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Title: Portraits of British Americans (1865-68) Volume 2 of 3

Date of first publication: 1867

Author: Fennings Taylor (1817-1882)

Illustrator: William Notman (1826-1891)

Date first posted: January 8 2013

Date last updated: January 8 2013

Faded Page eBook #20130102

This eBook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, Ron Tolkien & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

(This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)














Vol. II.







Honorable Thomas D'Arcy McGee, 1
Honorable Sir Narcisse Fortunat Belleau, 29
Lieutenant-Colonel Rhodes, 39
Very Reverend John Bethune, D.D., 51
Honorable Adam Fergusson, 61
His Excellency Lieutenant-General Sir John Michel, K.C.B., 73
Honorable Alexander Tilloch Galt, 77
Reverend Henry Wilkes, D.D., 95
Colonel, The Honorable John Hamilton Gray, 111
Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Bouchette, 117
Sir William Edmond Logan, LL.D., F.R.S., F.G.S., 133
Honorable Frederick Bowker Terrington Carter, 147
Very Reverend Charles Felix Cazeau, 151
Colonel, The Honorable John Prince, 159
Honorable Sir Dominick Daly, 181
Honorable George Brown, 189
Major Campbell, C.B., 215
Honorable F. Evanturel, 223
Honorable John Young, 227
Honorable Hector Louis Langevin, 237
Honorable Jonathan Sewell, 241
Hugh Allan, Esq., 267
Honorable Joseph Ulric Tessier, LL.D., 273
Reverend Robert Burns, D.D., 279
Honorable William Hamilton Merritt, 285
Honorable Sir Allan Napier MacNab, Bart., 297
Charles Joseph Coursol, Esq., 325
Reverend Matthew Richey, D.D., 329
T. D. Harington, Esq., 337
Honorable Peter McGill, 341




Had the Honorable Thomas D'Arcy McGee lived in the middle of the sixth century he would very probably have been a member, and a very distinguished one too, of that all-powerful "Bardic Order," before whose awful anger, Mr. McGee informs us in his History of Ireland, "Kings trembled and warriors succumbed in superstitious dread." This influential order, we are elsewhere told, were "the Editors, Professors, Registrars, and Record Keepers" of those early days, the makers and masters of public opinion, whose number in the Provinces of Meath and Ulster alone, in the reign of King Hugh the second, exceeded twelve hundred. Although the subject of our sketch may neither be a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, it is not improbable that, could we trace his genealogy aright, we might discover that the trunk of his family tree is rooted and grounded in poetic earth; for his intellectual life derives no slight nourishment from the poet's heritage,—imagination and fancy. Mr. McGee's ancestors hailed originally from Ulster. It is therefore probable he descends through them from the imposing commonwealth of bards to which we have referred, and that his scholar-like forefathers must be looked for among the twelve hundred whom King Hugh impeached, but who were upheld and defended by that illustrious travel-stained saint, who, moved by a love of letters, and a schoolman's sympathies, had to that end, expressly journeyed from his sea-girt home at Icolumkill. On referring to one of the [2]larger and more perfect maps of Ireland, and looking closely along the north-eastern coast, we shall perceive situated seaward off the shore of Antrim, in the province of Ulster, and within the ancient Barony of Belfast, a small islet which bears the name of "Island Magee." This little sea-washed speck contained, according to one of the latest, if not the latest topographical survey, about seven thousand acres of the finest land in the northern part of the kingdom. Moreover, in 1837 it was peopled by no less than two thousand six hundred and ten inhabitants. In the early times, the lordship of the Island was vested in the great Ulster family of O'Neill, from whom it passed in the sixteenth century to the Macdonalds of the Antrim Glens, and in the seventeenth, by the fortune of arms, to the Chichesters, Earls of Belfast and Marquises of Donegal. From this small Island, for which the original tenants are said to have paid the annual rental of "two goshawks and a pair of gloves," (which, by the way, may have been considered enough, since, to an incredibly recent period, the Island was imagined by its inhabitants to be a theatre of sorcery,)—their descendants were almost exterminated, and wholly expelled by a force of covenanters at the time when the memorable Munroe was commander of the Parliamentary armies in Ireland. Three only of those who bore the name of Magee were said to have escaped to the mainland, and from one of those three, who we suspect must have appropriated more than his share of the sorcery, the subject of our sketch accounts himself to have directly descended.

Without dwelling further on the facts and incidents of his remote ancestry, we may mention that the Honorable Thomas D'Arcy McGee is the second son of the late Mr. James McGee, of Wexford, and of Dorcas Morgan, his wife. He was born at Carlingford, in the County of Louth, and we are enabled to add, on the 13th of April, 1825. The name of "D'Arcy," by which Mr. McGee is conventionally known, is, we have understood, derived from his[3] godfather Mr. Thomas D'Arcy, a gentleman who resided in the neighborhood of Carlingford, and, as we may infer, a personal friend of the family. Of his parents Mr. McGee is accustomed to speak with filial affection and becoming reverence, for he was early taught to "honour his father and his mother." But for the memory of the latter, whom he lost at a very early age, if we may publish in this place the observations of his most cherished friends, he entertains feelings of tender and enthusiastic admiration. Such feelings appear to be almost divinely wrought, and, like threads of gold, they beautify as well as strengthen the purest fibres of our nature. On the mind of Mr. McGee they have exerted the gentle influence of poetry as well as the holy one of love. Separate qualities, such as duty and pride, obedience and devotion, when looked at through the lens of his memory, cease to be distinct. All his recollections of his mother, though differently colored, nevertheless meet and blend harmoniously, like the soft hues of the rainbow, as in the hush of evening they silently melt in a sea of light.

No doubt there were strong intellectual affinities between the mother and her son; and this sympathetic attraction created an indelible impression on the heart of the latter. The intellectual charts of the two minds were, we are inclined to think, marked with not dissimilar lines; bold and deeply drawn in the case of the son, they were sketchily traced and delicately shaded in the instance of the mother. The subtle charm of divine poesy seems to have pervaded both; and this spell of fancy and feeling, of imagination and truth, may, in some sort, account for the magnetic attractions which governed the intercourse of the parent and child.

To talk about his mother is, as we have had occasion to observe, a source of unalloyed happiness to her son. As in a holiday in his boyhood, the acids of controversy and the sharp edges of strife give place to expressions tipped with sunshine, when his lips can be beguiled into speaking of what his heart never ceases to feel.


"My mother! at that holy name
Within my bosom there's a gush
Of feeling, which no time can tame,
A feeling which for years of fame
I would not, could not crush!"

According to his recollection of her, the subject of our sketch always alludes to his mother as a person of genius and acquirements, rare in her own or in any other class. She was endowed, as Mr. McGee is accustomed to say, with a fertile imagination as well as a cultivated mind. Nature had given her a sweet voice and an exquisite ear, and the latter prescribed exact laws to the former when, bird-like, the owner thought fit to attune that voice to song. She was fond of music, as well as of its twin sister, poetry. A diligent reader of the best books, she was also an intelligent lover of the best ballads. She liked especially those of Scotland. The poetry of common life was in her case no mere figure of speech. Through all the changes of daily duty there ran a vein of fancy, which enabled her to brighten the real with the pleasant phantasies of the ideal, and support the dark cares of the mind on the white wings of the imagination.

"Oh whar hae you been a' the day
My boy Tammie!"

were the words with which she usually greeted and welcomed her favorite child. In common with her contemporaries, the mothers of her day, we suspect she had a special liking for Home's tragedy of Douglas; and we may perhaps more easily imagine than describe her sense of pride as she listened to "Tammie's" earliest lesson in elocution. It is not difficult to see the curly-headed urchin standing on a table, and in melo-dramatic guise, with precocious effrontery informing his mother who knew better, and his mother's friends who did not believe him, that


"My name is Norval."

His mother, as we have said, was early removed from him by death. We will not speak of, since we cannot describe grief. We may, however, conjecture, since their natures and intellectual tastes were identical, that her death was like a severance of himself from himself. The great tears, however, which no doubt fell upon her grave, were neither idle nor unavailing tears, for they became as it were so many cameras through which were reflected the duties, the incidents, and the obligations of his future life. Thus at the age of seventeen we find D'Arcy McGee had passed the shallows where timid youths bathe and shiver, and had boldly struck out into the deep sea of duty. We have no data which will enable us to bridge the time between his mother's death and his arrival on this continent; but it is not difficult to suppose that it was filled up in the manner usual to youth, with the difference only of a greater amount of application and a higher range of study. On arriving at Boston, he became almost immediately connected with the press of that city. Kind fortune seemed to befriend him; for his lot appeared to be cast in, what was at that time, as perhaps it still is, the intellectual capital of the United States—the forcing-house of its fanaticism, and the favored seats of its scholarship. Thus it was that D'Arcy McGee, the youth hungry and thirsty for knowledge and fame, found himself a resident of the New England States capital, with access to the best public libraries on this side of the Atlantic, and within reach of the best public lecturers on literary and scientific subjects. For at that day Emerson, Giles, (the county and countryman of the subject of our sketch,) Whipple, Chapin and Brownson, lived in that city or in its vicinity. It was moreover the residence of Channing, Bancroft, Eastburn, Prescott, Ticknor, Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes, and others, whose influence should have purified the moral atmosphere, and have made Boston to others, what we suppose it must have been to them, an appreciative and congenial home. It is not difficult t[6]o imagine, from what we know and can observe of his mature manhood, that D'Arcy McGee, the impulsive Irish lad, overflowing with exuberant good nature and untiring industry, with his full heart and active brain, soon found his way into meetings where learned men delivered lectures, or among the booksellers, whose shops such celebrities frequented. Neither is it a matter for surprize that he early attracted the notice of several of their number. Opportunities of speaking publicly are by no means uncommon in the United States, and we should imagine that Boston contained a great many nurseries, under different names, where the alphabet of the art could be acquired. Whether the scholar progresses beyond his letters depends very much on the furnishing of his mind. The nerve and knack may be got by practice, but the prime condition,—having something to say,—must spring from exact thought, and severe study. We have every reason to believe that the subject of our sketch, even in his early youth, observed that condition; but we have no means of knowing where or in what way he acquired the fluent habit of graceful and polished oratory. For since he was enthroned on his mother's tea-table, and declared to listening friends that his name was "Norval," we have been unable to discover any intermediate audience between his select one at Carlingford, and his scientific one at Boston. Strange as it may seem, it is we believe, no less true than strange, that during his sojourn at Boston, between the years 1842 and 1845, when between the ages of seventeen and twenty, he had actually made his mark as a public speaker. Nor was it, we believe, denied that the audacious youth, though contemptuously styled, "Greenhorn," and "Paddy-boy," very fairly held his own with men who never were "green" and who had long ceased to be "boys." It may be observed in passing that the "Know-nothing" party, which has since then acquired consistency and influence, was, in its incipient shape, discernible at that day under the name of the Anti-foreign party, a party which Mr. McGee could not do otherwise than criticise with severity and oppose with[7] vehemence.

At the period we refer to, the "Lyceum System" as it has been termed, spread itself over the New England States. People desired to receive knowledge distilled through the brains of their neighbors. Lecturers were at a premium; and youth forestalled time by discoursing of wisdom, irrespective of experience. Thus it was that Mr. McGee, with a boy's down on his chin, and with whiskers in embryo, itinerated among our neighbors, and gave them the advantage of listening to a youthful lecturer, discoursing, we must be permitted to think, on aged subjects. What those subjects may have been we cannot conjecture; but we have little doubt that the reminiscences of Mr. McGee's lecturing life in those days are full of amusing as well as of instructive incident; for the period is, we think, coeval with a transition phase not only of the Irish, but of the American mind.

Mixing, as he necessarily must have done, with all sorts and conditions of men, it was impossible that Mr. McGee should not have formed many acquaintances more or less valuable, and some friendships, it may be, beyond price. Among the latter it is his practice to make grateful mention of Mr. Grattan, then Her Majesty's Consul at Boston. Besides a name historically eloquent which he inherited, that gentlemen, it is said, possessed great intellectual acquirements as well as personal gifts. In the latter were included a kindly disposition and a cordial manner. It was therefore natural enough that he should have taken a warm interest in his enthusiastic countryman, and that from the treasury of his own experience he should have given the young writer and lecturer many valuable hints on the style and structure of literary work. Thus it chanced that the wise counsellor and the kind friend meeting in the same person, exerted no inconsiderable influence on the young enthusiast. Mr. Grattan's sympathies fell upon an appreciative mind; for Mr. McGee always speaks of his character with admiration and of his services with gratitude.


A new page in the eventful life of the subject of our sketch was however about to be opened. The obscure lad who had turned his back upon Ireland was about to be beckoned home again by the country he had left. The circumstances, apart from their political significance, were in the highest degree complimentary to one who at the time was not "out of his teens." An article, written by Mr. McGee, on an Irish subject, in a Boston newspaper, having attracted the attention of the late Mr. O'Connell, the former received early in the year 1845, a very handsome offer from the proprietors of the "Freeman's Journal," a Dublin daily paper, for his editorial services. This proposal he accepted, and hence his personal participation in the Irish politics of the eventful years which commenced then and ended in 1848. Ardent by temperament, and enthusiastic by disposition, it was almost impossible for Mr. McGee to keep within the bounds of moral force which Mr. O'Connell had prescribed, and which the newspaper he served was instructed to advocate. Mr. McGee felt that such fetters galled him, and he became impatient under their restraint. The habit of maintaining his own convictions was, and is, a necessity of his condition. Following the lead of his feelings, he determined at all hazards to associate himself with the more advanced and enthusiastic section of the liberal party, then known by the name of "Young Ireland." This section or coterie, for it was scarcely a party, possessed many attractions for such an adherent. Besides the name, and the bright, alluring, misleading quality of youth, which that name symbolized and expressed, the coterie was made up of those many-hued forms of intellectual mosaic work which men generally admire and rarely trust; very charming in our sight and very perishable in our service. It was composed, at least at first, almost altogether of young barristers, young doctors, young college men and young journalists, most of them under thirty, and many under twenty-five years of age. Mr. McGee was probably their most youthful member, for when his association with them commenced he was not of age. Of[9] such hot blood was the "Young Ireland" party compounded, that little surprise was occasioned, and none was expressed, when its mischievous revels were broken up by the riot act. If we understand the history of those times aright, the policy of moral force which had guided O'Connell was not, in the first instance, discarded by his younger and more ardent disciples. They wished to accomplish the purpose of "The Liberator," only they desired to shorten the time and accelerate the speed of the operation. They thought that O'Connell was "old and slow." They felt that they were young and active. In their minds the rivalry between age and youth was renewed, provoking the old issues and re-enacting the old results. Keeping in view the great end which they had set themselves to accomplish, they nevertheless sought, in the first instance, to move by literary rather than by political appliances. Accordingly they planned, among other works, a series of stirring shilling volumes for the people, entitled the "Library of Ireland." The famine of 1847 extinguished the enterprize, but not until twenty volumes of this new National Library had been published. Of the above number Mr. McGee was the author of two. One, a series of biographies of illustrious Irishmen of the seventeenth century, and the other a memoir of "Art. McMurrough," a half forgotten Irish king of the fourteenth century. Of course, works published under such circumstances, and forming parts of such a series, would at first, at all events, be well received and widely circulated; but their merits could not have been of a mere evanescent character, for we are credibly informed that now, after a period of twenty years, the books we have mentioned still retain their popularity.

Mr. McGee, if we remember aright, has somewhere said, with respect to the transactions of those times, that "Young Ireland," not content to restore the past, endeavoured to re-enact it; not content to write history, tried, to use a familiar phrase of Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald's, to "make it;" and we have little doubt, could we see the intellectual machinery which preceded those[10] events, we should discover that none more than Mr. McGee have assiduously labored to manufacture history.

The coterie grew into a confederation of which Mr. McGee was, we believe, the chief promoter and the chosen secretary. It was not without adherents, neither was it without attraction, and especially to the class, a by no means inconsiderable one, whose judgment is controlled by their imagination, and who seem to think that feeling and wisdom are identical qualities. We decline to indicate those transactions by any particular name. We all know that they were failures, and since time tempers judgment, we venture to believe that the actors of that day concur with the critics of the present time in thinking that they were follies. The most stirring among the many impassioned "Songs of the Nation,"—"Who fears to speak of '98"—showed alike the genius, the courage, and the credulity of "Young Ireland" of '48. The Irish politics of fifty years since were no more worthy of recall than was the Irish policy of two hundred years since. Young Ireland should not, we venture to think, have invoked the embarrassing memories of the past, if it wished to make old Ireland new. It was an error in time, an error in judgment, and an error in sense, which, fortunately for all, contained within itself the germ of inevitable failure.

While England, through her press and in her Parliament, scouted the policy and punished its principal exponents, she did not fail very generously to acknowledge the unquestionable talent and outspoken honesty of that earnest and ill-fated party. We all know what followed. Some of the leaders were sent into penal exile, while others, including the subject of our sketch, found safety in voluntary expatriation. Thus it was that, heated and excited by the strife, angered and disappointed at the issue, Mr. McGee for a second time landed in the United States. As before, his occupations were those of a journalist and a lecturer, for it is his pleasure to live by the sweat of his brain. Between the close of 1848 and the commencement of 1857, he published two newspapers, "The[11] New York Nation," and the "American Celt." It was, of course, natural, all the circumstances considered, that the inclination of his mind should have been violently and from the force of recent discipline, bitterly hostile to the Government of Great Britain. Many will remember, not from the papers themselves, for they had but a small circulation in the Provinces, but from extracts which found a place in several of the Canadian journals, how fiercely and bitterly anti-English his political writings were. But while admitting the exaggerated rancour which characterized his words, it will undoubtedly be allowed that time and the opportunity for closer observation produced their usual influence on his instructed mind. His fierce anger towards Great Britain gradually disappeared. His excited temper, like the evil spirit of the son of Kish, was exorcised, if not by the spell of music, at least by the force of acquired truth and the sense of obvious wrong. The book of remembrance and the book of experience were before him. He could read their letter-press and criticise their illustrations. He could see his countrymen under British and his countrymen under American rule. He could look from that picture to this, from Monarchical England to Republican America, and with all the imperfections of the former, he would probably express his judgment of the contrast in the words of the Prince of Denmark, that taken all in all "it was Hyperion to a Satyr."

We could not, even in the cursory sketch which our limited space will permit us to make, pass over in silence Mr. McGee's personal and political career previous to his residence in Canada, for a portion of that career was a prelude to, and directly connected with, its more recent sequence amongst ourselves. His occupations during that period were professedly those of an author and lecturer and only accidentally those of a politician. Those occupations were marked with many errors and crossed with many vicissitudes. Still it must be allowed that if one of his ardent temperament and peculiar position succeeded in avoiding misfortune, he coul[12]d hardly be expected to escape mistakes. An Irishman by birth, a Roman Catholic by parentage, passionately attached to his race, and devoutly loyal to his religion, he was from the very outset of his career remarkable for the courageous spirit of independence with which he formed and maintained his opinions, no matter whether the subject on which he adventured them was political, historical, or social. A stanza selected from one of his Canadian ballads illustrates this phase of his character, and supplies a key note to his conduct:

"Let fortune frown and foes increase,
And life's long battle know no peace,
Give me to wear upon my breast
The object of my early quest,
Undimm'd, unbroken, and unchang'd,
The talisman I sought and gain'd,
The jewel, Independence!"

Neither was it a mere poetical profession of faith. Mr. McGee's history very clearly shows that he had reason for his rhyme. In the very dew of his youth he maintained his political principles against such an opponent as the great O'Connell, and later still he wore his "Jewel Independence" in the presence of the late Dr. Hughes, the distinguished Archbishop of New York. It is probable that neither of those eminent men viewed with complacency what must have appeared like presumption on the part of their youthful antagonist; but it is pleasant to believe, as we have some reason to believe, that with manly generosity, they did not fail to express their respect for Mr. McGee's abilities, their appreciation of his sincerity, and their desire for his success in life.

The independence which Mr. McGee valued and apostrophized was not the independence which he found in the United States. His second sojourn in that country thoroughly disenchanted him. His early admiration paled before his later experience. The homœopathic principle appears to be susceptible of[13] political as well as physical application, for a taste of democratic institutions cured Mr. McGee of any tendency to democracy. Neither was social life in America more attractive than political life. Both were an offence, and one was an abomination. But the double discovery was made only after a painful and protracted effort not to see it, for it was with great reluctance that his vigorous mind and a tenacious will yielded at length to such unwelcome convictions. It would be interesting to read Mr. McGee's own account of his rise and progress towards higher moral and physical latitudes, for every inch of his course might point a moral, every stage of his journey adorn a tale. They only who know with what fanatic faith the human mind will cling even to a cheat, can appreciate the wrench which follows the discovery of the cheat. No man can deliberately break his idol without some sorrowful remembrance of the thing he once thought divine. The testimony of Mr. McGee might enable us to compare the attractions of his fancy with the fallacies of his experience,—the dream-land which his imagination painted and the real land which his eyes saw.

In this interval of conflict, while fighting against himself, and by wager of battle as it were, testing the strength and quality of his principles and opinions, new light, and with it new views, from an unlooked-for quarter, seemed to cross his path. In the midst of literary work in New York he made the acquaintance of many friends in Canada. Having formed his own opinions of the people whom he had met, it was natural enough he should wish to see the country where they dwelt. Thus it was that Mr. McGee, during one summer vacation, taking a holiday after the manner of an editor, found himself writing letters to his paper from the shores of Lake Huron, at another from the solitudes of the Ottawa, and at a third from the scenic Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Provincial attractions were too much for him. He heard in the Provinces what he did not hear in the States, honest opinions openly expressed. He found in the Provinces[14] what he failed to find in the States, a tangible security for freedom. The promise of liberty was no spurious or counterfeit debenture. It was impressed with the stamp of law and endorsed with the sign-manual of authority. Whatever may have been the form of the fascination, we find that in the early part of the year 1857, after, as we have the right to suppose, a careful comparison of the two states of society, the American and the Canadian, Mr. McGee transferred, as he has somewhere said, "his household goods to the valley of the St. Lawrence," selecting the City of Montreal as the place of his abode. We may here add that the City of Montreal lost no time in returning the compliment, for on the first opportunity that city elected him as one of its representatives in Parliament, and a little later his friends and neighbours presented him with an exceedingly well-appointed homestead in one of its most eligible localities. It was a hearty Irish mode of making him welcome. Mr. McGee very modestly sought only to be a citizen of the country; his friends determined that he should be a freeman. No doubt the gift represented a great honor of no uncertain value to the object of it. But apart from such considerations, the shape which the testimonial took, soothed, and flattered Irish sentiment. If there be one form of property dearer than another to the offspring of Erin, it is that of a holding; and no matter whether it be a park or a potato patch, it is equally precious if it promotes the possessor to the condition of an estated gentleman or a landed proprietor.

The old vocation was revived in Mr. McGee's new home. To write, to print, to publish are with him not only habits of life, but they seem to be modes of enjoyment.

"The long, long weary day
Would pass in grief away,"

at least to him, if it uttered no speech from his pen, or received no thought from his brain. The time which elapsed between his arrival at Montreal, and the issue of the first number of his news[15]paper the "New Era," was brief enough; but it was nevertheless of sufficient length to enable Mr. McGee to sketch through its columns a policy which harmonized with the name of his paper. He earnestly advocated, and has continued to advocate, ever since that time, an early union of all the Colonies of British North America. In doing so, we may observe in passing he initiated a phrase as descriptive of his object, which has since become familiar alike from use and criticism, for the proposed confederacy was in his mind and writings associated with the idea of a "new nationality."

At the general election in 1858, Mr. McGee's public career in Canada commenced. He was returned to Parliament as one of the three representatives of Montreal. Whether from hereditary habit, a playful disposition, or serious thought, we know not, but on his arrival in the Province, he lost no time in declaring himself in true Hibernian style to be "against the government." And against the government he undoubtedly was during the four years of the continuance of the irritating and acrimonious sixth Parliament. Much of course was expected of him. He had a certain repute as a politician, though he was more distinctly known as a forcible writer, and a fluent speaker. Still his earlier Parliamentary efforts were, we think, followed by disappointment to those who had thought him to be capable of better and wiser things. It was observed that the subject of our sketch was an adroit master of satire, and the most active of partizan sharpshooters. Many severe, some ridiculous, and not a few savage things were said by him. Thus from his affluent treasury of caustic and bitter irony he contributed not a little to the personal and Parliamentary embarrassments of those times. Many of the speeches of that period we would rather forget than remember. Some were not complimentary to the body to which they were addressed, and some of them were not creditable to the persons by whom they were delivered. It is true that such speeches secured crowded galleries, for they were sure to be either breezy or ticklish, gusty with rage, or grinning with jests. The[16]y wore therefore the raw materials, out of which mirth is manufactured and consequently they provoked irrepressible laughter. Of course they were little calculated to elicit truth, or promote order, or attract respect to the speakers. Indeed men who were inclined to despondency affected little reserve in saying that Parliamentary government was in their opinion a failure. During his early career, Mr. McGee appeared chiefly to occupy himself in saying unpleasant and severe things. This occupation was apt to include the habit of making personal allusions the reverse of agreeable, and, as a matter of course, creating personal enmities the reverse of desirable. In truth, Mr. McGee's speeches at that time were garnished with so many merry jests, and sometimes overlaid with so much rancorous levity, that their more valuable parts were hidden from ordinary eyes, and inappreciable to ordinary minds. The cookery was too generous, the condiments were too spicy. The sauce bore to the substance about the same proportional inequality which Falstaff's "sack" did to his bread; and this deficiency of solidity was attributed by many people to an absence of intellectual property, rather than to an error of conventional taste. Hence arose a disposition on the part of some to underrate Mr. McGee's mental strength, and hence, too, the observation, which, however was more remarkable for glibness than accuracy, that "Mr. McGee speaks better than he reasons." Certainly the Parliamentary skirmishes of that period, though difficult to defend, were delightful to witness. Human drollery made up in some sort for human naughtiness. There were, for example, two members of that house of great ability, but very dissimilar habits of thought. They sat not far from one another, for if at that day they were not exactly "friends in council," they usually voted together. One was the present Attorney-General West, the unrivalled chief of Parliamentary debate; and the other, the present learned member for Brome, the intellectual detective of suspected fallacies. Breadth and subtlety, reason and casuistry, extensive observation and mi[17]nute knowledge, marked then as now the peculiar characters of their modes of thought. No matter, however, whether the range of their reasoning was broad or deep, horizontal or vertical, circular or lateral, profound or peculiar, it was commonly acknowledged by the subject of our sketch in a cheerful Irish way, amusing enough to the spectator, but probably not as agreeable to those who looked for grave reflections on grave thoughts. The truth is, that Mr. McGee always seemed to be, in spite of himself, either mischievous or playful; and regardless alike of the place or the occasion, he appeared to be seized with an irresistible impulse to scatter about him an uncomfortable kind of melo-dramatic spray which occasionally drifted and thickened into a rain of searching, infectious, comic banter, which, as a matter of course, amidst roars of laughter, would drown reason, logic and speech in a flood of exuberant fun. Such efforts, however, did not always succeed. Indeed, more clever than praiseworthy, they scarcely deserved success, for people do not always admire what they laugh at. Reaction follows every kind of excess. Members began to talk of decorum of debate, and the necessity of recalling the House to a state of order. None better than Mr. McGee knew that he could, if occasion needed, be grave as well as gay, wise as well as witty, serious as well as jocose. He knew that he could lead thought as well as provoke mirth. He knew that at the fitting time he could make for himself a name, and for his adopted country a place, which would attract respect and honor in both hemispheres.

Having fairly looked his work in the face, Mr. McGee would, as we might reasonably conjecture, cast about him for fitting co-operators. This portion of his public life seems to have been beset with perplexing peculiarities. With an upper-crust of paradox there must, we may suppose, have been an under-current of contradiction. As a party man, Mr. McGee chose his side, but in the presence of his declared principles and published opinions it is[18] difficult to understand by what laws his choice was determined. On his arrival in Canada, he had, for reasons which he deemed to be sufficient, declared himself to be "against the Government." Nor can it be denied that for the space of six years he proved the sincerity of his declaration. On the 20th May, 1862, the fortress which he had so persistently battered, fell, for the Cartier-Macdonald administration, which he had opposed and denounced, having been defeated on the motion for reading the Militia Bill the second time, was constrained to resign. In the Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte administration, which succeeded to power, the subject of our sketch was offered and accepted the office of the President of the Council. On the 8th of May following, on a question of want of confidence, the last mentioned administration found itself to be in a minority of five. Four days afterwards Parliament was prorogued with a view to its immediate dissolution. After the prorogation, Mr. Sandfield Macdonald, the leader of the Government, undertook the responsibility of directing what was equivalent to the very hazardous military manœuvre of changing his front in the presence of an active and sagacious enemy. No doubt he was obliged to strengthen his position, and under any circumstances his mode of doing so would be subject to criticism. He reconstructed his government, and the operation included, amongst other changes, not only the sending of his Irish forces to the rear, but of reducing them to the ranks, with the option, as it was amusingly made to appear, of being mustered out of the service. The transaction is of recent occurrence, and need not be dwelt upon. The surprize which it occasioned remains, for no very specific reasons have been given, so far as we are aware, for the course which was then pursued. That it was not taken upon the advice of the subject of our sketch, we have the best reason for thinking; for Mr. McGee took the earliest opportunity of showing, in the general election which followed, that he would not play pawn to Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's king. Rather than do so he crossed over to the enemy. The amenities of[19] political elections is a work yet to be written; when it is written, the election for Montreal, in 1863, might, we incline to think, furnish some instructive as well as amusing passages. In the session which immediately followed, Mr. McGee, on three different occasions, and with evident and unalloyed satisfaction, recorded his vote of want of confidence in the re-constructed administration of his former chief. Thus had he fairly crossed the house. He not only, and with a will, voted with the party which he had theretofore opposed, but on the late Sir E. P. Taché, in the month of March following, being called upon to form an administration, and a strong party administration too, he accepted the office of Minister of Agriculture, which he still continues to fill. People may be inclined to think, and not without some reason, that the subject of our sketch was moved in the course which he took, more by pique than by principle, and that a personal slight provoked his political defection. Without staying to discuss a question on which we are not informed we may, perhaps, be permitted to ask another, which to us, at least, appears to be still more perplexing. What were the circumstances which in the first instance separated Mr. McGee from the party of which he is now a conspicuous member? Were it not ill-mannered to pry, we might, perchance, amuse ourselves by indulging in some idle speculations, and supplement them by making some curious enquiries. If there was one question more than another with which Mr. McGee had identified his name that question was the union of all the Provinces, and as connected with, and inseparable from it, the questions of National Defence, of the Inter-Colonial Railway, and of Free Inter-Colonial trade. Happily these questions are not now the property of a party. They belong to the whole of British America, for they have been accepted by the great majority of its inhabitants, as well as by the government and people of England. Still, it should not be forgotten, that these great questions were parts of the cherished policy of the administration which Mr. McGee opposed. The [20]law which regulates political relationships is not easily adjusted, for it is not unfrequently embarrassed with vexatious personal entanglements. In the instance before us, though we may see the affront which impelled, and suspect the causes which attracted him towards his present alliance, we do not see, nor are we required to see, why he served a seven years' apprenticeship to a party whose policy, in many important particulars, was not only different from, but opposed to his own.

Passing from Mr. McGee's history as a party-man, to his opinions as a public one, we seem to emerge from a bewildering labyrinth of ill-lighted passages, into a succession of salons radiant with sunshine. We rise from what may be compared with the unseemly brawls of a parish vestry to the ennobling deliberations of a National Parliament. The vision of the "new era," which Mr. McGee, in his Montreal paper, foreshadowed in 1857, seems to have grown into shape and consistency. In an address delivered at the Temperance Hall, Halifax, in July, 1863, he thus sketches, and with a bold hand, the boundaries of British America, the Northern Empire of the future.

"A single glance at the physical geography of the whole of British America will show that it forms, quite as much in structure as in size, one of the most valuable sections of the globe. Along this eastern coast the Almighty pours the broad Gulf stream, nursed within the tropics, to temper the rigors of our air, to irrigate our 'deep sea pastures,' to combat and subdue the powerful Polar stream which would otherwise, in a single night, fill all our gulfs and harbors with a barrier of perpetual ice. Far towards the west, beyond the wonderful lakes, which excite the admiration of every traveller, the winds that lift the water-bearing clouds from the Gulf of Cortez, and waft them northward, are met by counter-currents which capsize them just where they are essential—beyond Lake Superior, on both slopes of the Rocky Mountains. These are the limits of that climate which has been so much misrepresented, a climate which rejects every pestilence, which breeds no malaria, a climate under which the oldest stationary population—the French Canadian—have multiplied without the infusion of new blood from France or elsewhere, from a stock of 80,000 in 1760 to a people of 880,000 in 1860. I need not, however, have gone so far for an illustration of the fostering effects of our climate on the European race, when I look on the sons and daughters of this peninsula—natives of the[21] soil for two, three, and four generations—when I see the lithe and manly forms on all sides, around and before me, when I see especially who they are that adorn that gallery (alluding to the ladies), the argument is over, the case is closed. If we descend from the climate to the soil, we find it sown by nature with these precious forests fitted to erect cities, to build fleets and to warm the hearts of many generations. We have the isotherm of wheat on the Red River, on the Ottawa, and on the St. John; root crops everywhere; coal in Cape Breton and on the Saskatchewan; iron with us from the St. Maurice to the Trent; in Canada the copper-bearing rocks at frequent intervals from Huron to Gaspé; gold in Columbia and Nova Scotia; salt again, and hides in the Red River region; fisheries inland and seaward unequalled. Such is a rough sketch, a rapid enumeration of the resources of this land of our children's inheritance. Now what needs it this country—with a lake and river and seaward system sufficient to accommodate all its own, and all its neighbour's commerce,—what needs such a country for its future? It needs a population sufficient in number, in spirit, and in capacity to become its masters; and this population need, as all civilized men need, religious and civil liberty, unity authority, free intercourse, commerce, security and law."

Again, in the same paper, Mr. McGee exhibits the materials whereof the new nationality shall be composed.

"I endeavour to contemplate it in the light of a future, possible, probable, and I hope to live to be able to say positive, British American Nationality. For I repeat, in the terms of the questions I asked at first, what do we need to construct such a nationality. Territory, resources by sea and land, civil and religious freedom, these we have already. Four millions we already are: four millions culled from the races that, for a thousand years, have led the van of Christendom. When the sceptre of Christian civilization trembled in the enervate grasp of the Greeks of the Lower Empire, then the Western tribes of Europe, fiery, hirsute, clamorous, but kindly, snatched at the falling prize, and placed themselves at the head of human affairs. We are the children of these fire-tried kingdom founders, of these ocean-discoverers of Western Europe. Analyze our aggregate population: we have more Saxons than Alfred had when he founded the English realm. We have more Celts than Brien had when he put his heel on the neck of Odin. We have more Normans than William had when he marshalled his invading host along the strand of Falaise. We have the laws of St. Edward and St. Louis, Magna Charta and the Roman Code. We speak the speeches of Shakespeare and Bossuet. We copy the constitution which Burke and Somers and Sidney and Sir Thomas Moore lived, or died, to secure or save. Out of these august elements, in the name of the future generations who shall inhabit all the vast regions we now call ours, I invoke the fortunate genius of an United British America, to solemnize law with the moral sanction of Religion, and to crown the fair pillar of our freedom with its only appropriate capital, lawful authority, so that hand in hand we and our[22] descendants may advance steadily to the accomplishment of a common destiny."

And at St. John, New Brunswick, in the following month of the same year, Mr. McGee says: "There are before the public men of British America, at this moment, but two courses; either to drift with the tide of democracy, or to seize the golden moment and fix for ever the monarchical character of our institutions!" "I invite," he continues "every fellow colonist who agrees with me to unite our efforts that we may give our Province the aspect of an Empire in order to exercise the influence abroad and at home to create a State, and to originate a history which the world will not willingly let die!"

In another part of the same paper, Mr. McGee very solemnly says:

"This being my general view of my own duty—my sincere slow-formed conviction of what a British American policy should be—I look forward to the time when these Provinces, once united, and increasing at an accelerated ratio, may become a Principality worthy of the acceptance of one of the Sons of that Sovereign whose reign inaugurated the firm foundation of our Colonial liberties. If I am right, the Railroad will give us union—union will give us nationality—and nationality, a Prince of the blood of our ancient Kings. These speculations on the future may be thought premature and fanciful. But what is premature in America? Propose a project which has life in it, and while still you speculate, it grows. If that way towards greatness, which I have ventured to point out to our scattered communities be practicable, I have no fear that it will not be taken even in my time. If it be not practicable, well, then, at least, I shall have this consolation, that I have invited the intelligence of these Provinces to rise above partizan contests and personal warfare to the consideration of great principles, healthful and ennobling in their discussion to the minds of men."

On the same subject, we find in a speech delivered at an earlier day in the Legislative Assembly, the following passage, in which Mr. McGee eloquently groups in one view the main points of his magnificent picture:

"I conclude, Sir, as I began, by entreating the house to believe that I have spoken without respect of persons, and with a sole single desire for the increase, prosperity, freedom and honor of this incipient Northern Nation. I call it a Northern Nation—for such it must become, if all of us do our duty to the last. Men do not talk on[23] this continent of changes wrought by centuries, but of the events of years. Men do not vegetate in this age, as they did formerly in one spot—occupying one portion. Thought out-runs the steam car, and hope out-flies the telegraph. We live more in ten years in this era than the Patriarch did in a thousand. The Patriarch might outlive the palm tree which was planted to commemorate his birth, and yet not see so many wonders as we have witnessed since the constitution we are now discussing was formed. What marvels have not been wrought in Europe and America, from 1840 to 1860? And who can say the world, or our own portion of it more particularly, is incapable of maintaining to the end of the century the ratio of the past progress? I for one cannot presume to say so. I look to the future of my adopted country with hope, though not without anxiety. I see in the not remote distance, one great nationality bound, like the shield of Achilles, by the blue rim of Ocean. I see it quartered into many communities, each disposing of its internal affairs, but all bound together by free institutions, free intercourse, and free commerce. I see within the round of that shield the peaks of the Western Mountains and the crests of the Eastern waves, the winding Assiniboine, the five-fold lakes, the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa, the Saguenay, the St. John, and the basin of Minas. By all these flowing waters in all the valleys they fertilize, in all the cities they visit in their courses, I see a generation of industrious, contented, moral men, free in name and in fact—men capable of maintaining, in peace and in war, a constitution worthy of such a country!"

There are, moreover, throughout the volume of speeches and addresses on "British American Union," passages which appear to be as reverent in their character, as they are eloquent in their language. We deeply regret that our space, and the plan of our work make it impossible for us to lighten this sketch with extensive extracts from Mr. McGee's writings. The manner, for example, in which the political and social systems of the United States re-act upon one another is frequently pointed out with graphic power. He might have, though we do not know that he has, warned his readers that liberty in America may become, for there is great danger of her becoming, a suicide; and expire wretchedly from some act of unpremeditated violence; for authority, as it has been truly said, is as necessary to the preservation of liberty as judges are to the administration of law. No violence therefore is done either to sentiment or experience in asserting, that they are most vigilant for freedom, who are most conservative of authority. After this manner Mr. McGee speaks, in closing his speech on the motion for an[24] address to Her Majesty in favor of Confederation.

"We need in these Provinces, and we can bear a large infusion of authority. I am not at all afraid this constitution errs on the side of too great conservatism, If it be found too conservative now, the downward tendency in political ideas which characterizes this democratic age is a sufficient guarantee for amendment. Its conservatism is the principle on which this instrument is strong, and worthy of the support of every colonist, and through which it will secure the warm approbation of the Imperial authorities. We have here no traditions and ancient venerable institutions—here, there are no aristocratic elements hallowed by time or bright deeds—here, every man is the first settler of the land, or removed from the first settler one or two generations at the farthest—here, we have no architectural monuments calling up old associations—here, we have none of those old popular legends and stories which in other countries have exercised a powerful share in the Government—here, every man is the son of his own works. (Hear, hear!) We have none of those influences about us which elsewhere have their effect upon Government, just as much as the invisible atmosphere itself tends to influence life, and animal and vegetable existence. This is a new land—a land of young pretensions, because it is new—because classes and systems have not had time to grow here naturally. We have no aristocracy, but of virtue and talent—which is the best aristocracy, and is the old and true meaning of the term. (Hear, hear!) There is a class of men rising in these colonies superior in many respects to others with whom they might be compared. What I should like to see is—that fair representatives of the Canadian and Acadian aristocracy should be sent to the foot of the Throne with that scheme, to obtain for it the Royal sanction—a scheme not suggested by others or imposed upon us—but one, the work of ourselves; the creation of our own intellect, and of our own free, unbiassed, untrammelled will. I should like to see our best men go there, and endeavour to have this measure carried through the Imperial Parliament—going into Her Majesty's presence, and by their manner, if not actually by their speech, saying—"During Your Majesty's reign we have had Responsible Government conceded to us; we have administered it for nearly a quarter of a century, during which we have under it doubled our population, and more than quadrupled our trade. The small colonies which your ancestors could hardly see on the map, have grown into great communities. A great danger has arisen in our near neighbourhood; over our homes a cloud hangs dark and heavy. We do not know when it may burst. With our strength we are not able to combat against the storm, but what we can do, we will do cheerfully and loyally. We want time to grow; we want more people to fill our country—more industrious families of men to develope our resources; we want to increase our prosperity; we want more extended trade and commerce; we want more land tilled—more men established through our wastes and wildernesses; we, of the British North American Provinces, want to be joined together, that if danger comes, we may support each other in the day of trial. We come to Your Majesty, wh[25]o has given us liberty, to give us unity—that we may preserve and perpetuate our freedom; and whatsoever charter, in the wisdom of your Majesty and of your Parliament you give us, we shall loyally obey and observe, as long as it is the pleasure of your Majesty, and your successors to maintain the connection between Great Britain and these Colonies."

An opponent of every kind of sectionalism, Mr. McGee is accustomed to say that he neither knows nor wishes to know where the boundary is which divides Upper from Lower Canada. To him the whole is Canada. Rather than occupy himself in discovering boundaries, he would work hard to remove the pickets which separate the British Provinces from one another that he might strengthen the barriers which protect them from the American States. He would weld them together by such bonds as love forges when he desires to fuse indissoluble ties. Therefore it is that he advocates a policy of conciliation, a policy of forbearance, a policy of defence, a policy of commerce, a policy of intercourse and intimacy, where men's thoughts should be charitable and their lives generous. He professes a statesman's anxiety not to re-enact in Canada the curses which have afflicted Ireland. With this purpose in view, it is his aim to discourage all societies whose object is politically to separate men from one another, to cast them into antagonist associations, or sort them into many-colored coteries, to breed suspicion and create enmity. He believes that there may be unity in plurality, and that the United Provinces like the United Kingdom, though made up of several races, may be tempered and welded into a State, one and indivisible.

Mr. McGee is not only a statesman and an orator—he is also, as most people are aware, a lecturer of no ordinary gifts, and an author of no ordinary ability. His range of subjects in the former character is perplexingly extensive, and suggests the notion that the nooks and crannies of his brain must be as thickly peopled with thoughts as are the tenements of the fifth and sixth wards of New York, with his ill-treated and closely-packed countrymen. To many of us it is a matter of regret that we know nothing mor[26]e of those lectures than their names.[1] With respect to Mr. McGee's works we shall in this place content ourselves with a list of their titles only.[2]

Mr. McGee left Ireland for the second time in 1848. He returned to Ireland for the second time in 1865. Between that coming and that going, his personal history had been stamped with strange vicissitudes, and his political opinions had undergone serious changes. He left Ireland because failure had waited upon folly; but then we can imagine he was oblivious to every recollection but the self-evident one of failure. He returned, too, not only because wisdom had been crowned with success, but because he could think of his previous failure, if not with complacency, at least without either regret or shame. On both occasions he was equally sincere, and perhaps even when he was most wrong he was most in earnest. It was not, however, as a private, much less as an obscure individual, that he was required to re-visit his native land. He did so by command of the Queen's representative, as a Commissioner from Canada. He did so, furthermore, as a member of the Executive Council for the purpose of joining his colleagues in conference with the representatives of Her Majesty's Government. When last in Ireland he to[27]ok the opportunity of publicly explaining to his countrymen the true position, actual and comparative, of the Irish race in America. The force and originality of the statements and opinions contained in his eloquent and celebrated Wexford speech, attracted unusual attention. The press and public men of Great Britain and Ireland had much to say of the speaker and his speech; and no wonder, for recent events have taught them, and us, that there was in what he said prophetic, as well as philosophic truth.

In his personal appearance, Mr. McGee is what our portrait represents him to be. The photographer and the sunbeam seem to have understood one another admirably, when they turned Mr. McGee upside down in the camera; for he has come out of the trial with incomparable exactness. The shadows of the outward man have been caught with felicitous accuracy. The intellectual man, if reproduced at all, must be reproduced by resorting to a process analogous to that which has been observed by the artist with respect to the physical man. Light from without enables us to see what Mr. McGee is naturally. Light from within must enable us to see what he is intellectually. The mirror work of his mind is reflected in his words, and they who would examine its brightness, must do so in the pages of his writings.

The great gifts of genius which Divine Providence occasionally bestows, are, we believe, conferred as special trusts, for special uses. The subject of our sketch may have been, perchance he was, a chosen trustee of special gifts. He works as if, within the folds of the scheme which he has set himself to accomplish, there were many purposes of wisdom and charity. Directly, he desires by means of confederation to bring about the intimate union of several Provinces. Indirectly, he desires by a policy of conciliation, to bring about the fusion of various races, and thus to supplement the law which shall create a new nation, with a policy which shall create a new nationality.

Nor are such[28] plans purposeless, or such hopes chimerical. The races which inhabit British America represent peoples whose countries are made up of various tribes and different languages. The laws of moral like those of physical gravitation have not ceased to operate. The smaller bodies will be attracted, and eventually absorbed by the larger ones. What the United Kingdom is, the United Provinces will become. The question is one of time, and not of legislation. But the process of transition to be accomplished wisely, must be accomplished without violence and especially without wrong. The pursuit of such a purpose is worthy of a Christian statesman, and a philosophic patriot. If Mr. McGee, as one of many, shall succeed in giving shape and consistency to the vision of "a fraternal era," which he has foreshadowed, which the late Sir E. P. Taché foresaw, and which the most experienced of our own statesmen are striving to bring about, many good men will envy, and all good men will praise him. If he fail, though there should be no such word as failure, his great disappointment will at all events be solaced with

"A peace above all other dignities,
A still and quiet conscience."




We read in some of those charming old nursery stories, whose scenes are laid in "Araby the blest," as well as in tales akin to them where the drama is curtained within less alluring, but at the same time more highly favored lands, that those heroes and heroines of the earlier time were accounted supremely happy as well as divinely favored who had fairies for godmothers. The subjects of such solicitude, if we recollect aright, were represented as a meritorious, rather than as a numerous class, who were remarkable for the steady resolution with which they held their own way, and advanced their own welfare. Thus, to use an adage selected from the wise sayings of the hierarchs of the mythological calendar, the fairies, like the gods, help those who help themselves. Moreover they possess the knack of doing so at the right time and in the right way. We cannot of course say that the godmother of the subject of our sketch was a fairy, neither can we say that she had foreknowledge of the honors to which the child would attain, for whom, in the dim dawn of his infancy, she made promises and assumed vows. She might paradventure have conjectured that he would reach several of the steps of distinction at which he has successively arrived; but she could scarcely have thought that an English Prince, and he the heir to the most illustrious throne in Christendom, would, in the good time coming, traverse the ocean, and in the course of a Royal progress, mark that child with his first kingly act, and thus by the ordeal of knighthood connect him with the history of his own sovereignty. If, however, there be a necessary connection between design and result, and if the latte[30]r be the natural sequence of the former, then we have some reason to suppose that the names given at his baptism, to the subject of our sketch, were not inconsiderately bestowed. Those names are not names of yesterday merely, they are nourished in classic soil. History and fable have invested them with forms of superhuman fascination. Moreover they were not more exact in their ancient meaning, than they have proved themselves to be prophetic in their modern application. The first was selected from the kingdom of flowers. In the symbolic language of that kingdom, if we are rightly instructed, it corresponds in character with the quality of self-reliance, which is particularly indicated as the occupant of the tenth phrenological compartment of the human brain. It is, moreover, of such sustaining value that in its absence, so we are told by the professors of that science, men will make but small marks in the world. The second name, which is as musical in its syllables as it is bewitching in its sense, appears to have been selected from the family of qualities. It has too, we may be allowed to think, attached itself practically as well as nominally to the owner, for his Christian names, Narcisse Fortunat, are not only poetical possessions, to some extent they represent exact properties: the first was a pledge that he should be befriended by perseverance and self-will, and the second was a promise that success and distinction should crown both.

The remote ancestor of the subject of our sketch was a native of Bordeaux, from which place he emigrated when this Province was younger, and before the triple-crossed flag floated from the Citadel. He is immediately descended from Mr. Gabriel Belleau by Marie de Kotscha Hamel, his wife. We learn further that he was born on the 20th October, 1808, and educated at the Quebec Seminary. On the 15th of September, 1835, he married Marie Remi Josette, daughter of the late L. Gauvreau, Esq., who was formerly a member of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada.[31] He was called to the bar of Lower Canada, in 1832; and we may here anticipate the course of our narrative by adding, that he was created a Queen's Counsel in 1854, and elected Batonnier of the Section of the District of Quebec, in 1857 and 1858.

For the period of seven years Sir Narcisse was a most zealous member of the Quebec City Council, and for three of those years he held the office of Mayor. It was during his mayoralty, and with the advantage of his earnest co-operation, that the city water works were commenced, by means of which an inexhaustible supply of pure water is conveyed from the picturesque Lake St. Charles to every portion of the city. To those who projected, and to those who carried out the project of the Quebec water works, too much praise can scarcely be given. The design, and the execution, though partially incomplete, are alike commendable. The citizens were so evidently impressed with the value of their practical and painstaking chief magistrate, that in 1853, on Sir Narcisse expressing his intention to retire from the City Council, he was requested to sit for his portrait, in order that his likeness might be preserved in the City Hall. From the address which accompanied the request, we may extract some of the reasons which moved the applicants in the course they took. "The great improvements made in the city, and the important public works projected, commenced, and in some instances, completed under your auspices and administration, and your abilities so liberally devoted to the public service, will sufficiently immortalize your name." And as if such language was too feeble to express their sentiments, they add: "anything which may be said further on this occasion could add nothing to the honor and distinction which you have already acquired!" We may add that seven years after his official connection with the city had passed away, those electors who in former days had supported him took the opportunity, on the occasion of his receiving the honor of knighthood, to present him with an address of hearty and cor[32]dial congratulation. We may observe in this place, that it was about the year 1852 that the much talked of North Shore Railway project took shape and consistency. The initiatory arrangements had been so far perfected as to warrant the projectors in introducing a Bill into Parliament for the incorporation of the Company, which Bill received the Royal assent on the 14th of June following. Of this Company the subject of our sketch was the first President. It is true that he held the office for a short time only, but we believe that within that period the survey and report were made, printed, and published, the localities determined on, and furthermore, that many of the municipalities along the route were authorized by the resident rate-payers, to issue debentures for the construction of the road. It may be observed, too, that in his own community Sir Narcisse has been at no time an idler. Thus we find him by profession a Barrister, by election a City Councillor, and by appointment a Militia Officer and a Magistrate; a founder of Savings Banks, an active promoter of Water Works, an indefatigable Mayor, and a diligent chairman of a Railway Company. A little later in his history we note that he was selected as one of the Provincial Commissioners to secure a proper representation of Canada at the Paris Exhibition.

But graver duties and higher honors were yet reserved for him. On the 23rd of October, 1852, Sir Narcisse was called by Royal mandamus, to the Legislative Council, and from then until now he has taken a prominent part in the proceedings of that Honorable House. On the 26th November, 1857, he was nominated Speaker, and continued to discharge the duties of that office until the 1st of August, 1858, when, on the succession of the Brown-Dorion administration to power, Sir Narcisse retired with his colleagues from the Government. Six days afterwards, on the resignation of the last-named administration, he was re-instated in his former office, the duties of which he continued to fulfil until the 20th of March, 1862, when those duties were determined by[33] limitation. On the 27th of that month, Sir Narcisse was appointed Minister of Agriculture, which appointment he held until the 20th of May following, when, on the defeat of the Cartier-Macdonald administration, he retired from office, and continued in comparative seclusion for upwards of three years.

In the year 1865, on the death of the much lamented Sir E. P. Taché, the two sections of the coalition government, of which that gallant gentleman was the popular and honored chief, were, there is reason to believe, seriously embarrassed in selecting a successor. The correspondence on the subject is of recent date, and will probably be within the recollection of most of our readers. It is enough to say that very complicated differences of opinion arose within the Cabinet, as to which of its members should succeed to the vacant place. The Government, it is thought, underwent a severe strain; so severe, indeed, that it was feared by many that a sudden as well as an angry separation of its parts was almost inevitable. Happily, however, there were patriotic and statesmanlike men in the administration, and thus a difficulty which to ordinary people, and in ordinary times, might have proved insuperable, was adroitly overcome. The policy of compromise, which commonly governs irascible republicans, is occasionally resorted to in a constitutional monarchy. In the instance under review, formidable rivalries were neutralized by doing honor to one who possessed the negative advantage of being politically unobjectionable to either party, and the positive one of occupying by the favor of Her Majesty a safe position within the calm and anchorage of politics. It is probable that such a position encourages serenity of mind, for the ability to be, as well as to feel independent of the strife and hazard of election contests, tends very much to ameliorate the acrimony of party warfare, and perhaps to increase the charitable feelings of those who are fortunate enough to be removed from its disturbing influence. Politicians of consistent conduct and even minds can well afford to wait, being assured that sooner or later[34] they will be sought for. The heat and violence of party strife is most commonly qualified and reduced by the judicious infusion of calm manners and steady habits of thought. Thus in the instance before us, Sir Narcisse, though a thorough party man, had as we conjecture, wounded neither party by the intensity of his partizanship. Having successfully ruled himself by the laws of quiet, he was alike acceptable to both parties when they were in search of an exponent of moderation. Thus moved, the administration concurred in requesting Sir Narcisse to accept the office rendered vacant by the death of Sir Etienne, and thus it is that at the present time the former is Receiver-General and Prime Minister of the Province.

In observing the historical order of our narrative, we have purposely omitted any particular reference to the most important passage in the history of the subject of our sketch, a passage which is as unique as it is noteworthy, and may therefore very properly, and perhaps most properly be separately referred to.

On the 4th of May, 1859, the following entry will be found in the Journals of the Legislative Council.

On the motion of the Honorable Mr. Vankoughnet, seconded by the Honorable Mr. Ross, it was unanimously agreed, that an humble address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen, in the following words:—


Most Gracious Sovereign:

We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Council and Commons of Canada in Provincial Parliament assembled, humbly approach your Majesty with renewed assurances of devotion and attachment to Your Royal Person and Government.

We have long hoped that Your Majesty would be graciously pleased to honor with your presence Your Majesty's subjects in British North America, and to receive the personal t[35]ribute of our unwavering attachment to your rule, and we trust that while Your Majesty's presence would still more closely unite the bonds which attach this Province to the Empire, it would gratify Your Majesty to witness the progress and prosperity of this distant part of your dominion.

The completion in the year 1860 of the Victoria Bridge, the most gigantic work of modern days, would afford to Your Majesty a fitting occasion to judge of the importance of your Provinces in Canada, while it would assure to its inhabitants the opportunity of uniting in their expressions of loyalty and attachment to the Throne and Empire.

We, therefore, most humbly pray that Your Majesty will graciously deign to be present at the opening of the Victoria Bridge, accompanied by Your Royal Consort, and such members of your august family as it may please Your Majesty to select to attend you on the occasion."

On the address being sent to the Legislative Assembly for concurrence, it was, on the motion of the Honorable Mr. Attorney-General Cartier, seconded by the Honorable Mr. Foley, unanimously agreed to. On behalf of the Legislative Council it bore the signature of "N. F. Belleau, Speaker," and on behalf of the Legislative Assembly, of "Henry Smith, Speaker." The last named gentleman had, we believe, the honor of presenting it to Her Majesty.

On the 28th February, 1860, the following important communications were made to the Legislative Council:

Edmund Head.

The Governor-General transmits for the information of the Honorable Legislative Council a copy of a despatch from the Secretary of State, on the subject of the visit of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to Canada.

Government House,

Quebec, 1860.

letter id
No. 6


Downing Street,       
30th January, 1860.

Sir,—As the two Houses of the Canadian Legislature will soon re-assemble for the despatch of business, it becomes my duty to inform you that the joint address to which they agreed at the close of their last session, was duly presented to the Queen, and was most graciously received by Her Majesty.

2. In that address, the Legislative Council and Commons of Canada earnestly pray the Queen to receive in person the tribute of their unwavering attachment to her will, and to honor with her presence her subject[36]s in British North America on the occasion of the opening of the great Victoria Bridge, accompanied by the Prince Consort, and such members of the Royal Family as it may please Her Majesty to attend her on the occasion.

3. Her Majesty values deeply the attachment to her person, and the loyalty to her Crown, which have induced this address; and I am commanded to assure the Legislature, through you, how lively an interest is felt by the Queen in the growing prosperity of Canada, in the welfare and contentment of her subjects in that important Province of her Empire, and in the completion of the gigantic work which is a fitting type of the successful industry of the people. It is therefore with sincere regret that Her Majesty is compelled to decline compliance with this loyal invitation. Her Majesty feels that her duties at the seat of the Empire prevent so long an absence, and at so great a distance as a visit to Canada would necessarily require.

Impressed, however, with an earnest desire to testify to the utmost of her power her warm appreciation of the affectionate loyalty of her Canadian subjects, the Queen commands me to express her hope that when the time for the opening of the Bridge is fixed, it may be possible for His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to attend the ceremony in Her Majesty's name, and to witness those gratifying scenes, in which the Queen is unable herself to participate.

The Queen trusts that nothing may interfere with this arrangement, for it is Her Majesty's sincere desire that the young Prince, on whom the Crown of this Empire will devolve, may have the opportunity of visiting that portion of her dominions from which this Address has proceeded, and may become acquainted with a people in whose rapid progress towards greatness Her Majesty, in common with her subjects in Great Britain, feels a lively and enduring sympathy.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your most obedient, humble servant,                   


Governor the Right Honorable Sir Edmund Walker Head, Bart., &c., &c., &c.

On the 9th July, 1860, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, attended by a large and imposing suite, left England, and after visiting the Maritime Provinces of British North America, the Royal party arrived at Quebec, on Saturday, the 18th of August, 1860. On the Tuesday following, His Royal Highness held a levee at the Parliament Buildings, which had been temporarily fitted up as a Royal residence. Various individuals were presented, and various bodies of individuals were introduced and graciously received. But the most noteworthy transaction of the day occurred when the two Houses of the Legislature were ushered into the Royal presence. First in time, as in rank was the Honorable the Legislative Council, who, through their Speaker, the Honorab[37]le Narcisse Fortunat Belleau, expressed their congratulations in the following loyal and dutiful address.

To His Royal Highness Albert Edward, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Prince of the United Kingdom, Prince of Wales, Duke of Saxony, Prince of Cobourg and Gotha, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothsay, Earl of Chester, Earl of Carrick, Earl of Dublin, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Great Steward of Scotland.

May it please Your Royal Highness:

We, the Legislative Council of Canada, in Parliament assembled, approach Your Royal Highness with renewed assurances of our attachment and devotion to the Person and Crown of Your Royal Mother, our beloved Queen.

While we regret that the duties of State should have prevented our Sovereign from visiting this extensive portion of Her vast dominions, we loyally and warmly appreciate the interest which Her Majesty manifests in it, by deputing to us Your Royal Highness, as Her representative, and we rejoice, in common with all Her subjects in this Province, at the presence among us, of him, who, at some future but we hope distant day, will reign over the Realm, wearing with undiminished lustre, the Crown which will descend to him.

Though the formal opening of that great work, the Victoria Bridge, known throughout the world as the most gigantic effort in modern times of engineering skill, has been made a special occasion of Your Royal Highness' visit, and proud as are Canadians of it, we yet venture to hope, that you will find in Canada many other evidences of greatness and progress, to interest you in the welfare and advancement of your future subjects.

Enjoying under the institutions guaranteed to us all freedom in the management of our own affairs, and, as British subjects, having a common feeling and interest in the fortunes of the Empire, its glories and successes, we trust, as we believe, that this visit of Your Royal Highness will strengthen the ties which bind together the Sovereign and the Canadian people.

To which, in language of chastened eloquence and touching pathos, His Royal Highness was pleased to return the following gracious answer:


From my heart I thank you for this Address, breathing a spirit of love and devotion to your Queen, and of kindly interest in me as her representative on this occasion. At every step of my progress through the British Colonies, and now more forcibly in Canada, I am impressed with the conviction that I owe the overpowering cordiality of my reception to my connection with her to whom, under Providence, I owe everything—my Sovereign and Parent—to her I shall, with pride, convey the expression of your loyal sentiments, and if, at some futur[38]e period, so remote, I trust, that I may allude to it with less pain, it shall please God to place me in that closer relation to you which you contemplate, I cannot hope for any more honorable distinction than to earn for myself such expressions of generous attachment as I now owe to your appreciation of the virtues of the Queen. Few as have yet been the days which I have spent in this country, I have seen much to indicate the rapid progress and future greatness of United Canada.

The infancy of this Province has resembled, in some respects, that of my native Island; and as in centuries gone by, the Mother Country combined the several virtues of the Norman and Anglo-Saxon races, so I may venture to anticipate in the matured character of Canada the united excellencies of her double ancestry.

Most heartily I respond to your desire that the ties which bind together the Sovereign and the Canadian people may be strong and enduring.

The subject of our sketch was Speaker of the Legislative Council and a member of the administration with whom the invitation to Her Majesty from the Canadian Parliament originated. He filled the same office when Her Majesty was pleased to accept the invitation for her son, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. He filled the same office when the Prince arrived in Canada. He had in his official capacity signed the address of invitation. He had in like manner signed and read the address of welcome. Little surprise was therefore betrayed when His Royal Highness, on finishing the reading of his answer to the Address, expressed by the Earl of St. Germains, His gracious pleasure that Mr. Belleau should advance and kneel. Then receiving the sword from His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the Prince performed his first act of Royalty by touching with the side of its blade the shoulder of the kneeling gentleman, and commanding him to rise "Sir Narcisse Fortunat Belleau!"




Lieutenant-Colonel Rhodes, of the Canadian Militia, has the advantage of being a Yorkshireman. He is the second son of William Rhodes, Esq., of Bramhope Hall, in that great English County. His father was formerly a Captain in the nineteenth light dragoons, and was present with his regiment, under Sir George Prevost, at Plattsburg. His son, the subject of our sketch, like his father, adopted the profession of arms, and joined the sixty-eighth regiment of light infantry as Ensign, on the 18th of May, 1838. After serving for the period of ten years, he retired from the army with the rank of Captain. In the course of his career, he was ordered to do duty with his regiment in Canada. Such duty included the popular and attractive service of guarding the city and citadel of Quebec. The times we write of were the halcyon times of peace, when the Queen's troops were not exposed to any serious professional perils. Parades were observed and repeated with scrupulous regularity. Sentinels were posted with exact precision, and were succeeded by other sentinels at exact intervals. Nothing more serious than the veering of the wind, or a change in the weather, broke the monotony of their "weary way." The officer of the day went "his rounds," according to regulation, and in mess-room monotone answered the challenge, delivered with martial emphasis, "what rounds?" with the stereotyped answer, "grand rounds!" Having noted the "all's well!" of the carefully instructed non-commissioned officer, the commissioned officer reported at head-quarters the uniform intelligence that there was nothing to report. "War's alarms" were listened to as matters of intere[40]sting tradition, or read of as specimens of literary merit. Fossilized field officers, like well-preserved minstrels of other days, had the privilege of telling stories, prettily varied perhaps, but pleasantly wrought, of the shreds and scraps of personal experience, or local recollection. Grave narrators wrote histories, as a matter of course slightly one-sided, or strung together memoirs, somewhat fanciful in their structure and undeniably florid in their coloring. Thus tradition and history did homage to the past. The youth and manhood of the army listened to one, and read the other, giving to both a value of their own. Battles had been heard of, none had been seen. War, and the army list, were studied as duties. Peace, and idleness were put up with as necessities.

It generally happens, however, that when Mars is idle, Cupid is active. If the soldier on service escapes the gunshots of the former, he is exceedingly liable to the arrow shafts of the latter. In one way or another it is a condition of his profession, that he should be wounded. He was probably recruited for the purpose. The difference is, that whereas one class of wounds being reported by the commanding officer, awakens compassion in the nation; the other class being also reported by the same functionary, not unfrequently creates consternation in the family. Indeed, those wounds which require parental treatment are commonly more embarrassing to the commanding officer than those which are left to the skill of the surgeon. Again, though there was little danger that the flower of the English youth would become prisoners to any foreign force, there was, we venture to think, no small degree of anxiety lest they should fall into captivity to powers, not the less dangerous for being friendly. Thus, it followed, that the hopes of those who were absent did not always harmonize with the wishes of those who were near. Purposes in the distance, and influences on the spot, then, as now, not unfrequently crossed and vexed one another. Far off friends took little note of the great law of local attraction, and were sometimes only brought face to face with [41]its controlling powers when the season for analysis had passed away. Wherefore it chanced that people in the old world were affected with a marvellous amount of illogical surprise when they discovered that the social laws which were operative in England were not inoperative in Canada. They curiously overlooked the fact that gentlemen are appreciated, and for the like reasons, in both countries. Their residence in either land need not be an hermetically sealed hermitage; for in the new world, as well as in the old, there are beings of gentle birth, near akin to the graces, compassionate in their feelings, and benevolent in their natures, who would rather share than sympathize with such distressing solitude, even though the sacrifice should include a life-long residence with the captive.

Passing, however, from general observations to matters of narrative and personal history, we may chronicle, for the information of our fair and courteous readers, that when quartered with his regiment at Quebec, the subject of our sketch fell into captivity to, and subsequently married, the only surviving daughter of the late Robert Dunn, Esq., of the last mentioned city, and grand-daughter of the late Honorable Thomas Dunn. He supplemented the ceremony with a graceful compliment, for he made the country of the lady's birth the land of his own adoption. Colonel Rhodes resides at Benmore, a charming river-side farm, in the vicinity of Quebec. The estate was previously owned by Sir Dominick Daly, the present Governor-in-chief of South Australia. It may also be noted, that Colonel Rhodes not only succeeded by purchase to Sir Dominick's landed property, but he succeeded also by election to his political property, as his seat in the House of Assembly, for the County of Megantic, was not inaptly called. He was elected in 1854, and continued to represent the last mentioned County until the year 1858. Whether the duties of a legislator were congenial, or the reverse, we have no means of knowing, but we are under the impression that he did not offer himself for re-election. If, however, he saw fit to withdraw from political life, it was from no distaste to do what he[42] could to promote the well-being of all whom his example might influence or his services benefit. As a practical agriculturist, he lost little time in showing what might be profitably done, by judicious cultivation and well-selected stock, even in the face of a severe climate and long winters. Thus, he communicated valuable information to less instructed farmers. He personates the poetry of labor, for he is alike enthusiastic whether the subjects of discourse be "swedes" or "shorthorns." In this way he has done much towards carrying out the purposes for which the agricultural association of Lower Canada was created. Commerce, too, and enterprise, seem to have assumed for him airs of theoretical fascination. He was, for reasons considered to be sufficient, regarded as a gentleman of mark in the early history of Canadian Railways, and his co-operation and assistance were evidently sought for by those in whose judgment such assistance was deemed to be valuable. Thus he was the elected President of the Quebec and Richmond, and of the Quebec and Trois Pistoles Railways; and at its incorporation he was a Director of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada.

Being of a sanguine, hopeful, and cheerful temperament, with an apparently inexhaustible stock of health and strength, it is no matter for surprise that Colonel Rhodes should with great zest have associated himself with others to advance projects, which in a legitimate and wholesome way were calculated to develope the resources of, and attract wealth to the country. Among many which would naturally occur to him, would probably be the two patent ones, which, in different forms, present themselves to almost all minds. First to create a market for the poor man's labor; and second, to establish a repository for the rich man's gains. To promote the former, Colonel Rhodes interested himself in the formation of the Quebec Warehousing Company, of which Company he was, and we believe is, the chairman. To secure the latter, he has, with others, exerted himself to establish the Union Bank, of which institution he is one of the newly chosen Directors.


Commerce and enterprise, whether they mean much or little, far-reaching industry or sordid thrift, will not probably be rated with the highest virtues. They have their rewards, however, and whether such rewards are real or speculative, actual or expectant, they serve to promote the individual about whom they cluster to a niche of comparative prominence in the empire of trade. He who is rich enough to lose money, next to him who is wise enough to win money, will, of course, be regarded as a chief among the candidates for commercial distinction. The gain and the loss, however, are almost inseparably associated with those contrivances and associations by which money is accumulated or diffused. He who interests himself in such projects may be moved by public considerations, but he ought to be moved by personal ones also. He should be sensible of the claims of his own industry and of the requirements of his own wealth. Thus in giving Colonel Rhodes credit for his zeal in behalf of the two enterprizes we have especially mentioned, we are not blind to the fact that his interest may have, and ought to have run in the same groove with his exertions.

There is, however, one incident in the career of Colonel Rhodes, and of other Quebec gentleman with whom he was associated, which deserves particular notice. Though it was incidentally of a speculative and apparently of a profitable kind, the work, nevertheless, was originally undertaken because it was deemed to be a moral and social need of a city population, that its inhabitants should possess a place where they could be instructed and amused. Experience teaches that work is not deteriorated by being flavored with pleasure, neither is wisdom impoverished by being brightened with mirth. We associate innocence with childhood, and observe with no feeling of regret the joy, which, like a "luminous cloud," a "light ineffable," seems, as if with a belt of beauty, to fold the sunny forms of youth. Joy, which is the charm of childhood, and the heritage of youth, may scarcely be regarded as alien to man's more advanced stage of being. The form in which it finds expressio[44]n will necessarily change. It will in later life convey its feelings in language very different from the syllables in which it first learned to articulate its sense of happiness. Still, though cultivated and improved, the plant is the same. Its roots gather nourishment now, as then, beside the springs of mirth and joy.

To make provision for what we have termed a need of our nature, the subject of our sketch, with many other gentlemen, met and subscribed money for the purpose of erecting a public building which was very fittingly called "The Music Hall;"—perhaps the most spacious apartment of the kind in the Province. As a pecuniary speculation, the scheme, we have reason to believe, has turned out to be in the last degree unprofitable. As a social contrivance of moral excellence, it remains and we hope will continue to remain, a monument of the wisdom and generosity of those who projected, and who made sacrifices to build it. "Glorious Apollo" may not have been seen in person, nor the "nectared sweets" of his divine lute actually tasted. Still the "golden tongue" of music in notes of silver, has often been and will often be heard within its walls.

"A tuneful mandoline and then a voice
Clear in its manly depth, whose tide of song
O'erwhelmed the quivering instruments, and then
A world of whispers, mix'd with low response,
Sweet, short and broken, as divided strains of nightingales."

Age has, for a while at least, under the influence of music forgotten its weight of years. The mind, overwrought, has got rid of its burden, and even care, at the touch of its benign flattery, has recognized the "sweet uses of adversity." There is a subtle, humanizing mystery in music which belongs to feeling, not to narrative—which lingers on the memory even when the words to which it was fashioned have passed away from the mind. In the midst of such festivals of pleasure as the Music Hall affords, it may not be amiss to note the names of those who projected and who contributed towards the erection of the building, and to whom the public is indebted for one of the most charming social attractions of the ancient capita[45]l. This review of gratitude will include the subject of our sketch.

Though Colonel Rhodes has sat in Parliament, we are not aware that he has the misfortune to be moved by any special political aspirations. He has, as we have said, from his position and energy, been selected for various situations of responsibility connected with the enterprize, commerce, and monetary institutions of the country. Such selections, however, were not made because he was especially qualified, by experience or study, to deal with the subjects of railways, trade, or banking. Political science, railway economy, or comparative currencies, have not with him, we incline to think, been matters of severe study. They and he belong to the country and its progress. His friends and neighbors, for reasons of their own, have thought fit in some way to associate him with such subjects; and he, on his part, has not been unwilling to shew his sense of their partiality by contributing what he possesses, namely, time, means, and zeal, some patience, and more industry towards promoting the "wealth, peace and happiness of the country."

Like most country gentlemen, Colonel Rhodes was from his boyhood more or less conversant with the sports and pastimes which are inseparable from country life in England. The wolds of the East Riding and the game preserves of the North and West Ridings of Yorkshire, have, we venture to think, made his acquaintance in his character of a sportsman. It is moreover probable that sport "in the purple," as represented at the great racing carnival at Doncaster, when all Yorkshire leaps into the saddle to ride or look at the St. Leger handicap, has not escaped his observation. Colonel Rhodes may be congratulated if on such a day, and at such a scene, he had the grace to look at the high-conditioned beauties, in all their daintiness of motion, with speculative interest only, and thus avoid all perilous, to say nothing of pecuniary anxiety as to which particular badge of silk and gossamer should be mingled with the winning horse, and with the well-won stakes.


But though Colonel Rhodes put aside the dangerous fascination which is supposed to surround the jockey's silk, we venture to think he took no precautions against the more wholesome attractions of the scarlet cloth, the dainty coat and delectable buckskin, the perfect mount, and the exhilarating accompaniments of hounds and huntsmen; to say nothing of—

"A southerly wind and a cloudy sky."

Had he continued to reside in England, it is probable that he would now be petted and cherished in the community of fox-hunters, for he is, we incline to think, a style of rider who would be more apt to take than shirk a fence. He would certainly be prized by many, besides rustics, in the country round, for those qualities of strength and activity which are regarded as among the prime graces of manhood.

"In wrestling nimble, and in running swift,
In shooting steady, and in swimming strong,
Well made to strike, to leap, to throw, to lift,
And all the sports that shepherds are among!"

The taste for the chase inherited or acquired in the old country, knew, as we conjecture, little abatement when Colonel Rhodes left England to take up his residence in Canada. The conditions of the sport and the character of the game underwent considerable change, but the old love and the old relish remained the same. The climate of Canada enables him, without detriment to his agricultural pursuits, to indulge this taste. When the earth has donned her winter mantle; when the snow has been scattered "like wool;" when all domesticated animals are housed in their sheltered nooks; when all within is snug, and all without is bleak; then the agriculturist may become the sportsman, who, as in the case under review, need not be sought for at Benmore, where he lives, or at boards of commerce where bank directors, men with long pockets, meet; but, if you would find you must look for him among the wild hunters of the frozen north, with whom in "icy halls of cold sublimity," or amidst the everlasting verdure of eternal pines, "the green-robed senators of mighty woods," he can make his watch fires and chaun[47]t in unison the old-refrain,

"A chosen band in a mountain land,
And a life in the woods for me."

Mr. J. LeMoine, in his picturesque collection of literary "Maple Leaves" has not inaptly spoken of Colonel Rhodes, as "the great northern hunter," and as such we are especially glad to be able to make him the text of this sketch. Indeed, in all occupations connected with the chase, Colonel Rhodes, we venture to think, has few superiors; for he is an ardent and hard-working, as well as a studious and successful sportsman, who has patiently observed the habits of moose and caribou, and appears exactly to know what either of those animals and their tribes would do in any given emergency. The limits of this sketch will not permit us to describe the outfit, the animals, or the sport. It must suffice to mention, that the moose is not usually regarded by gentlemen chasseurs as a suitable object of sport, and it has therefore been very generally abandoned. Hunting the caribou (the American rein-deer) is however quite another thing. He is to our Canadian hunters what the red deer is to the Highlander. He is, in his habits, an incorrigible nomad, and therefore gives plenty of occupation to his pursuer. He roves at will, and apparently has no fixed place of abode. Sometimes he is seen on the very crowns, the "frosty pows," of the highest mountains, whose "snowy scalps" are swathed in clouds. Then again he is found hidden away in cozy winding ravines, beside some brawling "burn;" it may be for the convenient purpose of drinking its waters, or for the congenial one of listening to its music, or for the considerate one of finding shelter for the fawns and their young. Or again, he is found, it is difficult to understand why, except for Shylock's reason, that, "'tis his humour!" in the coldest and bleakest spot of what is called "stag ground." The creature may be understood when he takes position on the crest of a mountain, that he wishes to observe and see that no enemy approaches. He also may be understood when he seeks[48] the sheltered ravine, that he wishes to enjoy a little domesticity. But, except upon the hypothesis of conjugal estrangements, it is not so easy to conjecture why he should choose, at any time, to abide in the third spot which we have mentioned, whose only recommendation appears to be that it possesses all the bleak qualities of the mountain without its elevation, and all the sheltered qualities of the valley without its seclusion. In fact, it looks like a place of penance and mortification, where there is little comfort for the deer, and less for the hunter.

The Quebec "Daily Mercury," of January last, has some very good remarks on the sport, and they are the more worthy of insertion here, because they relate to a chasse in which, we believe, the subject of our sketch took a conspicuous part.


Of late years a good deal of attention has been annually drawn to the sport of hunting the caribou. This arises from our young men cultivating habits of sound morality, and showing a desire to excel in fields of exercise where the body and the mind find healthy recreation. The object of caribou hunting is to give reality to the use of the rifle; and a better training cannot be imparted to any young Canadian than the practice of contending with the climate in the pursuit of the wild animals of his country. The qualifications of a good caribou hunter are endurance, both mental and bodily, sufficient strength to carry his own body through the day, good sleeping powers at night, and as perfect a nervous system as can be attained. This latter qualification, so essential at the last moment, the pulling of the trigger, can be best promoted by practising moderation in all things, especially in drinking and smoking. A caribou hunter ought to drink a glass of water daily as a rule, never touch spirits except when ill, avoid strong tea or coffee—in fact, any habit which tends to weaken the nerves. The advantages of the sport are apparent in an increase of health generally, an eye which can see many things unobserved by ordinary men, and a physique which makes the transport of your own body from one place to another a matter of pleasure, instead of being a labor and a fatigue; last, though not least, a practical knowledge is acquired of what poor people call la misère, a state of body by no means so disagreeable, as nature provides through the appetite a splendid sauce for the plainest food, and the warmth of a fire is a luxury to a half-starved man, more enjoyable than the best furnished house.


So much for preamble; now for a hunt alone! To be alone in the woods conveys a feeling such as Adam may have felt when he was without a companion. "On one occasion," says an experienced hunter, living not a hundred miles from Quebec "I followed an 'old track,' thinking it would lead me somewhere, probably where other deer might be, and after I had crossed one mountain and ascended another, I suddenly came upon other tracks which showed me that I was in the vicinity of some females with their young ones. After getting safely to the leeward of the tracks I found the game very much at my mercy, as I had only to proceed cautiously and keep my eyes very actively employed. After advancing some distance I saw a deer lying down. Off with the cover of the rifle,—a glance at the caps,—shuffle out of the snow-shoes, and the deer is counted as my own, as I had not been seen. On examining the ground again, I saw another deer alongside the former one, and, at a short distance, the head of a third. I consequently made arrangements to fire, shoot one on the ground, shoot another as it jumps up, shoot a third as it advances to its wounded comrades, then kill a fourth and a fifth as they, in their confusion, rush up to the dying deer. After reloading, I found four deer dead and one wounded. The dead deer were immediately beheaded, their bellies opened and the wounded deer followed. Two more shots soon brought him down. The next day I spent (having brought one of my men with me) in skinning and transporting the meat, which weighed about 700 lbs., to a neighbouring lake, whence it could more conveniently be carried to Quebec."

In some instances the caribou have to be approached by crawling on the ground. "On one occasion of this kind," says our friend, "previous to the final stalk, it being very cold weather, I had one of my men badly frost-bitten, as he dare not move for some time for fear of alarming the deer, so we had to retire, warm ourselves by running about and eating, and then recommence the attack. Out of the five deer we got three—having missed two, through our fingers freezing on the triggers."

The best style of caribou "camps" are tents made of double cloth, warmed with stoves. And by washing the body daily in the snow, an amount of comfort and cleanliness can be obtained which few people would suppose. The snow also makes the skin cold-proof. The washing in the snow is of course a strange sight for the Indian to behold:—a nude white man rubbing himself with snow always draws forth remarks of an amusing or alarming character. Caribou are decidedly increasing. Their great enemy is the carcajou or glutton. The cariboo killed by gentlemen hunters are fewer than those formerly killed by Indians, the best of whom prefer an engagement with "les Messieurs" to the chances of the woods; in fact the caribou hunt is regarded as the period when these men see a little money; and a feeling is rapidly growing that it is more profitable to keep the caribou as an attraction to the gentlemen than to destroy them for the mere value of their skins.

The Game Laws, so far as the caribou is concerned, are well observed, yet the best protection for it is to kill the carcajou by all means, and to encourage young and inexperienced hunters to employ the old hands as guides. In fact, a caribou is not[50] an animal for a poor man to make money out of; he is emphatically a gentlemanly mark for the accomplished chasseur, taking his hunters into the wildest places and most romantic scenery of our Northern mountains. For we have no mountains too high for a caribou to climb, nor crags so barren that he cannot find food on them, neither is there a lake or a hill-top which he does not visit during some period of the year.

The phases of the sport are very varied and very interesting. The dreary country, tortured as it is into wild fantastic shapes of hideous ruin, in which the caribou most commonly abides, or through which he roams, is enough to appal a druid, or make a witch stiffen with fear. Nature, with the agency of earthquakes and volcanoes, has in the violent characters of wrath trenched the land with convulsions and cursed it with sterility. It is peopled with such monuments of desolation as mock, even while they provoke inquiry. Happily for the hunter, he does not commonly wait to examine what is perplexing, when in the pursuit of what is attractive. The sombre setting is lost sight of in the central life of the picture. The gloom of nature is forgotten in the glow of sport. Thus the victor, as he bears his trophies home, thinks not unkindly of the waste in which they were taken. With the tastes of an adventurer and the experience of a sportsman, with boundless territory and magnificent game, it is no wonder that Colonel Rhodes should be a "mighty hunter." Neither is it a wonder that his friends and neighbors should, by common consent, write his name in red letters, and place it conspicuously on the muster-roll of those who may fitly be called the Nimrods of the North.




Despair not that the writing on the tree,
So indistinct at first appears to thee:
Of one day's growth was virtue never known;
The light of grace spreads by degrees alone:
Until throughout illumined by its ray,
The soul of man, made perfect in each way
By faith and works, is fitted to partake
The joys of Heav'n for his Redeemer's sake.

The Very Reverend John Bethune, Doctor of Divinity, and Dean of the Anglican Cathedral, is also the Rector of the Protestant Parish of Montreal. For nearly fifty years he has been, as it were, the ecclesiastical pivot around which the domestic histories of three generations of Christian people have revolved. Some whom he baptized in their infancy have placed their grand-children in his arms, to receive, "in virtue of his office and ministry," the "sign and seal" of their adoption into the Christian family. When it is remembered that he has never changed or sought to change his place, it may easily be conjectured how thoroughly interwoven his clerical life has been with the daily lives of the members of that "communion and fellowship," in which his and their lots have been cast. The earliest passage in the history of such fellowship is eloquent in its beauty:

"Where is it mothers learn their love?
In every church a fountain springs
O'er which the Eternal Dove
Hovers on softest wings!"

The sparkling water borrows brightness from above, when it is mingled with "a few calm words of faith and prayer." And they wh[52]o "back to their arms their treasure take," are not prone to esteem him lightly in whose arms that treasure was cradled, when the "dew baptismal" dropped upon its brow. And thus, too, in all the subsequent passages of his human history is the Christian minister moved diligently to care for those of whom he is said to have the spiritual oversight. The child must be diligently educated towards higher privileges. The "agony of wavering thought," must be combated, and all which separates the troubled soul from its untroubled rest must be hushed and stilled by and through a ministry of peace. Nor are such ministrations restricted to a particular portion of human life. It is true, the extreme points are the cradle and the grave. Yet the intermediate period is full of diversified duties. It is the clergyman who catechizes and prepares youth for confirmation. It is the clergyman who supplements the poetry of love with the "tie indissoluble," the marriage covenant, and the espousal ring. It is his voice to which the young mother attunes her first public prayer. It is he who is sought for in seasons of sickness and distress, even though he may be overlooked in times of prosperity and health. Then, too, at the last, when all is over, and we have placed our treasures within the hushed sanctuary of some "circling woodland wall," the same familiar human voice soothes us with the divine words: "I am the resurrection and the life!"

But it frequently happens that a clergyman's business is not all "prayer," neither is his pleasure all "praise"—even while purifying his own thoughts, and the thoughts of others, for a life beyond life, he is not unfrequently compelled to mingle with the "common clay," and sully the brightness of his spiritual calling with the damaging duties of secular work. To secure a principle or protect a property which he may have deemed sacred, the subject of our sketch, for example, has, after the manner of men, been required to wrestle uncomfortably for the mastery. This obligation to strive, either with authority, or against clamor, is rarely assumed with cheerfulness. It is one of those inconvenient duties which most men would rather avoid. If they are undertaken, [53]he must indeed be divinely favored who can, in all respects, so discharge them as to keep "sin free." The ordeal is at best a misery; it adds nothing to a clergyman's comfort, while it almost necessarily detracts from his usefulness. We shall, in the course of our sketch, have occasion to observe that the clerical career of the Dean of Montreal has, apparently in spite of himself, been more or less crossed and vexed with secular controversies.

The fighting blood of the old royalists flows in the Dean's veins, for his father was a "United Empire Loyalist." He was born in the Island of Skye, in the year 1751, and educated for the ministry of the Church of Scotland at King's College, Aberdeen. Subsequently, he emigrated with some members of his family to South Carolina. Shortly after his arrival there the revolution of the then North American Provinces, now the United States, commenced, and a royal corps was raised within the last mentioned State. The late student of King's College, Aberdeen, had been ordained, and thus it was that the Reverend John Bethune, then a resident of South Carolina, was appointed the chaplain. This regiment appears to have had a brief existence only. It was defeated by the republicans, and many of its members, including the chaplain, were made prisoners. On being exchanged, he went to Halifax, where he was appointed Chaplain of the 84th regiment of the line. After the peace of 1783, on the reduction of the army, he resided for several years, at Montreal, during which time he was the minister of the Presbyterian Congregation in that city. Afterwards, he was appointed to a mission in the County of Glengarry, where, in a small log house, in the Township of Charlottenburg, on the 5th January, 1791, the subject of this sketch was born.

His father, the Rev. John Bethune, was, as we have said, a Scotsman by birth, and a tolerably stiff Presbyterian by education. In an "uncanny" moment, however, so far as his spiritual predilections were concerned, he fell into hopeless bondage to one who had been born and brought up in the communion of the Church of[54] England. Now, although it is not difficult to make a most earnest and exemplary Episcopalian out of a Presbyterian, it seems, at least so far as we have had the opportunity of observing, a much less easy task to make a Presbyterian out of an Episcopalian. If the experiment be tried with the members of the gentler sex, as it is sometimes tried with matrimonial accompaniments, it is, we believe, observable, that even in their husband's home, and on the "best day of all the seven," wives the most dutiful have furtive thoughts of their father's church, and of the unforgotten worship in days of old. The old liturgy, the old ritual, and the old collects, the hallowed forms and phrases of the past are marked and remembered, even when, like some cherished idol, they may be looked at in silence only, or listened to like "the still small voice" of the Holy One in the sanctuary of the soul. Years had passed away. The young church maiden had become a wife and a mother. She had too, we doubt not, with seemly reverence listened to her husband's teaching, and with mute humility "sat under" his ministry. Moreover she had striven to love it, as fondly as she loved him. In every way, as we may be permitted to conjecture, she endeavoured to be "a help meet for him," to act as he would have her act, and, if possible, to think as he would have her think. Her husband very naturally desired that one of his sons should be educated for orders in the Church, of which he was a minister. With the ultimate intention of being sent to Scotland, that son was in the meanwhile required to attend such schools as the country afforded, and he was especially moved to acquire, when and where he could do so, such classical instruction as might be placed within his reach. Just at that time a school was opened at Cornwall under the direction of a famous teacher, who had recently arrived from Scotland, bringing with him scholastic credentials of a very imposing kind. The teacher, and the school too, from its connection with the teacher, were destined to become famous, and to fill a conspicuous place in the history of the Province. The[55] former was Mr. John Strachan, the present Bishop of Toronto, while the pupils at the latter included the late Sir John Beverley Robinson, Sir James Macaulay, the Dean of Montreal, and many other public men, who have filled prominent places in the history of Canada. From being a pupil, the last mentioned became in the course of time the assistant teacher, and what, as we believe, was more important, the fast and dear friend of the teacher himself.

We have no reason to say that the wife of the Presbyterian Divine did not sympathize in her husband's inability to defray the expense of sending his son to Scotland; on the contrary, it is probable that what occasioned regret to him was in like manner a subject of sorrow to her. However, with true womanly sagacity, she sought to soften his sorrow, and at the same time solace her own hopes, by urging her husband to allow their son "John," to be educated for the ministry of her Church, instead of for the ministry of his. Thus it was that from about the age of fourteen, the life and studies of that son acquired a new inclination, for he was educated as a member of the Anglican Church. He received the holy rite of confirmation from, and in the course of time was ordained by, the first Bishop of Quebec.

On the removal of the Reverend John Strachan to Toronto in the year 1812, the subject of our sketch was appointed his successor, as Master of the District School of Cornwall. Though at that time too young for orders, he was selected by authority as a lay reader. These appointments had scarcely been made when the war with the United States broke out. Thereupon in obedience to his loyal instincts, the young teacher and lay reader did duty on the frontier as a volunteer. While he declined to accept either pay or allowances for such military services, he lost no opportunity of carrying on his school, and of preparing for orders in the ministry on which his hopes were set. On the 29th of June, 1814, he was admitted to the degree of Deacon; when, as the first missionary of the Church ever sent into that part of the country, he proceeded[56] to take charge of the Townships of Augusta and Elizabethtown, in Upper Canada. On the 28th of August, 1816, he married Elizabeth, daughter of the late W. Hallowell, Esq., of Montreal, who, in the year just past, departed this life. The Dean's clerical ambition does not seem to have been of an exaggerated kind, for at that time it mounted no higher than to be the Rector of the Town of Cornwall. That preferment, to which he had some expectation of succeeding, eluded him, and the loss was embittered with associations of which the sense of disappointment was not the most poignant. However, he was not inclined to despond, and therefore, in his character of missionary priest, he worked cheerfully in his forest duties, clearing the moral waste, and causing the metaphorical wilderness to rejoice and blossom. Within four years he saw with satisfaction the fruit of his labors. The congregations at his different stations increased rapidly from a maximum number of twelve, to numbers so large that they could not be conveniently counted.

In the midst of his rough country work, he was, in the month of October, 1818, unexpectedly appointed to the Rectory of Christ Church, Montreal, thus commencing a course of duty which was to be coeval with his life. The Dean was then vigorous, in the flush of youth, and like a young man was able to rejoice in his strength. In the spirit of zeal he imposed on himself the charge of originating new duties, and of systematizing old work. The Church was large, but the congregation was small. The former, moreover, was unfinished and in debt. There were neither day nor Sunday schools. No hospital for Protestants. No societies, or associations through which Bibles, or Prayer books, or religious works could be circulated. The co-operative machinery of schools, and the silent machinery represented by books, through which much holy work is done, were entirely wanting. Though we note these facts, space will not permit us to rest on each ascending step in the path of improvement, or mention, in their historical order, the new and g[57]ood works which were effected at the Dean's suggestion or with his co-operation. By comparing the state of Church affairs in Montreal now, with the state of Church affairs at the period of his induction, people may see how much has been accomplished in the lifetime of one individual, and they may determine for themselves what portion of the credit may be said more especially to belong to the venerable subject of our sketch.

In the spring of 1829, the Dean visited the "old country." The then Bishop of Quebec, the Honorable and Reverend Dr. Stewart took the opportunity of commissioning him to collect money for the "Canadian Church Building Fund." Thus had he the opportunity of seeing the Church in England, and of benefitting the Church in Canada, and we may add that the acquired information, and the acquired funds were alike serviceable, the former to the individual, and the latter to the Church.

In 1835, the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by Columbia College, in the State of New York, and in the same year, on the resignation of the then Archdeacon, afterwards Bishop of Quebec, he was appointed Principal of the embryo University of McGill College, Montreal. The appointment was made by the ex officio Governors for the time being, who, we may add, were His Excellency the Earl of Gosford, the Honorable and Reverend Dr. Stewart, then Bishop of Quebec, and the Honorable Mr. Chief Justice Reid, of Montreal.

The duty which the appointment involved, and the correspondence which grew out of it, represent a troubled passage in the Dean's clerical history. He became involved in a correspondence, which might more aptly be designated a controversy, with his ecclesiastical superior, the late Bishop of Quebec. We do not intend to touch those slumbering letters, or do aught towards awakening a discussion towards which men at the time grew impatient, and about which their minds were pained with doubts too acute to be impartial. The gentle hand which traced some of those[58] letters is at rest, and, like the sword of the slain soldier, it is placed with the disused armour of the past in the arsenal of duty done. The firmer hand which grasped the bolder pen is now wearied, for the pressure of age rests upon it. Hard thoughts have been softened by time; misapprehensions have been removed, and charity has adjusted the asperities of the past. We shall let those letters sleep alongside of the faithful view of duty by which they were alike inspired. It is only necessary to remark, in passing, that there appear to have been, with respect to the ruling powers of the College, conflicting as well as concurrent jurisdictions. The Governors on one side, and the Board of the Royal Institution for the advancement of learning on the other, claimed equally to exercise control. The former were represented by the Principal of the College, and the latter by the Bishop of the Diocese, and thus were the Rector and his Diocesan, as the representatives of two boards of control, brought into a state of official antagonism alike painful to both disputants. The controversy was at length determined by the intervention of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who appears in a somewhat peremptory way to have cut a knot which was either too inconvenient, or too troublesome to unravel, for he instructed the then Governor-General, His Excellency the Earl of Cathcart, to revoke Dr. Bethune's appointment as Principal of McGill College. The edict which removed the clerical Principal was speedily followed by transactions which extinguished the Theological pretensions of the University, and crushed the hopes of those who concurred with the subject of our sketch, in believing that a professorship of divinity was intended and ought to have been provided for such students as wished to study for the ministry of the Anglican Church.

Not long after the creation of the Diocese of Montreal, the subject of our sketch was appointed Dean of the Cathedral. A more fitting appointment could scarcely have been made, for his personal history had been intimately and lovingly blended with the history of the Church, and Parish of Montreal. He can compare with[59] some sense of thankfulness, if not of pride, the bald, unfinished fabric in which he first ministered, with the Church in her beauty in which he now serves. Neither idle nor vain were the rapturous words of the Psalmist which his instructed lips have been accustomed again and again to utter. The holy ejaculation has been verified and fulfilled, for in a material as well as in a spiritual sense, the clergy and laity who worship in the Anglican Cathedral can now in fact and in name, in spirit and in truth, "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."

The Dean has in his day been a most diligent "preacher of the word." His style is probably more remarkable for strength and distinctness than it is for ornament or metaphor; for his mind is of a muscular order, and from the very quality of its structure is prone to express itself in the form of dogma. It may be described as more Doric than Corinthian, more severe than florid. Those who are affected with phosphoric fancies, and who expect clerical language to glitter like glow worms or sparkle like fire-flies, would scarcely be satisfied with the Dean's severe simplicity of speech. Not indeed that he is averse to natural history, or to entomological study, as a branch of such history; but he evidently thinks that butterflies, however beautiful, belong to the parterre, and not to the pulpit, and that beetles, however bright, are more ornamental on sand hills than in sermons. It is also probable that his mind, in his early days, more especially, was instructed to deal with those various forms of bold infidelity, including some phases of modified deism, which marked the last and the earlier parts of the present century. On such points and with such objectors he holds no parley, and gives no quarter. He squares at once, with "his foot to the field and his face to the foe" and then vindicates the old truths by the old arguments and in the old way. Nor is the more dainty scepticism of modern times, its intellectual difficulties, its philosophic doubts, and its historical contradictions, likely to overreach his reason much less to unsettle his faith. He will try it by the Divine word[60] and the ancient rules of applied theology,—the rules he has learned, and which he regards as embodying the immutable principles of sacred truth; and if any such view falls short of this standard he will repudiate it as dangerous fancy, or denounce it as a fond conceit. His preaching is not, neither is it intended to be, a poetical flurry of tinsel and feather, or a mere intellectual exercise of metaphysics and philosophy. His aim appears to be not only that men should "have a right judgment in all things," but that their action should harmonize with such judgment. His sermons, therefore, are not embodiments of Christian doctrine merely, they are manuals of Christian duty, illustrating to those who will listen the Divine harmony between the Word and Works of God.

The Dean's Text, (oft it happens thus,)
Most apt to what my thoughts employ'd,
Was Paul's words to those infamous,
Of natural affection void.
He preach'd but what the conscience saith
To those blest few that listen well;
"No fruit can come of that man's faith
Who is to Nature infidel.
God stands not with Himself at strife:
His Work is first, His Word is next;
Two sacred tomes, one Book of Life;
The comment this, and that the text
Ill-worship they who drop the Creed,
And take their chance with Jew and Turk;
But not so ill as they who read
The Word, and doubt the greater Work."




"And he gave it for his opinion that whoever could make two ears of corn and two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind and do more essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians together."

The words extracted from Gulliver's travels, with which we have prefaced this sketch, conclusively show that in the communities visited by him there were men who, if not known by name as Ministers of Finance, or Chancellors of the Exchequer, were nevertheless capable of expressing very sound opinions on the sources from which nations derive their wealth, and governments their strength. Produce more than you consume, said the wisdom of Brobdingnag, and then you will have a balance to your credit at the bank.

On subjects of political economy it is advisable for the timid adventurer to write with a kind of shivering caution; for if he should step one inch beyond the first rule of the science, the chances are that he will be waylaid and upset by some one or other of those remorseless economists, who not only roam at will through grim forests of figures, but who seem to move those forests as it suits their convenience to do so, with that sort of intimidating familiarity which bewildered Macbeth when Birnam wood advanced to Dunsinane. The figures, to pursue the metaphor, like Birnam wood in their fixed attitudes, may be familiar enough. The difficulty is to recognize them after they have been shuffled and shifted to Dunsinane. We hope that our nod of approval to the Brobdingnag policy may not be deemed to be presumptuous or our recommendation officious, when we request a cheer for Gulliver. Let us show our appreciation of his opinions by directly or indirectly per[62]suading "two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before."

The late Honorable Adam Fergusson, besides being a Scotch gentleman, a racy whig and a genial friend, was an ardent agriculturist, a scientific agriculturist, and a successful agriculturist. Though he may not have used his exact language, he very earnestly sought to carry out that system of economy which has received the stamp of Gulliver's approval. Those of us who knew Mr. Fergusson can easily see him, as he was in his green old age, radiant with health, his cheeks covered with a tracery of carnation veins, his eye clear in its blue as the light of the morning, his manly figure above six feet in his stockings, his new market coat and dress of breezy rusticity in keeping with his character of a country gentleman. We can easily see him and hear him too, when, as "a Canadian Farmer," as he delighted to call himself, he counselled Canadian Farmers to amend their tillage, to husband every kind of manure, to give attention to drainage, to observe exact laws of rotation; to double the volume of their crops, and quadruple the value without increasing the number of their stock. We can hear him in his own hearty way ply the farmer with pretty well put counsel. Remember we can imagine him to have said, that your industry is your wealth. The resources of the country are in the soil. Bring honest labor to bear on the hidden treasure. By enriching yourselves you will increase the prosperity of the land in which you live. To quote our travelled oracle, Gulliver, once more, Mr. Fergusson might have added, and from his straightforward character he may have added,—"By so doing you will deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to your country than the whole race of politicians put together."

Enthusiasm may he said to add brightness as well as poetry to subjects not unusually accounted common. With respect to agriculture, Mr. Fergusson was happily an enthusiast.[63] His fancy, however, did not run away with his judgment. Without undervaluing the process of teaching by precept, he knew the greater worth of teaching by example. We shall have occasion in the course of this sketch to note with what dexterity and wisdom, in concert with others, he popularized the science of agriculture in Canada, and how by system and comparison, by co-operation and rivalry, the way was paved for those great improvements which during the last twenty years have especially marked its progress in the Province.

The subject of our sketch was born at Edinburgh, on the 4th of March, 1783. He was the son of Neil Fergusson, Esq., of Woodhill, advocate, by Agnes, daughter of Sir George Colquhoun of Tilleyhewan, Baronet, and widow of W. Trent, Esq., of Pitcullo, Fifeshire, in whose right her husband and their children eventually became the possessors of that estate. Mr. Neil Fergusson was the Sheriff of Fifeshire, and, moreover, was so highly esteemed by those who were responsible for the appointment, that he was on the eve of being elevated to the Bench when his death unfortunately stopped the preferment. Like his father, the subject of our sketch was an advocate, but unlike him he scarcely practiced his profession. Even the ermine in reversion failed to attract. He preferred the life of a country gentleman, and happily he possessed the means of indulging his preference. From his ancestors he seems to have inherited country tastes, for he was descended from an old highland family long established in Perthshire. It therefore seemed natural enough that he should, in the spirit of local fidelity, connect himself by marriage with another old family of the same county. Thus the subject of our sketch married firstly Jemima, daughter of Major James Johnston, who through her mother, Mrs. Johnston Blair, was the heiress of the very old family and estate of Blair of Balthayock in Perthshire. This lady died at Edinburgh in 1824. The property descended to her eldest son, and on his death without issue, it passed to her second son, the Honorable Adam Johnston Fergusson Blair, who assumed with the trust, in addition to his paternal name, her maid[64]en name of Blair.

The year 1833 was marked with two important events in the history of the subject of our sketch. His marriage secondly, with Jessie, daughter of George Tower, Esq., of Aberdeen, who died at Toronto in 1856; and his emigration with his newly acquired wife to this Province. Immediately on his arrival, in conjunction with James Webster, Esq., now of Guelph, he founded the flourishing settlement of Fergus. He did not live in the settlement which he had helped to found, but selected the vicinity of Hamilton for his abode, and very naturally named the place thus selected after his former residence in Scotland. Hence he was not uncommonly called and known as the "Laird of Woodhill."

In the year 1839, when His Excellency Sir George Arthur was the Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, Mr. Fergusson was summoned by royal mandamus to a seat in the Legislative Council of that Province. Being a large-minded as well as a far-seeing man, he was zealous in his advocacy of the Act for re-uniting the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. At the union of those Provinces, His Excellency Baron Sydenham marked his appreciation of those services by taking measures to secure their continuance in the United Province. It was on His Excellency's advice that Her Majesty was pleased to summon him to a seat in the Legislative Council of Canada, of which distinguished body he was at the time of his death the senior member. He took an active part in politics, but in doing so he appeared to bear in mind that by tradition and choice he was a "Whig," and nothing more. In making his confession of political faith, he almost invariably invoked the softening or qualifying influence of adjectives. It was not, for example, enough for him to be a "Reformer;" he wished it to be understood that he was a "Constitutional Reformer." Neither was it unfrequently observed that if, in the warmth and ardor of his advocacy, he had overlooked some principle of serious constitutional importance, he would at once call back such ill-considered sentiments, as if they were heres[65]ies of the mind, and cleanse and purify them in the lava of established usage. Whigs proper, whether they be English or Scotch, do not easily find their political affinities in Canada, for the Canadian Whig is only distantly related to its prototype the British Whig. Thus the place of the latter in the political parties of the Province seems to be determined by considerations that are not purely political. The English Whig, like Colonel the Honorable John Prince, for example, will generally be found voting with Canadian Conservatives; while the Scotch Whig, like the subject of our sketch, will as generally be found voting with Canadian Reformers. Neither of them is quite at home with his friends, but both appear to agree in thinking that society offers no more eligible alliance than the political parties which they thus respectively choose.

It is not, however, as a politician that the "Laird of Woodhill" will be most gratefully remembered. On the contrary, it is as a private gentleman, and a public benefactor, that his name will chiefly be held in honor. Charity of thought and usefulness of endeavor, with ivy-like beauty, seemed to garland his life, and to keep that life, as they still keep his memory, green and precious. Before settling permanently in Canada, he made a tour of observation through the Province, as well as through the United States, of which he afterwards published an account. We regret that the work has not fallen in our way, but it is not difficult for any one who knew the writer to believe what we have frequently heard, that it attracted a good deal of attention at the time, and had considerable influence in directing emigration to the Province. As a country gentleman in Scotland, he had been a practical as well as a theoretical agriculturist. It was, therefore, natural enough that, in virtue of his occupation and position, he should have been chosen a director, as he already was a leading member of the Highland Society; nor was it surprising that he should illustrate the fitness of the choice, by winning both the gold, and the silver medals, for treatises on the subject of agricultural improvement.


Having had the advantage of a liberal education, and having, moreover, studied attentively in the schools of experience and observation, he became a settler, with the intention of being a useful one, in Canada. He saw a noble country abused by ill-instructed cultivators; magnificent land cursed with miserable tillage; the affluence of nature impoverished by the ignorance of man; for it is on exaggeration to say that there were no more virtuous subjects of the Crown, and no more vicious farmers in the country, than the early settlers in Canada.

Township and County Agricultural Societies had been for a number of years in existence in Upper Canada, but their operations were desultory, and their funds limited. The beneficial uses of such societies were therefore, comparatively speaking, of a very slender kind. This fact was apparent to all who seriously interested themselves in the advancement of agriculture, and to none more so than to the subject of our sketch. It was consequently no matter for surprize that in the month of June, 1843, a letter should have appeared under his signature in the "Cultivator," a small newspaper published at Toronto, in which he recommended "the establishment of a Central Society, or a Board of Agriculture for the Province, or rather, perhaps, for Canada East and West respectively," with suggestions on the way it should be constituted. Four years afterwards an act was passed, entitled "An Act for the incorporation of the Agricultural Association of Upper Canada," in which the name of the Honorable A. Fergusson is mentioned at the head of the list of persons who had sought to be associated. In 1850 an act was passed to establish a "Board of Agriculture in Upper Canada." This act provided for the creation by election of a kind of board of control or an executive committee of eight members, to whom very important duties were assigned. The country generally showed its appreciation of Mr. Fergusson's worth by electing him at once a member of that Board, and by continuing to re-elect him until the time of his death. Neither should it be overlooked that[67] he and others, who labored successfully with him in establishing the "Agricultural Association," and the "Board of Agriculture" as a pendant of that Association, were also mainly instrumental in obtaining for the Science of Agriculture a fitting recognition in the great seat of learning in Western Canada. It is, we believe, to be ascribed to their exertions that a "Chair of Agriculture" was established in the University of Toronto. The "Board of Agriculture" may also be regarded as the parent of the "Bureau of Agriculture." But it is not responsible for the fact, that no member of the former has, so far as we know, ever presided over the latter.

Going back in point of time, it may be noted, that the first Provincial Exhibition took place in the month of October, 1846. The event was celebrated in the usual way. A party of two hundred gentlemen, including the most learned, and the most distinguished men of the Province, dined together at the old Government House, at Toronto. The proceedings of the day were of a cheery halcyon kind, mirthful and business-like, spicy and serious, including, as a matter of course, an inaugural address from the first President, the Honorable Adam Fergusson. That address was delivered to a large assemblage. It was listened to, as it deserved to be, throughout, with marked attention. It was subsequently published at length in the transactions of the Board of Agriculture, and it is well worthy of an attentive perusal. The time allotted to the speaker was necessarily limited, and his remarks, therefore, had, like pressed provisions, to be packed away in a small compass. It sufficed, however, for the enunciation of certain principles, accompanied with recommendations for the adoption of many necessary arrangements, as well as of some judicious rules. Mr. Fergusson was no half-and-half agriculturist, much less was he a mere speaker for the occasion. He was loyal in his love of Canada, and quite sincere in his convictions that she was capable of becoming the best human safety-valve, and at the same time the finest granary of the empire. "We possess," he said, "an[68] overwhelming mass of living evidence to establish the fact that Canada affords an unfailing independence to the sober, industrious, steady, and rational husbandman or mechanic." Before concluding his address he added a few earnest words of great wisdom, whose influence, like the presence of a good angel, has, we believe, dwelt with the Board, and never departed from the Association. Mr. Fergusson was a tolerably ardent politician; as a matter of principle, he would have made some sacrifice for party, but none for faction. It was not however, as a party man but as a patriot he thus spoke:

"In the remarks which I have submitted it has been my anxious care to abstain in the most scrupulous manner from all allusions of a party or political nature. I feel, gentlemen, far more intensely than I can possibly express, that our very existence as a useful institution must altogether depend upon a firm and scrupulous exclusion of all such topics from the Board. Thank God, we have a great and magnificent arena upon which every man in Canada may contend in honorable and patriotic competition, untainted by party jealousies or strife, and most devoutly should we all pray that party feeling or party intrigue may never be known among us."

For a period of eighteen years, he had with great kindliness and tact worked harmoniously, and in thorough good will, with several sorts and conditions of men. Nor had he worked in vain. His labors bore early fruit, accompanied moreover with the promise of still greater abundance. The time however which comes to all arrived for him. It was as he approached the extreme limit of human life, for he was then in his eightieth year, that he was to see the golden corn garnered for the last time; that he was to gather in his last harvest, and that, like the reapers of the past, he was to rest from his labors, and pass peacefully to his home. On the day on which he died, the 26th of September, 1862, the following resolution was entered on the books of the Association, which he had done so much to establish:



26th September, 1862.

It was moved by Col. Thomson, seconded by the Hon. D. Christie, and Resolved, That this Association has learned with deep regret, that since the meeting of the Association on this occasion, one of the first and most indefatigable friends of the institution has been called from the scene of his earthly labors, and they desire to record their high estimation of the value of the services of the Hon. Adam Fergusson, of Woodhill, and the esteem in which he was held by the Board of Agriculture, of which he has been a member since its formation, and also by the farmers of Canada at large.—Carried.

The subject of our sketch was as the associate of others, not only indirectly instrumental in promoting the advancement of agriculture, he was directly, and by personal exertion and sacrifice, the cause of provoking improvement, and of supplying incentives to such provocation. No phase of practical farming was more repulsive to him than bad stock, and in no respect was he more in earnest than in his steady endeavor to root out the mongrels, and introduce in their stead the pure grades of the old country. He was one of the first to import short-horned cattle, and though his herd was not large, it is said to have been well-chosen. Of such importance did he regard this subject of stock, that he founded the "Fergus Cup," a goblet of silver to be annually given for the best Durham grade Heifer, a prize which we are glad to hear, his son the Honorable A. J. Fergusson Blair has expressed his intention to continue. Nor should it be overlooked that the Veterinary School established by the Board of Agriculture, four years ago, was originated by Mr. Fergusson. He regarded the institution with especial interest; and it is pleasing to learn that the Veterinary College of Upper Canada can now boast of its graduates, as well as of its amateur students.

Men whose reflections do not sink beneath the surface of things, are very apt to undervalue such services as those which Mr. Fergusson, and others like him, have done to the Province. If the sheep which dot the meadows; if the cattle which roam on a thousand hills do not, the meat which seethes in their saucepans, or "smokes in their platter," might rebuke such scoffers, as they compare its improved with its crude quality of twenty years ago. But there is another and less epicurean view of the question, which may be fairly put, and was strongly put on a public occasion[70] several years ago by the Hon. Mr. Christie, the present member of the Legislative Council for the Electoral Division of Brant. In alluding to some remarks which His Excellency the then Governor General had made on the advantages of Agricultural Exhibitions, in which His Excellency had said that the success of those exhibitions was one of the criterions by which they could measure the progress of the country, Mr. Christie observed that

"The remark was susceptible of a still wider application, not confined to this Province. At those great mile stones in the pathway of the world's progress, the Exhibitions of London, New York and Paris, Canada occupied a prominent position. But it was mainly owing to the efforts of this Association that at those Exhibitions, Canada had attained so high a rank!"

The "Laird of Woodhill" may be said to have been "thorough" in his character. He did not, when he went abroad, leave his occupation with his old clothes at home; he did not, like a Mussulman, leave his slippers in the vestibule that he might the more worthily pass muster in the Mosque. His allegiance to the land of his birth did not incline him to forget his loyalty to the land of his adoption. Anxious to be consistent, and determined to be honest, there ran through his nature a vein of pride which was not the less attractive for its resemblance to humility. Here, and elsewhere, within the Province and beyond the Province, the Honorable Adam Fergusson always qualified on the same calling, for he chose to be neither more nor less than a "Canadian Farmer!"





His Excellency Lieut.-General Sir John Michel, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Forces in British North America, is the eldest son of the late Lieut.-General John Michel, of Dewlish, and Kingston Russell, in the County of Dorset, by his second wife, Anne, daughter of the Hon. Henry Fane, of Fulbrook, in the County of Lincoln. Burke, in his history of the County Families, with delightful frankness, informs us that he was born in 1805, and in 1838 he married Louisa Anne, only daughter of Major-General Churchill. His father, as we have said, was an officer of high rank in the army, whose example, very probably gave an inclination to the tastes of his son, for he adopted the profession to which his father had belonged. He entered the service as Ensign on the 3rd April, 1823, and rose with rapidity to the rank of Captain, receiving his Lieutenancy on the 28th April, 1825, and his company on the 12th December, 1826. The steps in his progress to the rank of Major were taken with greater deliberation, for he did not arrive at that good degree till the 6th March, 1840. Two years afterwards he received his commission of Lieut. Colonel, with the command, as we infer, of the sixth Foot. In June, 1854, he was promoted to the full rank of Colonel, and on the 26th October, 1858, to that of Major-General. On the 19th of August, 1862, he was appointed Colonel of the 86th Regiment, and on the 4th June, 1865, he succeeded Lieut. General Sir William Fenwick Williams, Bart., K.C.B., as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in British North America.

Having adopted the profession of arms, the subject of our ske[74]tch seems to have sought the "bubble reputation" with considerable assiduity, and no small degree of success. Fortune, however, had no favors to bestow during the first twenty years of his service. He had not succeeded in arriving at what was then the fighting ground of the British soldier; for in those times, out of India there was little to be done that the Royal troops cared to do. Disturbances in Ireland, riots in England, troubles in Canada, represented duties the reverse of attractive, which most soldiers, having the option, would rather avoid than seek. In India there were then, as there are still, wars and rumors of wars. But the time had not arrived when the subject of our sketch could do more than read of, or listen to, transactions which were transpiring in that far-off land. Soldiers, like other men, must wait. A British regiment is a massive body, and moves in a large orbit. The cycle of its service cannot hurriedly be described. If, for example, the regiment which our young Ensign joined, had just returned from India, it is not difficult to understand that the roster, by which such matters are supposed to be regulated at the Horse-Guards, could not be otherwise than deliberately got through. In following the geographical order, in moving from post to post, from province to province, round the belt of the British possessions which encircles the globe, it would require at least a quarter of a century for a regiment to arrive again at any given point of departure.

In 1846-7, however, we begin to glimpse the smoke of battle, and the subject of our sketch, we venture to think, began to distinguish the serious from the holiday smell of powder; for he served throughout the Kaffir wars, which commenced then and did not end till 1851-53. A medal and a C.B. lighted the undecorated breast of his coat with their first flash of honor, and created, we should suppose, beneath the surface on which they shone, that thirst for fame which springs from acquired distinction. They were the nebulæ, so to speak, the glittering promises, which, as time grew older, would gather into a star. The experience of warfare acquired in one continent, was amplified in another. The career[75] commenced in Africa, was continued in Asia, for we read that Lieut. Colonel Michel's services with the Turkish contingent in the Crimea were sufficiently distinguished to secure acknowledgments from the Sultan, accompanied with the Medjidie of the second class.

Nor did the subject of our sketch halt in the path of fame when that brief campaign was brought to a close. In India, that grand seminary of soldiership, we find him in 1858-9, performing noteworthy services, and especially when in command of troops in central India, where he defeated the rebel forces under Tantia Topee at Beorora, taking twenty-seven guns, and again at the actions of Mongrowlie, Sindwaho, and Kurari, as well as in the subsequent pursuit of the fugitive rebel bands. For these services he received a medal, and won his star, for he was created a K.C.B. In 1860, in the campaign in China, he commanded a division of the army, and was present at the action of Sinho. For this service he received a medal, with the addition of a clasp for the Taku Forts. We have no means of informing ourselves of the transactions in which he took a part between the close of the war in China, and his appointment to the command of Her Majesty's Forces in British North America. The last named duty was not destined to be a sinecure. Almost immediately on his arrival in Canada, he found himself charged, not only with the command of the troops, but with the civil government of the Province, for the duty of administering the government, in the absence of the Governor-General, devolved upon him. This responsibility is not ordinarily considered to be burdened with any very disquieting amount of anxiety, for under our system, it is said that he governs best who governs least. There are, of course, certain political duties which must not, and certain social duties which should not he neglected. The former, it is said, were attended to by Sir John Michel with military precision; and the latter, it is known, were practised with graceful liberality. But along the tranquil course of affairs, a[76]n unprovided case, as we conjecture, unexpectedly arose. A prominent member of the administration differed from his colleagues, and tendered his resignation. This fact, with the contingency of a ministerial crisis in reversion, taken in connection with the Fenian conspiracy, may certainly have supplied reasons for restoring the civil government of the Province to the hands of the civil Governor. Whether they did so or not, we have no means of knowing, but the return of His Excellency the Governor-General, at a period somewhat earlier than he was expected, seemed to receive an explanation in the supposed wish of Sir John Michel, and the natural one of Viscount Monck, to assume their respective shares of the responsibility arising from the political difficulties within, and the piratical ones without the limits of their two commands. The Fenian menace almost immediately assumed a shape so infamous, that it was considered advisable to place the whole military force of the Province—Regulars, Volunteers, and Militia—under the immediate command of the subject of our sketch. Sir John Michel, having had some acquaintance with auxiliary and irregular forces, was supposed to know how to use them with advantage; and to be able to form, from experience and observation, a just estimate of their value and quality. What that estimate may have been we do not presume to think. If, however, we may judge his thoughts by his words, the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief was as complimentary as it was encouraging. It found expression in the cordial language of public praise, which no volunteer soldier is likely to forget, and the courteous acts of social condescension which no volunteer officer is likely to abuse. There was logical fitness in the procedure; for gentlemen, whom the Queen had honored with her commission, were not unworthy of being guests at the house of her representative.




"Man, amidst the fluctuations of his own feelings, and of passing events, ought to resemble the ship, which currents may carry and winds may impel from her course, but which, amidst every deviation, still presses onward to her port with unremitted perseverance. In the coolness of reflection, he ought to survey his affairs with a dispassionate and comprehensive eye, and, having fixed on his plan, take the necessary steps to accomplish it, regardless of the temporary mutations of his mind, the monotony of the same track, the apathy of exhausted attention, or the blandishments of new projects."—Essays on the Formation and Publication of Opinions.

The "stroke oar" of the winning boat will probably remember, with more complacency, the triumph of his University on the Thames, than his own triumph at the University. The physical training, the indomitable endurance, the superlative skill, the grand discipline of the body, which preceded and accompanied the keenly contested struggle, will be referred to with a heartier relish than the analogous struggle of the brain. We therefore venture to think that the occasion on which we first met with the subject of our sketch, is not likely to pass from his recollection. It took its rise from a small, and as we believe impromptu bet, and it resulted in a victory cleverly won. The double result supplied the owner with good reason to "rejoice in his legs," and perhaps too they enabled the observer in appraising their value to hazard the opinion that time would have a severe tussle with strength ere he could "break such legs." It is more than twenty years since, when the Province of Canada was in its tender and fractious infancy, when some uncommonly sharp teeth were "coming through," and much inflammation indicated the whereabouts of more, when the provincial capital was in the town, and the[78] parliament buildings in the township of Kingston; when the Right Honorable Sir Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, was Governor General, and Mr. J. M. Higginson was his private secretary; when the Honorable R. B. Sullivan had just ceased to be prime minister, and the Honorable Dominick Daly represented several Executive Councillors rolled into one; that many persons were attracted to the seat of government because they had business to look after, and many persons were detained there because they could find no one with whom to transact business. It was at such a time, and we believe under such circumstances, that the subject of our sketch found himself a visitor at Kingston, probably, and in spite of himself, an idler at the British American Hotel, in the care of a genial landlord, whose heart was as large as his lodgings were small. In such straits different men would act differently. The listless man would probably lounge and dream; the energetic man would move and act; one would sit and think, the other would walk and observe. The writer, who then resided about five miles from Kingston, was informed on his return home one afternoon, that some gentlemen, and one in particular, had that day been walking on the road in front of his house for hours, as if impelled by a vow or constrained by a wager. On inquiring the name of the chief pedestrian, the writer was almost reviled for his ignorance. "That is Alick Galt," said the enthusiast, "his wager is to walk thirty miles in six hours." He did it too and in a very plucky way, for he had, if we remember rightly, several minutes to spare. Thus the bet, which was five pounds, was honestly earned. What he did with it we do not know, and it would be impertinent to enquire; but we venture to think that what was so creditably earned, was as charitably spent. The fatigue of the walk was, we have little doubt, subsequently forgotten in the glow of the wine; and the chaff and chatter, like nuts and biscuits, gave a relishing flavour to the dessert. In reviewing the "jolly days" of the past, we have little doubt that the victory of that day, which by the way took place near the village of Waterloo,[79] is by the victor marked with a "white stone." Had we been wise before the time, we might have speculated on the probability of those well educated feet being balanced by an equally well educated head; or that legs which could, without distress, accomplish any amount of hard walking, exactly typified a brain, which, without fatigue, could accomplish any amount of hard thinking. "Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds." The longing desire which throbs, and pants, and strives, and reaches after a given object, represents, so to speak, the motive power by which all objects are gained. The manly training by which means are bent to ends, by which circumstances are controlled, and made subservient to success, represent the main conditions of determinate endeavour. As a mill-race may be said to impel, with the like force, all kinds of machinery, so, we incline to think, are intellectual power and physical strength amenable to similar laws. All things being equal, the more perfect the individual, in those qualities which represent power, the greater will be his success in any struggle, no matter whether it takes its rise in the exertions of the brain, or in the exertions of the body.

It was, we believe, commonly supposed that Mr. Galt is by birth, as well as by descent, a Scotsman. But this impression was publicly dispelled in 1865, when the honorable and gallant member for Peterborough expressed his concern that England "his own beloved land," was unrepresented in the Canadian administration. That gentleman was at once consoled by President of the Council, Mr. Brown, who rose in his place in Parliament, and, with a gravity of manner difficult to forget, informed the House generally, and Colonel Haultain in particular that he was mistaken, for his friend the Minister of Finance, and the subject of our sketch, was born in England. We have the satisfaction to be able to corroborate the statement. The event moreover was not a mere border accident of doubtful reliability; on the contrary, it was marked by circumst[80]ances of manifest deliberation, for it took place in mid-England, and hard by the metropolis itself. To be precise, we may repeat the announcement, for the phraseology in which such facts were chronicled, has undergone little change. The leading journal of that day may have contained a notice not unlike the following:—"At Chelsea on the 6th of September, 1817, the wife of John Galt, Esquire, of a son."

But although that son's cradle was rocked in England, although his earliest breath was caught from the sweet hush of autumn-tide, and made kindly by the gentle air of the southern kingdom, still the robust and hardy qualities of his ancestors were not impaired by contact with the gentler and more polished ones of his countrymen. We know not what the child may have been, we only see what the man is. Therefore, we are able to observe that Mr. Galt combines, in an extraordinary degree, the pertinacious qualities of one race with the generous ones of the other. His character represents that moral mixture, the almost unattainable "half-and-half" which results from the judicious blending of Scotch metaphysics with English good nature, of obscure reason with practical common sense. Thus ideas, good in themselves, being separated from the acids and prejudices in which they were generated, are clarified and made safe by judicious solution and adroit sweetening.

Of Mr. Galt's father, it is not necessary for us to speak at length; his name and genius are known wherever the English language is spoken, or English literature read. His temporary connection with this Province, as one of the Commissioners of the Canada Land Company, sufficed, it may be conjectured, to give an inclination to the career of his son. In the year 1835, six years after his father's return to England, the subject of our sketch emigrated to this Province, and at once entered the service of the British American Land Company, as a junior clerk. In that office he continued for twenty-one years, rising by the force of his character, and abilities, from post to post, until he re[81]ached the dignity of Chief Commissioner of the Company. It was, moreover, at this period when he was busily occupied in disentangling the Company's affairs, and proving to the satisfaction of the shareholders, that what was regarded as insolvency, was only confusion, that his mind acquired a relish for those forms of financial study with which history associates the highest types of statesmanship. The monetary affairs of a province may perhaps be regarded as the exaggeration only of similar affairs in a company. The possession of a key to one set of mysteries gave Mr. Galt a tolerably exact insight into similar entanglements elsewhere. Thus the fascinations of acquired knowledge provoked him to seek for more. Experience and intuition, sound experience, and sagacious foresight, may possibly have prompted an observation which he made at that time to a kinsman of the writer's. "I should like," he said "to be the Inspector General of Canada," as the officer who is now called the Minister of Finance was then designated. Thus it may be presumed a certain fixed idea had taken possession of his thoughts. His mind, moreover, if we may adventure an opinion, is of a resolute order which will either educate and shape itself to an idea, or make the idea serviceable by bending it to the shape of his mind. Mr. Galt possesses the twin gifts of prudence and discretion; he knows the advantages of inaction and the value of silence. It was no part of his plan, even had the opportunity offered, suddenly to vault into the position to which he aspired. He was probably aware that personal observation and Parliamentary influence were necessary preludes to administrative success. In the absence of such experience he may reasonably have thought that intellectual qualifications and individual aptness were of little avail. For it is necessary not only to think aright, but to acquire the art which education gives to habit, of clearly conveying such thoughts to less instructed minds, thus, for example, by the rhetoric as well as the logic of figures, to persuade men to agree to a tariff or to put up with a tax.


In April, 1849, Mr. Galt was returned to Parliament as member for the county of Sherbrooke. It was, it must be confessed, an uncomfortable and troubled period of Provincial history, and moreover blemished with several sorts of violence. The country was, we think, not fortunate in being ruled by an administration which was too strong to be discreet, while, at the same time, it was unquestionably discredited by an opposition that was too passionate to be commanding. The former affected contempt, and the latter displayed defiance. The former, in the majesty of their majority, took no thought of precaution. The latter, in the intensity of their resistance, took no thought of responsibility. A sergeant's guard, had it been posted in time, would have saved the Parliament buildings on the evening of the 25th April, 1849. Common sense, with a recovered temper, would have respected them the next day. All Governments have occasionally to pass unpopular acts. History, however, not only criticises such acts, but holds the authorities accountable for the consequence of passing them. It is not enough that such acts may in themselves be either virtuous or necessary,—for public opinion may be said to be more or less divided on the merits of almost all acts. The Government, which is responsible for their passage, must be held responsible for the consequences of their passage, even though the obligation should require virtue to be upheld by force. The first duty of Government is to maintain the peace of the country, irrespective of the consideration whether there exists cause for the breach of such peace. Nor is the task difficult when it is undertaken at the right time, for men involuntarily respect authority. Half a dozen sentinels, with instructions to say, "you must not pass this way," would, on the last mentioned eventful evening, have saved our public character from disgrace, our public property from destruction, and our provincial capital from itinerating uncomfortably from one end of the country to the other. Of course such oversights and follies were productive of follies more egregious, and transactions more[83] blameworthy. In Lower Canada indignation found expression in what was termed an "Annexation Manifesto." In Upper Canada it aired itself under the name of a "British American League." Both ebullitions were mischievious contrivances which no literary or scholastic merit could save from being censurable. One at least was undeniably wrong; and the other, in spite of the plausibility of its pretexts, and the standing of its members, could scarcely be screened from contemporary derision, and will not be saved from posthumous contempt. Happily, each was short-lived, and both have been quietly interred. The former in a shroud of shame, and the latter in an envelope of paint and fustian, good enough for the purpose, very trumpery and very perishable. Few mourners attended their funerals, few tears were dropped into their graves, and no survivor boasts of his connection with the departed. Mr. Galt's experience of parliamentary life, acquired in that extraordinary session, seemed to satisfy him for a time, as for some reason with which we are unacquainted, he in less than a year afterwards, and before the Legislature again met, resigned his seat.

When Mr. Galt entered the British American Land Company, there is reason to think he took a comprehensive view of its management, and a particular one of its affairs. He saw that there was work to do, and consequently that there was a career before him. Success followed exertion, for when he retired in 1856, he could climb no higher; for he had reached the topmost round in the ladder of that Company's service. Afterwards, when his thoughts and aspirations appeared to take a political direction, it consisted with analogy, to suppose that Mr. Galt's attention would be patiently directed towards the map of the British possessions in America. He probably examined their extent, and estimated their resources, and arrived at conclusions of his own as to the manner in which the former should be abridged, and the latter developed. The paths by which political influence may be said to travel are parallel with the highways of commerce. Multiply the latter, and the avenues to[84] the former will be increased. Thus a scattered community, by a policy of artificial concentration, may be made to move towards a state of national consistency. Establish a base for political union, by creating the conditions on which it should mainly rest, namely, intercourse and communication, revenue and transport, trade and commerce. As a prelude of vital importance, to the fact of union and its consequence, nationality, Mr. Galt was, as we may presume, one of the earliest advocates of the railway policy of Canada. He interested himself, firstly in the construction of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic, and secondly in that of the Grand Trunk Railway. Of the latter company he was a director from the eleventh of November, 1852, to the twenty-eighth of July, 1859. By the co-operation of a gentleman, whose name is inseparably associated with Canadian progress and public improvement, we mean the Honorable Mr. Young, Mr. Galt succeeded in rescuing the first mentioned company from the difficulties in which it was temporarily involved, and eventually made it serviceable by uniting it with the Grand Trunk Line, of which it now forms a valuable part.

Either with or without his knowledge, Mr. Galt again returned to political life. His election for the town of Sherbrooke, as the successor of Mr. Short, who had been created a judge of the Superior Court, took place in the month of March, 1853. He does not seem to have taken his seat during the session which was then being held. It may, we think, be presumed, though we have no means of informing ourselves, that he was not in the Province at the time; for certainly, one measure, the increase of the number of representatives in the Legislative Assembly, which was discussed and passed in that session, would have compelled his attendance had he been in a position to attend. At the next session, which assembled on the thirteenth of June, 1854, and was summarily prorogued with a view to its dissolution by His Excellency the Earl of Elgin, on the twenty-second of th[85]e same month, Mr. Galt's name occurs twice in the published divisions, as they are found in the Journals, and on both occasions with the name of the Honorable Mr. Hincks. At the general election which immediately followed the dissolution, Mr. Galt was again returned for Sherbrooke. At the session following, though generally inclined, with statesmanlike consideration, to support a public servant in the performance of his duty, he found, with many others, that Mr. Timothée Brodeur, the returning officer at the then late election for the County of Bagot, had put himself almost beyond the reach either of aid or of sympathy. In truth, he had taken a view of duty so peculiar and eccentric, as to make it well nigh impossible for Mr. Galt, even allowing for the elasticity of conscience, which is commonly associated with the subject of controverted Parliamentary elections, either to screen him, or to support Mr. Hincks in his efforts to do so. Whereupon, the latter, in consequence of the decision of Parliament being expressed emphatically against him, found that he had lost the control of the House. He consequently bowed to the verdict, and retired with his Upper Canada colleagues from the administration. In doing so, however, he took measures to promote those political alliances between the representatives of the eastern and western sections of the Province, which, we believe, had been deemed feasible by many, including the present Attorney-General West, and had been openly advocated by some, including the honorable and learned member for Montmorency. The coalition government, as it was then constructed, did not, we are inclined to think, commend itself very heartily to Mr. Galt's regard, for the Journals of that period shew that he voted very independently, and quite irrespective of the claims of either of the parties which were then supposed to divide the House. In the session of 1857, however, the direction of Mr. Galt's mind appeared to acquire a more positive inclination, for on most of the questions on which decisions were taken in Parliament, Mr. Galt's vote was generally cast[86] with the votes of his present colleagues. On the resignation of the Brown-Dorion Government, Mr. Galt was, it is said, honored with His Excellency's command to form an administration. For reasons which he deemed sufficient, he obtained the necessary permission to decline the duty. But in doing so, he was, we may be allowed to think, moved by no selfish considerations, much less by a shrinking desire to evade the consequences of his vote. What he had deliberately done, he was ready determinately to uphold. No doubt he had reasons for his resolve; but since those reasons have not, as far as we know, been divulged, it would be idle to estimate their value, or discuss their merits. It is enough to mention that on Mr. Cartier's being charged with the duty of forming an administration, the subject of our sketch, on the sixth of August, 1858, was gazetted to the office of Minister of Finance. The season for temporizing had for the time at least passed away. The language of conciliation was for the moment a mockery, and the policy of compromise a delusion. Parliament was too obstinately divided to listen to one or tolerate the other. Public men had no option but to deal with the rage of the Legislature as they best could, for apparently they were obliged to choose one of two sides. Mr. Galt did not hesitate in his choice. He cast his lot with the party with which, since then, he has been determinately identified.

With the formation of the Cartier-Macdonald administration, of which the subject of our sketch became a prominent member, Provincial politics appeared suddenly to acquire breadth and strength. The horizon was enlarged. New light gilded the vexations of the hour, and the chronic obstinacy of sectional antagonism was relieved by extending the area in which such antagonism could be exerted. A statesmanlike escape was discovered for the unstatesmanlike difficulties into which the Province had drifted. A policy for the future was boldly enunciated. A desire, born of pure and patriotic thought, was shown to deal with the acknowledged diffi[87]culties of the present, and thus, if possible, to heal the irritations of the past. The Confederation of the British Provinces in America was one of the measures which that administration pledged itself to attempt, and, if possible, to accomplish. Three members of the Government, one of whom was the subject of our sketch, addressed a note to the Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies on the advantages of such union. Little persuasion was necessary on the part of the ministers of Canada, to carry conviction to the mind of the ministers of England. What was courageously determined on here was cordially agreed to there. The result was apparent at the opening of the next following session of the Canadian Legislature. His Excellency the Governor-General, in deference to advice, referred to the subject in his speech from the Throne, and on all seasonable occasions from then till now it has been especially advocated and advanced by Mr. Galt and his colleagues. The seventy-two resolutions adopted at the Quebec Conference, in 1864, with the concurrence of members of all parties, represent the result of the policy. The great principles which those resolutions embody, were boldly declared by the administration in 1858; but the financial ingenuity which marks their details, and which is by no means their least remarkable feature, was little thought of by those who acquiesced in the principle. The resolutions which relate to the appropriation of revenue as well as those which deal with the fluctuations of population, and regulate the number of representatives in Parliament, are governed by a simple self-adjusting balance movement, with respect to which we know not whether most to admire the cleverness of the design or the clearness of the application. Unquestionably those wheels within wheels must be accepted as the finished work of a skilled workman. Who he was, we know not; but in the absence of exact information, we have not deemed it to be irrelevant to bracket the work with the duties of the subject of our sketch.


There is probably no branch of the public service in which the progress of improvement has been more marked, than that which is controlled by the Minister of Finance. Some of us may remember the time when the Receiver-General of the old Province of Upper Canada was accustomed to say, half playfully to be sure, that he kept the "public account in his breeches pocket." While no one doubted the honor of that officer, or questioned the accuracy of his accounts, few persons suspected that he understood them, and no one with whom we were acquainted, could satisfactorily explain whether they were right or wrong. The march of improvement since then has been very apparent, for what was formerly obscure, is now generally considered to be plain. Objection may, of course, be taken to the facts, but not, as we think, to the manner in which they are stated.

Mr. Galt has had occasion to cross the Atlantic so frequently, that we believe he has discontinued to keep a score of his voyages. This portion of the duties of a Minister of Finance may be regarded as very "jolly" by such as enjoy "life on the ocean wave." To others, however, who prefer the song to the sea, the nautical is, and must be, among the most nauseous duties which that officer is required to perform. What the maritime ordeal may be to Mr. Galt, we know not: for the objects of such voyages are too important for us to inquire very anxiously whether the process is attended with inconvenience or not. The re-adjustment and consolidation of our Provincial debts and the consequent creation of Canadian consols, will, we think, be honorably associated with Mr. Galt's name in all time to come. Those who have money to invest will be grateful for the opportunity of being able to place it in safe, remunerative and marketable stocks. Again, on a recent occasion, as we may judge from the printed minute of those proceedings, when the subject of our sketch was required to make an official visit to Washington, and was brought face to face with the committee of economists who were there assembled to consider the question of abrogating or renewing the Reciprocity Treaty, the Canadian peop[89]le, irrespective of the issue of that negociation, had every reason to admire the comparative, as well as the conspicuous, breadth of his information who represented them on that occasion.

The administration of which Mr. Galt was the Finance Minister continued in office until the 2nd May, 1862, when, being defeated on the second reading of the Militia Bill, it was succeeded by the Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte Government, the Honorable Mr. Howland being Minister of Finance. On the 8th May following, the Government was left in a minority by a want of confidence vote. A dissolution of Parliament followed, and general election took place, when the subject of our sketch was again returned as member for Sherbrooke. In the reconstructed government, known as the Sandfield Macdonald-Dorion administration, the Honorable Mr. Holton succeeded Mr. Howland as Minister of Finance. These changes, did not, we believe, occasion marked alteration in the policy which had previously been initiated by Mr. Galt. Mr. Howland's budget fell through by reason of the sudden prorogation of Parliament, and Mr. Holton's was not submitted to the House. When, therefore, on the resignation of the last mentioned administration, Mr. Galt found himself re-instated in his former office, he had, except for the re-imposition of the canal tolls, little reason to complain of any serious change being made in the policy he had sought to promote. But power was more easily regained than peace. Parties were too exactly balanced and too thoroughly divided to tolerate tranquil legislation. "Stones of offence" were sedulously sought for, and were occasionally laid with considerable success. Thus the Taché-Macdonald Government stumbled, and nearly fell over one of such stones placed with sagacious address by the Honorable Mr. Dorion, apparently for the express purpose of tripping the subject of our sketch. The blow, however, though deliberately aimed, was effectively countered by Mr. Galt. Then followed some admirable sparring, until by a succession of unlooked-for surprises the final victory remained with the apparently vanquished party. To adopt[90] a metaphor, Mr. Dorion, having in a political sense failed to perpetrate strategic murder, not unnaturally brought about a strategic suicide. Political rest followed; for the country was weary of mere talk, and its representatives were ashamed of mere strife. A coalition of parties took place, followed by anxious discussions in the cabinet on the great question of Confederation. On the rising of Parliament, Mr. Galt and six of his colleagues attended by invitation, and as guests, the conference of delegates from the Maritime Provinces assembled at Charlottetown. Less official visits were afterwards made to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. These bore fruit in the Quebec Conference and its unanimous resolve. Then followed the congratulations of the statesmen of England, the compliments of the Court, and the approval of the mother country. Thus here, and elsewhere, in the Provinces and in the Empire, at home and abroad, the policy of peace, of intercourse and of union, inaugurated in the troubled times of 1858, was ratified in the peaceful times of 1865. What particular portion of the credit may be said to attach to Mr. Galt, must be left to personal conjecture and future narrators. He, we believe, has expressed no other desire than to be accounted one of the historical thirty-three, who drew up, discussed and agreed to the seventy-two resolutions of the memorable Quebec Conference.

Mr. Galt is not an orator, at least in the sense in which we understand the term. We venture to think that in his resolute youth he never stayed in his solitary walks to harangue the stones on the beach, or apostrophize the stars in the sky. He is careful of what he says, and naturally he cannot very well be careless of the style in which he says it. Art should harmonize with and give expression to nature. Mr. Galt may be aware of the danger of interfering with the laws of the latter; for though he may not be anxious to simulate what is artificial, he is evidently careful not to sacrifice what is natural. Nature has bestowed on the subject o[91]f our sketch "a manly presence," and a well modulated voice, whose tones, whether high or low, whether the gift of nature, or the result of education, appear to possess that much coveted pervading quality which belong to accomplished art, and which occasionally are found to exist, irrespective of the mere strength of the key to which such voice is pitched. If Mr. Galt's manner of speaking in public might be indicated by a word, we should be inclined to call it colloquial, a style in itself very telling and seductive, for it is the style of earnestness and sincerity. It does not offend our prejudices, neither does it cause us to connect the speaker with the actor, and consequently with the damaging suspicion that he is only performing a part.

But though the style may be described as colloquial, it is wonderfully compact. Thoughts being resolved into words flow with attractive harmony in a kind of state paper manner, where there is nothing redundant, and nothing obscure. But although this style unstudied precision may represent agreeable and concise talking only on the part of the speaker, it exacts close attention on the part of those who listen, and of severe labor on the part of those who report the speech. "The gentlemen of the press" understand thoroughly that their stenographic art must be plied with unwearied vigor if they would not lose any point in the argument, or miss any passage in the speech. Mr. Galt is probably the most massive speaker in Parliament. He knows how to compress what he has to say, and it is only occasionally that he repeats what he compresses.

The "Budget Night" is in the Canadian, as it is in the English House of Commons, a marked night. It is pleasant not only to listen to the utterances, but to observe the peculiarities of gifted men. When the present honorable member for South Oxford sat on the opposite benches to the member for Sherbrooke, it was exceedingly amusing to note the difference of manner which characterized the two speakers when discussing the same subject. Mr. Brown is[92] supposed to have studied very deeply the financial and economical questions, with which Mr. Galt is officially required to deal. The answer of the former to the speech of the latter was always looked for with a kind of anticipatory relish, for it was sure to contain the flavor of spice and to provoke an appetite in the listener. By habit and temperament no two men can be more dissimilar. Mr. Galt is tranquil and imperturbable in his character; his temper appears so thoroughly chained by his intellect, that even his irony, except on extraordinary occasions, is of a soothing kind. It really seems like a mere waste of ammunition to expend Parliamentary indignation upon him. Mr. Brown, on the contrary, is we incline to think, of a more sanguine and impetuous nature, whose strength derives little nourishment from reserve, and no happiness from silence. Unlike Lord Sydenham's prime minister, the present Mr. Justice Harrison, who could not, or would not, be provoked, Mr. Brown is either more human, or more divine, for he can be made angry. The process, too, by which such a result was arrived at on a "Budget Night," was as amusingly instructive as it was decidedly effective. At such times the pantomime was picture. We can imagine Mr. Galt to be seated in a comfortable attitude of facile attention and good-natured indifference, his arms folded across his breast, as if, in caressing his own, he was figuratively taking care of the Provincial chest. We can also imagine Mr. Brown hammering his arguments with the industry of a goldbeater, and driving them home with the ardor of an enthusiast. Then, after the manner of a skilled workman, we can see the latter look at his competitor, and, pointing with a finger of expressive length, enquire of the House, whether such intellectual work was not finished, and in a state to be rivetted and clinched. The unuttered answer delivered across the chamber, like Lord Burleigh's, is only "a shake of the head;" but it is repeated with silent constancy as often as the question is asked. Passive, speechless, and immovable, Mr. Galt smiles a persistent negative.[93] Glowing radiant, and amazed, Mr. Brown becomes, so to speak, the visible embodiment of picturesque astonishment. Adjectives, adverbs, and interjections, glisten in his speech in almost every shape and form of sparkling superlative. He raises his arms with vigorous animation. He raises his voice in harmony with his arms, while his eyebrows, in compliment to both, appear involuntarily to become elated, and shoot alarmingly upwards, provoking a sort of speculative nervousness, lest they should wholly forsake the region of his forehead, and permanently repose on the crown of his head. As a picture in a series of historic contrasts, Mr. Brown, in all the glow of eloquent animation, and Mr. Galt, in all the quit of chronic repose, might be represented on the same canvas, and with unquestionable effect.

There is that, in Mr. Galt's manner which gives one the idea of restrained strength. As he sits down the impression arises that he has not said all he could say, only as much as he considered the occasion to require. The idea that he is the possessor of certain latent resources suggests caution on the part of those who would indulge in unwarrantable familiarity. Occasionally there are pleasant and convenient episodes in debate. On the other hand, there are times when argument should receive the respect of silence when its links ought not to be broken by interruption or disturbed by rudeness. On ordinary occasions such practices are disquieting, but when the reasoning is subtle, and its ramifications numerous, they are abominable. Mr. Galt's colleague, the Attorney-General West, under such circumstances would pause and make a convenient parenthesis. He would then, in a political way, knock down the disturber with a remorseless sarcasm, and a little later would most probably pick him up with a compassionate compliment. Mr. Galt under the like circumstances, but with greater reluctance would perform the former part of the ceremony, but he would, we think, expect a little contrition before he became forgiving, and supplemented it with the latter. Having fired his shaft of pol[94]ished irony he would neither be sorry nor surprised if it produced irritation. As an investment he would expect an adequate return for his shot. Mr. J. A. Macdonald unites in his person the attributes of soldier and surgeon too. He wounds because it is his duty, and he heals because it is his nature. Mr. Galt, though not inferior in kindliness, is we think, less willing to wound, and perhaps less careful to heal. He may, therefore, perhaps be accounted a sterner soldier, but a slower surgeon than his gifted colleague; but he is not for all that a less considerate, or less generous man.

It would have helped what we have written, and added interest to our sketch, could we have lightened it with extracts from some of Mr. Galt's writings and speeches. But the wish could scarcely be put into execution. There are speeches which, we think, should be regarded as unities, which cannot without loss be broken into fragments. Mr. Galt's are of this order. To approach them fairly they should be studied as a whole. Those who only read them will of course determine their merits by the severe laws of thought. Those, however, who have heard them delivered will mingle with their judgment the pleasant recollection of their personal charms. They will remember the persuasive gracefulness of their manner, the plausible attractiveness of their arguments, and perhaps and above all, the subtle and inexplicable music of their elocution.




In the sixteenth century, so Macaulay writes, "there was not in the whole realm a single congregation of Independents or Baptists." In the middle of the following century, the former, though not numerically equal to the rest of the population, were, from their union and resolution, influential enough to control the State, and for a time to assert their supremacy over the Church. Puritanism in England, and Protestantism in Europe, were generally the offspring of free thought. Religious liberty was the syren to which their voices were attuned. State authority was the satyr from which their faces were averted. English Catholicism, though less repugnant to the puritan than Roman Catholicism was to the protestant, was resisted "root and branch," as opposed alike to human reason and the divine law. To the two religious bodies we have named, a third may be added; for the English Presbyterians, after the passing of the Toleration Act, were grouped with the former as protestant dissenters, a name by which they continue to be distinguished. Divines, in their discussion of such questions will naturally make use of terms selected from their own vocabularies, but the theological, and the political value of such terms will rarely be found in accord. The members of all denominations in Canada will be apt to agree in thinking that in this Province no such distinctions can be said to exist, as there can be no statutory dissent from a church which has no statutory existence.

The rent ecclesiastical, which commenced in England three centuries ago, was not, perhaps it could not be, immediately repaired. Unhappily it widened and grew worse, until a small, and[96] as some have thought what should have been only an accidental and temporary schism became a serious and permanent separation. The consequences of such division could scarcely have been imagined at the time of its occurrence. It was probably thought that the seceders would return to the body from which they had separated, and, like stragglers on the march, they would eventually rejoin the main army. It was scarcely foreseen that their hostility would become an inheritance, to be transmitted to future generations. But whether foreseen or not, the fact remains to afflict those, no matter by what names they are designated, who yearn for Christian oneness, and who really believe that the unity for which their Saviour prayed, should be practiced by the people for whom He died.

The meaning and value of words not only undergo serious changes by transmission from one generation to another, but the action of time appears very materially to soften the sharpness of their edges. Truth of course remains immutable. But with the increase of knowledge our perception of what is true becomes enlarged, and our judgment of what we considered false becomes qualified. Thus we probably learn that there is some truth in all systems, and much error in all opinions. Although, for example, a schismatic must be a dissenter, it does not as certainly follow that a dissenter must also be a schismatic. The words, though indifferently made use of, are by no means synonymous. This view was taken in the hearing of the writer by one whose opinion has, we have reason to think, some weight in the Congregational body. It is many years since when a placard with the following heading, "Dissent not Schism," was posted at the entrance of a dark looking court near the Mansion House, London. Then followed the further information that a sermon or lecture on the above subject would be preached on that day, at the chapel at the head of the court, by the Rev. Thomas Binney. To the chapel the writer went, and heard, what at this distance of time he must be allowed to call the undeniably clever and decidedly unclerical discourse o[97]f the somewhat eccentric, but evidently gifted preacher. After tearing the word schism into shreds, examining its derivation and rummaging about its roots, the preacher, according to the writer's recollection, observed that the congregational body of that day had, for several generations, been protestant dissenters. Never having belonged to the national church, it was contended they could not be separatists from that church,—consequently could not be schismatics. It might more logically, so the preacher hinted, be objected that they were heretics; but that enquiry, he somewhat playfully added, "does not come up to-day." The distinction may, and probably will, by many persons be regarded as more popular than precise. It must however be accepted for the purpose of this sketch. The truth seems to be that from the accident of birth, and not from the discipline of conviction, people are either churchmen or dissenters. They inherit, with their blood, not only their fathers' faith, but the form and fashion in which it found expression. Such convictions can only be unsettled by new courses of enquiry and by a discipline of thought to which the mind is not readily attracted. Honor to parents is a part of the divine law, and a facile disposition to think lightly of them or their ways is not the most encouraging sign of true godliness. Three centuries of ecclesiastical separation must produce abiding effects on the generations separated. The social life and the prevailing literature of dissent, from their relation to one another, must give inclination to the taste and laws to the minds of those who are familiar with one, and are instructed in the other. Parents, friends, teachers, church polity, traditional prejudice, social preferences, and kindred causes, are the bands by which the protestant dissenters are knit together, and which supply them with a history of their own, interwoven with, but distinct from, the larger history of their country.

The subject of our sketch, the Rev. Henry Wilkes, D.D.,[98] minister of the "First Congregational Church, Montreal," affords, as we shall presently see, a fair illustration of the Rev. T. Binney's argument. He was born at Birmingham, on the 21st June, 1805. He was not only the son, but the grandson of dissenters; for his parents and grand-parents were Independents. His father was a manufacturer. The subject of our sketch received a good commercial education, sufficient to qualify him for the business followed by his father. When at the age of fourteen years only, he was in the habit of taking long journeys for trading purposes to places more or less remote from home. But though diligent in business, his thoughts, like the thoughts of the nephew of Abou Taleb, as he drove his camels from Mecca to Damascus, were not narrowed within the circle of commerce. The religious atmosphere of the denomination in which he had been nourished pervaded his mind; for while he labored in one calling, he longed for another. But many vicissitudes had to be encountered before his pious wish could be realized.

In the year 1820, the elder Mr. Wilkes and his family emigrated to Canada, and settled at Toronto. Here the subject of our sketch, who, we may add, was the eldest son, addressed himself zealously to the duties which the new life seemed to require. As a new settler, in a new country, he at first sought, by physical toil, to qualify himself for his lot; but to little purpose, for his intellect rebelled against his occupation. Whereupon he abandoned a mode of life foreign to his tastes, and for a period of six months coquetted with the study of law. In the year 1822 he removed, with his father, to Montreal. On his arrival there, his attention was again turned towards commerce. A situation was obtained for him in the mercantile establishment of Mr. John Torrance. In 1827, he was associated with Mr. David Torrance, and admitted to a share in the business. At the end of one year only he was enabled to withdraw from the partnership, and to take with him a sum sufficient for his education for the profession on which he had kept his mind steadily fixed. He proceeded to Scotland. Having[99] entered the University of Glasgow, he joined the Theological Academy of the Independents, under the direction of the Rev. Ralph Wardlaw, D.D., and the Rev. Greville Ewing, M.A.

In 1832, he was ordained at Glasgow, and immediately charged by his denomination with a special mission to Canada. He passed the summer of that year in this Province. From a sermon preached by him in the Township of Ernestown, and afterwards published, we can, without difficulty, see how thoroughly he was moved by the solemn duties of the office he had set himself to perform. His wish however, to introduce into Canada the form of church government observed by his forefathers, and practiced by himself, was not immediately gratified. Wherefore he again returned to Scotland. Early in 1833 he took his M.A. degree, and on the 18th of April of the same year, his ministry, at the Albany Street Church, Edinburgh, commenced. Though personally happy, and professionally successful, he did not withdraw his thoughts from this Province. He exerted himself, and with marked success, to induce several ministers of his denomination to proceed to Canada. The number included the Rev. Richard Miles, who, for a while, settled in Montreal, and served a congregation which had been gathered by him in a chapel erected by them in St. Maurice Street. That gentleman, however, having chosen to accept duty in the more rural districts of the country, the congregation determined to invite the subject of our sketch to fill the vacant place. This offer reached Dr. Wilkes at a time when certain influential members of the denomination in England were striving to establish the Colonial Missionary Society in connection with the "Congregational Union of England and Wales." The invitation attracted him, and the missionary society impelled him. By the former he was called, and by the latter he was sent, to fill a position, and to discharge a duty, in the very Province in which he had early in life formed plans of usefulness. He therefore relinquished his charge at Edinburgh, and proceeded to London, where, on the formation of th[100]e last mentioned Society, he was appointed their confidential and corresponding agent in British North America. In the month of October of the year 1836, he accepted the pastoral office of minister of the First Congregational Church at Montreal.

The agency we have referred to continued for seventeen years. Since then, as "Secretary-Treasurer," he has performed duties similar to those included in his earlier office. For many years he made annual visits to all the congregations in the Maritime Provinces which were in any way stipendiaries of the society in England. Thus, while his duties as a city pastor in Montreal have been exact and circumscribed by the limits of his own congregation, his office of superintendent and official visitor of the Independent Churches in the Provinces have invested him with a noteworthy prominence, second to none of his denomination in Canada.

The congregation in St. Maurice Street soon outgrew their building, whereupon "Zion Church" was erected, and for the same reason it has subsequently been enlarged. Lest a suspicion should arise that the double set of duties to which we have referred were not enough for his adequate employment, we learn further, that for upwards of ten years Dr. Wilkes was secretary of the local branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society. For twelve years he was the chairman of the Board of Protestant School Examiners, and during the past and present session he has filled the chair of "Homiletic and Pastoral Theology" in the Congregational College, an office for which, it may be presumed, he had certain qualifications, as twenty years earlier he instructed a class of students of a theological institute then existing in Montreal, in a course of intellectual philosophy and logic. Neither has he restricted his labors within the exact limits of theology. On the contrary, he has sought very sedulously to diffuse knowledge and popularize science. To these ends he has cheerfully co-operated with others in supporting Mercantile Library Associations and Mechanics' Institutes, by attending their meetings, and by delivering gratuitous lectures to[101] their members. Universities and colleges in the adjoining States have on certain public occasions had the advantage of his services. In 1847, he delivered an address before the Theological Society of Dartmouth College. In 1850 and 1860, he discharged similar duties at the universities of Vermont and Middlebury. From the former of the two last mentioned universities he received his D.D. degree. Two of the foregoing addresses have been published. It is not difficult to conjecture that they were prepared with care, and listened to with appreciation. Even those readers who may question their philosophical accuracy, or take exception to their conclusions, will respect the sincerity of the speaker, and admit without hesitancy that he, at all events, thinks as he speaks. The subject of our sketch is, we have reason to believe, a fluent and agreeable speaker. His discourses in the pulpit are probably less characterized by originality than by solemnity of thought. Many of his sermons have been published. The reason for such publication has in several instances been printed with them. It is the modest reason of a devout mind. It runs thus: "One or more of my hearers profess to have derived benefit from the discourse; what has proved useful to one, may be of service to many," and "therefore is it given through the press to the public." In his addresses before universities we acquire some insight into the Rev. Doctor's theological opinions, as well as into his views, which we believe are those of his denomination, on church government. In his published sermons we may glimpse the manner of his teaching, and read also his opinions of what is true in Christian doctrine and correct in Christian morals. Passing, however, from subjects which will be regarded as trite by many, and troublesome by some, we shall permit ourselves to linger for a moment over his suggestive, and, were the subject less sacred, we should add, amusing little pamphlet on "Congregational Independency viewed from within." In this tract, the reader not only obtains some inside views of independency, as a system of Church government, but he also[102] acquires a tolerably instructive glimpse of the Doctor himself, as one of the independent centres of that independent system. As we there find him, so probably should we have found him elsewhere, had his lot been cast in a secular, instead of in a sacred calling. We can see, for example, from his way of ruling the meetings of his church, how he would have ruled the councils of the state, had he been a statesman instead of a divine. He appears to possess, in a marked degree, the strong English quality of vigorous common sense, and this quality, we may be allowed to add, is one of the prime secrets of successful government. Having on many points what may be characterized as a flexible mind, we are scarcely surprised at the favor he affects for a convenient adjective, which possesses, by the way, the popular quality of expansion. Thus he speaks of "elastic details," "elastic expediency," "elastic machinery," "elastic arrangements." Of course there are many subjects which will not admit of elasticity and to which the india rubber principle cannot be applied. He insists, for example, and with commendable firmness, that the pastor's stipend shall be regular, and shall be regularly paid. So much in earnest is he on this point, that he has supplemented the recommendation with a charming suggestion, which the servants of the state should take some means of bringing under the notice of the Minister of Finance, namely, that such salaries should be paid quarterly in advance. The sacred reasons which the Doctor considerately offers in support of the plan might, with a little skilful address, be turned into very fair secular arguments. The authority of a divine might influence a statesman, and the result would prove in the highest degree relishing to a very meritorious class, who might thus suddenly find themselves "flush," with three months unearned pay in their pockets.

Though a liberal, and on some points, we believe, an advanced one, the Doctor has sagacity enough to distinguish between theoretical freedom and pr[103]actical safety, and courage enough to tell us that he does so. Had a bishop been equally outspoken, we incline to think that even the "sanctity of his lawn" would not have saved him from the harpoons of the illustrated, and the raillery of the literary press. Speaking from experience or observation, and, as we think, with commendable wisdom, the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Canada counsels the pastors of other churches, which, of course, cannot be first, on the way in which they should rule themselves on certain trying emergencies. Be conciliatory, but resolute; be courteous, but firm—especially firm, we understand the Doctor to advise. Study the parliamentary distinctions of question and order, and apply them; oblige every speaker to keep to the former and comply with the latter, and the force of the double obligation, though it may bother him, will save trouble and serve you. By way of example, the Doctor recommends that pastors, as ex-officio chairmen, should, before the church meetings assemble, sedulously break up and macadamize, as if they were boulders, all subjects to be presented for discussion. Separate each subject into distinct portions, gauge each portion, and appraise its relative worth. Thus, by a process of comparison, you will arrive at the true value of each part. Having done so, explain the result of the analysis, and make every speaker govern himself by the explanation. Remember, however, that the discussion must not travel beyond the pastor's definition of the question. Should it do so, we learn, by the help of a convenient anecdote, that the offender is to be called to order. Should he not be amenable to the call, "stop him instantly." Should he then be contumacious and perverse, let the pastor's voice be heard ringing through the house the peremptory words, "sit down, sir." This command is, we suppose, equivalent to the parliamentary process of "naming the member," which in that ancient court is the delicate prelude to sending for the police in the person of the sergeant-at-arms. The illustration is not necessary to establish the fact that there are bores in all societies, and in every coterie of society. The political bore, the social bore, and the scientif[104]ic bore, are recognised, and to a limited degree, privileged pests; but all these put together do not equal in nausea the religious bore—by which we mean the incorrigible, ceaseless chatterer on things sacred. The nuisance of boredom is the same in degree, though different in kind, no matter whether it airs itself in the parliament of the state, in the drawing-rooms of everyday life, or in the assemblies of the church. The bore is insensible alike to reason, usage or courtesy; and though the Doctor is too decorous to say so, we incline to think he will partially agree with us in opinion, that the most considerate mode of dealing with a bore is to snub him. Such extreme measures, however, are not often likely to arise. The Doctor appears to be not only a sagacious, but a wise and even-tempered man—one who is well qualified to inoculate others with the excellent virtue of moderation. He seems to be aware that an unpleasant duty need not be unpleasantly performed. In the spirit of the recommendation of a recent writer in "Blackwood," we can imagine the considerate pastor thus to address a distressed pilgrim when limping and writhing under a penance: "Why don't you boil your peas? If conscience requires you to put peas into your shoes, let wisdom instruct you how to reduce their harshness. Accept the penance, but boil the peas." Another anecdote illustrative of the way in which a church meeting should be managed, is suggestive and amusing too. The question discussed was the question of instrumental music as an auxiliary, to what the author very aptly calls "the service of song" in the churches. "The organ question," as it is termed, with or without choral and ritualistic accompaniments, is not a question we intend to discuss. It may not, however, be amiss for the objectors in the Congregational body to inquire whether their objection to such system is not of "the earth earthy," opposed to their own principles, and forged in the very furnace of intolerance. The fact is some persons appear to be resolutely disinclined to accept as a whole the human nature which the Almighty has given to man. Each according to his prejudice, or[105] his conceit, regards his human nature as a type of what all human nature should be. They are intolerant, because the knots in their neighbors' heads do not resemble the knots in their own, or the motions of other minds do not harmonize with the motions of theirs. Such persons will probably scout the natural sense of feeling, and extol the intellectual one of reason: they will, moreover, express supreme compassion, if not unqualified contempt, for those who will not sneer at what they denounce, or reverence what they revere. So, on the other hand, persons who may actually, and not satirically, be described as "all heart," who are governed very much by imagination and fancy, by sentiment and poetry, cannot understand, and certainly cannot sympathize with, their sturdier brethren who are "all head." The avenues of bliss through which such opposite souls pass towards heaven may be identical in fact but they are not so in appearance. The experience of holiness which befalls each traveller is neither uniform in its effects, nor in its blessedness. The divine love, like light, descends on all; but the character which is nurtured under its influence depends mainly on the varied and inexplicable qualities by which that love is met. It would be as wise to find fault with the God of nature, because all flowers are not roses, as to find fault with the God of grace, because all men are not alike. Uniformity is no part of the divine plan; had it been so, the whole creation would not have been marked by variety. Human nature is so thoroughly crossed and recrossed with such apparently contrary lines, such numerous and opposite qualities, that true godliness, which is necessarily true wisdom, best manifests itself in inclining all such lines heavenwards, and educating all such qualities for the life to come. The curriculum of Christian education, which commences at baptism, does not arrive at its highest honors here—it goes on for ever. Yet the course of study should include the means and the opportunity of each student doing his best. It is not enough that man's moral nature only should be instructed. It is not enough that [106]every low desire should be raised, every sentiment purified, every feeling elevated, every thought cleansed. He who has sprinkled the earth with loveliness, has given to man the gracious gifts of imagination and fancy; gifts which are not light gifts, for they enable the soul which His breath created to "mount and fly," borne it may be, by inspiring faith or ecstatic desire, on the seraph wings of music and devotion to the throne above the stars. Let "every good gift" be cultivated more and more, until it shall approach, as far as our talents will permit "a perfect gift." Painting, architecture, and music, are among such gifts; let them be pruned and purified for the highest service. Let art harmonize with and reflect truth; for the union of what is beautiful with what is true may, by the discipline of holy contemplation, or rapturous song, incline man more and more to aspire towards His nature who is the centre of all beauty and the source of all truth. The "sweet singer of Israel," were he amongst us, would certainly be called naughty names, probably be denounced as a "High Churchman," and perhaps avoided as a ritualist; for his "service of song" included not praise alone, for if we read aright, he not unfrequently prayed and preached, too, with what we may be allowed to call choral accompaniments. The orchestral property embraced a large assortment of instruments, including "trumpets" and "cymbals" and "loud sounding cymbals," "psaltery," and "harp," "dulcimer" and "lute," "stringed instruments," and "organs." To the "chief musician" the duty probably belonged of determining whether many or few of such instruments should be used, as well as of allotting the parts to be respectively performed by the singers, minstrels, and tabreteers. Christian people may be properly jealous with respect to the object of worship and the words of praise, but they might be less intolerant of the forms in which such services seek expression. Were they less self-willed, more spiritually minded, more imbued with humility, and inclined towards reverence; the example of David, King of Israel, and the "man after[107] God's own heart," might be studied with advantage and followed without loss.

Most characters appear in some of their parts to be deficient in harmony, or it may be that the law which influences the order of different minds is not known to those who have not the advantage of viewing such minds from within. The reverend subject of our sketch appears to us at all events to come within this rule of contradiction. None we believe more than he, or with greater success, have labored to introduce into Canada the particular form of church government in which he was educated and brought up, and which was alike dear to his affections and his judgment. Many must of course have sympathized with him; for now, after thirty years' growth in Canada, Independency may boast of its congregations of worshippers in almost every considerable village of the Province. There was no more assiduous planter of this particular seed of separation than the Rev. Dr. Wilkes, and yet there is probably no more earnest advocate than he of evangelical union among Christian people. However, what is theoretically enticing and rationally contradictory, must possess in desire, recommendations that are not apparent in reason. The object appears to be excellent while the process seems to be extraordinary, for the conditions of union appear to rest on "an agreement to differ." In spite therefore of the qualifying attraction of "limited liability," the partnership does not attract. The shepherds look complacently at one another, from within their sheep-folds, or talk like neighbors over the fence. After the manner of Jacob, in old time, they muse generally on the satisfactory augmentation of the Christian flock, and speculate anxiously on "the ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted," which should be gathered within each particular fold. The common advantages of union are denied by none, but the danger of trespass, or the contingency of annexation, is guarded against by all. Yet the object aimed at by the subject of our sketch is worth striving for, nor would it be amiss very earnestly t[108]o examine the ground afresh. In an address delivered by the Chairman, the Rev. H. Allon, of Union Chapel, Islington, before the Congregational Union of Hull, on the 21st October, 1864, that gentleman, among other things, said, "Let us then be distinctly understood: we are dissenters from the National Church, not because of its episcopacy, but because of its civil establishment." Again, "There is not one of us who would not accord to the Episcopal Church, as such, a chief place of honor in the brotherhood of protestant churches." Again, with respect to the principles of congregational worship, he observes, and most truly, that "Worship is the highest and holiest exercise of congregational assemblies, and it is matter for high congratulation that of late years, amongst non-conformists, it has been restored to the prominence and importance from which preaching had been permitted to depose it." Further on he claims for Congregationalism thorough independency of action. We are instructed, by way of illustration, to remember "That this liberty extends in two directions: if it permit one man to be a puritan, sing a plain psalm, and use extemporary prayer, it permits another to be a ritualist, sing a full choral service, and use a liturgy." And again, contrasting the present with the past, he observes, "We do not, as they did, worship polemically, nor need we go up to the temple encased in armour, and with our weapons in our hands; we go peacefully with our singing robes about us, in no peril either of assault or seduction." We do not know whether the observation about "singing robes" is to be regarded as a fact or a metaphor. We hope the former, and for the reason which Mr. Allon, in the conclusion of his address, supplies: "Let us freely bring together from every age, and from every Church, the best elements of all worship: assuredly we have not attained to such perfection as that every modification would be disadvantageous. Neither traditions of the past nor prejudices of the present are our law. The spirit of freedom and of catholicity will gather the goodness and rejoice in the beauty of all generations."


Though ministers of the same denomination, we are quite aware that the opinions of the Rev. Mr. Allon may not and need not be those of the Rev. Dr. Wilkes. Both gentlemen appear to enjoy the confidence of their brethren, for each in his own country fills a position of noteworthy prominence. Still, so far as we can form an opinion from the perusal of his publications, we should incline to think that the fair spirit of toleration, which pervades the passages we have quoted, animates the mind and influences the character of the subject of our sketch. The only divergence we have been able to detect is to be found in his addresses delivered before American audiences, in the New England States. Nor need it be matter for animadversion that, when sniffing the air, and surrounded by the memorials of the puritans, he should have thought himself required, at least by indirect, if not direct allusion, to float the "Mayflower" afresh, and to have dropped some complimentary cordial on the stout old hearts and stern old enmities with which that historical ship was freighted. The resolute protest of resolute men against religious wrong-doing has survived the clerical ungodliness by which it was mainly inspired, and against which it was chiefly directed. Christianity is now called upon to perform other and very different work, which, we venture to think, to be well done, can only be done by a ministry of reconciliation and peace. Men are probably profiting by some of old Baxter's surprises. In their search for union and concord they are finding principles of agreement and avoiding points of difference. Some, indeed, already begin to wonder why such separations continue. Nor, according to the authority of the last mentioned eminent nonconformist, will their surprise cease with their lives. In the heaven above, to which all preaching points, the sense of astonishment will, he predicts, acquire fresh animation. Should it be our happiness to arrive there, we shall, with old Baxter, "be surprised at the number we shall meet with whom we never expected to see there," and alas! "the number we sha[110]ll miss whom we had made sure of meeting!"




"Then let us be firm and united,
One country, one flag for us all;
United, our strength will be freedom,
Divided, we each of us fall!"

On the first of September, 1864, an Intercolonial Conference of great importance was held at Charlottetown, in the Island of Prince Edward, to take into consideration the question of uniting the three Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Island of Prince Edward, under one Government and Legislature. The following fifteen delegates assembled, five from each Province.

Colonel the Honorable John Hamilton Gray, of Prince Edward Island, President of the Conference.



The Hon. C. Tupper, M.P.P.
W. A. Henry, M.P.P.
Robert Barrie Dickey, M.L.C.
Jonathan McCully, M.L.C.
Adams G. Archibald, M.P.P.


The Hon. S. L. Tilley, M.P.P.
John M. Johnson, M.P.P.
J. Hamilton Gray, M.P.P.
Ed. B. Chandler, M.L.C.
W. H. Steeves, M.L.C.


The Hon. J. Hamilton Gray, M.P.P.
Edward Palmer, M.L.C.
W. H. Pope, M.P.P.
George Coles, M.P.P.
A. A. Macdonald, M.L.C.

The proceedings of that Conference have not, we believe, been officially given to the public. Besides the main question, "shall th[112]ese Provinces be united as one Government?" with respect to which we may be allowed to conjecture, there was little difference of opinion, there remained a second question on which a conclusion was less easily arrived at. "Shall that Government be represented in one Legislature?" In other words, "shall the union be Legislative or Federal?" It so happened, however, that the resolutions of the respective Legislatures of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward's Island, were identical in their terms. Thus the deliberations of the Conference were circumscribed by the words of the resolution under which it met. It is as follows:—

Resolved,—That His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor be authorized to appoint Delegates (not to exceed five,) to confer with Delegates who may be appointed by the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, for the purpose of discussing the expediency of a union of the three Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, under one Government and Legislature. The report of the said Delegates to be laid before the Legislature of this Colony, before any further action shall be taken in regard to the proposed question.

But as the Delegates appointed under the last mentioned resolution were assembled at Charlottetown, a trim looking steam vessel, half war ship, and half yacht, hove-to, and dropped anchor in the offing. The vessel needed no special introduction. She bore at her peak the patent of her quality, while the burnished letters on her bows expressed a name as dear to those Islanders as to ourselves. The first was the "old flag," with its three-fold cross of faith and truth, of strength and union, of freedom and brotherhood; and the second was the Royal name, "Victoria." Nor was the object of the visit less interesting than the vessel. Apart from the consideration which was due alike to the character and position of the visitors, their appearance there at that time, as well as their errand, were acts of grace and courtesy, expressed in the friendly forms of compliment and challenge. They came to listen and to learn, to hear what was said, and to see what was done. The question which that Conference was summoned to discuss was one with which some experience, and much study, had made them familiar; which they had considered as statesmen a[113]nd were as patriots, anxious to advance. Therefore it was that places of honor were appointed within that Council Chamber for the following gentlemen, members of the administration of Canada, who thus became, so to speak, the political guests of the Conference:—The Honorables Messieurs John A. Macdonald, George Brown, Alexander T. Galt, George E. Cartier, William McDougall, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, and Hector L. Langevin.

The Conference, of which the subject of our sketch was chairman, was important, we may be allowed to think, not alone for what it did, but from what it avoided doing. It was assembled to consider a particular resolution. It was adjourned, so far as the public is informed, without having put on record an opinion on the merits of that resolution. In the meanwhile, the principle of that resolution animated all hearts; it was the subject of all thought, and the burden of all speech. Like the genial Christmas congratulations of friends who had been long separated, or of neighbors who had become estranged, the Conference and its aim acted like a cordial. Let us have union, but let that union embrace all that it can embrace. "Have a big heart," said Tecumseth to General Proctor, on the morning he was slain. "Have a big heart," each delegate at Charlottetown may, as we think, very properly have said to one another. "What is good for you may be good for me; what is good for your Province, must be good for ours!" Let union play the enchanter's part. Let kind intimacy take the place of cold neglect. Let a new temple of concord be erected, and let its proportions be magnificent. Instead of creating a Maritime Province, create a Northern Nation. Instead of gathering 600,000, gather 4,000,000 of souls within one government. Be resolved: "have a big heart." We do not know what was done on the occasion. We know what was not done. The delegates who assembled to create a comparatively small Colonial Union, adjourned to promote a superlatively large one. The Conference at Charlottetown will become historical, for it was the prelude to the Quebe[114]c Conference, whose resolutions, like the pillars of an ancient temple, are destined to become the supports of a stalwart nation.

The subject of our sketch was personally, as well as by his position, peculiarly fitted to occupy the place of President of that Conference. By birth and parentage he belongs to the "blue blood" of America. His father, who resided in Virginia when that State was a British Province, was established in business at Norfolk and Petersburg, in connection with the late General John Hamilton. On the breaking out of the revolutionary war he espoused the Royal cause, preferring adversity to dishonor. Even the beguiling temptations of trade and profit did not cause him to forget his King and country. Maternally we learn that Colonel Gray is descended from the Stukeley family, lords of the manors of Stukeley magna and Stukeley parva, but whether or in what degree he is related to the reverend antiquary of the last century of that name; the "arch druid," as he was called by the critics on account of his knowledge of British antiquities, we know not.

It was not, however, wholly, or perhaps chiefly, to his immediate descent from an United Empire Loyalist, that Colonel Gray is by birth a native of Prince Edward Island. On the eighth of September, 1761, on the occasion of the marriage of George the Third with Charlotte Sophia, Princess of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, it happened that the grandfather of the subject of our sketch was one of the officers of the guard of honor, and, as we infer, a gentleman marked for notice by the popular young King. The French war in America was over. It only remained to secure by treaty what had been won by conquest. Canada was the victor's prize. By the acquisition of Canada the other actual or alleged possessions of France in America, about which there were constant quarrels and occasional fights, passed, with one or two trifling exceptions, without further dispute, into the possession of Great Britain. By the treaty of Paris, of 1763, the transfer to the Crown of England[115] of the Isle de St. Jean, as Prince Edward Island was then called, was confirmed by the Crown of France. It is probable, on the ratification of that treaty, that George the Third, a monarch of twenty-five years of age, may have felt more intellectually amused than actually enriched by the acquisition of several millions of acres of what had, with senseless bitterness, been termed a "continent of irreclaimable snow!" Having acquired the property by the ministry of the sword, it was natural enough that the King should recognize the fact by making land grants to the army. In doing so he was pleased to remember, at least, one of the officers of the guard of honor, who did duty on his marriage morning, and to associate with that recollection the grant of a tract of land in the last mentioned Island. The Island retained its early name until 1798, when it was called Prince Edward Island, in honor of Her Majesty's father, Edward, Duke of Kent. In this island Colonel Gray was born. At an early age he obtained a commission in the cavalry. In that service he continued for the period of twenty-one years, the greater portion of which time was passed in India. He has, we believe, been honorably mentioned in public despatches for conduct in the field, and he has a medal for South Africa. Colonel Gray appears to possess a fair and equitable mind, for he received the especial thanks of Sir Peregrine Maitland for his judicious management of a Court of Inquiry, of which he was President, appointed at the Cape of Good Hope to grant compensation to the sufferers in the "Border Wars." He retired from the army in 1852. In 1856 he served in the regular Militia in England, and was also aide-de-camp to his father-in-law, Lieutenant-General Sir John Pennefather. After the flurry, consequent on the Crimean war, had subsided, Colonel Gray's thoughts and longings returned, as is commonly the case, to the scenes and incidents of his early life; to the place perchance endeared to him by early recollections—by the haunts of childhood, and the sports of youth—by the old and unforgotten attractions of home. In leaving the army, and the[116] barrack life with which it is more or less associated, Colonel Gray intended to return to quiet scenes of primitive simplicity and unbroken peace; to look at and live amongst the pictures of his memory, and thus to enjoy in the serenity of his mature life the scenes and associations which had beautified its dawn. It was not so to be. He who had served the Empire in the field was required to serve his Province in the cabinet. His friends and neighbors would not allow his sheathed sabre to typify a finished career, or his superannuated charger to represent a superannuated colonel. They had work for him to perform; such work as he could scarcely decline to undertake. It was, moreover, such work as moves the ambition of most men, for it consists with high virtue and true greatness to advance the welfare of the state. Thus it was Colonel Gray found himself to be an object of political interest to the community in which he lived. But it was not without great hesitancy and extreme diffidence he consented to enter political life. His reluctance was at length successfully overcome, and the rest followed. In the year after his arrival he was triumphantly elected for the Fourth District of the Queen's County, and re-elected in 1863. Soon after the meeting of Parliament he became President of the Council and prime minister, and as such presided at the Charlottetown Conference. He was a member of the Quebec Conference which met shortly afterwards. His opinions we have reason to believe were neither lightly formed, nor vaguely expressed. His voice was honestly and cordially cast with the vote of the thirty-three delegates who unanimously agreed to and signed the seventy-two resolutions of the memorable Quebec Conference.




We often speak of the tyranny of fashion and sometimes of the strength of prejudice. When the latter, in the person of an elderly irascible old gentleman, criticises the former, he generally does so in language remarkable at least for its force. On a recent occasion, for example, some such old gentleman must have felt considerably relieved as he delivered himself of the words:

Confound those hoops and things,
Frustrate those horrid springs,
And India rubber rings:
Deuce take them all.

But the trenchant expostulation, though stepping with poetic feet to the measure of an old-fashioned air, produced no effect on the new-fashioned style. Beauty continued serenely insensible to such appeals. She looked from her mirror to the moralist, brushed his choleric cheek with her feathered fan, increased the circumference of her "hoops and things," and looked none the less bewitching for the exaggeration. The fact is, good looks are among those precious personal gifts which art cannot destroy. Fashion is an imposition of taste with which they have nothing to do. Beauty qualifies, so to speak, under an ordinance of nature, and not under a contrivance of art.

The indignant old gentleman to whom we have referred, might have been—perhaps he was—answered with a frown on the brow and a pout on the lip. Beauty might[118] have said—"Talk of absurdity, look at home; scan the sumptuary history of your own sex, and you will discover reasons for not laughing at the extravagance of ours." The rebuke may suggest a moral, if we look at the handsome face which graces the title page of this paper. No doubt the young Surveyor-General was a helpless waif in the hands of his tailor. He bowed to the law, and was clothed in accordance with its requirements. The artist shews us what the costume was, and some of us unfortunately are old enough to remember what such costumes were. The subject of our sketch made his bow in the flesh at a time when periwigs were obsolete, but when powder and pigtails asserted their right to be respected. The former did habitually then, what nature does occasionally now, and, as far as our observation serves, with marked success; for it crowned a young face with an old head; and the result of the contrast is unquestionably the reverse of disagreeable. But his early difficulties in the matter of style were not equal to the drawbacks which he was doomed to suffer later in life, when the "first gentleman in Europe" was Prince Regent of the United Kingdom. The "skin-fitting" coat of that day suffers by contrast with the ample skirts of the present time. Look at the former with its collar of irrepressible harshness, chafing the cheeks and enclosing as within a wall, the enthralled head. The waist of the garment bore no relation to the waist of the wearer, and was on that account we suppose ostentatiously indicated by two brass button dots in the vicinity of the blade bones. There was no protection in front and little covering behind. The coat would not admit of close buttoning to the chin, and the swallow tails were so indecorously narrow as by no means to veil that particular part of the person which they were especially appointed to conceal. Yet notwithstanding the drawbacks with which art had striven to injure nature, it would be difficult in an ordinary day's journey to meet with one, who, more than the subject of our sketch, preserves the attractions of high-bred beauty. Good looks, therefore, whether in man or woman, are something apart from, and superior to, the mere[119] accident of fashion.

We often form impressions of the appearance of people whom we have not seen. We sometimes look at a portrait, and we invest the original with qualities created in the forcing-house of our own fancy. Such creations are generally more ingenious than trustworthy. Looking at the likeness before us, we should probably expect to find the cultivated tastes of the original would take him as a matter of inclination to the graceful assemblies of society, or among the acute officers of the state, in drawing-rooms and courts, in council-chambers or cabinets. When speaking, we should expect to listen to words of unstudied purity, accompanied by that indescribable and seductive manner which is occasionally observed when language borrows grace from attitude and charm from expression. The late Surveyor-General may have possessed refinements of a rare order. He may have been master of the polished coquetries in which courtiers are said to excel. If such were the case, they merely represented the foreign gloss which had no more relation to his occupations than the varnish has to the wood. The pursuit with which history has connected him amounted to a passion that found its outlet in a life of scientific abstraction and cheerless toil; a life passed more or less in an unexplored wilderness; a life which would have been almost solitary, save for the occasional presence of a melancholy Indian, whose constitutional gloom only added intensity to loneliness. The physical relation of man to his occupation is a subject which, in these days of speculative research, may receive some attention from the curious. In anticipation of such a treatise it may be noted that the three men who have done so much in the character of explorers of this continent are in appearance not dissimilar. The subject of this sketch surveyed the surface of the soil, mapped its boundaries, and made notes of its topography. John James Audubon, the American ornithologist, passed over the continent to observe the tribes of animal life[120] with which its solitudes were inhabited; and Sir William E. Logan, the Canadian geologist, has gone below the soil to inquire what the strata teaches of its history and formation. Besides a facial similarity, there seems to be—for one happily still survives, and we therefore use the present tense—a physical resemblance in the three gentlemen whom we have thus grouped together. This peculiarity leads us to inquire whether they may not be regarded as representatives of the adventurous class, to whom intellectual exercise, to be acceptable, must be accompanied with physical exertion. In their figures they are lithe and spare, of nearly uniform height, with no incumbrance of superfluous flesh. In their style they are close and well shaven. Their beards are not loose, neither does their hair "stream like a meteor." The forms of their faces are oval, all their noses are straight, and none of their chins are double. Genius may find the means of suiting her abode to her instincts, for in the examples before us there is singular consistency in the human habitations in which she has chosen to dwell. If we may accept the three gentlemen we have named as representatives of the adventurous and exploring class, a step will be made towards arriving at a just judgment of the persons from whom that class should be chosen.

The father of the subject of our sketch was Commodore Bouchette, a native of Canada, and consequently a subject of France at the time of the conquest. As a result of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, the Commodore concurred with the most intelligent portion of his countrymen, in acquiescing in what was inevitable. His country had been abandoned by its ancient rulers. The problem to be solved was whether advantage could not be extracted from misfortune. Neither monarchy nor honor were lost—the reigning family was changed, but the principle of monarchy, so grateful to the French mind, was not destroyed by the substitution of one sovereign for another. The security which the Canadian race had derived fro[121]m the kings of France would not be imperilled by their loyalty to the kings of England. They possessed monarchical advantages which were not enjoyed by the other American Provinces of the Crown of England. The institutions from which such advantages are supposed to flow being guaranteed to them, it was not unreasonably conjectured that the advantages themselves would follow. Therefore may we suppose it was that Commodore Bouchette, and those who thought with him, resolutely determined to yield their allegiance and service to conquerors as generous as they were powerful. The fact, too, was only a new chapter in historical parallels. If the French in Canada, by the law of conquest, found themselves to be the subjects of the English Crown, it was certainly not more humiliating than the not dissimilar ordeal through which the English passed when they were vanquished by the Norman conqueror. Perhaps, too, the acute minds of Lower Canada may, in part, have foreseen the troubles which were gathering over the land of their fathers. It was certainly less difficult for them to anticipate the violence which was about to convulse the British possessions along their borders. Their course, from the double observation, was clear, and was determinately taken. They resolved, by their influence and exertions, to strengthen what remained, and thus preserve, in the northern part of the continent, those cherished institutions which were destined to be trodden under foot in the south. They, therefore, religiously bent themselves to the work of creating a barrier within which the principles of monarchy might find an assured sanctuary. They had the sagacity to see the strength of their position. Protected in their rear by wastes of unwavering sterility and supported on their flanks by two oceans—they had some reason to think they could preserve the institutions they possessed, and live in security and peace under the benign sway of monarchs, who reigned by a higher right than the accidental suffrage of a mob.

Commodore Bouchette gave his allegiance and his services to the[122] king of England. Both were accepted, and he was appointed to an important naval command on Lake Ontario. The course of events on this continent hurried forward with the rapidity of those movements which are said to "take no note of time." The year 1774 arrived, within which the British Government gave a constitution to Canada, accompanied with unrestrained religious liberty. That year was, in a peculiar manner, the historical year of modern America—the year in which the petition from Massachusetts was rejected, and in which Benjamin Franklin was ungraciously dismissed by the Privy Council. It was the year, moreover, in which the first Congress of the American States met at Philadelphia, and issued its memorable declaration of rights. It was a year to instruct men's minds and to try their metal—to influence thought and to control action, for society separated with violence, and fell into opposite ranks. Men were required to declare whether they were royalist or republican, and to take the consequence of the declaration. The duty of choosing sides admitted of no delay. Commodore Bouchette had long made his choice, and the course of events only added strength to the reasons by which that choice had been governed. In the same year, in the midst of such events, and while his father wore the uniform of a British officer, the subject of this sketch was born. It would be agreeable to us to dwell on some of the incidents of Commodore Bouchette's services during the Revolutionary war, for they are marked with the highest kind of historic merit. Want of space admonishes us, at least in this paper, to keep closely to the career of his son.

In the year 1790, at the age of sixteen, that son of the revolutionary era was employed as a draftsman in the office of his uncle, Major Holland, who at that time was Surveyor-General of British North America. In the following year he adopted his father's profession, entered the Provincial navy, and served until 1796, on the great lakes of Upper Canada. The new profession seemed to possess unusual charms for him. It gave a healthy zest to his life and a healthy stimulus to his energies. Though onl[123]y a youth, he seemed to be moved by mature thoughts. He was observed to possess varied and flexible tastes; to display resource and ingenuity, indomitable perseverance, and very varied mental powers. An example illustrative of all these qualities may be here mentioned. The Commodore's flag ship Onondaga, a vessel of fourteen guns, had been wrecked, dismantled, and, as it was considered, irretrievably lost and cast away on Gibraltar Point, at the Western extremity of the Presqu'ile forming the Toronto harbor. Our midshipman of nineteen "took the bearings" of the case on his mind, and having thought out the subject, surprised every one of his acquaintances with a serious proposition to raise and float the ship. At first, General Simcoe the then Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, participated in the current incredulity; but that soldier-statesman was also an enthusiast, and had a wholesome appreciation of what may be done by trying. Therefore it was, when the undaunted young sailor answered the official rebuff with plans and diagrams, drawn by himself, of the position of the vessel, and of the various stages through which, and the appliances by which he proposed to effect his purpose, General Simcoe was probably the first to sympathize with his object, to detect ingenuity in his contrivances, and to promise assistance. The midshipman's requisition for a party of sappers and the requisite tackle was honored. He forthwith set to work, and succeeded in floating the ship. When, however, he was making his preparations to work her round the point into the harbor, she was suddenly capsized by one of those sudden and terrific north-west white squalls so well known and so much dreaded by mariners on the Lakes. The result was, the Onondaga was driven high and dry on the northern extremity of the point. Deep as was his mortification, young Bouchette had reason to enjoy the solace of a triumph. He had achieved a victory, though he had not succeeded in bearing his trophy home. He had won the battle, even though the prize was apparently lost. General Simcoe not only consoled him with compliments on his success, but gave him full credit for redeeming his[124] promise and making good what he had stipulated to perform. Nothing more could be done that autumn: the stranded ship was left till the following spring. In the meanwhile, and in addition to the strength which the young sailor derived from his own convictions, he was sustained by two external supports of no mean value, viz: the prestige of past success, and the promise of future assistance. In the spirit of a modern song we can imagine him to have said—

Never give up!—there are chances and changes
Helping the hopeful a hundred to one,
And through the chaos High Wisdom arranges
Ever success,—if you'll only hope on.
Never give up! for the wisest is boldest,
Knowing that Providence mingles the cup,
And of all maxims, the best as the oldest,
Is the true watchword of—Never give up.

In the spring of 1794, he set to work and with such success that he brought the Onondaga to a safe anchorage in Toronto harbor, and rigged her sufficiently to cross Lake Ontario to Niagara. She arrived safely, and he was greeted with his first notes of fame in the cheers of the garrison, and others who had assembled to welcome the rescued vessel, and to shew their appreciation of him who, for that voyage at least, was worthily styled the "Young Commodore."

This episode in the early life of the subject of our sketch supplies the key to his character. He was zealous and enthusiastic. His ambition was to excel, to accomplish what he designed, and to carry out what he was appointed to perform. Thus, whether as a commander, or as a subordinate, in peace or in war—in the delineation of the country or in its defence—in office drudgery or trying field operations—his ardor, it is said, never forsook him. He combined, in his own person, we may be allowed to think, the striking characteristics of two peoples—the enthusiasm of the Frenchman, and the pluck of the Englishman; the inventive genius of the former race, and the persistent qualities of the latter. The union of fervent thought with earnest endeavor usually exert a kind of[125] talismanic influence on all who come within their reach. As in electro-biology we may see results without recognizing a cause, so also do we occasionally see men, who, by the application of some hidden energy, or the exertion of some ineffable influence, attract and control other men. This power, by whatever name we call it, is the attribute which enters so largely into the composition of our military idols. It is an accomplishment which adds grace and gives address to statesmanship. Neither may it be lightly esteemed, for by means of it the commander seems to add inspiration to the courage of his army, and the statesman moves a nation to exertion, or soothes it to repose. The subject of our sketch is said to have been endowed, in a very peculiar degree, with this governing gift; and it has therefore been with much fairness assumed that he would have succeeded either as a soldier or politician, had his lot been cast in one or other of those employments.

On the reduction of the Provincial navy, in which the subject of our sketch was included, the young sailor who had risen to the rank of second lieutenant and mate, retired to private life. In the following year, however, his services were again called into request. He was appointed to the command of an armed row-galley, for the purpose of detecting certain treasonable designs which were then supposed to be in preparation. The duty was so effectively performed, that it resulted in the execution of Colonel McLean, an American spy, then resident at Quebec. In his early cruise on Lake Ontario, he made surveys of its different harbors. In his later one, while rowing about the St. Lawrence, he took careful soundings of the river. The information in both cases proved most valuable to government.

Though an officer of the Provincial navy, he was also an officer of the Canadian militia land forces. In the latter character he was required, in the year 1800, by an order of His Royal Highness the late Duke of Kent, then Commander-in-Chief in British North America, to repair with a detachment of his regiment to Halifax,[126] for the purpose of acquiring a thorough knowledge of drill and tactics. His proficiency in these studies was so marked and satisfactory, that His Royal Highness appointed him adjutant of the regiment.

It was now, however, that his labours as an amateur surveyor bore fruit. Major Holland, through age and infirmity, had become unequal to the duties of his office of Surveyor-General. He died in 1800, whereupon Mr. Bouchette, who had previously been attached to the department, was named Deputy Surveyor-General. In the following year he was appointed, under His Majesty's sign manual, Surveyor-General of Lower Canada. The pursuits of peace were not destined to be of long continuance; they were suddenly determined by the war of 1812. The subject of our sketch, who had risen to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, turned no deaf ear to the "bugle call" which summoned men to arms. He raised an infantry corps, called the "Quebec volunteers," which, however, he did not command, as the public service required that the men thus enrolled should be drafted into other Provincial regiments. Though in the interests of the State, the men whom he had recruited were employed elsewhere than under his immediate command, he did not thereby escape, or wish to escape, from military duty. It is probable that his acquired knowledge of the country, as well as his ardent courage, induced the authorities to select him for the most responsible, and perhaps the most perilous service in which he could be employed. During the campaigns of 1813-14 he was charged with important confidential despatches from head-quarters to Sir Roger Sheaffe, commanding in Upper Canada. He was, moreover, instructed to reconnoitre as he went, to ascertain the position and strength of the enemy, and generally to report on the defensive state of the frontier. In his report, he made special reference to the defenceless state of York, now Toronto, and explained, almost as it came to pass, the manner in which it could be taken by the enemy. In the month of November,[127] 1813, Colonel Bouchette was ordered to undertake very important reconnoitering duties, consequent upon the concerted junction of the American armies under Generals Hampton and Wilkinson. The project ended in the repulse of those generals, and their precipitate retreat within the limits of their own territory. This result, however, in no wise deteriorated from the merits of Colonel Bouchette's adventurous proceedings. He not only carried out his instructions, but, by a succession of operations, characterized by soldierly audacity and studied caution, he succeeded in communicating valuable information to the commander-in-chief. His last military service was performed by order of the Governor-General, who directed him to proceed to the frontier, to observe the enemy at Champlain Town, and make a diagram of the roads leading from Lacolle and Odelltown into the Province. To enable him effectually to accomplish these services, an escort of forty Voltigeurs and thirty Indians was assigned to him.

The country, however, which had been the theatre of transactions as heroic as can well be found in modern history, was scarcely known to its inhabitants; and beyond its borders it was regarded as little better than a wilderness. Colonel Bouchette may have been excused if he mourned that a land so magnificent should continue "unhonored and unsung." His regrets were born of enthusiasm, and were not of an order to evaporate in sighs. He saw the need, and he sought to supply the need he saw. With the encouragement of the Govenor-General, and the patronage of the Parliament of his native Province, he published his grand work on the geography and topography of Canada, accompanied with maps and illustrations. The work was issued on a scale too large for profitable sale, and too expensive for the times in which it was produced. It was intended to be, and it was, a national work honorable to the Province, but unfortunately it was also ruinous to the author. It represented one of those valuable acquisitions which a state occasionally derives from the ruin of [128]a subject. It is matter for serious regret that the benevolent aim of the following resolution, unanimously concurred in by the House of Assembly, became inoperative by the untimely death of the Governor-General, the late Duke of Richmond.

Resolved,—That an humble address be presented to His Grace the Governor-in-Chief, representing the importance of the geographical and topographical maps of Joseph Bouchette, Esquire, Surveyor-General, and the losses he has sustained in publishing them; representing also the importance of those maps both to His Majesty's Government and to the Province at large; and praying His Grace would be pleased to take the whole into consideration, and would also be pleased to indemnify him for his services and losses by such grant of the land of the Crown as His Grace in his wisdom may think fit.

The mode in which Parliament sought to recognize the services it attempted to reward, appears to have been alike graceful and fitting. The servant of the State, to whose zeal the Province was indebted for its acquaintance with the topography of the country, for a knowledge of its boundaries, and for an insight into its resources, might not unreasonably have expected his recompense in a grant of a portion of those lands which he had patiently explored. It was not so to be. Strange as it will read, the resistance proceeded from a quarter from whence it was least to be expected. His own countrymen, who were at that time leaders in the House of Assembly, opposed any grant of compensation either for his services or his losses. The Honorable Mr. Papineau, in singular forgetfulness of the quality which is conspicuous in his own character, and which is the root of all great achievements, actually supplemented his opposition with an argument pointed with a sneer. He taunted the subject of our sketch with being an enthusiast, who had shewn extravagance in the publication of his works. The ungracious speech fell neither unheeded nor unanswered. That great man,—alas! that there should be so few!—Andrew Stuart answered the sneer with the scorn it merited. Our informant, who was present on the occasion, noted the words in which that eloquent rebuke was expressed. "Ungenerous[129] reproach! since it is to that noble enthusiasm that the country is indebted for those invaluable and important works. How few, if any, of the works or actions of mankind, untinctured by enthusiasm, have been deemed worthy of descending to posterity!"

Colonel Bouchette's first work was published in 1815. It was presented in person to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, to whom, by express permission, it was dedicated. The impression which that work and the author made on the mind of the Prince were so marked as to cause Earl Bathurst, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, to express unusual congratulations. A monarch is commonly blamed who forgets a service. The reigning family of England possess the royal gift of never forgetting a face. The volunteer adjutant, whom the Duke of Kent had noticed at Halifax, in 1798, was not forgotten by His Royal Highness in 1815. He knew something of his early services, and he saw the evidences of his later ones. Memory and observation concurred in prompting the opinion that a career so honorable should receive the royal mark of honor. Thereupon the Duke very strongly expressed his desire that the grace of knighthood should be conferred on Colonel Bouchette. The correspondence between the Duke of Kent and Earl Bathurst passed at Colonel Bouchette's death from his possession to that of his son, the present Surveyor-General of Lower Canada, and has been, of course, cherished with commendable pride by every member of the family. Our space will not permit us to enlarge on those reasons of state which at that time caused the honor to be withheld, but we can easily imagine that to one whose mind, like that of the subject of our sketch, was cast in a chivalrous mould, the mortification must have been extreme. But though His Royal Highness did not procure the honor solicited for him, he did succeed in obtaining, 'in another form,' a complimentary mark of royal confidence. Colonel Bouchette was appointed Surveyor, under the fifth article of the Treaty of Ghent, for the establishment of the boundary between the United States[130] and the British Provinces of North America—a service which he subsequently performed with characteristic energy and firmness. It is deeply to be regretted that in the Treaty of 1842, scornfully and not undeservedly termed by Lord Palmerston the "Ashburton capitulation," the boundary laid down by Colonel Bouchette's survey should have been departed from. That line is now admitted to have been the true one, and recent revelations have given rise to the uncomfortable fear that its truth was not unknown at the time to one of the contracting parties. Thus its adoption, though attended with an absence of territorial gain to the United States, would at all events have been accompanied by a grand equivalent, for the public honor of a great country would not have been clouded with suspicion, and the public character would have been saved from those stains which arise from the discovery of what seems like trickery and chicane. It would also have saved millions of acres to Canada, and have given to the British Provinces the undivided control of the River St. John from its source to its mouth in the Bay of Fundy.

We cannot do more than enumerate the titles of the works of which the subject of our sketch was the author.[3] For his work of 1815, the Society of Arts and Sciences in London elected him a corresponding member and accompanied the honor with their "Gold Isis Medal." Nor were his literary pursuits of a mere selfish kind. He wished to incline the tastes of[131] his countrymen towards systematic literary culture, and hence his successful endeavour to found at Quebec a Society for the promotion of Arts and Sciences in Canada. This Society was subsequently merged into the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec.

Ardent, chivalrous, and enthusiastic, there can be no doubt that honor and distinction were with Colonel Bouchette prime incentives to exertion. It was not enough for him to live in life—he wished to live in fame. In that Royal Province of the future which his pencil traced, and his pen described, he wished to find a place among the earliest and most sagacious of its founders; to leave an historic name—a name which would not perish, when he who bore it had passed away. It was a desire born of virtue, whose longings passed the border land of life and stretched into immortality. There was, however, another side to his character. He not only wished to live in story—he wished also to live in the gentle memories of friends, as well as in the warm hearts of many humble people, who were more dependents than friends, between whom and himself, the only tie was gratitude on their parts for kindliness on his. Personal and official intercourse wear pleasant and attractive shapes when they are clothed in the language of courtesy. There is a magic in gentle words whose power we cannot estimate. There is a subtle charm in simple kindness, whose value cannot be counted in any known currency. Such qualities seem to have entered largely into the character of the Surveyor-General. They provoked acknowledgment in the shape of addresses from the inhabitants of the different townships which he had surveyed and they had settled. Such addresses, moreover, were in several instances accompanied with gifts; some of rare merit and others of curious simplicity, all alike the offerings of grateful hearts. He shewed by his occasional visits to the new settlements, that he took a personal interest in the welfare of the settlers, and was anxious in every possible way to aid and assist them. If the subject of our sketch aspired to honor, it was not because he failed to practice humility. If he practiced humility,[132] it was because his nature was toned to honor—for next to honor is humility. He died at Montreal on the 9th April, 1841, and was buried in the church of Notre Dame in that city. Among the peaceful dead who sleep beneath the pavement where the living worship, there are few to whom Canada is more indebted for valuable and meritorious services than the gifted subject of our sketch, the late Surveyor-General of Lower Canada, the genial, gallant and enthusiastic Lieut. Colonel Joseph Bouchette.




"No other Colonial Survey has ever yet assumed the same national character," are the complimentary words in which a writer in the Saturday Review has expressed his opinion of the work done by Sir William Logan, and more particularly described in his history of the Geological Survey of Canada.

The critic very accurately states a fact which we believe to be as indisputable as it is praiseworthy. No name in the list of our men of eminence will be regarded with more general interest or be held in higher honor than the name of "Logan." As a native-born Canadian his career has been watched by his contemporaries with jealous pride, and it will be cherished with the like care by his countrymen in times future. Albeit his reputation has outgrown all local boundaries. It is beyond the reach of Provincial protection, for it has gone into the possession of all lands, to be passed onwards with other watchwords of discovery by accredited sentinels in every country whose inhabitants can articulate the syllables of science. In Europe and in America Sir William Logan, by common consent has already been raised to a place among the great men. The Province of his birth will regard his honors with pride, mingled with gratitude for his services. His countrymen will not forget that new pages have by him been opened in the book of knowledge; new subjects have by him been presented to "divine philosophy;" new facts have by him been given to speculative research. Neither will they fail to remember that the attractions of their noble Province have been unfolded by one who like themselves is a Provincial, but who, in all proba[134]bility unlike themselves, is by taste and inclination a student of the mysteries of nature, and by his office the Director of the Geological Survey of Canada.

The Parliamentary history of the Survey, apart from the personal history of the subject of our sketch, is chiefly conspicuous for the desire evinced by public men to institute such inquiries, and for the general spirit of unanimity with which the necessary appropriations have been granted to carry them out. Exception has occasionally been taken to the expenditure for this service, but the objectors discovered that they blew only querulous blasts which found no echo and awakened no sympathy without the walls of Parliament. Indeed the objections were more hurtful to the objectors, than to the object of them, for research had gone too far to be stifled by prejudice or starved by parsimony. Knowledge had created a taste which ignorance could not destroy. Public men sympathized with the longings of scientific men, and Parliament rejoiced at its ability to gratify a desire which it had no disposition to repress. The honor of originating such a survey belongs to one or two, but the credit of its continuance is the pride of all.

A good deal had been previously written on Canadian Geology, but it was not until the year 1832 that His Excellency Lieut. General Sir John Colborne, at that time Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, appears to have been impressed with the importance of instituting a Provincial survey. With this object in view he sent to the House of Assembly, accompanied with a recommendatory message, a Petition from a Dr. Rae, praying for pecuniary assistance to prosecute a geological and statistical survey of the Province. In the same year a petition was presented from the "York Literary and Philosophical Society" with a somewhat similar prayer. In February, 1836, on the motion of Mr. Wm. Lyon Mackenzie, seconded by Mr. Durand; Messrs R. G. Dunlop, Gibson, and C. Duncombe were named a Committee to consider and report on "a plan for a Geological Survey [135]of the Province." The report was printed and subsequently referred to a Committee of supply. In the following session, Mr. R. G. Dunlop moved for leave to bring in a bill for the purpose of instituting "a Geological examination of the Province." A little later in the same month, on the motion of the last mentioned Gentleman, seconded by Colonel Prince, the House went into a Committee of the whole "to consider the expediency of a Geological Survey." The Committee reported an address to His Excellency Sir F. B. Head, covering an important enquiry on the subject of ways and means, which we incline to think must have included some awkward feature, as the address in question was not presented. Again in the following month, Mr. R. G. Dunlop with creditable perseverance gave notice of an address to the King for a grant of wild lands "to defray the expense of a Geological Survey;" but the motion was to little purpose, since no such address was passed. The importance of the object seems to have been generally recognized, but for some reason which does not appear, the efforts of those who sought to further such object were futile and of little practical value.

At the union of the Provinces the matter appeared to receive a sudden accession of force. The Natural History Society of Montreal, through Mr. Benjamin Holmes, and the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, through Mr. Henry Black, petitioned for aid to carry out a systematic Geological survey. These petitions were referred to a committee of five members, who made no report. His Excellency Baron Sydenham had a statesman's appreciation of the mineral resources of Canada, and the government of that day sympathized with His Excellency's opinions. The question was taken up as a government measure, and on the motion of the Hon. S. B. Harrison, the sum of £1500 sterling, for the purposes of a survey, was included in the estimates. The death of Lord Sydenham imposed on his successor, Sir Charles Bagot, the duty of selecting such geologists as in his opinion were qualified to discharg[136]e the important work for which Parliament had made provision. Whereupon, Mr. Logan, F.G.S., and Mr. A. Murray were appointed, the former as principal, and the latter as assistant. The survey was commenced on the 1st of May, 1843. Two years afterwards, Mr. Attorney-General Smith moved, that there be appropriated the sum "of £2000 per annum, for five years, to provide for a complete examination of the rocks, soils, and minerals of the Province." Thus two persons, with a slender staff, and with pecuniary means even more slender than the staff, commenced an undertaking whose proportions were speedily to become national, and whose praise in less than seven years should be expressed by scientific men in all lands.

Sir William Edmond Logan was born at Montreal, in the troubled year of 1798, a year which is remembered by some with little favor, and spoken of by all with little affection. He is the grandson of Mr. James Logan, a united empire loyalist of Schenectady, in the State of New York. The name of this gentleman is associated with Montreal, from the circumstance that almost all the grand military reviews which are held in that city take place at "Logan's Farm," so called after the father and grandfather of the subject of our sketch, who successively owned that valuable estate. Young Logan received the earlier portion of his education at Mr. Skakel's school, Montreal, and it was completed at the High School and University of Edinburgh. In 1818, he entered the counting house of his uncle, Mr. Hart Logan, a merchant of London, where he continued for about ten years. The attractions of commerce, however, did not impair his taste for those scientific studies with which his name in the approaching time was to be connected. Neither did a long residence in London weaken his affection for the Province of his birth, or for those traditional and domestic associations, which we may conjecture endeared that Province to him. In 1829, as we learn on reference to an English work, "Photographic Portraits of Men of Eminence," to which [137]we are much indebted for facts and dates, Mr. Logan was appointed the manager of a large copper smelting establishment, at Swansea, Glamorganshire. He had also to attend to certain coal mining operations, in which his uncle was interested. The last named gentleman dying in 1838, new arrangements were made with respect to those works, and Mr. Logan resigned his position as manager. During his residence of nine years in South Wales, he devoted himself to a most careful study of that important coal-field. This study enabled him to give invaluable assistance to Mr. afterwards Sir Henry De la Beche, which the latter acknowledged with warmth in his memoir on "The formation of Rocks in South Wales and South Western England." After speaking with well merited eulogy of Mr. Logan's public spirit, Sir Henry De la Beche more particularly refers to his scientific observation with respect to "a marked kind of bed with a peculiar fossil plant, as observable beneath all the coal beds he had examined." This stratum of "under clay" was first demonstrated by the subject of our sketch, to be the soil on which the coal vegetation grew. Mr. Logan published two papers on the subject, in which he pointed out the analogy between the coal beds and the peat moss, as it exists in the bogs of Ireland.[4]

The discovery of those beds has proved of great importance in advancing our knowledge, for since then geologists in other parts of the world, where coal formations occur, have observed similar conditions. Hence the supposition that such formations are inseparably connected with the growth and production of coal.

In 1841, the subject of our sketch visited the coal-fields of Pennsylvania and of Nova Scotia, and he gave the result of his observations in a paper which was read at a meeting of the Geological Society of London. In June of that year, Mr. Logan wrote an interesting treatise "on the packing of ice on the River St. Lawrence."[138] The great value of this paper was subsequently acknowledged in the strongest terms by Mr. George Stephenson, as having guided him in determining the requisite amount of defence for the "Victoria Bridge." In passing, we may notice that people at a distance have little conception of the grand glacial phenomena which are presented by the sudden packing and piling of the ice in that particular section of the river. Mr. Logan in the paper in question, furnished one graphic description.

"In Montreal is a newly built revêtement, the top of which is twenty-three feet above the summer level of the river, but the ice broken by it accumulates on the top of the terrace, and before the wall was erected the adjacent buildings were endangered, the ice sometimes breaking in at the windows of the second floor, even two hundred feet from the margin of the river. In one instance, a warehouse of considerable strength and magnitude, having been built without due protection, the great moving sheet of river-ice pushed it over as if it had been a house of cards."

Previous to Mr. Logan's appointment as Director of the Geological survey he had examined the older Palæozoic rocks of Canada. After his appointment, in the course of investigations of the rocks of the Eastern Townships, which are said to be a continuation of those of New England, Mr. Logan had the scientific satisfaction of discovering that the rocks last mentioned so far from being as had been supposed primitive Azoic rocks, are in fact crystallized Palæozoic strata, a discovery which is regarded as one of the keys to the geology of North Eastern America. He had the further satisfaction to discover that the Laurentide Mountains which were regarded as Azoic rocks, and, as it is believed, the oldest in the world, are stratified rocks formed of sedimentary deposits, of a thickness so vast as possibly to be equal to all the stratified rocks of the earth's crust which were theretofore known. These remarkable geological discoveries very naturally occasioned Mr. Logan's fame to precede his official visit to England, on the occasion of his attending the Industrial Exhibition held at London, in 1851. The selection of Mr. Logan was a graceful compliment[139] to his recognized rank in the college of science. No more suitable commissioner could have been chosen to represent Canada than the gifted subject of our sketch, and the Government of the day received even more honor than it conferred when it commissioned Mr. Logan to discharge that responsible and important duty. Few who were present will forget the wonderful display of minerals which were exhibited in the Canadian section of that Great Exhibition, and all will recollect the surprise which was expressed that Canada possessed such treasures as were indicated by the specimens which were there classified and displayed. Four years afterwards, in 1855, Mr. Logan was again appointed a Commissioner to represent Canada at the Paris Exhibition. On that occasion he received the "Grand Gold Medal of Honor," and from the Emperor the decoration of the "Legion of Honor." In that year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1856, he was Knighted, receiving at the same time from the Geological Society the "Wollaston Palladium Medal" for his eminent services in Geology. In 1862, Sir William Logan was appointed to represent Canada at the second Industrial Exhibition held in London, on which occasion, as in 1851, he was selected as one of the jurors for the class devoted to mineral and metallurgical products.

Going back in point of time it may be here noted that on the 26th of September, 1854, a select committee was appointed by the Legislative Assembly, composed of Mr. Langton, the present Auditor-General, the Honorable Messieurs Morin, Rolph and Cameron, and Messieurs Valois, Rhodes, Fergusson, Bell and Taché, "to report to the House the best means of making public the valuable information already obtained by the Geological Survey, and of completing it at an early period upon an uniform system; with power to send for persons, papers and records." The Committee may be congratulated in having selected Mr. Langton as their chairman. The enquiry appears to have been of a very interesting and exhaustive kind. The witnesses examined by that Committee[140] were gentlemen of scientific note, resident in the United States as well as in the British Provinces, and the evidence they were enabled to give was alike interesting and instructive. The enquiry was supplemented by a very important and suggestive report, a report which we may be allowed to say very fully justifies the commendations it received at the time. The great industry and wonderful economy with which the survey had been prosecuted, the difficulties which its conductors had overcome, and the minute and exact character of their investigations were referred to in terms of well-merited approval. But besides the scientific interest of the survey, its practical advantages were very pointedly stated. The Canadian is informed that he not only lives in a land whose surface is beautified with plenty, but in one whose depths teem with treasure. He learns that there are marbles for building purposes of diversified colours, and minerals for manufacturing purposes of diversified kinds. So thoroughly are these points established, that Professor Hall, of the city of Albany, who conducted the State Geological Survey of the American Union, testified that Canada "with respect to mineral products stands higher than any of the surrounding States." The Committee furthermore state with confidence "that in no part of the world has there been a more valuable contribution to Geological science for such a small outlay,"—an opinion which they support by the testimony of several learned men, and to some extent corroborate by the following quotation from the London Quarterly Review for October, 1854:

"In Canada, especially, there has been proceeding for some years one of the most extensive and important Geological surveys now going on in the world. The enthusiasm and desinterestedness of a thoroughly qualified and judicious observer, Mr. Logan, whose name will ever stand high in the roll of votaries of that favourite science, have conferred upon this great work a wide spread fame."

For reasons which were given at length, the Committee recommended the re-publication of essential parts of the reports which ha[141]d been already made, with liberty to revise, re-arrange, and, if necessary, add to them, so as to give a connected and systematic view of the geology of the Province. It was furthermore recommended that such work should be accompanied with a coloured geological map of the Province.

Guided by such instructions, Sir William Logan lost little time in collecting the materials for his grand work on the Geology of Canada, a work which represents the scientific results of twenty years of close, arduous and unremitting labour. It would be almost impertinent to speak of the scrupulous conscientiousness, the painstaking perseverance, the anxious caution with which he has pushed his investigations. He has sacrificed nothing to his desire to reduce speculative research to what can scarcely be distinguished from exact knowledge. Above all—for this feature of his work is beyond price—for the high-minded truthfulness which has governed him in analyzing every opinion, and weighing every conclusion. The reins of discovery have not been loosely thrown on the neck of imagination. The interests of science have not been sacrificed to the interests of commerce. No enquiry has been glossed and no result has been gilded. Our mineral wealth has not been represented to be greater than it is, nor our buried treasure to be other than it is. Sir William Logan has not examined to mislead or written to disappoint. He has not ministered to the unhealthy appetite of the speculator, nor to the misleading manœuvres of the trickster. No bubbles of many hued attractiveness have been blown by him, no castles of fanciful inflation have been built by him. He has ruined none by the coloured language of fiction, though he has enriched many by the sober revelations of truth. He has informed all where reward may be expected to wait upon labour. He has told none where wealth may be gained without toil. Such high-minded appreciation of what is right and pure in conduct not only goes far to redeem our nature from reproach, but in the case under review it has saved our people from disaster. It would not be difficult to draw another picture, and paint, in the colours of truth, the consequences which would have overtaken the whole community had a less scrupulous or a[142] more sanguine man been charged with the duties which Sir William Logan has so honestly and carefully fulfilled. Happily for him the subject of our sketch was supported by learned and judicious assistants. Very few, we should think, could boast of being associated with such co-operators as Mr. Murray, Mr. Billings, and Dr. Hunt, the last of whom we have heard described as one of the most accomplished of living chemists.

To those who take pleasure in drawing nice distinctions between practical utility and science, we can only say what has been better said elsewhere, "that the ultimate object of all science is practical utility." The end is the same though the means may differ. In the former case the search must be systematic and directed by principle, while in the latter it may be desultory and governed by caprice. The anatomizing of the physical structure of Canada has been directly attended with startling practical results. Indirectly it has shown from the analogies of science that, although Canada is historically a portion of the new world, it is nevertheless geologically more ancient than any part of the old world. The article in the Saturday Review which we quoted at the opening of this sketch may again be appropriately referred to. The writer, in language of undisguised admiration, says:

"The foundation of such a survey is like the foundation of those noble universities which have already arisen in the colony, elevating the tone of society by the admixture of a learned and scientific element, commanding the respect of the intellect of their own population, of those "at home" in the old country, and of foreign savans all over Europe. That far-seeing government which knows how worthily to execute an undertaking may also well command respect."

The style in which the work was got up was not only creditable to all who were concerned in its production, but it was highly beneficial, from the favorable impressions it created abroad, to the Province in which it was published. The typographical attractions, the precision of the drawings, and the accuracy of the wood cuts, became subjects of undisguised commendation in England, [143]for it was said they might almost challenge comparison with similar productions in that country. But excellent as the work was, we think it has, in its mechanical attractions, been greatly excelled by the recently issued "Atlas of Maps and Sections," published by Dawson Brothers, of Montreal, and printed by Stanford of London. Sir William Logan adopts the generous practice of publicly acknowledging subordinate services. Thus in the preface to the Atlas last mentioned, we learn that the topographical details of his beautiful maps are the work of Mr. Robert Barlow, aided by his son, Mr. Scott Barlow, who for several years have been attached to the Geological Survey. The maps, with one exception, were engraved on copper, or on steel, by Mr. Graham of Montreal. The coloured sections, which were prepared by himself, with the aid of Mr. James Richardson, were engraved on copper and printed from stone by Mr. Stanford. The uncoloured sections, six in number, are from engravings on wood by Mr. J. H. Walker, of Montreal, and the accompanying letter-press is by Mr. John Lovell, to whose skill and taste the publications of the Geological Survey are greatly indebted.

Those who have not had the good fortune to visit the office of the Geological Survey at Montreal, can have little idea of the collection of curious and valuable specimens of representative treasure which are gathered there. Marbles of great variety and rare beauty arrest attention, while they suggest the thought that the day may not be distant when buildings shall arise in Canada as exquisite in material as we hope they may be perfect in design. There are also mineral specimens in number almost numberless, which look as if they had positively been peppered and pitted with spangles, so thoroughly are they indented with the shining evidences of varied treasure. Not alone by their appearance but by their weight do they provoke unruly thoughts of gain, accompanied it may be in the mind of the beholder, with over-reaching desires for "limits" and "locations." Such sordid considerations will[144] probably exert little influence on the subject of our sketch. His aspirations take a widely different direction. His wish, we incline to think, is rather to be famous than to be wealthy, to explore than to possess, to live in books when he has ceased to live in life. Therefore we may conjecture that those dry, rough, hard stone tablets, dug out of the crypts and cells of what till recently was an unexplored, unknown, unrecorded antiquity, written in fossiled characters, and belonging to a period of which time has preserved no chronicle and to which figures can give no meaning, are to him treasures of which he alone can appraise the value. If the metamorphic theory of rocks be true, if all stratified limestones, no matter what their extent or thickness, are formed from the life and death of organic bodies, then may we not add the homage of involuntary sympathy to the mysterious sense of awe which must have possessed the mind of Sir William Logan, as he stood before those Laurentide mountains, face to face with one of the great mysteries of nature—the chosen repository of one of her amazing secrets. We can imagine the learned skill with which Sir William Logan gauged the depths and measured the heights of those rocks, but we cannot imagine what his sensations must have been as he diligently anatomized their structure and discovered that those gigantic hills which stretch from the sterile coast of Labrador to the fertile regions of the far West, and which are supposed to be of an aggregate thickness of 40 or 50,000 feet, were neither more nor less than accumulated fossils, the petrified forms of what was once organic life. Thus do the stones cry out, and in their sublime majesty preach strange sermons!

Of course, Sir William Logan is not married; obscure science and remote antiquity "forbade the banns." He has no wife of his own, neither as he ever been suspected of coveting any wife of his neighbour's. Had he acquired those kinds of domestic possessions which commonly cluster around men who have ceased to be bachelors, then are we afraid that our artist and the sunbe[145]am would have been less fortunate in the accessories with which they have filled up the picture of "Sir William Logan at home." Instead of specimens of primitive Azoic rocks or of crystallized Palæozoic strata, we might have had the painted humming top of a fair haired William, or the forgotten doll of a star eyed Margaret, specimens of which experience knows much and geology knows nothing. Now, however, like Don Quixote, or any less fabulous knight errant, our geological antiquary has been appropriately placed in the midst of his idols and his triumphs. In tilt or tournay, few have held a steadier hand or borne a bolder lance than he in exploring the hiding places of nature, or in discovering the secret laws of creation. Sir William Logan has, with reverent zeal, patiently trimmed and fed the lamps of modern science. Revelation cannot be darkened by the illumination of nature, for in reading by new and increased lights, we do not necessarily read a different history of creation from that which has been revealed.

In the various colleges of science, the name of "Logan" will be honorably regarded by all who, like him, have striven to explore and bring to light pre-historic truths. In the "Imperial Province" it will be lovingly cherished by Canadians who, like him, claim their heritage in the land in which he was born, a land whose sublime antiquities have been explored by his genius, illustrated by his pencil, described by his pen and reproduced in a manner and style of which the Province has a right to be proud, for they have awakened admiration in the old world as well as in the new, and have taught mankind to think reverently of the venerable attractions of a land on whose surface are dotted some of the newest settlements of the human family.





The Honorable Mr. Carter is a member of one of the historical families of the Island, for he is the son of Mr. Peter Watson Carter, who was for several years the Police Magistrate, and the grandson of the Judge, who for upwards of fifty years presided in the Vice-Admiralty Court of Newfoundland. He was born at St. John's on the 12th of February, 1819, and on completing his education he commenced the study of the law, under Bryan Robinson, Esquire, who is now one of the Judges of the Superior Court. In 1840, on being admitted as an Attorney, he took his departure to England, that he might the more perfectly prosecute the study of his profession. He returned to Newfoundland in 1842.

In the last-mentioned year, the confusion and disorder which had characterized the politics of the Island, were sought to be removed by the intervention of the Imperial Government. An act was passed in England "for amending the constitution of the Government of Newfoundland." By this act the Legislative Council, as a distinct branch of the legislature was abolished, and its members were incorporated with, and authorized to sit and vote in the Legislative Assembly. This body was to be made up according to the following proportions: two-fifths were to be appointed by the crown, and three-fifths were to be elected by the people. This experimental contrivance was known in the colony by the name of "the amalgamated legislature." We are not aware to whom the special invention was attributable, but we infer that a single chamber, no matter how constituted, did not answer better in Newfoundland than it has done elsewhere. After seven year's trial, the exper[148]iment was abandoned and the old constitution was restored. During its continuance the services of a Solicitor were required. This office, which corresponds in its duties to the office of Law Clerk to either House in Canada, was, in 1848, conferred on the subject of our sketch. On the restoration of the old constitution, Mr. Carter appears to have elected the more popular branch in which to continue his services. These services, for reasons with which we are unacquainted determined in 1852.

In 1855, on the introduction of responsible government, Mr. Carter entered Parliament as one of the representatives of the District of Trinity, for which, we believe, he still sits. He thus became the member of a body whose number at that time was limited to fifteen persons. It would appear that this small body was chiefly composed of official, salaried people. There were Government Surveyors, Government Inspectors, and Officers of the Customs, a goodly company of stipendiaries who were naturally inclined to regard with complacency things as they were, and take precautions against all innovation. Now the subject of our sketch, like the greater number of those who at that time were members of the Assembly, subscribed to that confession of political faith which is commonly recognized as the conservative formula. But Mr. Carter did not deem it to be inconsistent with conservative principles to introduce a Bill, which had for its object to disqualify for seats all salaried persons, except the members for the time being of the Executive Council. Such a measure was not calculated to be acceptable to a body which was chiefly composed of gentlemen whose seats in Parliament it was especially designed to declare vacant; nor is it matter for surprise that it should have been defeated, session after session, by the influence of the official men whom it was introduced to disqualify. But the moral force of the measure at length proved too strong for the numerical force of its opponents. It was passed by both Houses, and thus the Province reaped the reward of Mr. Carter's persistent perseverance, and[149] the class which considered itself to be wronged by the change was soothed, if not satisfied, with pensions and retiring allowances.

In 1861, the number of representatives in the Legislative Assembly was increased from fifteen to thirty. The old Parliament was dissolved and a new one elected. Of this new and enlarged Parliament the subject of our sketch, with singular fitness, had the honor of being chosen Speaker. The increase in the number of the members had no effect in altering the usage which seems to have prevailed there and elsewhere in the smaller Provinces, for the Speaker of the House for the time being to take a prominent part in the debates of Parliament. This extremely undesirable custom possesses but few, if any, compensating advantages. The exceptional usage, however, afforded to the subject of our sketch the opportunity of supporting by his speech, as well as by his influence, the measure for further securing the independence of Parliament, which by reason of his office it was not in his power at that time to introduce. But, though adopted by another member, Mr. Carter naturally regarded the bantling as his own, and he had the satisfaction in the first session in which he presided as Speaker, to see that important Act pass both Houses of the Legislature.

In 1858, on the formation of the Cartier-Macdonald administration in Canada, it will be remembered that the great article of agreement, adopted by the new government, was to bring about the confederation of the Provinces of British North America. With the view of carrying out this policy, despatches were sent to the Maritime Provinces, inviting each of their governments to consider the subject, with a view to promote the end sought to be attained. With reference to that invitation, Mr. Carter, on a subsequent occasion is reported to have said, "that he was proud to say that his native Province of Newfoundland was the only colony which responded to the request." We have no means of knowing to what extent his influence may have been exerted on that particular occasion, but from the active personal interest which he has sinc[150]e taken to bring about such union, we can plainly see how thoroughly his exertions must have run in the same groove with his opinions. He practised no reserve in advocating such opinions, neither does he seek to curb his desire to advance them. What he determined on with the serene judgment of a statesman, he sought to promote with the intellectual fervour of a patriot. His instructed mind knew alike what his native land possessed as well as what she required. Surrounded by the ocean, begirt with harbours, seamed with mineral wealth, and peopled with a race averse to husbandry but inured to hardship, he knew that Newfoundland had treasure to exchange for all the treasure she might receive. Her special possession is what the Attorney-General for Canada East has described as the "maritime element,"—her special need is the "territorial element." In exchange for estuaries, and inlets, and harbours teeming with fish, she needs the "cattle upon a thousand hills" and the fields covered with golden corn. She possesses the fisher's heritage, she requires the husbandman's portion. She has seines wherein fish innumerable may be enthralled, she needs folds as abundant wherein sheep may be protected. Mr. Carter knew that between his own and the sister Provinces there existed a community of feeling. He saw that there ought also to exist a community of interest. He believed furthermore, that political strength and provincial wealth would result from the fusion of sympathetic and congenial forces. Thus he and his learned colleague, the Honourable Mr. Ambrose Shea, being of one mind in the great question of Confederation, took their places as delegates, and had the honour, which as time rolls on will be more and more prized, of deliberating upon and agreeing to the seventy-two resolutions of the historical Quebec conference.




There are very few persons in the Province to whom the subject of this sketch is wholly unknown. The sustained notice of a leading organ of public opinion in Upper Canada caused the name of the Vicar-General of Quebec to acquire a celebrity which, although slightly mischievous, has, on the whole, proved decidedly complimentary. The Globe newspaper, a few years ago, was accustomed to inform its readers, with a gravity of manner difficult to distinguish from seriousness of intent, that Sir E. P. Taché governed the Province, and that the Very Rev. Charles Felix Cazeau governed him. The homage thus paid to the ecclesiastic at the expense of the statesman was, we incline to think, a subject of intense amusement to those warm and attached friends. It may easily be imagined from what is known of the late Knight, that he, in his playful and genial manner, would have poked a good deal of fun at the churchman by way of retaliation for the usurped authority which it was alleged the latter had exercised over him. The badinage and chaff thus tossed like tennis balls between these kindred spirits is, we venture to think, treasured by the survivor with the mournful interest which memory is apt to awaken when it recalls the experiences of the past. Had we seen the intellectual interiors of the quizzing journalist, the quiet churchman, and the resolute politician—could we have separated the moonshine from the mischief and have analyzed the result—we should probably have found that the well-informed were amused, the ill-informed indignant, while the injury was of that kind only which a frolicsome naughtiness, done into type, can at any time effect. To create an avers[152]ion it is only necessary for a newspaper to excite a prejudice which, however, like the fowler's snare, catches many whom it was not intended to entangle. Unfortunately there are well-intentioned persons who believe whatever they see in print—a paragraph in a newspaper is accepted by them with the same respect as an affidavit in a court of justice, or a revelation from the skies. They look upon their newspaper in the light not only of an oracle, but of a register, and they especially accept its chroniclings as trustworthy if, either directly or indirectly, they testify against an ecclesiastic. It is therefore highly probable that by such people the subject of our sketch was regarded not only as a ruler of rulers, but also as an experienced adept in various mild forms of conspiracy against the liberties of the people. We are therefore glad to be able to reproduce the likeness of one who has been represented as a grave offender against the interests of the state, as the most prejudiced will derive comfort from observing that the subject of our sketch is deficient at least, in one of Shakspeare's conditions of a conspirator, for he is not Cassius-like "of a lean and hungry" order. Except for his clerical habit, the Vicar-General only differs from the generality of his neighbors in being personally better looking than they are; in possessing a more cultivated mind, and generally, in being the master of a manner more polished and more courteous than theirs.

Charles Felix Cazeau was born at Quebec on the 24th December, 1807. His father died when he was only two years of age. On his mother, therefore, who appears to have been a strong minded and energetic woman, the duty devolved of providing for and educating her son. The double obligation appears to have been cheerfully performed, for out of her slender means nothing was spared that could promote his advantage or help him forward in life. He commenced his studies in a modest college which had been established by the Right Reverend Joseph Octave Plessis, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec, and which was attached to the church which had been built by that prelate in the suburbs of St. Roch.[153] It may be noted in passing, that Monseigneur Baillargeon, Bishop of Tloa, who is now the Administrator of the Diocese of Quebec, was then one of the professors in that institution. Later in his history, young Felix Cazeau went to the college of Nicolet. Although his attention was more particularly turned to rhetoric, philosophy and logic, there is reason to think that the strongest current of his thoughts acquired no new direction by contact with secular research; on the contrary, it flowed determinately towards those investigations which represent the more subtle attractions of science. We do not know whether the college student had, at that time, dedicated himself to the calling which he subsequently adopted. All we can learn is, that on leaving the college he lost no time in taking the initiatory steps which commonly precede admission to the ministry of the Church of Rome. Bishop Plessis, who had been the protector of his boyhood, now became the patron and probably the adviser of his youth. That eminent Prelate accompanied his solicitude with valuable helps;—helps that were alike graceful and complimentary, for he named the student to the office of under secretary of the diocese. A little later, on the 2nd of October, 1825, the Bishop performed the service which introduced him to his earliest clerical degree. From that time until the 3rd of January, 1830, when he was promoted to the order of the priesthood, Mr. Cazeau was alike occupied with the duties of his sub-secretaryship and with his theological studies at the Seminary of Quebec. Time and death had been busy also, the hand which conferred the tonsure did not confer the priesthood; it had long rested from labor when the occasion arrived for the catechumen to assume more solemn vows. Bishop Plessis had been succeeded by Monseigneur Panet, by whom the subject of our sketch was ordained. The latter prelate, it may be presumed, had little difficulty in estimating the valuable qualities of the new priest, for on his ordination, and when only twenty-three years of age, Bishop Panet appointed him to the important office of secretary of the diocese and at the same time instituted him to th[154]e Chapel of the Congregation at Quebec. These double duties, Mr. Cazeau continued to fulfil until April, 1849, when he resigned his parochial charge. Bishop Panet departed this life on the 3rd of October, 1850, and was succeeded by Monseigneur Turgeon, who like his predecessors in office, shared their appreciation of the character and abilities of the diocesan secretary. Six days after his consecration the Bishop preferred Mr. Cazeau to the dignity of Grand-Vicaire, a dignity which he still continues to enjoy. Thus, in a subordinate or in a superior office, the subject of our sketch has for a period of thirty-six years fulfilled very confidential duties in the diocese. In matters of official intercourse, between the Government and the Ecclesiastical authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, it has been usual for the Bishops of the diocese of Quebec to make their communications through the medium of their diocesan secretary, and thus the name of the Vicar-General has acquired a celebrity in Canada which it might not otherwise have attained.

In the year 1856 the late Rev. Abbé Ferland, at that time the Roman Catholic chaplain to the forces at Quebec, and we believe the chief director of the newly organized community of the Good Shepherd at that city, had occasion in the public interests to visit Europe. To facilitate the praiseworthy objects of his journey, the Vicar-General in addition to his own duties undertook those which had theretofore been discharged by the Abbé Ferland. Thus it was that the subject of our sketch was brought into direct communication with the Roman Catholic soldiers in garrison, and probably acquired from personal intercourse, a fair impression of the strong as well as of the weak points of their characters. There can be little doubt that Christian sympathy sprang from this official oversight. Dormant duties were called into activity, for the soldier was thenceforward regarded as a friend towards whom when needed should he paid the offices of a good Samaritan. Therefore no one is surprised when the Vicar-General sto[155]ps in his walk to caution a soldier whom he may suppose is menaced with crime, or stoops indulgently to raise a soldier whom he sees overtaken with a fault. In one case we may observe the judicious application of Christian sympathy and in the other the generous bestowal of Christian help.

The duties which the Abbé Ferland had discharged before his visit to Europe were on his return to Quebec shared with the Vicar-General. The former retained the appointment of Roman Catholic chaplain to the garrison, while the latter became the permanent director of the asylum of the Good Shepherd. The latter office we believe still devolves on the subject of our sketch. We have little doubt that the duties of benevolence and humanity with which that office is associated are pursued with a resolute purpose by one who, like the Vicar-General, appears to take especial interest in consoling the miserable and in recovering the lost. This habit of philanthropy is moreover associated with that kind of moral fortitude which has its root in manly courage as well as in Christian faith. It is said of the Vicar-General that none more than he displayed the characteristics of a brave Christian gentleman during the cholera season of 1832, and the ship fever season of 1847. The Irish immigrants, we are informed, were the objects of his special attention. Without dwelling on those religious consolations which are inseparably associated with the office and ministry of the priesthood, and which would reasonably be expected of a member of that order, we may permit ourselves to linger for a moment about those numerous acts of tenderness and compassion which appear to lend a wreathlike beauty to his character. Many fatherless children left miserable at Grosse Isle can remember to this day the good priest who not only pitied their orphanhood but found kind people in the rural parts of Lower Canada to take care of them, to receive them into their families and to adopt them for their own children. More than four hundred of such children were, we have reason to believe, through his instrumentality thus tenderly ca[156]red for. Nor did his interest in their welfare cease when he had thus placed these poor destitutes. On the contrary we believe he has never lost sight of them, and to the present day shews an anxious desire to help them forward in life. It is not therefore surprising that his kind interest in their welfare should return to him in those forms of acknowledgment which sometimes find expression in terms of simple gratitude and at others in the language of reverent veneration. Many praise him, and some prayers it may be from lips that were ready to perish have found utterance in the language of Naomi, "The Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me."

But besides the offices of charity to which we have referred, and which appear to have been the special delight of the Vicar-General, there were the obligations of loyalty which he owed alike to his church and his conscience, and which, from his ecclesiastical position, he could scarcely do otherwise than vindicate on all seasonable occasions. Thus when discussions of a polemical character have arisen which are supposed to affect the interests of the Roman Catholic Church, the views of the authorities of that church in the diocese of Quebec have usually been expressed over the signature of the subject of our sketch. Having enjoyed the confidence of successive Bishops, it is no matter for surprise that the Vicar-General was publicly associated with them on occasions when they were required to attend the proceedings of Parliament. His opinions on the subjects of religious corporations, clergy reserves, general education and separate schools, are not the opinions commonly held by his protestant fellow-subjects in Upper Canada, and they have therefore attracted towards him a newspaper criticism which has been more conspicuous for its pungency than for its politeness. The Vicar-General did not, we incline to think, aspire to any personal celebrity, and it might perhaps have been wiser if the rancour which, in the course of controversy, has been displayed towards him, had been directed towards the subjects, and [157]not the advocate, especially as the former were neither new nor strange to the disputants.

From his ecclesiastical position, his literary acquirements, and his social tastes, the Vicar-General has found himself, for different purposes, sometimes scientific and always charitable, engaged with different classes of men in the pursuit of various philanthropic objects. Where he is best known, in his native city for example, and amongst the people with whom he was educated and brought up, he has acquired singular and enviable popularity with all classes of the community. Most men speak well of him, and even those who least like his theology are loud in their praises of the theologian.

It is, we believe, Gil Blas who in effect says that "because a man becomes a priest it is no reason why he should cease to be a gentleman." The Vicar-General very literally personates both characters. The apostolical injunction "be courteous," seems to have become grafted in his nature, for the gentle grace of courtesy is conspicuous in his acts. He has moreover the advantage of being a cheerful Christian. He is not only affable but cordial—he is not only animated in his manner, but his thoughts and conversation seem to be colored with such hues as are caught from the skies, bright in nature and charming in fancy. His religious habit of searching for what is good even in natures the most depraved, enables him to detect some lingering excellence where others see only helpless frailty. His mind and his life, his thoughts and his actions, harmonize with and interlace one another, for self-denying charity, springing from benevolence, is braced with fortitude and brightened with hope. Thus he is enabled to discover the signs of repentance where others appear only to recognize the seal of despair—to discern the rainbow where others only see the storm.

We do not presume in this paper to express any opinion on matters of faith. Such subjects, being of the spiritual order, find their appropriate place in the province of theolog[158]y. Still, while emphatically denying the truth of Pope's ribald reason on "forms of faith," we appropriate without hesitancy the concluding line of his rhyme, and say of the subject of this sketch, that his "life is in the right."




Like the clerical founder of what has been somewhat flippantly termed the "School of Muscular Christianity," Colonel Prince sympathizes kindly with every breeze that blows, reserving, however, his especial approval for that peculiar quality of east wind which is made crisp and pungent by means of a judicious infusion of what sailors call "by north." It is exhilarating to look at a man like Colonel Prince, who possesses that kind of defiant physique which no cold can pierce and no storm can penetrate, whose sporting jacket, "close buttoned to the chin, keeps cold without and a warm heart within." It is pleasant to look at such an one, wind and weather proof, lightly clad, radiant, and glowing with a complexion "like red poppies in brown corn;" every movement vigorous with health; every step elastic, as if it sprang from the heather; every expression beaming with brightness, as if it had been fanned with pure air and bronzed with field sports. No exposure seems to reach such a frame, and no fatigue disables such a constitution. All the winds may blow in succession, and "crack their cheeks," he greets them with hospitality, and resolutely refuses to shut them out with the woollen walls of a great coat. The tones of his big manly voice, though varied and flexible as Apollo's lute, are singularly clear and full, as if they belonged to one whose speech, born of freedom and fresh air, was as bright and glowing as October ale at Easter tide, or holly berries when Christmas chants are sung.

Colonel Prince was born in the month of March, 1796. No[160] Roman citizen in the old time could have been prouder of his citizenship than he is of his birthright. The former never cherished his imperial enfranchisement with a purer zest than the latter does his English freedom. On all occasions he claims his heritage, and he rarely fails to exult with a patriot's pride and a lover's tenderness over the land of his fathers, the "dear, dear land" where he was born, and where they sleep. The distinction of being an English gentleman is caressed by Colonel Prince with an almost fatiguing tenderness. No matter whether the subject of discourse be gay, or whether it be sad, whether the gathering be for political or whether it be for social objects, his west country pride creams up, and sparkles like the bee's wing on old wine, with a constancy that may provoke a smile even when it secures admiration. On his father's side, Colonel Prince comes of a good old Gloucestershire family, and on his mother's from such an one in Devonshire. He received the rudiments of his education from his uncle, a clergyman of the Church of England, resident in his native county. At an early age he was removed to the College at Hereford, one of those notable English schools of which the old land is justly proud. It is not difficult to conjecture that one whose manhood has been conspicuous for resolute work should in his youth have been marked with a strong disposition to study. We therefore can easily suppose that young Prince was remarkable for his early proficiency in the Greek and Latin classics, and especially for his ardent appreciation of ancient and modern history. His taste for the chase, and his intimate knowledge of the habits and instincts of the lower animals, enable us to believe implicitly what has been said of him, that he was especially distinguished during his college career for his taste for natural history, and for the studies by which that taste was gratified and enlarged.

On the 2nd of November, 1813, he received a commission signed by the Earl of Essex, the then Lord Lieutenant of the county, of Lieutenant in the 1st Regiment of Herefordsh[161]ire militia, a regiment whose quality may be gathered from the fact that in the following year it volunteered to go to the Continent and take its part in the army which was to oppose the Great Napoleon. In the year 1815 he commenced the study of the law, and in Hilary term, 1821, he was admitted to practice in all the Courts of Law and Equity in England. In 1831, he was received as a member of the Honorable Society of Gray's Inn, London. For twelve years he enjoyed not only a very large but a very influential practice, for he had the good fortune to be retained by some of the great Whig families in Gloucestershire, at a time when a scion of one of their houses became a candidate for a seat in the House of Commons. Thus at the general election which followed the passing of the Reform Bill, the subject of our sketch was chosen as the legal adviser of the Honorable Craven Berkeley, during the candidature of that gentlemen for the representation of Cheltenham, as well as of the Honorable Mr. Tracey (afterwards Lord Sudeley), on the occasion of his offering himself as member for Tewkesbury. But though professionally identified with the Whig interest and, as a matter of course, acting for the Whig party, the subject of our sketch was then, what he has since continued to be, a very independent politician, too high-minded to be attracted by faction, and too self-willed to be controlled by party. Then, and afterwards, he was accustomed to repeat and apply the adage "that party was the rage of the many for the gain of the few," and it was his habit to declare, like Falstaff on another subject, "I'll none of it."

A career which had opened thus favorably, which promised well, suddenly acquired a new direction, a direction which may have surprised him and must have astonished his numerous friends. In the year 1833, Mr. Prince announced his intention to leave England and settle in Canada. Most men emigrate from a desire to benefit themselves, or their families. But besides this main consideration, another will generally be found to run parallel with it. The latter reason has its root in the love of romance and adventure, which is almost inseparable from their minds who would found new colonies or[162] people new countries. To one who has either lost his "paternal acres," or who has never had any acres to lose, there is something exhiliarating in the prospect of even acquiring "a holding," to say nothing of the greater attraction of possessing an estate. Colonel Prince was probably fascinated by the beguiling wish to become a landed proprietor, a kind of territorial chief, by whom should be transmitted to each of his children a domain suited alike to his ambition and their desert. Such, at all events, are among the views to which "distance lends enchantment," to which all plans are made subservient, and towards which every effort is bent. Unfortunately, the immigrant of ample means generally makes too much haste to exchange money for land, and thus, by sacrificing necessary income to the acquisition of unnecessary property, he runs the risk of being starved by the very abundance of his unremunerative possessions. On his arrival in Canada, Colonel Prince purchased a large, wild, and beautifully situated property at Sandwich, nearly opposite to the city of Detroit. This picturesque property had, we believe, been owned at an earlier day, by a person named "Park," and thus it was naturally and, we may add, very felicitously called "The Park Farm." Being situated on the border which separates Canada from the United States, the property was very soon found by its new owner to have "its duties as well as its rights"—duties which could only be directed by vigilance, and rights that could only be maintained by valour.

In 1833 the war of 1812-14 was remembered only by a few who had shared its honors and its sufferings; but the recollection, though vivid to them, had generally faded away like a dim tradition from the minds of the majority of the population. Peace reigned supreme, and plenty lodged in the lap of peace. Thus the purchaser of the "Park Farm" having had no experience of its obligations, was probably unconscious of the fact that, in buying his border possessions, he had purchased what may be likened to a bastion, or a keep, such as in the old days of [163]his native land the Percy would have held against the Douglas.

But, although the quiet of his life was not at that time threatened with interruption from foreign aggression, it was not proof against intestine disturbance. Political matters in Canada were by no means in a satisfactory condition. In the early part of the year 1836, the Provincial Parliament, for the first time in its history, had resorted to the extreme measure of stopping the supplies. The character of the Province had thus become compromised. Men were startled, and suddenly constrained to be serious, for the Province was injured from within, and discredited from without. Under such circumstances, the then Lieutenant-Governor, Sir F. B. Head, dissolved the Parliament and appealed to the people. The issue thus raised was one to which no elector could be indifferent. It was not, therefore, surprising that the subject of our sketch should have been called upon by his friends and neighbors to leave "the private station" and occupy the "post of honor," which the exigences of the hour seemed to require. After several deputations had waited on Colonel Prince with urgent and repeated requests to represent the county of Essex in Parliament, his disinclination yielded to their importunity, and he reluctantly consented to accept the candidature which the partiality of his friends pressed upon him. The honor to which he thus yielded was in the last degree unprofitable to him. Since, however, it is incumbent on all to do what they can for their country, Colonel Prince felt bound to lay aside his interest, and think only of his duty; which, in the judgment of his friends and neighbours, several times repeated, was to represent the county.

The deputation had found the object of their search occupied with congenial employment. He was working on his farm and surrounded by his laborers. However, he turned his back upon his harvest and his home, and made, though he knew it not then, a life-long surrender of rural peace for the ceaseless turmoil of political strife. Had he possessed foreknowledge, it is probable that he[164] would steadfastly have persisted in the plan of life he had laid out for himself. As it was, he accepted a responsibility whose harassing continuance was to be prolonged for a period of nearly twenty-five years. He was returned at the head of the poll; and from that time until his elevation to the Bench, he continued to sacrifice his private interests, professional advantages, and personal fortune to serve in one or other of the two Houses of the Canadian Legislature.

Parliament met in November of the year in which Colonel Prince was returned as member for Essex. Those who have had the advantage of hearing him speak, need not be told that he at once made his mark in debate. The charm was not only, or chiefly, in the matter of his speeches. Though his argument was listened to with attention, and answered with care, the attractions of that argument could not be separated from those beauties and embellishments which seemed playfully to glisten about it like spray around a rock. The fascinations of speech belong to music as well as to thought. They cannot wholly be separated from the spell which a well modulated voice, and a polished bearing exert on those who are brought within the reach of their influence. Thus his genial manner, his clear enunciation, his graceful elocution, while they could add nothing to the argument, certainly had much to do with the effect of that argument. Moreover, there was in what he said a breadth of view, a vigor of thought, and a liberality of sentiment which supplied the compact material, whereon his fancy could tack an attractive fringe. Such recommendations secured the attention as well as conciliated the goodwill of all. With a firm confidence in his own opinions he had a generous appreciation of the opinions of others. His enmity, it may be remarked, was of a gentlemanly kind; and it rarely found expression in the language of violence. He was, when he chose to be so, very apt in the use of what may be termed elegant banter. Occasionally this weapon was so adroitly tempered as scarcely to be perceived, and never to be felt, exc[165]ept by the person whom it was intended to strike. An illustration occurs to us which may be remembered by some, for it took place in the Legislative Assembly. In a strain of quiet irony the subject of our sketch poked a little political fun at one of the most eloquent, and we may add the most hairless members of the old Parliament of Upper Canada. Indeed the learned head to which we refer was as smooth and as shining as a billiard ball, and we believe in the memory of man it never was otherwise. Yet the polished owner of that polished pate was so ruffled by the successful banter of the subject of our sketch as to forget his constitutional placidity of character, to forget that the crown of his head was like "the palm of your hand," to forget even that he wore no wig, to forget everything save his impulsive desire to exclaim, as he did, amid roars of irrepressible laughter, "that such sentiments made every hair of his head stand on end." Another secret of his success as a speaker arose from the fact that Colonel Prince wisely practiced the orator's caution of never wearying his audience with the length of his speeches; thus he generally had the knack of leaving off speaking before the appetite for hearing had forsaken the listener. After his retirement from public life, a leading newspaper of Upper Canada said of him "that his elocution as a public speaker had never been surpassed in Canada."

From his entrance into Parliament he became a prime favorite with both sides of the House; and though too independent to be reliable as a party man, he was too straightforward not to be liked irrespective of party considerations. In the interest of Government he seemed to admit the necessity of party allegiance; and yet from his habit of thought, and old-fashioned resolution to vote according to his conscience, such allegiance was not in his practice an absolute law. The whippers-in of that day were rarely able to anticipate his vote, and were therefore accustomed to place a very ambiguous mark against his name on the speculative division list. The late honorabl[166]e Robert Baldwin, in a playful and humorous way interpreted the feeling of Parliament when in allusion to the subject of our sketch he once said that

Whether grave, or mellow,
He was such a genial, testy pleasant fellow;
Had so much sense, and so much wit about him,
There was no living with him or without him.

The wheel of events moved forward with exacting celerity. The subject of our sketch had scarcely become a politician in spite of himself than he was required to become a soldier out of respect to the duty which he owed to Queen and Country. On the 4th of December, 1836, the rebellion in Upper Canada broke out; and though, thanks rather to private sagacity than to executive forethought, it was immediately suppressed, the effects of its existence were not as easily got rid of. The first burst of flame was soon extinguished, but the underground fire which ran from that flame in every direction, was not as readily stamped out. Indeed it spread far and wide and broke out with uncomfortable violence in places and under circumstances which showed a severe similarity of origin, and a marked directness of aim.

"The snake," as events shewed, "was scotch'd but not killed." The mischief which had been stifled within the Province spread beyond the Province. The sparks of disaffection had crossed the frontier and had fallen in fiery forms on the inflammable human fungi which grow so abundantly in the Great Republic, to the injury of its reputation and to the hurt of good neighbors. The poison springs from the like root, no matter whether it shows itself in the form of "Sympathizers" or of "Filibusters" or of "Fenians." It takes its rise in the robber law, and can only be met with the strong hand with which right meets robbers. This pestilent human nuisance suddenly cropped up along the whole province line and shewed itself in different forms of abomination. Navy Island, hard by the Falls of Niagara, was occupied in force under the[167] self-appointed military direction of one whose name was well known in Canada. Elsewhere there was no lack of numbers, and such numbers as were by no means to be despised, even though they were commanded by men whose names, until then, were unknown to martial fame.

The great State of Michigan contributed its quota of "sympathizers," the peculiar quality of whose sympathy very soon became apparent. Having elected a person named "Theller," of Detroit, as their commander, and dignified him with the title of "General," they proceeded to other work in a similar self-constituted way. Having seized a schooner, "The Ann of Detroit," they supplemented the act by seizing arms and ammunition, cannon and musketry. Furthermore, having shipped their complement of adventurers, who, to be precise, were seventy-five in number, they on the night of the 7th of January, 1838, attacked the unfortified town of Amherstburg. Whereupon the subject of our sketch, who appears to possess, among his other professional, scientific and sporting qualifications, a certain aptitude for nautical affairs, chartered a small steamer, and being accompanied by many of the loyal inhabitants of Sandwich, he pursued what he very fitly termed the "piratical craft," in the hope of overhauling and if possible of capturing its murderous crew. On his arrival at Amherstburg he communicated with Colonel Radcliffe, who there commanded a volunteer force. The result of the communication turned out in the last degree disastrous to the pirate ship and her company, for on the evening of the following day, "The Ann" was outmanœuvred, and being driven on shore, she and her crew, with the exception of two of them who had been killed, were captured with their arms, ammunition and stores. The captured crew were sent to Toronto, where they were tried and convicted of treason. "Theller," and several other state prisoners, for greater safety were removed to the citadel at Quebec, and their subsequent escape from that stronghold occasioned no little indignation. This indignation was sensibly increased by observing that the authorities in Canada appeared to receive the intelligence[168] with a serenity of mind more akin to relief than to disappointment. Such apparent indifference on the part of the rulers was insufferable to the ruled, especially to those who resided on the frontier and had been instrumental in effecting the capture of those prisoners. The inhabitants of the county of Essex especially, from Colonel Prince downwards, were highly incensed. Though their curses may not have been "loud" we are afraid they were very "deep." Being in a state of mind to accept by way of explanation any version of the escape of the prisoners, it was not difficult to supply reasons plausible enough to suit their notions on the supposed case. They were quite prepared to receive as true the fanciful explanation of some that the failure of justice and the escape of the traitors were due, not to the weakness of the dungeons, but to the winking of authority; not to the address of the criminals, but to the connivance of the gaolers. This awkward impression did not, of course, favor a respect for law. On the contrary, it encouraged the belief that red-handed crime should be met with red-handed justice, and that personal safety could only be secured by dealing violently and at once with those by whom that safety was imperilled. These considerations should not be lost sight of, since they may help us to a better understanding of what subsequently occurred. Those who take liberties with the law should not forget that when men become excited and are at the same time deeply wronged, that even the affectation of indifference to a miscarriage of the law is not without danger, for a rude notion not unfrequently takes possession of the public mind that British wrong must in some way, perchance in an irregular way, by British hands be righted. Thus men in their indignation are apt to turn from those forms of law which seem to elude justice, to those forms of justice which are scarcely recognized by law.

The Parliament of Upper Canada was in session when the last mentioned occurrences took place. On the termination of those occurrences Colonel Prince resumed his Parlia[169]mentary duties. He was thus engaged when a despatch arrived informing him that a force of "sympathizers" had collected on "Fighting Island," a British Island situated about three miles below Sandwich. He did not wait to receive instruction as to the course he should pursue. Without hesitancy he started at midnight in the depth of winter for his frontier home. On his arrival there, he accompanied Major Townshend and Captain Glasgow of the Royal Artillery, and with a force of Volunteers under his immediate command at once crossed the ice. The intruders took counsel of prudence and made their escape to the sympathetic shore of Michigan. Between that time and the more serious attack which was made in the month of March following, Colonel Prince had been appointed to the command of a contingent battalion of militia, which he had recruited and organized at Sandwich. Within the same period the 32nd Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. John Maitland, had been stationed at Amherstburg. Thus matters stood when intelligence arrived that a force of sympathizers, four hundred strong, had taken possession of Point Pelee Island a British Island on Lake Erie, nearly opposite to Sandusky in the State of Ohio, and that they were committing various depredations. On his application, Colonel Prince with two friends joined the expedition as Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Maitland. The action which followed was a very sharp one. As a piece of strategy on a small scale, the plan of attack was well conceived and most gallantly carried out. The Light Company of the 32nd Regiment under the command of Captain Brown, which had been appointed to intercept the retreat, performed that duty with singular address and coolness, losing in killed and wounded one third of the number which had gone into action. The invaders in like manner lost seventy men in their escape from the Island. There were many on both sides to whose names no answer was made when the muster rolls were again called at Amherstburg, and Sandusky.

What occurred on the morning of the next day we shall best[170] describe by extracting the following statement from the Montreal Gazette of the 9th February, 1839. The article is entitled "Annals of Canada for 1838."

"On the 4th of March, 1838, while Colonel Prince of Sandwich, Prideaux Girty, Esq., of Gosfield, and W. Haggerty, of the River Puce, in Maidstone, were returning home in a sleigh from Point Pelee Island, at the attack of which they had been present on the preceding day, and had got within eight or nine miles of Amherstburg, the first of these gentlemen discovered two objects on the ice, at a distance of about four miles, which he suspected to be spies coming from the direction of Gibraltar in Michigan. On approaching the Canadian shore, these objects were distinctly perceived to be two men; and Mr. Girty, who knew every path in the country, at once suggested that they were enemies coming to reconnoitre a particular marsh, which it is stated affords a quick passage from Lake Erie to the rear of the town of Amherstburg. At this time the men approached to within a short distance of the Canadian shore, but seeing the party in the sleigh they suddenly turned off in a southerly direction. A pursuit was then determined upon, but Mr. Girty's horse being excessively fatigued, it was deemed advisable to push on to Mr. Anderson's at Hartleys Point and there procure fresh horses.

At this moment, however, they met two gentlemen going to Gosfield, each in a single horse sleigh, and Mr. Girty being exceedingly unwell from severe cold, was persuaded by Colonel Prince to remain in his sleigh, while he and Mr. Haggerty drove off in the single sleigh to intercept and seize the suspected persons. When they had got within fifteen rods of them, Colonel Prince stopped his sleigh, and leaving his pistols and tomahawk to the care of the driver, he proceeded with his favorite gun, and advancing within fifty yards of the suspected persons he commanded them to halt. They complied with the order, and being asked who they were "they replied that they were American Citizens." Colonel Prince immediately recognized one of them, the "Brigadier General" Sutherland, and approaching within a rod of himself and his companion demanded their swords. The "General" hesitated to comply with the request, whereupon Colonel Prince rushed in upon him and disarmed him without resistance. At this time Mr. Haggerty came up and, agreeable to the orders of Colonel Prince, approached the fellow traveller of Sutherland and demanded his sword, which he delivered up with great civility. This individual proved to be "Captain" Spencer, and assumed the rank of Aide-de-Camp to Sutherland. In the following day both prisoners were sent to Toronto under an escort commanded by Captain Rudyer of that City."

In his communications to the authorities, Lieutenant-Colonel Maitland wrote of the subject of our sketch as follows:


"Colonel Prince of Sandwich asked my permission to accompany me, which he did, and gallantly acted with his rifle with our soldiers in the woods. I found him very useful from his knowledge of the locality of the place."

On the following day, March the 5th, he thus wrote to Colonel Foster commanding the forces in Upper Canada:

"I have to report to you that Sutherland and his Aide-de-Camp named Spencer were captured yesterday by Colonel Prince (single handed) about two miles on the ice. The Colonel brought them on here and lodged them in the guard house. I shall forward them to Toronto under a strong escort to-day. Enclosed is a deposition made by Colonel Prince relative to their capture. I think Sutherland and Spencer must have been making their way to Point Pelee Island when they were so gallantly taken by Colonel Prince, but he pretends otherwise."

We may add that Sutherland and Spencer were tried, found guilty, and transferred for safe keeping to Quebec, from which place they also effected their escape.

This gallant act of the "gallant John Prince" and his "Aide-de-Camp" Sergeant Haggerty, became matter of gossip on both sides of the lines, for neither Sutherland nor Spencer, the former especially, looked like men with whom it would be safe to trifle. But "fortune favors the bold," and Colonel Prince belongs to the order of bold men who know when to strike even though they may not know equally well when to parley. Such men from the vehement quality of their courage and the unhesitating character of their resolution may occasionally become entangled in scrapes, but such scrapes will never be soiled with cowardice or slurred with dishonor.

While "sympathizers" who had been caught, tried, and convicted were escaping from Canadian prisons with perplexing facility, "sympathizers" who were at large were harassing the Canadian frontier with persistent audacity. Though foiled, beaten, and driven back, they retained their appetite for prey. At their instigation every species of crime was perpetrated, from the simplest form of robbery to the most diabolical kind of murder. Systematic plunder was resorted to, not alone from the greed of gain, but for the political disquiet which such crimes occasioned. Wrong and annoyance were parts of the policy which at that time, and since then,[172] have characterized similar proceedings. Such a system of harass caused the country to be impoverished. All kinds of industrial occupations were suspended. Mechanical employment was rendered insecure. Husbandry could only be pursued with difficulty, for tillage along the frontier was most seriously interrupted. Artisans and laborers were withdrawn from their ordinary occupations, fatigued with incessant marches, and made weary with uninterrupted watching. Thus the popular mind became alarmingly excited, and questions more easily asked than answered followed one another with inconvenient rapidity. Men stationed on outlying pickets, or chatting together round their watch fires, naturally spoke of the enemy with indignation, and bitterly asked to what country he belonged, and what his claims were to the amenities of warfare. They learned without difficulty that he was a political outlaw, protected by no flag and recognized by no government. On the high seas it was known that such an one was a pirate, and it was believed would on that account be fair game for any man's rifle. Neither was it supposed that the character of the felony underwent a change when perpetrated on the shore. Therefore, exclaimed the long-suffering militia men, "we have the right to regard such invaders as pirates; let us do so, and without the intervention of the court crier, or the black cap, let us on the spot where we find them administer the swift justice which such crimes deserve, and which such criminals are accustomed to receive." Nor did these popular impressions lack legal countenance. Colonel Prince not only professionally declared his opinion that such was the law, but he added with dangerous emphasis, that should the opportunity arise, he would act up to his convictions. Those who knew him knew also that such an intimation was no idle threat. As the Duke of Wellington is reported to have said of Picton, under other circumstances, Colonel Prince in like manner was regarded as a man who was beset with a propensity to "keep his word." Neither did he stand alone in his opinion, for the Attorney-General for Upp[173]er Canada, the late Mr. Hagerman, when officially called upon, corroborated the opinion in writing in the strongest language in which it could be expressed.

Nine months had elapsed since the affair at Point Pelee Island, when at day break on the 4th of December, 1838, about four hundred "sympathizers" crossed from Detroit to Windsor. The pickets furnished by Colonel Prince from his regiment were driven in, his sentinels murdered, and his barracks, in which were three invalided soldiers, were burnt to the ground. Other atrocities were committed, including the unprovoked murder in cold blood of a colored barber, who resided in that town. Communication having been made of the state of affairs, Colonel Prince with one hundred and twenty men advanced with rapidity upon Windsor, and attacked the enemy with vigor, killing many, and driving the rest into woods or across the river to Detroit. During the affair and while chasing the fugitives, five of them, as with their swifter footed, but more fortunate comrades they kept up a running fire on the pursuing militia men, were captured. Acting up to his declared conviction of what he believed to be the law, and in conformity with his promised mode of interpreting it, Colonel Prince did not hesitate in the course which he felt called upon to take. He ordered the five prisoners to be shot in the very place where they had been taken, and to use the words of his letter, "They were shot accordingly."

This proceeding created, as it was calculated to do, great excitement in Canada and in England. In the former country it was hailed with intense satisfaction; in the latter it produced a very perceptible shock. The Attorney-General for Upper Canada, as we have already stated, reported that the proceeding was perfectly legal. Sir George Arthur, the then Lieutenant-Governor, dashed his dispatch with doubts, and mildly expressed his regret, "that Colonel Prince should have been induced to anticipate the result of legal proceedings." The people of the province were generally agreed that the transaction was good justice, and they were al[174]l the better pleased with their Attorney-General for telling them it was good law.

"Gentlemen of England who live at home at ease," and know nothing of border raids, or "border ruffians," became alarmed at the sudden exhibition of what they regarded as lawlessness in Canada. The Marquis of Normanby, the then Colonial Secretary, "felt the deepest regret that the transaction had occurred," and Lord Brougham, who had seceded from the Whigs, and took every occasion to strike their government, declared with characteristic vehemence, "that the Attorney-General's (Mr. Hagerman's) opinion was the grossest outrage on all law that was ever put upon paper." These opinions, as well as some local considerations, were not without their influence on certain persons in Canada, and they showed themselves, as we shall have occasion to state presently, in a very uncomfortable form. In the meanwhile, the province testified its satisfaction in the usual way by complimentary addresses, and sumptuous banquets in honor of Colonel Prince. Nor can it be denied that the Canadians had reason for their proceedings; for though Colonel Prince may not have pricked the bubble of rebellion, he had by one bold act of power put an end to the invasion "of the Canadian soil," by which that rebellion had been supplemented and followed up.

The transactions to which we have just referred were not likely to pass away without leaving some debris of unpleasantness. We do not know to what cause the episode to which we are about to allude is attributable. It is probable as men recovered their breath they also recovered their fears. It is especially likely that residents on the frontier may have thought that proceedings so summary might occasion reprisals as sanguinary, and that therefore in the interests of border quiet there should be some expressions of border censure. Whatever may have been the motive, a placard was published and posted on the walls of the town of Windsor of a very denunciatory and offensive kind in its relation to Col[175]onel Prince, wherein he was, as we are informed, amongst other things stigmatized as a "murderer and a coward." Flesh and blood, and especially the flesh and blood which makes up the nature of Colonel Prince, could not stand this kind of attack. Wherefore selecting from the twenty-five names which were subscribed to the document, the names of eight individuals who in a more especial manner bore the rank of gentlemen, Colonel Prince determined to settle matters by inviting each one of the eight to a hostile meeting then and there. We are not informed of the rule which guided the order of selection. Nor can we conjecture in what way the eight friends could have settled the order in which the eight duels should be disposed of. Probably the subject of our sketch was of opinion that the law of alphabetical impartiality was the one which could be conveniently adopted, for Mr. Wood, the only gentleman by whom the Colonel was accommodated, was exactly the last on the list according to the alphabetical rule. We learn that five of the gentlemen applied to, became penitent and apologized; two were contumacious, and received an old-fashioned horsewhipping; and the last, Mr. Wood, having with English obstinacy refused to submit to either ordeal, met the subject of our sketch at an early hour of a February morning, in conformity with the terms of the challenge. The first pair of shots were ineffectually exchanged. On the second, however, Mr. Wood was seriously disabled, as the Colonel's shot, with a too well directed aim, had entered his antagonist's jaw. This mournful conclusion to an unhappy transaction was attended with one beneficial result. It restored order, if not friendship, among neighbors who ought never to have been estranged.

This hostile meeting though it diverted did not restrain the annoyance to which the summary act of the 4th of December had exposed the subject of our sketch. Sympathizing with the shock which the English mind had received, and encouraged by the opinions which had been expressed in the English Parliament, and elsewhere, a portion of the public, and a few of the [176]more extreme newspapers of the Province, clamored for further investigation with a view to the punishment, and, if possible, to the disgrace of "the hero" of the battle of Windsor. Colonel Prince answered his assailants by a formal demand for a Court of Inquiry. The application was granted. The Court, consisting of Lieutenant-Colonel now General Sir Richard Airey, at that time commanding the 34th Regiment, Major Deedes, of the same Regiment, and Colonel French, an officer of the Line then on particular service in Upper Canada, assembled at Sandwich. It sat for several days, and very voluminous evidence from various witnesses was taken. The result, as might have been expected, was the honorable acquittal of Colonel Prince. The Governor approved of the finding of the Court, and to mark his displeasure of their proceedings who had signed the obnoxious placard, His Excellency directed that one of them, a Lieutenant Colonel of Militia, should be dismissed from the command of his regiment and from the Militia service of the province.

In recalling the transactions of that period, it is impossible to forget that there were two men to whom the Empire was, as we think, more immediately indebted for almost priceless services. No precautions had been taken, as we learn from the narrative of Sir F. B. Head, the Lieutenant-Governor, to meet the rebellion which was about to break out in Upper Canada. But, while the attitude of the chief ruler of the Province was one of sovereign contempt, the unsupported action of one energetic officer of Militia was marked with sagacious precautions. To the latter circumstance must be ascribed the fact that revolt at the outset was not marked with incalculable disaster. Such a calamity was averted because one of the Queen's subjects was less credulous than her Representative, for he refused to sleep while all authority slumbered. The invasion which followed the rebellion was brought to a sudden termination because another officer of Militia declined to balance chances, and cared not if he did a right thing in a wrong way. Wherefore with[177] strong-hearted resolution that officer dealt a blow, so sharp, so sudden, and so decisive, that it seemed as if it were impelled by the majesty of the Empire. Thus one officer arrested rebellion in the bud, the other tore it up by the roots. Yet of Colonel Fitz-Gibbon and Colonel Prince it may be observed, and the observation is calculated to excite regret, that while one only received reward for his services, neither was distinguished with any mark of honor. The sunlight of the Throne did not reach them. Royalty had no bright smile for either breast.

"I have done the State some service, and they know it,"

may have been the soliloquy of Colonel Prince, as he reflected on the sacrifices he had made the state, and on the indifference of the state to him. To-day he puts forth

"The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms."

But with the subject of our sketch the "killing frost" appeared before "the blushing honors," and his loyal heart, sick it may have been, with "hope deferred," perchance recovered its serenity only with "hope abandoned." The order of the "Victoria Cross" had not at that day been instituted, or the capture, "single handed," of "General" Sutherland and his "Aide-de-Camp" Spencer, would surely have entitled Colonel Prince to that high mark of honor. As it was, the grace of his Sovereign would not, we venture to think, have been misapplied had a decorative ribbon, even the mere shadow of a star, shed its brightness on his stout brave heart. Royal forgetfulness and official neglect, though they may have wounded him, produced no wavering either of his duty or of his affection. His chief desire was to serve his country anywhere and under any circumstances in which such service might be effective. Therefore it was that in 1854 he offered to raise a regiment of six hundred strong, for duty in the Crimea; and though the offer was deemed irregular and embarrassed with technical difficulties, it showed his desire to do what he could to aid the Mother Country. That the[178] offer was declined, in no way detracted from his merit who made it.

Leaving the incidents of his actual, as well as his proffered military services, we must very hurriedly allude to some facts in his professional and political career which should not pass unnoticed.

In 1841 Colonel Prince was commissioned by Lord Sydenham to perform the duties of a crown officer, and in 1852 he obtained a silk gown as Queen's Counsel; and when he was raised to the Bench as Judge of the District of Algoma, there were few senior to him on the list of the Queen's Counsel in Canada.

Whether the judicial situation which he now fills is as well suited to him as he is to it, may be fairly questioned. Shut out from civilization, and shut in by the exacting nature of his duties, as well as by the dreary length of the North West winters, it may easily be conjectured that his is not the most enviable lot. Still his benevolence of character has, we believe, scope for curious and extensive exercise. Though a judge, he has found that his judicial are by no means the most onerous of his duties. He is a moderator, a peacemaker, an arbitrator. He more frequently administers justice as a patriarch, after the manner of an Eastern Prince, than as a lawyer after the manner of an English Judge. Thus, in that primitive settlement, differences between neighbours are arranged, disputes are settled and estrangements healed in an equitable way. Men are apparently content to receive actual justice without enquiring too curiously whether they get technical law.

As a member of the Legislature, Colonel Prince was not strictly speaking a party man. He never aspired to be a political leader, and he was constitutionally unable to be a political follower. No power, not even wild horses, could have kept him steadily within the traces of party. But though unsuited as a politician to lead a party or follow a leader, he nevertheless on all occasions showed himself to be an active ally and a powerful enemy. It was not, we believe, his practice to seek support for his measures, being quite content that they should stand or fall on their merits[179] only. Such measures however generally conciliated the support of all, and were for the most part highly characteristic of their author. Thus his love of animals prompted Colonel Prince to propose a measure more humane even than "Martin's Act," "to prevent cruelty" to them. His love of fair play induced him to introduce a Bill to prevent any one carrying concealed weapons about the person. His love of sport moved him to take measures for placing every description of game under the protection of the law and prevent it from being taken or destroyed at improper seasons. Another measure, of a more questionable kind, which showed at least his liberality of mind, was passed after many a conflict. It was an act to enable foreigners to hold and convey real estate in Canada. Other measures of his which are now in the Statute Book might be noted. We have mentioned the above not only on account of their merit, but because they seem to illustrate some of the strong points in the character of the subject of our sketch; for they belong to the class with which his chart of life is printed.

Colonel Prince besides being, as we are informed, a scientific agriculturist, is, we know, an ardent sportsman. "Fur and Feather," stand little chance when they come within the range of his keen well-instructed eye. The red man's proverb, "Indian can fool deer but can't fool turkey," is scarcely applicable to Colonel Prince, for the larder at "The Park Farm" could on many a Christmas past testify that he "fooled" both. In truth it is no exaggeration to say that he is a "mighty hunter." Few we should think possess a more intimate acquaintance with the Forests and Prairies of the West than he does: probably none can hold a steadier rifle or direct a truer shot. If "Fur and Feather" are capable of transmitting traditions, we should think some cautions must circulate among their tribes, with respect to the Canadian counterpart of the American "Davie Crocket," of coon notoriety. But though "Fur and Feather" have a vigilant enemy, they also have a fair enemy in Colonel[180] Prince; for he has done more to protect them than he has to destroy them. He would carry his rifle at rest if a deer out of season were to brush his nose with its antler; and in like manner if a turkey were to surprise him, as Punch once made a pheasant startle Mr. Briggs, he would consider the bird as sacred as his own pointer. With an Englishman's appreciation of sport he sacredly obeys all the laws by which sport should be governed. A more general observance of the like rule by all, whether sportsmen or "pot shooters," would greatly tend to preserve and multiply our valuable game.

There are many pleasant and amusing incidents in Colonel Prince's career on which we should, did our space permit, like to linger and gossip; for there is about him a charming individuality of character which removes him from the class of ordinary men. We may mingle our "rosemary" with our "pansies," our memory with our thought, and say of one whose character is made up of many contrarieties and crossed with some contradictions, which bears the beauty of strength and the blemish of weakness, that

"He was a man, take him for all in all
We shall not look upon his like again."

But without pressing into our service the language of Shakspeare, we shall conclude our sketch with the words of a complimentary blunder spoken in our hearing by an Irishman, as, on a comparatively recent occasion, he looked down from the gallery of the House of Assembly at the members seated below, and said aloud, in a tone of voice as rich and racy as the Emerald Isle, "There's not one among you I miss so much as old Colonel John Prince."




Now and then we hear of public men who from some peculiarity of opinion or some infirmity of character are complaisantly spoken of as "governmental impossibilities." The principles of such persons are either too strong to be pliant, or too impracticable to be safe. The subject of our sketch was not obnoxious on such grounds. On the contrary, he was, latterly at least, regarded rather as an impediment than an impossibility, a difficulty to be removed rather than a difficulty to be overcome. The truth is, Mr. Daly had grown up under one system of government, and could not very well be grafted upon another. He accepted service as an officer responsible to the crown, and he was not prepared for the change when he was instructed to consider himself responsible to the people.

"The pleasure of the Sovereign" is something very different from the pleasure of the Parliament. The secure quality of the former tenure cannot be balanced with the less certain one of the latter. Mr. Daly liked his office, and he relished its emoluments, nor did he feel himself bound to practice an act of magnanimity which included a voluntary surrender of both. In speaking of him, Lord Metcalfe is reported to have said that "Mr. Daly was an Irishman and was also a Roman Catholic, but although for the latter reason his sympathies were strongly with the French Canadian people, or had been so long as they were oppressed by the dominant race, his feelings, the growth of education and early association, were of a conservative and aristocratic cast." This criticism might lead us to suppose that Mr. Daly's sympathies did not always run paralle[182]l with his opinions, or that his policy occasionally played at cross purposes with his principles. This representation to a certain extent may have been correct, for we doubt whether Mr. Daly had any political opinions whatever. He sympathized with power, for power was inseparably associated with office, and he sympathized with success, for his emoluments depended on his succeeding. Unembarrassed with any constraining convictions he could not be expected to feign what he did not feel. He was not exempt from a capacity for intrigue nor entirely above the suspicion of having practiced it. He never made sacrifices to sentiment, nor as far as we are aware, was he ever distressed by an inclination to do so. His opinions like his policy were negative rather than positive. But these negatives, like negatives under other circumstances, were occasionally equal to an affirmative, and they were especially so when his colleagues in the government called upon him to practice with them the virtue of resignation, and make a common sacrifice of office at the shrine of responsibility. His liberal sentiments may have been equal to theirs to a certain point, but that was the point of sacrifice. Then, "education and early association" gave rise to convictions of a "conservative and aristocratic cast." Then he displayed acute sensibility on the subject of vested rights, and not without reason, for without controversy he had acquired, and he possessed such rights. Thus, when his colleagues resigned, he not only declined to be governed by their example, but he marked his dissent in a manner which might be expressed in the words of the Derry defenders, "no surrender."

Sir Dominick Daly was born on the 11th of August, 1799. He is a scion of an old Galway family, being the third son of Dominick Daly, Esquire, by Joanna Harriet, daughter of Joseph Henry Blake, Esq., and a sister of the first Baron Wallscourt. He was the nephew of Malachy Daly, Esquire, a resident of Paris, and well known as a banker in that city. Young Dominick Daly was educated at the[183] old Roman Catholic College of St. Mary's, near Birmingham. On leaving that institution he seems to have acquired some county distinction in Galway, as a bold and fearless rider to hounds; a distinction which will prepare those who remember his lithe figure, his calm eye, and his lips accustomed to resolute compression, to believe that a stone wall, or a quick-set hedge, were obstacles to him of as little account as a wattle fence. He is remembered favorably, by the few who in the days past, whether good days or evil days we say not, hunted with the "Galway Blazers," and dined afterwards, according to the old fashion, perchance crowning serene claret with stimulating punch, and interlacing both with such songs, as with various modifications, have descended to Irish fox-hunters since the time when "Malachy wore the collar of gold."

Life however had its duties as well as its enjoyments. In the pursuit of the former, the subject of our sketch left Ireland and paid a somewhat protracted visit to his uncle, the Paris banker. His residence in that city was very probably attended with many social advantages, and perhaps had the effect of whetting the edge of his appetite for the kind of acquisitions which his uncle abundantly enjoyed. Hence, as we are informed, he was tempted to embark in some commercial venture which incidentally required his presence in Canada. If the enterprise was attended with an increase of knowledge, it was also embarrassed with a diminution of wealth, for it was remembered only as an unpleasant story of actual losses and estimated obligations. Turning his back upon commerce, Mr. Daly entered the public service of Lower Canada, and rose in the course of time to be Secretary of the Province, which office he filled at the time of, and seven years after, the union of the Provinces. In 1826, he married Caroline, the second daughter of Colonel Ralph Gore, of Barrowmount in the county of Kilkenny, by whom he has several children.


In 1843, he differed from his colleagues, the members of Mr. Sullivan's administration, and declined to join them when they tendered their resignations to His Excellency, Lord Metcalfe. This resolution appeared to be as agreeable to His Excellency as it was odious to his colleagues. In fact, the act was never forgiven by them, and consequently he became the object of their avoidance and aversion. Though a valuable adviser, respected for his sagacity in counsel, and courted for his social attractions, he was not a speaker. Apparently he could not trust himself to address the House of Assembly. His peculiar disability was, on the occasion last mentioned, attended with consequences almost as amusing to the observer as they were disquieting to him. The House of Assembly was unusually full; every body wished to hear the ministerial explanations; the galleries were crowded; every part, but the Treasury benches, was thoroughly crammed, and except for the presence of Mr. Daly, those benches would have been left in a state of green loneliness. He alone occupied his accustomed place, and from the nature of his position represented every department of the state. Questions were asked, explanations were demanded, information was required. Interrogators sometimes pointed their speech with indignation, sometimes with anxiety, and sometimes with jeers. It was all in vain, for no matter what shape they took, those questions were addressed to one who had apparently made a covenant with silence, which he, at all events, was determined to keep, and he did keep it too until relief came, after an interval of several days, in the shape of the prorogation of Parliament.

"Time the healer" exerted no soothing influence on the minds of Mr. Daly's former colleagues, neither had the general election which took place between the close of the last session of the first Parliament, and the opening of the first session of the second Parliament, done ought than add to the intensity of their hostility to him for deserting them in their quarrel with the Governor General. The late Solicitor-General for Lower Canada, who is now a Judge of the Court of Queen's Bench, was especially noti[185]ced for the vituperable quality of his attacks on the subject of our sketch. No matter what question came up for discussion it was cleverly pointed by that fluent master of language to irritate the Provincial Secretary. Failure of result only aggravated the assault, until at length the provocation became too personal for endurance. The Provincial Secretary rose and made the only speech in Parliament of which the writer has any recollection. It was spoken through lips strongly compressed, and in an under tone, but loud enough to be heard by the gentleman to whom it was addressed. The words were few in number, scarcely more than "your statement is false." The interruption occasioned only a moment's pause, for the speaker, pressing his spectacles more closely against his nose, finished what he had to say, and without attracting notice left the house.

That evening a kinsman and countryman of Mr. Daly's was passing a few social hours with the then Registrar for the county of Montreal, when in obedience to some whispered words he retired from the party. Having left an excuse by way of satisfaction for his host, he soon found himself discussing a question of satisfaction with his friend. The kinsman in question was a bachelor then, and we believe he has the misfortune to continue one still. Bachelors, however, are useful in their way, and their places of abode sometimes participate in the meritorious qualities of their owners. Thus on his return home, "the bachelor" to whom we allude found his snug little cottage occupied by Mr. Daly and a philosophic Englishman who had undertaken the unpleasant duty of being "friend" for the occasion. The latter is well remembered; for his kindliness of heart was known to all, and his personal courage was questioned by none. Death has removed that brave-hearted Englishman, and time has not filled his place. He had seen much of the world, and had mixed indifferently with all sorts of people. He never turned his back on a friend in adversity, and even a stranger in a scrape might be sure of his assistance. His observation of mankind was[186] very extensive, and his experiences of life very varied. Among the latter it had been his misfortune on different occasions to be mixed up either as principal, or second, in affairs similar to the one in which in the last-named capacity he now found himself engaged. As in the acted drama, so in the drama of everyday life, the most serious occurrences are oddly enough crossed with some veins of humor. "The bachelor" to whom we have referred, being also a near kinsman, had been expressly invited for the humane purpose, should the contingency arise, of conveying "sad intelligence to the family." The hostile message had been delivered to Mr. Daly by a late knight who at that day was equally known as the "doctor" and the "colonel," for he belonged to both professions, though he preferred the latter. Arrangements had been made by "the doctor" and Mr. Daly's second, whom we shall call "the diplomatist" for the following morning at "the Tanneries," which seems to be the Wimbledon of Montreal. Mr. Daly had been dismissed to his home; "and the diplomatist," and "the bachelor" were left to themselves. Now "the diplomatist" believed it to be the first duty of a friend to get his principal out of a scrape. He was torturing his versatile brain, as to the way in which the matter could be accomplished without the intervention of "balls, barrels, or blades," and without any sacrifice of honor to either party, and especially to the particular party who had placed his honor in his keeping. The diplomatic thread which he was endeavouring to unwind became suddenly entangled by a question of "the bachelor." "Have you provided pistols." "Pistols," repeated the former, and then, as if soliloquizing he continued, "Ah! yes! true, they may be wanted, send to my house for them, I will explain where they are to be found." On their arrival "the bachelor" with an appreciative eye for to-morrow's business, immediately saw that from neglect or some other cause they were too dirty either to be relied upon or used. He further discovered that there were no bullets. Therefore it was that he, the near kinsman who was es[187]pecially retained to convey mournful intelligence to a bereaved family, had to address himself to the work of cleaning the pistols and moulding the bullets, and thus make ready the instruments which were to qualify him for the discharge of the most melancholy duty which one man can perform for another. The amusing features of the case did not end here. The meeting took place the next morning. The season was winter, much snow had fallen and more fell in the night in which the preliminaries were settled. All the contracting parties met at the time and place appointed. Negociation failed, no acceptable apology could be contrived, all agreed that the affair should go on. The ground had to be paced, and this fact represented no inconsiderable impediment, for the field was a snow-bank. The two seconds were rather below than above the average height. "The doctor" was accustomed to walk with quick short steps. "The diplomatist" in like manner, whose legs were proportionably shorter, was accustomed to walk with a step suited to their capacity. In any case the principals were likely to get short measure in the pacing. The chance of their doing so moreover was seriously increased by the depth of the snow. Neither snow-shoes nor stilts were at hand; probably it would have been out of order to use them had they been so; and the duty of measuring the ground devolved on the owner of the shortest legs. Thus, the wriggling, high actioned, balance movement, in which "the diplomatist" was obliged to indulge to disentangle his feet from the deep snow holes in which they were successively buried, represented a picture so irresistably droll as to provoke the mirth of all, and perhaps to unsteady the hands of the two whose nerves for that transaction were commissioned for duty. Happily the issue was harmless, and the smile which the scene had provoked was not afterwards effaced by the great sorrow which must cling to the memory which is evermore clouded with the stain of blood-guiltiness.

Lord Metcalfe was well aware that in supporting him, Mr. Daly[188] had irrevocably lost his chance of being provided for by any party in Canada. Therefore he earnestly sought for the interference of the Imperial Government on his behalf. Such an advocate was not likely, apart from the strength of the cause, to plead in vain. We believe it was answered with an assurance that the claim should not be overlooked. On the 10th of March, 1848, when the second administration of which he was a member was compelled to resign, Mr. Daly relinquished his office of Provincial Secretary. During the interval Lord Metcalfe had been succeeded by the Earl of Elgin who undertook to enforce Lord Metcalfe's application to the Home Government on his behalf. At length, but not before some extra pressure was brought to bear on authority, Mr. Daly was appointed to the office of Lieutenant-Governor of the Island of Tobago, which, however, he shortly resigned on account of ill health. After another interval of idleness he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Island of Prince Edward. The vexed "land question" of that Province was of course his, as it had been his predecessor's trouble. A Bill, in the interest of the tenants, was introduced and passed with the concurrence, it would seem, of the Lieutenant-Governor. It is difficult to understand why a Bill so manifestly opposed to the principles of English law should have escaped the lynx eyes of the local law officers of the Crown, for they failed, it seems, to screen His Excellency from the error of giving it the royal sanction. Sir George Grey, the Colonial Secretary, in language unusually strong for such papers, signified that the Bill had been disallowed. The mistake seems to have been repaired, for at the termination of his five years' rule Her Majesty was pleased to mark her sense of Mr. Daly's services with the honor of knighthood. Subsequently on the retirement of Sir Richard Graves Macdonell, he was appointed to the office, which he now fills, of Governor-in-Chief of South Australia.



"The keen spirit
Seizes the prompt occasion, makes the thoughts
Start into instant action, and at once
Plans and performs, resolves and executes."

The Honorable George Brown was born in the metropolis of Scotland, in the city which the natives, with a complaisant partiality, are accustomed to designate "the modern Athens." It is probable that he first saw the light in one of those tenancies with interminable flights of stairs which are the pride of the "Athenians," and the aversion of other people. With their foundations set on a hill, and their roofs straining towards the sky, it seems natural enough that the dwellers in such houses should acquire a habit of looking down on their neighbors. This practice extends not only to those who live to the south of the Tweed, but also, as we believe, to their fellow-Scotsmen all the world over. Closeness and caution may be supposed to regulate the "Athenian" policy. Closeness, lest any should be born there who would be insensible to the privilege; and caution, lest any should claim the privilege who had not been qualified by the birth. Whatever honor the accident conferred may be thoroughly claimed by the subject of our sketch.

To the advantage of being an Edinburgh youth, he had the further advantage of being educated at one of those famous Edinburgh schools, whose teachers are celebrated for their ability to cram the human head with the largest possible amount of knowledge in the smallest possible space of time. Thus, as we are informed, when he had scarcely entered his teens, young George Brown commen[190]ced a career of commerce, and being well advised, he did so in the capital, not of the Scottish but of the English kingdom. Trade, however, appears to have possessed but slight attraction, for having attained the height of six feet three, and the age of about twenty years, Mr. Brown accompanied his family to New York, where he at once acquired an insight into the practical mysteries of American journalism, as well as some experience in that kind of literary work which is popularly described as newspaper writing. The name of the newspaper with which he became identified, though projected by his father—a father who was as reverently honored as he was tenderly loved by his son, indicated the inclination of his own opinions as well as the object of the enterprise. It was called "The British Chronicle."

We have no means of knowing whether the venture was satisfactory or the reverse, nor is the enquiry necessary. It is fair to assume that the vigor which marked its writings attracted the notice of an influential party in Canada, whose members at that time required an organ through which they could disseminate their opinions generally, on questions ecclesiastical, and, more especially, advocate the principles of that energetic section of the Scotch Church which, under the name of the "Free Church," had seceded from the Established Church of Scotland. It is not difficult to suppose that the offer made to Mr. Brown, apart from its pecuniary value, must have been as acceptable as it was flattering; for it included his permanent residence within British territory, in sight of the old flag, and of the familiar uniforms to which his youth had been accustomed. In addition to considerations of national sentiment there were one or two questions of a religious kind which lent a charm to the offer. Mr. Brown thoroughly sympathized with the Free Church party, and heartily approved of the Free Church movement. No Englishman can understand the transport of a Scotsman who has been morally incapacitated and rendered beside himself by the tumultuous influence of a twisted tenet or a disputed dogma.[191] It is quite enough to say that Mr. Brown was as rapturously frantic as the freest churchman could desire, on the merits and aims of the Free Church movement. On such subjects his mind appears to have been "blasted with ecstacy," for under their influence he is apparently, what he is not actually, an ultra-democrat, and in the interests of truth we are constrained to add, a very intolerant one. His special mission when The Banner newspaper was established, appears to have been to wrestle with the Church of Scotland; but this hardy exercise generated a disposition to have a bout with every religious organization which retained the monarchical principle of government, and discredited alike the human wisdom as well as the divine order of congregations to elect their ministers. The Church of England, especially, has reason to feel the inclination which his conscience took when it moved him to vex and impoverish her by his vigorous and successful assaults.

The year 1843 was a very important year in the ecclesiastical as well as the political history of Canada. Besides the unsettled clergy reserve question, the Hon. Mr. Baldwin in that year introduced his memorable bill for the alteration of the charter of King's College. In the same year the great issue was raised between the Provincial administration and his Excellency Lord Metcalfe, on the meaning and application of the words "responsible government." Thus Mr. Brown soon found there were questions of a secular as well as of a religious character which excited his liveliest sympathies. In his desire to advance his views in a double direction, it may have occurred to him that an opening of a very favorable kind presented itself for the establishment of an influential political paper, having for its object to promote those principles of civil and religious liberty, which are commonly advocated by the more extreme reformers. Hence in the following year, The Globe newspaper was started. The ability with which the new journal was conducted became at once apparent. It received the support[192] of the great reform party of Upper Canada. From a weekly, it speedily became a tri-weekly, and then a daily paper, and from that time till now it has, we believe, no superior in circulation and no equal in influence among the newspapers of the Province.

The signal triumph of the liberal party at the elections in 1847 was not a little due to the advocacy which their cause received from the new journal; nor was it a matter for surprise that it should have become the organ of the Lafontaine-Baldwin government, when that administration was formed in the month of March, 1848.

The indignation which was naturally occasioned in England in 1850, when the Pope issued his bull, erecting a Roman Catholic hierarchy in the United Kingdom, was not without its effect on Mr. Brown. The spirit of Lord John Russell's famous letter to the Bishop of Durham fired his mind with a zeal which, however, was rather characterized by ardor than by policy. Indeed he felt too strongly to be discreet. He would meet Papal aggression with Protestant resistance; and, regardless alike of party considerations or political consequences, he thenceforward became the uncompromizing exponent of what he termed "broad Protestant principles." It has been observed elsewhere that the public opinion of Canada appears to be in the highest degree sensitive to the public opinion of the two great European nations from which its population has mainly sprung. Thus the violence which preceded and accompanied the passing of the Reform Bill in England, gave shape to the greater violence which characterized the Provincial troubles of 1837-1838. The revolution in France, in 1848, created the philosophical revolutionary party of Canada, which, for want of another name, is conveniently designated the "rouge" party; and the Papal aggression act of 1850 had the effect of gathering under one political banner the various bodies of non-conformists, whose aggressive Protestantism appears to be as fully allied with political feeling as with religious sentiment. Thus when the anger of Lord John Russell had been rebuked by wisdom or silenced by fear;[193] when, as Leech pourtrayed him in Punch, he ran away from the consequences of his own cry, the animosity of his Canadian imitators continued unabated; and such phrases as "Papal aggression" and "Protestant ascendancy" continued to be reverberated through our community with perilous persistency, until the evils which they exaggerated seemed to threaten its peace.

The temperate quality of English churchmanship does not seem to be attractive to Mr. Brown. He has no sympathy with the "high and dry" Anglican, who meets such aggressions with arguments about the Royal supremacy, and the danger which its disturbance would occasion to the "interests of Church and State as by law established." Neither does he sympathize with the philosophical and devout Churchman who mingles with his protest against error in doctrine, an expression of grief that the amenities of catholic usage should have been disregarded by a successor of Gregory the Great, and an intrusive Episcopate introduced into a country which at all events has not been without duly appointed bishops since Augustin was consecrated to the See of Canterbury.

Arguments taking their rise in the Royal supremacy or in Episcopal jurisdiction, have little attraction for the subject of our sketch, since in his judgment the former is, we believe, an offence and the latter a fiction. The truth seems to be that Mr. Brown's Protestantism is of that thorough "root and branch order" which we think is peculiar to the Scottish mind. It is intellectual and political as well as religious and devout. It is lighted with the rays which the past sheds on the present, by the traditions of persecution and wrong—of misery and martyrdom suffered for conscience sake. Such intense enmities are special properties, which Scotsmen especially know how to treasure and how to transmit. Protestant principles, as represented by Mr. Brown, are deep as well as broad; they are not only lateral, like Mr. D'Israeli's franchise, but they are vertical like Mr. Bright's. They colour ever[194]y stratum of his constitution, and descend to the very dregs of his nature. The old cry the "Church is in danger" was commonly efficacious in the mother country in consolidating the Tory party. The new cry, the "faith is in danger," was scarcely less so in uniting the extreme reform party of Upper Canada. But though the "Papal aggression act" did much towards knitting together and consolidating in one body the various non-conformists in Canada, it also went far towards destroying the old reform party of that Province.

In the autumn of the following year, the representatives of that party, the Hon. Messrs. Baldwin and Lafontaine, retired from the government; and they did so, it has been stated, among other reasons, because a policy of interference with ecclesiastical rights was boldly proclaimed. Measures for the secularization of the clergy reserves—for the abolition of rectories—for the exclusion of religious teachers from the great seminaries of learning—were prepared or advocated. The abasement of the Anglican church was the first fruits of this policy. Peradventure before the harvest of that perilous seed time is gleaned, thoughtful persons will enquire whether the depression has not counteracted the end it was designed to promote? Whether it has not advanced a power which it was by no means intended to increase? Whether the effort to remove the danger of Anglican supremacy in Upper Canada has not done much towards the establishment of Roman Catholic power throughout the Province?

We have dwelt at some length on this passage of Mr. Brown's career, because it seems to have been an important turning-point in his political history. From being the supporter of the moderate Reform party he became its opponent—and, from being the opponent of the extreme Reform party, he became its leader. From being the co-worker with Mr. Baldwin, in his effort to carry out the Union Act, he adopted a policy which was calculated to make that Act in-operative. Such seems to have been the tendency of proceed[195]ings which, though not commenced, were ardently continued by him.

Among the sharp stipulations which the Legislature of Upper Canada attempted to make as conditions precedent to her agreement to the Act of Union, was one which provided that notwithstanding the greater number of the inhabitants in Eastern Canada, the number of representatives in the Legislative Assembly from either Province should be equal. In his message to Parliament, Baron Sydenham expressed what was tantamount to an apology for the apparent injustice of such equality, adding in extenuation, that the more rapid increase in the number of the inhabitants of Upper Canada would speedily restore the balance which His Excellency admitted was apparently disturbed by an acquiescence in the Upper Canada stipulation. It would thus seem that the law of numbers was the only law which was present to the minds of those who, at that day, had the opportunity of speaking of the basis on which the representation should be established. Neither will it be forgotten that this manifest inequality was, after the re-union, the occasion of vehement expostulation on the part of the representatives from Lower Canada, who seem, equally with their fellow-subjects in the Western Province, unwilling to receive any other plan of representation than one wholly based on population. Unhappily, our public men were and have generally been too anxious to discover the dividing line between the two Provinces. They declined to recognize Canada as a whole, to think of it as a whole, or to legislate for it as a whole. There were very few who would allow themselves to see beyond their section, and the habit was thus acquired of balancing the rights of Upper Canada against the rights of Lower Canada. This serious mistake tended toward the practical separation, if not to the permanent hostility of both. Unfortunately, our statesmen were unable to arrest what our politicians were able to promote; and thus the policy of sectionalism, which passion had favored, became a principle of government wh[196]en the reason for such passion had been, for a time at least, quieted by the equalization of the populations of the two Provinces.

To the sectional rivalry to which we have referred, Sir Louis Lafontaine, in furtherance of his opinions on the subject of a double majority in the same Legislature, practically established a double government in the same administration. This error has been followed by consequences which he, at all events, was not desirous to provoke. The division of the Cabinet into two parts, with two heads, inevitably led men to see that the union of the Provinces was practically broken—not only by a fanciful separation of interests, but by an actual separation of administration. It was observed that the Executive Council was equally divided for the government of the two sections, whose populations were not thought to be numerically equal. Attention was more and more earnestly directed to inequalities, which the course of time rendered more and more flagrantly conspicuous. Impartial men saw difficulties at the door as well as in the distance. They were obliged to accept, and equally were they obliged to apply the lessons which the politicians taught them. They could not fail to see that two unequal parts, though equal to the whole, were not equal to one another; and since men would persist in basing the representation on population only, the equity of such a rule could only be arrived at by trying it according to the law on which it rested. Sir Louis Lafontaine, it must be remembered, was the strenuous advocate of numerical representation. He declined to balance property against persons, or intelligence against ignorance. He made light of the truth that there is safety in the variety as well as in the number of counsellors. It formed no part of his policy to secure the representation of classes as well as the representation of individuals; and, though his mind was not without a conservative inclination, such tendency was wholly wanting in his legislation on the suffrage. Unlike any mechanism in nature or in art, his parliamentary engine was made up of parts uniform alike in their[197] dimensions and their office, in their powers and their proportions. It was a machine of big wheels only, with no minute regulators, no delicate balance movements, no checks to restrain undue velocity, no securities against explosive consequences. His only anxiety appeared to be to map out the electoral districts, according to the principle of numerical impartiality, to divide the population by one hundred and thirty, and allot one member to the number which the result gave. Thus the suffrage was to find expression through mouths of uniform capacity. Variety, which is the charm of the naturalist, was to give place to uniformity, which is the bugbear of the economist. The representation of classes, which is conspicuous in the English system, was to give place to the representation of persons, which is the principle of the American system. Political justice was to be arrived at by nodding assent to the doctrine more conspicuous for its fallacy than its force, that all men are equal. Thus were the inequalities of the suffrage and the inequalities of the voters sought to be balanced by the equalization of the constituencies. In causing the representation to depend only on the law of numbers, Sir Louis Lafontaine necessarily made it to depend on the accidental fluctuation of such numbers. If fifteen thousand persons, for example, were equal to one representative; ten thousand must have been equal to less and thirty thousand must have been equal to more than one; and since no provision had been made to meet such numerical derangements, it was apparent that the time would arrive when such discrepancies would have to be rectified. It is idle to talk of final legislation when those who legislate make accident, or fluctuation, the controlling principle. Sir Louis Lafontaine had legislated according to such a principle; and Mr. Brown and those who thought with him only demanded, and fairly demanded, that it should be logically applied.

But though the dogma in question did not originate with Mr.[198] Brown, there is little doubt he believes in its excellence, and desires its application; for we all know with what zeal and ability he has sought to carry it out. That he has done so by means of sectional arguments need occasion little surprise, since such arguments are exactly those to which the principle itself most naturally gives rise. Such being the case, no fault can be found with him because he has sought to apply what has been established by the precedents of legislation. The time of his doing so with success was, we think, scarcely well chosen, as it was contemporaneous with those opinions on the subject of Protestant ascendancy to which we have already referred, and which naturally became more irritating when they were accompanied with arguments that pointed at political superiority.

It was in the midst of this religious and secular excitement that Mr. Brown determined to abandon the private station and to enter Parliament. Having, in the spring of the year 1851, appealed unsuccessfully to the electors of Haldimand, he was returned at the general election in December following, as member for Kent.

A Cambridge friend calling on the late Professor Blunt found him superintending some workmen. On being asked what he was doing? "I am doing," said the Professor, "what is so common in the present day—I am meddling with foundations." It will probably occur to some that the same question being asked of the subject of our sketch, when engaged upon his numerous measures of political repair, might not unfrequently have been answered in the same words. Whether for good or for evil, Mr. Brown has habitually addressed himself, with all the vigor of his intellect and the energy of his character, to the unsettlement of many things which in his opinion had been either improperly, unwisely, or unjustly settled. Thus, whether the subject be a penitentiary or a college, an ecclesiastical endowment or a school system, his aim is to go to the root of the matter, to grapple with what he sees, and to grope for what he suspects. With a sanguine temperament and an imperious will, it is difficult and almost impossible for Mr. Brown to do anything[199] by halves. He must give the rein to his habit which has instructed him to think for himself, to investigate for himself, and to decide for himself. He is not prone to accept the opinions of other people, or to consider them with much attention when they have been forced upon his notice. It is his practice to bend circumstances to determination, for he rarely surrenders determination to circumstances. The difficulties which feeble men seek to avoid are the opportunities which he apparently delights to meet. The policy of letting things alone, which Lord Melbourne was said to favor, is precisely a policy which the subject of our sketch would be unable to observe; for with the warm temperament of the Irish, he possesses the tenacity which belongs to the Scotch character, including many of its strong prejudices, which he shares with his race, and much of its stern fanaticism which he has received with his religion. With a ravenous appetite for work, and a natural disposition to investigate, he has the advantage of possessing what our ancestors called a "goodly presence"—no mean adjunct for one who knows how to associate with it the habit, not easily acquired, of fluent and earnest speaking. The reform party saw in the new member one who bade fair to be their popular as well as their resolute leader. No opposition could intimidate and no danger could appal him. His moral courage might be political rashness, but it would never be political cowardice. Reformers recognized in him what it is said reformers relish, a fighting chieftain, who would keep his party in the battle, even though he might not lead it to victory. Older politicians, irrespective of party, who have a wholesome pride in the honor and reputation of Parliament, welcomed the new member with unalloyed satisfaction. Some of the more knowing ones, however, indulged in guarded whispers, which found expression in a nautical way. "If the new craft," said they, "carries as much ballast as sail he will be apt to run us all down." Mr. Brown took his seat in that part of the House which, for the lack of a better designation, we will call "below the gangway" or "the cross benches," where the less[200] decided party men usually place themselves, and where the "Adullamites" almost invariably find sanctuary. At that time it was his fancy to clothe his tall figure in black clothes, provoking men to contrast his fervid character with his sombre raiment. This peculiarity, combined with his habit of vehemently asserting in an oracular way, that such and such consequences would certainly flow from such and such courses, gave rise to his being familiarly called "The Prophet."

Like most of the public speakers of America, Mr. Brown is apt to attenuate his argument by the length of his speeches, and though there is no deficiency of thought, the thought is too unfrequently overlaid with a redundancy of words. Thus, when it is said that Mr. Brown occupied the floor for four hours, the comment of those who most admire him is that the speech would have been twice as telling if it had been half as long. Still, those who have neither seen him nor heard him speak may easily suppose, from his expressive portrait, that his style of speaking is eager and impassioned. No coolness separates his intellectual from his physical nature. They are on excellent terms with one another. His unadorned oratory, for example, is reflected in his unstudied action. Both may, in the opinion of many people, be deficient in gracefulness, but they are not deficient in strength. We may miss those meteor-like sallies which in some speeches dazzle like fire-flies, and are in truth as sharp as needles, and as shining as diamonds, but in their place, we feel blows, less effective it may be, though more stunning, delivered by a hand of such muscular force that it needs not to be mailed—a hand in which the warriors of old would have placed a battle-axe or a mace, and not a rapier or a small sword. The key-note which his speech caught with his breath at Edinburgh, has been cultivated with commendable diligence, for he preserves the accents of his countrymen with as much tenderness as he does their prejudices. The action with which he accompanies his speech is governed by no such rules as the schools prescribe. Such dr[201]awbacks, however, are of little account—for his speeches make up in power what they may lack in polish; and while the cynics of the stage would criticise them without mercy, the listeners in Parliament not only admire their effectiveness, but are not unfrequently carried away with their warmth. In truth, there appears to be wonderful sympathy between Mr. Brown's thoughts and words—for passionate restlessness characterizes both. His photograph instructs us that he possesses, in a superlative degree, the gift of expression. His is a "tell-tale" face. But though we should think he finds it difficult to conceal what he feels, it is also possible that his instructed mind has acquired the power of putting his features into commission, and of occasionally making them perform misleading parts. No one with whom we are acquainted can look more innocent than he when the occasion requires him to seem guileless; neither can any one express more amazement when the part to be performed is the part of astonishment. In either character his appearance is highly dramatic, and a mere actor might well envy his powers. His large blue eyes dilate and become spherical in their outline, and as luminous as light; while his eyebrows, those intellectual batteries of the face, on the position of which so much of the expression depends, arch themselves determinately upwards, and thus contribute not a little to the ingenuous picture of surprise which either nature or art has taught him to assume. Sanguine, eager, and dangerously impetuous, as he appears to be, it is not difficult to suppose that the control of the tongue is with him no trifling difficulty. Indeed, if we might speculate on what transpires behind the curtain of his lips, we should occasionally suspect Mr. Brown's teeth of playing the parts of sentinels to his tongue, and now and then by means of a mild pressure, of lending a more than moral support to his endeavor to keep the "unruly member" still.

The speeches which are made by Mr. Brown in the interests of[202] party are not, we venture to think, his best speeches. They are commonly more attractive than convincing. Springing from a parentage of personal animosity and patriotic principle, they are quite as conspicuous for detrimental heat as for wholesome argument; they sear and singe, and injure, if they do not destroy, the purpose they are designed to serve. Such speeches, being all aglow with feeling, and issuing seething hot from the smelting furnace of the speaker's brain, must, in the nature of things, excite attention, but it is less clear that they provoke reflection; they make the listener feel, but they are not as influential in making him think—they stir passion, but they do not in the same degree control reason. The effect, therefore, is not always commensurate with the effort. Nor is the effort equal to the powers of the speaker. Those who remember Mr. Brown's speech, when he separated himself from all parties, and took his place with the small minority which opposed the bill for rendering the Legislative Council elective, will not forget the calm ability, for they now see the prophetic force, of his grand argument. His speeches on the subject of Confederation, whether in or out of Parliament, are in like manner striking for the extent of their information—the purity of their patriotism,—and the breadth of their view. Our space will not admit of extracts. It is only necessary, by way of illustration, to refer to those delivered at Halifax and Toronto, in addition to those which have been published in our Canadian parliamentary debates.

Besides his select audience in the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Brown has the greater responsibility of addressing a more miscellaneous audience elsewhere. His words, which are not unfrequently as sharp and quite as gleaming as drawn swords, are read by tens of thousands, and for good or for evil, minds innumerable receive their bias from the inclination of his. The Globe newspaper has become one of the institutions of the country; and men, whether they like to acknowledge the fact or not, very commonly quote as their own the opinions which could scarcely be found elsewhere in Canada than in the columns of that widely circulated journal.[203] Quiet people, who are removed from the maelstrom of political strife, may, for example, regard the principle of representation by population as illogical and unsafe—as a delusion and a snare,—but it is more than probable that the newspaper which advocated such antiquated opinions would be thrown under, and not placed on the breakfast table. The minister of restraint can never compete with the minister of indulgence; and when the latter has the power to supplement his argument with a promise of gratification, the mission of the former may be considered as closed. The office of a public journalist, apart from all incidental considerations, should be a very anxious office. Such an one not only caters for the intellectual tastes of his party, but he inclines thought, and prescribes the laws by which it should be regulated. The nature of his duties forbid that he should be either a languid, a careless, or an indifferent advocate. To be appreciated, his style must be pungent, and his allusions pointed. Unlike political institutions, which fail because they are not temperately worked, the daily newspaper commonly succeeds by reason of its intemperance. In his desire to obtain a hearing, the modern editor, like the stump orator, is too frequently obliged to speak in loud and intimidating tones. He is thus apt to lay aside many of the urbanities which are a part of civilization, and grow regardless of the respect which is due to the opinions, and we will add, to the prejudices of opponents. Thus from the hardihood, as well as the force of a dangerous habit, he is apparently as unwilling, as he is frequently unable, to discriminate truth from falsehood. The scales in which he weighs the value of evidence are commonly ill-adjusted, while the evidence itself is chiefly serviceable from the pliancy of its qualities, and from the skill with which it can be bent to serve one purpose and defeat another. It must, in extenuation, be conceded, that a public journalist is frequently obliged to decide when only a few elements of a perfect judgment are present. He is consequently rather more apt to write up to an opinion he has avowed, than to[204] correct such opinion by the light of clearer information. The careless habit is apt, and in spite of himself, to become a cruel habit. Thus, as it is not difficult to write stingingly, it is the more necessary for a writer to be guarded in the use of his sting. Mr. Brown not only "improves his shining hours," but imitating the providence as well as the industry of the bee, he never parts with his sting even while he makes his honey. He may store the latter for the solace of his friends, but he makes the former conspicuous for the intimidation of his foes. Each in its turn is administered, and one especially, with unquestionable adroitness.

What with the fear which The Globe newspaper excited in the minds of some, and the affection it inspired in the hearts of others, Mr. Brown, "the editor and proprietor," became politically influential before he was personally well known. Such circumstances were, of course, calculated and most naturally so, to give him position in the state. And yet it may be questioned whether his newspaper, notwithstanding its wide circulation, and the great ability with which it has been conducted, has not proved rather an impediment than a help to his retention of political power. It is probable that Mr. Brown would have been a more successful statesman had he been a less successful journalist. The restlessness of the latter character in some way seems to jar with the quiet which we look for in the former; for men are perpetually challenged to compare the sayings with the doings of one so placed. Nor should it be overlooked that from the nature of the case the editor and proprietor is not unfrequently made responsible for opinions which he never expressed; and which, though it is not convenient for him to say so, are at least a misconception of, if not contrary to his own. Neither may we forget that the friendships which journalism conciliates are fully balanced by the enmities it creates. Indeed, the question is not without interest, and might be worthy of examination, whether the peculiar discipline of mind requisite for the successful discharge of both duties can be possessed by one person. Doubtle[205]ss there are examples to the contrary; but a comparison of failure with success scarcely enables us to appreciate the superiority of the latter. Again, though it is almost impossible to over-estimate the value of the support which an influential newspaper affords to a statesman, it is not difficult to conjecture how much such support must be depreciated when such paper and the supposed statesman are one and indivisible—when the individual criticised and the critic are regarded as identical, and when consequently the tickling is performed by "Toby" upon himself. It is, therefore, not only an exaggeration, but it is an error to say that the Globe newspaper has made Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown, on the contrary, made the Globe newspaper. In doing so, he may have failed to become the most popular statesman in Upper Canada; but he did not, for the time being, miss the other condition, of being the most popular party leader in that Province.

In June, 1854, the Parliament in which Mr. Brown first sat was suddenly prorogued by the Earl of Elgin, with a view to its dissolution. At the general election which followed he was returned for the county of Lambton. The elections added so much to the strength of the more extreme reform party as to make its members speculate on the possibility of getting rid of Mr. Hincks, and of succeeding to his place in the government. But unlike the more sensitive Mr. Baldwin, that acute strategist would not meekly consent to be sacrificed. If the temple of liberalism were to be destroyed, he determined that its fall should include the ruin of those who had taken liberties with the rafters. Thus when the crisis of his own defeat occurred, Mr. Hincks still found himself to be the master of the situation. Instead, therefore, of being the passive sufferer, he became the active surgeon who performed the operation of amputation. The effort of the extreme party to cut off its head became memorable from the fact that by the manipulation of Mr. Hincks, the head dispensed with its tail; though it must be confessed that the tail, like that of the beaver, repres[206]ented the strength and muscle of the party. The coalition with the conservatives, which the transaction included, gave rise to language the most violent on the part of those who regarded themselves as betrayed by a manœuvre. From a war of tactics the conflict became a hand-to-hand fight. The conservative section of the coalition was of course accustomed to the hostility with which it was treated by its rivals, but the reform members of it were scarcely prepared for the vehement vituperation with which they were suddenly assailed. They soon learned, however, that estranged friends could be more scornful than hereditary enemies. The political effect was inevitable. Concealed dislike was followed by actual avoidance. Party lines were drawn in new places. The space which separated the old from the new reformers became wider and wider, while it proportionably diminished between the former and the conservatives. Following the law of gravitation, the weaker was naturally attracted by, and became blended with, the stronger body; and the result of the mixture, like wine and water, is that both elements are qualified, and in the opinion of some are spoiled by the fusion.

The transaction to which we refer resulted in the consolidation of the extreme reform party of Upper Canada. The subject of our sketch abandoned his seat on the cross benches, and took his place in the Assembly as leader of the opposition. The unstable reformers were got rid of, and those who remained, being convinced, required not to be conciliated. They represented a compact body, formidable in numbers, in influence, and in enmity—who knew, and were prepared with intelligent fidelity to obey the voice of their leader. The blows which the opposition were able to deliver fell hard and fast, and the effects were perceptibly felt. The administration was severely battered, and having undergone several modifications, it at length, in a reconstructed form, took refuge in the extreme measure of dissolving the Parliament.


The new patches added but little to the strength of the old garment; nor did the operation of dissolution materially alter the colors with which it was dyed. The fabric grew perceptibly weaker, and the only surprise expressed was that it should wear so long. In the meanwhile the subject of our sketch became both personally and politically stronger. He had got the ear, and he was gradually acquiring the mind, of the country. This was apparent at the general election, in 1858, when he was triumphantly returned for the city of Toronto, a city which had theretofore been deemed a stronghold of the opposite party. When Parliament met it was tolerably apparent there was a majority against the government of members representing Upper Canada. The old cry was repeated with new emphasis, that the last mentioned Province was being governed by Lower Canada votes. At length, on a question of supply, the House of Assembly, by a majority of fourteen, agreed to a resolution which was tantamount to a refusal of appropriations for the erection of public buildings at Ottawa. The proceeding was necessarily regarded as one of great gravity, including, as it was alleged, a personal slight to Her Majesty, as well as an interference with Her prerogative. The Macdonald-Cartier administration tendered their resignations, which were accepted. We have elsewhere, in the course of these sketches, spoken of the uncomfortable transactions, which, in our opinion, blemished the parliamentary history of that period. We should be glad to consign the unpleasant episode to a wayside grave, which, like a pauper's burial-place, should neither have scroll nor monument to tell who or what lies buried there. Whether Sir Edmund Head acted wisely in accepting the resignation of his ministers, when he could only extend qualified confidence to their successors, is a question which admits of great difference of opinion. Of course, as the representative of the Crown, His Excellency had the right to choose his advisers; neither will it be disputed that he had the power to fetter his choice with stipulations. The responsibility of agreeing to such stipulations lay with his advisers, and not with him. Mr. Brown[208] was unquestionably beset with difficulties of a very conflicting kind, and which were made insurmountable by the positive refusal of His Excellency to concur in the only expedient by which they could be overcome. At the outset of the negotiations, Mr. Brown appears to have been informed that a dissolution of the Parliament would not, for reasons which His Excellency deemed sufficient, be granted. If such were the case, the inconvenience which followed must be supposed to have arisen from a forgetfulness on his part, of the usage which in similar cases is observed in England, and which has been practiced in Canada. In all preliminary negotiations the Crown only knows the person on whom it lays the duty of forming an administration; for it would be exceedingly inconvenient were it obliged to negotiate with the body instead of with the head of such administration. It was, we think, his departure from this customary usage which put Mr. Brown and his colleagues out of Parliament, and which subjected him and them to the ludicrous but inevitable inconvenience of a useless and unreasonable appeal to their constituents for re-election. Nothing daunted, however, Mr. Brown, with indomitable pluck, again presented himself to the electors of Toronto, and after a contest of almost unparalleled intensity, he was again triumphantly returned. It may be easily supposed that the process through which he had passed was calculated to increase neither his self-love nor his love for mankind in general. Thwarted by the crown, and over-reached by the cabinet, it was scarcely to be expected that he would speak dutifully of one or act courteously to the other. Sir Edmund Head was scornfully reproached, and his advisers were contumaciously assailed. Mr. Brown's eloquent animosity knew no abatement so long as the sixth Parliament continued, and so long as His Excellency Sir Edmund Head remained to administer the government. Both in due time came to an end, the former by limitation, in June, 1861, and the latter by the succession of His Excellency Viscount Monck, in October of the same year.


The new Parliament and the new elections were unaccompanied by any special change in the administration. The adverse vote on the second reading of the Militia Bill, taken in May, 1862, was followed by the resignation of the Cartier-Macdonald administration, and the succession of the Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte administration. We have little doubt that the leader of the latter shared in the general surprise when he was required to discharge the duty which most people supposed would have been laid upon the subject of our sketch. Why it was not so laid must remain among the secrets of statecraft. The acute leaders of the Cartier-Macdonald administration, like skilful strategists, were accustomed to act on interior lines. The military principle may have governed the political proceeding, for the success of the manœuvre was apparent from its commencement. The selection of Mr. Sandfield Macdonald included a slight to Mr. Brown, and something like an affront to the great reform party, of which he was the accredited leader. It involved, moreover, a separation of that party into two or more parts, and thus included the re-enactment of the proceedings of 1854. Above all, by means of such divisions in the reform party, it unquestionably placed the Honorable J. A. Macdonald in the position which his supporters desired for him, of leader of the most numerous, and in its unity, the most influential party in Upper Canada—a position which had theretofore been claimed, and not without justice, by and for the subject of our sketch. In explanation it may be observed that there were supposed to be reasons more controlling than any differences of opinion on public affairs, which separated Mr. Sandfield Macdonald from Mr. Brown, and therefore the surprise was diminished when the name of the latter was not included in the administration. The Macdonald-Sicotte administration was no stronger than the one which preceded it; and from the nature of the case it existed on the sufferance of Mr. Brown. Thus his position gave rise to a good deal of Parliamentary pleasantry, and attracted towards him[210] a variety of oblique congratulations. He was referred to as "the power behind the throne," as "the Warwick of the house," as "the oracle, to the movement of whose eyelids the government of the day cast anxious glances." This controlling position, apart from all badinage, was more complimentary, as it certainly was more comfortable to him, than it was to the administration whose life depended on his forbearance. It is, therefore, probable that his power in the state was never more absolute than when he was thus unaccountably excluded from power. Events succeeded one another with startling rapidity. A vote adverse to the Macdonald-Sicotte administration very speedily followed their accession to the government. A re-construction of the cabinet, accompanied with a dissolution of Parliament, took place. The short session in the autumn of 1863 shewed with what slender majorities the re-constructed administrations were sustained. The opening session in the spring of the following year revealed still greater weakness, which culminated, in the month of March, in the resignation of the Sandfield Macdonald-Dorion government.

The Taché-Macdonald administration succeeded, but they were no stronger than their predecessors. In less than three months they were defeated; and thus the administration of public affairs appeared to have arrived at a state of almost hopeless embarrassment. Then it was that His Excellency the Governor-General, who must have sensibly felt the difficulty of his own position, as well as the greater difficulties of his successive advisers, departed from the law of silence which is usually observed by the representative of the crown. In a paper, conspicuous alike for wisdom and sagacity, His Excellency appealed to the patriotism of Parliament to save Parliamentary government from failure. The appeal was not idly made nor did it fall upon heedless ears. Mr. Brown, renouncing alike all personal and party considerations, and moved only by a spirit of patriotism, whose purity could receive no additional brightness from any language of ours, intimated hi[211]s willingness to give the government his invaluable assistance in discovering an escape from the difficulties and complications in which the country was involved. From one end of the Province to the other men breathed afresh. Gratitude, mingled with admiration, animated all hearts; and it is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Brown became the hero of every coterie, and the admiration of almost every individual in Canada. For it should not be overlooked that the evenly balanced state of parties had led to a degree of degeneracy in our Provincial politics which was but too well calculated to exert a baneful influence on the character of Parliament. That it did so can scarcely be denied; neither was the subject of our sketch less responsible than his neighbors for a state of affairs which he and they must individually have deplored. It is true that men acquiesced in the immorality which they condemned, for they could see no means of escape from its influence, except by becoming parties to evils which they deemed to be even more detrimental. The rage of faction was so violent that it was well nigh impossible to keep the public conscience clear. The point of political honor was generally conspicuous for its bluntness. Governments had been accused of making merchandize of matters too sacred for traffic, and the charge was more easily accounted for than answered. Personal and political character were seemingly estranged from one another, while the purity of the former appeared to be laid aside in order that the exigencies of the latter might be conciliated. Engagements were forgotten when it was inconvenient to remember them. Promises were given without hesitation, and broken without shame. Truth was trifled with, if not sacrificed to that Moloch of partizanship which is the shame of morals and the disgrace of government. Men seemed to be so thoroughly tied and bound by their obligations to a cry or to a color that either they could not or would not break their chains. It was at such a time, when like the armies of old time, the House of Assembly was set in array, and both sides were equally defiant; when personal enmities were too rife for dispassi[212]onate adjustment; when Parliamentary government appeared to be reduced to a state of abject slavery, if not of hopeless ruin; that the subject of our sketch magnanimously resolved to begin the work of emancipation, and by breaking his own fetters, to release his adopted country from the vassalage in which she was held. Mr. Brown had probably done more than any man to excite and most dangerously to stimulate our political system, but like a skilful surgeon, he had kept his finger on the pulse. He observed the signs and waited for the season of re-action. The former were apparent, and the latter had arrived. With the promptitude which marks his character he resolved that the constitution could only be saved by the immediate application of constitutional remedies; nor was it a reproach to his skill that such remedies were more comprehensive than those which he had sought to apply, since they included the chief points of the prescription on which he had so earnestly insisted.

The despatch of 1858, on the subject of Confederation, signed by the Honorable Messrs. Cartier, Gait, and Ross, had lain dormant until it was revived by the constitutional committee of the Legislative Assembly, in 1864. That committee, of which the subject of our sketch was a member, included earnest and patriotic men of all parties. They compared notes, examined wherein they agreed, as well as wherein they differed, and the discovery, no doubt, contributed to bring about the result in which Mr. Brown took so conspicuous a part. The transactions are so recent and familiar that they need not be repeated in this place. The coalition government, which resulted from such transactions—the visits to Charlottetown, and the Maritime Provinces—the assembling of delegates at the Quebec conference, and the resolutions which were unanimously agreed to, have all passed into the province of history. In his relation to the earlier portion of that history, it would not be difficult to give to the part played by Mr. Brown a precedence which might be complimentary, but which would not be wise. What he said within the walls of that conference chamber was, as[213] we learn from the testimony of one of the delegates from Nova Scotia, conspicuous for its eloquence and its truth. What he said in Parliament and elsewhere was heard by many, and is accessible to most of us.

Lord Stanhope, in his life of Pitt, says: "That in the face of great national dangers coalitions may be permitted which are not allowable at other times." Such an occasion justified and made honorable the coalition which Mr. Brown and his friends formed with the Taché-Macdonald Government. But the fresh chapter in political experience only serves to illustrate an old truth, that, whatever the reason, coalitions do not work. In the case under review, the coalition which was formed for a special purpose was partially dissolved before that purpose was accomplished. Happily for the country, the difference of opinion which resulted in the withdrawal of Mr. Brown from the administration did not take its rise in any difference on the question on which that coalition was formed. The occurrence is of recent date, and we have not the space, even had we the facts, to discuss the subject or form a judgment on its merits. The question of the abrogation or of the renewal of the reciprocity treaty with the United States is a question whose importance we can at present but imperfectly appreciate, nor shall we in this place attempt to discuss it. As a political sportsman, Mr. Brown may, and probably he did, fire too soon; but it is difficult to deny that the game was fair, and that the aim was not very wide of the mark. We can imagine Mr. Brown to have said: "Let us give no more for reciprocity than a just equivalent; if we supplicate for it, we become the slaves of the power to which our prayers are made." "Your proposal," we can suppose him to have added to Mr. Galt, "is not a treaty—it is a capitulation." Neither should it be overlooked that Mr. Galt's popularity sprang not from his success, but from his failure. Had he succeeded in obtaining a renewal of the treaty on the terms which he is said to have proposed, it is not improbable that Mr. Brown would have become the most popular, and perhaps the most[214] powerful statesman in Canada.

Whatever the cause may have been, there are very few persons who did not, and do not unfeignedly regret that Mr. Brown should have withdrawn from the government before the object for which he joined it had been fully accomplished. That object had commended itself to his intellect; it had become historically associated with his name; it was the child of his judgment, and, like a ripe affection, lodged near his heart. It was the shape of beauty which the clear revealed, when the haze and mist of anger and bitterness had passed away. It was identified with his ambition as a statesman and his hopes as a patriot. If not the creation, it was the adoption of his mature thought, and the great aim of his resolute life. The words, "which we all regret," with which Mr. Galt concluded his telegram to the Hon. Mr. McCully, of Nova Scotia, when he informed that gentleman of the cause of Mr. Brown's resignation, express the sentiment of all. It is difficult not to be moved by a sorrow too sincere to be fanciful, that one like the subject of our sketch, who had done so much to attract favor towards the birth, should not be also present to exchange smiles at the bridal of our "New Nationality." The temper, the wisdom, the patriotism which contributed so essentially towards making the former auspicious, should not, we think, be absent on the occasion when the latter is made happy.

No! for whoever with an earnest soul
Strives for some end from this low world afar,
Still travels upwards, though he miss the goal,
And strays—but towards a star.

Better than fame is still the wish for fame,
The constant training for a glorious strife!
The athlete nurtured for the Olympian game
Gains strength, at least, for life.



St. Hilaire.

Unfee'd, the call of country he obeys,
Not led by profit, nor allur'd by praise.

Among the various important advantages, which followed the seven years' war, was the doubtful one of the expulsion of French power from the Northern part of America. The victories and reverses, which preceded the crowning triumph at Quebec, included the defeat of the British forces, under Lieutenant-General Abercrombie, before the rasping forest works which had been skilfully constructed by General Montcalm, at Ticonderoga. In speaking of the successive assaults on those formidable entrenchments, Garneau, in his history of Canada, observes: "The Highlanders, above all, under Lord John Murray, covered themselves with glory. They formed the head of the columns confronting the Canadians, their light and picturesque costume distinguishing them from all other soldiers amid the flames and smoke. This corps lost the half of its men; and twenty-five of its officers were killed or severely wounded." The regiment to which allusion is here made, was the old "Black Watch," since known and immortalized by its actions as the Royal Forty-Second Highlanders. Among those who fell in that disastrous fight, was their heroic Major, Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, and his only son, the not less heroic Donald Campbell. The former was the grand uncle and the latter the second cousin of Major Campbell, of St. Hilaire, whose photograph prefaces these pages.

It was just eighty years after the occurrence of the events, [216]to which we have referred, as the subject of our sketch was on his way to Egypt, that intelligence reached him of the outbreak in Canada, and of his regiment, the Seventh Hussars, being under orders for that country. He immediately returned to England, embarked with his regiment at Cork, and arrived at Quebec, on the 4th of June, 1838. There seems to have been a kind of poetical felicity in the transaction. It was fitting that one Major Campbell, of Inverawe, should fight to preserve, what another Major Campbell, of Inverawe, had died to establish. The cynic will forgive the extravagance if we suppose that the spirits of the dead animate the souls of the living, impelling members of the same race it may be to the same land, to do battle under the same flag, and, as in the case before us, notwithstanding the eighty intervening years, for the same cause,—the supremacy of British power in North America.

One has to step daintily, for it is not easy to find one's way through the labyrinth of Campbells, which fleck the hills and dales of Argyllshire. It is probably less difficult to see that from the days of Bruce, the policy and alliances of that influential clan have been marked with sagacity and foresight. The Campbells, less embarrassed by sentiment than their Highland neighbors, and observing more accurately the true course of events, have contrived in the main to keep on the winning side.

The founder of the family of Inverawe, near Loch Awe, and hard by Ben Crauchan, is said to have been Dougal, the third son of Sir Neil, or Nigel Campbell, one of Robert Bruce's foremost supporters. In 1527, the name of Inverawe is mentioned in the roll of chieftains not dependent on their lord. In 1645, Inverawe was one of Argyle's chiefs in the army of the Covenanters, and fought against the less fortunate Montrose. In 1689, Archibald Campbell, of Inverawe, was one of the Commissioners, with the Duke of Argyle, for raising in Argyllshire a four months supply for William and Mary; and fifteen years afterwards he was a Commissioner for raising a five months cess on land rent. In 1744, Duncan Campbell, of Inverawe, raised a company for the[217] Black Watch, or 42nd regiment of Highlanders; of which regiment he was, in 1755, promoted to the rank of Major, and as we have already stated, was killed before the French works at Ticonderoga.

Besides the estates, and what, in the estimation of a Highlander, is almost of equal value, the independent rank of a chieftain, the family seems to have inherited a more than average share of those precious but intangible possessions on which a Highlander is supposed to set no inconsiderable value. The Campbells of Inverawe rejoice in a peculiar inventory of grizzly visions, unpleasant to have seen—curious legends, delightful to listen to—and wonderful traditions, dangerous to disbelieve and difficult to accept. In addition to such records, which we meekly suspect must have derived their spirit and nourishment from the combined influence of mountain dew, and loch mist, there are some well-authenticated transactions which will serve to illustrate the negative virtues of responsible government as exemplified in the ancestor of one, who, like the subject of our sketch, never fails to express his faith in its positive excellence. In "the good old times," the chief of Clan Campbell and the independent chieftain of Inverawe, must have been curiosities in their way; for the former, in the person of the Duke of Argyle, was accustomed to lay some staggering duties on the latter. On one occasion, for example, after invoking the divine blessing, the Duke, in a note which we have seen, having instructed the latter, whom he addressed as "Dowgal," how he was to dispose of certain horses and mares, which, as we understand it, had been filched, the term used is "lifted," from the premises of Lord Ogilvie, enjoined him to proceed to the house of that nobleman, and "cast off the gates and windows, take down the roof," and if the job was found to be "langsome," Dowgal was furthermore commanded to "fyre it weill," that it may be destroyed. The Duke cautiously adds, "but you need not too late know that ye have directions from me to fyre it." How many generations separate Dowgal, of Inverawe, from Campbell of St. Hilaire, we have no means of knowing; [218]but we trust the riotous blood of the ancestor has been qualified by time, and that there is no danger of re-enacting on the Richelieu, proceedings which seem to have been popular at Loch Awe.

Passing from family to personal history—for our space will not allow us to linger about the former—we note that Major Campbell, whom we may here observe, enjoys the Provincial rank of Colonel, was born in 1809, that he entered the East India Company's Military College, at Addiscombe, in 1823, passed his examination for the Artillery in 1824, and obtained his commission in the Engineers in 1825, which he resigned for an ensigncy in the Fifty-Second Light Infantry. In 1826 he was promoted to an unattached Lieutenancy, and subsequently to the Second Dragoon Guards. On rejoining his regiment, after doing duty at the riding establishment at St. John's Wood, he declined the Adjutantcy in order that he might go to the senior department at Sandhurst. While thus engaged in acquiring a knowledge of military science, he was tempted to try his fortune in politics. He contested the borough of Yarmouth, one of the most corrupt constituencies in the kingdom, and lost the election; and he must have been a fortunate exception to the common experience in that quarter, if he did not lose money as well. In 1832 he passed his final examination, obtained his certificate, and was appointed aide-de-camp to Lieutenant General Campbell, commanding the Inland District. He was then promoted to an unattached company, placed on full pay of the First Royals, and afterwards transferred to the Seventh Hussars.

It is fair to assume that Major Campbell's knowledge and aptitude in military science must have been noteworthy, as, under the orders of that acute statesman, Lord Palmerston, he was especially selected to accompany Colonel Considine to the East,[219] there to assist in organizing and drilling the Sultan's army, the Turks being at that time at war with the Koords. On arriving at Diabekir, a city of Asiatic Turkey, the subject of our sketch found that the fighting was over. Having nothing to do, he discovered that there was something to see, for in honor of Colonel Considine and himself, the Pasha gave a grand review of his troops, a display which must have been as picturesque as it was novel, since they were, we believe, manœuvred according to Asiatic usage.

Peace having frustrated the duty of educating troops for war, the subject of our sketch took advantage of his liberty to make a three months tour in Russia, in the course of which, through the introduction of Count Woronzow, he became the guest of the Czar Nicholas. During his visit he saw what would make the mouth of a Canadian trooper water, 50,000 regular cavalry encamped on the Steppes, and afterwards reviewed before the Emperor. Having returned to Constantinople, he undertook, at the request of Lord Ponsonby, the British Ambassador there, to go to Egypt and Syria, and report on the state of Ibrahim Pacha's army. While en route, in the discharge of this duty, he received the intelligence we have mentioned of his regiment being under orders for Quebec.

It were idle to speculate on what might have chanced had a given history not been broken at a particular point. The subject of our sketch, for example, was qualifying himself by experience and observation, for responsible service in the East, when he was called in no uncertain tones to professional duties in the West. Those Eastern lessons, fourteen years later, might have led him from the Crimea to honors and distinctions, to orders and stars, to a niche in history and a place in fame—a soldier's guerdon or a soldier's grave—but perchance not to greater usefulness than that other path through which his Western life has led him. The lot is not of our choosing. He however will not miss the right one who follows where duty leads.


It was not long after Major Campbell's arrival in Canada that the second outbreak took place, when he was ordered to take command of the Indians, at Caughnawaga. In 1839 he was offered by the new Governor-General, the Right Hon. C. Poulett Thomson, then a stranger to him, the appointment of aide-de-camp, an offer which he the more gladly accepted, as it enabled him to exchange the monotony of barrack life for the stirring scenes which at that time lent no common charm to the civil affairs of the Province. On the retirement of the military secretary, Major Hale, the subject of our sketch was appointed his successor, and remained with the Governor General until death of the latter, in 1841. It is probable that the sagacity, the fortitude, and the perseverance of that gifted nobleman were not without their influence on the clear mind of his Military Secretary. The latter saw with what rapidity the scenes in the political camera were shifting, and with what nervous resolution the Province was passing from a state of vassalage to a state of liberty. The days of its pupilage were fast passing away. The period of its stalwart youth was coming on apace, accompanied with a promise of vigor as strong as it was assuring. We can imagine that one who had mingled much in the world, who had seen almost every variety of the human family, and was cognizant of almost every form of political organization, must have viewed the new experiment in statecraft as in the highest degree attractive. The novelty charmed, while no misgivings as to its merits, haunted him. The new problem was, in his judgment, susceptible of a safe solution. It was possible to combine the law of monarchy with the energy of democracy, to make Canada free, prosperous, and happy—the pride of its own people, and the envy of its neighbors. Thus the interest, which we may conjecture had its origin in curiosity, was sustained by observation, and possibly added a new charm as well as a new direction to his life. Personal influences, moreover, as we venture to surmise, were not wanting to increase the inclinations of the new thoughts. About this time the Military Secretary was the subject of another fascination, and the nature of the thrall became apparent[221] in due time by his marriage with a daughter of Colonel Juchereau Duchesney, the Seigneur of Fossambault, and Deputy Adjutant General of Militia for Lower Canada.

After the death of Baron Sydenham, Major Campbell rejoined his regiment, and did duty with it until 1846, when he retired on half-pay and settled in Canada. On the arrival of the Earl of Elgin, to his great surprise, he was requested by that nobleman to give him his assistance in the capacity of Governor-General's Secretary. The offer was at first declined, but on His Excellency making it appear to him that the duty was one which he owed to his adopted country, and more especially since His Excellency expressed his determination to give responsible government a fair trial, he consented to accept the appointment, but only until a more suitable successor could be found. He continued to discharge the duties of this office until the government was removed from Montreal to Toronto, when he betook himself to the more congenial occupations of improving his property, educating his children, and benefitting his neighbors. In 1852 he was offered by the Taché-Hincks Government a seat in the Legislative Council; but the announced intention of that Government to render the Council elective, made it difficult, in the opinion of the subject of our sketch, for him to accept the somewhat doubtful honor of a nomination to a body which was said not to possess the public confidence. In 1854, he received a copy of the London Gazette, and there saw that Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to create him, with the Honorable Messieurs Baldwin and Draper, a Companion of the civil order of the Bath. The announcement must have been the more flattering as no previous intimation of the Royal pleasure had, as we are informed, been communicated to him.

In 1855 he was offered, but, for what reason we know not, declined the appointment of Adjutant General of Militia. In 1858 he was elected member of the Legislative Assembly for the county of Rouville, and sat for that Parliament. He has been a member[222] of the Board of Agriculture since its establishment in 1853; a director of the Bank of Montreal, and also a member of the Council of the University of Bishop's College, Lennoxville, since 1861. He was for some time a director of the Grand Trunk Railway Company. In fact, Major Campbell has made himself conspicuous for his patriotic aptitude in filling unremunerative appointments, and for his singular habit of declining all offices that are embarrassed with pay, or even the suspicion of emolument.

We do not know whether the subject of our sketch was born beneath the shadow of Ben Crauchan, or whether, as a boy, he ever made marbles by the sedges of the clouded waters of Loch Awe. We can only say that he seems in a very unusual way to have separated himself from their influences, in order perhaps, as it appears to us, to shew how generous a disenthralled Scotsman may become. Thus he is more tolerant to prejudice than to fanaticism—more patient towards habit than towards opinion. The obstinate indifference of the English offends him less than the intrusive bigotry of the Scotch. Like his chief, the Duke of Argyle, he is a liberal in politics, but unlike his chief, he is a liberal in religion too, for he is a member of the Anglican Church. Having enjoyed, under favorable circumstances the great advantage of foreign travel, he has had the opportunity of observing various races and various organizations of men. He has, moreover, taken notes of what he saw, and after the manner of a social and philosophical eclectic, he has personally appropriated what he conceives to be the excellencies of all. Thus he commonly seems to act according to a law of equivalents, as if he thought, with Burke, that "all government, indeed every human effort and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter."




No one of our acquaintance has made a more effective contribution to the beard movement than the gentleman whose photograph graces the opposite page. In its repose, Mr. Evanturel's beard is perfect. Nor is it less noteworthy when, exhilarated by motion, it wantons in the wind, or "streams like a meteor, through the troubled air." Were the owner met with amidst the ruins of the Alhambra, or were he seen smoking his chibouque in

"That delightful province of the sun,
The first of eastern lands he shines upon,"

crowned with a fez, or swathed in a turban, he would be regarded, if not as a caliph of high caste, at least as some other scarcely less distinguished successor of the Prophet. Appearances, however, not unfrequently mislead; and though Mr. Evanturel's parentage is not without interest, we are constrained, in obedience to the obligations of truth, to add, that he has little sympathy for the Moors, is not an Arab, nor are we aware that he has ever been suspected of being a Turk.

Mr. Evanturel's father was a native, and a soldier of France. He served throughout the Italian campaign, under the first Napoleon, and was present with the French armies in Spain, in many of the memorable actions and sieges of the Peninsula. Being made prisoner by the Spaniards, he gladly exchanged captivity for service in the 60th regiment of English Rifles. In this celebrated corps he continued for some years, doing duty with it at Demerara,[224] Barbadoes, and elsewhere. In 1814, he received his discharge, and settled in Canada. His only son, the subject of our sketch, was born in Quebec in 1822, educated at the seminary of that city, and was subsequently articled to Mr. Justice Caron, in whose office he continued until his admission to the bar in 1845. He practiced his profession until the greater fascination of politics tempted him to abandon the forum for the senate, and transfer his advocacy from the interest of a few clients, to the service of a large constituency.

On the appointment of the Honorable Mr. Chauveau to the office of Superintendent of Education for Lower Canada, the subject of our sketch became the representative of the county of Quebec. The county in question cannot be regarded as a "blue, and all blue" constituency. It preferred Mr. Chauveau to the venerable Mr. Neilson, because, among other reasons, the political colors which the former sported were supposed to be less "blue" than his opponent's, to say nothing of the fact, that they were relieved with undeniably red facings. Mr. Evanturel succeeded Mr. Chauveau, and the colors of the latter being fused with a greater amount of flush, spread themselves equally over the whole of the metaphorical fabric in which it is his pleasure to swathe his opinions. The effect communicated to the mind was not unlike that which is presented to the eye when observing silk woven of different colors. Look at it point blank, it appears to be purple, view it askance and it seems alternately "rouge" or "blue." Such cameleon-like qualities are by no means unattractive, and moreover they are brought about by the ingenious interlacing of warps with wefts of contrary hues. The ability to wear two faces, neither of which are marked with any offensive features, represents the peculiarity of the Whig party in England—a party which is probably the least popular, and at the same time the most influential of all the parties that control the government of that country. Thus, as a representative of the like party in Canada, Mr. Evanturel[225] has not deemed it to be inconsistent with his position to move the address, in answer to a speech from the throne, at the request of one administration, which included among its distinguished members, the Hon. Messrs. Cartier and J. A. Macdonald; and to second a resolution of want of confidence in another administration in which the same gentlemen are prominent representatives.

On the dissolution of the fifth parliament, in 1857, Mr. Evanturel offered himself as a candidate for the city, as well as for the county of Quebec; and although, through some irregularity, he was not returned for either constituency, the election of his opponent was, on petition, declared to be illegal. The tedious nature of the scrutiny had the effect of excluding Mr. Evanturel from Parliament until 1860. At the elections held in the following year he was again returned for the county for which he continues to sit.

Mr. Evanturel has exerted himself, with his accustomed energy, to advance various local and national objects. He was, we believe, one of the founders of the Canadian Institute of Quebec, and he has actively supported several of the humane and literary societies for which the city is conspicuous. He was earnest in his endeavours to promote the much criticised North Shore Railway project, and visited the various parishes on the route, for the purpose of interesting their inhabitants in the establishment of that important highway. To induce his countrymen to remain in the Province, he has steadily advocated the systematic colonization of Lower Canada. On the vexed question of the seat of government, he thought with many of the acutest minds of the Province, that the time had not yet arrived for determining the system of convening Parliament alternately at Quebec and Toronto, and he warmly opposed the project of referring the subject to the decision of Her Majesty. On the formation of the Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte administration, in 1862, he accepted the office of Minister of Agriculture. Being in a position to advance his views on the subject of colonization, he did so with considerable success. On[226] the re-construction of the administration, in the following year, Mr. Evanturel followed his political chief, Mr. Sicotte, across the house, and faithfully supported him until the unlooked-for transaction occurred which placed the latter on the bench. Mr. Sicotte's retirement destroyed the unity of the party of which he was the acknowledged leader. The parts of which it was formed became separated and detached from one another, and they must now be sought for in states of isolation, or as portions of the two larger parties in Lower Canada, which they had theretofore opposed. Mr. Evanturel, however, still continues loyal to his old principles—to the instincts of a party which seems to be fading away. His faith continues firm in the virtue of his colors, and he, therefore, manfully upholds his purple standard against the "rouge" flag on one side and the "blue" on the other. The better to maintain his purpose, he has acquired the oldest newspaper published in the French language in Quebec; and thus, through the columns of "Le Canadien," he discourses on the virtues of what, in England, is called Whiggery, and, in Canada, moderation.

Mr. Evanturel has, we believe, expressed no opinion adverse to the principle of the confederation of the British Provinces in America. His anxiety, however, on the subject of local powers and sectional rights, has caused him to regard the scheme, as propounded in the Quebec resolutions, with great disfavor. He is not averse to the vision which other men see, or to the picture which other men paint of "The Monarchy of the Future," or the "New Nationality," or "The Empire of the North;" but, whatever the name—whatever the conditions—whatever the proportions of the sketchy state—he vindicates, with steadfast constancy, the homogeneous attractions of his native Province; and, through good and ill, through shine and storm, he clings to his country's possessions, and makes but small account of her prospects; for, in the spirit of local enthusiasm he emphatically repeats the unforgotten war-cry:





"John o' London," the chronicler of Marguerite, the second Queen of Edward the First, in his quaint notings of the personal traits of that heroic monarch, observed that "the king's head was spherical, his eyes round, and dove-like when pleased, but fierce as a lion's and sparkling with fire when disturbed; that his chest was broad, his arms agile, his limbs long, his feet arched, his body firm and fleshy but not fat," and moreover that he was upwards of six feet in height.

Were John o' London present to note the points, being a keen observer, he might very fairly describe the subject of our sketch in language not dissimilar to that we have quoted. For without insisting on the absolute identity of the "dove-like eyes," or of "the arched feet," it will, we think, be apparent that there is a singular agreement in the physical outlines of the great Plantagenet as described by the courtier-like John o' London, and the energetic Scotsman who is the subject of our sketch. It may be noted of the two men whom we have bracketed together, that the passion of both was to subjugate. The monarch sought to subdue a people, and he nearly succeeded. The merchant has striven to subdue opinion, and he has by no means failed. The double picture provokes the enquiry whether such traits habitually look out of "round eyes" and always lodge in "spherical heads." Phrenology[228] might add to our knowledge. Could we apply the science, we might probably discover in the case before us an irrepressible bump in the coronal, supported by a heavy battery of energetic organs at the base of the brain. Such developments would prompt the conclusion that one so endowed, whether prince or trader, would be apt to possess a will of his own; that he would cherish his opinions with tenacity and carry them out with determination.

The Honorable John Young was born at Ayr, in Scotland, on the 11th of March, 1811, and educated at the ordinary parish school. At the early age of thirteen and a half he left school, and, being wiser than some, and taller than most boys of his age, he had confidence enough to seek for, and interest enough to obtain, the appointment of master of a parish school at Coylton near Ayr, where, for eighteen months, he taught no less than thirty-five pupils. While in the performance of such duties, not only did he sniff the breezes of the Atlantic, but the "round eyes" of his mind saw visions more or less attractive in the poor man's land of promise, "the land of the West." His occupation, however, was not disturbed by his thoughts. He boldly looked his life in the face, accepted his patrimony of labor with cheerfulness, and fulfilled without flinching the conditions it imposed. His duty prompted him to work, and his interest inclined him to watch; and the two-fold employment enabled him, it may be, to discover compensation for the chariness of fortune, and the comparatively bleak surroundings of his birth.

In the year 1826, while thus engaged, a friendly voice, like the echo of his own thoughts, called him pleasantly to the highway of Canadian commerce, and his appreciative mind at once discerned a future which harmonized alike with his ambition and his hopes. From a clerkship in the counting house of Mr. John Torrance of Montreal, he became, in 1835, a partner with Mr. David Torrance, and the firm of Torrance & Young at Quebec, which was then established, continued for five years. In the troubles of 1837-38,[229] he volunteered as a militiaman, and was at once promoted to the rank of captain. After public quiet was restored, he returned to Montreal and joined Mr. Harrison Stephens as a partner. The Western trade in which the firm of Stephens, Young & Co., was engaged, enabled the latter to observe the advantages which the St. Lawrence route possessed above all other routes to the ocean. Thus was his mind attracted towards the consideration of those great subjects of foreign and intercolonial trade with which his name is inseparably associated.

Nor did questions of material progress alone engage his attention. He had observed elsewhere how the intellectual well-being of the commercial classes was promoted by means of literary societies especially established for their use. Hence he lost no time in organizing a Mercantile Library Association at Montreal, the success of which will be appreciated when we mention that a society which was commenced in 1839 at a meeting of five persons only, has grown in consideration to such proportions as to justify the erection of a building at a cost of $40,000 for its exclusive use.

At the general election for Montreal, in 1844, a compliment was paid to Mr. Young's character at the expense of his comfort. He was earnestly requested by the government of Lord Metcalfe to undertake the duty of Returning Officer; for the occasion and the man were supposed to be well suited to one another. A political tumult of no ordinary kind was expected. Many will remember the rancorous character of our politics and the intense party spirit which then embittered all discussion on public affairs. It was admitted that men were organized and prepared for the most alarming forms of violence. The cabalistic letters L.P.S., enclosed in a circle, which flecked the walls of Montreal, though differently interpreted by different people, were known to represent a secret political organization as real, as the organization it was designed to counteract was believed to be unscrupulous. Few expected that the election would pass without violence. That it did so, must mainly be attributed to the nerve, courage, and unabated endeavour of the subject[230] of our sketch. Mr. Young neither invited responsibility nor declined it. He understood the danger, and he also understood what precautionary measures were required to meet it. He acted without fear in the interest of order, and without favor in the interest of liberty. He was not careful to ask whether such action harmonized with the technical requirements of the law, for he was content that it consisted with the absolute supremacy of justice. Having received information that murderous weapons of different kinds had been accumulated in the city, he seized them wherever they were secreted, and appropriated them wherever they were exposed, and, irrespective alike of expostulations or threats, he placed them beyond the reach of abuse. Furthermore, and above all, he met the menace of secret organization with the majesty of open force. He called out the troops, and handled them with such judgment that the peace of the city was preserved and the election was concluded without riot or loss of life. Such services are not easily rendered. At best they are of a trying order, for they always provoke criticism and rarely receive praise. He who would succeed should possess a strong will, a stout heart, a calm mind, and, whatever its shape, whether "spherical" or otherwise, a cool head.

His Excellency Lord Metcalfe was so much impressed with the value of Mr. Young's services that he mentioned them in his despatches to the Colonial Office. The following letter will show in what manner that representation was received.



Montreal, 13th December, 1844.


I have the honor by command of the Govenor-General to inform you that His Excellency has great satisfaction, in obedience to instructions received from Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, to signify to you His Lordship's approbation of the able and successful manner in which you performed the arduous duties that devolved on you during the recent election of members for the City of Montreal in Parliament.

(Signed) J. M. Higginson.

John Young, Esq.,   
                        Late Returning Officer for the City of Montreal



Sir James Hope, a distinguished Peninsular officer, at that time commanding the troops in Montreal, appreciated the difficulties of the situation, and took occasion officially to testify "that it was chiefly owing to the active and energetic measures adopted by Mr. Young that Montreal was indebted for the preservation of peace and good order." Sixteen years afterwards, but on a very different occasion, Mr. Young was chosen as the chairman of the committee of arrangements when His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales visited Montreal. The marked success of those arrangements was a subject of general praise. Thus it would seem that Mr. Young's ability to control other men was as conspicuous in promoting a feast as it had previously been in preventing a fight.

In 1846, when the agricultural and trading community of Canada were dismayed at the free trade measures that were introduced into the commercial policy of the mother country, it was an episode in the highest degree soothing to observe that one of Mr. Young's experience and acuteness could throw up his hat with satisfaction, and make the new policy welcome in Canada. A free trade association was established in Montreal, of which the subject of our sketch was elected the president. The association embraced some of the keen thinkers on such subjects, then resident in that city, including, if we recollect right, Messrs. Holton, Glass, Fleet, Elder, Muir, Bristow, and others. The Economist newspaper was the literary offspring and representative of the association, and besides the hard lessons which it sought to teach, and on which great difference of opinion existed, there was one lesson, on which most men, whether free traders or protectionists, were agreed; the grand lesson of self-reliance, self-dependence, and self-help. That lesson, to paraphrase the language of Shakspeare, may be expressed in the words,

"Nought shall make us rue
If Canada to herself do rest but true."

Again, in the same year, when the Government was steadily[232] co-operating with science in making a straight channel through Lake St. Peter for the navigation of sea-going ships, Mr. Young became the champion of nature, and strenuously advocated the improvement of the crooked channel which she had made. The controversies of "practice vs. theory," of "nature vs. science," may have been very interesting, and they certainly were very costly. Judgment, however, though reserved for a time, was at length given in favor of Mr. Young, and those who thought with him. And now, after an interval of twenty years of almost continuous, and we may add gratuitous labor, as the chairman of the Harbor Commission, he has had the satisfaction of seeing the accomplishment of this great work; for the channel which nature had chosen and which he had advocated, is now reported as complete and fit for use. This improved stream-way exceeds, we are informed, thirty-two miles in length; it is three hundred feet wide and twenty feet deep at all seasons.

Mr. Young was one of those who originated the railway from Montreal to Portland, as well as from the former city westward to Kingston and Toronto. Of the first mentioned, he was, we believe, the vice-president, while of the company secondly referred to, he was its first president. Mr. Young's exertions in the interests of both companies were very valuable and very dexterously carried on. They were recognized by the citizens of Montreal, who, as a mark of acknowledgment, presented him with a silver epergne. In speaking of a terminus at Montreal for the Portland Railway, Mr. Young, in 1846, with an accurate perception of what was necessary, boldly suggested the practicability of building a bridge across the St. Lawrence, and, as we are informed, pointed out the locality where it should be and is now built. With the co-operation of Mr. Holton, who was then president of the Montreal and Kingston Railway Company, a pressure was brought to bear on the Grand Trunk Railway Company as well as on Parliament, which went far towards securing the construction of the[233] Victoria Bridge. On the subject of deepening Lake St. Peter, we have seen Mr. Young vindicating the preferences of nature; on the subject of building a bridge over the St. Lawrence, we find him upholding the powers of science. The policy enunciated by some of building up a "South Montreal" was effectually controverted by Mr. Young; and the consequence is that Montreal is one of the wonderful cities of our time. The contrary policy has been followed in Quebec. A new city is rapidly growing on the opposite shores of the St. Lawrence; and thus, in the presence of South Quebec, the historical capital of the country is becoming depopulated, and is passing over to its southern competitor. Another project of Mr. Young's is to connect, by means of a ship canal, the waters of the St. Lawrence with those of Lake Champlain. Without doubting the feasibility, we may mention that much difference of opinion has been expressed by mercantile men on the merits of the enterprise. Some have asserted that by making the communication we surrender a trade, and that the equivalent is not worth such a sacrifice. The subject, however, is very important and it is by no means dismissed, though its consideration may be postponed until the public mind is riper to receive it. In 1849, the St. Lawrence Canals were opened for traffic, and Mr. Young took advantage of the circumstances to send the propeller "Ireland" with the first cargo of merchandize direct to Chicago; that vessel also brought the first cargo of grain from Chicago to Montreal, and we may add that the first American schooner which passed downwards through those Canals was laden with his property. The sudden increase of the shipping trade of Montreal was attended with an attempt to prevent the unloading of vessels in the canal, otherwise than by manual labor. Several scenes of violence and assault were the result. Mr. Young lost no time in communicating with the Government on the subject, and his representation was so valuable and so well put, that, as we are informed, in less than a week an organized Water Police force was created for service in the port and harbor of Montreal.


In 1847, Mr. Young proposed Mr. Lafontaine as member for Montreal. At the general election in 1851, on the retirement of that gentleman, he became his successor in the representation of that city. In the month of October in that year, he joined the Hincks-Taché administration as Chief Commissioner of Public Works, and Member of the Board of Railway Commissioners. One of the earliest and most energetic acts of the newly-constructed administration was to take advantage of the then favorable state of the money market, and initiate measures of remarkable sagacity, though they strangely missed success, to construct a railway, with the help of the Imperial guarantee, from Halifax, in Nova Scotia, to Sarnia, on Lake Huron. In the same year, and during administration of the last-mentioned office, and as we have heard at his suggestion, tenders were issued by Government, and a fortnightly mail steam service between Montreal and Liverpool in the summer, and Portland and Liverpool in the winter, was established under contract. Concurrently with his exertions to establish a steam postal service, Mr. Young took measures to reduce alike the risks and the insurance, and thus to increase the attraction of the route by studding the gulf and river St. Lawrence with new lighthouses. Indeed, Mr. Young's report, for 1851—presented to Parliament for the eleven months in which he filled the important office of Chief Commissioner of Public Works, is amply furnished with evidence of thought and work.

Mr. Young at that time and since then has strenuously advocated the advantage of imposing ad valorem, as against specific duties, a policy which in the opinion of many has been the main cause of the increased import trade by the St. Lawrence. A difference of opinion arose between himself and his colleagues, as to the wisdom of charging higher tolls on American than on Canadian vessels navigating the canals, which also involved the great question of free trade, and was so important as to render necessary his withdrawal from the administration. The course of events[235] seemed to justify his proceeding, for the policy for which he contended has generally been adopted. Mr. Young has on two occasions been selected as a commissioner for trade to Washington. In 1849, he was chosen by the Lafontaine-Baldwin administration, and in 1863, by the Sandfield Macdonald-Dorion administration. The object of the mission in both cases related to the Reciprocity Treaty between the United States and Canada.

At the general election in 1854, Mr. Young was again returned for the city of Montreal. Though not a member of the administration, he was enabled to render service in the standing committees of the House, and especially as the chairman of the committee on public accounts, where he had the opportunity of initiating some improvements in the system of dealing with the public moneys, which, we believe, are deemed of much value. At the general election in 1858, Mr. Young declined to be nominated, and retired from public life. In 1863, he was defeated for Montreal West, by the present member, the Hon. Thomas D'Arcy McGee. The interval was by no means an unmarked one in his personal history, for he twice suffered shipwreck, once in the steamship "Anglo-Saxon," on her passage from Liverpool, and on the second occasion, in the steamship "New York," on her passage home.

Our space will not allow us to enlarge on the various local measures which Mr. Young initiated or promoted in the interests of the city of Montreal. This is the less necessary as his name is inseparably associated with the progress of the city, and as his services are known, and should be appreciated by his fellow citizens. Among the incidents of his life, we may mention that although brought up as a Presbyterian he was mainly instrumental in introducing the Unitarian form of faith and worship in Canada. Men will probably differ as to the merits of this particular service, for many, we think, will agree with us in opinion, that there are greater blessings in this world than a variety of forms of religious faith. Praises should, we think, be extended to those who[236] heal divisions, and thus promote union and concord, rather than to those who create divisions, and thus occasion strife and debate. Yet even this peculiarity is an evidence of Mr. Young's independent and self-reliant character. He will take nothing upon trust, no matter whether the subject be commercial ethics or Christian dogma, his neighbor's politics or his father's religion. With an indomitable will, and, like Edward the First of the "spherical head," with a corresponding disposition to have his way, the subject of our sketch has generally been remarked for the courage with which he advocates an opinion, and the tenacity with which he clings to it. There is a sternness in his obstinacy, which though opposed to policy, is akin to greatness. His mental despotism would probably be more successful were it exerted in a community which required neither to be conciliated with compliments nor soothed with flattery. Were Mr. Young's power equal to his knowledge, were his personal tact on better terms with his intellectual perception; could he attract, as well as repel support, conciliate as well as convince; could he qualify his mental power with a greater amount of mental pliancy, and practice in a greater degree the subtle art of making strong opinions inviting by arraying them in the forms of gentleness, it is probable that his popularity in the state would be equal to his services to the state. He could desire no more; for the latter, so far as the material progress of the Province is concerned, have scarcely been surpassed by any one of the numerous advocates of improvement, who have successively arisen to devise plans or submit projects for the common benefit of all.




Major Campbell, of St. Hilaire, first sat in Parliament, for the County of Rouville, in the same session in which the subject of our sketch took his seat for the county of Dorchester. Being new men, they had acquired no privileges, real or imaginary, with respect to the places they might occupy in the House of Assembly. They, therefore, modestly took those which had been assigned to them, and made the best of their position. Thorough strangers to one another, it so chanced that they found themselves in adjoining seats, and coupled at the same desks according to the customary arrangements. What the member for Dorchester may have thought of the member for Rouville, we have no means of knowing; but we are better informed of the opinion which the member for Rouville entertained of the member for Dorchester. In the course of a dinner gossip, the former, in effect, said to the writer: "being a new member they have placed me beside a new member, a Mr. Langevin, and I am very much mistaken," the speaker, with prescient sagacity, added, "if we do not hear more of him; he will win his way."

The Honorable Hector Louis Langevin was born at Quebec, on the 25th of August, 1826. He was the son of Mr. Jean Langevin, by Sophia, a daughter of Mr. LaForce, whose father, during the American Revolutionary war, as we have heard, was for some time acting commodore of the British fleet on Lake Ontario. Young Hector Langevin was educated at the Quebec seminary, where his proficiency in mathematical science was especially noted. He left[238] the seminary in 1846, and was articled as a law student in the office of the late Mr. Justice Morin, at Montreal. On that gentleman discontinuing to practice, Mr. Langevin was transferred to the office of the present Attorney-General East, under whom he completed his studies. He was admitted as a barrister in 1850. He practiced his profession for one year at Montreal, and afterwards for eighteen months at Quebec. From 1847 to 1849, while a law student only, Mr. Langevin was the editor of the Mélanges Religieux, a political and religious paper of some influence. In 1855 he wrote an essay on Canada, for circulation at the Paris Exhibition. This essay received the first of the three extra prizes. In 1857, he was the editor of the Courrier du Canada; and in 1862, he published a work of much utility entitled Droit Administratif ou Manuel des Paroisses et Fabriques.

In 1853 Mr. Langevin was appointed secretary-treasurer of the North Shore Railway Company. In 1856 he was elected city councillor for Palace Ward, Quebec, and nominated as the chairman of the water works committee, a selection which was the more complimentary, as those important works were then in the course of construction, and the duties of the committee, and especially of the chairman, were of a very responsible kind. In 1857, during the absence of the mayor, the late Dr. Morrin, in England, the subject of our sketch was appointed to act as mayor. At the succeeding election, in the month of December of that year, he was unanimously elected as the successor of the estimable doctor, which office he continued to fill until 1860. During his mayoralty, he was deputed to visit England on certain matters of city finance as well as on the subject of the North Shore Railway Company. In 1861 and 1862, he was elected president of the St. Jean Baptiste Society of Quebec; and in 1863 and 1864, he was, in like manner, chosen as the president of the Institut Canadien of Quebec. At the general election, in December, 1857, he was returned to Parliament as member for the county of Dorchester, for which county[239] he continues to sit. We may mention that two out of the four occasions on which he has offered himself he has been elected by acclamation.

The session which immediately followed his election has acquired a certain amount of undesirable notoriety from the proceedings which preceded, accompanied, and followed the accession to power of the short-lived Brown-Dorion administration in the month of July, 1858. One feature in the transactions of those few days is associated with the subject of our sketch. After that administration by accepting office had vacated their places in Parliament, and when they were constitutionally unable either to explain or to defend their policy, Mr. Langevin moved and carried by a large majority his resolution of want of confidence. There can be no doubt that the resolution exactly expressed the sentiment of Parliament, but it is by no means as clear that the time of submitting it was well chosen. Less haste would not in all probability have altered the vote; perhaps it might have increased the majority by which it was affirmed. In any case it would have placed the proceeding beyond the reproach of unfairness, and have effectually removed it from the grave imputation, which has been affixed to it by many, of being wanting in Parliamentary courtesy. In affairs of state the means as well as the end should be considered. The proceeding in question appeared to lack generosity, and though it offended no rule, it was not, so far as we are aware, supported by any example of Parliament. In 1864, Mr. Langevin was created a Queen's Counsel, and appointed Solicitor-General for Lower Canada, as well as a member of the Executive Council. In August of that year, with other members of the Canadian administration, he visited Charlottetown, and was present at the meeting convened there of the delegates from the Maritime Provinces. In October following, he attended the Quebec conference, where, as one of the thirty-three delegates, he discussed and agreed to the seventy-two resolutions on confederation which were[240] then adopted. In the discussions in Parliament, which took place in the following session, Mr. Langevin spoke with considerable effect in favor of the proposition, and concluded with an eloquent and impassioned panegyric on the patriotic character and statesmanlike qualities of his friend and leader, the Hon. George E. Cartier, from whom he received his early lessons in law, and his later ones in political science. In November 1866, Mr. Langevin was preferred to the office of Postmaster General, and chosen as one of the delegates in behalf of Canada to assist the Imperial authorities in promoting the scheme of confederation.

It is, we believe, a rule that no Quebec pilot shall be deemed competent to take the charge of a ship who has not made at least two voyages to Europe. A similar condition might, perhaps, with advantage, be required of those who, from time to time, are summoned to act as pilots of the ship of state. The subject of our sketch must, on this point, be regarded as qualified, for he has enjoyed such advantages. He has associated with the statesmen of Europe, and, it may be, received lessons in government from the great masters of statecraft. Such lessons—for his career is before him—may some day be turned to useful and patriotic account. The increase of knowledge which proceeds from breadth of view will, probably, enable him, as a thoughtful observer, to note that he belongs to a nation as well as to a race, to an empire as well as to a province; and such considerations may prompt him to reprobate the policy that aims only at the preservation of tribes, and to substitute the nobler one, whose purpose is to weld diverse interests and diverse races into one people. Knowledge and reflection may instruct him in what way the "New Nationality" may gather within its arms the scattered parts of different nations; and, by means of the healing influence of time, the softening effects of intercourse, and the strengthening power of interest, bind and consolidate the broken fragments of European States into one powerful and homogeneous British American Nation.




At the close of the American revolutionary war two classes of immigrants found their way into Canada. The first came direct from the British Islands, and the second were filtered through the thirteen colonies, which had then been recognized as the United States of America. The former were, for the most part, attracted by the allurements of commerce. The latter were impelled by duty, or necessity, the experience of wrong, or the need of rest. Having suffered the loss of all things for the Crown of England, the Crown of England would have been unworthy of its jewels, had it refused to give honor for sacrifice, or withhold warmth from its welcome to those who had done so much for it. The Royalists of America, beaten, but not disgraced, followed the frayed and battle-stained flag of their country, careful only that its fortunes should be theirs. With consciences at rest, and with hearts unsubdued, they were anxious to dwell within the sight of their standard, content, if it waved in the wilds of Canada, amidst the forests of New Brunswick, from the rocks of Nova Scotia, or on the slopes of Prince Edward Island. Though the consideration which they received represented but a fraction of the sacrifice they had made, they were satisfied because the Crown recognized their services, and did what lay in its power to shew gratitude. No wonder that the refugee Royalists, since known as the "United Empire[242] Loyalists," became, as they had much reason to become, the especial favorites of authority. The Sovereign and his representatives needed no incentive to show them honor, and to serve them too, when the occasion of serving offered.

Such sentiments, and the preferences to which they led, were not as well approved of by the French subjects of the Crown as they were by the Crown itself. To them the refugee immigrants were "Anglo-Americans," and as such they were only known as encroaching neighbors and aggressive enemies. Thus the new subjects, and the new settlers, discovered that they were more obnoxious to one another than were the original races from which they had respectively sprung. Their past history accounted for their present aversion. French and English power, whether in Europe or in America, had almost always been exhibited in a state of strife; and time out of mind, the youth of both countries had been carefully educated according to the canons of enmity. There was, moreover, a theological element in the question which tended to intensify this mutual aversion. The Anglo-American abhorred the religion of Rome. The Franco-American detested that of the reformation. Public reverses had, in an unlooked for way, brought these ancient antagonists together, and thus men who had fought in opposing armies, and fostered every description of quarrel, were now elbowing one another as neighbors, settling side by side, residents of the same country, subjects of the same crown, and competitors, but not on equal terms, for the same honors.

The refugee Royalists had established their claims to the trust and confidence of their King. "Faithful among the faithless found," none doubted their devotion to the flag which guarded the citadel of Quebec. The newly acquired subjects of the British Crown, on the other hand, had not forgotten the lilies of the Bourbons or their love for the land which those lilies represented. In the revolutionary war of 1775, the French Canadians were[243] indifferent, and desired to be neutral. The conquest of Canada was too recent for them to like the conquerors, much less to put their trust in the new enemies by which that conquest was menaced; for if they loved not the English, still less did they love the rebellious offspring of England. Since however it was possible they might become the prize of new victors, it was not unnatural they should at least dissemble their dislike, and abstain from aggravating the disabilities which they feared might overtake them if they were doubly vanquished. Such caution, however excusable, was not likely to win the confidence of the Crown, and from the strong contrast into which it was brought by the uncalculating devotion of the refugee Royalists, it would be misunderstood and might be misinterpreted. There seemed to be no place for charity to operate or for time to heal, for the embers of actual or traditional hostility were but partially quenched when war broke out afresh, and with unprecedented violence between Great Britain and the French Empire. As under the new circumstances, the old habit of the two races to honor the European quarrel with sympathetic fights in America could not be indulged, there remained only the opportunity which was by no means lost sight of, of chafing each other's tempers, crossing each other's purposes, and thwarting each other's plans. Such tactics were pursued with unabated perseverance and with occasional success.

The refugee Royalists, though members of different religious denominations, were, for the most part, regarded as aggressive as well as uncompromising protestants. The fanaticism of the puritan in matters of faith was strongly blended with the notions of the cavalier on subjects of government. The men who were prepared to adore the King with all his faults, were as well prepared to discredit the Pope with all his virtues. Church and State as a rallying cry produced but the faintest echo in the hearts of such people; for those very Royalists who were willing to die for the supremacy of their temporal Sovereign, would not in all probability have[244] raised a finger in support of a dominant church. The New England Provinces had rarely shown backwardness in sending their sons to the wars. Such alacrity was stimulated by sentiment as well as by reason. The latter had its foundation in thrift, while the former took its rise in theology. Reason was soothed because the enemy to be encountered spoke the language of France. Sentiment was gratified because the faith he professed was the religion of Rome. Those Provinces, at the close of the revolutionary war, contributed many settlers to Canada, who soon showed the quality of their training in letters and in religion. By the help of the former, they filled with advantage some of the best offices in the country; and by means of the latter, they could make the renunciations and express the anathemas which the Crown required of its most trusted servants.

In referring to such subjects as oaths and tests, it is important to keep in mind the period wherein they were exacted, for, besides the laws, the public opinion of those times had much to do with the matter. Apart from the question whether the policy of a state be wise, it is commonly expected that it should be uniform. The Duke of Newcastle, for example, in 1860, from this point of view rebuked the Orangemen of Kingston. When His Grace said that the Heir apparent could not consistently smile on Orange processions in Canada and frown at them in Ireland, he stated, as we apprehend, a principle which was as applicable half a century before as it was then. The question of residence made no alteration in the relation which the Orange society bore to the State in 1860; neither at an earlier period did the question of residence make any difference in the character of the allegiance which the Roman Catholic subjects of the Crown owed, and were required by the law to pay to the Sovereign.

Without dwelling on such subjects, for they are not pleasant subjects, it may be observed that with so many elements of antagonism between the two races, it says much for the wisdom with which[245] the minority ruled, and much for the patience with which the majority endured, that, at this day, dispassionate persons concur in admitting that the laws were partial and oppressive, because the times, or the supposed necessities of the times, made them so. The government was necessarily exclusive because the laws were absolutely exclusive. But had those harsh laws been harshly administered, the evils to which we have referred would have been immeasurably increased. That they were not so increased may be attributed to the truth of the old adage, that good Judges are better than good laws, since bad laws well administered are better than good laws not administered at all. Of the numerous able, upright, and impartial men who have sat on the judgment seat in Lower Canada, a foremost place is by common consent given to Chief Justice Sewell, whose history and career possess a more than average share of interest.

In the year 1783, a recruit of English parentage, impelled in part at least by chagrin, enlisted in the 54th Regiment of the Line, at that time quartered in New Brunswick. Five years afterwards, an officer of noble birth, for various reasons, including personal disappointment, exchanged from his own to the Corps above mentioned. At the last named period, the recruit had become the sergeant-major, and the officer the senior major of that Regiment. The former was the clever and eccentric William Cobbett, and the latter was the chivalrous and misguided Lord Edward FitzGerald, whose name is associated with a futile effort to redeem a bad cause by a melancholy sacrifice—the sacrifice of his reputation and his life.

It was, we believe, in consequence of a bet made at his Regimental mess, of which the subject of this sketch was at that time an honorary member, that Lord Edward FitzGerald started on the 10th February, 1789, to walk from Fredericton to Quebec, where he successfully arrived on the 14th of the following month. His Excellency, Lord Dorchester, was at that time, and for several[246] years afterwards, the Governor-General of Canada. In the course of their friendly intercourse, it may be conjectured that Lord Dorchester expressed an opinion on the opening which the new era in the history of the Province offered to young men of ability, and especially to those whose profession was the law. Whether he did so or not, it is certain that on the advice of Lord Edward FitzGerald, transmitted from Quebec, Mr. Jonathan Sewell left New Brunswick for Canada, where, in the course of time he became one of its most distinguished jurists, and, we may add, the founder of one of its most influential families.

It is pleasant to observe with what a settled tenacity the name of a family attaches itself to and becomes associated with a traveller's recollection of a place. Change and decay, succession and renewal, continually go on, but though the tourist is aware that the people are not, he also knows that the family is the same; neither does he see wherein it differs now from what it was then; for features and expression, like leaves and flowers, repeat themselves in succeeding generations. Thus observation appears to bridge the void of memory while nature renews what time destroys. The brook which from thirty hills flows so brightly in Tennyson's rhyme, in its local attraction not inaptly resembles a family whose name has become as it were a part of a place. Indeed the ways of a race, like those of a rivulet, are strangely similar. Both may be said to brighten a locality with their presence, and the manner of their doing so, according to the poetic rendering, is not unlike. Each in its way may "sweep the sedges" with forbearance; both after their manner may "chatter over the shallows" with condescension, or glide with silent grace through the "longer reach" of some favored farm. No matter, however, whether it be a family or a brook, a name or a stream; whether its course be rapid or still, garrulous among the rocks, or serious amidst the fields, the song of succession, whether murmured by nature or hymned by humanity, is identical. Each expresses its challenge[247] in the flowing language of the Laureate, and both may do so with equal truth, in the same words of indifference;

"For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever."

Jonathan Sewell, the founder of the Canadian branch of the family of that name, was the eldest son of Jonathan Sewell, Esq., the last Attorney-General of the Province of Massachusetts, by his wife Esther de Quincy, a member of a much esteemed Boston family. The New England ancestor of the "Sewalls," as the name is written by American historians, was Henry, who emigrated before the middle of the seventeenth century, as in 1646 he married a Miss Jane Dunmer, a resident of that Province. He died in his native country. Samuel, the second son of the last mentioned, served in several offices of distinction, and rose to the dignity of Chief Justice of Massachusetts. In passing we may remark that "the silver nuisance" must have been as rife in the British American Provinces of that day, as it is at the present time, for it is related of the last mentioned Chief Justice that his wife's dowry of £30,000 was paid to him in sixpenny pieces. Jonathan, the father of the subject of this sketch, was the grandson of the first Stephen Sewell, who we infer was a younger son of Henry, the founder of the American family. Of course, Jonathan Sewell, the last Attorney-General of the Province of Massachusetts, belonged to the "blue blood" of America. He was a Royalist who abandoned his possessions and followed the flag which his country had disowned. He left America for England in 1775, and was subsequently appointed Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court of Nova Scotia. It was he who, in visiting the burial place of his ancestors, found that the name of Sewell was spelled with an "E" instead of an "A," and therefore he adopted the earlier and more correct style.

How long Henry, the American ancestor of the race, had resided[248] in the New England Provinces before his marriage, in 1646, or whether he had been previously married, we have no means of knowing, neither have we any right to assume that he belonged to that turbulent republican party whose leaders, in the persons of Hampden, Pym and Oliver Cromwell, were prevented from emigrating nine years before that date. Still there is some reason to suppose that the vehement Protestantism of that extreme party was attractive to the first emigrant. The time of his leaving England, as well as his place of destination, favor the supposition that the puritans were his friends. This impression receives confirmation from the following curious and instructive letter written by the Protector, Richard Cromwell, in behalf of Henry Sewell, who we assume was the son of the first emigrant and probably by a former marriage. The letter may be found in the appendix to Governor Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts.

To the Government and Magistrates of the Massachusetts Colony in New England:

Loving Friends,—We, being given to understand that Henry Sewell of Rowley, in New England, died about four years since, possessed of an estate of lands and goods in the Colony aforesaid, and that the said estate did and ought to descend to his only son, Henry Sewell, minister of North Baddesley, in the County of Southampton, in England, who, purposing to make a voyage unto New England, there personally to make claim to his said estate, hath desired our license for his absence, as also our letters commendatory unto you, that when (by the help of God) he shall be arrived in New England, he may have speedy justice and right done him concerning the said estate, that so he may the sooner return to his ministerial charge at North Baddesley; and he being personally known to us to be laborious and industrious, and very exemplary for his holy life and good conversation, we do earnestly desire that when he shall make his address to you, he may receive all the lawful favor and furtherance from you for a speedy despatch of his business according to justice and equity, so he may the more expeditiously return to his said charge (through the blessing of God), his labors in the Gospel may be further useful and profitable, which we shall esteem as a particular respect done to us, and shall be ready to acknowledge and return the same upon any occasion, wherein we may procure or further your Government and welfare, which we heartily wish and pray for, and rest,

Your very loving Friend,


Whitehall, 28th March, 1658.


The subject of this sketch was born at Cambridge, near Boston, on the 6th June, 1766. His father, as we have said, was the last Attorney-General of the Province of Massachusetts. As a Crown officer and a Royalist, he resisted to the utmost those revolutionary proceedings which ended in the independence of the united Provinces. He naturally became obnoxious to the republican party, who shewed their respect for the liberty of speech and opinion by attacking Mr. Sewell's house, destroying its contents, and driving its occupants at the hazard of their lives to find a temporary hiding place in the dwelling of a friendly neighbor. Thus thrust from his home and despoiled of his possessions, the Attorney-General found himself in extremely straightened circumstances, without means, without an occupation, and almost without a hope. All was lost, but honor. With this single inconvertible possession the loyal refugee arrived with his family in England. The city of Bristol was selected for residence, at the grammar school of which place his son, the subject of this sketch, received his education. An incident occurred at that school which is worthy of note. One of the pieces selected for performance at the periodical recitations was Addison's grand play of Cato; the chief part being allotted to young Sewell, then in his sixteenth year. The audience included in its number the celebrated Mrs. Siddons. That gifted tragedian discerned and appreciated the talent of the young actor, and on the next day expressed her admiration in the following complimentary lines, which she sent to him:

The world is dull, and seldom gives us cause
For joy, surprise, or well-deserved applause.
Young Heaven-taught Sewell! I behold in thee
Sufficient cause for all the three.
Thy rising genius managed Cato's part
To charm away and captivate the heart.
'Tis rare for boys like thee to play the man,
There are but few in years who nobly can:
But thou, a youth of elegance and ease,
In Cato's person, to perform and please
Hast common youth and manhood both outdone,
And proved thyself dame Nature's chosen son.


On leaving the Bristol Grammar School, Mr. Sewell entered Brazen Nose College, Oxford, where he remained for a short time only. Mr. Chipman, afterwards Chief Justice of New Brunswick, and an old friend of his father's, suggested that his son should practice law in the British Provinces, and that he should study his profession under him. Thereupon he left Oxford, and in 1785 arrived in New Brunswick. In 1789, as we have already noticed, he removed to Quebec, where, on the 30th of October of that year, he was admitted to the Bar of Lower Canada. His early professional experiences were the reverse of encouraging. Indeed, he so thoroughly failed to attract clients, that his meagre earnings scarcely sufficed to furnish the common necessaries of life. Thus disheartened, he had taken measures for another removal, when he was unexpectedly retained in a cause of considerable importance. The ability with which he conducted the case, added to the success by which it was crowned, produced their usual effect. The smiles of the Bench, the congratulations of the Bar, and the confidence of the public seemed to meet together to give assurance to the career of the new advocate. From that time his practice became abundant, and his place in the profession established.

Not only was Mr. Sewell a profound lawyer, but he was a good dramatist, a fair musician, a critical student of poetry, and a very facile writer of verse. Having attained much efficiency as a violinist, he was chosen as the leader of the amateur band of the late Duke of Kent, when His Royal Highness, as commander of the forces in Canada, resided at Quebec. In connection with the subjects of music and poetry, we may here repeat an incident, which, though scarcely remembered by any one living, has been very exactly preserved. It was, we believe, in the year 1795, and on the day on which an amateur concert was to have been given at Quebec, at which the Duke of Kent had signified his intention to be present, that news arrived of the attempt to assassinate King George the Third, as that monarch was on his way to[251] open Parliament. It was at once determined by the amateurs that a vocal performance of the National Anthem should be given; on which occasion Mr. Sewell contributed some additional stanzas, the last of which we re-produce in this place because, apart from its poetic merit, it possesses a history of its own.

From every latent foe,
From the assassin's blow,
God shield the King;
O'er him Thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend
Our father, prince and friend,
Great George our King.

On the day on which the above lines were written, it so chanced that Mr. Cochran, who became Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island, and afterwards one of the Judges of Upper Canada, and who, we may add, was lost with all hands in the Schooner "Speedy," in Lake Ontario, when on his way to hold a Court in the Newcastle District, was dining in Mr. Sewell's company. That gentleman requested the author to give him a copy of the above lines. Mr. Sewell presented the pencil original, which Mr. Cochran placed in his pocket-book. Shortly afterwards the last named gentleman sailed for England where he studied, and for a few years practiced law. Three years afterwards, in 1798, Mr. Cochran was seated in the front row of the pit of Drury Lane Theatre, when Hatfield fired a pistol at the King, and, with such precision, that the bullet entered the roof of the Royal box. In the midst of the excitement which followed, Mr. Cochran recalled the fact that he had about him the lines we have quoted. He lost no time in sending them to Sheridan, who, we conjecture, was manager for the occasion, as he had previously disposed of his interest in the theatre. That gifted gentleman at once saw their appropriateness, and, taking his place in front of the curtain, announced that the National Anthem would be sung by the whole house. Amidst rapturous applause the anthem,[252] in obedience to as many requests, was three times repeated, and each time with the lines already quoted. On the following day the impromptu stanza was, as a matter of course, attributed to Sheridan. Though the erroneous impression was at once corrected by Sheridan in a letter under his own signature; though Mr. Cochran narrated the circumstances under which they were written and how he came by them; and though they were criticised, commented on, and attributed on the authority of Mr. Cochran's letter "to a gentleman in America," such explanations seem to have availed but little. The correction does not reach those who have been misled by the first statement. Thus in the case under review, we find on reference to Beeton's Dictionary of Universal Information, the lines are referred to, in the article on George the Third, as an impromptu of Sheridan's.

The friendship commenced between the Duke of Kent and Mr. Sewell, at the musical reunions of the former, was continued through life. In after years when, as the Chief Justice of Lower Canada, Mr. Sewell had occasion to revisit England, he found the Duke the same warm friend as when they separated in Canada. The following extract from a letter from Chief Justice Chipman to his friend and former pupil, Mr. Sewell, will help us to gather the Duke's impression of the latter in 1794. We shall have occasion to refer to some other evidence on the subject of his later opinions.

Fredericton, 15th July, 1794.

Dear Jack,—You will see by our newspapers if any of them ever reach Canada (?) that Prince Edward has paid us a visit from Halifax, and that I had the honor of entertaining him in the city. All that you have said of him in your letters falls infinitely short of what I found him to be. He is without exception the most accomplished character I have ever seen. His manners are so dignified, and at the same time marked with so much affability and condescension; he discovers so much good sense, sound understanding, and so improved a mind, that I can find no bounds to my admiration of him; and you may be assured I was not a little gratified with the very handsome manner with which he expressed himself respecting you. He spoke of you in the most pointed terms of esteem and approbation; and said there was not a doubt you would soon succeed to the office of Attorney-General, as Monk would in all probability the Chief Justiceship of Montreal."


Though we anticipate the course of the narrative, we may mention in this place that in 1814, when in England, the Chief Justice published a pamphlet entitled, "A plan for the Federal Union of the British Provinces in North America," and also a tract, "On the advantage of opening the River St. Lawrence to the commerce of the world." His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent appreciated the importance of both projects, and gave Mr. Sewell great assistance in laying them before the King's Government. One of those great objects has been well nigh accomplished, and the other is supposed to be on the way to rapid completion. They were conceived by Colonial Statesmen, and they are sanctioned by Imperial Statesmen. The following extract from the Report of the Earl of Durham on the affairs of British North America, possesses a more than common interest, since it shows what opinions were entertained by the illustrious father of our gracious Sovereign upwards of fifty years ago on the subject of a "Federal Union of British America," opinions of which Her Majesty was possibly aware when on the 5th of February, 1867, in Her Speech from the throne, the subject of Her father's letter was recommended to the favorable consideration of the Imperial Parliament. The Earl of Durham said:

The views on which I found my support of a comprehensive union have long been entertained by many persons in these Colonies. I cannot, however, refrain from mentioning the sanction of such views by one whose authority Your Majesty will, I venture to say, receive with the utmost respect. Mr. Sewell, the late Chief Justice of Quebec, laid before me an autograph letter addressed to himself by Your Majesty's illustrious Father, in which His Royal Highness was pleased to express his approbation of a similar plan then proposed by that gentleman. No one better understood the interests and character of these Colonies than His Royal Highness. It is with peculiar satisfaction, therefore, that I submit to Your Majesty's perusal the important document which contains His Royal Highness' opinion in favor of such a scheme.

Kensington Palace, 3rd November, 1814.

My dear Sewell,—I have had this day the pleasure of receiving your note of yesterday with its interesting enclosure; nothing can be better arranged than the whole thing is, or more perfectly—and when I see an opening it is fully my intention[254] to hint the matter to Lord Bathurst, and put the paper into his hands, without however telling him from whom I have it, though I shall urge him to have some conversation with you relative to it. Permit me, however, just to ask you whether it was not an oversight in you to state that there are five Houses of Assembly in the British Colonies in North America. If I am not under an error there are six, viz., Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, the Islands of Prince Edward, and Cape Breton. Allow me to beg of you to put down the proportions in which you think the thirty members of the Representative Assembly ought to be furnished by each Province, and finally to suggest whether you would not think two Lieutenant Governors with two Executive Councils sufficient for an Executive Government of the whole, viz., one for the two Canadas, and one for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, comprehending the small dependencies of Cape Breton, and Prince Edward Island; the former to reside at Montreal, and the latter at whichever of the two situations may be considered most central for the two Provinces, whether Annapolis Royal or Windsor. But at all events should you even consider four Executive Councils requisite, I presume there cannot be a question of the expediency of comprehending the two small Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with Nova Scotia. Believe me ever to remain with the most friendly regard, my dear Sewell, yours faithfully,

(Signed) EDWARD.

The Report from which the above extract was taken was officially communicated to both Houses of the Imperial Parliament on the 11th February, 1839.

To return: Mr. Sewell was appointed Solicitor-General on the 5th October, 1793; Advocate and Attorney-General on the 15th May, 1795; and Judge of the Court of Vice-Admiralty on the 13th June, 1796. In this year he was elected to the House of Assembly for the borough of William Henry, which he continued to represent for three successive Parliaments. In September, 1796, he married Henrietta, the youngest daughter of Chief Justice the Honorable William Smith, who survived him, and by whom he had a numerous family. In May, 1808, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Province of Lower Canada, and President of the Executive Council. The latter office he relinquished in 1829. In January, 1809, he was appointed Speaker of the Legislative Council, where he continued to preside to the day of his death. In 1832 the degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by Harvard University. Such[255] honors are generally cherished by the recipient of them, but on that occasion they were rendered unusually conspicuous from the fact that Washington Irving received the like degree from the same University at the same time.

Before the application of the principle of Responsible Government to the Colonies, the powers of Colonial Parliaments were more illusive than satisfactory, more nominal than real. The irritation that arose in the minds of the representatives of the people as they compared their imaginary with their actual privileges was of a very acute kind. Besides the common disappointment which is felt by those who fail to attain what they desire to possess, there was superadded the more revengeful feelings which are cherished by those who consider themselves to be defrauded of what it was intended they should possess. Some persons will very probably be of opinion that in those days "tutors and governors" exerted a wholesome influence, and that the limitation in the exercise of power, however brought about, was not without compensation in its relation to the people at large. Men were only inclined to look at things as they were; and the result, which a plain view of the case afforded, was that representative government as then administered was government irrespective of the representatives. Feeling strong and being powerless, the House of Assembly of Lower Canada was constantly troublesome, and occasionally mischievous. It was especially so when it could harass the Executive Government, by an actual or a threatened impeachment of any of its officers. This process was not unfrequently resorted to, sometimes because it gratified popular prejudice, and sometimes because it soothed personal resentment. When, however, as in the case to which we are about to allude, the offender to be punished, belonged to what was jealously regarded as the obnoxious estate of the Legislature, then the course of popular justice became as animated as it was unfair. No matter what the issue, the prosecution to the individual was always associated with anxiety, and commonly followed by loss. The proceedings to which[256] we are about to refer were directed against one, who, unfortunately, united in his own person too much of the authority of government, for he was the President of the Executive Council; he was the Speaker of the Legislative Council, and he was at the same time Chief Justice of the Province. But besides these offices he was the head of the much abused Legislative Council, and the trusted chief of the much disliked British party. It was probably supposed that a blow, well planted in such a quarter, would strike a good many obnoxious interests. Hence it occurred, that when Mr. James, afterwards Sir James Stuart, initiated his charges, which were nothing less than the impeachment of the Chief Justice, he found himself to be sufficiently backed by the Assembly to shew a bold front and to make a bold fight. It was in the year 1814, says Garneau in his History of Canada, "that Mr. Stuart in his place in Parliament formally accused Chief Justice Sewell of having unconstitutionally usurped Parliamentary authority by imposing discretionary Rules of Practice." Thus challenged, the Chief Justice obtained permission to intermit his functions, and repair to England in order that the charges might be investigated before the only tribunal that could take cognizance of them. On his departure he received very cordial addresses from the members of the Executive and Legislative Councils, as well as from the merchants, and other influential people of Quebec. Having had a transport placed at his disposal by the Governor-General, the Chief Justice embarked at Quebec, and arrived in London in the month of June, 1814. He at once conferred with and put himself under the guidance of Mr. Charles Abbott, better known afterwards as Chief Justice, Baron Tenterden. That eminent lawyer, as we have been informed, at the first interview with his client clearly foreshowed the course the investigation would take, as well as the way in which it would terminate. The opinion then expressed was almost literally confirmed in the following year by the judgment of the Privy Council, as the annexed papers will sufficiently shew.


On the 30th January, 1816, the following message was sent by the Administrator of the Government, Sir Gordon Drummond, to the House of Assembly:

Gordon Drummond,
Administrator in Chief.

The Administrator in Chief has received the commands of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, to make known to the House of Assembly of this Province, his pleasure on the subject of certain charges preferred by the House against the Chief Justice of the Province, and the Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench for the District of Montreal.

With respect to such of these charges as relate to acts done by a former Governor of the Province, which the Assembly, assuming to be improper, or illegal, imputed by a similar assumption, to advice given by the Chief Justice to that Governor: His Royal Highness has deemed that no enquiry could be necessary, inasmuch as none could be instituted, without the admission of the principle that the Governor of a Province might, at his own discretion, divest himself of all responsibility, on points of political Government.

With a view therefore to the general interests of the Province, His Royal Highness was pleased to refer for consideration to the Lords of the Privy Council, such only of the Charges brought by the Assembly, as related to the Rules of Practice established by the Judges, in their respective Courts, those being points, on which, if any impropriety had existed, the Judges themselves were solely responsible."

A second message was sent to the Assembly as follows:

By the annexed copy of His Royal Highness' orders in Council dated the 29th June, 1815, the Administrator in Chief conveys to the Assembly the result of the investigation, which has been conducted with all that attention and solemnity which the importance of the subject required.

In making this communication to the Assembly it has become the duty of the Administrator in Chief, in obedience to the commands of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, to express the regret with which His Royal Highness has viewed their late proceedings against two persons, who have so long and so ably filled the highest judicial offices in the Colony. A circumstance the more to be deplored, as tending to disparage, in the eyes of the inconsiderate and ignorant, their character and services; and thus to diminish the influence, to which, from their situation and uniform propriety of conduct they are justly entitled.

The above communication embracing only such of the charges against the said Chief Justices as relates to their Rules of Practice, and as are grounded on advice assumed to have been given by the Chief Justice of the Province, to the late Sir James Craig; the Administrator in Chief has been further commanded to signify[258] to the Assembly that the other charges appeared to His Majesty's Government to be with one exception too inconsiderable to require investigation, and that that (namely the one against the Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench for the District of Montreal which states him to have refused a writ of Habeas Corpus), was in common with all the charges which do not relate to the Rules of Practice, totally unsupported, by any evidence whatever.

(Signed)          GORDON DRUMMOND.


At a Court at Carlton House, the 29th June, 1815.

Present:—His Royal Highness the Prince Regent.

H. R. H. the Duke of York, H. R. H. the Duke of Cumberland, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord President, Lord Privy Seal, Duke of Montrose, the Lord Chamberlain, the Marquis of Winchester, the Marquis of Wellesley, Marquis of Camden, Lord Howard, Earl of Chesterfield, the Earl of Harrington, Earl of Buckinghamshire, the Earl of Chatham, Earl of Liverpool, Earl of Chichester, the Earl of Mulgrave, Lord Charles Bentinck, Viscount Palmerston, Viscount Melville, Viscount Sidmouth, Viscount Jocelyn, Viscount Castlereagh, Lord George Beresford, Lord Arden, Mr. Wellesley Pole, Mr. Bothland, Mr. Long, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Whereas —— was this day read at the Board, a Report from the Committee of the Lords of His Majesty's most Honorable Privy Council, dated the twenty-fourth instant in the following words, viz:

Your Royal Highness having been pleased, by your order in Council, of the 10th December last, in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, to refer unto this Committee a letter from Earl Bathurst one of His Majesty's Secretaries of State, to the Lord President of the Council transmitting a copy of a letter, from Sir George Prevost, dated Quebec the 18th March, 1814, and forwarding an address from the House of Assembly of Lower Canada to your Royal Highness, with certain articles of complaint therein referred to against Jonathan Sewell, Esq., His Majesty's Chief Justice of the Province of Lower Canada, and James Monk, Esq., Chief Justice of the Court of Kings Bench for the District of Montreal; and also transmitting a memorial, from the Executive Council, Judges, in the Court of Appeals, and of the Puisne Judges of the Court of King's Bench for the District of Quebec and of the Court of King's Bench for the District of Montreal, in the said Province of Lower Canada, praying to be included in the examination and decision of the said articles of complaint together with the Petition of the said Jonathan Sewell, Esq., in which letter, the said Earl Bathurst requests that so much of the said complaint of the House of Assembly as relates to the Rules of Practice stated to have been introduced by the said Chief Justices into their respective Courts may be submitted to your Royal Highness in Council; in order that if Rules shall be found to have been introduced, it may be decided whether in so doing the said Chief Justices have exceeded their authority. The Lords of the Committee, in obedience to your Royal Highness' said order aforesaid, have taken the said letter and its enclosures into consideration, and having received the opinion of His Majesty's Attorney and Solicitor-General, and been attended by them thereupon, and having maturely deliberated upon the complaints of the said House of Assembly[259] so far as they related to the said Rules of Practice; their Lordships do agree humbly to report as their opinion, to your Royal Highness, the Rules which are made the subject of such complaint of the said House of Assembly of Lower Canada, against the said Chief Justices; Jonathan Sewell, Esq., and James Monk, Esq., which their Lordships observe were not made by the said Chief Justices, respectively, upon their sole authority, but by them in conjunction with the other Judges of their respective Courts; are all Rules for the regulation of the practice of their respective Courts, and within the scope of that power and jurisdiction with which, by the Rules of law, and by the Colonial ordinances and acts of Legislature these Courts are invested, and consequently that neither the said Chief Justices nor the Courts in which they preside have, in making such Rules, exceeded their authority nor have been guilty of any assumption of Legislative power.

His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, having taken the said report into consideration, was pleased in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, by and with the advice of His Majesty's Privy Council, to approve thereof, and to order as it is hereby ordered, that the said complaints, so far as they relate to the said Rules of Practice, be and they are hereby dismissed this Board.

(Signed)          JAMES BULLER.

The Chief Justice received at the same time the following letter.

Downing Street, July 23rd, 1815.


His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, having been pleased to refer to the consideration of a Committee of the most Honorable Privy Council certain articles of complaint against you and Mr. Monk, so far as related to the Rules of Practice, established by you in the Courts, in which you respectively preside, it has become my duty to communicate to you the results of that enquiry, which, having received the entire approbation of His Royal Highness, is expressed, in the order of which the enclosed is a copy.

"The officer at present administering the Government in Canada has received His Royal Highness' commands, to communicate this decision, to the House of Assembly, and in making this communication, to state the grounds upon which His Royal Highness has declined considering as articles of complaint against you the advice which you are at different times stated to have given to the preceding Governor of the Province. It is highly satisfactory to me to assure you that although His Royal Highness felt compelled, upon general principles, to exclude these particular charges from consideration, and thus to preclude you from entering on your justification, yet His Royal Highness entertains no doubt as to the general propriety of yours and Mr. Monk's conduct, or as to your being able to offer with respect to them a full and satisfactory explanation.


I am, &c.,

(Signed)          BATHURST.

J. Sewell, Esq., Chief Justice of Lower Canada.

Downing Street, July 27th, 1815.


I have had the honor of receiving your letter of the 24th instant, expressing your apprehension in that as the instructions transmitted to the officer administering the Government of Canada do not embrace any other charges brought against you and Mr. Monk than those which relate to the advice given by you to the Governor, and the Rules of Practice established in your respective Courts, the House of Assembly may be induced to consider you as not free from blame on the other points of charge not strictly falling in with that description.

As the letter addressed to the officer administering the Government of Canada bears testimony to the uniform propriety of yours and Mr. Monk's conduct, I do not conceive that there can be any ground for the Assembly to doubt that your justification is complete: but I am glad to have an opportunity of stating that the other charges, not specifically adverted to in my letter, appeared to be with one exception of too little importance to require consideration, and that (the one against Mr. Monk, which charges him with having refused a writ of habeas corpus) was as well as all the other charges, which are not founded on the Rules of Practice, totally unsupported by any evidence whatever.

I have the honor, &c.,

(Signed)           BATHURST.

J. Sewell, Esq., Chief Justice of Lower Canada.

Council Office, Whitehall, August 17, 1815.


Agreeable to the request signified in your letter of the 30th ult., I have the honor to enclose to you a copy of the order in Council dismissing the complaints of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, so far as they relate to the Rules of Practice, and with the names of the Lords present in Council when the report of the Lords of the committee respecting those complaints was approved.

The report of the Lords of the committee is entered at large in the copy of the order, but it is not the practice to insert the names of the Lords who make the report, yet as it is important that it should be known in Canada by what high legal authority the said report was made, I have it in command from the Lord President to communicate their names to you, and they are as follows:

The Lord President, Earl Bathurst, Lord Ellenborough, Sir William Scott, Master of the Rolls, Sir John Nichols, Lord Chief Justice Gibbs, Lord Chief Baron.


I have the honor, &c.,

(Signed) CHETWYND.

J. Sewell, Esq., Chief Justice of Lower Canada.


The Chief Justice returned to Canada in August, 1816. On landing at Quebec he received the unusual compliment of a salute from the Citadel, which must, as a matter of course, have been as pleasing to, as it was unexpected by him; for it was a salvo, to his ears at least, musical with victory.

After giving the charges at length, Christie in his History of Canada observes that

Chief Justice Sewell was an eminent lawyer, profoundly versed in the Civil Law and ancient Jurisprudence of the country as well as in the criminal Law of England, and withal a man of mild and agreeable manners, universally esteemed by the British community amongst whom he resided. But the other public stations which he occupied had mixed him up with the politics of the times, and subjected him as a political character to party obloquy. He however came from the ordeal unscathed, and lived to see Mr. Stuart in his turn carried away as Attorney General in the same torrent of prejudices which the latter had appealed to against him in those accusations savoring less perhaps of patriotism than resentment.

Having, on behalf of "the British commercial world in Canada" offered an opinion, which we shall not repeat in these pages, on the motives which actuated Mr. Stuart in these proceedings, Mr. Christie speaking of his elevation to the Chief Justiceship, and to a baronetcy on the recommendation of Lord Sydenham, says, "It does not appear that he (Sir James Stuart) has taken any steps towards rescinding the obnoxious Rules of Practice for which he impeached his worthy predecessor;" and Garneau observes: "That the Assembly on its side departed from the charges made against the judicial practice of Sewell and Monk to the great displeasure of Mr. Stuart, who considered that his friends had betrayed him in the case."

If such were Mr. Stuart's opinions at the time, it should not be forgotten that he corrected them afterwards. On succeeding the subject of this sketch in the office of Chief Justice, he not only adopted the Rules of Practice, to which he had formerly taken exception, but that eminent Judge religiously adhered to them as long as he presided on the Bench. It is difficult which most to admire, the compliment which Sir James offered to the wisdom of his predecessor,[262] or the atonement which he made for his own rashness. With all its shortcomings, our human nature not unfrequently discovers white spots on which it is pleasant to linger. It is instructive, as well as encouraging, to meet with a decidedly great man who can so humble himself as to trample his arrogance and self-will in the dust, and make his atonement in the very place wherein he had promulgated his offence.

We have dwelt at some length upon this trying passage in Mr. Sewell's history. It seemed not only to involve the reputation of a Judge, but it included the prerogative of the Courts and the purity of the springs of justice. Happily, besides being "doubly armed," the assailed was one whose legal and moral strength were equal to the emergency. The career of the Chief Justice was, thenceforward, comparatively speaking, calm and equable to its close. In 1838, the hand of time had touched him, for the pressure of age was making itself felt. Health and strength were evidently giving way, and from a sense of duty he sought for and obtained Her Majesty's permission to resign his high office. On the recommendation of His Excellency the Right Honorable the Earl of Durham, he received on his resignation a pension of £1000 per annum. The arrangement for closing gracefully a long career of faithful service must have been very noiselessly carried out, for, at the end of the then next October Term, he excited the surprise and regret of the Bar by addressing them and the Court generally, in the following graceful and pathetic terms:

Before I quit this seat, I wish to address a few words to you, my learned brothers, and to you gentlemen of the bar.

The state of my health having of late put it out of my power to render that assistance in the execution of the duties of the bench, which I have heretofore been able to afford, I deemed it my duty to tender my resignation of the office of Chief Justice of the Province to His Excellency the Governor-General, and he has been pleased to accept it.


All partings from friends are painful, and, had I consulted my own feelings on this occasion, and those only, I should have retired from the bench in silence. But the recollection of the uninterrupted harmony which has subsisted between us, during a long period of thirty years, in which I have had the honor to preside in this Court, would not suffer me to think of so cold a separation,—I have therefore detained you, that I may avail myself of this opportunity, briefly, but sincerely to assure you that I carry with me into retirement the same feeling of esteem and respect for the profession at large, which I have ever entertained,—a grateful sense of the conduct which I have experienced from you on all occasions,—and of the able aid and assistance which from you my learned brothers, and from you, gentlemen of the bar, in your respective stations, and in the excercise of the arduous duties of this tribunal, I have invariably received.

Accept my most sincere thanks for the past, accompanied by my best and earnest wishes for health, prosperity, and happiness in future; and allow me to hope that I shall carry with me into private life your continued esteem and friendship.

With these sentiments, which are deeply impressed upon my mind, and which I shall retain during life, I respectfully take my leave of you, my learned brothers, and of you gentlemen of the bar, and bid you all farewell.

To which the Bar, under the same date, returned the following complimentary answer:

May it please your Honor:

Upon your retirement from the Bench of this Province, we feel that the Bar, over which you have so long presided, would be wanting in duty if we failed to acknowledge the sense which we entertain of your judicial character, and to reciprocate the expressions of kindness with which you bade us farewell.

Having been elevated to the Bench at a time when the study of law was in its infancy in the Colony, and when in the disturbed state of Europe, it was difficult for the Provincial Lawyer to procure even the elementary works; it is satisfactory to you to consider what has been achieved during your time, in advancing the knowledge of sound jurisprudence, and we owe it to you to acknowledge how much you have personally contributed towards this improvement.

Your unwearied and never-failing attention to your judicial duties, and your characteristic ardor in the pursuit of knowledge, need no testimony from us, as they have been proved by the honorable distinction of Doctor of Laws, which a distinguished university in the neighboring States has conferred upon your merits.

We acknowledge with pleasure the great urbanity of your demeanor towards the bar, both at Chambers and before the Courts; and you have proved by your conduct towards us, that the official rank and station of the Judge are only heightened by the courtesy and bearing of the gentleman.

We feel that a long and laborious public life like yours requires repose; and in parting from you as Chief Justice of this Province, we sincerely wish that the evening of your days may be serene and in the full enjoy[264]ment of private life, and health and happiness always attend you.

Quebec, 20th October, 1838.

(True copy,)              J. CREMAZIE,

But another and a more solemn leave taking was drawing on apace. One year had scarcely elapsed since his earthly Sovereign had marked his services with the reward of faithfulness, when he was required by the King of kings to give back the life he had been appointed to keep. Thus, on the 12th November, 1839, with the courage which had distinguished him as a judge, and the faith which had supported him as a Christian, he passed to that supreme Enquête, for which he had striven to direct his thoughts and discipline his life.

The lives of distinguished men not unfrequently instruct us by what they avoided doing, as well as by what they did. Wilberforce, for example, once surprised the House of Commons by the suddenness as well as the sharpness of his satire. "Who would have suspected it?" said one of the veterans of that body. "That does not surprise me so much," answered another, "as that he should have possessed and not have used such a weapon." A similar remark, with the like truth, might have been made of Chief Justice Sewell. Besides being a profound lawyer, he was by habit and education an acute observer, a keen satirist, and an accomplished wit. Yet, like Wilberforce, few would have supposed that he possessed such weapons had not the shimmer of them been seen on one or two occasions. Erskine's anecdote of the bundle of hay between two asses, and what became of it, is altogether eclipsed by the Quebec rendering of the same fable. The occasion was the following. When delivering his judgment, the Chief Justice was suddenly interrupted by an eager, impetuous, but over-anxious barrister, who with florid earnestness, shouted, rather than said, "May it please the Court, I am perfectly astonished at your Honor's last judgment. Your Honor must remember that the Court a few terms since decided such and such a case, directly in the opposite way though the premises were exactly the same. If the Court is to act in this arbitrary manner, the office of the advocate is at an end; for myself I feel like the ass between the two bundles of hay," and [265]then the advocate sat down. The venerable Chief Justice, having listened to the barrister with that attention and dignity of manner which were natural to him, took from its accustomed place his small gold eye-glass, and in his well-remembered manner, calmly adjusted it to his eye. Then amidst breathless silence, ludicrously restrained, he examined the whole Court. From the centre piece in the ceiling, his gaze travelled slowly round the cornices of the walls, then it circled the amphitheatre of seats from the highest to the lowest, until it became concentrated within the central enclosure, which is set apart for Queen's Counsel. Having satisfied himself thus far, the Chief Justice stood up and leaned over his desk that he might minutely scrutinize the Prothonotary's box, from which as from a focus the whole Court room seems to radiate; he resumed his seat, and restored his eye-glass to its accustomed place. Then amidst silence, as amusing as it was profound, the Chief Justice indicated the Barrister by name, who, rising as is the custom under such circumstances, heard himself addressed thus, "You must have perceived, Mr. Blank, that I have most minutely and with great attention examined the Court; but"—and there was a little pause—"I have been unable to discover the two bundles of hay." We need scarcely add that the unhappy Barrister shrank, like a telescope with shattered joints, into a state of sudden collapse, and the Chief Justice continued the business of the day.

The Chief Justice was a member of the Anglican Church, and a conscientious adherent of the reformed faith, but like his royal master, George the Third, he had, as we have been informed, opinions of his own with respect to one or two of the special offices of that Church. The Commination Service, for example, which is ordered to be said on Ash-Wednesday, was reverently but with a variation answered by him. Instead of the "amen," which the people are enjoined to repeat after each separate curse, as it is spoken by the clergyman, the subject of this sketch with great solemnity of manner, used audibly and devoutly to substitute the[266] words, "may he amend." Charity was superior to the "Ordinary," and the office. The law of love ruled, and let us hope, in the judgment of "the recording angel," excused the interpolation.

Besides being a courteous, not to say a courtier-like man, the Chief Justice was a polished as well as a fluent speaker. Thought borrowed charm from manner, and directness from expression, for his style was as graceful as his language was well chosen. As a Judge, he was supremely dignified, and his demeanor on the Bench went far towards securing decorum in the Court. He was accustomed to take an active interest in promoting the well-being of such societies and institutions, as, in his opinion, were calculated to advance truth, or promote benevolence. For many years, he was president of the Quebec Branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and by every means in his power, he sought to promote the circulation of the Holy Scriptures. Such was the Christian gentleman who, for fifty years, filled offices of the greatest responsibility under the Crown, and who necessarily at the same period exerted no inconsiderable influence in the political and social capital of Canada. All men respected him, though all men may not have spoken equally well of him. Those who knew him best, and were most competent to form just opinions of his character, remember with exquisite affection the excellencies that embellished his life. Endeared to his family by the tender charities of a righteous life; endeared to the poor by a benevolence which was only limited by his means; endeared to the learned by the treasures of his intellect; endeared to the young by his sympathy with youth; endeared to all by the variety of his talents, the charm of his conversation, and the kindness of his heart, it has been said of him, that whether at the Bar, on the Bench, in the senate, or in social life, he has left no superior.




The proudest motto for the young,
Write it in lines of gold:
Upon thy heart and in thy mind
The stirring words enfold;
And in misfortune's dreary hour
Or fortune's prosperous gale,
'Twill have a holy, cheering power—
"There's no such word as FAIL."

Comparatively few persons could repeat the title under which the Canard Steamship Company is incorporated. To an enquiry they would probably answer that they had only heard of it as the "Cunard Company." In like manner there are many to whom "The Montreal Ocean Steamship Company" is an unfamiliar phrase, but to whom "Allan's Line" are household words. In both cases the individual overshadows the act of Parliament; the corporate title of the company becomes merged in the name of the particular shareholder who is supposed to have originated its existence, to govern its organization, to incline its policy, and perchance to possess the greatest amount of its stock. Such appears to be the relation which Mr. Hugh Allan bears to "The Montreal Ocean Steamship Company," and such the reason why those steamships are for convenience called "Allan's Line."

To the advantage of being a Scottish youth, the subject of our sketch had the farther advantage of sniffing those saline breezes which bowl over the Atlantic from America, appropriating in their passage as much fog and moisture as they can carry, and then whirl and whistle their way up the Firth of Clyde to invigorate the [268]youth whom they do not destroy. Hugh Allan was born at Saltcoats in the county of Ayr, on the 29th September, 1810. Not only did he first see the light by the margin of the sea, but he came of a seafaring race, for his father, Captain Alexander Allan, was a shipmaster who for thirty years traded as such between the Clyde and Montreal. Two of his brothers were, in like manner, engaged in maritime pursuits. Like the majority of the youth of Scotland, Hugh Allan started early in the race of life, for he left school at the age of thirteen. He at once manifested the instinct of his family, for, like a young duck, he took kindly and naturally to the water. His own desire happily harmonized with the plan of life which his father had formed for him, for it seems to have been the wish of the former that his son, like himself, should be able to command a ship. In pursuance of this object that son was placed in a shipping office at Greenock that he might acquire some experience of the manner in which the accounts and papers of ships were kept. After a year thus spent he followed up his nautical education by sailing with, and under the command of, his father, and thus acquired an exact knowledge of practical seamanship. Such knowledge he afterwards supplemented by the study of navigation. But although he qualified himself for the calling which his father followed, such calling was not regarded as the chief end of his education. The study of seamanship, as it turned out, was only a prelude to the study of ships; and the qualification of shipmaster was only an introduction to the condition of ship-owner. It was not then, neither was it afterwards, sufficient in the estimation of the father that his son should know only how to sail a ship; he was anxious that he should know how to build one, and therefore it was that the attention of the latter was directed to the study of naval architecture, and the work of practical shipbuilding. As if these acquirements were insufficient, it was conjectured that a knowlege of ships without a knowlege of trade would at best be very imperfect knowlege, therefore it was shrewdly determined[269] after a conference between the father and son, that the latter should seek for a situation in some Canadian dry goods establishment. Whereupon he obtained employment in the firm of William Kerr & Co., who were then engaged in that trade at Montreal.

Having completed his engagement with Messrs Kerr & Co., he travelled through Canada and a portion of the United States, and then revisited his native land. This journey, we need hardly say, was performed in more respects than one with the traveller's eyes wide open, for the "chiel" took notes of what he saw. After a year's absence his plan of life was clearly and resolutely determined on. At the age of twenty-one he returned to Montreal, and became a clerk in the firm of James Millar & Co., who were not only commission merchants, but owners and builders of ships. Four years afterwards he was admitted as a partner, though as a junior, his identity was hidden under that mysterious commercial incognito, sometimes a fact and sometimes a fiction, but always a convenience, since it looks well as a pendant at the end of a name. However, in the case under review, the seniors, Messrs Millar and Edmonstone, possessed the unquestionable right to flourish a "Co." after their joint autograph, as Mr. Hugh Allan legally and by covenant represented the contraction. In 1838 Mr. Millar died, and the "Co." expired too; for Mr. Allan emerged from his chrysalis condition, and took a visible place as second in the firm of Edmonstone & Allan; which in the course of time, if we recollect aright, grew into Edmonstone, Allan & Co., and afterwards into Allans, Rae & Co.; under which names the firm is now known. We may here observe that although Mr. Hugh Allan had missed no opportunity of qualifying himself for the particular pursuit on which his mind was set, still when the Province was disquieted by the unhappy troubles of 1837-38 he laid aside seamanship and shipbuilding, served as a volunteer and rose to the rank of Captain.

In 1841 the re-united Province had subsided into a state of[270] comparative repose, and with the new order of things new wants, and what is more to the point, ships of a new class were needed. Thus a fair page in the book of experimental shipbuilding was opened, whose lessons were not diminished in value because they included requisitions to construct some notable steam vessels for lake and river service. It will be thus seen that Mr. Hugh Allan was, perhaps without being aware of it, educating himself for the position at which he has since arrived. His connection with the shipping office at Greenock had instructed him how to keep the accounts of ships. Under the best, or at all events under the most interested of instructors, he had acquired a knowledge of seamanship and navigation. Afterwards he studied the structure of ships, and built them in accordance with such study. Then he became the owner of ships; when his knowledge of trade, acquired in the manipulation of dry goods, helped him to make such ownership profitable. Knowledge and experience thus re-acted favorably upon one another, supplying him with nerve and pluck "to take the tide at the flood" when the enticing flood came. That it flowed to fortune was to have been expected, and we shall just note briefly the manner and direction of the drift.

In 1851 the problem had been established that screw steamers could be used with success and safety on the Atlantic, and it at once occurred to some of the acute minds of Canada that such steamers might be employed in the mail and passenger service between Liverpool and the St. Lawrence. Now as a volunteer in the Queens' service Mr. Hugh Allan was never suspected of the unsoldierly habit of sleeping at his post. Nor as a merchant, in his own service, has he ever been afflicted with that kind of blindness which we shall call commercial ophthalmia. He is thoroughly aware that "eternal vigilance" is the price of wealth as well as "of liberty," and therefore he had no difficulty in seeing what the Government of the day saw less clearly, that, in conjunction with his brothers, he could undertake the contract for the establishment of a line of such steamers, as the ser[271]vice and the country required. The administration, however, thought otherwise, and entered into an engagement with a Glasgow firm. The inability of this firm to fulfil the contract became at once apparent. The effect of such inability on the mind of Mr. Hugh Allan was not in the slightest degree distressing, for, taking counsel with his brothers, they very cheerfully set to work to build two screw steamers for the St. Lawrence trade. Before these vessels had an opportunity of tasting the flavor of Canadian waters they were chartered by the British Government for the Black Sea, and we have no doubt they brought, as they ought to have done, no small gain to their owners from that quarter of the globe. With the advantage in hand of two steamers built expressly for the route, with the further advantage of being able to point to the utter failure of the contractors who had been preferred before him, Mr. Hugh Allan was not without a strong case when the question of a new contract was opened. Nor was he disappointed; for the Canadian Government, and he as the representative of a company, entered into engagements mutually binding, which we believe have been mutually kept. A fortnightly service with four steamships was commenced in the Spring of 1856, and was succeeded by a weekly service in the spring of 1859, which we believe has been continued without interruption to the present time.

The point of success at which "Allan's Line" has now arrived has not been reached without the experience of almost unparalleled disaster, disaster more afflictive than the loss of property alone. The Company is, we are informed, its own insurer, and the pecuniary loss which the calamities we have referred to involved, was almost, enough to have dismayed a less resolute man than the subject of this sketch. He probably felt that when misfortune comes in battalions it does not come also in single files. As insurance companies are said to win their largest profits after the occurrence of the greatest fires, so Mr. Hugh Allan may have thought that seasons of almost uninterrupted[272] misfortune would in the case of his ships be followed by seasons of unbroken success. Such floating palaces are immense responsibilities to those who own and manage them, and especially to those who command and navigate them, for they not only throb with the wealth of the mine and the forge, but with warm, loving human hearts, dear alike to the old world and the new. While the recollection of "the perils of the deep" quickens one's pulse and makes one's pen falter, still, happily for our nature, hope is more dominant than memory. The lessons of experience have not been studied in vain, and we gather from present success pleasant auguries of future safety. May "the sweet little cherub" always sit up aloft and not only "look out for the life of poor Jack," but "have an eye" also to the property of Jack's master.

Besides the "Mail Line" to which we have referred, "The Allans" own an auxiliary Glasgow line of steamships, to say nothing of twenty-five sailing vessels of an aggregate tonnage of 20,000 tons. As we are informed, there are only three or four larger Companies of ship-owners in the world. This is saying a great deal for the boy born at Saltcoats, by the sea, who at all times and under all circumstances kept the course which his father and he had marked out together on the chart. All the bearings of that course inclined one way, and terminated in the point at which he has successfully arrived. He wished to be and he is an affluent owner of ships, and the chief proprietor in a Company which keeps constantly employed no less than three thousand men. He is also what he had less desire to be, the President of the Merchants' Bank of Montreal, as well as, what it should be very pleasant to be, one of the most influential members of the moneyed community in the Commercial Metropolis of what the Imperial Act informs us to be the Dominion of Canada.




The Canadian Parliamentary Companion informs us that the Honorable Ulric Joseph Tessier is the son of Michael Tessier, Esq., of Quebec, and that he was born in that city, in the year 1817. A small matter of detail, which has come to our knowledge, enables us to perfect the information of The Companion. The event occurred on the 4th May, in the above-mentioned year.

Young Tessier was educated at the Quebec Seminary, afterwards he studied law, and was received as a Barrister of Lower Canada, in 1839. The period at which he began to practice was, politically speaking, a very interesting one; but the lesson which the events of that era communicated to the even mind of the young advocate were, we incline to think, as useful as they were practical. He saw that failure had waited upon folly; and whatever may have been the inclination of his sympathy, his judgment probably instructed him that the disabilities of his countrymen could have been overcome without either failure or violence; and the course of events has, we think, established the accuracy of such opinion.

In 1845, and again in 1848, he was elected a member of the Quebec corporation, and in 1851 he was unanimously chosen Mayor by the aldermen and councillors, which office he filled until 1852. Those seven years of civic duty were by no means idle years. The information and experience which he acquired, though gained at a great expenditure of time and labor, proved of much value to him. After the terrible conflagrations in 1845, he acted as a member of the General Committee of Relief, of which th[274]e Hon. Mr. Caron was the chairman. He was for several years the chairman of the Finance Committee of the corporation, the duties of which he must have fulfilled with singular satisfaction, as no fault, to our recollection, was found with his management.

Having served the Municipal Parliament with success, it was natural enough that he should be requested to sit in the Provincial Parliament. He consented to do so, and was returned for Portneuf, and sat for that County from 1850 to 1853. The season of speculative Legislation had set in and railway, mining and other joint stock Companies were the attractions of the day. Corporations were instructed by acts of Parliament how they could borrow money; and by way of making such business easier, the Municipal Loan Fund of Upper Canada was established. Though a young member and a young man, Mr. Tessier regarded some of the above measures, and especially the one last mentioned, with great disfavor, and spoke and voted against its passage. His course at that time was very independent, and his votes were given irrespective of party considerations. Neither, as we think, need his present reflections on those proceedings give rise to regret, for his conduct has we believe, elicited the approval of many who then thought differently and gave currency to their opinions by voting as they thought. On the dissolution of that Parliament, Mr. Tessier did not offer himself for re-election. He abandoned politics for his profession, to which for a while at least he gave his more immediate attention. In 1854 he was elected President of the Institut Canadien, and in the following year he received the appointment of Professor of Law at the Laval University, which he still holds; receiving at the same time, the honorary degree of LL.D. In 1857 he declined an invitation to contest the county of Megantic; but he did not feel at liberty to excuse himself when the Corporation asked him to accompany the Mayor, Dr. Morrin, to England, to represent the claims of Quebec, to be selected as the permanent seat of Government for Canada. No doubt he and Dr. Morin as well as the delegates from Montreal, Kingston, and[275] Toronto, did their best for the cities by which they were accredited, and in which they were respectively interested; but it is amusing to note that Ottawa, the only competing city which sent no delegate, was the city chosen. The eloquence of the locality seemed at the time at least to have overruled all the eloquence of individuals, for the silent city was precisely the city that Her Majesty was pleased to honor with her choice.

In 1859 Mr. Tessier again entered political life, by becoming a candidate to represent the Gulf Division in the Legislative Council. This Division, besides being territorially the largest in the Province, includes the County of Rimouski, where, in right of Mrs. Tessier, who is the grand-daughter of the late Seignior of Rimouski and Orleans, the subject of this sketch owns very extensive landed estates. This fact, it may be conjectured, has given strength to his personal influence, for he has been twice returned for the Division, once by a majority of three thousand eight hundred and thirty, and once by acclamation.

Mr. Tessier, as we have said, is not, strictly speaking, a party man. He is thus enabled to give or withhold his support as the occasion, in his judgment, may seem to require. This independent position can only be taken by few; to assume it effectually, some accessories are highly desirable, if not absolutely necessary. Besides a right judgment, easy circumstances and a chronic balance in the bank are much to be wished for. Happily, Mr. Tessier can very gracefully sustain the independent character he has chosen. Belonging to neither of the two large parties which divide Lower Canada, his co-operation is courted by both, while his support is occasionally given to either. The principles of the Whigs are not his principles; but the place which is filled in the politics of England by that great governing party assimilates to the place occupied by him and his friends in the politics of Canada. It is the place of moderation, and therefore it is not unfrequently, and especially in stormy times, the place of control. Mr. Tessier is not, we inclin[276]e to think, disposed to exaggerate the wisdom of majorities; on the contrary he may occasionally agree with Grattan, "that rank majorities may give a nation law, but rank majorities cannot give law authority."

In 1862, in the formation of the Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte administration, Mr. Tessier accepted the office of Chief Commissioner of Public Works, an office which has been described by some as the grave of good reputations. What might have become of Mr. Tessier's fame, had he remained in office sufficiently long, we are not called upon to enquire. It is enough to say that it bore the short trial without damage or loss, and that when he retired from the administration in the following year, neither he nor his office, to the best of our belief, suffered prejudice by reason of their acquaintance with one another. During the greater part of the time in which he formed a part of the Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte administration, and in consequence of the illness of his senior, the Honorable James Morris, Mr. Tessier filled the post of leader of the government in the Legislative Council; and the impression which he made on the minds of members by his tact, temper and courtesy, were acknowledged in the autumn of the same year, when he was unanimously chosen as the Speaker of that Honorable House. It would not be proper were the writer to pen one word on the way, whether gracious or otherwise, in which Speakers preside over the deliberations of the Legislative Council; but it may not be considered indecorous to mention that those most competent to form an opinion on the subject, namely, the members themselves, expressed their sense of Mr. Tessier's services by giving him a complimentary banquet. The proceeding was as marked as it was unusual, and in its unanimity it pleasantly illustrated the force of an old adage that there are subjects on which "Whigs and Tories all agree."

Mr. Tessier did not affect to conceal his approval of the[277] principles of Confederation, as enunciated in the Quebec resolutions. Though his position of Speaker of the Legislative Council imposed silence upon him during the discussion of that question in Parliament, many will remember that he found the means of expressing his sentiments, and at the same time of showing his sympathy with those by whom they were shared, by giving a ball of marked significance to, and in honor of the Delegates from the Maritime Provinces. Besides its political meaning, the act was alike graceful and becoming, as the Division he represents is the "next parish" to New Brunswick. It was therefore only natural that a people, whom, politically, Mr. Tessier had found to be good neighbors, should, as the occasion offered, become personally his good friends.

Mr. Tessier possesses a calm and an even mind, as well as a courteous and a conciliatory manner, qualities whose value cannot be too highly prized by communities wherein a vigorous, and not unfrequently a noisy democracy clamors for pre-eminence. Like seltzer water in champagne, such influences qualify the effervescence without spoiling the wine. We have found it more easy to indicate Mr. Tessier's party by a color than by a name. We do not know, for example, whether, like a Tory, Mr. Tessier regards the suffrage as a property to be acquired, or, like a Whig, he accepts it as a trust to be administered, or like a Radical, he insists that it is a right to be enjoyed; but we do know that, regardless of distracting definitions, and apart from political formulas and political parties, Mr. Tessier desires by every means within his reach to consolidate the power of the Government, and to promote the happiness of the people.

Though chiefly engaged in his professional pursuits and political duties, he is no idler in his own community. For six years he has been a member of the Board of Agriculture, and has done what he could to popularize systematic and scientific culture in Lower Canada. In the interests of commerce he was a chief promoter of La Banque Nationale, and his services in this particular were recognized by his being unanimously chosen the first President o[278]f that Bank. He is an earnest advocate of the Intercolonial Railway, and by means of his writings he has done something towards making its advantages apparent. Nor have discussions on grave and economical subjects prevented his devoting some attention to the lighter forms of literature. If we mistake not, the Repertoire National is indebted for some contributions in the forms of novel or allegory to the subject of this sketch. Mr. Tessier is neither a stoic of the woods nor an idler of the town. In either place he is a worker. Extremes do not attract him; he believes in the value of moderation, and he fashions his life in accordance with this belief; for he requires not to be informed that

Who grips too hard the dry and slippery sand,
Holds none at all, or little, in his hand.




Whether the secession on the eighteenth of May, 1843, of the "non-intrusion" members of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland necessarily included a similar act in Canada, is a subject on which we believe very great difference of opinion exists. There can be no doubt that the question out of which the main issue arose must have been in the highest degree moving to the Scottish mind, for Lord Jeffery, who was probably more a politician than a theologian is reported to have exclaimed within an hour after the event had taken place, "Thank God, for my country, there is not another on earth where such a deed could have been done." To others the same event must have been exquisitely mournful; for a church broken into fragments is a spectacle too sad for thankfulness. Underlying the popular question of purity, there was in Scotland, much ill-concealed heat, some envy, and a good deal of uncharitableness, which did not in an equal degree extend to Canada. Moreover, men cannot keep their anger for ever; and hence, as we are informed, there are now amongst us earnest Free Church men who are as ardent for the union of the Scotch Church in this Province as they were formerly clamorous for its separation.

Whether the Seceders in Canada needed that their zeal should be fired with the enmities that had put Scotland in a blaze, we are unable to say; neither do we know whether the more ardent of them took measures to attract to this Province any of those meteoric luminaries who labored for and brought about the disruption. All that we are able to record is that two years afterwards one of the eloquent and conspicuous advocates of the Free Church[280] arrived in Canada in the person of the subject of our sketch.

The Revd. Robert Burns, Doctor of Divinity, was born on the 13th February, 1789, near the small seaport town of Borrowstowness on the Firth of Forth. Having for nine years been a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he was, in the month of March, 1810, licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of that city. On the 19th of July of the following year he was ordained a minister of the Church of Scotland, and appointed to the charge of St. George's Church in what is called the Low Parish of Paisley. In 1828, and during the tenure of his ministry of thirty-four years in that Parish, he received from the University of Glasgow the diploma of D.D. In 1843 he seceded from the Church of Scotland, and in 1845 he determined his connection with his congregation at Paisley and sailed for Canada. He had however previously seen the Province, for in 1844 he was associated with Principal Cunningham, the Reverend George Lewis, of Ormiston, and the Reverend William Chalmers, now we believe of London, on a mission to the United States and Canada in behalf of the building fund of the Free Church. From 1845 to 1856 he was the minister of Knox's Church, Toronto, and from the last mentioned year to 1866 he filled one of the theological chairs of Knox's College, Toronto. Latterly he has been relieved of one half of the duties of that chair by the temporary appointment of acting Professors, and by the recent election of the Revd. Professor Caven.

The Reverend Dr. Burns, besides being an earnest preacher, has also been a diligent writer, and on subjects not wholly theological. In 1813 he made his bow in print as the author of an essay on the propagation of Christianity in India. In 1817 he published a letter to the Revd. Dr. Chalmers, then of Glasgow, "On the Distinctive Features of Protestantism and Popery." In 1818 he published an octavo volume of "Historical Dissertations on the Poor of Scotland," a work, as we have been told, of considerable research, though it was, as we remember, somewhat sneeringly criticised by the[281] Doctor's clear-headed countryman McCulloch. In 1824 his righteous soul was vexed by the appointment of Principal Macfarlan of the Glasgow University to the High Church Parish of that city. This double living on the part of the Principal provoked the publication by the Doctor of a work "On Pluralities in the Church of Scotland." Ten years afterwards he was summoned before a Committee of the House of Commons appointed to inquire into the state of Church Patronage in Scotland. His evidence on that occasion was very elaborate, and fills a by no means unambitious place in the Blue Books. In 1842 Dr. Burns published a life of Professor Macgill of Glasgow, with sketches of the Church controversies of the time.

Besides these and other minor publications, Professor Burns patiently devoted himself for nearly three years to the duty of editing a new edition of "Wodrow's History of the sufferings of the Church of Scotland" with a preliminary dissertation, a life of the author, and many biographical and historical notes. Besides the interest which attaches to the work itself, the editor in prosecuting his labors, succeeded in literally rescuing from the dust, and the accumulated neglect of a century, not fewer than fifty volumes of manuscripts more or less valuable, and on subjects of curious interest. These volumes for the most part were transferred to the Advocates Library at Edinburgh, from which some valuable and many curious papers have been published, including "The Analecta," in three volumes quarto, by the Maitland Club, and "The Wodrow Correspondence," in three volumes octavo, by the Wodrow Society. The discoveries to which we have alluded appear to have produced their usual effect on the Professor's mind. The taste of the antiquary underlied the habit of the divine, and the combined influence of the two characters created a desire for archæological research which was not destined to end in disappointment. About this time he had access to some of those curious nooks and crannies which are to be found in many of the old houses of Scotland, and which in a very antique form seemed to abound in the family residence of the Ardeers in Argyllshire. A[282] large collection of classical and a curious one of theological works was brought to light. These books had formed a portion of the household stuff of a worthy covenanter, an ancestor of the Warner family, who, a century and a half before, had removed from Holland to Scotland. Whether the pious covenanter found the books to be more profound than attractive we have no means of knowing, but they had evidently been better cared for than read, as they had lain untouched from the time of their arrival until Professor Burns laid his disturbing finger upon them. Some of the books have since found their way to the Library of Knox's College, Toronto, but the greater part remain among the literary treasures of the ancient family of Warner of Ardeer. Could the subject of this sketch renew his youth, it is, we think, very probable that he would make an effort to originate a crusade on the garrets and cellars of the nobility and gentry of his native land, and from those suspected depots of literary lore perchance discover materials of which the Heralds' College knows nothing, for a new quartering to many an old escutcheon. But in assuming the habit of an antiquarian crusader he would by no means lay aside his character of a Christian missionary. The auxiliary relish would not extinguish the higher taste, neither would his efforts to add to the treasures of human wisdom abate one jot from his exertions to increase the sum of human virtue. Professor Burns, as we have been informed, was mainly instrumental in founding "The Colonial Society of Glasgow," whose chief work was to send ministers, school teachers and books to the British American Provinces. From 1825 to 1840 he was chief Secretary to that Society, and we may add it was not long after the last mentioned period that his missionary longing took an active form, for he too became a minister in those scenes which for fifteen years he had been officially required to study and observe.

The law of conscience and the office of conscience, as exponents and interpreters of divine truth, appear to receive from Professor Burns a degree of res[283]pect which excites admiration even while it occasions perplexity. Truth is immutable, but our ability to apprehend what is true is limited, as well as unequal. Conscience is liable to infirmity, and therefore what are called conscientious convictions may be as much blemished with error as is the conscience from which they spring. Intellectual caprice as well as moral persuasion; the fervor of youth as well as the feebleness of age; the nature of our education, the bias of our books, and the character of our friends are among the numerous accidents which encompass our lives and give laws to our consciences. The earnest minister of the old Kirk at Paisley, for example, was doubtless as conscientious as was the same minister in after life at the Free Church, at Toronto, and yet between those periods there rolls a sea of religious separation, into which "the humble men of heart" might be well excused if they dropped some silent tears, since the storms of that sea have in part at least removed from them that sense of peace which "passeth all understanding." The unambitious scholar in the school of Christianity, if he do not wholly turn aside in his weariness from all inquiry, will probably find his comfort in the sublime sermon which was first preached on a Mountain of Syria, and which included in its touching beatitudes the promise of the divine adoption as their reward who promote peace.

Although Professor Burns is a minister of what has been termed the "dreary piety" of the Covenant, he is by no means a dreary man. On subjects polemical, we should in him look for a certain degree of ready belligerence which might be refreshing, and would be pungent. We should especially expect to see him incense his ecclesiastical chair with a vigorous hand, if a mitre were to approach too close to its cushions, or were the shadow of a crozier to pass between him and his pupils. He conceals no part of his opinions, and while he directs his special aversion towards Rome, he does not, we believe, allow his love to glow at the mention of Canterbury. Local tradition, parental example, education and social influences may have done much towards moulding his thoughts, influencing his affections, and training his aversions; yet they have done n[284]othing towards destroying his cheerfulness or abating his charity. He is not only a kind and a genial man, but his personal benevolence is as proverbial as it is systematic. "The love of money" is not one of his affections.

Though very aged, Professor Burns neither avoids the duties which are required of him, nor shuns the work which men would excuse him for shirking. He did, perhaps, more than any man towards the establishment of Knox's College, and he now labors assiduously in the College which he helped to found. Though he has no stated cure, he is always ready and willing to preach wherever his services are required. Indeed, so much is he impressed with the obligation which this duty entails, that, as we are informed, he occupies his college vacations in going from place to place, and preaching as often as eight and ten times in the course of a week. As might be expected of such an one, his faculty of memory is extraordinary, and it is particularly well furnished with the facts of sacred and secular history.

Warm in temperament, strong in prejudice and fearless by habit, he is we should think more quick than calm, more vehement than deliberative when duty calls him to sit in Church Courts. As one of many, his services in a General Assembly would be of more value than were he to sit alone on the judgment seat. In one case, his judgment is qualified and controlled by associates; in the other he would have only an opportunity of taking counsel of himself. His glowing temperment may be supposed to need those constitutional restraints to which Solomon alludes when he says "in the multitude of counsellors there is safety."




The Honorable William Hamilton Merritt was truly regarded as a remarkable man. His opinions were striking alike for their merit and their contrariety; and though sometimes paradoxical, they were generally attractive, and were always in harmony with his character. His heart and feelings, for example, were ardently British, while his manner and style of thought were eminently American. On questions of allegiance he knew no wavering; on questions of progress he knew no rest. On his duty to his Sovereign he did not permit himself to reason; on his duty to his Country he reasoned overmuch. In one aspect his course was silent, and pointed like the needle to the pole; in another it was restless, as if overwrought by exertion, or shaken by fatigue. His intellectual vagaries stood in the way of his leading men, while the peculiar independence of his perceptions prevented his following them; but though he might fail to control others he would not on that account cease to govern himself. He began life by anticipating the period of his own existence, for, as we learn, he discovered an impatience to glimpse, as an infant, the land whose topography and institutions he subsequently studied as a man; for, on the 3rd July, 1793, he inconsiderately made his appearance in the flesh at Winchester in the State of New York, when his parents were journeying from one British Province to another. In doing so, he incidentally paid the country which they had disowned, and against which he subsequently fought, the neat compliment of being born within its borders. He drew his first and we may add his last breath on a journey, for he died in the[286] state room of a steam vessel as he was passing through one of those grand artificial estuaries which mainly owe their existence in Canada to his energy and perseverance.

William Hamilton Merritt was the only son of Mr. Thomas Merritt, of Winchester County in the State of New York, a Royalist of the revolutionary time, and a Cornet in the Queen's Ranger Hussars. In 1781 this gentleman married a young lady of Charleston, South Carolina, who was beset with the desire to add "Merritt" to her pretty maiden names of Mary Hamilton. When her son was baptized, the names she had prized as a spinster, and pinned together as a wife, were blended anew, and in due season, with added honors, were transmitted by that son to another generation. In 1783 Mr. Thomas Merritt, with other Royalists, left the United States for New Brunswick, and ten years afterwards he with his family, removed from thence to Canada. After their arrival in this Province, young Merritt was sent to a school under the charge of Mr. Richard Cockle, at Ancaster, and afterwards to the Reverend Dr. Burns at Niagara. In 1808 he was entered as an undergraduate of Windsor College, Nova Scotia, where, unfortunately as we think, he remained but a short time. He left at the request of his uncle Mr. N. Merritt, to undertake the duties of supercargo in a vessel bound for the West Indies. His father, Mr. Thomas Merritt, appears to have been a gentleman of influence and consideration, for, in the year 1800, he received the appointment of Surveyor of Woods and Forests in Upper Canada, and three years afterwards that of High Sheriff of the Niagara District, which he retained until 1820. In 1812 he received a commission as a Major of Cavalry, and saw service in the war of that time.

To return to the career of his son. In 1810, on completing his engagement with his uncle, he returned to Canada. On 25th May, 1811, he received from Governor Gore a commission of Ensign in the Fourth Lincoln Militia. On 24th April, 1812, he was appointed by General Brock, a Lieutenant of the first troop of Niagara[287] Light Dragoons, and in the following year he received his commission of Captain from Sir Roger Hailles Sheaffe. He was present with General Brock at the surrender of Detroit, for which he had a medal, and, besides participating in almost all the stirring events on the Niagara frontier, he was engaged at the battles of Queenston, Stoney Creek, and Lundy's Lane, at the last mentioned of which he was made prisoner. In a Journal of Events kept by him during the war, and published in 1863, there are many interesting notes. Having in the first instance been disappointed in his expectation of being called on to raise a troop of Cavalry, he, on the 25th February, 1813, "went quietly home, entered into a contract for timber, and made more money in a week than he had done during the war." His gains seem to have put him in good spirits, for he adds: "I made a peace, the ensuing spring, in my own warm imagination." However the dream of peace was but of short duration, for General Vincent, then in command, commissioned him to raise a troop. The order was issued on the 11th of March, and on the 25th of that month his troop was reported for duty. Captain Merritt appears to have possessed a more than ordinary share of coolness and address. After the battle of Stoney Creek, for example, he was desired by Colonel Harvey to return to the field, and if possible find Major-General Vincent, who was supposed to be dead or wounded. "Whilst I was looking over the dead," he writes, "I was challenged by a sentry under old Gage's house. I was on the point of surrendering, as my pistols were in my hostlers, when I adopted the stratagem of inquiring in a peremptory tone, "Who placed you there?" at the same time I rode boldly up to the soldier. By my blue military coat he took me for one of his own party, and answered, "My Captain, who has just gone into the house with a party of men." "I then enquired if he had found the British General, and pulled out my pistol, which made him drop his gun. At that moment an unarmed man ran down the hill; I called him, when I had the good fortune to secure both and bring them off." "By m[288]y dress," he adds, "they took me for one of their own officers. The stratagem had succeeded once before, or I should not have thought of it." It was, he might have added, a new illustration of an old proverb, that "fortune favors the bold." At the battle of Lundy's Lane, having carried out some directions of Major Robinson's, for the recapture of the gallant Major-General Riall, who had been taken prisoner by the Americans, Captain Merritt got too close to and became entangled with the enemy, and was made prisoner by a party of soldiers of the 28th regiment. He was sent with fourteen officers, including Major-General Riall, and Captains Loring, Nelles, McLean, and Washbourne, to Schlosser.

The Journal, during this period, is neither a record of war nor a confession of misery. On the contrary, the discipline of restraint seems to have been attended with very exhilarating accompaniments, and as it turned out, with very important results. Cricket, in the day-time, when the weather was fine, and billiards when it was wet, followed by social junketings, or set balls in the evening, seem to have been the daily routine. The Journal narrates with evident approval, that the British captives very successfully cut out their American gaolers in the estimation of "the girls." Our hero, by the way, appears to have had an appreciative eye for "the girls," for we find two or three entries in the following style: "Part of our company went to church, heard a Baptist Minister preach. His discourse was on everything; could not comprehend his meaning; an abundance of fine girls there." On another occasion, we read: "Church in the morning, the Elder's sermon not very edifying, a large concourse of people, many beautiful girls." This discipline of bad sermons and beautiful girls, of things painful to the intellect and pleasant to the sense, appears to have resulted in the usual way. The doctrine of the preacher was treated as a puzzle, and given up, while the listener pleasantly resigned himself to a style of tuition which was apparently more agreeable and certainly more natural than the discourses[289] of the Baptist Elder. As an apparent result of the influence of "the girls," we learn that on a particular day the imprisoned Captain drew a bill on George Platt, Esq., of Montreal, for £50, and in the evening supped, "by accident," with Dr. Prendergast, ("afterwards my father-in-law,") the journal parenthentically adds. We are not informed who besides the Doctor was present at the accidental supper, but the words within brackets, coupled with some transactions which occurred on the following day, and which are thus narrated, "I got some clothes and toggery," go far towards filling up the hiatus. The entry about "clothes and toggery" is sententious in the extreme, and suggests on the part of the writer a settled determination to crown the accident with what disagreeable bachelors in their ignorance call a "calamity." The form of reprisal however, to which the "clothes and toggery" led had the advantage of being classical as well as poetical. Perhaps it was somewhat Sabinian in its nature, but it was Sabinianism purified and made picturesque by religion and civilization. From the place of his unwilling captivity, and without any apparent difficulty, he bore a willing captive home; for she who had met him by accident, as the enemy of her country, designedly and on deliberation, elected to live her life with him, and to accept him for her husband, irrespective of the risk of becoming, as she did become in due time, the mother of a large family of British subjects. The Journal of Events ends thus: "All the prisoners got their freedom by the closing of the war." Mr. Merritt reached home about the end of March, 1815, but not alone, as another register informs us. The "clothes and toggery," the suspicious successors of the "accidental supper," and the "chance-meeting with his father-in-law," had been turned to excellent uses; for, on the 13th of that month the released prisoner changed the form of his bondage by marrying "Catharine Prendergast," the only daughter of Doctor Prendergast of Mayville, in the State of New York.


The war had closed, but it was not difficult for our young dragoon to lay aside his sabre and to resume the more lucrative occupations of peace. On his arrival at St. Catharines, he commenced business as a merchant in partnership with the late Mr. Ingersoll, of that town. In the following year, while erecting mills on the Twelve Mile Creek, he discovered that the water was salt, whereupon, as we are informed, he sank a well, and established a salt manufactory, which he carried on for some years. It was while thus engaged that the idea of connecting lakes Erie and Ontario by means of a canal occurred to him. The advantage of such a work was sufficiently apparent. Was it practicable, and how might it be accomplished? were the only questions to consider. Though an unimpassioned enthusiast, the subject of this sketch was a persistent enthusiast; he was moreover, a calculating, sagacious and hopeful one, endowed with great shrewdness and singular common sense. In his character, he was dogged and determined; no discouragement could appal, and no opposition could intimidate him. For five years, from 1818 to 1823, he thoughtfully pondered over the grand project. Again and again, and at all seasons he traversed the country with a view to discover the most eligible route for the work, and it was only at the end of this apprenticeship of thought, that he communicated the result of his observations to Mr. Hiram Tibbetts, a surveyor and engineer, from whom he obtained a professional report of the country lying between the Chippawa river and the waters running into lake Ontario. On the 19th of June, 1824, "Geo. Keefer, Thomas Merritt, George Adams, William Chisholm, Joseph Smith, Paul Shipman, John Decow, William Hamilton Merritt, and others" were incorporated by act of Parliament, under the name of the "Welland Canal Company," with a capital of £40,000; divided into shares of £12 10s. each. The stock was subscribed and the work was commenced on the 30th November of the same year; and though much embarrassed by want of means, hindered by accidents a[291]nd obstructed by opposition, the prosecution of that work was not discontinued for a single day for the space of five years, nor until the canal was sufficiently completed for two vessels to pass from lake to lake. Such was the modest commencement of an undertaking which was destined to connect and utilize the inland seas of North America; to perfect the navigation of the most beautiful among the magnificent rivers of the world; and to place the name of its projector on the roll of honor with the names of men great and illustrious, who have succeeded in rectifying some of the vagaries of nature and of bending their caprice to the laws of art.

From an interesting report of the first directors, written, it is said, by the present Bishop of Toronto, and presented to His Excellency Sir Peregrine Maitland, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada in 1825, we shall make one or two extracts. After speaking of the route selected, and adding words of compliment to Mr. Merritt for the ardour with which he pursued his object, the report goes on to explain in the following words the wonderful results the work was calculated to effect.

Darby, one of the most faithful of geographers, who never published a map until he had traversed on foot the country which it represents; estimates the Valley of the St. Lawrence above the Falls of Niagara, exclusive of the Lakes, at 186,700 square miles, to which we may add the Valley of the Ohio containing 226,000 square miles when the canal now cutting between that river and Lake Erie shall be finished. Thus the commercial intercourse between the sea, and upwards of 400,000 square miles of fertile land, must pass through the Welland Canal or the smaller one belonging to the State of New York. When this fact is considered, the first idea that strikes us is the impossibility that the produce of countries so vastly extensive can pass through these two Canals, and the necessity that must soon arise for opening other communications to meet the increase of commerce; but as no other can be made with any prospect of success except by the straits of Niagara, the Welland Canal need fear no competition. The reader will have a more distinct conception of the magnitude of the intercourse that soon must be carried on through these two Canals by supposing Great Britain, Spain, France and Germany to be so situated that all their intercourse with other nations must come through one narrow valley admitting only two or three convenient Roads or Canals. Such a supposition gives a vivid image of what must be the case at [292]the straits which divide Lake Erie from Lake Ontario, and will enable us to form some estimate of the ships and boats that must pass through these Canals bearing the riches of the Western World to the Atlantic Ocean. Nor are these countries in a state of nature, and without inhabitants; they are indeed thinly peopled in proportion to their extent, but nearly three millions are scattered over them; and from the known rapidity of the increase of population in new countries, the period is at hand when the quantities of produce will be so great as to compel an enlargement of the present dimensions of the canal, great and magnificent as they are.

It has been found from experience that when Agricultural produce has to be carted one hundred and thirty miles it ceases to be worth raising, as the expense of bringing it (a barrel of flour for example) so far, added to that of raising it, exceeds or equals what can be obtained for it in the market; hence, at this distance a check is put upon Agriculture and the improvement of any country. It has also been found that water communication, such as that which the Welland Canal opens, is to land carriage as 1 to 25, consequently commodities can be conveyed by Canal and Lake navigation 3,250 miles as cheaply as one hundred and thirty by cartage. But as one hundred and thirty miles of land carriage ceases to be profitable, let us take the limit of 100 miles at which a positive advantage accrues, and then a ton will be carried by water 2500 miles at the same rate at which you can wagon it 100 miles. In applying these facts, deduced from experience, to North America, we see the certainty of improving countries which, but for this, must for ever have remained in a state of nature, totally inaccessible to civilized man; and discover grounds for believing that all the productions of the Upper Valley of the Mississippi, the settlement of which is now commencing, will be conveyed to the Ocean by the Welland Canal, thus opening a further extent of country of 225,000 square miles.

Again the report adds, "No work in Europe or in Asia, ancient or modern, will bear a comparison with it in usefulness to an equal extent of territory, and it will only yield to the Canal which may hereafter unite the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean through the Isthmus of Darien."

Having thus accomplished the grand achievement of flanking the Falls of Niagara, the difficulty was a minor one of outmanœuvring the rapids of the St. Lawrence by building canals abreast of their wild and irresistible waters. In 1832 Mr. Merritt introduced a report having for its object the construction of Ship Canals along the St. Lawrence. We need only add that by whomsoever suggested, the project has long since been carried out.

In 1845 he projected the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge, which was successfully built, and he continued to be the President of the Company until his death. In 1847,[293] he obtained a charter for the incorporation of the Welland Railway Company, which by his great exertions and the lavish expenditure of his private means was opened for traffic two years afterwards. In his later years he endeavored to promote the establishment of a line of Propellers between Chicago and Quebec with a view to divert a portion of the Western trade through Canada viâ the St. Lawrence, instead of through the United States viâ New York as at present. In 1846 he pointed out the effect of the trade measures of the British Government on the trade of Canada, and suggested in common with other writers, the remedy which in the shape of the Reciprocity Treaty was applied in 1854.

Mr. Merritt first sat in the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada for the County of Haldimand in 1832. After the reunion of the two Provinces, he was returned for Lincoln, for which County he continued to sit until 1860, when he was unanimously elected to represent the Niagara Division in the Legislative Council. On the 15th September, 1848, he accepted the office of President of the Council in the Lafontaine-Baldwin administration. On the 9th April, 1850, he was appointed Chief Commissioner of Public Works, which office he resigned on the 11th of February following, when he retired from the government. Mr. Merritt was probably never less happy as a public man than when, as a member of the Provincial Administration, he was burdened with responsibility. The restraints of office were, we incline to think, in the last degree irksome to him. He had accustomed himself to speak when he liked, to say what he thought, and to do as he pleased; and the obligation, therefore, of speaking by the card and in accordance with the decisions of Council, must have been as new to his experience as it was foreign to his taste. Few who had observed his previous career imagined that he would be able to stand the discipline; and the chief surprise his retirement occasioned was that it did not take place sooner. Those who most admired him doubted whether he would find his colleagues in the government an applauding auditory, or the Executive Council a congenial place for air[294]ing successfully some of his peculiar crotchets on government, currency and finance; crochets by which he had, as we think, impaired the influence of his grander and more statesmanlike views on the subjects of progress and improvement, and their relation to the almost inexhaustible resources of Canada. The truth seems to have been that the subject of this sketch was neither a party man nor a politician in the exact sense of those terms. Government as a science had, as we conjecture, been but slightly studied by him. His popularity sprang from his independence, his purity of character, and from the practical nature of his aims. Those who most differed from him never questioned the honesty of his intentions or the sincerity of his views. His constituents never wavered in their support of him; and the Legislature, of which he was for so long a member, was always proud of him. He was naturally and constitutionally a grave and monotonous speaker; and this gravity and monotony of tone were necessarily increased because the subjects on which he mostly spoke, were statistical or financial, and included a constant reference to dates and figures. Though men were neither subdued by his oratory, nor charmed by his manner, they respected his truth and moderation. Occasionally they were swayed by his earnestness, if not carried away by the force and charm of his own convictions. He was an upright man, whom in life all men admired; and we may add, without misplaced eulogy, that he was a good man, whom in death all men mourned. He expired on Sunday, the 6th July, 1862, when returning home on board of the Steamer Champion, as she was passing upwards through one of the St. Lawrence Canals. Such a place was by no means unsuited to be the place of his death.

It is difficult to close a necessarily brief and imperfect sketch of the life of one who did so much not only for Canada but for the Empire, without feeling acute regret that his great services should have received no recognition, that no rill from the fountain of honor should have flowed towards him, or that his loyal breast should[295] have been lightened with no mark of his Sovereign's favor. The works which he projected have received the encomiums of successive Governors, and were deemed of importance sufficient to justify for their completion the money and credit of the British nation. Moreover they are now used to pass the war ships of England to the very wilds of America. The Canals of Languedoc or those which have made memorable the title of Bridgewater, and the name of Dewitt Clinton, are mere puny shreds and ribbon-like rills of water, small in themselves, and insignificant in their uses as compared with the magnificent work that William Hamilton Merritt projected; for the Welland Canal connects the inland seas of North America, and, for the purposes of commerce, unites in one basin half the fresh water in our globe. We know not what epitaph may be written on his gravestone, in the quiet churchyard of St. Catharines; but we do know that whether the Legislature of his country does or does not give him a monument in some way expressive of his worth and her gratitude, that magnificent stream-way, and those grand locks which unite the upper with the lower lakes, will be no mean memorial to his genius and his greatness. Trade and agriculture, commerce and navigation, unquestionably owe him tribute; for the increase in the value of the products of the soil, and the consequent increase in wealth of the people residing west of the great Cataract, are in no small degree attributable to him. Let us test the fact by what we might see on a summer's day. Behold that ship, for instance, equipped for ocean service, some leviathan of the lakes, fair in her proportions, and wonderful in her capacity. She hails from one of those famous inland cities, which, in recent years, have arisen as if by magic in Western America. She is bound, it matters not whither, it may be for the Maritime Provinces, or it may be for some port in the China seas. She has gracefully descended from her fresh water throne of nearly seven hundred feet above the level of the sea. She has been navigated with safety through the angry waters of lake Erie, she has brushed the first rap[296]id, and sighted the distant foam of Niagara, and then having glided into the peaceful harborage of the Welland, she has been daintily lowered, by human aid, down crystal steps whose setting of massive masonry has been exactly adjusted to her use. See her move silently along the liquid pathway, which art has contrived, until, freed from all thrall, she reaches the level of the ocean. Then see her spread her white wings and direct her course to lands as strange as their people are foreign. Such a sight suggests many reflections, but in connection with the subject of this sketch, it provokes one moral. The Atlantic Telegraph, for example, was a wonderful extension of applied science. The Welland Canal, in like manner, is, in fact, and we believe in capacity, a wonderful developement of experimental art. In neither case was a new principle discovered. Each in its way represents progress. Inland experiences in both instances were applied to the ocean, and in both instances with success. The difference begins where the parallel ends. Upon those who completed the Telegraph, honors and titles descended with lavish prodigality. Upon him who projected, and for practical purposes carried out a greater and more important work, there fell no bright beam of royal benevolence. Happily, such considerations, taking their rise in slight or in forgetfulness, did not affect his conduct. The Honorable William Hamilton Merritt gave his services to his country. He consecrated his life to action. In action, or in other words, in duty, he found his happiness, and, let us hope, his reward.

"Act! for in action are wisdom and glory,
Fame, immortality—these are its crown;
Wouldst thou illumine the table of story,
Build in achievements thy claim to renown."




Let to-morrow take care of to-morrow,
Leave the things of the future to fate;
What's the use to anticipate sorrow?
Life's troubles come never too late.
If to hope over much be an error,
'Tis one that the wise have preferred;
And how often have hearts been in terror
Of evils—that never occurred!

On the 25th of April, 1813, an American squadron of sixteen sail, conveying a land force of 2,500 men, left Sackett's Harbor for the invasion of Canada. We shall make use of Colonel Coffin's graphic description of the event, as narrated in his interesting Chronicle of the War of 1812, for it will introduce us to the subject of this sketch in the character in which he is most racily remembered.

"Videttes had been long before posted in constant watch on Scarborough Heights, with orders to fire alarm guns, and on sight of a hostile fleet to ride into town. It was late on the evening of the 26th of April, when the first report hushed every voice, and stilled for a moment the startled hearts of a whole population.

"Night fell as the news arrived, and with it came hurry, confusion and dismay. We read of such things, and in the interest of the story lose sight of the agony of the hour when the tide of terror topples over the dyke which has sustained it so long, and drowns out human endurance, sense and reason. Whatever may have been the conjectures and preparation, whatever the hopes and fears, it is a tremendous thing to realize that the spoiler is at the door.

"But the men of Toronto paused not long to whisper, nor could white lips be said to be in any way prevalent. The bounding flood stood still for an instant only. Men who saw the whole extent of their danger, who[298] knew the importance of defence, also knew their duty; and every pulse of the popular heart throbbed with the rage of resistance. Old and young, rich and poor, high and low rushed to arms. The maimed, the wounded, the invalid, the reckless school boy, the grave Judge of the land, all shouldered their muskets and fell into the ranks. McLean, Clerk of the House of Assembly, seized his rifle and was killed at early dawn among the men of the 8th. Young Allan MacNab, a lad of fourteen years, whose name has ever since been identified with Canadian story, stood side by side with a veteran father shattered with wounds, sire and son equally eager for the fray."

Before we leave Toronto and accompany what were left of the six hundred men of all arms, under Major-General Sir Roger Hailles Sheaffe, on the retreat to Kingston, it may be desirable to make one or two notes of the race with which the lad of fourteen and his veteran father were blended. From the historical records of the old "Black Watch," or 42nd Royal Highlanders, we learn, that on its organization in 1739, the list of officers of that regiment included the name of Ensign Archibald MacNab, "son of the Laird of MacNab." In what degree he was related to Robert MacNab, a captain in that distinguished corps, and who must have joined it soon afterwards, we shall not wait to enquire. It is enough to state that the latter was cousin-german to John MacNab, of MacNab, that he married Mary Stuart, of Ardvorlick, and had issue, Allan, the father of the subject of this sketch. Robert MacNab was the proprietor of a small estate on the borders of Loch Earn, in Perthshire, called Dundurn. This name his grandson, with commendable taste transferred to Canada when he built his well known residence at Hamilton. Whether Robert MacNab was present at those memorable actions in which his regiment was engaged on the continent of Europe, we are unable to say; but it seems highly probable that he accompanied it in the spring of 1756, when it was ordered the second time to America. Therefore, he may have been at Ticonderoga in 1758, and also at Montreal in 1760, when the Marquis de Vaudreuil surrendered the Province to the British arms. The regiment continued to be quartered in the British Provinces until 1767, when it was sent to Ireland. Many of the men were transferred to other corps, others were discharged, and settled in the country. Whether the settlers included any of the officers we [299]are unable to say; but it may be assumed that Robert MacNab inclined the destination of his son Allan, who availed himself of the occasion which the revolutionary war offered to transfer his services from the third regiment of dragoons in which he held the commission of Lieutenant to the Queen's Ranger Hussars, at that time recruited in America, by Colonel, afterwards Lieutenant-General Simcoe, by whom he was so highly esteemed, as to be selected for that General's principal aid-de-camp. We have no information of his career from the time when the Queen's Ranger Hussars were disbanded, to the time when Lieut.-General Simcoe arrived as the first Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, except that during that period he performed one important part of a settler's duty by marrying the youngest daughter of Captain William Napier, commissioner of the port and harbor of Quebec. On the arrival of Lieut.-General Simcoe, he removed his residence to Upper Canada, probably to the town of Newark, now Niagara, its first capital; as it was there, on the 19th February 1798, that his son, Allan Napier MacNab, was born.

After residing some time at Niagara, the family removed to the new capital, where they permanently established themselves; for it was at York, now Toronto, that Mr. Allan MacNab, an officer of the revolutionary war, on the half-pay of his rank, was also a salaried clerk under Mr. Jarvis, the Provincial Secretary.

Such appears to have been the modest condition of the family on that unforgotten 26th April, 1813, when father and son, the man from his letters, and the boy from his sums, stood shoulder to shoulder, and with the small regular and militia force of that day sought with the heroism of devotion to fulfil the duty of despair, and defend, or attempt to defend a place that was known to be utterly defenceless. It is not difficult to imagine that thin red line, as, on the 27th April, 1813, it fell slowly back from position to position until it received the order for retreat. We can see it retiring like a stag at bay, with "foot to the field and face to the foe." We[300] can fancy the march on that spring morning, over the marshy broken road which formed the eastern outlet of what was once called "Muddy Little York." Whatever shivering the flesh was called upon to bear, there was no ague of the spirit. The breasts of those brave soldiers were as hot as revenge could make them. Their spirit was unvanquished, their hope undimmed, and their faith unsubdued. Their talisman and their trust, the triple-crossed flag, still floated over them. Like true men they felt the magic of its blazonry, and blessed the breezes which kissed it so kindly. It was their, it is

"Our glorious SEMPER EADEM, the banner of our pride."

This is not the place to criticise a movement or to bewail a sacrifice. The error of the General, if it were an error, only added to the glory of the troops. Though a miserable exhibition of war, it was a magnificent display of heroism. Whatever may be thought of Sir Roger Hailles Sheaffe as a commander, no one will question his courage as a soldier, or fail to recognize the skill and address with which he almost paralyzed the enemy in the very hour of victory. The garrison and works, which were the prime objects to be acquired, were scarcely possessed by the assailants when the magazine was exploded, and thus the goal of victory became the grave of the victors. In the very flush of their triumph, two hundred and fifty of their number, including their gallant commander, were in one moment killed or wounded.

Having accomplished the march from York to Kingston, young MacNab, through the influence of Sir Roger Sheaffe, entered the Royal Navy, and was rated as a midshipman in the Commodore's ship. In this character he accompanied Sir James Yeo on his expedition against Sackett's Harbor, as well as to other places on the south side of Lake Ontario. Lake and river service however did not satisfy him; he wished for employment on shore. Therefor[301]e he left the navy, and as a volunteer joined the 100th regiment under Colonel Murray. For his gallantry as one of the advanced guard at the storming and capture of Fort Niagara, he received an Ensign's commission in the 49th regiment. He was with Major-General Riall at Fort Erie, and accompanied him in his retaliatory attack upon the towns of Black Rock and Buffalo. After the termination of the campaign for that season on the Niagara Frontier, he joined his regiment at Montreal, and was present with it at the affair of Plattsburg, on which occasion he commanded the advanced guard at the Saranac Bridge. On the reduction of the army, at the close of the war, he was placed on half-pay.

We have never heard that Allan Napier MacNab was very remarkable for proficiency at school, and we incline to think that the new duties to which a state of warfare had introduced him were but ill adapted to increase such proficiency. But as those duties were of a robust kind, they were better suited to his character and more consonant with his plan of life than was the school career he had suddenly and we may add permanently abandoned. But though his education was necessarily slender, though he possessed but little learning, and discovered no marked aptitude for steady work, still his stock of common sense was large, his natural abilities were excellent, and his power of observation extraordinary. With such endowments and inclinations, young MacNab determined to qualify himself by a term of service, if in no other respect, for the profession of the law. He was articled in the first instance to the Honorable D'Arcy Boulton, at that time Attorney-General for Upper Canada, but we believe he did not finish his time with him. His principals, whoever they may have been, must have shown indulgence to their pupil, as the latter, during the currency of his indentures, was regularly employed as an engrossing clerk, and clerk of the journals, in the office of the House of Assembly. In that office he had the reputation of being an exceedingly agreeable companion, and, what was more to the purpose, of writing a remarkably[302] good hand. The taste for study which war and his early removal from school had interrupted, did not return to him. Though a diligent, as well as a successful practitioner, those who had the best opportunity of observing him were surprised at the scantiness of his learning, and his want of familiarity with books. If, however, the studious habit, which is necessary for lawyers, and which is commonly looked for in those who aspire to the character of statesmen, was almost wholly wanting, he possessed many compensating qualities which, though in a lower degree, are nearly as requisite in a public man as the qualities he lacked. To a soldierly frankness of demeanor, suited to the martial tastes which he more especially affected, there were added numerous physical advantages whose influence can scarcely be exaggerated. Like the milkmaid in the ballad, "his face was his fortune." His figure too was on excellent terms with his face. He possessed a handsome person, a dignified manner, a graceful address, and a voice pleasantly attuned to the pitch of heartiness in which truth commonly finds expression. In his youth he indulged the privilege of youth, for he not only rejoiced in his strength, but he had great strength to rejoice in. He was courageous and active, bold and outspoken, with a hand to vindicate what his tongue uttered. No difficulty deterred him, and no labor distressed him, for he possessed audacity enough to grapple with the one, and determination enough to overcome the other. He was generous alike in his thoughts and in his actions; he put confidence in others, and never lacked confidence in himself. The deficiencies of knowledge were supplied by tact; and when the latter was unequal to the duty, there remained some convenient covering qualities to fall back upon in the forms of temerity, and a stock fund of racy assurance, which, though of little actual worth to ordinary men, were turned to noteworthy account through the adroitness of one who certainly was not an ordinary man. Thus his unequalled self-possession, or what the historical woman who was privileged to sell oranges within the walls of the parliam[303]ent building, called his "pretty impudence," became powers, when the same auxiliaries in abler men would have proved impediments. He trusted more to address that experience had improved, than to knowledge which taste had not cultivated. He did not darken counsel with any originality of argument, or embarrass his judgment with any superfluity of reasoning. He sought to carry his point as a statesman, in the same way in which he had carried positions as a soldier. The military bearing, the free speech, and the strong hand which had befriended him in his youth, were not abandoned in his prime. Arguments which might be best exemplified in action, were precisely those which he was most skilful in using. He knew wherein he excelled, and wherein he did not excel; and this self-knowledge instructed him that there was a time to be silent as well as a time to speak, a time when ignorance could be pleasantly concealed by an eloquent gesture or an expressive wink, but when it might be uncomfortably exposed by more intelligible language. Silence was valuable as the casket is valuable, because it was regarded as the covering of something sufficiently precious to justify for its concealment a costly enclosure. With such powers were prominently allied one unquestionable peculiarity, the offspring alike of temperament and of genius. He rarely saw difficulties, and he never deemed them to be insurmountable. His instinct seemed to inform him how they could be overcome, even when he was not able to explain by what process. This bright faculty of always seeing an untroubled horizon, of being able to trust in his luck when he could not rely on his calculations, enabled him to gain the confidence, and in a wonderful degree to influence the course of men who were certainly his superiors in all else than in what we may describe as force of character. But with these natural talents, popular manners, and a determined will, there were associated embarrassing tastes—tastes which, though too exhaustive for his means, seemed to be essential to his happiness. His nature was wrought of sunshine and geniality. It was his custom to say, "that he had lived[304] every day of his life;" and no one would have challenged his statement, had he added that he frequently forestalled to-morrow that he might enjoy to-day. The inconvenience of such a practice was, there is reason to believe, very sensibly felt by him throughout life; but at the outset of his career his generous and jovial disposition aided the determination which incidentally made him what he was. He left Toronto sated, if not satisfied, with his residence there. In turning his back on the journal office of the House of Assembly, and on the clerks with whom he had been associated, he may perchance even then have seen lights in the future which, like those auguries of fame which are said to visit the wise, instructed him of a time not very remote when he would preside over the Assembly, in whose office he had served, and control the body for which he had been obliged to work.

Two or three events in his history must be noted before we proceed further. On the 6th May, 1821, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Lieutenant Daniel Brooke, of Toronto, by whom he had a son, who died in 1834, and a daughter who, in 1849, married Assistant Commissary General Davenport. In 1831, he married Mary, the eldest daughter of Mr. Sheriff Stuart, who died in 1846, by whom he had two daughters,—Sophia, who married in 1855, Viscount Bury, eldest son of the Right Honorable the Earl of Albemarle, and Mary Stuart, who married in 1861, a younger son of the Honorable Sir Dominick Daly, Captain General and Governor-in-Chief of South Australia. In 1825, he was called to the Bar. In the same year his first wife died. This bereavement may have been the crowning reason which prompted him to leave Toronto; for his domestic sensibilities were of the acutest kind, and his love of his own flesh and blood was always as ardent as it was touching. His career at Hamilton, his new home, was very successful. Attorneys' fees for mere routine work were in those days much larger than they are now, while the industry and learning which in older countries are expected of barristers and conveyancers were, at that time,[305] neither looked for nor required of Upper Canada practitioners. Office attention rather than legal ability was the prime requisite. Generous in his dealings, successful in his profession, and popular in his locality, it was natural enough that he should in due time have risen to the dignity of a member of Parliament. The period of his probation was shortened by one of those accidents that are not necessarily calamities. An old distich explains one process, which half resembled the process by which he arrived at the coveted dignity,

"If you would get into Parliament
The way that whig Charley went,
Let Parliament send you to Newgate,
For Newgate will send you to Parliament."

In January, 1829, on the question of the "Hamilton outrage," as it was termed, an uncomfortable interrogatory was put by Dr. Rolph to MacNab, who was in attendance as a witness before a committee of the House of Assembly. This he refused to answer, when, on the motion of Dr. Baldwin, he was declared "guilty of contempt and breach of privilege, and for otherwise misdemeaning himself" before the said committee. On the further motion of Mr. W. L. Mackenzie, he was committed to gaol during the pleasure of the House. This little episode in Parliamentary history served as a sauce to his local popularity; for at the general election in the following year he was returned as a member of the Assembly. Whether the precedents of Parliament justified the exercise of the power to which the Reform party resorted on that occasion, may very fairly be questioned; but there can be no doubt that the reprisals to which those proceedings gave rise in the following session, when the House, on motion of Mr. Sampson, seconded by Mr. MacNab, expelled Mr. Mackenzie, were as rash as they were wrong, based on reasons as contemptible as they were erroneous, and rendered all the more insupportable by the indecorum of language with which they were supported, and the vindictive illegality [306]by which they were followed up.

In 1830 MacNab was returned as the colleague of the Hon. John Wilson to represent the County of Wentworth; and in the month of January, in the following year, he took his seat. In principle he was a tory, but the generosity of his character shone in the liberality of his actions. "King, Church, and Constitution," as a sentiment, was as popular with him as it had ever been with the most florid of historical aldermen; and yet he was comparatively free from the bigotry of those who think they exemplify while they blemish the character of a tory by supercilious intolerance and insufferable conceit. His opinions were much more generous than were the opinions of many with whom he was politically associated. It was his belief, for example, that the Clergy Reserves of right and bylaw belonged to the Anglican Church; but he did not, so far as we remember, think it necessary to assert that the Church of England was established by law in Canada. Though he professed to be a loyal member of that Church, he did not on that account deny the legal status of the Church of Scotland. His nature abounded in noble qualities, and his opinions were as generous as his nature. His temper, though occasionally warm, was invariably good. His inspiration, therefore, was not derived from resentment, for he rarely spoke with an angry brow. He was tolerant towards the conscientious scruples of other men, and was not painfully excited by the waywardness or diversity of human opinion. He was only exacting when such opinions were subversive of order and government, and especially when they menaced the supremacy of the British Crown in Canada, or threatened to disturb the political connection of these Provinces with the parent state. In such instances he neither gave nor expected quarter. With all the energy of which he was capable, he would stamp out every treasonable sentiment, and put down every treasonable person. The Loyalists, with whom he sympathized and whose opinions he shared, had fought for a foothold in America; and he thoroughly agreed with them in their[307] determination to keep what they had acquired. Neither should it be overlooked that it lay within the means of the malcontents, if they liked not the rule of monarchical England, to cross the border and enjoy that of republican America. He was too ardent a lover of rational liberty to destroy the only asylum wherein such liberty had taken refuge in the western world.

We do not know that the blood of the United Empire Loyalists flowed in MacNab's veins. But the principles of those chivalrous men had been fought for by his father, and were inherited by him. Moreover, such principles had been tested anew in his experience, and baptized afresh in his endeavors. His personal participation in the war of 1812 supplied the bond which united him with and enabled him to become an authority among the veterans of that period. To have been a militiaman in those perilous days, was his glory and his pride. To vindicate the character of that heroic force, to eulogize its resources, to promote its organization, and increase its efficiency, were with him labors of a jealous love, objects as dear to his heart as they were necessary for the state. Every kind of militia gathering was attractive to him. He would attend the irregular muster of the rank and file of the county with as much apparent relish as he would preside at some commemorative banquet. He would cheer the young, who had never seen a shot fired in anger, with as much zest as he would chat with the old whose freshest recollections were colored with blood. He lead the militiaman's "Three times three for the Queen, God bless her," with as true a heart and as ringing a voice as he drank in silence to the memory of those who had fallen in fight when George the Third was King. He sympathized as heartily with youth in its determination to defend what it possessed, as he did with age in its desire to revere what it remembered. The chords of joy and sorrow were easily reached, for his soul was very sensibly attuned to both. He had joy for hope, and grief for memory. The young men liked him, because with them he was always young; and the old men liked him, because[308] in recalling their recollections he seemed to revive their youth, and make them oblivious of the havoc of time. He knew how to tell, as well as how to listen to old stories; and this interchange of anecdote and incident would either "wake the welkin" with laughter, and thus make mirth musical; or open afresh the sluices of grief, while tears like the dew of yesternight would fall afresh on the unforgotten battle fields of Canada. Thus it was that MacNab's influence, taking its rise in sympathy and service, in common sufferings and common triumphs, was rooted and grounded in the very soil. It grew around the early settlements, and with vine-like beauty united the early settlers of the country with him. To them he was the heroic soldier of 1812; the courageous standard-bearer of the old flag, and the fast friend of the militia. They inquired not, whether his attainments were equal to his fame, whether his parts corresponded with his duties, or whether the political needs of the Province had not outgrown his ability to deal with them. Being plain men, neither fancy thinkers nor economists, neither philosophers nor statesmen, they were content to be represented by one of themselves, a fearless militiaman, a thorough loyalist, and a "whole soul'd" British subject. Thus borne into Parliament on the broad shoulders of the yeomanry, MacNab was always upheld by the broad shoulders on which he had been borne. Through all the fluctuations of his country's history, the new combinations of parties, and the various transitions of politics from one orbit to another, he found his position as a Member, and his place in the House, equally well recognized and established. The good understanding between himself and his constituents continued to the last; for though the electors of Hamilton belonged to a class somewhat different to the freeholders of Wentworth, they took a similar view of their candidate, and clung to him, as they had much reason to do, with similar steadfastness.

From 1829 to 1840 he represented the County of Wentworth. In 1841, on the union of the Provinces, he contested the city of Hamilton against Lord Sydenham's prime minister the Honorable[309] S. B. Harrison, who, as the nominee of the administration, was a formidable antagonist. MacNab's fortune did not forsake him; he won the election then, as he did in later times against Messrs. Tiffany, Freeman, and Buchanan, who successively opposed him.

It is not improbable that the error to which he was a party, and which led to the expulsion of William Lyon Mackenzie from the House of Assembly, had inclined him to look somewhat attentively into the subject of Parliamentary Law and Procedure. Whether it did so or not, there can be no doubt that in the year 1837, on the elevation of the Speaker, Mr. McLean, to the Bench, that House with great unanimity elected Mr. MacNab to be his successor. He presided during the short July session of that year. Before Parliament was again summoned, the rebellion had broken out and he was called upon as the first commoner in the Province to command the Militia force, which twenty-four years before he had joined as a schoolboy volunteer. On the news of the outbreak reaching him, MacNab with soldierly intuition left Hamilton, where all his possessions lay, to take care of itself; and collecting a force of friends and neighbors, he hastened to Toronto, and with characteristic aptness presented his quota of the posse comitatus under the euphonistic name of "The men of Gore." The phrase flattered the force at the time, and it has stuck to the people of the Gore district since then; for "the men of Gore," in the present day, like "the men of Kent" in times past, indulge the privilege which no one is inclined to challenge, of thinking a good deal of themselves.

The folly and blindness of the government of that day, and their obstinacy in refusing to listen to representations and warnings, went far towards fostering rebellion and making it successful. Happily the rebels were deficient in foresight as well as in courage. They lacked enthusiasm, and were not sufficiently in earnest to secure success. Their failure has at all events been followed by two advantages. A government, whose form was a fallacy, which created irritation and did not satisfy reason, has been got rid of with the peculiar grievances with which it was accompanied. After many vicissitudes[310], the object of Sir Francis Bond Head's policy seems to have dovetailed with the confessions of Mr. W. L. MacKenzie's experience. And yet this reconciliation of experience with opinion included in one case the neglect of a Governor, and in the other the outlawry of a subject. On the 10th of September, 1837, Sir Francis Head ends a despatch to Lord Glenelg in the words (the italics are his own): "To save the people of Upper Canada from following in the footsteps of the United States, has been the object of every act of my administration." On the 3rd March, 1846, William Lyon Mackenzie thus wrote to his son from Albany in the State of New York: "After what I have seen, I frankly confess to you that had I passed nine years in the United States before, instead of after the outbreak, I am very sure I would have been the last man in America to be engaged in it."

After the successful termination of the affair at Montgomery's Tavern, and the complete rout of the rebels, MacNab marched with a force to the London District, and dispersed the western division of the malcontents who had amused themselves with a sympathetic rising in that section of the country. This duty being satisfactorily accomplished, he was ordered with the volunteers under his command to repair to the Niagara frontier, and there deal with the Canadian rebels and American sympathizers, who, under the political direction of W. L. Mackenzie, and the military direction of a General Van Rensselaer, had taken possession of, and set up a provisional government at Navy Island, a small British possession at the head of the Falls of Niagara. This insular government of Mackenzie's, though more an affront than an inconvenience, was very properly regarded as a nuisance to be abated; but as in the case of certain entomological nuisances, it was difficult to catch, to say nothing of killing, the assailants who had fastened upon this almost inaccessible island. To cut off their supplies appeared to be a reasonable policy, and to capture the craft which bore them a creditable way of carrying such policy out. As, however, the offending vessel, when moored at[311] all, was moored for safety to the shore of a country with which Great Britain was at peace, the attack involved a preliminary acquaintance with the law of nations, which the commander of the Canadian force was not supposed to possess. But if the brave men who had gathered on the Niagara frontier were somewhat hazy on the subject of international law, there were several of them of the sailor type who were tolerably well instructed in the doctrine of "sea divinity," as it was taught in the sixteenth century on the quarter-deck of Drake's ship "The Golden Hind." With this energetic class of seafaring theologians the subject of our sketch appears to have taken sweet counsel; for the resolution to cut out the steamer "Caroline" which carried the supplies was no sooner formed than it was carried into effect. Without troubling himself too curiously about the principles of Vattel, and the law of nations, MacNab seems to have preferred the doctrine of Drake, and the "sea divinity," which he practiced, for by his order the "piratical craft," as she was called, was cut away from her moorings on the American shore; towed into mid-channel; fired, and sent as a beacon or a burnt offering, as a warning or a sacrifice, through the foaming rapids, and over the fatal fall of the Great Cataract.

For his services during the rebellion, Allan Napier MacNab received from Her Majesty the honor of knighthood. From various Colonial Legislatures he received resolutions of thanks, while from that of Upper Canada the compliment was accompanied with the gift of a sword. The United Service Club in London made an exception in his favor, and in opposition to a standing rule elected him an honorary member. A little later he received the appointment of Queen's Counsel, and as such was frequently charged with the conduct of the Crown business at the County Assizes.

At the Union of the Provinces, Lord Sydenham, for reasons which he deemed sufficient, endeavored to destroy the old governing party of[312] Upper Canada, which had, it must be confessed, previously been very seriously damaged by Earl Durham's report. This destruction of a party included the destruction of the individuals of which it was composed, for it was not only necessary that the whole should be annihilated, but that the parts should be rendered harmless. The process was very effectually carried out. Men were summarily required to elect between the metaphorical Koran and the political sword. Some kissed the book, and took service under the amended articles. Others submitted to the harsher alternative and to the consequences it inflicted. MacNab would do neither; he did then as he had done theretofore. He returned blow for blow; and though his stroke was on that occasion less effective than that of his opponents, it was not without weight, for it carried with it some annoyance to the Governor-General which the latter would gladly have avoided. He began by defeating Lord Sydenham's prime minister; and, after the Parliament had assembled in 1841, he voted with the French Canadian party on some of those issues which the Governor-General was desirous neither to raise nor to discuss. Though his speeches rarely possessed originality, or were deemed worthy of preservation, they were remarkable for their boldness. If his information was slender, he knew how to turn what he possessed to excellent account. Above all, his experience acquired when Speaker of the House had obliged him to become familiar with that phase of political warfare which comes under the head of Parliamentary tactics. His address in this particular was a great source of annoyance to Mr. Cuvillier, the then Speaker, who was by no means pleased to find the chair continually informed, occasionally opposed, and frequently directed by one who did not occupy the chair. Neither did the inconvenience abate with the course of events. On the death of Lord Sydenham, there followed a derangement of the moderate or intermediate party which that gifted nobleman had endeavored to create. Change succeeded change until the 15th of September, 1842, when the conservative members, Messrs. Ogden, Draper, and Henry Sherwood, retired from the adminis[313]tration. Thereupon parties appeared to resume their normal condition, and Sir Allan took the place of leader of the conservatives, who now found themselves, for the first time in Provincial history, in opposition to the government. The novelty of their position must be supposed to account for the fret and fume, the heat and irascibility, which they displayed. Not only was the situation new to their experience, but it was beyond their comprehension. They could not understand how the Crown could give its confidence to a party which by habit and education they had been accustomed to distrust. Such infatuation on the part of authority represented a revolution in morals as well as in politics. It destroyed sentiments that had been sacredly cherished. It disturbed traditions that had been religiously kept, while it offended the intellectual conceit of men who, fancying themselves to be professors of the science of government, were turned back like dull scholars to learn the catechism of the constitution. Thus was the old ruling party obliged to acquiesce in an order of things, which though equally accepted was not equally liked, or equally understood by the two sides which divided the state. The reformers who had striven for the principle attached to it an exact logical meaning. The conservatives who had resisted the principle preferred to interpret it in a more elastic fashion. The authors with true sagacity regarded it per se as a means of popular government. The opponents, with traditional consistency, doubted its excellence, and concurred with every objector in thinking that its value would depend on the way it was administered. As the question was being tossed from one party to the other, passing from the province of theory to that of practice, His Excellency Lord Metcalfe arrived as Governor-General. Although a Whig, and something more, Lord Metcalfe was imbued with the belief which it is desirable on all occasions to bear in mind, that the Legislature of Canada consists of three estates; and he was not therefore prepared to agree in the dictum of those who insisted that the government of the country should virtually be vested [314]in one only of those estates. Lord Metcalfe probably saw that an acquiescence on his part in an overstrained principle, namely that the government should absolutely depend for its existence on a majority for the time being in one branch of the Legislature, might, under certain contingencies, not difficult to imagine, result in the administration of public affairs being controlled by a unit in the House of Assembly, and this unit the most corrupt, or the most ignorant, or the most prejudiced member of that body. A principle which included such a contingency was not calculated to find favor with that brave-hearted nobleman. He therefore made very strenuous efforts to escape from its consequences by placing on the phrase a meaning of his own. This meaning, though highly attractive when practiced by one who, like Lord Metcalfe, could make despotism lovely by blending it with paternity, would, it was conjectured, be shorn of its fascination if administered by a less benevolent successor who might perchance assert the despotism, and at the same time decline the paternity. Though the new reading found general favor with the British population, it did not satisfy the authors of responsible government. In truth it derived its popularity from the popularity of its expounder; for in all states there are many who care little for definitions, but who care much for good government. Such persons will not busy themselves to weigh a phrase or an abstraction against the sum of human goodness and moral worth that are bound up in such a character as that of Lord Metcalfe. His name was a tower of strength, and his personal influence was as boundless as his benevolence. Few studied his political opinions; all admired his practical virtues. Whether he ruled with or whether he ruled without his Executive Council, people were generally quite sure that he would rule well, and that his administration would be just, generous and impartial.

In the elections of 1844, which followed the dissolution of the first Parliament, the supporters of Lord Metcalfe obtained a majority in the Legislative Assembly, and were able to pl[315]ace their candidate, Sir Allan MacNab, in the Speaker's chair. Two years afterwards, during the administration of His Excellency Earl Cathcart, and when the Oregon difficulty was causing some excitement, Sir Allan was offered, and we believe accepted, or had agreed to accept, the appointment of Adjutant General of Militia. For some reason the matter fell through. It was said that an unacceptable condition was subsequently added which formed no part of the original offer, and that this offence caused Sir Allan in a very peremptory way to decline being a party to the transaction.

The elections in 1848 were followed by the defeat of the conservative administration. In the month of March of that year, Sir Allan again took the place of leader of the conservative opposition, whose members sought by energy and dash to supply what was wanting in weight and numbers. Such a policy is at best of doubtful wisdom, for it repels rather than attracts the class of moderate men, whose adhesion either to one side or the other not unfrequently controls the scale. At the period in question it seriously damaged the conservative cause, and, but for the schism which almost immediately occurred in the reform ranks, it would indefinitely have postponed the recovery of the conservative party.

The session of 1849 brought with it the discussion on the Rebellion Losses Bill. Sir Allan and those who voted with him could not apparently help repeating in Parliament the tactics which had theretofore befriended them at the hustings. They would air afresh the well worn election flags and reverberate anew the unforgotten "true blue" war-cry of other days. They would not analyze the highest crime known to the law, or assay the ingredients of which treason is compounded. On the contrary, they would denounce with the like anathema all of every degree who had taken part in and suffered from the accidents of rebellion. In such a vein was the question approached. Every passion was lashed, but none were reined; every peril was excited, but no precaution was taken. Every description of eloquence found expression, except [316]the eloquence of statesmanship. Every flower of rhetoric flourished, except such as spring from the genial soils of wisdom and generosity, temper and forbearance. The Legislative Assembly ceased to be a hall of discussion; it became a temple of discord. Official courtesy and gentle speech were discredited and expelled; for the language made use of was the language of exasperation and of the fish market. Thus amidst a storm of invective which authority could not direct, and made no attempt to control, the obnoxious Bill was passed. The heat thus created was not confined to the chamber in which it was generated, for the tongues of fire too soon showed themselves in tongues of flame. The Parliament Houses were burned, and with them almost every record except the Bill which had provoked the violence.

Happily the blame lay everywhere, though it is difficult to deny that the especial reproach attached to the party of which the subject of this sketch was the recognized leader. That energetic British party was unaccustomed to defeat; and though beaten on the present occasion its members were not inclined to succumb. They determined to carry the war into the House of Commons, and by the intervention of the Imperial Parliament, obtain a reversal of the Provincial defeat. Money was subscribed, and Sir Allan MacNab was chosen as the agent to proceed to England. The discussion which took place in the House of Commons forms an interesting chapter in the modern history of English politics. Sir Robert Peel was then alive, and the distinguished statesmen who formed what was then called the "Peel party," had not at that day found the places into which they have since settled. Thus it was that Mr. Herries' motion, though warmly supported by Mr. Gladstone, was argumentatively opposed by Sir Robert Peel. The aid which the latter gave the ministry very probably saved the Province from the misfortune which the disallowance of the Bill would have occasioned; for a revival of such a discussion was on no account to be desired. The conservative party bowed to the ver[317]dict which they could neither change nor modify. Some amongst the more sagacious of its members, while they deeply lamented the calamity which had followed the passage of the Bill, did not regret that the question was got rid of. A policy of patience succeeded the policy of passion. Quiet vigilance took the place of oratorical display. The movements of opponents were watched with attention, and considered with curiosity; for the great reform party, which had been led by Messrs. Baldwin and Lafontaine, was visibly falling asunder. There were far-seeing men in the ranks of the conservatives who discerned in this separation a solution of several difficulties, including the settlement of some old questions whose existence had produced chronic irritation in the country, and had kept some public men apart who in matters of general policy were tolerably well agreed. The defection of the extreme reformers resulted in the defeat of the Hincks-Morin administration in 1854, and led to a coalition of the conservative party with the moderate section of the reform party of Upper Canada, and the Lafontaine party of Lower Canada. Of these united forces, Sir Allan MacNab, by reason of his position, became the chief. Unlike the conservative party in England, which was shattered by the defection of its leader, the reform party in Upper Canada relieved its leader from responsibility by an act of its own. In the former case there was no withdrawal of trust until the trust had been betrayed. In the latter the withdrawal of the trust set the trustee free. Thus discredited and deposed by his party, Mr. Hincks was cut adrift; and left to fashion his course as reason or revenge might dictate. He chose to return slight for slight, and he thus brought about a coalition of the moderate reform party with the conservative party, which has continued from then till now. This union with the conservatives was not, however, to be effected without some humiliation to them. They were required, if not to forego opinions, at least to reverse a policy they had long observed. They were to bring about the settlement of questions they had opposed, and acquiesce in proceeding[318]s they had professed to abhor. Throughout their political lives they had resisted the endeavors of those who had sought to secularize the Clergy Reserves; yet this was precisely one of those points they were required to yield, as a condition precedent to a coalition with the moderate reformers. Few were disposed to blame them for doing so. Churchmen were anxious that the noise of politics should no longer disquiet their house of prayer; and statesmen remembered, that the history of constitutional government is the history of compromise and concession. During the MacNab-Taché administration, the Clergy Reserve and Seigniorial Tenure questions were set at rest; the Reciprocity Treaty was negociated, and a Militia Act was passed. A Bill for the substitution of a Provincial Police for the Local Police force was introduced, but unfortunately for society not carried. The patriotic fund appropriation was, with characteristic propriety, made during this administration, though, it should be added, with the almost unanimous concurrence of all parties.

The season at which the coalition government was formed was favorable to its existence. The Province was entering on a career of material progress which excited the public mind more actively than did the irritating political questions which time had weakened, if not worn out. The latter, however, were occasionally revived, and turned to account to the annoyance of Sir Allan who could better put up with than answer the twittings of those who reproached him for changing his opinions. Thus when he was catechised about his party, and questioned as to his politics, he answered at least to his own satisfaction by hinting that he had thrown speculative opinions to the winds and by declaring that his "politics were railways." In like manner when he was questioned on the position in which the British party in Lower Canada, separated as it necessarily was from the Reform party of the West, would be placed by the alliance of the conservatives of Upper Canada with the French Canadians of the Lower Province, Sir Allan, who was[319] not an adept in unravelling questions that were in the least degree tangled, said: "Oh, they must pull up stakes, and go west." Such answers, though characteristic enough of the happiness of indifference, neither satisfied the party which had trusted him nor the party on whose behalf they were expressed. Office and its duties added nothing to the fair opinion which had been formed of Sir Allan's abilities. Responsibility embarrassed him. His skill as a Parliamentary tactician was better seen in opposition than in office; and though a situation less responsible would probably have suited him, he was confessedly unequal to the duties in the Legislative Assembly of chief of the administration. Certainly a less prominent position would have been more pleasing to his party, whose members for the most part took no pains to conceal their dissatisfaction with him as leader of the Government. Moreover there were some who were prepared for the result on which many very earnestly insisted. It was observed that though Sir Allan had often supported and often opposed Governments, he had on no occasion been a member of an administration, and consequently that he had not been tried in the crucible in which the qualities of a statesman are best discovered. Whatever may have been the predisposing causes, Sir Allan retired, but not willingly, from the administration on the 23rd of May 1856, and he took the earliest opportunity of marking the affront which had been offered him by voting want of confidence in his late colleagues, because, as he said, "they had shown want of confidence in him." The reasons which led to the result have not so far as we know been published; we can only add that while the transaction had the effect, for a time at least, of estranging him from his former colleagues, it did not weaken, much less alienate the confidence which the party generally continued to place in them.

In 1857


"His battles and the gout
Had so knocked his hull about,"

that he left Canada with a view to a permanent residence in England. Before doing so, he addressed his constituents in the following cordial and characteristic terms:

To the free and independent Electors of the City of Hamilton.

Gentlemen,—I deeply regret that the state of my health is such that I am unable longer to discharge my duty in Parliament with justice to you, or satisfaction to myself. I therefore feel that the time has arrived for me to retire from a position that it has been the pride of my life to enjoy. I would have taken this step at the close of the last session had I not believed there would have been a general election, and I was unwilling to give you the trouble and annoyance of a second contest; however, from the best information I can obtain, I am inclined to the belief that there will not be a dissolution of Parliament. I have therefore transmitted my resignation to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, that you may have ample time to select a member in my place. Most sincerely do I thank you, gentlemen, for the kind and cordial support you have accorded me during nine successive parliaments in which I have had the honor of representing either the county or city. The best portion of my life has been spent amongst you, and I can say with truth that during this long period my best energies have been devoted to the interests of my constituents and the honor of my country. One word before we part, and that is, if in times of trial and great excitement I have erred, I trust you will kindly ascribe it to an error of the head and not the heart.

Believe me, gentlemen, I shall ever remain your very greatly obliged and very faithful friend.

Allan Napier MacNab.

Dundurn, October 24, 1857.


In 1859, on the dissolution of the Imperial Parliament, he presented himself to the electors of Brighton as a supporter of Earl Derby's administration. Some facetious person, however, had got hold of the valedictory address to the electors of Hamilton, and turned it into squibs and crackers, to the discomfort of its author, and to the detriment of his candidature for Brighton. The electors of that seaside town think a great deal of themselves, and not a little of the place of their abode. When they were told, therefore, that the Derby candidate had pronounced himself to be physically unable to represent a small constituency in a Colonial House of Assembly, it was not difficult to make them believe that he was [321]still less fit to represent a large constituency in the Imperial House of Commons. Though he made an excellent fight, he lost the election, and with it he abandoned all hope of taking a seat with the "knights, citizens and burgesses" of that ancient assembly.

Residence in England did not satisfy him. With a return of health he was involuntary impelled to retrace his steps to the land of his birth and service. He arrived in 1860, and immediately took advantage of a request made by the electors of the Western Division to present himself as a candidate to represent them in the Legislative Council, as the successor of Colonel the Honorable John Prince, who had accepted the appointment of Judge for the District of Algoma. The contest was a close one, but Sir Allan was returned at the head of the poll.

In 1856, Her Majesty had been pleased to confer on Sir Allan the honor of a baronetage; and now that act of grace was supplemented by his being elevated, with Sir Etienne P. Taché, to the honorary rank of Colonel in the British Army, and aide-de-camp to the Queen. In the latter capacity he was attached to the suite of the Prince of Wales, and had the honor to attend His Royal Highness in his tour through the British American Dominions. His strength at the time had evidently become weakness, but his loyal heart enabled him to accomplish a service to which, by reason of his feeble health, he was physically unequal. The duty must have been in the highest degree congenial to his feelings. Like a cavalier of the earlier times, he had always mingled reverence with his allegiance. The sovereign with him was not only a dignity to be admired, but a person to be loved; neither can we doubt that his ebbing life was for the occasion flooded with fresh vigor, when he was able to welcome to the Province of his birth the Heir apparent to the Throne. Time, however, had visibly touched him. It was not difficult to see that a fabric of great physical beauty was crumbling to its fall. The mind, too, appeared to sympathize with the body. The nerve and resolution of the former partially[322] gave way with the strength and vigor of the latter. His manner of presiding over the deliberations of the Legislative Council, of which he was elected Speaker on the 20th March 1862, was very different from the manner in which he had presided over those of the Legislative Assembly; for irresolution and indecision had succeeded to firmness and control. Time and suffering had in every way weakened him, provoking many, as they compared his performance with his repute, involuntarily to exclaim, "can this be MacNab?"

During the latter part of the session, Sir Allan by reason of ill health, was unable to preside in the Legislative Council. Parliament was prorogued on the 9th of June. His chief anxiety appeared to be to go home. "I shall soon be all right," he said, cheerfully to the writer, "after I get to Dundurn!" Hamilton and its associations exerted their natural influence on his mind. The inhabitants had been true to him, and he had been true to them. Such reciprocal trust was mutually beneficial, for it chained his affections to the place where his interests lay. Moreover, he was a vigilant representative; for it is said that for thirty years he was not absent for one consecutive week from his place in Parliament. This habit of close attention to public duty could not but be satisfactory to those who laid such duty on him; and such satisfaction was exhibited in the unwavering confidence they placed in him from first to last.

Partial recovery followed Sir Allan's return home. On an early day of the next month he was able to go to St. Catharines, and attend the funeral of his old friend and brother officer, the Honorable William Hamilton Merritt. The last public act he performed was to sign the warrant for the new election which that death occasioned. His own end hurried on apace. "Darkness came, and also the night," for on the 8th of August, 1862, the brave old Baronet was gathered to his fathers.


Happily our business is to narrate and not to pry. Much was said of that closing scene on which we can offer no opinion; much was published that we care not to repeat. All that need be epitomized, is that within a few days of his death, Sir Allan was professedly a member of the Anglican Church. He had mingled outwardly in her worship, professed audibly her faith, and partaken actually of her sacraments. Towards the close of his illness, when time was weary and death was near; when the shadows of evening were lengthening into night; when heart and flesh were failing; when his hand was on the latch, and the gates of immortality were opening to his view, the clergy of the Church of Rome by especial request attended him. From them he received the last offices of religion, and by them he was interred according to the rites of their Church.

It were wise to draw the curtains and put out the lights, and with the reverence of erring men await the sentence of the unerring Judge. It were wise to invoke the charity which believeth all things, to hide from our view the tumult of a troubled soul at war with itself, groping for untried supports, and in the midst of "the valley of the shadow of death" changing for another "the staff" on which it had leaned from infancy to the grave. Surely such indecision at such a time is at best a spectacle of humiliation. It awakens no transport; it soothes no anxiety; it resolves no difficulty; it creates no calm. It is no seemly thing to witness vacillation where one looked for courage; to see a name which was a light to many flickering uncertainly, and going out uncertainly. Such a sight is a shock to the religious sense; it ruffles the path that should be pleasantness, it racks the end that should be peace; for the flesh is stirred and the spirit distressed when doubt and incredulity, like moral malaria, can thus gather about a dying man's bed, to obscure religion, to weaken fortitude, and to render worthless the weapons wherein he trusted, the "shield," the "sword," and the "helmet" of the faith. It is not thus the Christian soldier should lay aside his armour and enter into rest. All comment is[324] vain. Religion falters in her interpretation of such matters, and reason fails. Let us roll up the scroll, and remember only its brightness while we forget its blots. The mystery of those last days will not be made clear to us; we must be content to "scan gently" and not presume to pass judgment on what we can now see only in part, and what peradventure in this life we can never understand perfectly.

Who made the heart, 'tis He alone
Decidedly can try us,
He knows each chord—its various tone,
Each spring—its various bias;
Then at the balance let's be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What's done we partly may compute,
But know not what's resisted.




A short time only has elapsed since the name of Judge Coursol filled a prominent place in the newspapers of America, while the St. Albans raid, with which it was associated, became the text of much animated criticism. His photograph will gratify the friendly wish of some, and the natural curiosity of all, who desire to see the likeness of one of whom much was written and a great deal more was said. Apart from such considerations, Mr. Coursol's career possesses many features of interest which are not unworthy of being grouped with our other jottings of men of the time. He is a native of Upper Canada, for he was born at Malden, in the County of Essex, in 1820. His father, Mr. J. Coursol, was an officer in the Hudson Bay Company's service, as well as an intrepid explorer of the remote wilds of America. His mother was a daughter of Mr. Joseph Quesnel, who is favorably known in Canadian literature as the author of some poems of much local popularity, as well as of certain plays and operas which were performed at the Provincial theatres.[5] From his father he probably inherited tastes which are commonly associated with the sports and occupations of a forester's life. Such tastes are nurtured in the lap of adventure, and are mainly nourished with freedom and fresh air. They are allied to the faculty of perception, to the cool head, the cunning hand, and the keen eye. We should expect Mr. Coursol to be what we believe he is; an ardent sportsman, an unerrin[326]g shot, and a fearless rider. From his mother, it may be conjectured, he derived his intellectual properties, including the twin gifts, imagination and fancy, which are the poet's especial heritage; and which, very possibly, animated the heart and colored the thoughts of her on whose bosom he was hushed. His father's tastes and his mother's culture may, perchance, be found united in the character of the son. It is remarked that Mr. Coursol has paid a very creditable degree of attention to physical as well as to intellectual gymnastics. Action with him is generally conspicuous for energy, no matter whether it requires the co-operation of an educated head or an instructed arm.

In the year after his birth, his father died. His mother, in the course of time, married secondly Mr. C. S. Cherrier, Queen's counsel of Montreal. That gentleman is the present representative of the Viger family, and, we may add, the residuary legatee of the estate of the late Honorable D. B. Viger. When only an infant, her orphan son, the subject of this sketch, was adopted by his maternal uncle, the Honorable F. A. Quesnel, whose name, for half a century, has been creditably associated with the history of the Province. We may add that at the death of the last-mentioned gentleman, his nephew and adopted son was appointed, by will, the sole legatee of his large estates. He was educated at the Montreal college. In 1841, he was admitted to the Bar, where his success equalled his repute, especially in criminal cases. He married the daughter of Colonel the Honorable Sir E. P. Taché. It may be easily conjectured that the period of his education was contemporaneous with the most exciting and least happy season of Canadian politics. It is idle to inquire whether the heat of that day took its rise in patriotism or prejudice, in virtue or distemper. It is sufficient to observe that it fastened itself on the fervid character of young Coursol with the violence of a moral epidemic, and developed itself in the angry, as well as the energetic form of patriotism. Thus, at the first elections that took place after the union of the[327] Provinces, he not only became the warm supporter of his party, but he is suspected of having contributed no inconsiderable amount of muscular aid to his favorite candidates. Until disqualified by his official duties, he never shrank from affording help, which at least had the merit of being energetic and above board, at the elections whereat his friends were candidates.

In 1848, he was appointed Joint-Coroner for the District of Montreal. He represented the ward of St. Antoine in the City Council of Montreal, where his name and exertions are especially remembered in connection with the important sanitary act to prohibit interments within the city limits. From time to time he has been chosen to serve on important Government commissions. As a volunteer, his public spirit has been displayed on different occasions, and in various ways. He raised a troop of cavalry which he commanded for several years. During the "Trent difficulty," he recruited a regiment of Chasseurs, and received therefor the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and the command of the regiment. During the Fenian troubles he was ordered with his regiment to the Frontier, to watch the machinations of those singular marauders. Besides his repute as a successful and learned lawyer, Mr. Coursol is critically conversant with both the English and French languages, and enjoys the enviable ability of speaking with equal fluency in either. With such qualifications it seemed natural enough that he should have been appointed "Judge of the Sessions of the Peace at Montreal, and Chairman of the Quarter Sessions for the District of Montreal."

It was during his tenure of those offices, on the 19th October, 1864, that the "St. Albans' raid" took place. Apart from its criminality, the outrage was a blunder, of which it is believed the Confederate authorities repented when it was too late to repair. The prisoners and their gains passed into the possession of the Canadian Courts. The former were brought up for examination before the subject of this sketch, who discharged them on[328] the ground of want of jurisdiction. With their release their ill-gotten spoil was released too. Evidently there was a miscarriage of justice somewhere. Such miscarriage was more to be regretted, since it was calculated to create a misunderstanding between the governments of Great Britain and of the United States. The Canadian Administration was sensibly alive to the importance of the case, from both points of view, and they lost no time in suspending Mr. Coursol from his offices, and issuing a commission of enquiry. Mr. F. W. Torrance, of Montreal, was the commissioner selected. Mr. Torrance's report, which was very elaborate, has received due consideration. The stolen money has been restored under the authority of a vote of the Parliament of Canada, and the public interest in the event has subsided. It is only necessary to state in this place, that although Mr. Torrance differed from Mr. Coursol on several important points, he did not hesitate to exonerate him from anything beyond what in his opinion was an error of judgment. The ordeal, though absolutely necessary, was considered by some to be needlessly harsh. However, Mr. Coursol came out of it so satisfactorily, that the government reinstated him in the offices from which he had been temporarily removed.




"Do you know the Rev. Dr. Richey, the Methodist minister?" was the question which a Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works on his return from Montreal to Kingston put to the writer, in the month of March, 1843, or 1844. "If his preaching be as good as his company, we might both of us be the better for hearing him" he added by way of explaining his question. The impression of a casual acquaintance has frequently been corroborated by strangers, as well as friends. The opinions of both classes have been published, and may be found in the newspapers of England and America. Those who know Dr. Richey personally, rejoice at and lovingly relish the opportunity of speaking his praise. Admiration is expressed by different critics not only in conversation, but in letters, some of which we have seen. Such opinions are the more valuable in the present instance, as the writer has not had the advantage of forming any of his own. "We were in hopes," writes a gentleman of the Wesleyan connection, residing at Montreal, "that our city would again be favored with his eloquent and able ministry." "His brilliant talents," remarks another, "would secure for him respect and admiration in any sphere of life." "In the pulpit," observes a third, "he is the most eloquent and accomplished speaker of all the Methodist connection in the Dominion of Canada." Nor are such impressions confined to the laity, for the ministers of the Wesleyan Conference at London, Canada West, on the 14th June, 1855, adopted a resoluti[330]on, which though more subdued in its phraseology than the partial criticisms we have quoted, was nevertheless a touching tribute of admiration to one whose eloquence and learning did not, in their estimation, constitute the highest attractions of his character.

And yet Dr. Richey differs from his neighbors chiefly in being, as we think, more zealous than some, and making, as we believe, greater sacrifices than others for the cause to which he has devoted his talents. At the outset of life, he was endowed with no special mark of fortune. His parents, who were in humble rather than in affluent circumstances, had been taught by experience that success commonly depends on exertion. Therefore, they counselled their son to make the most of his opportunities, to rely on himself, to regard education as a business, and learn as much as possible in the shortest possible time. They lived in the village of Ramelton, in the north of Ireland, where their son, the subject of this sketch was born. They were Presbyterians of earnest, perhaps of severe piety, who indulged the dream, which is so often nothing more than a dream, that their son at some future day would take orders in the church of which they were members. They were encouraged to magnify this hope by the good report they had of his moral and intellectual promise. They trusted, how earnestly it were impertinent to ask and idle to conjecture, that his heart and mind would acquire a sacred direction, and that he would walk heavenward in the path through which they were journeying. At fourteen, he was, as we have been informed, singularly conversant for his age with the Greek and Latin classics. But like many gifted boys, he seems to have been as much remarked for what he did not do, as for what he did. He always said his lessons, but he was rarely observed to learn them. His father, who could not satisfactorily reconcile his seeming indolence with his actual proficiency, resorted to an expedient, which some will think more adroit than fair. He promised his son a shilling if within an hour a given lesson w[331]as committed to memory. The task was accomplished, the lesson said, and the fee pocketed. Whereupon his father insisted that the measure of that one hour's learning under the pressure of a shilling, should for the future, represent the measure of his son's work, irrespective of such stimulus; forgetting, as it seems to us, that it was the love of shillings, and not the love of learning, that quickened exertion and anticipated success. However the incident makes us acquainted with the anxiety of the father, and leads us to think that the grass was not allowed to grow idly in the educational pasture of his son.

The wishes of parents with respect to their children very rarely harmonize with the wishes of children with respect to themselves. Matthew Richey was no exception to the common rule, and though the divergence was less than it might have been, it was sufficiently marked to disappoint the hope and deaden the affection of the father for the son. When about fourteen years of age, young Richey accompanied a school-fellow to a Methodist prayer meeting. The devotions in which he found himself engaged produced in his mind a transport of ecstacy, for the religious temperature of that house of prayer glowed with fervor, and was passionate with feeling. The boy worshipper inhaled the ether of a spiritual delight, which to him at least, was more exhilarating than the crisper atmosphere that gathers about the glacier-like solemnities of the covenant. "The people called Methodists" captivated his imagination and converted his heart. He at once cast his lot with a society whose members, as he thought, had caught some of the brightest beams of the Divine favor; who were one with one another, united by the bond of a common faith, the tie of a common experience, and the anticipation of a common joy.

In taking his place in the new society, he lost his place in his father's heart, and with it the attractions of his father's house. Wherefore, he sought for and obtained permission to shap[332]e his own course and take his own way in life. With good attainments, good health, good character, and one sovereign in his pocket, he landed at St. Johns, New Brunswick. He obtained employment in the office of a lawyer who, recognizing his abilities, assisted him to procure the situation of assistant teacher in the principal academy of that city. The desire of his parents that he should be a minister of the gospel was probably known to him, for it now took irresistible possession of his mind. He resigned his office of school teacher, and on offering himself as a candidate for Wesleyan orders he was accepted on probation and, incredible as it must appear, before he attained the age of seventeen his preaching was attended by crowds who travelled far to hear him. In 1825 he was ordained, and in the same year he married. For private reasons he spent the winter of 1830 in Charleston. While there, he generally did duty in the Presbyterian places of worship. It is no figure of speech to say that people ran after him. Indeed those religious runners became such nuisances, that it was actually necessary to guard the doors of the churches where he preached against their intrusive inroads, until the regular congregations were housed and seated.

The late Rev. Rowland Hillis reported to have said that he never knew of a minister accepting a call from £200 to £100 a year. We however, have heard of ministers declining such calls, notwithstanding the pecuniary inducements being expressed in as many pounds as they were theretofore paid dollars. Dr. Richey may be added to the short list of examples. Two Presbyterian congregations at Charleston desired to secure his services on some such terms. Had the love of money been a constraining love, he might perchance have yielded to the enticing temptation. Under similar circumstances, many persons would have heard "a call" which he did not hear, and perhaps have recognized the "hand of Providence" in a way he did not see, in thus reconciling the interest of a son and the desire of a father, with an income of pleasant proportions. Such a transaction would, poetically at least, be represented[333] as a solace to the heart of a beloved parent if living, or a touching tribute to his precious memory if departed. Dr. Richey had been tried in the refiner's fire, and had no inclination to soothe his conscience with a cheat. What he had honestly done in his youth, he deliberately stuck to in his manhood. He preferred his Wesleyan church and his British country, to money or praise.

Unlike the cameleon, who is known
To have no colours of his own,

he stood by his faith and by his flag, and doubtless his loyal heart beats all the more serenely for such fidelity. Moreover those whom he most disappointed most honored him. As they could not tempt him to remain, they would not let him depart shabbily, or only in "sandal shoon." If he had walked into the city, he should drive out of it; for a well-chosen horse, a well-appointed carriage, with suitable equipments, were placed at his disposal as a parting gift.

It may be here observed that the ministers of the Methodist denomination are itinerants. It is a marked feature of Wesleyan policy that their preachers should go from place to place. They remain for two, or for reasons stated, at most for three years at a station. Like the members of the Society of Jesus, they obey orders and go where they are sent.

On leaving Charleston, Dr. Richey returned to Nova Scotia, and resided at Halifax from 1832 to 1835. He was then sent to Montreal. In 1836, he was appointed the first principal of the Upper Canada academy, which had lately been established at the town of Cobourg. There he remained to the close of 1839. The following three years were passed at Toronto. In 1843 and 1844, he did duty at Kingston, where he was chairman of the District and superintendent of missions in Upper Canada. On leaving Kingston, he was presented with an address by the Orange society, accompanied with a handsome piece of plate, as a mark of their appreciation and regard. This gift was the more noteworthy from the fact that, although a sincere protestant, Dr. Richey is not [334]an Orangeman. From 1845 to 1848, he was for the second time stationed at Montreal, where, at the request of the late Sir George Simpson, he assumed the direction of the Wesleyan mission in the Hudson's Bay Territory. While at Montreal, he dedicated the three large churches which at that time were occupied by the Methodists, and he was chosen to represent that body at the Evangelical Alliance Association in London.

In 1849 he was appointed acting President of the Canada Conference, and in the three following years President of the Conference. In 1851 he was again sent to Halifax, and he continued in Nova Scotia for several years. In 1855 the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Bermuda were organized under the name of "Methodist Conference of Eastern British America." Of this conference Dr. Richey was in 1855 appointed acting President, and from 1856 to 1860 President. In 1861 he went to England on leave of absence, and rested for one year. In 1862 he returned to New Brunswick, and did duty at St. John until 1864, when he was appointed to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he now is. His term there will close in June next, when it is said he will assume for the second time, and by appointment of the British Conference, the office of President of the Conference of Eastern British America.

Not only is Dr. Richey an eloquent preacher, he is also an industrious as well as a forcible writer. For some time he edited "The Wesleyan," a weekly newspaper of repute in Upper Canada. Besides a volume of sermons, which has been favorably noticed and widely circulated, he has published a memoir of the late Rev. W. Black, a Wesleyan minister of Nova Scotia. This memoir is much eulogized as an interesting as well as valuable contribution to the religious literature of modern days. Neither can we doubt the attractiveness of the work, for Mr. Black was the friend and associate of the Rev. John Wesley; and he was especially employed by that wonderful man as his agent and representative to organize[335] and perpetuate the Wesleyan polity in British North America.

The lives of men teach us strange lessons. Wesley for example suddenly abandoned his effort to convert the savages of Georgia that he might Christianize those pariahs of civilization whose abiding places were near the mines of Cornwall, in the coal-fields of Northumberland and amidst the factories of Lancashire. The church, alas! of that unhappy time was too idle, and the state too busy to take thought of them. Religion and philanthropy closed their eyes or averted their heads, and like "the Priest" and "the Levite" passed by on the other side. The Wesleyans were the Samaritans of that day, for they had pity and showed mercy. They stooped that they might raise, they ministered that they might bless. They poured the oil of healing into the moral wound, and the wine of revival upon the bruised spirit. Had the Anglican Church of that day been true to herself and to her sacred calling,—had she done then what she is striving to do now, Wesley and Whitfield would not, we venture to believe, have withdrawn their great talents, and their glowing affections from her communion and fellowship. Unhappily she did not see then what she is anxious to discover now, how to utilize such enthusiasm. Thus it followed that instead of an order, a sect was created, which has given to the age the most wonderful chapter in the history of Protestant nonconformity. Wesley was compassionately spoken of by the great Earl of Chatham as he pointed to his room at Christchurch as a "spoiled statesman," and Bishop Lavington, as he noted the points of analogy between his system and the system of the Roman Church, could not do otherwise than extol him as an expert administrator. We may without impropriety connect the subject of this sketch with Dr. Lavington's work on the "Enthusiasm of Methodism and Rome compared," for it will give us the opportunity of contrasting the numerical results in Canada of the system which he philosophically compared in England. No comment is needed. It is only necessary to add that the statistics are taken from t[336]he Canadian Almanac for 1867, and that they affect to give the number of the ministers belonging to the four great denominations.

Methodists 1,003
Roman Catholics 905
Church of England 420
Presbyterians 415

It must, we should think, be nearly half a century since Matthew Richey landed at St. John, New Brunswick. At all events it is forty-five years since, as a stripling of seventeen, he began to preach to men and women of the amazing love of God. Time has now laid his silver hand upon his head. The almond tree, the glory of age, flourishes where soft brown curls, the envy of youth, once grew. The lithe figure of his earlier manhood has yielded to the pressure, and bowed gracefully to the presence of threescore years. But it is said of him that while the tricks of time have left their marks on his frame his serene spirit is unconscious of decline. Neither is it difficult to believe that he who, in obedience to what he deems to be the will of God, labors for the happiness of man will ever miss the solace of a mind at rest. Such an one may occasionally pause in his work to scan the past and to glimpse the future. But it will be for a moment only. His business is "to seek a country," and though it may be "afar off," his eye "of faith" will survey without perturbation, and his untroubled soul will pass without dread

The smooth short space of yellow sand
Between this and the greener land.




T. D. Harington, he
Has the "bankable" name it is cheery to see;
On the face of a Bill,
At the foot of a Note,
It is better than rhino to keep one afloat.

"He can do almost anything, but it will puzzle him to teach the old Secretary navigation, if that's what he's driving at," were, as nearly as the writer can remember, the words which were spoken in his hearing, rather than to him, on a bright March morning, upwards of thirty years ago. The ice was disappearing in the Toronto bay, and saunterers were looking idly towards lake Ontario for the arrival of the first ship. The occupants of the easternmost of the public buildings, like the people outside, were beset with similar curiosity. Two especially, who were then standing at an open window, appeared to be unusually interested, for they seemed to have sighted the object that all were endeavoring to see. They were the persons of whom the remark was made with which we have commenced this sketch. The "old snuff-colored genius with the maccaboy wig and high-dried Lundyfoot complexion," was the Honorable Duncan Cameron, the provincial secretary. The other was Mr. Harington, chief clerk in the office, "whom everybody knew and everybody liked."

The latter was spoken of as a Canadian Crichton, who could "do anything he had a mind to," from the command of a three decker on one element, to playing[338] a flute solo at the opera on the other. Comparatively a stranger, the writer at that time was alike unacquainted with the name or person of the gentleman who was thus glowingly described. He therefore watched with interest the pantomime that was being performed at the window, and listened to the marginal notes of his street acquaintance. The aged secretary was striving, but with evident difficulty, through the medium of a telescope, to sight the sail which the energetic chief clerk saw with his naked eye. The effort, whether successful or not, afforded material for a further communication. "Tom Harington is a regular salt, a heart and soul sailor," whom the gods, to spite Neptune, had pressed into the service of Minerva. "Though a rare stickler for office duty, he makes a point of keeping abreast of his old knowledge. Were it not for his observations solar and lunar, we should not know what o'clock it is at Toronto. Savage, the watchmaker, regulates by him, and the Artillery sergeant, who fires the twelve o'clock gun, takes his time from Savage's chronometer. The gun keeps the town right, but Tom Harington keeps the gun right."

Such in effect, and almost in words, was the description we listened to of Mr. Harington's tastes and usefulness. Nor was the representation an exaggeration. In work or play, in duty or pleasure, the post of preference in his case is the post of hard labor, for his exuberant vigor is conspicuous everywhere, and tells on everything he undertakes. At cricket, he generally covered more ground than any one else in the field, and in his office, as the writer has reason to remember, he could accomplish more work within a given space of time, than any one of his competitors.

His sea tastes are inbred, and have become part and parcel of himself. If he had the wish he has not the ability to get rid of them. We have been informed that he entered the Royal Navy in early youth as a midshipman, and that having the opportunity, he transferred his services to the East India Company's Marine, where, it is not difficult to believe, he was an energetic as well as an enthusiastic officer. Neither did he leave his sailor habits behind him, when he exchanged the quarter-deck of a ship for the quiet [339]of an office. The "crown and anchor" are as luminously stamped on his character as they are legibly embroidered on a naval uniform. They shine and show themselves everywhere and under all circumstances. Oceanic phrases crop up in his conversation, and sea metaphors are familiar forms of illustration. He walks as if on a quarter-deck; and his oblique, upward glance when doing so, seems to be associated with the shaking of an imaginary sail, and conjecturally, with the question whether he could not haul himself half a point closer to the wind? On such occasions, the observer may almost expect to hear the order to "luff" as he sees his indicative thumb in a familiar way express a "starboard" or "port" direction. His industry and perseverance, like his courage and address, are unquestioned. No peril would stand between him and his duty: whether to his country or his friend. It might require a cogent reason to induce him to change the color of his uniform from blue to red, or substitute a soldier's for a sailor's drill; as it formed, we incline to think, no part of his education, and perhaps still less of his habit, to "swell his instep," or to "point his toe," or to "put his left foot forward." It is probable that he would meet the order with an expostulation were he called upon to perform the sword salute while "marching past" in slow time. When the rebellion occurred in Upper Canada, his services were cordially offered to and accepted by the Government, but there was a popular belief at the time, that some secret articles had been agreed upon between himself and his commanding officer, Colonel S. P. Jarvis, which included a stipulation that he should be allowed to fight whenever his regiment took the field, but that he should not be required to "fall in." Thus when he accepted the commission of Captain with the duty of paymaster in the Queen's Rangers, it was commonly understood that on the occurrence of actual service, the charge of the regimental chest was to be turned over to some brother officer of less robust health, or less belligerent tastes than those with which he was endowed.


At the union of the Canadas, when the Secretary's offices of the two former Provinces were formed into one department, he was appointed the Chief Clerk. On the 17th May, 1858, on the resignation of the Deputy Receiver-General, he was selected by Government as his successor, which office he has continued to fill from then till now.

But it is not only or chiefly by reason of his official position and long services that he is so pleasantly known throughout the Provinces. Many years ago, secret organizations of various kinds became suddenly popular in Canada. Mr. Harington caught the epidemic in its least objectionable form. Secrecy with him should be synonymous with charity, brotherhood, and benevolence. He therefore joined the ancient craft of "Free and accepted Masons," and, with characteristic ardor, became an enthusiastic competitor for its honors, and a passionate student of its mysteries. He ascended the Masonic ladder with rapidity until he attained, as we have been told, the highest round that can be reached in this country. Mr. Harington's photograph will not only be acceptable to the Freemasons of Canada, but it will gratify many persons who are not members of that ancient craft. Pleasant notes and a familiar signature are apt to quicken the curiosity of the recipient, and provoke a desire to see the shadow, if not the form, of the person who has in some way become charmingly associated with his necessities, and perhaps with his enjoyments. Though Mr. Harington's likeness is not framed in a medallion, and does not look at us encircled within the engraved letters "The Province of Canada will pay," his handwriting gives to the promise its value, and makes it acceptable as well as precious. Each and all of us may say or sing—

On a green tinted X
Or a crisp feeling V,
T. D. Harington's name is a treasure to me.



Was the son of John McCutchon, of Newton Stewart, in the county of Galloway, by Mary McGill, his second wife. He was born at Cree Bridge, Wigtonshire, in the month of August, 1789, and received at his baptism, on the 1st of September following, the Christian name of Peter, which, unlike his surname, he neither had the inducement nor the power to change. His parents were able only to give him the patrimony of a good example, a parish school education, and a discipline of industry. Nature was more affluent, for she bestowed a sound constitution, robust health, and a frame that would have done credit to the Life Guards, for he was if we mistake not, upwards of six feet in height. He had a handsome face, and an eye, behind whose tint of northern blue there lodged a greater amount of mirth and mischief than are usually found looking out of the serious heads of the Scottish race. We do not know what his occupations were between the periods of his leaving school and his leaving Scotland. All that we are able to narrate is, that in the memorable year of 1809, when the war flame illumined all Europe, when the ocean was the play-ground of privateers, and when sea risks of every kind amounted to prohibitions, young McCutchon left his father's house by the Cree, ferried his fortunes out of Wigton Bay, waved a cordial good bye to the Mull of Galloway, and in a cheerful frame of mind arrived at Montreal in the month of June. Inducements were not wanting to attract him to Canada. His maternal uncle, the Hon. John McGill, a member of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada, and at one time Receiver-General of that Province, had accumulated wealth as well as honor in his new home. Having no children and many[342] possessions, he very naturally sought in his own family for heirs of his blood. It may have been personal feeling, or it may have been a genealogical prejudice, but he determined to obtain by law what had been denied by nature—an heir of his name as well as of his race. The impression which the nephew made on the mind of his uncle must have been very satisfactory, as on the 29th of March, 1821, and during the lifetime of the former, a Royal License was issued under the sign-manual of His Majesty George the Fourth, from which we shall make the following extract:

"Whereas Peter McCutchon, of Montreal, in the Province of Lower Canada, merchant, only surviving son of John McCutchon, of Newton Stewart, in the county of Galloway, gentleman, by Mary, his second wife, deceased, who was the sister of John McGill, of York, in the Province of Upper Canada, Esquire, a member of the Legislative Council, and late Receiver-General for the said last mentioned Province, hath, by his Petition, humbly represented unto us that his said honored maternal uncle having, in the consideration that he is now a widower, advanced in years, without any children alive, and the only survivor of the male branch of his father's family, by a letter bearing date at York aforesaid, the second day of January last past, signified his earnest wish and desire that the Petitioner should assume and use his surname; and the Petitioner, being desirous, from motives of affectionate regard towards the said John McGill, of forthwith complying with his wish so expressed; the Petitioner, therefore, most humbly prays our Royal License and authority that he may assume, take, and use the surname of McGill instead of his present surname. Know ye that We, of our Princely grace and special favor, have given and granted, and by these presents do give and grant unto him, the said Peter McCutchon, our Royal License and authority, that he may assume, take, and use the surname of McGill instead of his present surname, provided this, our commission and declaration, be recorded in our College of Arms; otherwise this our License and Permission to be void and of none effect."

Before he assumed his uncle's name, or inherited his property, Peter McCutchon addressed himself to the duty of working out his own fortune. With a hearty vigor he entered on that career of commerce with which his history was to be chiefly associated. In the capacity of clerk, he engaged in the service of Messrs. Parker, Gerrard, Ogilvy & Co. After a few years' exertion, he had so far made his way as to become a partner, and to see his name fill the third place with the quadruple alliance of Porteous, Hancox,[343] McCutchon & Cringan.

In 1824, the Hon. John McGill died, and the subject of this sketch inherited the fortune for which he had been requested to lay aside his paternal name. It was, we believe, about this time he formed an English partnership with Mr. Dowie, of Liverpool, and if we are rightly informed, a Canadian one with the late Mr. Price of Quebec. The firm of McGill & Dowie lasted for some years, while the business under the name of Peter McGill & Co. was continued for a still further period. Though great pecuniary disasters overtook the firm, it was wealthy enough to bear the shaking. It lost much metaphorical blood in the form of money; but in saving its credit, it saved its actual life; and it was only common policy to shed one in defence of the other. The high-minded merchant entered into rest with the comfortable reflexion, that his commercial honor had never been impeached.

In 1818, the Bank of Montreal was established. In the following year Mr. McGill was elected one of the directors. In 1830, he was appointed Vice-President, and in 1834, President of the Bank. The last-mentioned officer is chosen annually, and it is no light compliment to the subject of this sketch that, without interruption, he continued to fill the office until June, 1860, when age and ill health obliged him to relinquish his connection with that great institution. On the 13th February, 1832, he was married, by special license, at Brunswick square, London, to Sarah Elizabeth, a daughter of Robt. C. Wilkins, Esq. Of this marriage two sons survive.

Mr. McGill was a wealthy and benevolent, as well as a sagacious and a painstaking man, who not only applauded the sentiment, but really enjoyed the labor of doing good to other people. He was courteous and conciliatory to all, and thoroughly free from that kind of Dombeyan pomposity which Dickens has satirized, and which many men mistake for good breeding. His mind was cast in a gentle mould, and his heart [344]was a treasury of benevolence and charity. Such qualities, combined with his social and commercial position, fitted him to be what he was, a useful intermediary between extreme parties. His principles were not deficient in outline, but such outlines were cut in Caen stone and not in granite. They were therefore very sensible to the touch of time, the influence of contact and the power of association. The Honorable George Moffatt, who was his friend, might instructively be contrasted with Mr. McGill. Both were high-minded honorable men. Moreover, they started from the same point of the political compass. But there was a great difference in the way in which they applied their knowledge. One did what he thought was right, the other did what he thought was best. One asserted the obligations of principle, the other insisted on the considerations of expediency. Mr. Moffatt was governed by the rule and square of imperious conviction. Mr. McGill watched, and to a great extent was controlled by the course of events. Principle in one case was inflexible and unyielding; in the other it was pliant and elastic. The former character attracted more respect, and the latter more affection; and thus people sometimes found themselves most liking what abstractedly they least admired. The age in which we live is an age of conciliation, with which compromise has a good deal to do. Mr. Moffatt preferred the old-fashioned axioms to the new-fashioned age. Mr. McGill accepted things as they were, and if he could not suit the age to the axioms, he would adapt the axioms to the age. This policy of observing the ebb and flow of public opinion, of being content to follow the times and apply their lessons, has its advantages, which, though of a negative character, may nevertheless represent a positive benefit.

The community of mixed nationalities in which Mr. McGill lived, was exactly the community where such a policy could find scope and be appreciated. There is no more cosmopolitan population in British America than is to be found in Montreal. All sorts and conditions of men congregate there; men of all origins, all creeds, and of[345] every occupation—men who are attracted from parts the most remote, governed by interests the most different, and engaged in pursuits the most varied. Yet, notwithstanding such an accumulation of contrarieties, Mr. McGill was able even in such a community to exert an influence which was generally beneficial, because it was always moderate. Thus his assistance and co-operation were commonly sought for in religious, charitable, or useful works. In this way offices more onerous than profitable, honors more burdensome than enviable, and duties more exacting than desirable, gathered about his path with fatiguing accumulation. He seemed to be associated with every undertaking that needed direction; the head of almost every society that wanted a chairman; and the co-operator with almost every charity that wanted a friend. From 1834 to 1843, he was the President of the Montreal Branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society; and when he resigned, an order of Honorary Governors was instituted primarily for the purpose of keeping his name on the roll of the Society. He was President of the St. Andrew's Society from 1835 to 1842. In 1846, he was appointed Provincial Grand Master of the Free Masons for the District of Montreal and William Henry, and in the following year he was elevated to the office of Superintendent of Royal Arch Masonry in the Province of Canada. He was the first Mayor of the city of Montreal; and though he was nominated by the Crown, we think the opinion includes no slight to the citizens when we add that they have never chosen a more useful and efficient chief magistrate. By way of adding strength to this impression, we shall append a resolution which was unanimously adopted at the close of Mr. McGill's civic career:

On the motion of Alderman DeBleury, seconded by Councillor Bourett, it was unanimously resolved:

That, whereas, the present Council will, from and after to-morrow, cease to exist, the present is a fitting moment to convey to his worship the Mayor, the Honorable Peter McGill, the mos[346]t sincere and unanimous thanks of the members of this Council, for the very gentlemanly and courteous manner in which he has at all times conducted and performed the high and important duties connected with his office as Mayor of this city, and it is with deep regret they have learned that he is determined not to be put in nomination at the ensuing municipal election to sit again at this Board, where his acknowledged ability and services have been so pre-eminently useful; and the loss of such invaluable services cannot fail to be felt by the citizens generally.

Besides the offices already mentioned, Mr. McGill was for fourteen years a Governor of the University of McGill College, and he was also a Governor of the Montreal General Hospital, Chairman of the Canada Branch of the Colonial Life Assurance Company, President of the Lay Association of Montreal in connection with the Church of Scotland, Chairman of the St. Lawrence and Champlain Railroad Company, from its commencement to its completion 1835, when he declined re-election; President of the Board of Trade in Montreal, in 1848; Director of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada, President of the British and Canadian School Society of Montreal, and a Trustee of the University of Queen's College, Kingston. We must not omit to state that he was President of the Constitutional Society from 1836 to 1839.

In 1820 he was promoted to the rank of captain in the Militia; in 1830 he was gazetted as major of Artillery, and on the 14th September, 1849, he was placed on the unattached list as lieut. colonel. His political offices, though less numerous, were necessarily more important than the local or military ones to which we have referred. He was a member of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada, having been summoned thereto by His Excellency Viscount Aylmer, on the 8th June, 1832. On the 2nd of November, 1838, he was appointed, and on the 19th January, 1839, re-appointed a member of the Special Council for Lower Canada. On the 4th July of the last mentioned year, he received from the Governor General a communication accompanying a mandamus under the Royal Signet, of which the following is a copy:


To our trusty and well beloved Sir John Colborne, G. C. B., Lieutenant-General in our army, our Captain General and Governor in Chief, in and over our Province of Lower Canada; or, in his absence, to our Lieutenant Governor, or the Officer administering the Government of our said Province for the time being


Trusty and well beloved, we greet you well. We being well satisfied of the loyalty, integrity and ability of our trusty and well beloved Peter McGill, Esq., have thought fit hereby to signify our will and pleasure, that forthwith, upon the receipt of these presents, you swear and admit him, the said Peter McGill, to be of our Executive Council of our Province of Lower Canada, and for so doing this will be your warrant.

Given at our Court at Buckingham Palace, this fourth day of May, 1839,
in the second year of our reign.

By Her Majesty's Command,


Peter McGill, Esq.,
To be of the Executive Council,
Lower Canada.

On the 9th June, 1841, he was summoned by His Excellency, Baron Sydenham, to a seat in the Legislative Council of Canada. In 1843 he declined, for private reasons, the office of Speaker, though pressed on his acceptance by the Honorable Messrs. Viger and Quesnel, the former of whom was, at the time, the chief Lower Canadian adviser of Lord Metcalfe. On the 21st of May, 1847, the offer being repeated by His Excellency the Earl of Elgin, it was accepted by Mr. McGill, who was at the same time sworn in of the Executive Council. Personally, there was no more popular member of the Legislative Council than Mr. McGill. Probably no one could have presided with more dignity, and, so it is stated, no one has dispensed the hospitalities which are inseparable from the office with better taste, greater discernment or equal frequency. Unfortunately for Mr. McGill, the peculiar state of the Province appeared to counteract the grace which lent attraction to his presidency. Until then the office had not been regarded as a ministerial appointment; successive changes had taken place in the administration, government had succeeded government, reformers had displaced[348] moderates, and conservatives reformers. But the Speakership of the Legislative Council, like a judicial appointment, had remained undisturbed, being, as it was supposed, beyond the reach of those influences which regulate the tenure of political offices.

But it was not the application of the principle of ministerial responsibility which constituted the chief difficulty of the unlooked-for proceeding. The differences between Lord Metcalfe and his Executive Council, which resulted in the resignation of the latter, on 30th September, 1843, were followed by the general estrangement of the French Canadian party. This estrangement, Mr. Draper, and subsequently Mr. Cayley, sought very earnestly to overcome. On both occasions Mr. Caron, at that time the Speaker of the Legislative Council, was selected as the negotiator. That he did not succeed must be attributed rather to the difficulty of the duty than to any want of effort on his part to make it successful. But the penalty of failure appeared to be visited upon him. The administrations which he had sought to serve discovered that the public interests would be advanced by cancelling Mr. Caron's commission, and making his office as unstable as their own. "Since you have failed to conciliate your countrymen, you shall no longer preside in the Legislative Council," were not the words in which Mr. Caron's removal was signified, but they expressed, as was alleged, the ministerial reason. That act increased the difficulties of the situation; for the substitution of a gentleman of British origin for one of French descent added force to their grievances, who complained of the exclusion of the latter from power. Thus it chanced that Mr. McGill's personal popularity weighed but little against the political necessities of the government. It was ineffectual to repair a mistake, which was apparently more nearly related to resentment than to sagacity. The error was fatal, for it caused the waverers of the French Canadian party to unite as a compact body, and take service under the flag of Mr. Lafontaine. The natural result speedily[349] followed, for on the 10th of March, 1848, the administration, of which Mr. McGill was one of the most popular members, resigned. Though he continued to give his occasional attendance in Parliament from then till the time of his death, his political career may be said to have closed on the last mentioned day.

Mr. McGill was not a man of marked genius or of conspicuous learning, or of striking originality, but he was a man of nice honor, great sagacity, and sound common sense. He possessed the qualities for which Cicero recommended Pompey to the Romans for their general; he was a "man of courage, conduct, and good fortune." Moreover, he was a frank opponent, a fair partisan, and a fast friend. If he was not always consistent, he was always conscientious. He did not care to balance the logic of argument against the logic of facts. He was more anxious that his acts should be separately wise than that they should be collectively symmetrical; hence he took no pains to dovetail a vote of one period with a speech of another. No political designation with which we are acquainted very accurately describes his school of politics. At times he was a conservative, and at times a reformer, but he was always a royalist, and always an enthusiastic supporter of the Queen's government. He was passionately so, when that government was disturbed by rebellion or menaced with democracy.

A Scotsman by birth, he could, on any festive occasion, talk in exhilarating tones of the "blue hills" of his native land, and express at least a poetic affection for their hazy accompaniments of mist and drizzle. But though he had neither the wish nor the ability to forget his native land, we incline to think that his greater love was for the country of his adoption. His constant hope and earnest endeavors were to unite in one bond of fellowship and concord, of union and strength, the different races with which it is peopled. Baptized and brought up in the Church of Scotland, he continued to be, as we learn from a sermon preached on the occasion of his death, a member of that establishment to th[350]e last. The disease of which he died was enlargement of the heart. It was of long standing. His robust constitution had wrestled with it for twenty years, and did not give way until the 28th of September, 1860, when he had entered his seventy-second year. Many regrets were expressed at his death, and many mourners followed his remains to the grave. Moreover the place of usefulness which he filled, we incline to think, is still empty. No successor has arisen in the Montreal community who unites in his character and his policy the kindliness and generosity, the tact influence and temper, of the Honorable Peter McGill.


[1] The subjects include papers on Columbus, Shakespeare, Milton, Burke, Grattan, Burns, Moore, The Reformation, The Jesuits, The English Revolution of 1688, The growth and power of the Middle Classes in England, The Moral of the Four Revolutions, The Irish Brigade in the service of France, The American Revolution, The Spirit of Irish History, Will and Skill.

[2] O'Connell and his Friends, 1 vol., Boston, 1844; The Irish Writers of the Seventeenth Century, 1 vol., Dublin, 1856; Life of McMurrough, 1 vol., Dublin, 1847; Memoir of Duffy, Pamphlet, Dublin, 1819; Historical Sketches of Irish Settlers in America, 1 vol., Boston, 1850; History of the Reformation in Ireland, 1 vol., Boston, 1852; Catholic History of North America, 1 vol., Boston, 1852; Life of Bishop Maginn, 1 vol., New York, 1856; Canadian Ballads, Montreal, 1 vol., New York, 1858; Popular History of Ireland, 2 vols., New York, 1862; Notes on Federal Governments, past and present, Pamphlet, Montreal, 1864; Speeches on British American Union, London, 1865.

[3] 1815.—Topographical maps of Lower Canada in two sections. First, District of Quebec, Three Rivers and Gaspé. Second, the District of Montreal.

Geographical map of British America and of the United States.

These maps, which were published on a very large scale, were accompanied by a topographical description of Lower Canada. They were moreover published simultaneously in English and French.

1831.—British Dominions in North America, 2 vols. 4to., elegantly printed and illustrated with vignettes, views and plans.

Topographical Dictionary of Lower Canada. 1 vol. 4to.

Topographical map of the District of Quebec and Three Rivers.

Topographical map of the District of Montreal.

Geographical map of British America and of the Northern, Western, and Central States of America. This map, though published by the subject of our sketch, was, we believe, compiled by his eldest son.

[4] "Annual Report of the Royal Institution of South Wales, for 1839." On the character of the beds of clay immediately below the Coal seams of South Wales, and on the occurrence of boulders of coal in the Pennant Grit of that District.

[5] Colas et Colinette, ou le Bailli Dupé—a comedy, 1788. Lucas et Cecile—a musical operatta. Les Republicains Français—a comedy; a Treatise on Dramatic Art. 1805.


Transcriber's Note:

Hyphenation for the most part has been standardised.

The date of the communication "a despatch from the Secretary of State, on the subject of the visit of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to Canada" has been amended to read 30th January1860. The volume is erroneously printed with 30th February. See page 35.

page 21 able to to say ==> able to say

page 66 it is on exaggeration ==> it is no exaggeration

page 312 then has he had done ==> then as he had done

[The end of Portraits of British Americans—:Volume 2 by Fennings Taylor]