent harbour, deep enough to float vessels of large burden, and capacious enough for the accommodation of a fleet. If the surroundings of this place had been advantageous, Esquimault would doubtless have been fixed upon as the site of the Company's operations in the island; but the adjoining shore was rugged and precipitous, and presented a most desolate and forbidding appearance. There was no suitable site for the erection of a fort, and fresh water was scarce in the immediate neighbourhood—a grave drawback in primitive settlements. On the site of Victoria, on the other hand—which was then known by the Indian name of Songish—much of the ground was comparatively level; the appearance of the surrounding country was eminently prepossessing; and fresh water was abundant. The adjacent harbour was shallow, and, as subsequently appeared, ships drawing more than sixteen or seventeen feet of water could not enter it under any condition of the tides; but a commodious harbour was not a prime consideration with Mr. Douglas, who, after mature consideration, selected the latter point as the site of the projected fort. He treated with the Indians for the site, and set about the erection of stockades and storehouses. The fort was completed in the course of the following year; and when, in 1846, by the Oregon Treaty, Fort Vancouver became a part of the United States, the western headquarters of the Company were transferred to Victoria. For long afterwards, the fort and several little houses adjacent thereto, which were occupied by employés of the Company, were the only habitations of civilized beings to be found on the island. On the 31st of July, 1848, the island was granted by the Crown to the Hudson's Bay Company for a term of ten years. The effect of the grant, of course, was to give the Company control over the fur trade of the district, and they, in turn, undertook to establish in the island a colony of resident emigrants from the British dominions. A deed was at the same time executed conferring upon emigrants certain powers of local self-government. Governor Blanchard received the appointment of first Governor, and arrived from England in 1849. After administering affairs about two years his health failed, and he returned to England. He was succeeded by Mr. Douglas, who took the oath of office in November, 1851. His first official act (and it is notable as an evidence of the strong sense of justice that animated the man) was to summon all the Indian tribes about Victoria and pay them in full for their lands. The Indians were very numerous at that time. Tribes which now comprise a mere handful counted their warriors by the thousand; and collisions were frequent between the settlers and Indians in consequence of depredations by the latter on the cattle of the former. Early in the winter of 1851 a shepherd was murdered at Christmas Hill. The Indian perpetrators fled to Cowichan. Governor Douglas organized an expedition of marines and bluejackets from H.M. ship Thetis and a company of Vancouver's Island Volunteers. The Company's vessels Recovery and Beaver conveyed the expedition to Cowichan, where one of the murderers was given up. The other had fled to Nanaimo, whither the expedition proceeded. They tracked him through the deep snow into the dense forest, and finally caught him hid in a hollow tree. The culprits were hanged at Nanaimo. Not long afterwards a white man was shot and severely injured at Cowichan. Another expedition was formed, of which Governor Douglas took charge. H.M. ship Trincomalee was towed to Cowichan by the steamer Otter. The Indians turned out armed, naked, and covered with war paint. The two forces confronted each other. The Governor beckoned the chiefs to come forward, Pg 205 and they did so. A parley ensued. The chiefs refusing to give the man up, the forces encamped for the night. The next morning the murderer, armed with a musket, came out in front of the Indian village and levelled it at the Governor. The moment was a critical one. The marines and bluejackets prepared to open fire, and a mountain howitzer they had brought with them was trained on the village ready for work. The murderer's flint-lock musket snapped, and in another moment he was seized and bound by the tribe and handed over to the expedition. He was tried and hanged at Cowichan in the presence of the Indians, who thus had a salutary lesson set them—a lesson which shaped their conduct in the direction of peace forever afterwards.

The task of colonization, however, proved to be uphill work, and does not seem to have been prosecuted with much vigour. Had it not been for the breaking out of the gold-fever ten years afterwards, Vancouver's Island would be little better known in our time than it was in the days of our fathers. In 1853, five years subsequent to the date of the grant to the Hudson's Bay Company, the entire white population was less than five hundred. Between that time and 1857 Indian wars were numerous on the island, and Governor Douglas was brought into frequent contact with scenes of violence and bloodshed similar to those already referred to. As the supply of ammunition was doled out to the natives in small quantities, this restricted supply was made the pretext of several attempts by them to capture the fort and possess themselves of the contents. Had the fort been in command of a man with less tact and force of character it is not improbable that some of these attempts would have been successful, but the Governor's vigilance was unsleeping, and he was never taken at a disadvantage. He finally succeeded in establishing amicable relations with all the tribes on the island, who in process of time came to look up to him as their “Great White Father.” In 1856 representative institutions were granted to the colony, and on the 12th of June in that year the first Parliament met. Governor Douglas, in his opening speech, compared the colony to the native pines of its storm-beaten promontories, the growth of which, he remarked, was slow, but hardy. In the summer of 1857 his commission as Governor was renewed for a further period of six years.

About this time it became known to the emissaries of the Company that gold had been found by the Indians at several points on the mainland, between the Rocky Mountains and the ocean. The momentous secret was kept as long as the keeping of it was possible, which was not very long. In the autumn of 1857 a small parcel of dust, worth four or five dollars, was brought from Thompson River by an Indian trader, but the circumstance attracted little attention in Victoria. The parcel was forwarded to San Francisco, however, where its contents were rigidly scrutinized, and one or two miners quietly set out to inspect the territory where the dust had been found. The Indians continued to find the precious metal in considerable quantities, and soon began to bring it down to the settlements and offer it in exchange for food, whiskey, and other commodities. They sometimes told fabulous stories about nuggets as large as barrels of flour, and though these stories were justly regarded as exaggerations, rumours began to be rife on the Pacific coast about tremendous auriferous deposits in the interior; deposits of such extent as to eclipse anything that had ever been known either in California or Australia. Prospecting parties started out, and met with sufficient encouragement to satisfy them that the mineral resources of the country might be turned to good account. Their operations soon became known to the miners ofPg 206 California, and in an inconceivably short space of time thereafter British Columbia, was literally invaded by an army of gold-seekers from the washed-out gulches farther south. The news was not long in making its way to the uttermost parts of the earth, and the result was an influx of adventurers from all quarters. The Island of Vancouver was carefully explored, and gold was eventually found in one or two districts, but not in sufficient quantities to induce miners to stay there. The richest deposits were on the Fraser River, which soon became the centre of operations. Victoria, however, was on the direct road thither, and crowded steamers began to arrive several times a week. In the spring of the year 1858 more than 20,000 people disembarked en route for the mines; and as the houses were too few for the accommodation of one-tenth of that number, the adjacent country was speedily covered by innumerable tents, which served the purpose of temporary habitations. The provisions and stores of the island were soon exhausted, and before fresh supplies could be obtained prices rose enormously. To such an extent did the inflation in breadstuffs proceed that on one occasion the sum of fifty dollars was offered and refused for a barrel of flour. For several weeks thirty dollars per barrel was the regular price of that commodity, and even ships biscuits were sold at fabulous prices. Building operations were projected on a tremendous scale, and from ninety to a hundred dollars per thousand was readily paid for sawn lumber. More than two hundred houses—such as they were—were built within the space of a single month. Town property was sold at any price the owners chose to demand, and for a short time vacant lots in Victoria were worth as much as in San Francisco. Lots bought from the Company in April at fifty dollars were resold in May at $2,500. Rents were in proportion; and plots of ground with a frontage of thirty feet, and only sixty feet in depth, were rented at $400 a month. A good many of the newcomers, upon their arrival at Victoria, abandoned the notion of going any farther to wring gold from the soil, when gold might be made so much more easily by speculating in real estate. During the season of 1858, most of those who went on to the mines arrived there at a time of year when the rivers were swollen, and when the most prolific beds of gold were submerged. The consequence was that many abandoned the quest and returned to the settlements in despair. Of those who remained, some realized large fortunes, others a moderate competency, and others little or nothing beyond blighted hopes and broken constitutions. Of those who returned without waiting for the ebb of the rivers, some took up their quarters in Victoria, where they made a living as best they could. Such others as were able to return to their homes in California or elsewhere lost no time in doing so, and the surplus population of Victoria soon melted away. Not only did the tents disappear, but every street had its beggarly account of empty houses and shanties. Real estate, of course, fell tremendously, and the fall brought ruin to the door of many an unfortunate speculator. In one instance, a small piece of land for which $23,000 had been paid only a few months before, was with difficulty disposed of for $600. This was probably an extreme case, but there were others which approximated to it, and business was at a standstill. In the autumn of 1859 the population was only about 1,300. In the coarse of the following winter, however, more favourable reports began to be received from the mining districts, and business improved considerably. Next spring the reports were so good that a tide of miners again set in, on a small scale as compared with that of the preceding year, but still vigorously enough to indicate that mining enterprise was notPg 207 altogether a thing of the past. From that time forward the search for gold has been steadily carried on, with varying success. The last important development was the discovery of the Cassiar deposits, which still continue to furnish a fairly abundant yield.

In 1859, the grant to the Hudson's Bay Company having expired, Vancouver's Island became a Crown colony, with Victoria as its capital. Mr. Douglas was appointed Governor, and was invested with the dignity of a C.B. The same year ushered in the San Juan difficulty. A company of United States soldiers landed on the Island of San Juan, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and took possession of it as American territory, claiming that it had been ceded by the Oregon Treaty. The ensuing few months were months of great excitement. British ships of war were summoned from China, and anchored in the harbour of Esquimault. The American force on the Island received numerous accessions, and for a time it seemed that war could not be averted. A single act of indiscretion on the part of Governor Douglas would unquestionably have plunged the colony into hostilities; but his judgment and tact were equal to the occasion. In course of time General Scott arrived from Washington as United States Commissioner, and he and Governor Douglas agreed upon a joint occupation until the dispute could be settled by arbitration. The island was finally ceded to the United States in 1872.

Meanwhile a Government had been organized in British Columbia, on the mainland, and placed in Governor Douglas's charge. Customs duties were imposed, and a considerable revenue collected; but not sufficient to make improvements or cheapen the cost of provisions at the mines by providing good roads. The Governor asked the Home Government for pecuniary aid, and was refused. In 1862 freight to Cariboo was $1 per pound, or $2,000 per ton. All goods were carried on the backs of mules. Flour sold at $2.75 a pound, and all other articles of consumption at a like exorbitant rate. Thousands left the diggings, unable to procure the simplest necessaries at any price. The Governor was sorely tried. He saw the people suffering, and had not means to afford them relief. At last he hit upon a plan which proved successful. He raised £100,000 in England by loan, and gave a company that offered to make a main trunk road from Yale to Caribou—a distance of 100 miles—the privilege of collecting tolls on goods passing over the road for a limited number of years. Similar franchises were given to parties who bridged the streams, and in a single season goods at the mines fell to living rates. In 1863 the roads and bridges were completed and ready for traffic. Mule trains were disbanded and freight wagons substituted, and the mining population, with the advantage of cheap food, proceeded to develop the wonderfully rich mines of Cariboo. These roads will ever remain a monument to the enterprise of British Columbia's greatest Governor. In October, 1863, Her Majesty was pleased to confer upon him the distinguished honour and dignity of Knighthood as a mark of her appreciation of his public services. He had, it is true, despotic power; but he always used it to advance the country. He oppressed no one, but moved steadily on in the great work of organizing a Government from chaotic materials, and in improving the condition of the people. He was then governing two Provinces—Vancouver's Island and British Columbia—with two sets of officials, and a military man—Colonel Moody—residing at New Westminster, as lieutenant-Governor. The Governor's position was incongruous. The mainland people charged him with building up Victoria at the expense of the mainland; and the Victorians accused him of favouring the Hudson'sPg 208 Bay Company in the settlement of the land question between the Imperial Government and the Company. For many months he bore the assaults of his enemies with the calmness that is the offspring of integrity, knowing well that when permission should be obtained to publish the official despatches on the subject he would be fully vindicated. Permission was finally obtained, and the appearance of the blue-book so completely vindicated his course that everyone became convinced that Governor Douglas had really been the truest friend of the Province, and had actually fought its battles at the very time he was charged with conspiring to defraud it of its rights. The Governor's commission for Vancouver's Island expired in September, 1863, but he was not relieved till March, 1864. When he laid down the reins of Government the people vied with each other in doing him honour. He was entertained at a public banquet in which representative men of all classes took part, and a beautiful casket of Colonial woods, inlaid with gold, was presented to His Excellency on behalf of the people of the Colony. In the fall of the same year the Governor's commission for British Columbia expired, and he was succeeded by Governor Seymour, who afterwards became Governor when the Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island were made one. After having been relieved of his official duties Sir James Douglas made the tour of Europe. Upon his return to the land he loved so well he withdrew entirely from public life, enjoying in the bosom of his family the repose he had so well earned, and joining with Lady Douglas, to whom at the time of his death he had been married fifty years, in dispensing charity with a generous hand.

A few weeks before his death it became known to his family that his health was seriously impaired, but it was not suspected that his end was so near as subsequent events proved to be the case. He died at his home in Victoria on the 2nd of August, 1877. Had he lived eleven days longer he would have completed his seventy-fourth year.


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“A man of rare natural endowments, he was also a man of large culture. Learned was he and eloquent; an accomplished scholar, an able and persuasive preacher. All this the Presbyterian people and Church in Canada have known for the last twenty years. These were endowments that loomed before the public eye, but they were insignificant compared with his qualities as a man and his excellence as a Christian. Singularly gentle by nature, he became by divine grace the humble, simple-hearted Christian sitting at the feet of Jesus, and, while learning from His words, drinking largely into His spirit. To those who knew him in private life, his grace and gentleness, his transparent honesty and truthfulness, his reverent spirit, his godly walk, were felt to give a charm and brilliancy to his character which his more public qualities failed to impart. His was indeed the path of the just. His religious character grew, and Christian principle, as he passed on in life, deepened within his great nature. He advanced in divine knowledge. In the love and grace of Christ he more and more abode. On and on he went, walking in the light of heaven while yet with us on earth. Such men rarely appear in the firmament of the Church. When they pass beyond to other spheres, a blank is left which it takes generations to fill up. We shall never again hear his eloquent voice, never again shall we have the privilege of being guided by his wise counsels, but the Church in heaven has received him into her membership, and the eye of faith sees him to-day near the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the perfect unchanging day of heavenly joy.”

Such was the glowing tribute paid to the character and career of the subject of this memoir, on the Sunday following his death, by his friend the Rev. Dr. Jenkins, from the pulpit of St. Paul's Church, Montreal. As a general rule, such utterances as these, especially when delivered by personal friends, and under a sense of recent bereavement, are not entitled to much weight. In the case of Professor Mackerras, however, the universal testimony of those who knew him, and who watched his course during the greater part of his ministerial life, is to the effect that Dr. Jenkins's eloquent eulogy was fully borne out by the singularly beautiful attributes of the subject of it, and that its characterization will stand the test of time. It seems to be conceded on all hands that the late Professor was one of the gentlest and most lovable of men, and that he was justly revered and loved by all who came into intimate relations with him. His scholarly attainments were high and varied; his preaching was distinguished by vigorous thought, clear and concise language, and a natural, unadorned style of delivery which gave an additional attractiveness and force to all that he advanced, and which securedPg 210 for him a high position as one of the most effective preachers of his Church. He died at the early age of forty-eight years, but of him it may truly be said that “he, being dead, yet speaketh,” and that he still survives in the memory and aspirations of many whom he trained to walk in those paths which he himself trod throughout the brief span which made up the measure of his life.

The conspicuous events of his life were few. He was born at Nairn, in Scotland, on the 5th of June, 1832. His family emigrated to this country in June, 1838, when he was exactly six years of age, so that he may almost be regarded as a Canadian by nationality as well as by predilection. His parents settled at the village of Williamstown, in the county of Glengarry, where his father, the late Mr. John Mackerras, for some time taught school. In his early boyhood he attended his father's school. Later on he attended for several years at the Eastern District School, now known as the Cornwall Grammar School. This establishment was then presided over by Mr. Kay, a gentleman to whom his grateful pupil was accustomed to refer in after life as one of the ablest classical scholars and teachers whom this country has known. In the month of October, 1847, young Mackerras was entered at Queen's College, Kingston, where, three years later, he graduated as B.A. Both at Cornwall and at Kingston he distinguished himself alike by his industry and his quickness of apprehension, and achieved high honours in various departments of study. His intellectual supremacy was admitted by all his young competitors, and the honours which he achieved were on all hands admitted to have been fairly won. The kindness and amiability of his disposition were such that his successes aroused no feelings of envy. With many of his fellow-students he formed warm friendships which were preserved unbroken throughout his short life. In 1852, after being subjected to an examination of unusual severity, he obtained his degree of M.A., and in the following year received a license to preach from the Presbytery of Bathurst. In the early summer of 1853, he received competing calls from congregations at Darlington (Bowmanville), Scott and Uxbridge. He accepted the call from Bowmanville, and was inducted on the 20th of September of the same year. Only three months had then elapsed since he had attained his majority, but his diligent application and native precocity had given him an unusual maturity of mind, and from this time forward he gave perpetually-recurring proofs of his ability to take his place in the world as a man.

While settled at Bowmanville he took an active interest in education. He was for several years a member of the Grammar School Board, and Chairman of the Circuit Board of Public Instruction. He acted as Assistant Clerk of the Presbytery of Toronto, and Convener of the Finance Committee of the Synod. He remained at Bowmanville until he received the appointment of Professor of Classics in Queen's College, Kingston, which he held thenceforward up to the time of his death. He was practically appointed to the Classical Professorship in August, 1864, but as the title to the incumbency of the Chair was before the Court of Chancery, he was not formally appointed until April, 1866. In June, 1865, on the resignation of Dr. Snodgrass, he was elected Clerk of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Canada in connection with the Church of Scotland. This office he held until the union, when he was appointed one of the Clerks of the General Assembly of the united Church. Towards the close of 1868, the Local Government of Ontario withdrew its annual grant of $5,000 to the Arts Faculty of Queen's College. In this emergency a special meeting of the Synod was held in January, 1869, to decide as to the future of the institution. It was resolvedPg 211 to raise from the voluntary offerings of the people a capital sum of $100,000. Dr. Snodgrass and Professor Mackerras were entrusted with the work of providing this large amount. They undertook it and succeeded. From the time that negotiations for union commenced in 1870, he was thoroughly true to the cause, and gave up much of his time to its advancement. Though not a member of the negotiating Committee, as Dr. Snodgrass was deemed sufficient to represent the interests of the College, he took his part in the councils of the Church invariably in favour of the consummation of union. He also travelled about the country during his vacations, and aroused the enthusiasm of the adherents of the Presbyterian Church by spirit-stirring appeals for aid, which were liberally responded to. The endowment of $100,000 was secured, and the object for which it had been raised was carried out. There can be no doubt that his exertions in this cause, and the hardships he was compelled to endure while on his travels, contributed to the shortening of his life. True, the hardships seldom consisted of anything more trying than bad roads, irregular hours and unsuitable food; but these things, which would have been trifles to a man of robust constitution, were fraught with peril to a man of feeble health, whose life was held by a frailer tenure than is that of most persons. In 1874 his health became so precarious that he was obliged to repair to England for medical advice and change of air. On that occasion his friends presented him with a flattering address and a purse of $1,100, while the Trustees of the University gave him a year's leave of absence and paid the salary of his substitute. During his absence abroad he passed over to the continent, and spent a portion of the winter in Italy, chiefly in Rome and its neighbourhood. It will readily be conceived that the historic and other associations of that spot—hallowed alike to the lover of art and the student of history—stirred afresh within his soul the ardent enthusiasm of earlier years. The classics had always been a favourite study with him during his educational course, and his intimacy with them was continued as a recreation long after his college days.

After his return to his native land, owing to the infirm state of his health, he was unable to take so prominent a part as formerly in matters outside his class-room, but his interest in all subjects pertaining to his professorship never waned, and down to the time of his death he exerted himself in promoting various good works. As President of the Elocution Association in connection with the College, he laboured ardently and successfully to improve the public reading and speaking of the students. For the last eleven years of his life he was an active member of the Temporalities Board of the late Synod of the Church of Scotland.

He was married on August 16th, 1865, to Margaret, eldest daughter of Judge Dennistoun, of Peterboro', by whom he left three children. During the winter of 1877-8 his health, which had been partially recruited by his sojourn abroad, again gave way. He was first compelled to depute the more laborious of his duties to others, and afterwards to relinquish them altogether. It soon became apparent to his friends and to himself that his days were numbered. He awaited the consummation with manly fortitude, and with a firm reliance upon the Divine goodness. His death took place at the residence of his father-in-law, on Friday, January 9th, 1880. His remains were forwarded to Kingston, where he was interred in Cataraqui Cemetery on Monday, the 12th. His aged mother died at Kingston on the day previous, and was interred at the same time as her son. She had attained the great age of ninety years.


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The ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Dominion is descended from an English family which emigrated from Staffordshire to Norwalk, Connecticut, during the early part of the eighteenth century, and remained there until the breaking out of the War of the Revolution in 1775. Early in the present century, Stephen Richards, father of the ex-Chief Justice, resided in Otsego County, in the State of New York, whence he removed, in 1808 or 1809, to Brockville, in Upper Canada. Soon after settling in this Province he married Miss Phœbe Buell, a daughter of the late William Buell, of Brockville. Mr. Buell was a distinguished U. E. Loyalist who came over to this country immediately after the close of the Revolutionary War, and who subsequently took an active part in the politics and public affairs of his District. Stephen Richards, who survived till the year 1863, was a man highly respected for his strong common sense and the sterling uprightness of his character. He never entered political life, but his political influence in the Johnstown District—then one of the most important Districts in the Province—was considerable, and was always exerted on the Liberal side. He had three sons, all of whom still survive, and all of whom have risen to positions of wealth and influence in the State. The eldest is the subject of the present sketch. Stephen, the second son, has long been known as an eminent lawyer, carrying on business in Toronto. He has also made a figure in political life, having held the office of Commissioner of Crown Lands in the Coalition Government formed immediately after Confederation under the leadership of the late Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald. The third son, the Hon. Albert Norton Richards, is the present Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, and a sketch of his career will be found elsewhere in these pages. They all became Queen's Counsel.

William Buell Richards
William Buell Richards.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by Notman & Fraser

William Buell Richards was born at Brockville, on the 2nd of May, 1815. He received his education at the famous Johnstown District Grammar School, in his native town; and subsequently at Potsdam Academy, in the State of New York. He early chose the law as his profession in life, and spent the first years of his clerkship in the office of Andrew Norton Buell, who then practised the legal profession in Brockville, and who subsequently became Master of the Court of Chancery for Upper Canada. Before his studies had been completed, young Richards transferred his services from the office of Mr. Buell to that of the late Mr. George Malloch, who subsequently became Judge of the County Court of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. After being called to the Bar, in Michaelmas Term, 1837, he entered into partnership with Mr. Malloch, under the style of Malloch & Richards. Under this style the businessPg 213 was carried on until the senior partner's elevation to the Bench, when Mr. Richards formed a partnership with his old principal, Mr. Buell, who still survives, and who is the oldest barrister now living in this Province.

Mr. Richards was early identified with the Reform Party in politics, and sympathized with the efforts of that Party in its struggle with Sir Charles Metcalfe on the question of Responsible Government. In 1844 he was nominated as a candidate for the representation of the county of Leeds in the Legislative Assembly, but retired in favour of his maternal uncle, the above-named Mr. William Buell, who was defeated at the ensuing election by the late Mr. Ogle R. Gowan. At the general election in January, 1848, being again solicited, Mr. Richards accepted the Reform nomination, and was elected for the county of Leeds over Mr. Gowan by a majority of sixty, the vote standing—for Richards 984, for Gowan 924. He took his seat as a supporter of the Baldwin-Lafontaine Administration. His support of that Administration was active and zealous, all through that Parliament, and he was pronounced by Mr. Lafontaine to be the most logical thinker and debater who then sat in the Assembly. In 1849 he was chosen a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada. In 1850 he was created a Q.C., and he subsequently received a patent of precedence next after Attorney-General Baldwin. He continued to act with the existing Government until 1851, when both the leaders retired from public life. Upon the formation of the succeeding Government under Messrs. Hincks and Morin, he took office as Attorney-General, and was reëlected for Leeds in 1851 at the general election, increasing his majority over Mr. Gowan to 133; the vote standing—for Richards, 1205; for Gowan, 1,072. He continued to fill the position of Attorney-General until the death of the Hon. Robert Baldwin Sullivan, one of the Puisné Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, in 1853. Mr. Richards was then appointed to the vacant judgeship. Owing to his comparative youth and inexperience, his appointment to the Judicial Bench at this time was the subject of much hostile criticism on the part of his political opponents. This criticism was soon proved to have been wholly without justification. Mr. Richards possesses precisely the qualifications requisite for the exercise of judicial functions, and Mr. Lafontaine's dictum soon found acceptance among the legal profession and the country at large. His career at the Bar was neither brilliant nor pretentious, but his perceptions were remarkably keen, and his judgment singularly mature for his years. On the Bench these qualifications were rendered still more conspicuous, and his decisions have always commanded the highest respect of both Bench and Bar. On the retirement of Sir John Beverley Robinson from the position of Chief Justice of Upper Canada, in 1862, he was succeeded by the Hon. Archibald McLean, who was in turn succeeded by Mr. Draper, leaving the Chief Justiceship of the Court of Common Pleas vacant. Mr. Richards was appointed to that position on the 22nd of July, 1863. When Mr. Draper was appointed President of the Court of Error and Appeal, in 1868, Mr. Richards was promoted to the Chief Justiceship of the Province, which office he held up to the 8th of October, 1875, when he was appointed the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Dominion. This appointment rendered it necessary that he should remove from Toronto—where he had resided for more than a quarter of a century—to Ottawa; a clause in the Act instituting the Supreme Court requiring the judges of that Court to reside within three miles of the capital. During the previous year he had been appointed Arbitrator on behalf of the Province of Ontario for the settlement of the North-Western Boundary; Pg 214 a position which he resigned in 1876. During Lord Dufferin's absence from Ottawa on the occasion of his visit to British Columbia in the year last-named, Chief Justice Richards was Deputy Governor, and administered as such the affairs of State. He again acted in the capacity of Deputy Governor in 1878, when (on the 7th of February) he opened the last session of the Third Parliament of Canada. In the month of October, 1877, he received the honour of knighthood, which was at the same time conferred upon Chief Justice Dorion, of Quebec.

In 1879, during an absence in Europe for the benefit of his health, Chief Justice Richards resigned his position on the Bench of the Supreme Court, and retired to private life. He had served his country in a judicial capacity with marked ability for a consecutive period of twenty-five years, and was fully entitled to rest from his arduous labours.

He married in 1846, Miss Deborah Catherine Muirhead, a daughter of Mr. John Muirhead, of Niagara, a lineal descendant of the celebrated Colonel John Butler, who during the American War of Independence raised and commanded the regiment of “Rangers” which goes by his name. After the war had been brought to a close, a great many of the famous “Butler's Rangers,” whose achievements occupy so large a space in Revolutionary annals, settled on the Niagara peninsula. Mr. Muirhead's grandfather was one of the earliest to arrive, and his descendants are still to be found there in considerable numbers. Mrs. Richards died in 1869, leaving a family of five children, consisting of three sons and two daughters.


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“'Tis in the prime of summer-time, an evening calm and cool,
When certain bright-eyed English boys come bounding out of school.”

The school is at Greenwich, six miles below London Bridge, and is kept by the Reverend Samuel Swinden. Date, some time in the month of June, 1741. The boys are of all ages, from five years upwards, and most of them are sons of military and naval officers resident in the neighbourhood. One of them, a sturdy little urchin of seven years, is a son of the Treasurer of the great Marine Hospital down by the river's bank. He is destined by his father for the legal profession, but has already begun to show his contempt for the law by breaking His Majesty's peace several times in the course of every week. He has been at school only a few months, and hitherto he has not displayed much aptitude for his lessons; but he has distinguished himself in numberless hand-to-hand engagements with his fellow-scholars, and has gained the reputation of being, for a youngster of his inches, tremendously heavy about the fist. On this particular evening the school has been dismissed barely five minutes before the pugnacious little rascal contrives to get into an altercation with a lad several years his senior. As to the precise nature of the casus belli, history and tradition are alike silent. The pair adjourn to a secluded part of the play-ground to settle their differences à la Dogginson, “by fighting it out with their fistes.” The other boys follow, as a matter of course, to see fair play. It is to be regretted that history has not furnished sufficient data to enable us to describe the passage of arms very minutely. Suffice it is to say that after a few rounds have been fought, it becomes apparent to all the spectators that Master Jackey Jervis has at last found his match. His opponent, a great hulking fellow without any forehead, who has arms like sledge-hammers, and who has hitherto found it impossible to learn the multiplication table, takes all Master Jackey's blows with seeming nonchalance, and ever and anon puts in a tremendous rejoinder which stretches the Treasurer's son upon the sward. When the contest has gone on after this fashion for some time the seconds propose that, as there has been a sufficient effusion of blood to vindicate the courage of both the combatants, there may well be a cessation of hostilities. The big fellow stolidly remarks that it is all one to him; but Master Jackey spurns the proposal with lofty contempt. The contest is renewed; another round is fought, and the lighter weight once more bites the grass. Before he can rise to resume the fray, the company receives an accession in the person of a tall, slabsided, awkwardly-made youth, who impetuously elbows the others aside, and makes his way to the centre of the fistic arena. The newcomer is somewhat older than any of thePg 216 other boys, and is apparently verging towards manhood. His appearance is somewhat peculiar. The most partial admirer could hardly pronounce him handsome. Apart from his ungainly build, he has fiery red hair, high, prominent cheek bones, a receding forehead, and a proboscis of the kind which the French call a nose in the air. There is a set, decisive expression about his mouth which betokens an indomitable will; and a flash in his sparkling blue eyes bears witness that he has an ominous temper of his own. But, though his personal appearance is by no means that of an Adonis, the brightness of his complexion and a certain bold frankness of facial expression preserve him from absolute ugliness. Those who know him, moreover, are aware that he possesses qualities which more than redeem his plainness of feature. Though by no means of a robust constitution, he is endowed with unflinching courage. He has a high sense of honour, and is the repository of the secrets of nearly every boy in the school. He is a diligent student, and though somewhat vain of his superior knowledge, is ever ready to assist those of his fellow-pupils who are anxious to learn. Add to all this that he is the senior boy of the school; that, though a stern disciplinarian, he is generous, impartial, and a protector of the weak; and it will readily be understood that he is popular both with master and scholars. Unnecessary to say that there is no more fighting, for the senior boy has forbidden it, and he is not one who tolerates any opposition to his authority. Two minutes suffice to quell the disturbance; and the belligerents shake hands and march off to their respective homes. Little Jackey, however, has been rather severely handled in the encounter, and does not put in an appearance for several days, when the preceptor reads him a lecture before the whole school on the ill effects resulting from little boys permitting their angry passions to rise.

It is to be presumed that the lecture was not taken very seriously to heart, for Master Jervis, during the following seventy years, was many times conspicuous for little ebullitions of temper. He never took kindly to his father's scheme to make a lawyer of him. About three years subsequent to the event just recorded he ran away to sea, and began that glorious maritime career, the details of which form an important chapter in the history of England. For Master Jackey Jervis lived to take part in more deadly encounters than the one in the play-ground at Greenwich, and to take high rank among the naval heroes of Great Britain. After valiantly fighting the battles of his country in both hemispheres, and rising to the rank of Admiral, he achieved that signal victory over the Spanish fleet which procured for him the Earldom of St. Vincent. Nor is the low-browed lad who was his opponent altogether unknown to fame. His name was Thomas Brett, and he lived to do good service in various capacities under Nelson and Collingwood. But the fame of the senior boy—the florid-complexioned youth with the aspiring nose—is more dear to Canadians of British blood than is that of either of his school-fellows; for his name was James Wolfe.

His career was short, and was compressed within a space of less than thirty-four years. It terminated in the moment of victory on the Plains of Abraham. But, brief as was his earthly span, few lives of any length have accomplished so much; and his death was so glorious that it should scarcely have been regretted, even by his nearest and dearest. What he did is known to us. What he might have done, if his life had been spared, can only be conjectured; but he possessed all the qualifications of a great military commander, and needed but time and opportunity for their development. Of these, so long as they were vouchsafed to him, no man knew betterPg 217 how to take advantage; and it is not extravagant to believe that had he lived to the age of Marlborough or Wellington, he would have won a place in history not less distinguished than theirs.

He was born at “the Vicarage,” in the little village of Westerham, Kent, on the 2nd of January, 1726.16 His father, Colonel Edward Wolfe, was an officer in the English army, who subsequently rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General. His mother was Henrietta, daughter of Edward Thompson, of Marsden, Yorkshire. James was their first-born, and was the only member of the family destined to attain high distinction. The only other offspring of the marriage was a younger son called Edward, after his father, who was born about a year after the birth of James, and who did not live to reach manhood. Edward entered the army while still a mere lad, and fought in the battle of Dettingen, on the 16th of June, 1743. He died in October of the following year, of consumption, accelerated by the hardships incidental to a campaigning life.

But little is known of the childhood of the two brothers. Both of them seem to have been of rather frail constitutions, and the precarious state of their health is said to have caused their parents much anxiety. As they grew up to youth, they appear to have become somewhat more healthful, though still far from robust. Their earliest scholastic attainments were received at the hands of a Mr. Lawrence, who kept a small school in their native village. Their father was almost always on active service with his regiment, and the boys saw very little of him. About 1737 the family removed from Westerham to Greenwich, where the children at once began to attend Mr. Swinden's school. The episode described in the opening paragraph is about the only anecdote, which has been preserved of their connection with that institution, and for it we are indebted, not to any life of Wolfe, but to an old history of Greenwich. Early in November, 1741, within five mouths after the happening of the incident above described, Master James received his first commission, appointing him Second Lieutenant in his father's regiment of Marines; but there is no trace of his ever having served under it. He shortly afterwards exchanged into the Line, and his first active service was in the capacity of Ensign of the Twelfth, or Colonel Duroure's Regiment of Foot. The exchange took place early in 1742, and in April of that year he embarked with his regiment for Flanders. The first of his letters which has been preserved is written to his mother from Ghent, and is dated August 27th, 1742. His brother Edward followed him to the Continent during the same year, and died, as we have seen, in October, 1744. James's aptitude for the military profession soon became apparent to his superior officers, and shortly after the completion of his seventeenth year we find him filling the important post of Adjutant. He, as well as his brother, took part in the battle of Dettingen, on the 16th of June, and, though they were placed in the middle of the first line, they both escaped without a scar. A few days afterwards, James, in consequence of the talent for command which he had already displayed, was promoted to a lieutenancy, and on the 3rd of June, 1744, he received a captain's commission in the Fourth or King's Regiment of Foot, commanded by Lieutenant-General Barrell. His life for somePg 218 months thereafter was one of uninterrupted campaigning, but it contained no incident necessary to be remarked upon. Next year, Great Britain was compelled to withdraw her forces from Flanders in order to suppress the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland, known as the “Rising of the Forty-Five.” Early in June, Wolfe was commissioned a Brigade-Major, and almost immediately afterward he returned to England. He was at once despatched northward to Newcastle, and fought at Falkirk and Culloden, in both of which engagements his regiment suffered severely, though he himself escaped unwounded.

The Anti-Jacobin Review for 1802 contains an anecdote which, though probably apocryphal, may as well be inserted here. It is said that when Wolfe was riding over the field of Culloden with the Duke of Cumberland they observed a Highlander, who, although severely wounded, was able to sit up, and who, leaning on his arm, seemed to smile defiance upon them. “Wolfe,” said the Duke, “shoot me that Highland scoundrel, who thus dares to look on us with such insolence.” To which Wolfe replied: “My commission is at your Royal Highness's disposal, but I can never consent to become an executioner.” From this day forward, it is said, Wolfe visibly declined in the favour of the Commander-in-Chief. It is manifestly impossible to disprove such a story as this; but it is an undoubted fact that Wolfe did not decline in the Duke's favour after the battle of Culloden, and as no authorities are cited in support of the anecdote, it is not unreasonable to infer that the whole is fictitious. For some months after the “dark day of Culloden,” Wolfe remained in the Highlands, but we have no information as to how he spent his time there. He passed a part of the following winter in London, where he took up his quarters with his parents, who then lived in their town house in Old Burlington street. During his stay in the metropolis at this time he must frequently have passed through Temple Bar. If so, he doubtless had the grim satisfaction of seeing the heads of some of his former opponents, the Highland rebels, grinning at passers-by from the spikes over the gateway.

In January, 1747, he again set out for the Continent with the British reinforcements for the Netherlands. At the battle of Laffeldt, fought on the 2nd of July, he received a slight wound, and was publicly thanked by the Commander-in-Chief for his distinguished services. We do not find that he took part in any other active engagement at this time, and we hear no more of his wound. We next find him in London, where he seems to have spent the greater part of the winter of 1747-8. The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed soon after, whereby peace was restored to Europe.

About this time Wolfe had his first experience of the tender passion, the object being Miss Lawson, one of the maids of honour to the Princess of Wales. His suit, however, was disapproved of by his parents, and does not appear to have been particularly acceptable to the young lady herself, for, after a good deal of delay, she rejected his offer of his hand. She died unmarried in March, 1759—the same year which witnessed the death of her former admirer. Wolfe was not precisely the kind of material of which despairing lovers are made, and, beyond a few expressions of regret, he does not seem to have taken the rejection very deeply to heart. On the 5th of January, 1749, he was gazetted as Major of the 20th Regiment, stationed in Scotland, whither he repaired soon after. His promotion to a Lieutenant-Colonelcy in the same regiment followed fifteen months later, and the next three years were for the most part spent with his regiment in the Highlands, which were gradually recovering fromPg 219 the effects of the rebellion. Then came a journey to Paris, where he remained several months, and where he was presented to the King, Louis XV., and to Madame de Pompadour. The following two or three years of his life were not marked by any incident of special importance.

In 1757, in consequence of the recommencement of hostilities with France, British forces, under Sir John Mordaunt, were despatched to attack Rochefort, and Wolfe accompanied the expedition as Quartermaster-General. This expedition was destined to exercise an important influence upon his future career. He had hitherto been known simply as a brave and efficient officer, but it was not commonly supposed, even by his intimate friends, that he was endowed with an original military genius of high order. The time had arrived when the world was to form a more accurate estimate of him. Sir John Mordaunt, who was placed in command of the land forces for the Rochefort expedition, was totally unfit for so responsible a post. Sir Edward Hawke, who commanded the fleet, did good service both before and after that time; but this expedition was one for which he does not appear to have been suited. The incapacity of both the commanders soon began to be plainly apparent; and Wolfe, a soldier by nature as well as by training, determined to show them how the siege of Rochefort should be conducted. While they were wasting time in laying and abandoning immature plans, and in suggesting this, that and the other impracticable scheme, he, with Sir John's sanction, quietly landed on the island at one o'clock in the morning, and made his observations. He saw a small post on the promontory of Fouras, which it was evident must be taken before Rochefort could be besieged with success. He further noted the most favourable point for landing the troops. Having matured his scheme, he returned and made his report to Sir John and Sir Edward, and urgently recommended that his suggestions be acted upon. Sir Edward approved of the plan, but Sir John thought proper to call a Council of War, which, after a long session, decided that such an attempt was neither advisable nor practicable. The lucky moment was lost, and the expedition returned to England without having accomplished anything. The English people had confidently counted on the success of the expedition, and were proportionately disappointed. A committee of inquiry was summoned, and Sir John Mordaunt was tried by court-martial. He was acquitted; but Pitt, who was at the head of the Government, after carefully mastering the evidence given by Wolfe, came to the conclusion that the Quartermaster was an extraordinary young man, and that if his advice had been followed there would have been a very different result from the expedition. The youth who had the intrepidity to take the initiatory observations, and who had the military skill to concoct the plan of attack, was evidently a person whose services it might be worth while to turn to account. At no period in the history of England had there been a greater scarcity of capable military leaders, and not often had capable leaders been more urgently needed. This young Wolfe was evidently an original military genius, and must be pushed forward. He was immediately raised to the rank of Colonel, and was soon to receive still higher promotion.

The incompetency of the superior officers in the British army had of late become painfully manifest on both sides of the Atlantic. The American campaign of 1757 was even more disastrous than were the British operations in Europe. Lord Loudoun, who had been despatched to America in the preceding year, to direct the campaign against the French, had accomplished nothing; and the enemy, under Montcalm, werePg 220 uniformly successful in their operations. In August occurred the terrible massacre at Fort William Henry. Other massacres followed, and the colonists were literally panic-stricken. The border settlements were laid waste, the houses and property of the inhabitants destroyed, and the colonists themselves scalped and murdered by the French and their Indian allies. French spies gained early intelligence of every movement contemplated by the British, and were thus, in many cases, the means of rendering those movements abortive. The grand British scheme of the year, however, was the reduction of Louisburg, in furtherance of which an armament such as had never before been collected in the British Colonies assembled at Halifax. This armament consisted of about 12,000 troops, nineteen vessels of war, and a considerable number of smaller craft. The troops were embarked early in August, with the ostensible object of capturing Louisburg; but Lord Loudoun, learning that the French anticipated the attack, and were prepared to oppose it, abandoned the idea. He landed a part of the forces on the coast of Nova Scotia, and returned with the rest to New York. A fleet specially sent out from Great Britain, under the command of Admiral Holborne, sailed for Cape Breton about the same time; but the sight of the French ships in Louisburg harbour proved too much for the Admiral's nerves, and he steered for Halifax. Here he was reinforced by four men-of-war, and the fleet again set sail for Louisburg. The French fleet remained under the shelter of the batteries in the harbour, and would not be coaxed out. Holborne cruised about the coast until late in the autumn, when his fleet was dispersed and almost destroyed by a succession of violent storms. Considering that, under the circumstances, he had done enough for his country for that time, he returned to England with the shattered remains of his fleet.

Such was the position of affairs at the close of the year 1757. Public indignation was aroused by the incompetency and supineness of the military and naval commanders, and it became apparent either that more efficient leaders must be found or that all operations in America must be abandoned. The new Ministry, with Pitt at its head, proved equal to the occasion. Lord Loudoun was recalled and General Abercromby appointed in his stead. The Great Commoner formed his plans for next year's campaign, which included the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Louisburg, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point. The expedition against Louisburg required a conjoint naval and military armament. The naval command was assigned to Admiral Boscawen, and the military forces to Colonel Amherst, who advanced to the rank of Major-General. With the latter was associated Wolfe, Whitmore, and Lawrence, as Brigadier-Generals. Operations against Crown Point and Ticonderoga were entrusted to General Abercromby and Lord Howe. Those against Fort Duquesne were conducted by General Forbes. The expedition against Fort Duquesne was completely successful, but Abercromby proved himself as inefficient as his predecessor in office, Lord Loudoun. Howe, who was a thoroughly capable officer, was killed at Ticonderoga on the 6th of July, before his powers could be brought into play. The expedition under Abercromby proved an utter failure. Not so the expedition against Louisburg, the capture of which was the most important event of the year. Being regarded as the key to the St. Lawrence, it was a strongly fortified place. A fortress had been erected there at a cost of 30,000,000 livres. The garrison was defended by Chevalier de Drucourt, with 3,100 troops and about 700 Indians; while two frigates and six line-of-battle ships guarded the harbour, the entrance to which was blocked by three sunken frigates. Pg 221 Boscawen's fleet crossed the Atlantic, and in due course laid siege to Louisburg. Wolfe led the left division of attack, which may be said to have borne the brunt of the entire siege. A landing was effected on the 8th of June, and during the following seven weeks the operations were almost entirely conducted by Wolfe, to whose skill and judgment their success is mainly to be attributed. The garrison surrendered on the 26th of July, and, together with sailors and marines, amounting collectively to 5,637 men, were carried to England as prisoners of war. Fifteen thousand stand of arms and a great quantity of military stores became the property of the victors; and a glorious array of captured colours were sent to England, where they were carried in solemn procession through the principal thoroughfares, and finally placed in St. Paul's Cathedral. The town of Louisburg was reduced to a heap of ruins. The inhabitants were sent to France in English ships, and the fortifications were soon after demolished. A few fishermen's huts are all the dwellings to be found on the site at the present day.

From the moment when the news of the fall of Louisburg reached England, the eyes of the entire nation were turned upon Pitt and Wolfe, who jointly shared the popular enthusiasm. The lustre of the British arms—tarnished by so many reverses—began to shine with restored brilliancy, and the nation rose almost as one man to do honour to the brave young officer whose prowess and courage had been so signally displayed in its behalf. He returned to England towards the close of the year, and at once rejoined his regiment. His health had suffered a good deal during the campaign in America, but this did not prevent his offering his services to Pitt for the forthcoming campaign in the St. Lawrence. His offer was accepted, and he was rewarded with the rank of Major-General. To him was assigned the command of the land forces; the naval armament being entrusted to Admiral Saunders.

Before starting on this, his final expedition, he became a suitor to Miss Katherine Lowther, sister to Sir James Lowther, afterwards Earl of Lonsdale. Her father had formerly been Governor of Barbadoes, and died in 1745. We have no means of ascertaining when Wolfe first formed the acquaintance of this lady, but there is no allusion to her in any of his letters written previous to this time, and it is probable that until his return from America there had been no love passages between them. His courtship in this instance was successful. What young lady of generous impulses would be likely to refuse the hand of the brave hero of Louisburg, whose praises were in everybody's mouth, and who was the favourite of the greatest statesman that ever swayed the destinies of Great Britain? His suit was accepted, and he carried the lady's portrait with him across the seas, wearing it next his heart until the evening before his death.

Having got together a staff of officers to his liking, he embarked at Spithead on the 17th of February, 1759, and reached Halifax on the 30th of April following. Louisburg harbour was not clear of ice until about the middle of May, when the fleet sailed thither. During his stay at Louisburg Wolfe received intelligence of the death of his father, who died at Blackheath on the 26th of March, in the 75th year of his age. The fleet left Louisburg early in June, and proceeded to the St. Lawrence. Wolfe, in due course, landed on the Isle of Orleans, just below Quebec, where the troops, to the number of 8,000, were landed without opposition, on the morning of the 27th of June. Having seen his army encamped, Wolfe set out, accompanied by his Chief Engineer and an escort, to reconnoitre the enemy's position. Upon reaching the western point of the island, he was not long in perceiving thatPg 222 Quebec would not full without a struggle. The prospect, sufficiently grand at any time, was rendered more than ordinarily impressive by the warlike preparations to be seen on every hand. In front, on the summit of Cape Diamond, rose the lofty citadel, with the flag of France fluttering in the breeze. Above, all the way to Cape Rouge, every landing-place bristled with well-guarded encampments. Below, on the elevated range extending from the mouth of the River St. Charles to the mouth of the Montmorenci—a distance of eight miles—was a still more imposing array. Every assailable point was efficiently guarded by a redoubt. A bridge, protected by têtes de pont, spanned the St. Charles, and formed a ready means of communication between the garrison and the troops on the opposite side of the river. The mouth of the stream, just below the citadel, was closed by a boom, and was further defended by stranded frigates. The natural advantages of the situation had been enhanced by the highest military skill, and there was not a vulnerable point to be seen anywhere. The enemy's forces, 12,000 strong, composed of French regulars, Canadian militia, and a few Indians, were under the direction of the Marquis de Montcalm, one of the most consummate generals of the age. The position was one which might well have been pronounced impregnable, and Wolfe could hardly have been censured if he had then and there abandoned all hope of success.

But there are some men whom no difficulties can discourage, and whom no danger can daunt. Such a man was the intrepid young Major-General who had been sent out by Pitt to sound the death-note of French Dominion in Canada. With a shattered constitution, and a frame already in an advanced stage of consumption, the indomitable young hero commenced the first moves in that desperate game which he was finally destined to win at the cost of his own life. The siege lasted nearly three months, during all of which time, consumed by organic disease, and worn out by long and uninterrupted service, his dauntless resolution never wholly failed him. For weeks and weeks his eagle eye, ever on the alert to spy out a vulnerable point in that seemingly immaculate coat-of-mail, scanned the redoubts from Cape Rouge to the Montmorenci. There was no fool-hardiness—no wilful throwing away of life—but there was much to be dared, and much to be left to mere chance. Whenever there seemed to be any, even the slightest prospect of effecting an opening, that chance was greedily seized and eagerly acted upon. Contemplated in the light of the grand result, we are lost in amazement at the indomitable soul of that frail young invalid who, undismayed by repeated defeat, by conflicting counsels, and by the effect of continued exposure upon his enfeebled frame, steadfastly persevered in his course until the goal was won. For British dominion in Canada was established not by bravery alone. Montcalm's veteran troops were as brave as those to which they were opposed. Quebec was won by patience, by unceasing vigilance, by military skill, and by an inward conviction in the breast of the English commander that “All things are possible to him who will but do his duty, and who knoweth not when he is beaten.” The time was one which called for action, and no time was lost in useless deliberation. Wolfe's plan of attack was soon formed, and he at once proceeded to carry it out. The soldiers were directed to hold themselves in readiness either to march or fight at the shortest notice. A little before midnight on the 28th—about thirty hours after the forces had been landed—the sentinel on the western point of the island perceived certain black objects in the river which were slowly moving towards the land where he stood. He had no sooner aroused his companions than a tremendous discharge of artilleryPg 223 took place. The force immediately turned out and prepared for battle, but no enemy being visible, it was necessary to wait for daylight. It then appeared that the French commander had despatched eight fire-ships and rafts, freighted with explosives, towards the British fleet in the river. These explosives had been launched from the shore in the darkness, but had been lighted prematurely, and failed to accomplish anything beyond a grand display of fireworks. Wolfe proceeded with his plans, and on the 30th he issued a proclamation to the inhabitants, calling upon them to transfer their allegiance, and enjoining upon them that they should at least preserve a strict neutrality. Monckton, one of Wolfe's Brigadier-General, then crossed over the arm of the river with a strong detachment, took possession of Point Levi, threw up entrenchments, and planted batteries along the southern shore. In effecting this manœuvre a body of 1,200 Canadians were dislodged and repulsed, and the British gained an advantageous position for attacking the citadel. Monckton held the position in spite of all Montcalm's efforts to dislodge him, and on the 13th of July the batteries opened fire from here upon the citadel. The fleet in the river also opened fire upon the French lines on the northern shore, between Quebec and the Falls of Montmorenci, and under cover of the fire Wolfe landed on the eastern bank of the Montmorenci River, and entrenched his position there. The shells from the batteries at Point Levi set fire to the Upper Town of Quebec, whereby the great Cathedral and many other buildings were destroyed. Hostilities were renewed day by day, and there was great destruction both of property and of human life; but after weeks of toilsome operations the capture of Quebec seemed as far off as when the British fleet first arrived in the St. Lawrence. On the night of the 28th of July, the French made a second attempt to destroy the English fleet with fire-rafts, but the sailors grappled the rafts before they could reach the fleet, and quietly towed them ashore.

Meanwhile, Wolfe's efforts to decoy Montcalm into emerging from his fastnesses and entering into a general engagement were unceasing; but the French General was not to be tempted. Several British men-of-war sailed up the St. Lawrence, past the city, and got into the upper river. Wolfe was thus enabled to reconnoitre the country above, the bombardment of the citadel being kept up almost without intermission. On the 31st, Wolfe, from his camp near the mouth of the Montmorenci, made a formidable attack upon the French on the other side of the (Montmorenci) River, near Beauport. The attack was unsuccessful, and the British were compelled to retire with considerable loss. Attempts to dislodge the French were made at all points along the river; but owing to their advantageous position all such attempts were fruitless, and as the weeks passed by without securing any decisive advantage to his arms, Wolfe's anxiety became so great as to bring on a slow fever, which for some days confined him to his bed. As soon as he was able to drag himself thence he called his chief officers together and submitted to them several new methods of attack. Most of the officers were of opinion that the attack should be made above the city, rather than below. Wolfe coincided in this view, and on the 3rd of September transferred his own camp to Point Levi. Soon afterwards a narrow path, scarcely wide enough for two men to march abreast, was discovered on the north bank of the St. Lawrence, leading up the cliffs, about two miles above the city. The spot was known as L'Anse du Foulon, but has since been known by the English name of Wolfe's Cove. Wolfe determined to land his forces here, and under cover of night to ascend to the heights above. The heights once reached, it was probable that MontcalmPg 224 might hazard a battle. Should he decline to do so, the British troops would at any rate have gained an advantageous point for a fresh attack upon the citadel.

Having determined upon this line of proceeding, preparations were at once set on foot for carrying it out. An important point was to keep the French in ignorance of the design, and if possible to mislead them as to the spot where it was proposed to make the attack. With this view, soundings were made in the river opposite Beauport, between the mouth of the St. Charles and the Falls of Montmorenci, as though with the intention of effecting a landing there. The ruse was successful, and Montcalm's attention was directed to this spot as the probable point which he would soon have to defend. He hurried down to the entrenchments at Beauport, and made preparations to oppose the British in their anticipated attempt to land.

On the evening of the 12th of September several of the heaviest vessels of the British fleet anchored near Beauport. Boats were lowered, and were soon filled with men, as though it were intended to effect a landing forthwith. Montcalm's attention having been thus concentrated upon this point, the smaller vessels sailed up the river past Cape Diamond, and joined the squadron under Admiral Holmes, which lay near Cape Rouge. The forces on the south bank of the St. Lawrence simultaneously advanced up the shore from Point Levi, and having arrived opposite the squadron, were quietly taken on board, where they awaited further orders. Wolfe, with the germs of a hectic fever still rankling in his blood, was nevertheless actively engaged in reconnoitring the position both on the river and on land. And now we again meet for a few moments with our old friend, Mr. John Jervis. Eighteen years have passed over his head since we last saw him in the play-ground at Greenwich. He is now commander of the Porcupine, one of the sloops of war in the St. Lawrence. A few weeks before this time he had rendered an essential service to his old school-fellow, James Wolfe. One of the General's passages up the river had been made in the Porcupine, and in passing the batteries of the Lower Town of Quebec, the wind had died away, and the vessel had been driven by the current towards the northern shore. A cannonade was at once opened upon the vessel from the French batteries, and Wolfe would soon have been in the hands of the enemy. Jervis proved equal to the occasion. His word of command rang out to lower the ship's boats. The command was at once obeyed, and the crew soon towed the Porcupine out of danger. The memory of this event may perhaps have had something to do with Wolfe's conduct towards his old friend on the evening of this 12th of September. The General sent for young Jervis, and had a conversation with him upon various private matters. He expressed his conviction that he would not survive the impending battle, and taking Miss Lowther's picture from his bosom, he delivered it to Jervis. “If I fall,” he said, “let it be given to her with my best love.” Jervis, of course, promised compliance, and the somewhile pupils of Mr. Swinden bade each other a last farewell.

The hours intervening between this conference and midnight were chiefly spent by the General in adding a codicil to his will, and in making a final inspection of arrangements for the proposed landing at L'Anse du Foulon. By this time all his preparations for the coming struggle had been made, and he awaited the march of events with composure. The night was calm and beautiful, and as he passed from ship to ship he commented to the officers on the contrast between the quietness which reigned supreme, and the resonant roar of battle which would almost certainly be heard there on the morrow. As he quietly moved aboutPg 225 he was heard repeating in a low tone several stanzas of Gray's “Elegy.” One of these stanzas he repeated several times:

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

The occasion was a solemn one, and he doubtless felt that, for him, the last line had a special significance at that time. Who shall say what other thoughts filled his breast on that last evening of his life? Perchance he thought of his mother, of his dead father and brother, and of her who was pledged to share his name and fame. Let us hope that, in that solemn hour, with the forebodings of his coming doom strong upon him, he was able to look back upon his life with a consciousness that he had served his God with at least some measure of the zeal which he had ever been wont to display in the service of his country. He continued to repeat the beautiful lines of the poet, down to the concluding words of the epitaph. Then after a brief pause, turning to his officers:—“Gentlemen,” he said, “I would rather be the author of that piece than take Quebec tomorrow.” 17

But not much time could be given to sentiment. A little after midnight Wolfe embarked a strong detachment of forces in flat-bottomed boats, and, placing himself at their head, quietly glided down the river to L'Anse du Foulon. The spot was soon reached, and the landing was effected in safety. The cliff here rises almost perpendicularly to a height of 350 feet, and one of the soldiers was heard to remark that going up there would be like going up the side of a house. No time was lost, and the ascent of the ravine was at once begun. The enemy had a line of sentinels all along the top of the cliff, and one of the sentries was stationed at the precise spot where the British would emerge on the summit. When those who were in the van of ascent had reached a point about half way up the acclivity, the sentry's attention was aroused by the noise of scrambling that was necessarily made by the British soldiers. Calling “Qui rive?” down the cliff, he was answered in French, and, suspecting nothing amiss, he proceeded on his rounds. Meanwhile the British had not waited to ascend two abreast, but were scrambling up as best they could. Seizing hold of bushes, roots, and projections of rock, they rapidly scaled the steep sides of the cliff, and were soon within a few yards of the top. About a hundred of them made the ascent at a point a few yards farther east than the ravine, and directly above their heads was a sentry-post with five or six French soldiers, who, hearing the noise, began to peer down the side of the cliff. Darkness prevented their seeing much, but the roots and bushes seemed all alive, and firing a volley down at random, they took to their heels and fled. The British vigorously pushed their way up, and were soon on level ground. Long before daylight 4,828 British troops stood upon the Heights of Abraham, commanding the city from the west. One solitary cannon had been toilsomely dragged up the ravine. It was destined to do good service against the French troops, and to carry a message of death to their commander, ere many hours had passed.

The decisive moment was at hand. By this time Wolfe felt certain that the French General would now emerge from his entrenchments and fight. His convictionPg 226 proved to be well founded. About six o'clock in the morning, Montcalm, who had been vigilantly watching during the night for an attack at Beauport, received the intelligence of Wolfe's manœuvre. Hastening across the St. Charles, he hurried along past the northern ramparts of Quebec, and advanced to do battle. His forces consisted of 7,520 troops, besides 400 Indians. In addition to these, he had a force of about 1,500 men farther up the river, near Cape Rouge, under M. de Bougainville. Messengers were despatched to this officer directing him to hasten to the scene of action and attack the British in their rear.

The battle began early in the forenoon, when Montcalm's artillery opened fire upon the British. His force, independently of that under M. de Bougainville, being nearly double that of the British, he hoped to turn his numerical superiority to account by outflanking the enemy's left, and crowding them towards the bank, when he would oppose them to the front and to the north, while M. de Bougainville would sweep down upon their rear. M. de Bougainville, however, was slow in arriving, and Montcalm's attack on the north and east was opposed by the British with such determination that he was compelled to draw back. Then, remustering his troops, he returned to the charge. This was the decisive moment. The British, by Wolfe's command, threw themselves on the ground, and though the hot fire of the approaching Frenchmen did terrible execution among them, not a shot was fired in return. On came the foe, until they had advanced to within forty yards of the British. Then Wolfe's voice was suddenly heard above the din of battle like the note of a clarion. Responsive to his call, the troops rose as one man and poured in a volley so deadly as to strike even the well-trained veterans of France with awe. Scores of them fell to rise no more, and hundreds sank wounded on the plain. Such of the terrified Canadian troops as were able to run, fled in sheer terror. Before the smoke of that terrible volley had cleared away, Wolfe, his delicate frame trembling with illness, but buoyed up with the assurance of a glorious victory, placed himself at the head of the Louisburg Grenadiers and the 28th Regiment, and led them to the fray. Wrapping a handkerchief round his left wrist, which had just been shattered by a bullet, he continued to advance at the head of his men, inspiriting them alike by his acts and his deeds. He gave the word to “Charge,” and the word had scarcely passed his lips when he received a bullet in the groin. Staggering under the shock, he yet continued to advance, though unable to speak above his breath. The battle had not yet raged more than fifteen minutes, but it was even now virtually decided. The French troops were utterly disorganized, and fled in all directions. Montcalm, brave to rashness, rode along the broken ranks, and vainly tried to reform them. As he continued to harangue them, exposing himself to the enemy's fire with utter indifference to his own safety, he was struck by a shot from the solitary gun which the British had been able to drag up the heights. He fell, mortally wounded; and from that moment there can no longer be said to have been any fighting. It was a fierce pursuit on the one side and a frantic flight on the other.

Less than three minutes before Montcalm's fall, Wolfe had received a third bullet wound—this time in the left breast. He leant upon the arm of the nearest officer, saying, “Support me—do not let my brave fellows see me fall. The day is ours—keep it.” He was at once carried to the rear. Hearing some one giving directions to fetch a surgeon, he murmured, “It is useless—all is over with me.” As his life ebbed away he heard a voice exclaimPg 227 “They run, they run!” The words inspired him with temporary animation. Slightly raising his head, he asked, “Who—who run?” “The enemy, sir,” was the reply; “they give way everywhere.” Summoning his fast-fleeting strength, he rejoined, “Go, one of you, to Colonel Burton. Tell him to march Webb's regiment with all speed down to Charles River to cut off the retreat.” His head then sank, and turning slightly on one side, as in a heavy sleep, he was heard to murmur, “Now, God be praised, I die in peace.”

And thus died all that was mortal of James Wolfe. 18

Everybody knows the rest of the story; how M. de Bougainville appeared on the field too late to be of any service; how, seeing what had befallen, he retreated again to Cape Rouge; how the Marquis de Vaudreuil, the Governor, and his 1,500 Canadians deserted the lines below Quebec, and made what haste they could to Montreal; how the beleaguered garrison, reduced by famine and slaughter, capitulated on the fifth day after the battle; how a year afterwards Canada was surrendered to the British Crown; and how the surrender was ratified by the Treaty of Paris on the 10th of February, 1763.

And Montcalm, he had his wish, expressed shortly after he received his death-wound, and did not live to see the surrender of the city which he had defended so bravely. The story of his life and death will be told at length in a future sketch. At present it is sufficient to say that he died on the day following the battle, and that he was buried within the precincts of the Ursuline Convent, on Garden street, Quebec.

The British loss on the Plains of Abraham consisted of 59 killed and 597 wounded. The French loss was much greater, amounting to about 600 killed and more than 1,000 wounded and taken prisoners. The death-roll seems wonderfully small when compared with the carnage on many fields famous in history; but, judged by its results and all the attendant circumstances, the battle may very properly be numbered among the decisive conflicts of the world.

When intelligence of the death of Wolfe and the fall of Quebec reached England, the enthusiasm of the people rose to a height which may almost be described as delirious. The effect was much heightened by the fact that such good news was wholly unexpected; for only three days before, despatches had arrived from Wolfe wherein it did not appear that he was by any means sanguine of success. Bonfires blazed from one end of the kingdom to the other, and the streets of the metropolis were redolent of marrow-bones and cleavers. Persons who had never seen each other before shook hands, and in some cases even embraced one another, when they met on the streets. The coffee-houses were thronged with hysteric orators who held forth about the days of chivalry having come back again. Sermons about the sword of the Lord and of Gideon were heard in churches and chapels throughout the land. While all these things were passing in nearly every city, town, and important village in the kingdom, one spot remained unillumined. That spot was Blackheath, where the hero's mother mourned the loss of her only child—the child to whom, notwithstanding his delicate health, she had tried to look forward as the stay of her declining years. The neighbours, one and all, of whatsoever degree, respected her great sorrow, and forborePg 228 to take part in the general rejoicings. We can fancy, too, that there was mourning and desolation at Raby Castle, the home of the beautiful Miss Lowther.19 A month later this lady wrote to one of her friends as follows, concerning Mrs. Wolfe: “I feel for her more than words can say, and should, if it was given me to alleviate her grief, gladly exert every power which nature or compassion has bestowed; yet I feel we are the last people in the world who ought to meet.”

Wolfe's body was embalmed and conveyed to England, where, on the 20th of November, it was deposited beside that of his father in the family vault, beneath the parish church of Greenwich. An immense concourse of people assembled to do honour to the dead hero's remains. On the day after the funeral, Pitt rose in the House of Commons and proposed an address to the King, praying that a monument might be erected in Westminster Abbey to the memory of the Conqueror of Quebec. The prayer was assented to, and a committee appointed to carry out the details. The sculpture occupied thirteen years, and the ceremony of unveiling did not take place until the 4th of October, 1773. The monument is of white marble, and stands in the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, facing the ambulatory. The sculpture is very fine, and embodies various emblematic scenes in Wolfe's life. The inscription runs as follows:


















A monument was also erected to Wolfe's memory in the parish church of Westerham, the village where he was born; and other memorials are to be found in Squerries Park and at Stowe. In the year 1832, Lord Aylmer, Governor-General of Canada, erected a small pillar on the Plains of Abraham, on the exact spot where Wolfe is believed to have breathed his last. The railing around it being insufficient for its protection, it was erelong defaced by sacrilegious hands. In 1849 it was removed, and a more suitable memorial set up in its stead. The cost of the latter was chiefly defrayed by British troops stationed in the Province. The inscription upon it is as follows:




Sir Francis Hincks
Sir Francis Hincks.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by Notman & Fraser


Pg 229


Sir Francis Hincks forms almost the last—if not absolutely the last—living tie which connects us of the Upper Province with the old ante-Union days. When his life shall be brought to a close—an event which we trust may be far distant—he will leave behind him no one who took an equally conspicuous part in public affairs at so early a period of our history. Nearly fifty years have elapsed since he first began to figure in our annals, and his career ever since, both in Canada and elsewhere, has been a busy one. Indeed his whole life, embracing up to the present time a period of nearly seventy-three years, may be said to have been a busy one. Even since his retirement from political life, after the fall of Sir John Macdonald's Government in 1873, his restless mental activity has prevented him from enjoying the repose which his long services justly entitled him to take. Repose, indeed, has always been repugnant to his nature and his retirement made no change in this respect. Though withdrawn from official participation in political life, he has continued to contemplate public affairs with a keen and watchful eye. He has engaged in journalistic and other commercial enterprises, but these have engrossed only a small share of his superabundant energy, and he has from time to time found ample leisure to deliver himself on important questions, both through the public press and from the lecture platform. In the course of his long life he has made some warm friends and a good many bitter enemies, but the bitterest of the latter will not deny that he has fully earned the rest due to a long and not unproductive career.

No man whose name figures in Canadian history has been more unfortunate in his biographers than Sir Francis Hincks. No fewer than seventeen different sketches of his life are lying before us while we write. They have evidently been written by persons of the most diverse shades of political opinion, and of the most various degrees of literary capacity. It is not surprising that there should be conflicting opinions as to some episodes in Sir Francis's public career, but it is not a little remarkable that there should be wide divergences as to such easily ascertainable matters as the date of his birth, the date of his first marriage, and the term of his Governorship of the Windward Islands. The errors wherewith many of these sketches are thickly strewn are the less excusable inasmuch as Sir Francis is one of the most approachable of mankind, always ready and willing to supply information about himself and other matters of public interest to any one having reasonable grounds for inquiry. It is proper to mention in this place that most of the dates embodied in the following memoir have been obtained from trustworthy sources, and that wherever they vary from those given inPg 230 sketches previously published their accuracy may he implicitly depended upon.

Sir Francis Hincks is descended from an old Cheshire family, the head of which seems to have been a considerable landed proprietor as far back as the days of the Tudors. Towards the close of the seventeenth century we find one branch of the family established in business, and in high commercial standing, in the historic old city of Chester. Fifty years later, owing to unsuccessful ventures in the Turkish trade, the business declined somewhat in importance, but continued to be conducted with some degree of vigour until about 1760, after which we find no trace of its existence. The grandfather of Sir Francis was a member of the firm by which the business was carried on. Soon after the accession of King George III.—probably in 1763 or 1764—this gentleman received an appointment in the Irish Customs, which rendered it necessary that he should forsake the land of his birth, and take up his abode in Ireland. Leaving behind him the picturesque old walls and hallowed associations of his native city, he betook himself to Dublin, where, in 1766, we find him married and settled down in comfortable circumstances. Among the children born to him was one who was afterwards widely known in Ireland as the Reverend Dr. T. D. Hincks, father of Sir Francis. Dr. Hincks, who survived until the year 1857, was a highly distinguished scholar. He was a minister of the Irish Presbyterian Church, and was for many years Head Classical Master and Professor of Oriental Languages in the Royal Academical Institution of Belfast. He enjoyed much local celebrity as an authority on Irish history and archæology. He had five sons, the eldest of whom, the Reverend Dr. Edward Hincks, achieved a still higher scholastic reputation than his father, and was known as one of the first Orientalists in Great Britain. The second son, the Reverend William Hincks, was also a man of high attainments. His name is known to Canadians through his connection with University College, Toronto, in which institution he held the position of Professor of Natural History from 1853 down to the time of his death, at an advanced age, in 1871. Thomas, another son, also entered the church, and has had a highly useful and honourable ecclesiastical career. He has for many years been Archdeacon of Connor, Ireland, and though now in his eighty-fifth year still retains a large measure of physical and intellectual vigour, and preaches regularly to his congregation. The Rev. John Hincks, the only son of the Archdeacon, now resides in Ontario, and occupies the position of Rector of Galt, in the county of Waterloo.

The only other son of whom it is necessary to take present account was the subject of this memoir, who was the youngest of the five, and who was born at Cork, on the 14th of December, 1807. He received a primary education at the Fermoy classical school—an establishment of high repute in the south of Ireland in those days—where his father then occupied the position of Principal. From this establishment he passed to the Royal Belfast Institution, where he went through the regular classical curriculum. His attendance at this seat of learning extended over several years, and did not cease until the close of the session of 1823-4. Having finished his collegiate course, it was deemed expedient that his future career should be determined upon. Various circumstances contributed to influence his mind in favour of commercial pursuits. Belfast was, even in those days, a town of considerable commercial importance, and many of the embryo statesman's young school-fellows and companions were the sons of prosperous merchants who had realized large fortunes in trade. Some of these school-fellows were themselves destined for commercial life. It seems probable that hisPg 231 associations at this period had much to do with leading young Francis Hincks to form a strong predilection for commerce. His father and eldest brother were both rather averse to this predilection. They would have vastly preferred to see him follow their own example, and devote himself to scholastic pursuits. No attempt was made, however, to coerce him in his choice of a future career. On the contrary, Dr. Hincks, when he saw the bent of his son's mind, ceased to oppose his inclinations, even with advice. He paid the premium of a hundred pounds with a good grace, and on the 1st of November, 1824, saw his son duly installed as an articled clerk, for a term of five years, in the mercantile establishment of Messrs. John Martin & Co., of Belfast. Here the young man spent the full term of his articles, at the expiration of which period he for the first time crossed the Atlantic. In previous sketches of his career, it has been the fashion to represent him as having made a voyage to the West Indies in furtherance of the business of Messrs. John Martin & Co. This is an error, as Mr. Hincks's connection with that firm had ceased before he set out for the West Indies. His old employers, however, had business relations with Barbadoes, Demerara, and Trinidad, and one of their ships—the Anne Comer—being about to sail early in 1830, he took passage in her. He at this time contemplated life from a commercial point of view, and was ready to avail himself of any opportunity of advancing his prospects which might come in his way; but his first western voyage was undertaken with no definite object in view beyond a desire for change and relaxation. Being supplied with letters of introduction to leading mercantile houses at the different points which he contemplated visiting, he set sail during the first week in February, and in due course reached Barbadoes, where he remained only a few days, and saw nothing to induce him to prolong his stay. If he could have looked into the future, and could have seen himself rather more than a quarter of a century later, landing at the same spot, he would doubtless have been impressed and bewildered by the contrast in his surroundings. In March, 1830, he stepped ashore at Barbadoes as a young and friendless adventurer, “lord of his presence and no realm beside.” No one looked at him. No one had ever heard his name. In January, 1856, he landed there once more. This, time, however, it was not as an unknown and a friendless adventurer, but as a man upon whom the world has set its approving mark of success. He stepped ashore amid the roar of artillery, and the enthusiastic huzzas of the inhabitants, as the honoured representative of his Sovereign.

When the Anne Comer resumed her voyage the young man accompanied her successively to Demerara and Trinidad. When the vessel started on her return homeward he remained behind at Trinidad, where he had succeeded in making several warm friends. After a stay there extending over nearly two months he returned to Barbadoes, with the intention of proceeding to Demerara, and taking passage thence to England. This intention was not destined to be carried out. Almost immediately upon his arrival at Barbadoes he formed the acquaintance of Mr. George McIntosh Ross, a young Scotch-Canadian merchant who resided and carried on business at Quebec. This acquaintance was fated to have a very material influence upon the future career of Francis Hincks. Mr. Ross, who had come from Quebec to Barbadoes in one of his own vessels, took a fancy to the clever young Belfast merchant, and gave him a cordial invitation to return home by way of Quebec. The voyage from Barbadoes to Quebec would be made in Mr. Ross's vessel, and would be free of cost. From Quebec to Liverpool or Belfast the passage money would be considerably less than from Barbadoes. Pg 232 These considerations were urged upon young Hincks, and it was further urged that by adopting the suggestion he would have an opportunity of seeing something of Canada. Suffice it to say that he acquiesced in the proposal, and sailed with his new friend for Quebec, whither he arrived about the middle of October. After a short, stay there Mr. Hincks proceeded up the St. Lawrence to Montreal, where he spent about five weeks. By this time he had given up the idea of returning to England before the following spring, and had determined to visit Upper Canada. He left Montreal early in December, and travelled by land to Prescott, where he took passage in a schooner for Kingston. From here he took passage for Toronto, or York, as it was then called. The vessel, however, was driven out of its course, and was compelled by stress of weather to put into Niagara, and in an unpublished MS. of Sir Francis he records the fact that his first visit to the celebrated Falls of Niagara was made on horseback in the middle of December. Such were the vicissitudes of a journey from Montreal to York less than half a century ago.

Mr. Hincks spent the whole of the ensuing winter at York, which was a very different spot from the Toronto of the present day. Its entire population was only about 4,000, and the aspect of the streets was by no means metropolitan. The Upper Canadian Legislature was then in session, and he spent a great deal of his time listening to the debates, which for him had all the charm of novelty, as he had never before had an opportunity of being present at Parliamentary proceedings. It will readily be understood that the speeches were interesting to him, for he had already a decided leaning to the side of Reform, and the speakers on the Reform side in the Upper Canada Assembly at that time were such men as Marshall Spring Bidwell, William Lyon Mackenzie, and Peter Perry. Some of the issues before the country were of the first importance, and these were the days of plain speaking—the days when Solicitor-General Hagerman, one of the shining lights of the “Family Compact” in those days—called Mr. Mackenzie “a spaniel dog” and “a base reptile,” on the floor of the House. After spending what seems to have been on the whole an agreeable winter at York, Mr. Hincks returned to Ireland, having gained a great deal of experience, and being very much the wiser for his travels. Colonial life had many attractions for him, and he had conceived a strong predilection for making Upper Canada his future home. He found, however, that his friends had decided objections to his settling abroad, and had formed other plans for him in his absence. One of his brothers—not mentioned in the previous enumeration—the Reverend John Hincks, had recently settled in Liverpool, and had been placed in charge of a congregation there. An arrangement had been made by his father that Francis should also take up his abode in Liverpool, and embark in business there. Just before his return from America his brother John had died, very suddenly, but the business arrangements on behalf of Francis had proceeded to such a length that he resolved to obey his father's wishes, and to abandon, or at least postpone, his scheme of emigrating to Canada. He accordingly entered as a junior partner in a commission house in Liverpool, and remained in the establishment about a year. Before his departure for the West Indies, he had become attached to Miss Martha Anne Stewart, daughter of a prominent merchant of Belfast, and had been a successful suitor for her hand. When the Liverpool project was laid before him his assent to it was largely due to an expectation of being able to marry without delay. The commission business, however, does not seem to have flourished according to his expectations, and letters from Upper CanadaPg 233 kept his former idea of emigration fresh in his mind. Obstacles had arisen which seemed to prevent the possibility of his being able either to marry or to emigrate for some time to come. In the course of his year's residence at Liverpool, however, these obstacles, whatever their nature may have been, were overcome. He severed his connection with the Liverpool house, and repaired to Belfast, where on the 23rd of July, 1832—little more than a year after his return from his travels—he married the object of his choice. Within a few days afterwards he sailed for New York on his way to Upper Canada. He reached his destination early in September, and took up his abode at Little York. A few months more, and we find him established in a little wholesale warehouse, belonging to Mr. Robert Baldwin, on the corner of Yonge and Melinda streets. Its number, as we learn from an old directory-published early in 1834, was 21 Yonge street. The Baldwins, father and son, resided at No. 23. Dr. Baldwin was himself an Irishman, and like Mr. Hincks, had formerly resided at Cork. The latter's friendship with the Baldwins commenced immediately after he began to reside at York, and was maintained on a very intimate footing for many years. Their common nationality was not the only tie which bound them together, for they had many tastes in common, and the elder Baldwin interested himself in advancing the fortunes of the young emigrant. Notwithstanding this support, and his own great aptitude for commercial life, the first years of his residence in Canada were years of struggle. Trade was much depressed, money was scarce, and the credit system, which was prevalent throughout the Province, was a great drawback to a young merchant doing business on a restricted capital. His letters written to his kinsfolk in Ireland at this time are couched in a rather despondent tone, and he hints at a resolution to look out for a more remunerative occupation than that afforded by his warehouse business. He was evidently feeling his way, and carefully watching the course of events. His views on political questions at this time do not seem to have been fully matured. His leanings were undoubtedly in the direction of Reform, but he for several years cautiously refrained from taking a decided stand. Mr. Mackenzie's popularity was then at its zenith among the extreme radicals of Upper Canada—a popularity which the persecution of his enemies did much to increase. The violence and manifest injustice with which he was treated by the dominant faction gained for him the warm sympathy of many persons who had theretofore held aloof from him. The oligarchy succeeded in expelling him from his seat in the Assembly no fewer than five times, but he was as often triumphantly reëlected by ever-increasing majorities, and was more than once carried through the streets amid the loud-mouthed enthusiasm of the people. When the Town of York became the City of Toronto in March, 1884, he was elected the first mayor of the new municipality. Between Mackenzie and Hincks, however, there was from the first a well-marked antagonism. The latter, while giving due credit to the former for the sincerity of his professions, had an utter distrust of his prudence and political sagacity. Mr. Mackenzie, on the other hand, while doing full justice to Mr Hincks's abilities, was always suspicious of his integrity. He regarded him as a young Irish adventurer, whose first object in life was to advance his fortunes, and who was by no means scrupulous as to the means to be pursued in attaining that object. Several years later, after the Welland Canal investigation had taken place, and when Mr. Hincks had shown his aptitude for dealing with matters of finance, it was suggested to Mr. Mackenzie, in the presence of Mr. Hincks himself, that the latter might notPg 234 improbably at some future time fill the post of Inspector-General of Public Accounts for Upper Canada. Mr. Mackenzie, with a degree of frankness which would have been simple rudeness in a man of less pronounced, opinions, remarked to him: “You are fully equal to the duties, and your talents would be of inestimable value to the public, the only question with me is, whether or not you would be proof against the temptations of the position.” Meanwhile the young emigrant stood aloof from the extreme sections of both political parties, and quietly awaited his opportunity, which was not long delayed. His capacity for dealing with financial questions had already been displayed in several small enterprises, and early in 1835 he was appointed secretary of a Mutual Insurance Company and cashier of a new banking institution called “The People's Bank.” The little warehouse was consigned to the limbo of forgotten things. Two months later the House of Assembly appointed Mr. Mackenzie Director of the Wetland Canal Company, in respect of the stock held by the Province. The new Director had long been suspicious of the management of this great enterprise, and had not been slow to give expression to his sentiments. He now entered into a searching examination of the Company's affairs. A Parliamentary Committee of Investigation was appointed, and Mr. Mackenzie secured the co-operation of Mr. Hincks, who was appointed accountant to the Committee. His keen eye soon brought some startling facts to light, and it was apparent that Mr. Mackenzie's suspicions had been well founded. After a long and careful scrutiny of the books and accounts, Mr Hincks wrote to Mr. Mackenzie, as follows: “As to the Welland Canal books, I have already said, and I now publicly repeat and am willing to stake my character on the truth of it, that for several years they are full of false and fictitious entries; so much so that if I was on oath I could hardly say whether I believe there are more true or false ones. I am persuaded it is impossible for an accountant who desires to arrive at truth to investigate them with any satisfaction, particularly as the vouchers are of such a character as to be of little or no service. With respect to the charges against the officers, the press and the public seem to have predetermined that unless Mr. Merritt were proved guilty of an extent of fraud that would have justly subjected them to a criminal prosecution they were to be absolved from all blame, and to escape censure for the numerous charges which have been clearly proved. The conduct of the press, and indeed of the House of Assembly on this subject, has been such as to encourage a similar system of managing the money of the people, and, most assuredly, to deter any individual from even attempting to expose similar abuses. It has been clearly proved that large sums of money have been lost to the Company, and of course to the Province, which, if the present directors do their duty, can in great part be recovered.” The facts elicited in the investigation were such as fully to justify Mr. Mackenzie's strictures. The Committee unearthed large defalcations on the part of the Company's officers, as well as numerous spurious accounts duly sworn to by the Secretary as correct. It appeared that large sums had been borrowed by the officers from the Company without any authority from the Board. Contracts had been tampered with, leases of water-power had been granted by the President and Directors to themselves; and, in a word, the country had been robbed of a large amount of money. The result of this investigation was to make the name of Francis Hincks known to a much wider circle than had theretofore been familiar with it. His skill in dealing with figures and involved matters of account was discussed from one end of the Province to thePg 235 other. It is probable that he would immediately have come to the front had the country been in a more prosperous and settled condition. The country, however, was in a condition very much the reverse of prosperous, and moreover was on the verge of rebellion. In that rebellion Mr. Hincks, of course, took no part, but his intimacy with the Baldwins and the general course of his conduct, both personal and political, had identified him with the Reform Party, and he came in for a share of the obloquy which, for some time after Mr. Mackenzie's ill-judged attempt, attached to the name of Reformer. The months following the fiasco at Gallows Hill were gloomy months indeed for the members of the Reform Party in this Province. They were left without a press, and were identified in the popular mind with agitators and rebels. The dominant faction, of course, did its utmost to disseminate this prejudice, and the respectable Reformers themselves felt like members of an honourable family may be supposed to feel when one of its members has proved false to ancestral traditions and brought disgrace upon his relatives. A few of the leading spirits, however, with Robert Baldwin at their head, applied themselves diligently to the work of reconstructing, and re-establishing the platform of the Party. The chief plank in that platform was “Responsible Government.” The Tory party, to a man, professed to regard Responsible Government as wholly incompatible with loyalty to the British Crown, and endeavoured to cast ridicule upon its chief exponent, Mr. Baldwin, as “the man of one idea.” Sir Francis Bond Head and his predecessors had all harped the same tune, and had lent the whole weight of their influence to crush out the “idea” which was so distasteful to them. But a new order of things was at hand. In the month of May, 1838, Lord Durham came over to Canada in the double capacity of Governor-General and Her Majesty's High Commissioner “for the adjustment of certain important affairs affecting the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada.” The “important affairs” involved an inquiry into our entire political system, and he had not been long in the country before he arrived at the conclusion that Mr. Baldwin's one idea was indeed the one and only efficient remedy for existing disorders. His arrival in this country was hailed by Reformers as a national blessing. The absence of an ably-conducted Reform newspaper was felt more keenly than ever, as such an opportunity for striking a blow for Liberal principles had never before presented itself in the history of Canada. And now the opportunity for which Francis Hincks had long been waiting had arrived. He was urged by some leading Reformers to establish and conduct a newspaper which should be the exponent of Responsible Government. As may readily be supposed, he was not slow to avail himself of these solicitations. He was a vigorous and versatile writer, and delighted in an atmosphere of controversy. The plant was purchased within a few days from the time when the project was first seriously mooted, and in due time the paper made its appearance as The Toronto Examiner, having for its motto, “Responsible Government and the Voluntary Principle.” It may be as well to state here that, notwithstanding all that has been said and written to the contrary, the Examiner was strictly a personal enterprise of Mr. Hincks, and that he never received, either by loan or otherwise, the slightest pecuniary accommodation or assistance in carrying it on. It has been suggested by several writers that his chief motive in establishing this paper was to write himself into Parliament. If this be true, as to which there is of course no direct evidence, it was merely a legitimate step for the prosecution of an honourable ambition; but it is at any rate alsoPg 236 clear enough that in advocating Responsible Government he was giving utterance to his sincere convictions. The editorials in the Examiner were written with sharpness and vigour, and produced a marked effect upon the public mind. He proved by the most inexorable rules of logic—to us in these days it seems incomprehensible that there should have been any doubt on such a subject—that there was no inconsistency between sincere advocacy of Responsible Government and sincere loyalty to the British Crown. During Lord Durham's short stay in Canada he must have been aware of the keen controversy maintained by the Examiner against almost the entire press of both Upper and Lower Canada, and several clauses of the “Report” reflect very strongly the tone of some of the Examiner's articles. Immediately after Lord Durham's return to England at the close of 1838 that nobleman submitted his Report to the Imperial Government, and was subjected to a searching cross-examination as to its contents. After careful consideration, the Government resolved upon the union of the two Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and the concession of Responsible Government. Mr. Thomson—afterwards Lord Sydenham—himself a member of the Cabinet, was sent out to this country as Governor-General for the express purpose of carrying out the views of the Home Ministry. The mission was one which would have tasked the abilities even of the ablest statesman, and Mr. Thomson was not always over-scrupulous as to the means resorted to by him for obtaining support. The Upper Canadian Reformers were almost unanimous in their approval of Lord Durham's views. Indeed these views were precisely what Reformers had for years been strenuously advocating and fighting for. The Tories, on the other hand, held equally pronounced opinions on the other side, and declared, through their organ the Toronto Patriot, that “the Ministers have made for themselves a pretty kettle of fish by employing Jacobins and loafers to regulate the affairs of a Conservative and loyal people.” While Lord Durham was preparing his Report, Mr. Hincks, alone among Upper Canadian journalists, upheld the doctrines enunciated in it. The support accorded to Lord Durham was continued to his successor, Mr. Thomson. This advocacy soon began to bear fruit. When the various constituencies throughout the country began to prepare for the first election under the Union, the editor of the Examiner was invited to stand as the Reform candidate for the County of Oxford. He accepted the invitation, and entered upon the canvass with the energy which he was wont to bring to all pursuits in which he engaged. He was personally unknown to the people of Oxford. His opponent, Mr. Peter Carroll, was a popular resident candidate who had all the Tory support at his back. Mr. Hincks and his friends, however, worked indefatigably, and stumped the Riding from end to end. The election took place in the middle of March 1841, and the result was that Mr. Hincks was returned by a majority of thirty-one votes. When the Legislature assembled on the 14th of June, 1841, he for the first time took his seat in the House.

The first session under the Union was a memorable one. During its progress the foundation of our municipal system was laid, and various important educational and financial questions were discussed. Towards its close, Mr. Hincks and Mr. Baldwin, who, both in and out of the Home, had theretofore steadily fought side by side, were arrayed against each other. It is worth while to detail the circumstances under which the separation took place.

Upon the assembling of the Legislature the Executive Council consisted of Messrs. Sullivan, Dunn, Daly, Draper, Baldwin, Harrison, Ogden, and Day. These gentlemen held all the high offices of state. Pg 237 Mr. Baldwin had consented to hold office with the above-named members, upon certain conditions which were not fulfilled. The non-fulfilment of these conditions, in his opinion, and in the opinion of his party, fully exonerated him from obligation to continue in office. He had no confidence in the majority of his colleagues, and almost immediately resigned. For this resignation he was fiercely attacked, and accused of a factious disposition to embarrass the Government. This accusation called forth an explanation of his conduct; an explanation which, in the estimation of all who were not blinded by personal or party prejudices perfectly justified the course which he had adopted. He then became the acknowledged leader of the Opposition, and was for some time ably seconded by Mr. Hincks. During the month of August, however, there was a loud and prolonged debate on the Municipal Bill, the most important measure of the session. This Bill was strongly opposed by Mr. Baldwin, and by Reformers generally, on the ground that some of its provisions were not sufficiently liberal to meet the requirements of the country. Before the passing of the Union Act, Mr. Thomson, then Governor-General, had strongly recommended that municipal institutions should be established by the Imperial Union Act, and clauses prepared with his sanction had been introduced, but had been abandoned during the progress of the Bill through the Imperial House of Commons. Then the Governor-General had established municipal institutions in Lower Canada by an ordinance of the Special Council, and the Bill for Upper Canada was a transcript of that already in force in the Lower Province. The Lower Canadians had never been subjected to local taxation, while the Upper Canadians had been taxed by the magistrates in Quarter Sessions. The Lower Canada Bill was framed to prevent an anticipated obstruction to the system by the refusal to work it, and the various officers—such as warden, treasurer, clerk, etc.—were appointed by the Crown. When the Upper Canada Municipal Bill came up there were two parties opposed to it—1st, the Tories, led by Sir Allan Macnab, who were opposed to municipal institutions; 2nd, the Reformers, led by Mr. Baldwin, who insisted on an extension of the elective principle to local affairs. It can readily be understood that the Government could not give to Upper Canada a more liberal system than that in force in Lower Canada, and accordingly it was almost compelled to declare that it must be the Bill or nothing. It could not consent to amendments. Some others of the Upper Canada Reformers, as well as Mr. Hincks, thought it best to secure the Bill on any terms, and to trust to future amendments. Mr. Hincks spoke strongly on behalf of the Bill on the Government side, and urged the opponents of the measure to abandon their opposition. This course he again adopted on the debate on the second and third readings of the Bill. The debate on the third reading took place on the 19th of the month, and lasted until near midnight, when the vote was taken. The measure was carried by forty-two votes to thirty-two. When the result had been declared, Mr. Hincks thought it due to himself to give an account of his conduct in voting against many of his former colleagues on this important measure. He expressed regret at feeling himself compelled to vote in opposition to Mr. Baldwin, with whom he had always been accustomed to act in common; but he expressed his conviction that the course which he had pursued was demanded of him by the best interests of the country. “I confess,” said he, in the course of his remarks, “that it is a matter of some surprise to me to hear the very extraordinary differences of opinion that have been expressed on this subject. In another part of this building, only a few minutes ago, I heard it pronounced a measurePg 238 'liberal without precedent.' The honourable and gallant knight from Hamilton (Sir Allan Macnab) and the honourable and learned member for Lennox and Addington say that it is republican and democratic in principle, and that if it be adopted the people will have almost uncontrolled power. At the same time we are assured by the honourable and learned member for Hastings (Mr. Baldwin) that it is an abominable bill; 'a monstrous abortion,' which he views with detestation. It is certainly not a little surprising that two parties so very opposite in their views on this very question should unite, and I cannot help observing that charges of coalition are quite as applicable to one side of the House as to the other.... I know, Mr. Speaker, the deep responsibility I have taken on myself in adopting this course. I am well aware that already every species of slander and calumny has been resorted to, in order to destroy my public character. I have been held up in the public prints as having sold myself to Government. From political opponents I can expect nothing else but such attacks, but, Sir, I confess I have been pained at the insinuations which have proceeded from other quarters. The allusions to 'expectants of office,' to 'Government influence,' I cannot, I ought not to affect to misunderstand. I shall leave the Reformers of Upper Canada to judge whether I have deceived them, and I have, I think, some claims upon the sympathy of Reformers. My first connection with political life was at a very eventful period in the history of this colony, at a time, Sir, when hardly a journal in the Province dared to stand forth in defence of the great principle which is now recognized as the only one on which our Government should be administered. During a very dark period of our history, I defended that principle and the party who supported it, and it was a time when I had nothing to expect but incarceration in a dungeon as my reward. The difficulties and embarrassments to which a public journalist is exposed cannot readily he imagined by those who have not encountered thorn, and not the least of them is the odium to which a faithful advocate of popular rights is necessarily exposed. He is the mark for all the animosity of the hostile party. I have, Sir, at least endeavoured to discharge my arduous duty faithfully and conscientiously. I have never asked a favour from any Governor since I took up my residence in this Province, and no one knows better than the honourable and learned member for Hastings (Baldwin), that when he was in place, and when there were prospects of our party having influence, I never stipulated for any personal reward. I was willing to give our party an independent support to the utmost of my ability. With regard to the people of Lower Canada, I feel that from them I certainly deserve better than that they should ascribe to me improper motives. I have fought their battles through good report and through evil report, and, Sir, it is with deep regret that I ever gave a vote in opposition to them. I am not desirous, Mr. Speaker, of occupying the time of the House with remarks which must be in some degree of a personal character. I would not, however, have done justice to myself, had I not availed myself of the present opportunity to repel the insinuations which have been made against my political integrity, and to assert that my vote in favour of that Bill is as conscientious and independent as that of any honourable member on the floor of this House. It is dictated solely by a deep sense of the duty which I owe to my constituents and my country, and I know and feel that it will be appreciated by them.” After some rather caustic remarks by Mr. J. Hervey Price, Mr. Baldwin himself rose to speak. He said, that with respect to the doubts which had insinuated themselves in some quarters as to Mr. Hincks's course, he hadPg 239 neither originated them, repeated them, nor sanctioned them, and with the honourable member himself must necessarily rest the means of demonstrating their utter groundlessness. Again, the honourable member had referred to the support which he had afforded to the Reform cause. No one more highly appreciated his talents than he did, and no one was more ready to acknowledge the important benefits which, as a journalist and an orator, Mr. Hincks had conferred upon the country by his powerful advocacy of the great principle of Responsible Government. These most valuable services of the honourable member he ever had, now did, and ever should acknowledge with cheerfulness and satisfaction, whatever the political relation in which that gentleman and himself might stand to each other; and he was equally ready, and should be on all occasions, to acknowledge the personal support which he had received from him. But if, what he could not and did not believe, the charge of ingratitude, which had escaped the lips of the honourable member, was meant to be applied to him, he would take leave to say, and no one knew it better than the honourable member himself, that support had not been all on one side; that on all occasions and in all places, wherever he thought he could be useful to, him, as well in the highest society in the Province as in that of the honest yeomen who had done the honourable member the honour of returning him to that House, he had stood by his character, private and political, and not unfrequently with the discomfort of knowing that he was listened to with anything but satisfaction. He did this in those hours of storm to which the honourable gentleman had so feelingly alluded, as well as when, from altered circumstances, more cheering prospects opened upon the cause. For himself, all who knew him were aware that though slow to enter into connexions of any kind, he ever clung with tenacity to such as he did once form; and he assured the honourable member for Oxford, that if the time should come when the political tie which bound them to each other was to be severed forever, it would be to him by far the most painful which had occurred in the course of his political life.

It is only just to Mr. Hincks to state that his vote on the Municipal Bill was approved by a great majority of his Oxford constituents. In June of the following year he joined the Government, and accepted office as Inspector-General, for which step he once more came in for a considerable amount of obloquy. In consequence of his accepting office it was necessary that he should vacate his seat and return to his constituency for reëlection. The election was held on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of July. He was opposed by Mr. John Armstrong, a local candidate, at whose request the poll was closed at noon on the third day, when the votes stood 348 for Hincks and 130 for Armstrong. From this result it is evident that his course in Parliament had not caused him to lose caste in his constituency. His colleagues in the House during the session were Messrs. Ogden, Day, Draper, Sherwood, Sullivan, Harrison, Dunn, Daly, and Killaly. The session was a short one, and before its close Mr. Day was appointed to a seat on the Judicial Bench. In September, three members of the Government—Messrs. Draper, Ogden and Sherwood—retired from office, and were succeeded by Mr. Baldwin as Attorney-General West, and Mr. Lafontaine as Attorney-General East. The Government was materially strengthened by the change, for Mr. Lafontaine's influence was all-powerful with the French Canadian population of the Lower Province, and Mr. Baldwin had the confidence of the entire, body of the Reformers in Upper Canada. The change in the composition of the Government brought Hincks and Baldwin together once more, for the former retained his post ofPg 240 Inspector-General. There was no further breach between them, and Mr. Hincks continued to act with his old friend down to the time of the latter's retirement to private life in 1851.

Sir Charles Bagot, who had succeeded Lord Sydenham an Governor-General, held office less than a year, being compelled to solicit his recall on account of infirm health. He did not live to return home, however, and died at Kingston on the 19th of May, 1843. He was succeeded by Sir Charles—afterwards Baron—Metcalfe. Everybody knows what followed. The new Governor's training and experience in India and Jamaica had unfitted him to fill the post of a constitutional ruler. He could not be brought to regard Responsible Government with complacency, and sneered, even in his official despatches, at the pretensions of his Council to call themselves “a Ministry,” “a Cabinet,” “an Administration,” and “a Government.” He reached this country in March, 1843. Parliament met at the end of September. During the session it soon became evident, even to outsiders, that matters were not working smoothly between the Governor and his ministry. The differences between them grew wider and wider. At last, towards the close of November, the Governor made some official appointments without consulting his ministers. The appointments were such as the ministry would not have sanctioned. Messrs, Baldwin and Lafontaine waited on the Governor, and quietly, but firmly, remonstrated against this invasion of ministerial rights. The Governor, however, declined either to cancel the appointments or to admit that he had over-stepped his duty in making them. All the members of the Government accordingly resigned except Mr. Dominick Daly. The Inspector-General sent in his resignation with the rest. The Governor formed a Provisional and irresponsible ministry, consisting of Messrs. Daly, Draper and Viger, and thus, for a time, the Government of the country was carried on.

It may not be uninteresting to the reader to see a contemporary pen-and-ink sketch of Mr. Hincks in Parliament at this time. In the Examiner of the 25th of October, 1843, we find the following account of his appearance while discharging the functions of his office in the House, previous to the resignation just referred to: “He (Mr. Hincks) had a portable desk beside him, and a heap of papers. He was as busy as a nailer, writing, reading, marking down pages, whispering to the men on the front seat, sending a slip of paper to this one and that one, a hint to the member speaking; there was no mistaking that man. Presently he stood up and started off at full drive, half a dozen voices cry out 'Hear, hear!' 'No, no!' He picks up a slip of paper and the whole House is silent. The figures come tumbling out like potatoes from a basket. He snatches up a despatch, a journal, or some other document, and having established his position he goes ahead again. The Inspector-General, Mr. Hincks, is decidedly the man of that House. When one has observed with what attention he is listened to by every member, when we look up to the reporters, who are, during half the time in which other speakers are up, looking on wearily, now all hard at their tasks, catching every word they can lay hold of, it is not difficult to guess how it has happened that Francis Hincks has been one of the best abused men that ever lived in Canada. No wonder the old Compact hated him; they foresaw in him a sad enemy to vermin. He is a real terrier. He speaks much too rapidly; and in consequence runs into a very disagreeable sort of stammering. His manner of reading off statistical quotations is peculiarly censurable. It is impossible for reporters to take down the figures correctly, and the honourable gentleman should reflect of whatPg 241 great importance it is to himself and the Ministry that all such matter be correctly reported.”

A period of great political excitement followed the close of this Session, and at the following elections measures were taken by the Governor to prevent the return of members hostile to his views. His efforts were tolerably successful, and among the members of the late Government who were defeated at the polls was the subject of this memoir. Mr. Robert Riddell was set up to oppose him, and such was the influence used against Mr. Hincks that the local candidate, a comparatively unknown man, was returned by a vote of 742 to 722. Mr. Hincks had about six months previously established another newspaper. There was at that time a good opening for a Reform journal in the Lower Province. All the Lower Canadian journals that were published in the English language were vehement supporters of Sir Charles Metcalfe and his policy. Yet there were many English-speaking people in Lower Canada whose views on the great question of Responsible Government were the same as these of Upper Canadian Reformers, and diametrically opposed to those of the Governor. To these persons, a local newspaper advocating their views was a thing greatly to be desired. This need Mr. Hincks undertook to supply. Montreal had been fixed upon as the seat of Government, and there Mr. Hincks determined to fix his own headquarters. In due time the new paper—the Montreal Pilot—made its appearance, and was carried on with diligence and a fair amount of support for about four years. Towards the close of 1847, after an absence of fifteen years, Mr. Hincks paid a visit to his native land, where he found his father, who was then in the eightieth year of his age, in good mental and bodily health. The visit extended over several months, and upon his return, in December, 1847, he learned that the Canadian Parliament had been dissolved in his absence; that writs had been issued for a new election, and that most of the elections had already taken place. Some of his friends had bestirred themselves briskly on his behalf during his absence, and had made due provision for his election by his old constituency of Oxford. Before his departure from Canada he had taken the precaution to leave a statutory declaration of qualification behind him, as a dissolution was regarded as imminent, and he did not wish to miss an opportunity of returning to active political life. This declaration was duly forwarded to Mr. T. S. Shenston, a trustworthy agent at Woodstock, to be used in case of necessity. Mr. Hincks did not return to Canada in time to enable him to be present at the election for Oxford, which was held on the 30th of December, 1847, and the 1st of January, 1848. The opposing candidate was Mr. Hincks's old opponent, Mr. Peter Carroll. The returning-officer, Mr. J. G. Vansittart, was a pronounced Tory, and acquired a somewhat unenviable notoriety by his conduct on this occasion. Before the voting began he demanded Mr. Hincks's declaration of qualification, which was at once tendered by Mr. Shenston. It was of course dated before Mr. Hincks's departure for Ireland, and was thus of a date prior to the writ under which the election was held. The election proceeded, and resulted in a majority of 335 for Mr. Hincks. The polling was, for Hincks 813; for Carroll, 478. The returning-officer—under the advice, as he claimed, of one of the law-officers of the Crown—determined to disregard this result. He made a return to the effect that Mr. Carroll had been duly elected. He treated Mr. Hincks's majority as a nullity upon the ground that his declaration was dated before the issue of the writ, and that Mr. Hincks did not personally appear to qualify. Upon the meetingPg 242 of Parliament steps were at once taken to remedy this unjust act. The House summarily amended the return, and reprimanded Mr. Vansittart at the Bar. Mr. Hincks took his seat in the House, and continued to occupy a conspicuous place there throughout the next seven years. Some hostile proceedings were taken against Mr. Vansittart by a committee appointed to investigate his conduct. In these proceedings, however—contrary to what has more than once been alleged—Mr. Hincks personally had no share, although, as will presently be seen, he was compelled to bear the brunt of the so-called “persecution” of Mr. Vansittart when he next presented himself to his constituents for reëlection.

The result of the elections of 1847 was a decided triumph for the Reform party, which had been in Opposition for about four years. Parliament met in February of the following year. On the 10th of March the Lafontaine-Baldwin administration was formed, and Mr. Hincks accepted the office of Inspector-General. This rendered it necessary that he should once more return to Oxford for reëlection. No opposition was offered, and he was accordingly elected by acclamation. This Parliament sat out its full period of four years, during all of which time Mr. Hincks continued to manage the finances as Inspector-General. As a finance-minister it must on all hands be conceded that he was a great success. A writer who does not, on the whole, evince much partiality for Mr. Hincks, says of this period of his career that “though he succeeded to an empty exchequer, and a very uncomfortable prospect in the matter of ways and means, he nevertheless by the boldness as well as the simplicity of his tariff legislation, at once restored the public credit and avoided all resort to the peculiar system of financial readjustment which had discredited the projects of his predecessor, and rendered them unpopular. Thenceforward Mr. Hincks took an honourable view of the public service, and a generous one of the public servants. Few Executive Councillors have attained greater popularity than he, and very few, if any, have been more loyally served.”

During the session of 1851 Mr. Baldwin, partly from failing health and partly from other causes, resigned his office, and soon afterwards retired altogether from public life. A few months later witnessed the retirement of his colleague, Mr. Lafontaine. In consequence of the dissolution of the ministry consequent on these retirements, Lord Elgin, the Governor-General, entrusted Mr. Hincks with the formation of a new Government. There were some difficulties of a personal character to be surmounted, but these were speedily got over, and, in conjunction with Mr. Morin, Mr. Hincks formed the Government which, from the names of its leaders, is known in Canadian history as the Hincks-Morin Government. Upon returning to his constituency for reëlection, Mr. Hincks found that Mr. Vansittart had made much capital out of the rancour with which he had been pursued for his false return after the previous election. He and his friends had ever since harped on the “persecution” to which he had been subjected, and had contrived to impress upon the public mind the idea that Mr. Hincks had promoted it. He now offered himself as a candidate in opposition to Mr. Hincks, and though many of his supporters must have known that he had no aptitude for public life, he succeeded in polling 1,220 votes to Mr. Hincks's 1,299. The rival candidates were afterwards reconciled to each other, and continued on good terms until Mr. Hincks's departure from Canada.

During this hotly-contested campaign Mr. Hincks was also elected by the town of Niagara, thus securing to him a double return. He elected to sit for his old constituency of Oxford, and devoted himselfPg 243 vigorously to the work of carrying on his Government. The next few years form a most important era in the history of our country, purely political, questions, while they necessarily continued to engross a large share of public attention, gave place, to some extent, to questions directly affecting the social and physical progress of the country. An Act to facilitate the formation of joint-stock companies gave an impetus to commerce, and the Municipal Loan Fund Bill did much to promote the development of our industrial resources. The common-school law was extended and improved. Attention was directed to important railway projects, and to the promotion of commercial reciprocity with the United States. A Grand Trunk line of railway was projected to traverse the country all the way from Quebec to the western confines of this Province. An agreement was entered into between the Provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to construct, with Imperial assistance, another line of railway connecting Quebec and Halifax, and thus connecting Western Canada with the seaboard. Mr. Hincks went over to England to forward these projects, and was absent several months. Serious difficulties arose as to the location of the line through the Maritime Provinces. The only basis upon which Mr. Hincks was authorized to negotiate was that the valley of the St. John River should be the line of the Intercolonial Railway, as it had already come to be called. To such a location Lord Derby and Sir John Pakington had insuperable objections. The differences between the representatives were irreconcilable, and after much discussion and delay the negotiation was for the time broken off. It was resumed more successfully some years later, and the construction of the road was proceeded with. The project of establishing reciprocity with the United States was another important event which took place during the existence of the Hincks-Morin Government. In 1854 Mr. Hincks accompanied the Governor-General, Lord Elgin, to Washington, where, after much negotiation, a treaty of reciprocity was finally concluded. Another question which agitated the public mind was the standing grievance of the Clergy Reserves. Soon after the accession to power of the Hincks-Morin Ministry, the agitation for secularization of the Reserves—an agitation which had been kept up, almost without interruption, for a quarter of a century—was renewed with increased vehemence. The Ministry were accused by Mr. Brown and some of his adherents of manifesting a good deal of lukewarmness on the subject, and a large and influential section of the Reform party began to question Mr. Hincks's sincerity. For this there does not seem to have been the slightest justification. Mr. Hincks's Ministry were always ready and willing to deal with the question, but the repeal by the Imperial Parliament of the Act of 1840 was a condition precedent to any useful legislation by the Canadian Parliament. That Mr. Hincks did his utmost to bring about such a repeal is made sufficiently apparent by his published correspondence with British statesmen at this period,20 and by the general tenor of his conduct. No good purpose is to be served, however, by reviving the acrimonious discussions of those days, on subjects which to us, at this time, are dead issues. Neither is it desirable at this lapse of time to go into details about transactions in Toronto debentures and Pointe Levis lands—transactions which made a good deal of noise in their day, and which some of the persons concerned in them would doubtless have been glad to forget. Suffice it to say that towards the close of 1854 the Hincks-Morin Ministry resigned office without having dealt withPg 244 the great question of the Clergy Reserves, which was not finally disposed of until after the accession to power of the succeeding Administration. That the question would have been disposed of at precisely the same time, however, even if there had been no change in the Administration, is as certain as any undemonstrable proposition can very well be. The accounts given of this period in our Canadian histories are more than usually inadequate and misleading.

Mr. Hincks, during his Premiership, had been pretty constantly passing and re-passing between the Canadian and the British capital, on railway and other business of national importance. Soon after his resignation, feeling the need of a holiday, he crossed the Atlantic once more. He paid a long visit to his native land, and amused himself by renewing old associations of his boyhood. He also went over to London to confer with Messrs. Baring & Glyn with reference to certain financial projects, and while there agreed to accept the Presidency of the Grand Trunk Railway. But this position was not to be his. Better things were in store for him. During his stay in London, he was gratified by receiving, through the good offices of Sir William Molesworth, Secretary of State for the Colonies, the appointment of Governor-in-Chief of Barbadoes and the Windward Islands. He at once returned to Canada, where he had left his family, and, accompanied by them, repaired to the seat of his Government. He assumed the functions of his office on the 6th of January, 1856, and continued to discharge them for the full term of six years. At the close of this term he was promoted by the Duke of Newcastle to the Government of British Guiana, where he stayed out his full term and a year over. In 1869, having, on the recommendation of the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, been created a K.C.M.G., he handed over the insignia of his office and returned to England. He had now reached the age of sixty-one years, and had passed the prescribed age which entitles a Colonial Governor to a retiring pension, which was upon application at once granted to him for life. His stay in England was of brief duration, and he returned to Canada in the summer of the same year. Soon after his return he accepted the position of Finance Minister in the Government of the day, and took up his abode at Ottawa. Sir John Rose, his predecessor in that office, being about to take up his residence in London as a partner in the banking firm of Messrs. Morton, Rose & Co., was compelled to resign his functions, and the Premier, Sir John A. Macdonald, offered the vacancy to the veteran Inspector-General of former days. The latter was elected for one of the divisions of the county of Renfrew. Having entered upon the duties of his office, Sir Francis soon showed that his energy and administrative ability were unimpaired by his sixty and odd years. He found the currency of the country in a disturbed condition, owing to the great influx of United States silver which had taken place. Our own silver coinage was too limited to meet the public necessities, and as a consequence everybody in the country had been in the habit of receiving United States silver—the actual value of which was considerably below its nominal value—at par. American brokers of the lowest stamp began to send this depreciated silver over here, and to speculate in it as a means of livelihood. A few months more and the country was flooded with United States silver to such an extent that it was justly pronounced a “silver nuisance.” Sir Francis Hincks set himself to work to remedy this untoward state of things. American silver was demonetized, and its place temporarily supplied by a fractional paper currency, specimens of which are still occasionally met with. In this way the “silver nuisance” was soonPg 245 abated, and the currency of the country restored to a normal condition.

Sir Francis probably felt, however, that he had served the public long enough, and that he was entitled to repose under the shade of his laurels. After having held the portfolio of Finance Minister for about three years he announced his determination to retire to private life. At the earnest solicitation of the leader of the Government he consented to so far modify this determination as to defer his resignation until after the approaching elections. The elections came on, and, without his knowledge or consent, he was returned by the constituency of Vancouver, British Columbia, as its representative. He accordingly retained his seat during the ensuing session, but resigned his ministerial office in February, 1873. After the fall of Sir John Macdonald's Government consequent upon the Pacific Scandal disclosures, Sir Francis withdrew altogether from active participation in politics, and retired to private life. In the spring of 1873, upon resigning office, he accepted the Presidency of the City Bank of Montreal, which was afterwards amalgamated with the Royal Canadian, and was thenceforward known as the Consolidated Bank of Canada. Sir Francis continued to be President of the amalgamated institution down to the time of its collapse in 1879. The subsequent history of his connection with this unfortunate enterprise is too recent and too well known to require any further reference in these pages.

On the 8th of May, 1874, Sir Francis sustained a serious bereavement by the loss of his wife. She had been his companion for forty-two years, and had participated in his struggles, his rise, and his subsequent dignities. In June, 1875, he married a second wife, Emily Louisa, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Delatre, and relict of the Honourable Judge Sullivan. This lady died at her home in Montreal on the 14th of May last, and the sympathy of the country went out warmly to the husband who was called upon to sustain this second bereavement at an advanced age.

Sir Francis Hincks's success in life has been fully commensurate with his merits. And yet those merits are considerable. Sir John Kaye, Lord Metcalfe's biographer, referring to the Executive Council of 1843, described Mr. Hincks as “by far the best man of business in the Council—clear-headed, methodical, persevering and industrious; but, as a partisan, vehement and unscrupulous, with a tongue that cut like a sword, and no discretion to keep it in order.” Sir John probably never saw the subject of his remarks in the course of his life. His impressions respecting him were doubtless derived from Lord Metcalfe himself. How utterly incapable that nobleman was of judging his fellow-creatures we know from his estimate of Robert Baldwin, which will be found in the life of that statesman. In the case of Francis Hincks, however, it must be admitted that he has come much nearer the truth. The faults of his character have been a vehement impetuosity, and a congenital incapacity for looking at things from a purely disinterested point of view. His abilities are of a high order, his energy is still unceasing, and his disposition kindly. He has evinced his preference for Canada and Canadian institutions by spending the evening of his life among us. It is due to him that we should bear in mind his services to the cause of our national liberty, at a time when that liberty was menaced both from without and within. The only conclusion that can honestly be arrived at, after a dispassionate review of his long and active career, is that a large balance remains to his credit on the roll of Canadian history.


Pg 246


Mr. Mackenzie was born on the 28th of January, 1822, in a pleasantly situated little stone cottage in the parish of Logierait, near the confluence of the rivers Tay and Tummel, in the Highlands of Perthshire, Scotland, and only about five miles distant from the famous pass of Killicrankie. His father, Mr. Alexander Mackenzie, after whom he was called, was an architect and contractor. His mother was Mary, second daughter of Mr. Donald Fleming, of Logierait. His parents had a numerous progeny, of which he himself was the third son. The entire family connection, on both the paternal and maternal sides, were known for their Liberal proclivities in matters political. Mr. Malcolm Mackenzie, of Strathtummel, the paternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was a schoolmaster, and an accomplished Gaelic scholar, whose Whig tendencies were well known throughout Athol and its neighbourhood. The views of his son were equally pronounced, so that the present Mr. Alexander Mackenzie may fairly lay claim to have inherited, to some degree, the advanced political views which he has always advocated.

Mr. Mackenzie, when a boy, received such education as was within the reach of a fairly ambitious and enterprising youth in the middle walks of life in Scotland. He first attended for about two years at a private school at the old city of Perth, the capital of the county, and one of the most interesting spots in the United Kingdom to persons familiar with Scottish history. For about two years more he attended the parish school of Moulin; after which he spent a few months at the Grammar School of the fine old cathedral town of Dunkeld. Even at this early date he manifested a taste for politics, and was an ardent devourer of newspapers. In the year 1836, when he was fourteen years of age, he had the misfortune to lose his father by death, and from that time forward he was compelled to make his own way in the world. He learned the trade of a stonemason, and worked at it in several parts of Scotland. Wherever he went he became known for a young man of good abilities, honourable ambition, and excellent character. While resident near Irvine, in Ayrshire, he became impressed with serious thoughts on religious matters, and espoused the doctrines of the Baptist Church, of which he has ever since been a member and consistent supporter. Though his daily occupations were not specially conducive to study, he was a diligent reader, and in process of time acquired a large fund of useful knowledge, more particularly in the departments of politics and constitutional history.

Alexander Mackenzie
Alexander Mackenzie.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by W. J. Topley, Ottawa

During the rebellion in Canada some of Mr. Mackenzie's acquaintances emigrated from Scotland to this country, and he was thus led to take an interest in Canadian Pg 247affairs. He received frequent supplies of newspapers, from a perusal of which he acquired a general knowledge of Canadian politics, and formed a favourable opinion of this Western Province as a field for emigration. By degrees he began to contemplate Upper Canada in the light of his future home. In the spring of 1842 he crossed the Atlantic, and took up his abode at Kingston, where he for a short time worked at his trade as a journeyman, and afterwards became a builder and contractor on his own account. In 1843, his brother, the late Mr. Hope F. Mackenzie, followed him to Canada. The career of both brothers was eminently successful, and they were not long in winning their way, not only to competence in pecuniary matters, but to a high place in public estimation. Mr. Hope Mackenzie possessed the same sterling qualities by which the subject of this sketch has always been characterized, and during his short political career gave evidence of great aptitude for public life.

While resident at Kingston Mr. Mackenzie married his first wife, who was a Miss Helen Neil, daughter of Mr. William Neil, a native and former resident of Irvine, in Scotland, in the neighbourhood whereof Mr. Mackenzie himself had once resided.

In 1847 five other brothers of Mr. Mackenzie emigrated to Canada from Scotland, bringing with them their mother. They all settled in what was then the county of Kent, in the immediate neighbourhood of Sarnia. Alexander and Hope Mackenzie also removed from Kingston to Sarnia at this time, and the entire family were thus reunited in Western Canada. Sarnia was then an insignificant village, but much of the farming land in the neighbourhood was of good quality, and that part of the country was rapidly filling up with a solid and substantial class of emigrants. Alexander Mackenzie, however, though he purchased land there, was not destined to become a farmer. He was not long in discovering that there was ample scope for an enterprising builder and contractor, and was soon engaged in his former pursuits. During their residence at Kingston, both his brother and himself had taken a warm interest in political matters, and all through the long struggle of the Reform Party with Lord Metcalfe, had put forward such influence as they could command on the popular side. After their removal westward their zeal underwent no abatement. Although the question of Responsible Government had by that time been practically settled, the very serious question of religious equality had still to be dealt with. King's College and the public lands were still in possession of one denomination. Equal rights to all, the restoration of the well-endowed national University to the people, and the secularization of the Clergy Reserve lands, had still to be gained; and to the agitation for these objects the brothers devoted themselves. They were known as strenuous supporters of the Baldwin-Lafontaine Administration, after the accession to power of that Government, and their names were identified with every important local reform. When Messrs. Baldwin and Lafontaine retired to private life, and the Hincks-Morin Government came into being, they, in common with the great body of the Reform Party, opposed that Government's policy. By this time the Reformers in that neighbourhood began to feel the necessity for a local organ, to influence public opinion, and to counteract the efforts of their political opponents. The result was the establishment at Sarnia, in the early spring of the year 1852, of the Lambton Shield. This paper was managed by a practical printer, who, however, proved to be a printer only, and quite incapable of gauging public opinion, or of conducting the editorial department of a newspaper with advantage to its supporters. Mr. Mackenzie, who wasPg 248 a ready and vigorous writer, and who had the success of the enterprise very much at heart, was thus compelled to take the editorial management of the paper into his own hands. Under his direction the Shield soon won its way to a high degree of public respect and influence. Its advocacy of Reform views and principles was powerful and discriminating. Its editorials were marked by a fairness and common sense which produced a steadily increasing effect upon public opinion, and made the name of its editor known far beyond the limits of his own country. For more than two years the Lambton Shield continued to exercise an influence altogether out of proportion to its circulation, which was necessarily almost entirely confined to the neighbourhood where it was published. In 1854, the Observer, a paper which had previously been published in the county of Lanark, was removed to Sarnia, and the Shield was no longer a necessity to the Reform Party. It accordingly went out of existence, and the Observer has ever since been the recognized organ of the Reformers of the county of Lambton.

In 1852 Mr. Mackenzie had the misfortune to lose his wife, who died on the 2nd of January in that year. On the 17th of June, 1853, he married his second wife—whose maiden name was Miss Jane Sym—a daughter of the late Mr. Robert Sym, of Perthshire, Scotland. This lady still survives.

For some years after this time the brothers Mackenzie, though they continued to take an active part in all local elections, and a keen interest in the public affairs of the country generally, devoted themselves chiefly to their business occupations. They were eminently successful in their undertakings, and were among the leading citizens of their county. In 1857 Mr. Hope Mackenzie contested Lambton with the Hon. Malcolm Cameron, when the latter attacked the Liberal Government, but was defeated by a small majority. In 1859 he again contested the constituency, and was elected as Lambton's representative in Parliament. In 1861 he declined reëlection, upon the ground that business matters imperatively demanded his attention. His brother Alexander was then solicited by the Reform Party to accept nomination at the hands of the local convention. He at first refused, and the convention, having no other strong local candidate at their disposal, were about to adjourn without making any nomination. This would probably have been to throw away the seat—a contingency which it was deemed very desirable to avoid. Mr. Alexander Mackenzie accordingly signified his willingness to accept the nomination, rather than see the constituency lost to his Party. When the elections came on he was returned by a considerable majority, and upon the opening of the session, in the spring of 1862, he took his seat in the House. He has ever since represented Lambton in Parliament.

He plunged into the debates of the day at a very early period of his Parliamentary career. He soon made his mark in the House as a ready and fluent speaker, who had the political history of the country at his fingers' ends, and who was thoroughly acquainted with the requirements of the times. His speeches, though they made no pretence to impassioned flights of oratory, or even to any consummate breadth of statesmanship, were marked by earnestness and practical common sense. He displayed a wonderful altitude for dealing with matters involving a knowledge of minute and complicated details, and he was even then regarded by his fellow-members as a perambulating encyclopædia of Canadian statistics. The Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte Administration came into power at that time, and received from Mr. Mackenzie a general support. He earnestlyPg 249 supported the Ministry which succeeded, under the leadership of Messrs. Macdonald and Dorion. When the dead-lock ensued he was one of the most earnest advocates of Confederation. As the leader of his own section, he opposed the policy of the Reform Party when they induced Mr. Brown to accept office in the Coalition Government of 1864; but as his views were entertained by a small minority only of the members of the Liberal side of the House, he reluctantly withdrew his opposition. Upon Mr. Brown's resignation, in December, 1865, Mr. Mackenzie was invited to enter the Cabinet himself, as President of the Council, but this he declined to do, as he was in perfect sympathy with Mr. Brown's retirement, and saw no good reason for the further continuance of the Coalition.

At the first general election held after the accomplishment of Confederation, Mr. Brown, who had theretofore been the leader of the Liberal Party, was defeated in South Ontario, and did not seek election elsewhere. He was consequently not in a position to continue the leadership, and Mr. Mackenzie was fixed upon as his successor. He was not formally elected to that position until some time afterwards, but he was practically the leader of the Liberal Party, from, the time when the first Parliament met under Confederation down to the time of his resignation a few weeks ago.

At the Ontario elections held in March, 1871, Mr. Mackenzie, in response to urgent solicitations, consented to contest the West Riding of Middlesex with the local candidate, Mr. Currie. He came out of the contest successfully, and upon the assembling of the House in the following December he powerfully seconded Mr. Blake's assaults upon the existing Local Government. That Government fell, and gave place to a new one under Mr. Blake's leadership. Mr. Mackenzie took office in the new Ministry as Provincial Secretary. He soon afterwards accepted the portfolio of Provincial Treasurer. In the discharge of the duties incidental to the last named office, his wide and comprehensive knowledge of the resources and fiscal condition of Ontario stood him in good stead, and his tenure of office was eminently beneficial to the Province. His Budget Speech, delivered during the session of 1872, was pronounced to be a clear and masterly exposition of the state of Provincial finance, even by those who had been accustomed to listen to, and pass judgment upon, the financial speeches of the Hon. E. B. Wood.

Mr. Mackenzie, however, did not long continue to hold office in the Local Government, nor did he long remain a member of the Ontario Legislature. He had entered that Body for the avowed purpose of assisting in the defeat of the Coalition Government, and this object being accomplished he left it. In the month of October, 1872, both he and Mr. Blake resigned their places and their seats, in order to devote themselves exclusively to Dominion politics in the House of Commons at Ottawa. It will be understood that those were the days when dual representation was permitted, and that Mr. Mackenzie had never ceased to represent the county of Lambton in the Dominion Parliament. There, as we have seen, he continued to lead the Liberal Party while it remained in Opposition. On the 5th of November, 1873, as everyone remembers, Sir John Macdonald's Government fell, in consequence of the Pacific Scandal disclosures. Lord Dufferin at once sent for Mr. Mackenzie, who, two days afterwards, announced that he had been successful in forming a new Ministry. This, the first Reform Ministry under Confederation was composed of the following members: Alexander Mackenzie, Minister of Public Works (Premier); Antoine A. Dorion, Q.C., Minister of Justice; Edward Blake, Q.C., without portfolio; Albert J. Smith, Q.C., Minister of MarinePg 250 and Fisheries; Luc Letellier de St. Just, Minister of Agriculture; Richard J. Cartwright, Minister of Finance; David Laird, Minister of the Interior; David Christie, Secretary of State; Isaac Burpee, Minister of Customs; Donald A. Macdonald, Postmaster-General; Thomas Coffin, Receiver-General; Telesphore Fournier, Q.C., Minister of Inland Revenue; William Ross, Minister of Militia and Defence; Richard W. Scott, Q.C., without portfolio. This Ministry from time to time underwent various modifications, but its policy remained unchanged throughout the whole term of its existence, which was of about five years' duration. Its “platform” was pretty clearly laid down by Mr. Mackenzie, in expounding his own views and opinions to the electors at Sarnia and elsewhere, when he returned to his constituents for reëlection. They are still fresh in the public memory, and need not be quoted here. The best evidence of his sincerity was afforded by the legislation which marked his tenure of office, as well as by the administrative reforms which were accomplished during that period. The bitterest of Mr. Mackenzie's opponents will not deny that he was a conscientious and exceptionally hard-working official, and that his Government contrived to get through an amount of important legislation almost unique in our political annals. A mere enumeration of the titles of the more important measures which were placed on the statute-hook during his tenure of office would occupy more space than can appropriately be spared for such a purpose in these pages. A few of them, however, stand out in such bold relief that they ought not to be passed over without mention. The General Election Law, passed during the first session, introduced vote by ballot, and abolished the property qualification for members. The Controverted Elections Act; the new Postal Act; the General Insurance Act; the Independence of Parliament Act; the Public Accounts Audit Act, which places the Auditor beyond the control of the Ministers of the day; the Canada Temperance Act; the Homestead Exemption Act; the Petition of Right Act; the Acts relating to Criminal and Railway Statistics; the Act relating to Extradition of Criminals; the new Canadian Pacific Railway Act; the Tariff and Customs Revision Acts; the Militia Act; the Acts organizing the North-West Territory, and providing for the administration of justice therein; the Maritime Court Act for internal waters; the Supreme Court Act;—these are merely a few among many important measures for which Canada is indebted to the statesmanship of Mr. Mackenzie's Government. The Premier's own Department was managed like clock-work, and of course involved a great amount of toilsome and severe labour. His work, however, was not confined to his own Department, and his hand is discernible in nearly every important Act which was passed, and in nearly every important negotiation which took place, during his term of office. The Riel Amnesty, and the New Brunswick school question, both of which for a time threatened to produce grave consequences, were satisfactorily adjusted, mainly through the agency of Mr. Mackenzie himself. He also devoted a great deal of attention to the question of Immigration, and to the construction of the Intercolonial Railway.

Our sketch of the work of Mr. Mackenzie's Administration would be very incomplete if we failed to refer to two subjects of great importance on which decisive action was taken. The Royal Instructions and Commission under which Lord Dufferin and previous Governors-General, acted were wholly inconsistent with some provisions of the Constitutional Act of 1867; and still more inconsistent with the spirit and principles of Responsible Government supposed to exist in full force in this country. LordPg 251 Kimberly, in a formal despatch, laid down the principle that Lord Dufferin might, when he thought proper, act without the advice of his ministers. The Royal Instructions directed him “to extend or to withhold a pardon or reprieve according to (his) your own deliberate judgment, whether the members of our said Privy Council concur therein or otherwise.” Such principles could not obtain the assent of a Liberal Government in Canada, however applicable they might be to a Crown Colony. Mr. Mackenzie's Government insisted upon the full application of the principles of constitutional freedom of action; that the Governor-General in Council and the Parliament of Canada should have the same duties and responsibilities to the people of Canada that the Queen, her Ministers and Parliament have to the people of England in all matters relating to internal administration; and that the powers of legislation given by the Constitutional Act could not and should not be fettered or impeded by any instructions from the Imperial Government to the Governor-General. The result of many personal and written communications was that the contentions of the Canadian Government were at last conceded. Anyone may, by contrasting the Royal Instructions issued to Lord Lorne with those issued to his predecessors, see how satisfactory to Canadian pride their present position is toward the Home Government, as compared to what formerly was tolerated. The other important subject to which we have alluded is the relations of Canada to negotiations with foreign countries in matters exclusively affecting Canadian interests. Mr. Mackenzie always held that such interests should be dealt with by Canadian diplomats. In pursuance of this view he procured the appointment of the Hon. George Brown in 1874 as joint plenipotentiary with Sir Edward Thornton, for negotiating a new commercial treaty with the United States. In 1877, when the Fishery Commission under the treaty of 1871 was about to be organized, the British Government desired to appoint an English Commissioner to represent Canada (nominally Britain), and named the intended Commissioner to the Canadian Government. Mr. Mackenzie promptly refused his assent, and insisted on the right of the Canadian Government to name the Commissioner to be appointed. The Imperial Government ultimately yielded, the result being that Sir A. T. Galt was appointed: that the Canadian Government controlled the negotiation; and that, for the first time, British (in this case purely Canadian) interests succeeded against the usual United States diplomacy.

During the summer of 1875, Mr. Mackenzie for the first time returned to his native land, which he had left thirty-three years before, and paid a visit to the home of his boyhood at Logierait. He had left it, full of hope and self-confidence, perhaps, but with little or no substantial wealth, with a limited education, and with no prospects in life except such as he might create for himself by virtue of his own ability and force of character. He returned with all the honour which attaches to a successful man: to a man whose success has been exceptionally great, but not more than commensurate with his deserts. He had left his home to seek employment as a stonemason, thankful if he could, by dint of steady, honest, patient manual labour, earn sufficient to maintain himself respectably in life. He returned as an eminent if not a wealthy man; as a man honoured and respected by thousands who had never seen his face; and as the first Minister of a vast Dominion embracing nearly half a continent. Upon reaching London he was welcomed in such fashion as might well have turned a weaker head, and was received with honour at Windsor Castle as the guest of Her Majesty. Mr. Mackenzie, however, while he doubtless appreciatedPg 252 the honours which were showered upon him from every quarter, kept his soul above tinsel, and thought neither more nor less of himself than he had been accustomed to think when he was doing his duty in a much humbler sphere. After attending to the official business which called him to England, and making the acquaintance of many of the leading statesmen of Great Britain, he turned his steps northward, and in due time reached his native Highlands. His old school-fellows and fellow-countrymen in Perthshire welcomed him in true Highland style, and were unable to sufficiently express their delight at his visit. The demonstration in his honour at Dunkeld and Logierait were such as to live for years in the memory of those who took part in them; and the presentation to him of the freedom of the city of Perth and of the towns of Dundee and Irvine by the local magistrates, the public receptions at Dundee, Greenock, Perth, Ayrshire, and elsewhere, were honours of which any subject of Her Majesty, however high his position or eminent his services, might well have been proud. In all the varied and somewhat trying positions in which he was placed, Mr. Mackenzie bore himself with modest dignity and self-respect, and his utterances were characterized by good sense and taste. His reply to an address presented to him by the workingmen of Dundee was especially noteworthy for its genuine manhood and the honourable independence of its tone. “I think,” said Mr. Mackenzie, “that workingmen in Britain, as well as in the colonies, do not do themselves justice when they believe that the highest political positions are shut out from them by reason of social distinctions. For my own part, I never allude to the fact that I am or have been a workingman as a reason why I should be rejected or why I should be accepted. I base my entire claim for public confidence upon the expressions of opinion which I believe command public confidence, and upon the result of those principles of which I have been a humble advocate for many years.... I have believed, and I now believe, in the extinction of all class legislation, and of all legislation which tends to promote any body of men, or any class of men, from the mere fact of their belonging to a class of a higher position non-politically than any other class in the community. But in our great colonies, we take the ground simply and completely that every man stands equal in the eye of the law, and every man has the same opportunity, by the exercise of the talent with which God has blessed him, to rise in the world, and in the confidence of his fellow-citizens—the one quite as much as the other. Now, I am quite sure when I address so enlightened a body of men as the workingmen of Dundee.... I can address them believing that I shall find a full response in their hearts to the opinions I utter when I press upon them the necessity that they shall assume an erect and proud position, that they shall respect their own manhood, and they shall soon compel other people to respect them.” These are the very sentiments of Robert Burns, couched in less impassioned but equally unmistakable language. It is the old story of

“Rank is but the guinea-stamp;
The man's the gowd, for a' that.”

Soon after making this speech, Mr. Mackenzie was received in the land of Burns itself—at Irvine, where he had once wrought at his trade, and where he had first made a public religious profession. He was presented with the freedom of the burgh, and attended a soirée in the little church in which he had been baptized.

Upon returning to Canada he was received with an enthusiasm not less pronounced than had attended him during his visit to his native land. He was received at the capital with a positive ovation, not by thePg 253 members of his own Party alone, but by many pronounced Conservatives.

During the summer of 1878 Mr. Mackenzie, in common with other prominent members of the Reform Party, made several progresses through various districts of the country, and addressed large audiences on the principal topics of the day. His addresses on these occasions were marked by the same qualities which have always characterized his speeches in Parliament—a firm grasp of the situation, and a most comprehensive knowledge of minute details. As the event proved, however, the people were desirous of a change. The trade of the country was in a very depressed state. The opponents of Mr. Mackenzie made the most of this depression, and held out promises of a more prosperous state of things in the event of the return of their Party to power. The result of the elections held on the 17th of September, 1878, was the return of a considerable majority hostile to Mr. Mackenzie's Ministry. The chief issue was the National Policy, the merits of which the public are better able to appreciate at the present day than they were two years ago. At any rate, the people pronounced strongly in its favour, and on the 10th of October following Mr. Mackenzie's Cabinet resigned. Mr. Mackenzie in thus resigning immediately after the elections, instead of waiting for the meeting of Parliament, adopted an unusual course; but he had two examples to follow—that of Mr. Disraeli in 1868, and that of Mr. Gladstone in 1874. This course seemed to him to be the bold and correct one, and has since been adopted by Lord Beaconsfield. Lord Dufferin at once sent for Sir John Macdonald, who soon formed a Government which still holds the reins of power at Ottawa. Upon retiring from office Mr. Mackenzie resumed his old place as leader of the Opposition, which he continued to hold until the end of April last, when he resigned, and the Hon. Edward Blake succeeded to the position.

The immense amount of labour entailed upon Mr. Mackenzie during his tenure of office as head of a hard-worked Department, and as administrator during much of that time of one or more other Departments, added to the fatigue incidental to the hard-fought election campaign of 1878, were not without effect upon his physical health, though he never broke down under the great strain upon him, and he has since in great measure renewed his wonted vigour and elasticity. Though he is no longer saddled with the multifarious cares incidental to the position of leader of his Party, his zest for public life has undergone no abatement, and a long and useful Parliamentary career is still open to him. His resignation of the leadership has in no way lessened his importance to his party, or his popularity among the members of the House. The high estimation in which he is held in his own constituency is sufficiently attested by the fact that on two occasions when he presented himself for reëlection he was returned by acclamation.

Mr. Mackenzie has only one child, a daughter, by his first wife, who is married to the Rev. John Thompson, Presbyterian Minister, of Sarnia.

Since his retirement from the leadership of the Opposition Mr. Mackenzie has devoted the greater part of his time to conducting the affairs of the Sovereign—formerly called the Isolated Risk and Farmers'—Fire Insurance Company, of which he has for many years been the President and principal Director.


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Thomas Moss, the present Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Ontario, was born at Cobourg, Upper Canada, on the 20th of August, 1836. His father, the late Mr. John Moss, at the time of his son's birth carried on business as a brewer at Cobourg, but subsequently removed to Toronto, where he continued to reside until his death. The latter was a staunch Conservative in politics in those days, and a supporter of the old Family Compact policy. Later in life he seems to have inclined to Liberalism. At any rate he was not so entirely eaten up by zeal for the Conservative party as to support by his vote so unconstitutional a proceeding as the Double Shuffle of 1858. He at that time resided in West Toronto, and for the first time in his life recorded a vote for the Reform candidate, the late Mr. George Brown. Mr. Moss was a successful man in business matters, had a large fund of shrewd, practical common sense, and enjoyed the confidence and respect of a wide circle of friends. He died at his home in Toronto, on the 26th of April, 1870.

Thomas Moss
Thomas Moss.
Lith. by Rolph Smith Ltd Toronto from Photo by Notman & Fraser

His eldest son, the subject of this sketch, when a child attended the public schools in his native town, and was even then remarkable for his intellectual precocity and the extent of his knowledge. For the greater part of his early educational training, however, he was indebted to his paternal grandfather, who resided with the family, and took great pains in directing his studies in English grammar, arithmetic, and the ordinary branches of a rudimentary education. Young Thomas Moss was a remarkably diligent student, as well as a persistent and omnivorous reader of miscellaneous literature. He was endowed with an unusually capacious and retentive memory, and by the circle of his acquaintances he was looked upon as a sort of youthful prodigy. His appetite for learning seemed to grow by what it fed upon, and when he was ten years of age he was intellectually as old as most well-educated boys of fifteen. His persistent studies, however, did not retard his physical vigour, and did not even prevent him from keenly enjoying the ordinary sports and amusements of boyhood. He was fond of athletics, and was known as an expert and enthusiastic cricketer. In the month of November, 1846, when he was ten years of age, his parents removed to Toronto, and he soon afterwards entered as a student at Gale's Institute, which subsequently developed into Knox College. After remaining as a student at that establishment nearly two years, he entered Upper Canada College in the fourth form. In the autumn of 1854 he matriculated at the University of Toronto, and continued his attendance there for four years. His educational career was marked by boundless industry, and by very unusual proficiency. In addition to his scholastic achievements Pg 255he was a prominent member of the University Literary and Debating Society, and his speeches were marked by a maturity of thought and a chasteness of diction such as are not often found associated with a young man in his teens. When he graduated in 1858, he took triple first-class honours, and won the gold medal respectively in classics, mathematics, and modern languages. A year later, in 1859, he graduated as M.A., and wrote the prize thesis of the year. He was by this time known far and wide as one of the most brilliant young men in the country, and it was sufficiently apparent to all who knew him that he was destined to fill a high position in whatsoever calling he might adopt. In the month of September, 1860, during the visit of the Prince of Wales to Toronto, Mr. Moss was presented to His Royal Highness as the most distinguished Alumnus of his University. It is a circumstance worth noting, that neither then nor at any subsequent period have the high honours awarded to Mr. Moss excited any feeling of envy or jealousy on the part of his competitors in the race for distinction. All his advancements have been accepted as fitting tributes to precocious intellect, wide and various attainments, and a personal character of great amiability.

Immediately after obtaining his Bachelor's degree he began the study of the law, and served the first two years of the term of his articles in the office of Mr. Adam Crooks, the present Minister of Education for Ontario. Mr. Crooks was at that time in partnership with Mr. Hector Cameron, the style of the firm being Crooks & Cameron. Upon the dissolution of the firm, Mr. Moss's articles were assigned to Mr. Hector Cameron, with whom he remained until the completion of his term of study. In Michaelmas Term, 1861, he was called to the Bar of Upper Canada, and soon afterwards entered into partnership with his former principal, Mr. Cameron. Several years later he formed a partnership with the Hon. James Patton and Mr. Featherston (now Mr. Justice) Osler. This firm, under the name of Patton, Osler & Moss, speedily became known as one of the most prominent legal firms in the country. At the Bar, Mr. Moss's career was as exceptionally brilliant as it had been at the University, and from the time of holding his first brief it was evident to the entire profession that the sanguine expectations formed of him would be fully realized. Pitted against the ablest members of the Upper Canadian Bar—men much older and more experienced than himself—Mr. Moss never failed to hold his own, and to extort the ungrudging admiration of both judges and juries. Early in his professional career he was appointed Equity Lecturer to the Law Society at Osgoode Hall, and Registrar to the University of Toronto.

In July, 1803, Mr. Moss married Amy, eldest daughter of the late Hon. Robert Baldwin Sullivan, who is still remembered by Canadians who have passed middle age as a bright ornament both of Bench and Bar in his day and generation. In 1871 Mr. Moss was elected as a Bencher of the Law Society, and during the following year was created a Queen's Counsel. Early in 1872 he was appointed a member of the Law Reform Commission to inquire into the expediency of amalgamating the Courts of Common Law and Equity in this Province. About the same time he was offered a seat on the Judicial Bench as one of the Vice-Chancellors, but did not think proper to accept the dignity. In the autumn of 1873, upon the fall of Sir John Macdonald's Government, Mr. Moss for the first time entered the field of politics. He had always had a leaning towards the Reform Party, but had up to this period found little leisure for political matters, having always a very large professional business, and having otherPg 256 duties which engrossed much of his time. The crisis, however, was such that he considered it his duty to respond to the pressing solicitations of his friends, and to serve his country in a legislative capacity. He was elected to a seat in the House of Commons as member for the Western Division of Toronto, and upon first taking his seat made a speech which has been characterized as one of the most brilliant and masterly efforts ever heard within the walls of a Canadian Parliament. He continued to sit for West Toronto until the month of October, 1875, when he was appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal. In 1874 he was elected Vice-Chancellor of the University of Toronto, a position which he still holds, having been twice reëlected. Upon the death of Chief Justice Draper, in November, 1877, Mr. Moss succeeded him in his high office, and thus attained, at the early age of forty-one years, the most exalted position attainable in this Province by a member of the legal profession.


1 See The Irishman in Canada, p. 488.

2 It is but justice, however, to the Legislative Council of Lower Canada to say that, on more than one occasion, in those times of political tumult, the refusal of that body to yield to the Legislative Assembly was the means of preserving British connection, and of preventing the interests of the British minority from being sacrificed.

3 The italics and small capitals are in the original.

4 The tuque bleu is the blue woollen night-cap, the distinctive national head-dress of the habitants.

5 See The First Bishop of Toronto: a Review and a Study. Toronto, 1868.

6 See The Bystander for January, 1886, p. 15.

7 See the Weekly Globe, February 11th, 1876.

8 This inscription is not quite accurate. General Brock had completed his forty-third year on the 6th of October, exactly one week before his death.

9 The Senecas were one of the Five Nations composing the redoubtable Iroquois Confederacy. The Tuscaroras joined the League in 1715, and is subsequently known in history as the “Six Nations.”

10 In this year, Eustache, son of Abraham and Margaret Martin, the first child of European parentage born in Canada, was born at Quebec.

11 This fort was still occupied by British troops, but it was well understood that it would shortly be surrendered. The surrender took place under Jay's Treaty on the 1st of June, 1796.

12 The isthmus has long since been washed away by the action of the waves, and the peninsula has become an island.

13 This gentleman's name is familiar to all Toronto lawyers and others who have had occasion to examine old surveys of the land hereabouts. He subsequently married the daughter of an Indian Chief, and the Rev. Peter Jones, the Indian Wesleyan missionary, was one of the fruits of this marriage.

14 The street referred to is, of course, Simcoe Street. It may be added that John street was also named after him.

15 These facts, which are of a somewhat peculiar and interesting nature, will be given in the sketch of Mr. Bidwell's life, to be included in the present series.

16 Authorities are all but unanimous in placing this date a year later—i.e., on the 2nd of January, 1727. Even the standard biography of Wolfe (Wright's) repeats the error. That it is an error becomes apparent when we learn that he was baptized at twenty days old, and that the parish register shows this ceremony to have taken place on the 11th of January, 1726—the latter date being Old Style, equivalent to January 22nd, New Style. The correct date is further confirmed by the entry in the register of the baptism of his brother, Edward, who was about a year younger, and who was baptized on the 10th of January, 1727.

17 There is a story to the effect that Wolfe, on this night, composed the well-known song which bears his name, commencing: “How stands the glass around?” The story is altogether without foundation, the song having been written and published long before General Wolfe was born. The poetical talent of the family seems to have been confined to the Irish branch, one of the members whereof, the Rev. Charles Wolfe, subsequently won immortality by a single short poem, “The Burial of Sir John Moore.”

18 There are various accounts extant of this closing scene in Wolfe's life, all professing to come more or less directly from eye-witnesses. No two of them agree in all points, and one of them states that the General never uttered a syllable after he was carried to the rear. The above is the version generally accepted by historians, and is supported by the testimony of the most trustworthy of those who were present at the scene.

19 The portrait of this lady confided by Wolfe to John Jervis on the night of the 12th of September was subsequently delivered to her, and she wore it in memory of her dead hero until her marriage, nearly six years afterwards, to Harry, Sixth and last Duke of Bolton. She survived until 1809, when she died at her mansion in Grosvenor Square, London, at the age of seventy-five.

20 See “The Political History of Canada, between 1840 and 1855,” by the Hon. Sir Francis Hincks. Montreal, 1877.


Tadousac is an older spelling of Tadoussac, and I have left the archaic spelling. Corrected all instances of mispelling of Sir Allan Macnab, there were several instances of spelling Macnabb.

[End of The Canadian Portrait Gallery: Volume I by John Charles Dent]