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Title: History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario Volume 1 of 2

Date of first publication: 1885

Author: Charles Pelham Mulvany et al.

Date first posted: Apr. 13, 2018

Date last updated: July 28, 2020

Faded Page eBook #20180407

This eBook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, David T. Jones, Howard Ross & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net

















Volume I.






IN submitting the following pages to the judgment of subscribers the Publisher has to apologize for a slight delay in their production—a delay, however, which has been rendered necessary by the difficulty encountered in obtaining certain minute topographical and biographical information which it was highly desirable to obtain, and which have materially enhanced the value of the work as a local record. It is believed that these volumes will be found to supply a long-felt want, and that all the various promises embodied in the Prospectus will be admitted to have been faithfully kept.

The first portion of the work, entitled “A Brief History of Canada and the Canadian People,” gives, in an abridged form, most of the material facts in the annals of our country, and will doubtless be found useful by those who have neither time nor inclination for the perusal of larger and more elaborate histories. It was written by Dr. C. P. Mulvany, of Toronto. The portion relating to the early history of Toronto is the work of Mr. G. M. Adam, also of Toronto; while the remaining portion, embracing the History of the County of York and of the various townships of which it is composed, together with the strictly topographical and biographical portions, have been written by persons having a special knowledge of the respective subjects treated of. The greater portion of the matter will be found to possess more than a merely local interest, and may be read with pleasure, even by persons who have no special knowledge of, or interest in, the respective localities described.

In a work of such extent, dealing entirely with matters of fact, and involving the verification of innumerable minute details, it is perhaps too much to expect that perfect accuracy has in every instance been secured. It is confidently believed, however, that the errors, if any, are few in number; that the wealth of information is great, and, upon the whole, accurate; and that these volumes will in all essential respects compare most favourably with other works of the same character, whether issued in this country or the United States.

With which expression of confidence the volumes are respectfully submitted for the approval of their patrons.


Toronto, 1885.


II.Jacques Cartier7
III.Cartier’s Successors13
V.Samuel de Champlain22
VI.Champlain and the Ottawa33
VII.The Recollet Mission38
VIII.Champlain’s Difficulties50
IX.Champlain Governor of Canada57
X.The Jesuit Missions59
XI.The Beginning of Montreal67
XII.The Government of Montmagny73
XIII.Canada under Royal Government82
XIV.The English Military Government93
XV.The American Revolution as it affected Canada97
XVI.The Constitution of 1791103
XVII.The Settlement of English-Speaking Canada110
XVIII.Lower Canada from 1791 to 1812119
XIX.The War of 1812-’15125
XX.Lower Canada from the Peace to 1828137
XXI.Upper Canada from the Peace to 1828139
XXII.Canada on the Eve of Rebellion143
XXIV.The Civil War150
XXV.The Civil War—Continued159
XXVI.The Civil War—Montgomery’s Farm165
XXVII.The Family Compact Terror175
XXVIII.The Union of the Provinces179
XXX.Prosperous Days203
XXXI.Recent Years207
I. Introductory.—Character and Limits of our Local History.—The Twilight of Fable.—Michilimackinac, the Western Centre of the Fur Trade.—The Various Routes Thither.—The Huron Nation.—The “Pass” by Toronto.—Destruction of the Hurons by the Iroquois.—Fort Rouille.—The Province of Upper Canada Constituted.—Governor Simcoe.—York.—The Aborigines1
II. The Building of Yonge Street.—Origin of its Name.—Dundas Street.—Early Territorial Divisions of Upper Canada.—Extent of the County of York.—Departure and Death of Governor Simcoe.—Interest Attaching to His Name.—An Unpublished Letter of His.—Selfish and Unpatriotic Policy of other Lieutenant-Governors.—President Russell and His Successors.—Pen-Pictures by Robert Gourlay12
III. Modern Territorial Divisions of York.—Parliamentary Representation.—The Rebellion.—Want of Harmony Among its Leaders.—Inaction and Defeat.—Execution of Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews.—The Place of their Interment.—Gallows Hill.—Origin of the Name24
IV. The Rebellion not altogether a Failure.—A York County Cause Célèbre.—The Tragedy of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery, near Richmond Hill.—Execution of James McDermott.—Grace Marks, the Female Fiend.—Her Sham Insanity.—Her Pardon and Marriage32
V. The Principal Streams of the County of York.—The Credit.—Origin of its Name.—Peter Jones and Egerton Ryerson at the Credit Mission.—Indian Witchcraft.—The Humber.—The Don.—Sir Richard Bonnycastle’s Account of a Ride Through the County Thirty-eight Years Since.—Richmond Hill without the Lass.—Thornhill.—The Blue Hill.—List of County Wardens.—The Municipal Council.—Officers Appointed by the Council.—Tables of Values51
VI. The Report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission.—Statistics Relating to the County of York.—Character of the Soil.—Water.—Price of Farms.—Stumps.—Fences.—Farm Buildings and Out-Buildings.—Drainage.—Farm Machinery.—Fertilizers.—Uncleared Lands.—Acreage and Average Products.—Stock and Stock By-Laws.—Timber Lands.—Market Facilities.—Local Industries.—Mechanics, Farm Labourers and Domestics63
VII. Public Schools of the County of York.—Division of the County for Educational Purposes.—Extracts from Reports of Inspector Hodgson.—School Statistics.—Inspector Fotheringham’s Report69
York, Township of77
Etobicoke, Township of97
Scarborough, Township of106
Markham, Township of114
Vaughan, Township of124
King, Township of134
Whitchurch, Township of145
Georgina, Township of158
North Gwillimbury, Township of164
East Gwillimbury, Township of170
Newmarket, Town of180
Aurora, Village of185
Weston, Village of187
Richmond Hill, Village of191
Woodbridge, Village of196
Markham, Village of198
Holland Landing, Village of200
Stouffville, Village of202
I. The Town of York Founded203
II. York at the Close of the Last Century210
III. The Administrations of Governors Hunter and Gore216
IV. Brock and the War of 1812222
V. The Advent of Dr. Strachan and the Fall of York228
VI. York, 1813 to 1823236
VII. William Lyon Mackenzie and the Rule of Sir John Colborne245
VIII. The Birth of Toronto253
IX. From 1838 to 1851258
X. From 1851 to 1859265
XI. The Six Years before Confederation269
XII. Toronto a Capital Once More276
Toronto: Her Highways, Institutions, and Industries283
    Public Buildings290
    The City Government298
    The Churches308
    Universities and Schools318
    Parks, Public Squares, and Cemeteries322
    Charitable Institutions325
    The Press326
    Benevolent and Secret Societies329
    Military Organizations330
    The City Clubs330
    The City Hotels331
    Financial Institutions333
    Cattle Trade371
    Manufacturing Industries375
    Wholesale Trade405
    Retail and General427


Louis Papineau43
Louis H. Lafontaine71
Sir George E. Cartier99
Joseph Howe113
Thomas D’Arcy McGee133
Hon. George Brown153
Sir Francis Hincks209
Hon. Edward Blake31
Hon. Alexander Mackenzie111
Marquis of Lorne143
Earl Dufferin159
Toronto in 1803203
First Church in Toronto (St. James')223
Parliament Buildings, 1833239
King Street, 1834255
Russell Abbey271
St. Andrew’s Church286
James Ashfield302
Edward James Lennox354
William G. Storm357
Samson, Kennedy & Co.’s Warehouse412
John McMillan414
Elias Rogers & Co.444

Part I.


A Brief History of Canada.




Chapter I.


THE history of Canada is the history of three races,—the Indian, the Frenchman, and the English-speaking immigrant from the British isles or the neighbouring Republic.

The Indian tribes had roamed over the unbroken forest that is now the Dominion of Canada, through ages that we can only approximately estimate by the guesses of experts in our pre-historic annals. Like the other inferior races of man, they have no annals, no record of their own past; but the record of race, stamped on skin and skeleton, would seem to indicate an Asiatic origin. In the part of North America south of what is now New York State, the present race of Indians appear to have superseded a far more civilized race, the builders of fortified towns and permanent temples, who were well acquainted with the use of metals. But when, in the sixteenth century of Christian civilization, French and English maritime enterprise, born of the new birth of classical literature, discovered or re-discovered this country, the Indian race in Canada had not advanced beyond the civilization of the Stone Age. They were in some respects behind, they were in no respect in advance of, the human wild beast who was the contemporary of the mammoth and the cave-bear. Their spears and arrows were pointed with carefully-chipped flint, their knives were of clam-shells; of the use of metal they knew nothing; their dress was that of the earlier savages described in the legends of Hebrew and other primitive races, paint and the skins of wild beasts. They had no domesticated animals except a breed of dogs useless for the chase, which they kept for the purpose of religious sacrifice and of food. They had lived for unknown centuries with no home but the forest, which they shared with the wolf, the bear, and the lynx. In architecture they were inferior to the brute instinct which had shaped the lake cities of the beaver, the cave-shaped nests of the mole, the wax hexagon of the bee.

The Indians of Canada represent its pre-historic age. It is impossible to estimate the date of their sparse and nomadic occupation of a country that, now civilized into farms, towns, and cities, supports an increasing population which to their feeble and shifting number is as a thousand to one. No doubt these inferior races fulfilled a useful purpose. They were of some service to the first white immigrants into Canada. They guided Champlain up the tortuous courses of the Ottawa; their conversion from Fetichism to Roman Catholicism elicited the noblest missionary effort which the Christian Church has seen since its first century of miracles and martyrdoms. But they surpassed all other savage races known to history in cruelty, treachery, and revenge; and whenever, after a fashion, they have become civilized, they seem to have lost many of the virtues of savage life. It may be doubted whether the heroism of the French Jesuits does not count among the wasted efforts of man’s noblest powers. The Christianized Indian is no permanent or prosperous element in the population of this country; his civilization is second-hand; disease and vice decimate his ranks; alcoholism fastens its fangs into his strength. An intelligent officer of the Hudson’s Bay Company, employed at the Pacific Railway station of Mattawa, in 1882, not long since expressed the opinion that the Indian tribes in the northern part of Canada will most likely be extinct before the end of another hundred years.

When the continent of America was first discovered, what is now the Dominion of Canada was inhabited by a number of savage tribes who, in their approach to civilization, were on a level with the negroid races of Africa or Australia, although to some degree surpassing them in courage and physical vigour. Of these, there were two principal divisions: the tribes of the Algonquin race, and those of the Iroquois, since known as the Six Nation Indians. The Algonquins, as a rule, did not live in fortified villages; the solitary hunter wandered through the woods, or with wife and children erected the birch-bark wigwam by the banks of some stream, whose plentiful supply of fish would supplement the more precarious venison. In the tropical Canadian summer, life passed in Arcadian content. With the Arctic winter came the severer struggle for existence against the wild beasts and the weather. When the long-hoarded supply of food, often little better than putrid carrion, became nearly exhausted, old people and women were knocked on the head, and cannibalism became a necessity; the scanty supply of fuel, hewn with long-continued labour of flint knife and stone hatchet, gave little protection against the terrible winter wind which entered every crevice of the wretched dwelling. Deaths from exposure thinned the ranks of the hunters; wolf and wildcat vainly strove to tear the marble-stiffened form frozen in the snow. And still, with the conservatism of savage life, no advance was made, no protection sought against cold and hunger; the warrior in the brief hour of feasting forgot the sure approach of famine, and the terrors of winter descended upon his defenceless home, without any provision having been made against its approach.

A nearer approach to civilization was made by those tribes that, as a rule, lived in settled communities. Of these, by far the most remarkable were the Iroquois, whose organization, once that of the terrible Iroquois League, continues to this day in the Reserve on the Grand River, which the British Government granted as an asylum for their race. They formed a Confederacy originally seated in what is now New York State, but whose hunting grounds extended, and whose villages were built, over the entire lake region and valley of the St. Lawrence. Their settlements were made up of a number of large houses, surrounded by a wooden rampart. Each house was solidly built of wood, and well protected against wind and rain. It was generally from a hundred to a hundred and fifty feet long, and contained many fire-places, and a number of bunks, a few feet from the ground, on which the various families—men, women, children, old and young—slept promiscuously together. Provision for privacy or decency there was none. Their only drink was the water of the stream; their food, meat or fish, often kept till it was putrid; their sole luxury, tobacco, that great gift of the New World to the Old, in return for which she had not yet received the more questionable gift of fire-water.

The Iroquois have been aptly termed “the Romans of the Western World.” Their political organization, with its extensive settlements of allied tribes and towns, enabled them to conquer the other Indian races in every part of Canada, to exterminate the two great tribes of the Hurons and the Eries, and to become an important ally to England in the wars of the French and English colonists previous to the conquest, and in the two wars with the United States which followed it. Enthusiastic writers on the romantic aspects of savage life have drawn rose-coloured pictures of the courage, the simplicity, the eloquence of the noble red man. But, looked at in the light of careful and patient investigation, the ways of the dwellers in wigwams lose much of this ideal colouring. The Indian Chief was not, as writers like the poet Campbell have represented him, a hero king, like those of the Grecian army before Troy. He was simply a warrior raised above others by superior strength or cunning; with no authority of life or death; no power as a ruler, beyond what the influence he could exert in the interminable wrangling of war-council might give him for the time. He was in no respect a member of an aristocratic caste; he fished and hunted just as did every other member of his tribe; had no privilege of class, such as those of the chief of a Highland clan, or an Irish sept. The most noted chiefs of even the most recent, and therefore the best, phase of Indian warfare, such as Pontiac or Tecumseh, were in many respects mere painted savages among their fellow-savages.

The courage of the Indian warrior differed from that which in all civilized ages has been regarded as the essential attribute of manhood. He could die a death of horrible and prolonged torture without a complaining cry, but on the battle-field the Indian would rarely risk his life before an equal foe. A handful of Europeans, as in the case of the Carillon massacre, could hold hundreds of these wolves of the wilderness at bay. The Indian on the war-path resorted to every treachery, every coward’s subterfuge of ambush and surprise. On children, women, and captives, he gloried in exercising cruelties of which there is no trace in the record of any other savage race, even the most degraded known to history. Of endurance of inevitable pain, these Stoics of the forest gave abundant proof; of pity, placability, chivalry, none. It is true that the annals of Iroquois warfare show no instance of treachery to allies resulting from mere abject cowardice like that shown by the Huron allies of Daulac des Ormeaux at the critical turning point of the disasters of Carillon. But, in many respects besides this, the Iroquois stand alone among the Indian races. West of the St. Lawrence Valley were two great tribes, the Huron and the Erie. Like the Iroquois and the more civilized of the Algonquin tribes, the Hurons lived in towns. When Champlain visited their settlements in the West, he was surprised at the superiority of their villages, and at the cultivated ground covered with corn and vegetables. The religious chivalry of the French Jesuit missionaries converted, and might have civilized, the Hurons. But the torch and tomahawk of Iroquois warfare exterminated the race as utterly as the Canaanites were destroyed from the face of earth by the pious zeal of the children of Israel. Nothing remains of them but the name given to the lake by which they dwelt, the record of their slow and doubtful conversion by the Jesuits, and the mocking but brilliant romance written in ridicule of the Jesuit Relations by Voltaire.[1]

It is true that there are other remains in the huge bone pits found in the country once occupied by the Huron race, immense receptacles of human skeletons containing hundreds in one vast sepulchre. The existence of these places of sepulture is well explained by the account given by the early Jesuit missionaries, who witnessed the process of the formation at the loathsome Feast of the Dead. Every few years it was the Huron custom to exhume the bodies of all those who had been buried during that period. The bodies were wrapped in robes of honour, and carried into the houses where they had dwelt during life; there the festering remains were treasured for several days, then brought all together and thrown into a deep pit, as soon as the skeleton could be denuded of the last particle of flesh. Then, with endless oratory from a high platform, and a feast as of ghouls in presence of this foul spectacle, the “Feast of the Dead” came to an end. There were other feasts common to the Indian race, of all of which unlimited gluttony was the main feature. For drunkenness they had no opportunity till civilization came with the rum-bottle, which is so rapidly helping to exterminate their race. At some of the public dances and festivals, girls and the younger women danced robeless, as the witches at Faust’s Walpurgis Night.

When preparing for war, the usual council was held and the usual interminable speechification, characteristic of these grown-up children, was continued for days. Then, the warriors, smeared with paint so as to ensure disguise, issued forth, armed with flint-pointed spear, arrows, and tomahawk, to tread the war-path. Of all savage races, these alone practised the cruel and disgusting custom of scalping; a custom practised by Pontiac, Tecumseh, and Captain Brant, as ruthlessly as by the earliest and least civilized braves of Indian warfare.

As to religion, much has been said of the pure monotheism of the Indian race: of their hope in a future life, and worship of the Great Spirit. Unscientific writers have found it easy to exalt this crude and shocking Manitou worship to a level with the monotheism of Socrates and the New Testament. But those who have studied the abundant early records of Indian superstition know well that this, like every other savage race, never emerged from the stage of intermingled animism and fetichism. Animism is the superstition of children when they beat the ground against which they have fallen and hurt themselves. It is the superstition of savages when they attribute a conscious life to the phenomena of nature. A more advanced step in animism, the worship of deceased ancestors, the Indians never seem to have reached. Till they learned some vague monotheistic notions from the white man, their idea of a Great Spirit seems to have been extremely vague, and to have consisted in the worship of a number of “Manitous,” good or malignant, who dwelt in forest, lake, or cataract, and whom it was well to propitiate with offerings of tobacco.

Of a future state their notions were equally vague. It was a shadowy reproduction of the present life; a hunting-ground where good and bad fared alike, and where the ghost of the hunter flitted in pursuit of the ghost of the wild beast, accompanied by the ghost of the tomahawk, his spear, bow and arrows, and tobacco pipe. Poets, moralists, and romance writers, from Voltaire downward, have delighted to pourtray the noble red man, the chivalrous and undaunted Indian chief, the lovely and faithful daughter of the forest. In all this there is little reality. A sterner and coarser picture is drawn by the impartial hand of history, and by those travellers who have visited the less civilized Indian settlements of the present day in remote parts of Canada. It may be added that, unlike even the negroid race of Africa, the Indian has invented no art beyond the civilization of the Stone Age. One thing, among the most graceful although the simplest products of human skill, he has invented—the birch canoe; exquisitely proportioned, buoyant, yet so frail, and so unsafe in all but the most practised hands, that it will in all probability pass away with the decaying race to whom it belongs, and who appear doomed to fade in obedience to that inexorable law of the non-survival of the unfit, leaving as their memorial only the strange music of their names for the rivers, lakes, and hills of a country which has become the Dominion of a higher race.

Voltaire’s Le Huron.

Chapter II.


AS the delusions of astrology and alchemy were the motive power of the researches which have given us the true sciences of astronomy and chemistry, so the favourite delusions of the last century of the Middle Ages gave to the world the boon which ranks with the invention of printing and the European Revolution—the discovery of America. Men like Cartier, Columbus, the two Cabots, even Champlain a century later, dreamed of a passage across the Western Ocean to India and China. And kings, like those who sent out these and other discoverers, had, as their chief object, the finding of a treasure-trove of gold and gems. But an impulse had been given to European thought which stimulated maritime discovery as well as every other art, by the new birth of learning resulting from the taking of Constantinople, and the consequent dispersion over Italy and France of the band of Greek scholars who held the key of ancient Greek letters.

Among other arts, ship-building and navigation had now improved, the use of the bowline enabling mariners to sail on a wind, the discovery of the compass and of the method, as yet but imperfect, of taking observations, made long voyages through unknown seas possible. The trade with the Orient, hitherto monopolized by the Turk, was thrown open to Christendom by Vasco da Gama’s success in doubling the Cape of Storms. This last also led to all the maritime nations giving their attention to new methods of constructing ships large enough to undertake long voyages to distant seas. It was such ships, the first of modern naval art, that carried the discoverers of America and Canada.

There seems good reason to suppose that the hardy Norman fishermen had, with the Bretons and Basques, visited the Newfoundland fisheries for centuries before the voyage of Cabot. There is also a tradition of a sea captain from Dieppe, voyaging on the African coast, being carried by a storm across the Western Ocean, and seeing an unknown land and river’s mouth. This may have been heard of by Columbus, who, four years later, made his voyage of discovery. The alleged discoveries of Verrazzano are probably mythical, but they found a place in the compilation of Ramusio, and have ever since been commonly accepted as veracious history, until within the last few years, during which the investigations of distinguished American savants have caused them to be pretty thoroughly discredited. Suffice it to say that in process of time Canada was claimed by three European powers: by Spain, as part of her province of Florida, in consequence of the preposterous gift of the whole continent to the Spanish king by Pope Alexander the Sixth: by France, in consequence of the discoveries claimed to have been made by several navigators under the auspices of Francis I.; and by England, in consequence of the undoubted discoveries of Sebastian Cabot.

After the Treaty of Cambray, France began, in some degree, to recover from the exhaustion of the disastrous war into which she had been plunged by the ambition of Francis. The plans for Canadian exploration were revived by a young noble in favour with the volatile king, in whose schemes of gallantry and war he had shared. The king had appointed his young comrade Admiral of France, and a fitting choice was made of one worthy to be entrusted with the task of exploration. Jacques Cartier, afterwards ennobled by Francis for his discovery of Canada, was a bold and experienced sea captain, a God-fearing seaman, fearless of tempest or battle. No part of France has produced a more fearless race of mariners than the rugged old town of St. Malo, where Cartier was born. His portrait is still preserved there, and we can judge, to some extent, of its expression by the familiar copies in this country. A face firm, yet kindly; the rough sailor’s beard pointed after the fashion of the time. On an April morning in 1534, Jacques Cartier, being then in his fortieth year, sailed from his native town with two small ships, neither of them over sixty tons, and a crew of a hundred and twenty-two men. It was usual in those days to send out ships of war two at a time, for the ships were so built as not to carry anything but the munitions of war and the crew. An attendant ship held provisions and a cooking-room. Much space was taken up by the amount of ballast required to steady the ship. A voyage of twenty days brought them to Newfoundland. Thence sailing to the south of that island, Cartier passed the Magdalen Islands, and entered a bay, which, from the heat of a Canadian summer’s day, he named Baie des Chaleurs. Having erected a large wooden cross as a sign of the claim of the French king to the whole country, a proceeding watched with dismay by an Indian chief, who regarded it as an act of sorcery, Cartier advanced up the St. Lawrence till in sight of the Island of Anticosti, when, dreading the storms already threatening, as autumn approached, he set sail for France. He first carried away two Indian boys, a more justifiable act of kidnapping than those of which he and others were afterwards guilty, since it was needful to procure Indian guides who could understand the white man’s speech, so as to serve as interpreters in future expeditions. The news of his discovery was received with enthusiasm. Here was a chance for the French king to obtain new dominions in that lately discovered world, which was regarded as containing new El Dorados and Empire Cities like those conquered by Spain. Then, the Catholic reaction, already gathering its powerful forces to repair the damage done by the storm of the Reformation, seized on the idea of converting the heathen. A new expedition was resolved on, with Cartier in charge, several of the young noblesse of France being under his command—in all a hundred and ten souls. There were three ships, the largest bearing the memorable name of La Grande Hermine, 110 tons burden; the second, La Petite Hermine, and the third of lesser size. All confessed and heard mass in the Cathedral of St. Malo, and on the nineteenth of May, 1635, set sail from the rugged stone harbour of the Breton port. After a stormy voyage, they all met at the Straits of Belleisle, and entered a bay close to Anticosti, which, it being the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Cartier named after the Roman martyr, St. Lawrence. From that day the saint became sponsor to the mightiest river of Canada.

Cartier’s conduct in kidnapping the two Indian boys has been severely blamed by the historian Parkman and other writers; but had he not done so, it is inconceivable that he could have guided his squadron through the dangers of the first river voyage. Day after day they sailed up the gloomy stream, to the giant cliff of Cape Tourmente, and anchored beside an island, which, from its profusion of grape-vines, Cartier named after the god Bacchus. At last the squadron anchored in the River St. Charles, close to the site of Quebec, where then, under the shadow of the historic hill, an Indian town or village, called Stadacona, clustered its bark-built wigwams. The Indians received the Frenchmen with all kindness. The two Indian boys, fresh from the wonders of court, camp and city, told a tale of marvellous experiences in the land of the white man. Donnacona, the chief, was received and feasted on board Cartier’s ship. The Indians told Cartier that the entire region through which he was proceeding was called Canada, but that the chief town was some distance up the river. After no slight difficulty in obtaining the necessary guidance from the Indians, whose sorcerers, disguised as demons, with hideous paint and long horns, endeavoured to terrify the pale-faces, Cartier, with the smallest of his ships, a galleon of forty tons and sixty men, began to ascend the river. It was autumn: the unbroken forest on either bank lay reflected in the water; boughs where the ripe grape clusters hung from tree to tree; masses of foliage, lit with the colours which no other forest can emulate—the gold of larch or maple, the flame-red of the soft maple, the garnet of the sumach. Amid the woods everywhere the song-birds thrilled the air. As the galleon sailed on, countless wild-fowl flew, hoarse-screaming, before their approach. At length the Indian guides signalled to beach the galleon. An Indian trail led them through the oak groves which covered what is now the site of Montreal to the Indian town of Hochelaga, surrounded with ripe fields of gold-coloured maize. Here the entire population turned out to receive the strangers with tumultuous welcome; men, women and children yelling and leaping in the wildest excitement at the arrival of those whom they looked on as beings gifted with a supernatural superiority. The town consisted of some fifty oblong dwellings, each housing a number of families. These houses were constructed of birch bark twisted around a number of poles. In the centre of the town was a large open space. Here Cartier and his friends were seated on mats upon the ground. Around them, row behind row, the warriors squatted, the women and children thronging, the outer area. There the chief, a palsied and repulsive-looking old man, was carried for Cartier to lay his hands on him and heal him. Cartier did not refuse to touch the aged and helpless limbs, and read a passage from the Gospels over a crowd of bed-ridden savages, who crawled out of their huts to be cured. This done, he distributed a lavish present of beads, knives and hatchets, to squaws and braves. The Frenchmen were offered profuse supplies of food, maize and deer-flesh, which, however they did not accept. Cartier then was guided to the summit of the beautiful mountain, to which, in honour of Francis I., he gave the name of Mount Royal. From that stately hill where now the traveller looks down upon a scene in which human art in its noblest forms mingles with and ministers to natural beauty; where the river, magnificent now as then, bears on its bosom the navies of the merchant princes of Canada, and where its waters are spanned by the vast granite arches of a bridge which is one of the wonders of the world; where one of Canada’s noblest cities covers the site of the vanished Indian town—the illustrious discoverer gazed far and wide upon an unbroken mass of forest, stretching to either horizon and beyond, from the Arctic North to the savannah of Florida.

After a stay of several days at Hochelaga, Cartier returned as he came, to Stadacona. There a rude fort of earth-works and palisades had been built, in front of which ships lay moored in the St. Charles River for the winter. Cartier and his company passed that gloomy season amid hardships innumerable, and suffered the loss of some of their best men. The Indians, at first so ready to welcome them, were no longer to be propitiated with wine and presents; the fickle savages became dreaded foes, and were excluded from the fort. At length the terrible blood-poisoning disease that comes with cold and famine broke out among them. An Indian, who observed the scurvy symptoms in Cartier, told him of the remedy, a decoction of the evergreen spruce leaves. A large spruce was cut down, and through six days the sick Frenchmen drank abundantly; the salts of potash contained in the leaves effecting a speedy cure. At length the long expected spring, dissolving the ice that bound their ships, set the prisoners free. Just before leaving, Cartier managed to seize Donnacona and several leading chiefs, and, conveying them on board his ship, sailed for France. This seems to us a treacherous act, though we must remember how strongly the Jesuit teaching pervaded the Catholic reaction. The maxim that it is lawful to do evil that good may come had been early impressed on minds like Cartier’s. It was unfortunate for poor old Donnacona that he told Cartier all sorts of Indian legends of wonder-land of gold and jewels in the far West. He must be taught to recount these marvels to the Most Christian King. After all, the old chief was probably much better off than he would have been in his own wigwam, cared for kindly in a country where he was looked on with some sort of respect as an Indian “king,” for the early French discoverers of Canada, with their feudal notions, regarded the chiefs as possessing a dignity and authority belonging to European kings and lords. The chiefs were baptised with great pomp in Rouen Cathedral, but all died shortly afterwards.

After an interval of six years, another expedition sailed from St. Malo for Canada. A renewal of war between the Emperor Charles the Fifth and Francis had much abated the interest of the French in American colonization. The inducements already tried were not attractive. But a new court favourite, a nobleman whose title was the Sieur de Roberval, in Picardy, was appointed the first Viceroy of Canada, and managed to secure a grant from the king of sufficient money to equip five ships for the voyage. The squadron was manned, in a great degree, by all manner of thieves and useless vagabonds, whom De Roberval had authority to impress from the public prisons. Kept waiting for promised supplies, Roberval remained to obtain them, Cartier sailing at once for Newfoundland and the St. Lawrence. Once more he anchored at the familiar mooring-place; but when the Indian warriors swarmed, as they had been wont, in their birch canoes around his ship to ask news of Donnacona, and were told by Cartier of his death, they withdrew in sullen discontent. Thus, Cartier’s requital of the Indian chief’s hospitality proved not only a crime but a mistake.

Two forts were built: one on the height, one on the river bank. A little land was cleared, and seed sown. While this was being done, Cartier withdrew, with two boats, to explore the river. He did not succeed in getting beyond Hochelaga, and on returning found that the expected supplies had not yet appeared, and the terrors of a Canadian winter must again be undergone, with deficient supplies, a thoroughly discontented crew, and the Indians alienated. Roberval did not arrive with the supplies till June of the next year, 1542, by which time Cartier had already quitted the colony, fearing to pass another winter such as the two that he had lived through. The vessels of the two commanders encountered each other in the harbour of St. John, Newfoundland. In vain De Roberval commanded Cartier’s return; that night his ships set sail for France. The sole result of this expedition was a few glittering scales of common iron pyrites which Cartier took for gold, and several quartz crystals, which he supposed to be diamonds. Hence its name was given to Cape Diamond, where he found them. It is pleasant to know that the discoverer of Canada met with no cold receptions on account of the scanty success of this expedition. He was created a noble by the king, and lived long to enjoy his dignity in the neighbourhood of his native St. Malo.

De Roberval did not meet with better success. The expedition was ill provided with provisions and other necessaries. They built a fort or barrack on the site of the former entrenchment of Cartier. Again the rigours of a Canadian winter came upon a French colony totally unprepared to meet them. They had to subsist on such fish as could be procured from the Indians, and on roots fried in whale oil. Added to this, the company quarrelled incessantly among themselves. To maintain discipline, De Roberval resorted to lash and cord for the slightest offence. Theft was checked by hanging the first offender. Several men and women were shot. The colony was a hopeless failure. De Roberval returned to France, leaving a small garrison behind him. Sometime afterwards he again sailed for Canada with a ship-load of colonists, but he never reached his destination, and is supposed to have perished by shipwreck. Meanwhile the garrison he had left on the shore of the St. Lawrence joined the Indians, and degenerated into barbarism. Thus ends the first chapter of the French settlement. It is but the prelude to a nobler record.

Chapter III.


DURING the next half century, the French Government and noblesse, occupied in the disastrous civil wars, had no thought whatever of Canada. The generation which knew Cartier had passed away; that of Champlain had not come. Yet, through all these evil years the barques of the Breton and Norman fisher-folk swarmed upon the Banks of Newfoundland, and returned to France full-freighted with the harvest of the sea. The still more profitable trade in furs, too, became more and more an established branch of commerce between the Indians and the Frenchmen, who, building their huts on the margin of the St. Lawrence Gulf, found that, for a few trinkets, they could procure supplies of beaver and bear skins, walrus tusks, and the valuable furs of the smaller animals, such as the mink, ermine, and silver fox, then held in so much value in France. Many of these married Indian girls, acquired the Indian language and habits, and made voyages in the canoes which traded to some distance up the St. Lawrence. But the noblesse had not lost sight of the advantage of acquiring new territories and new titles by enterprises of Canadian colonization. A very abortive effort in this direction was made by the Marquis de la Roche, a Breton noble, who obtained from the king permission to found a colony in Canada. He repeated the mistake which had ruined the enterprise of Roberval. He ransacked the prisons, and brought together a company of thieves and cut-throats who were forced to embark in a small vessel, so deep-freighted with its cargo of convicts that the wretched men, leaning over the ship’s side, could dip their hands in the water. By good seamanship, or good luck, they crossed the Atlantic, and reached a low stretch of sand-bank with breakers surging unceasingly over the skeleton of a wrecked ship. This was Sable Island, eighty miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. In accordance with the cruel custom of the time, La Roche landed his convict colonists on this dismal islet, while he and his sailors went in search of a suitable spot for settlement. But a storm from the west came on, and the tiny craft could do nothing else than run before the tempest, which speedily carried her to France. There La Roche was imprisoned by one of the rival leaders in the civil war, and, though oppressed by remorse for the fate of the unfortunates he had abandoned to almost certain starvation, could do nothing until five years later, when he was able to bring the circumstances under the notice of the king. Meanwhile, the convicts having learned to despair of La Roche’s return, faced their miserable fate. The island, about three miles long, contained in its centre a small lake fed by a clear spring of fresh water. There were a number of wild cattle, the progeny either of some that had escaped from the wreck of a Spanish ship, or of some left there eighty years before by the explorer De Lèry. Not a tree or shrub was to be found, but the sand-hills were covered with a coarse grass on which the wild cattle fed. Black foxes burrowed in the sand-hills; seals basked on the beach. On these they managed to subsist, eating the flesh, and clothing themselves with the skins. They contrived to construct huts with the timbers of wrecked ships, wherein, huddled together without a fire, these miserable outcasts learned to regret the warmth and shelter of the dungeons whence they had been taken. Thus they lived for five years, when a ship passing near sent a boat to the island and carried the survivors of the strange exile back to France. The king sent for them. They stood in his presence like wild men, with hair unkempt and long shaggy beards,—their only clothing the skins of beasts. They had hoarded up a quantity of valuable furs, which had been taken from them, but were returned by the king’s order, who also pardoned them and bestowed on them pensions.

Once more a seaman from St. Malo undertook the attempt at settlement. Pontgravé of St. Malo, with the aid of Chauvin, a captain in the royal navy, obtained a monopoly of the fur trade on condition that they should found a colony. Their only thought was of the trade; as to the colony, they brought out some sixteen persons in 1599, for whom they built a dépôt under the shadow of the gloomy, inaccessible hill-sides at the outlet of the Saguenay. Here a stone house was built, the first erected in Canada. But the colonists were utterly deficient in self-help and energy. Unable to face the horrors of winter in that dismal region, several of them died of cold and exposure; the rest, preserved by the charity of the Indians, were afterwards carried back to France.

In 1603, Aymer de Chastes, a veteran soldier and commander of the Order of St. John, had saved the cause of Henry the Fourth at the most critical period of the civil war which ended with the triumph of Ivry. A devout Catholic, De Chastes longed to devote the last years of his life to the cause of his God and his King. He could think of no nobler achievement than to win the wilds of Canada for the Cross of Christ and the Crown of France. King Henry readily granted to his devoted follower the title of Viceroy of Canada. De Chastes very wisely formed a company, thus sharing with others the profits to be derived from his monopoly of the fur trade. Of his party were Pontgravé and a young soldier and sea-captain, named Champlain, of whose character and career we shall speak hereafter, as his is, beyond question, the central figure in early Canadian history.

From Honfleur, Champlain and his companion sailed with two small ships over the ocean, through the gloomy St. Lawrence, past the majestic promontory of Quebec, from beneath whose shadow the Indian town of Stadacona had vanished; on, past lake and island, to Montreal. Here, too, the town of Cartier’s day had disappeared, leaving no trace behind. The explorers vainly endeavoured to make their way in a canoe farther up the St. Lawrence; they were stopped by the whirling eddies and miniature cataracts of the rapids of St. Louis, against which these bold adventurers strove in vain to make way. Baffled for the time, they returned to France, only to learn that the death of the good De Chastes had probably put an end to their enterprise. Colonization, however, was once more taken up by a nobleman of high character for energy and valour, the Sieur de Monts, who obtained from the king a commission as Viceroy of Canada, or rather of La Cadie or Acadia. The name of Acadia was soon afterwards restricted to Nova Scotia. The name itself is derived from a less poetical source, being the Indian for a species of small cod, called by the English the pollock. In De Mont’s commission Acadia included all Canada, with the entire country from Philadelphia northwards. As usual, the new Viceroy received a monopoly of the fur trade. Also as usual, he received and made use of the refuse of French society to be swept into the holds of his vessels. But he was fortunate enough to carry with him several associates of high rank and character, foremost among whom was the young Baron de Poutrincourt. Their adventure, now to be recorded, brilliant and memorable as it undoubtedly was, is but a prelude, and that a tentative and unsuccessful one, to the real history of Canada.

Chapter IV.


THE strangely-freighted ship in which De Monts sailed with some three-score soldiers to subdue a continent, supported as he was by a company of thieves and murderers, in order to win the heathen to Christianity, held other strange and incongruous elements of discord. De Monts was a rigid Calvinist, but at the French court, even in the time of Henry the Fourth, nothing could be done without consulting the interest of Mother Church. De Monts had agreed that the converted Indian should belong to the Catholic fold. But, for the welfare of his own soul and those of his fellow Protestants on board, Calvinist ministers also formed part of the ship’s company. During the voyage, priests and ministers engaged in perpetual wrangling on theological points; from arguments they sometimes fell to blows; which, as Champlain quaintly says, “was their way of settling controversy.” Mr. Parkman quotes a story, given in Sagard’s Histoire du Canada, to the effect that when they reached land, the dead bodies of a priest and a minister were laid in the same grave by the crew, who wished to see if even there they could lie peaceably together. At length the ship reached the southern coast of Nova Scotia. There they waited in a land-locked bay for the arrival of Pontgravé’s store-ship. After a month, she brought their supplies, and De Monts passed on to the Bay of Fundy, and, sailing through its broad southern expanse, entered a small inlet to the north-east, which opened into a wide reach of calm water, surrounded by forest-mantled, undulating hills. This was the harbour of Annapolis. Poutrincourt foresaw the importance of this place as a site for a settlement, and obtained a grant of it from De Monts. He named it Port Royal. They then coasted along the tortuous windings of the bay, and, returning, discovered the St. John River and Passamaquoddy Bay. At the mouth of the River St. Croix they formed their first settlement. They built houses, workshops, and a magazine. Champlain tried to lay out a garden, but the soil was too sterile. Poutrincourt then set sail for France, in order to procure supplies for his new domain at Port Royal.

De Monts was left behind on the rocky and barren islet which represented his vice-royalty. The only civilized men in that vast region were the seventy-nine French exiles under his command. The brief summer had gone; soon autumn had passed as surely as summer. The perpetually eddying snow now covered all things: the impenetrable wall of woodland, the marble-frozen stream, the pine-covered hills. The cold became intense, wine was frozen and served in solid lumps to the men. Scurvy broke out; they tried, but with no effect, to cure it by the decoction of spruce employed by Cartier. Thirty-five died before that dismal winter had ended. Disgusted with St. Croix, De Monts and his followers moved to Annapolis basin. Thither their vessels transferred the stores and furniture. A portion of the forest was soon cleared, and the dwellings of the colonists were built. De Monts had been warned by letters from France that his enemies in that country were busy undermining his good name in the fickle favour of the court, in order to deprive him of the valuable fur monopoly. He therefore sailed for France, Pontgravé taking his place at Port Royal. He was coldly looked upon at Paris. Something had been heard of the snow-clad wilderness, the impenetrable fogs, the famine, and the death-list of the previous winter. Not even a priest would undertake the Acadian mission vacant by the deaths of those who had gone there at the outset. But Poutrincourt’s zeal secured several followers who were destined to afford him admirable aid. Of these was Lescarbot, a lawyer and a good writer, who has left a history of this ill-fated settlement. In July, 1606, they arrived at the clearing in the forest, and saw the wooden fort and buildings of Port Royal. They found there two Frenchmen only, and an Indian named Membertou. Anxious at the advance of summer, and fearing that De Monts might not return with supplies, the settlers had built two small barques and gone in quest of some friendly ships that might give help. A boat was sent in quest of Poutrincourt, who joyfully returned. Their friends met them at the vessel with arquebuse discharges, shouts, and trumpetings; Membertou’s Indian warriors, whose wigwam was at hand, crowded to the fort, where they were feasted, and Poutrincourt broached a cask of wine in the court-yard. Soon after this supplies were again procured on a more liberal scale from France. The settlers took heart; Lescarbot made larger clearings in the forest, and sowed grain in the virgin soil. Near the fort gardens were laid out. The settlement seemed to prosper. The bill of fare at the dinner-tables of Port Royal included trout, salmon, and sturgeon, speared through the river ice, and sea fish caught in the waters of the bay. There was abundance of game: the venison of the moose and caribou, the hare, the otter, the bear, furnished a list of good things not known to Parisian epicures. The winter of 1600 was a mild one. Abundance of food, a generous supply of good wine, of which the allowance to each man was three pints a day, warded off danger of scurvy. The firm rule of the noble Baron de Poutrincourt, and the buoyant energy of the not less noble Champlain, had turned into Christian order the outcasts whom he had gathered from the French prisons. There being no priest, the good Lescarbot read the Bible to the assembled colonists every Sunday evening. The accounts given by this good man in his History of New France read like an idyl. “On the fourteenth of January,” he tells us, “on a Sunday afternoon, we amused ourselves with singing and music on the River Equille, and in the same month we went to see the wheat-fields, two leagues from the fort, and merrily dined in the sunshine.” All seemed bright with hope, but all depended on the favour of a monarch too easily influenced by fair women and courtly priests. As Lescarbot and his associates were at breakfast, their faithful Indian chief, Membertou, came with news of a strange sail out of view of any vision but his own, although he had passed his hundredth year. The vessel bore news fatal to the colony. Their monopoly of the fur trade had been withdrawn by the king. De Monts and his associates had spent enormous sums on the colony; the king’s breach of faith had ruined them. Lescarbot and Champlain sailed for France, and reached St. Malo in October, 1607.

But De Poutrincourt would not even then despair of his little republic. He obtained from King Henry IV. a new and more definite grant of the ownership of Port Royal; he sold property of his own; and associated with himself several men of good means and reputation. Abundant supplies were obtained, and a ship’s company of intending settlers awaited him at the port of Dieppe.

A Jesuit confessor, a profligate queen, and a virtuous but fanatical lady of rank, combined to induce King Henry IV. to consent to the Jesuits having religious charge of the new colony. Now, Poutrincourt, although a fervent Catholic, disliked the Spanish Order of Ignatius, and objected to priests who intermeddled, as the Jesuits were forever intermeddling, no doubt having religious ends in view, with everything secular. The authorities of the Order named Father Biard, Professor of Theology at Lyons, as Chaplain to Port Royal; but De Poutrincourt eluded the indignant Jesuit by a hasty departure for Acadia. He had with him a priest who was not a Jesuit. They both set hard to work, so as to gain such success in converting the Indians that King Henry might see no necessity for sending Jesuits to undertake the mission. Poutrincourt in this seems to have made a mistake; one that resulted in the ruin of his colony and himself, by forfeiting the magnificent reinforcement which that Republic of the Black Robe might have brought to his aid.

To the student of human nature there is a melancholy satisfaction in considering how this hater of Jesuitism sought to fight the Jesuits with their own weapons, by pushing with indecent haste the solemn work of conversion, merely in order to send, for political purposes, a long baptismal list of his converts to the king. The centenarian chief, Membertou, was the first baptised; after renouncing “the Devil,” whom he had served, and “all his works” which he had practised with conscientious thoroughness all the days of his life of a hundred years. His example was followed by the Indians of his village of four hundred braves. An epidemic of conversion set in. The water of the fort was supplemented by fire-water and good fare. One aged warrior, newly baptised, when about to die, asked, with anxiety which was evidently sincere, whether in heaven pies could be had as good as those he had eaten at Port Royal.

In a short time, Poutrincourt was able to send a baptismal list of portentous length to France. He despatched it by the hand of his son, a noble and gifted boy of eighteen named Biencourt. But Biencourt, when he reached Newfoundland, heard news which might have taught him that his mission was useless. The king who had given peace, order and plenty to France, the Victor of Ivry, De Poutrincourt’s friend, was dead. On May 14th, 1610, Henry the Fourth was stabbed to the heart by one of those political pests of whose execrable breed our own age has not as yet rid itself.

Young Biencourt went to the Court and had an audience of the queen, the infamous Marie de Medicis. He found her altogether in the hands of the Jesuits. Two other ladies, then all-powerful in the Court, threw their influence into the same scale. Many other wealthy women were persuaded by their Jesuit confessors to raise an immense fund for the Acadian Mission. With this at their command, the wily Order of Jesus completely out-flanked their enemy, De Poutrincourt. He imagined himself secure in the possession of Port Royal, which had been deeded to him by the late king; a donation which, according to French law, could not be reversed. But the Jesuits obtained from the imbecile young king, Louis the Thirteenth, a grant of all Acadia, a term which, be it remembered, then included all Canada. They had, in their own words, hemmed in De Poutrincourt in his own narrow domain of Port Royal, as in a prison. And even in Port Royal they obtained a controlling voice, by purchasing, with money obtained from the ladies to whose profligacy they gave such easy absolution, a preponderating number of shares in the company which managed Port Royal, and of which Poutrincourt was but a single member. And, as if that was not enough, they contrived to involve the foolish noble who had set himself against their powerful Order in a mesh of lawsuits, and even to throw him into prison. He was released, however, and returned to Port Royal.

Young Biencourt could do nothing. He came back with the Jesuit Biard on board his ship. Their arrival was the signal for discord of all kinds, the death-knell of the prosperity which Poutrincourt had so fondly hoped, by his noble self-sacrifice, to retain. The son of Pontgravé had outraged or seduced an Indian girl, and Poutrincourt was resolved to punish an act so likely to cause ill-feeling between the Indians and the French. But the Jesuits sought out the youth, heard his confession, and gave their usual easy absolution. They insisted on protecting him. Poutrincourt, indignant at their interference, sailed for France.

Meanwhile, the colonists at Port Royal fell into a state of indigence and misery, aggravated by constant quarrels between young Biencourt, whom his father had left in command, and the Jesuits Biard and Masse. The latter tried to live as a missionary in an Indian town. He failed; the filthy food, the filth, indescribable, of every kind; the incessant jabber of scolding women, the fleas, the smoke, were too much for the good man. He returned to Port Royal almost in a dying condition.

The old chief, Membertou, had now come to the end of his long career. The Jesuits tended him most kindly. Father Biard placed him in his own bed. He made a most edifying end; the only sign of relapse being a wish to be buried with his heathen forefathers, which however he allowed the Jesuits to overrule.

In the hour of utmost need a vessel came from France with supplies. It was sent by the fair penitents of the Jesuits, one of whose order, Father Du Thet, was on board. This chafed Biencourt more and more. Meanwhile, in Paris, De Poutrincourt being utterly powerless, the Jesuits and the frail court beauties—beauties of whose consciences they held the key—resolved to take possession of Acadia, and found a spiritual empire of Indian slaves bound body and soul to their sway, as they had already done with such unexampled success in Paraguay. Canada was to become a second Paraguay. A ship was freighted with all things needful for the establishment of a new settlement in Acadia, which should throw Port Royal into the shade. All kinds of necessary and comfortable things were put on board: horses, goats, agricultural tools, barrels of wine. She set sail in an atmosphere of religious incense and courtly perfume. Her commander was a brave and pious noble, named Saussaye. Arrived at Port Royal, they found their Jesuit colleagues and the Port Royal followers of Biencourt in the most miserable condition, digging for roots and living on what fish might be caught in the river. Without caring for the Port Royal colonists, they took the Jesuits on board, and steered for the Penobscot. Wrapped in the fogs of that dreary bay, they prayed earnestly for sunshine, and lo! the curtain of mist was swept away suddenly, and they could see the precipitous cliffs of Mount Desert, rising like a castle, defiant of the army of breakers that stormed so fiercely at its fore. With a fair wind they entered Frenchman’s Bay, and came to anchor in a haven east of Mount Desert. They landed, and raised a cross, when, amid a throng of friendly Indians, mass was sung, and incense mingled with the odours of the summer woods. The mission was soon settled, with every prospect of thriving, when an English ship from the colony at Virginia, carrying thirteen guns, swooped down on the startled French. The land they had seized was a part of the dominions of His Majesty of Britain. The thirteen guns opened fire on the feebly armed French vessel, which made a brave resistance, led by the Jesuit Du Thet, who died on her deck, sword in hand. The English destroyed every vestige of a building in St. Croix and Port Royal. Such was the ruin of Acadia; the beginning of a struggle which was to end on the heights of Quebec.

Chapter V.


THE story of the rise and ruin of Acadia, told in the last chapter, is indeed but an episode in the history of Canada, which we now resume at one of its most interesting points—the exploration of the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa, and the great inland seas of our country; and the story of the foundation of Quebec. This was all the work of one man, who may well be called the Father of New France. All that had been done before his time amounted to nothing more than a mere reconnaissance. Samuel de Champlain was born in 1567, at Brouage, a small town on the Bay of Biscay. He was a captain in the navy, and a soldier of no little military skill. During the wars of the League he had done good service for King Henry the Fourth in Brittany, and his prowess had contributed to the triumph of the royal cause at Ivry. After the war he travelled all through the Spanish settlements in the West Indies and South America; an adventure of no slight risk, as the Spaniards, always averse to their South American possessions being visited by foreigners, were especially jealous of the French. Champlain’s manuscript journal of his travels is still preserved, in clear, well-marked characters, and illustrated by a number of coloured drawings, which, with a childlike disregard of proportion and perspective, yet give a sufficiently distinct idea of the objects represented.

As has been said, Champlain accompanied De Monts on his Acadian enterprise. When that had utterly failed, the latter was easily induced by Champlain to explore the St. Lawrence, and, by founding a French colony in Canada, deliver the heathen of that land from eternal punishment, so that they might become loyal subjects to His Majesty of France and His Holiness of Rome. De Monts eagerly adopted a project so full of piety and patriotism. He fitted out two ships, one in charge of Pontgravé, the other in charge of Champlain. Pontgravé, with a cargo of wares for barter among the Indians, sailed for Canada on the 5th of April, 1608; Champlain left on the 13th. As he rounded the cliff which to the south-east of the St. Lawrence projects like a buttress into the turbulent waters, he found Pontgravé’s ship at anchor, and beside her a Basque vessel which, on some difficulty arising between the two captains, had fired upon Pontgravé, wounded him, and killed one of his crew. With some difficulty, Champlain compromised the question at issue, and the Basques departed in peace to the neighbouring whale-fishery. Amid the desolation of sombre woods and hills, sombre even at this day, where after three centuries of civilization, the Saguenay rolls its sullen waters, ink-black, in the shadow of the green rocks that guard its channel, Champlain encountered an Indian tribe, his alliance with whom was destined to exercise no slight influence upon his future. They belonged to the great race of the Algonquins, who were the hereditary foes of the Iroquois. The lodges of their village, wretched huts of birch bark, feebly supported on poles, were far inferior in comfort and appearance to the fortified towns visited by Cartier at Stadacona and Hochelaga. These Indians called themselves Montagnais. They traversed the gloom of the surrounding wilderness, armed with their flint-pointed arrows and spears, in patient quest of the only wealth the land yielded—the fur of the fox, lynx, otter; the skins of the bear, wolf, wild-cat, and the various species of deer. These men circled round the French ships in their frail but exquisitely graceful canoes; and several of their chiefs were taken on board and feasted to the utmost contentment of their gluttonous appetites. They promised to furnish guides. Pontgravé had now left for France, his vessel full-freighted with costly furs obtained by barter from the Indians. Champlain held his course, for the second time, up the St. Lawrence, through scenes which in some respects civilization has done nothing to change; where, now as then, the dark green wall of forest fringes the utmost marge of the precipice, and the towers and buttresses that guard the river are reflected in the sunless depths below. He passed where now a long-settled farm country, varied at every few miles by a bright, picturesque-looking village, meets the eye of the tourist; where then the wilderness held unbroken sway. Soon he beheld once more the huge promontory of Quebec, towering like a fortress built by some god or giant to bar the rash explorers’ onward way. At this point the lake-like expanse of the St. Lawrence suddenly narrows to a strait, whence the Indians named the place “Kebec,” or “Strait.” Champlain anchored his ship at the old mooring-place where the River St. Charles enters the St. Lawrence.

The stone hatchets of the aborigines were scarce capable of felling a single tree without the labour of several days; very different was the effect of the steel axes with which civilization had armed the white man. Wielded by the strong arms of these resolute and hopeful men, inspirited by the presence and example of one who himself was a practised woodman, the gleaming axe-blades were smiting hard and fast all through the summer day; and ever as they smote, the huge pines, that were the advanced guard of the wilderness, fell before them. Soon several acres were cleared. On the site of the market-place of the Lower Town of Quebec was erected a rude but sufficiently strong fortress, consisting of a thick wall of logs, defended on the outside by a double line of palisades, and having at its summit a gallery with loop-holes for arquebuses. On platforms raised to a level with the summit of the wall were three small cannon, commanding the approaches from the river. There were barracks for the men, and a strongly-built magazine. The outer wall was surrounded by a moat. Grain, maize, and turnip seed were sown on part of the land which had been cleared; and Champlain, practical man as he was in all things, cultivated part of the land close to the fort as a garden.

Early in September Pontgravé sailed for France to report progress and bring back supplies. Champlain was left in charge of the newly-erected fort, to which its founder had given the name of Quebec. The mother city of Canadian civilization, the centre and shield of resistance to bloody Indian warfare, through a long and chequered history of nearly three centuries, Quebec has held the place of honour in the annals of each of the great races that now compose the Canadian People.

The hero who was its founder had, like all heroes from Hercules downwards, not only labour and pain to contend with; not only the hydra to smite down; he had to crush the serpents that attacked his work in its cradle. One Duval, a locksmith, had formed a plot to seize Champlain when sleeping, and, having murdered him, to deliver up the ship to their late enemies the Basques, and to the commander of a Spanish ship then at Tadoussac. Aided by three other ringleaders, Duval had gained over nearly the whole of Champlain’s garrison of twenty-eight. Prompt measures were taken. A shallop had lately arrived from Tadoussac, and was anchored close to the fort. Among the crew was one on whose loyalty Champlain knew he could depend. Champlain sent for him, and giving him two bottles of wine, directed him to invite Duval and his three accomplices to drink with him on board the shallop, and while drinking, to overpower them. This was done that evening. At ten, most of the men in the fort were in bed. Champlain gave orders that the trumpet should be sounded, and the men summoned to quarters; they were told that the plot had been discovered, that its author would be hanged at dawn, and the three who had aided him in plotting mutiny be sent in irons to France to expiate their crime as galley slaves for life; the rest he would pardon, as he believed they had been misled. Trembling, they returned to their beds; and the next day’s dawn saw the carcase of their ringleader dangling from a gallows, food for the wild-cat, and warning against mutiny. It was an act of prompt decision that reminds one of Cromwell. Thenceforth Champlain had no difficulty in securing discipline.

And now the gold and scarlet livery with which autumn arrays the Canadian forests was being rudely stripped away by November’s blasts. A cold winter followed. The first garrison of Quebec amused themselves with trapping and fishing; Champlain on one occasion hung a dead dog from a tree in order to watch the hungry martens striving vainly to reach it.

A band of the wandering Algonquins, the feeblest and most improvident of Indians, set up their wretched wigwams close to the fort, round which they prowled and begged. Although they took no precaution whatever against their dreaded Iroquis enemies, every now and then they were seized by a panic, and man, woman, and child, would run half-naked to the gate of the fort, imploring its shelter. On such occasions Champlain would admit the women and children to the courtyard within. These Montagnais were, even for Indians, unusually degraded. They would eat any carrion. Once Champlain saw a band of these wretches, hunger-driven from the region beyond the river, seek help from their kindred. Gaunt and spectral shapes, they were crossing the river in their canoes. It was now the beginning of spring; the St. Lawrence was full of drifting masses of ice which had floated from the far wildernesses of the west. The canoes got jammed between these miniature icebergs, and were at once shivered like eggshells. The famine-striken Indians sprang on one of the largest of the ice-drifts. Certain of death, they raised a terrible yell of fear and lamentation. A sudden jam in the ice-pack saved their lives. Champlain humanely directed that they should be supplied with food; before this could be brought, they found the carcase of a dead dog; on this they seized, and, ravenous as wolf or wild-cat, tore and devoured the putrid flesh.

Whatever may have been the cause, towards the close of winter scurvy appeared among them; and when the spring sunshine came to their relief only eight out of a band of nearly thirty were living. In May a sail-boat arrived from Tadoussac, bringing a son-in-law of Pontgravé with news that his father-in-law had arrived there. There Champlain met his colleague, and it was arranged that while Pontgravé took charge of Quebec, Champlain should carry out the plan of a complete exploration of Canada.

The year before, a young war-chief from the distant tribes of the Ottawa had visited the fort; had seen with amazed admiration the warriors clad in glittering steel; had heard the roar of arquebuses and cannon. Eagerly and earnestly he sought an alliance with the great war-chief. He told how his tribe, one of the superior branches of the Algonquin race, were in alliance with their kinsmen the Hurons against their common enemy the Iroquois. On being questioned by Champlain, he told how a mighty river as vast as the St. Lawrence flowed from unknown regions where the Thunder-bird dwelt, and the Manitous of mighty cataracts abode. This aroused Champlain’s most eager interest. To explore that river would be to obtain a knowledge of the whole country, otherwise beyond his reach; perhaps it might even prove to be the long-coveted highway to China and the East. Without the help of the Indians it was clearly impossible for Champlain to pursue his explorations. It was agreed that, next spring, the Ottawa chief with a party of his warriors should visit the fort. But, as after waiting late in the spring, Champlain found that the Ottawa warriors did not appear at the fort, he set forth with eleven of his men and a party of Montagnais as guides. On his route up the river, he saw, through an opening in the forest, the wigwams of an unusually large Indian encampment. Grounding his shallop on the beach, he made his way to the camp, and found a gathering of Hurons and Algonquins. Their chief received him with all the profuse and demonstrative welcome of savage life; his companions and Indian followers were summoned to the chiefs lodge. The dwellers on the far-off shores of Huron had never seen a white man. They gazed in wondering awe on the brilliant armour and strange weapons of Champlain and his followers. A feast and the usual prolonged speech-making followed, as a matter of course. Champlain invited all the chiefs to Quebec. Arrived there, they were feasted in return. At night they lighted huge fires, and painted and decked themselves for the war-dance.

All through the night half-naked warriors, hideous with paint and feathered head-dress, danced and leaped, brandishing stone clubs and flint-pointed spears, as the fierce light of the fire fell on the fiend-like faces and frenzied gestures of hate. All through the night the sinister sound of the war-drum accompanied the yells of the dancers, till the wolves were scared at Point Levis, and wild-cat and lynx retreated deeper into the forest. Next day, Champlain, with eleven of his followers, set forth in a shallop. Accompanied by the canoes, they passed through Lake St. Peter, amid the tortuous windings which separate its numberless islets. Champlain looked with a delight inconceivable to his savage allies on that peculiar feature of Canadian scenery, the cluster of small islands which varies the monotonous expanse of the Canadian lake or lakelet; each of them low-lying in the water as a coral-reef; in its centre a miniature grove of birch and cedar in which the birds are singing; all round it, to where the emerald garment of the islands meets the water, a dense growth of shrubs and flowers fresh with the life of June. The force of the current being against them, Champlain’s sail-boat made way far in advance of the canoes: as he cautiously steered his course, his eye was caught by the gleam, close at hand, of foam, and the roar of hurrying waters. They were dangerously near the rapids. By this time the Indian canoes had joined the shallop. Champlain, with two of his men, determined to accompany the Hurons in their canoes, it being evidently impracticable to prosecute the voyage in a boat which could not be carried past the rapids of the river, now called the Richelieu. The rest of his men were sent back to Quebec.

Presently they reached the beautiful lake which bears the name of the hero of that day’s adventure. They arrived at the country of their dreaded foes the Iroquois. They then took greater precaution in their advance. A small party of Indians explored the way. In the rear of the main body another small party guarded against surprise. On either flank a band of Indians scoured the woods to watch for indications of an enemy’s approach, and to hunt what game might be met with for the common benefit.

One night, about ten o’clock, they saw dark objects moving on the lake. The keen perception of the Indians at once decided that these were the war-canoes of the Iroquois. They landed and intrenched themselves. The Hurons did the same. It was agreed on both sides that the battle was not to take place till the morning. But both by Huron and Iroquois the war-dance was kept up all night, accompanied by the hideous thumping of the war-drum, and by the cries and yells imitated from the wild beasts of the wilderness, but far surpassing in horror of discordant shrillness the shriek of the horned-owl, the howling of the wolf, the wailing of the starved wild-cat in the winter woods. With morning’s dawn, the Hurons were drawn up in irregular skirmishing order. Champlain and his two companions waited in reserve. Presently the Iroquois defiled through the forest. Their steady advance and manly bearing excited the admiration of Champlain. At their head were several chiefs, conspicuous by their waving plumes of eagle-feathers. When the two hostile lines confronted one another, Champlain stepped out in front of the Hurons, levelled his arquebuse, and fired. The two leading chiefs of the Iroquois fell dead. With a yell that resounded through the wilderness, the Hurons showered their arrows upon their adversaries. The Iroquois still stood firm, and replied with arrows from two hundred bows. But when Champlain’s two companions, each with his arquebuse, poured a volley of fire into their ranks, the Iroquois, utterly terrified, turned and fled. Like a tempest, the Hurons tore after them into the woods. Most of the Iroquois were killed and scalped, or rather scalped and killed, on the spot; but several were reserved for torture. That night, by the blazing watchfire, Champlain saw a captive tied to a tree; around him, with torches and knives in their hands, yelled and leaped his captors. They gashed his flesh; they applied the burning pine-torch to the wound. Champlain begged to be allowed to put a bullet through the poor wretch’s heart. They refused. Champlain turned away in horror and disgust, as he saw them tear the scalp from the yet living head. Several of the captives were given to Champlain’s Algonquins to be tortured. These they reserved till they reached their own camp, near Quebec, in order that the women might share in the torturing process, in the ingenious application of which they justly considered that the weaker sex excelled their own.

On their arrival at the Algonquin camp, the girls and women rushed out to meet them, yelling and screaming with delight at the thought of chewing the fingers and cutting out the heart of one of their dreaded enemies. When the prisoners were scalped and slain, each of the women wore one of the ghastly heads strung round her neck as an ornament. To Champlain, as the reward of his prowess, one head and two arms were given, which he was enjoined to present to their great White Father, the French King. Soon after this Champlain revisited France to report the progress of Quebec, to procure further supplies, and to promote the emigration of artisans and other desirable colonists.

Champlain’s conduct in thus engaging in Indian warfare has been almost universally condemned by historical critics. We have been told, what no one who knows anything of the subject can question, that Indian warfare is beyond that of any other race savage, bloody, cruel, cowardly and treacherous; and that for a superior and civilized people to engage in it was to lower themselves to the level of the wolves of the wilderness, by whose side they fought. It has been shown, and with sufficient truth, that the blood of the Iroquois, slain by the arquebuse of Champlain, was the beginning of a ceaseless guerilla warfare between that race and the French colonists, the results of which were the massacres of Lachine, Carillon and Montreal; the desolation of many a farm by the Indian tomahawk and torch. But it may be said in reply that Champlain could hardly have done otherwise. He could not, without the alliance of friendly Indians, have carried out his projects of exploration. It would have been next to impossible for him, even if unmolested, to penetrate that labyrinth of wilderness and river without a guide. Even could he have done so, his scalp would certainly have been forfeited. On no other terms could he have secured the Algonquins, as trustworthy allies, than by his willingness to give them an aid that seemed all-powerful against their hereditary enemies the Iroquois. As to war on the part of the French with the Iroquois, that was an inevitable result of the French occupation of Canada. It was the policy of that powerful confederation, the Iroquois League, to subjugate or exterminate every other race in Canada. Collision between them and the French settlements was only a question of time, and it could not have been initiated in a manner more favourable to French interests than by securing, as Champlain did, an alliance with the two great Indian tribes of Canada, which in power and prowess ranked next to the Iroquois. In the duel of two centuries between the Iroquois and New France, the Indian allies were of the greatest possible use to the countrymen of Champlain; they not only acted as guides, scouts and spies, but in actual fighting they rendered invaluable assistance. It may well be doubted whether, had not Champlain’s policy been carried out, the thin line of French settlement might not have been swept away before the storm of Iroquois invasion.

Champlain has been blamed for choosing as his allies the weaker tribe of Algonquins, instead of their more warlike rivals. Again, we say, he could hardly have done otherwise. The Iroquois territory lay on the other side of the great lakes. The Algonquins held all the region for miles around Quebec, on the banks of the St. Lawrence and its Gulf; their kinsmen, the Ottawas, had the lordship of the river which bears their name; their allies, the Hurons, held the key to the entire lake country. The Iroquois, like the Romans to whom they have been compared, could never have been faithful allies. Their organization as a confederacy would never have allowed them to rest content with the second place, the inferior rank, which savagery must always take when allied with civilization. But the Algonquins had no such unity. They were, therefore, all the more willing to cling to the centre of organization which New France presented. Champlain also foresaw another means of centralizing the influence of New France over her Indian allies. The Catholic Church would send forth her unpaid ambassadors, her sexless and ascetic missionaries, her black-robed army of martyrs; the converted Algonquins would be swayed by a power mightier and more authoritative than any earthly confederacy. And events have proved that the policy by which New France won her hold on Canada was the wisest, and therefore the best. It began with the first shot fired in battle by the arquebuse of Champlain.

Returning to France, Champlain visited King Henry the Fourth a short time before his assassination. He told him of his adventures in Canada, and of the growing prosperity of Quebec. The adventure-loving king was much interested and amused. Soon after this, Champlain and Pontgravé sailed for Canada. Pontgravé took charge of Quebec, while Champlain went to meet his Huron allies at the mouth of the Richelieu. They had promised, if he would once more help them in warfare against the Iroquois foe, they would guide him through the region of the great lakes, would show him the mines where the huge masses of copper sparkled, unmingled with ore. Although aware of the little value of a promise from this fickle and unreliable race, Champlain thought it best to try his chance; accordingly, with a small party of Frenchmen, he left for the rendezvous, a small island at the mouth of the Richelieu River. On his arrival, he found the place a Pandemonium of dancing and yelling warriors; trees were being hewed down in preparation for a great feast to be given to their Algonquin allies, whose arrival they were now waiting. On a sudden, news came that the Algonquins were in the forest several miles away, fighting a large force of the Iroquois. Every Indian present seized club, spear, tomahawk, or whatever other weapon he could possess himself of, and paddled to the shore. Champlain and his Frenchmen followed, and had to make their way as best they could over three miles of marsh, impeded by fallen trees; water, in which they sank knee-deep; entanglement of brushwood, through which it was hard to struggle. At last they came to a clearing, and saw some hundred Iroquois warriors at bay, within a breastwork of felled trees; a multitude of their Algonquin enemies brandishing spear and tomahawk around the easily scaled entrenchment. This they had attacked already and been hurled back from the rampart of trees with bloody repulse. They did not dare to renew the effort to storm the Iroquois fortification, but contented themselves with shouting curses, insults, threats of the tortures which their foes, when captured, should suffer. At length Champlain and his followers came up, tired with his three miles effort to get through the cedar-swamp, encumbered with his heavy arms and weapons. But at once he came to the front, and assumed command. He ordered a large body of the Algonquins to be stationed in the forest, so as to intercept fugitives. He and his companions marched up to the breast-work, and resting their short-barrelled arquebuses on the logs of the breast-work, fired with deadly aim. The Iroquois, in terror, threw themselves on the ground. Then, and then only, did the Algonquins muster courage to scale the breast-work. Most of the Iroquois were scalped and slain. Some fifteen were reserved for the usual slow death by fire. Champlain succeeded in saving one prisoner after the battle. No human power could have saved the others. All through that night the fires of death and torture burned.

On his return to Quebec, Champlain heard, with dismay, of the assassination of his friend and patron, Henry the Fourth. He also learned the revocation of the fur trade monopoly, which had been the life of the enterprise of De Monts and Pontgravé.

Once more Champlain left his cherished home in the little fort under the shadow of Cape Diamond, his gardens and vineyard already yielding maize, wheat, barley, and every kind of vegetables, with grapes enough to make a tolerably good claret. He left a M. De Parc as his lieutenant at Quebec, with a few men, and in due course arrived at Honfleur. No success attended his efforts to secure a renewal of the monopoly. In fact, the corrupt and imbecile French Court had not the power to do this, even if it had the will. For the fur trade of the St. Lawrence was now open to all nations. It was impossible to exclude the Basque, Dutch, English, and Spanish traders, whose vessels now began to swarm up the St. Lawrence Gulf. But, failing to secure the mastery of the fur trade at its European source, Champlain conceived the idea of arranging a practical monopoly of the Indian traffic with the Indians themselves. He returned to Quebec in May, 1611. A fleet of greedy trading boats followed his course. He resolved to elude them, and establish a new trading post at the confluence of the great rivers by which the Indian canoes brought down their yearly harvest of skins and furs. He built a small wooden dépôt on the spot where, in the Montreal of to-day, is the Hospital of the Grey Nuns. He named it Place Royale. Soon after this he again visited France. Meeting De Monts at a place called Pans, of which De Monts was governor, all charge of the Quebec colony was formally surrendered into the hands of Champlain. But Champlain was more anxious for the success of the colony, for the conversion of the heathen, and for the discovery, if it might be, of a route through Canada to India and China, than for mere fur trade gains. Dismissing all selfish thoughts, he succeeded in forming a company of merchants, into whose hands the gains of the commercial traffic would mainly fall, Champlain contenting himself with their undertaking to aid and increase the colony. At St. Malo and Rouen his proposal was eagerly accepted, and a company was formed, backed by considerable capital; but this was not all that was necessary. In that seventeenth century, wherein were gathering themselves the forces which produced the great Revolution of a later period, no work of public beneficence could be undertaken without the patronage of one of the royal house. Such patronage was sought and found by Champlain’s company in two princes of the Bourbon blood, with whose names Canadian history need not concern itself. The two Bourbon princes were the sinecurists of a sensual and indolent Court, men equally greedy, equally worthless; neither of them, though invested with all sorts of high-sounding titles connected with the colony they were supposed to rule, took the slightest interest in Canada. Large sums of money had to be paid to these illustrious noblemen by Champlain and his company of merchants. The Bourbon princes took every bribe they could get, and in return did one good thing for this country—they kept away from it.

Chapter VI.


IN 1609 two young men among Champlain’s French followers had volunteered to ascend the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers with the Indians on their homeward journey, to perfect themselves in their language, and to learn what could be learnt of the mysterious country beyond. In 1612 one of these young men, named Nicholas Vignan, appeared in Paris, and related a history of his adventures, which, marvellous as it was, seemed so consistent that Champlain believed it to be true. Vignan’s story was so framed as to meet the beliefs and flatter the hopes of those who held the theory that a passage could yet be discovered through North America to the Polar Seas. He stated that he had ascended the Upper Ottawa to its source, which was from a lake of considerable size. He had crossed this lake, and in the country beyond it had found a river, following whose course he had reached the sea. He said that this sea was the Pacific Ocean, and was distant from Quebec only seventeen days’ journey. This lie—and Champlain afterwards said that Vignan was the most impudent liar he had ever known—had the good effect of interesting the selfish nobles of the court in Champlain’s enterprise. They saw visions of a direct passage to India and China, which would give France, or rather the privileged class who regarded France as their footstool, a monopoly of trade with the Orient: gold and silk, ivory and spices, pearls and amber, all the most coveted treasures of the most gainful trade in the world, would be poured at the feet of great lords and ladies, to replenish whose purses the plunder of France alone was insufficient. They urged Champlain by all means to prosecute his discoveries. In April, 1613, Champlain once more sailed for the St. Lawrence. In May he left St. Helen’s Island, near Montreal, with four Frenchmen, Nicholas Vignan being of the number, and began to ascend the Lower Ottawa. Swiftly they passed up the gentle current of the mighty stream, with no sign of life but the cry of the fish-eagle as it swooped upon the water for its prey, or the song of the wild birds from the bank’s unbroken wall of verdure. At length their course was stopped by the rapids of Carillon and Long Sault, past which they were obliged to carry their canoes. This they had to do for the most part over the bed of the river; the forest, with its entanglement of underwood and interlacing vines, presenting a barrier that was absolutely impenetrable. They had to drag their canoes over rocks, like reluctant horses; they had to push them against currents which threatened every moment to sweep men and canoe to certain death. Champlain had once a narrow escape from death; he fell where the whole force of the current was sweeping him irresistibly down the rapids; he saved himself by clutching a rock, but his wrist was severely injured by the cord of his canoe. At length they reached the cataract whose silver columns of spray even now ascend high above the smoke of a great city; whose grandeur remains at this day unvulgarized by its vulgar surroundings; which, though bound and shackled to turn-mills and drive-machinery, is still the Chaudière. Here, his Indian guides threw in offerings of tobacco, in order to appease the Manitou, or guardian spirit of the cataract. Having dragged their canoes over what is now the most densely peopled part of the city of Ottawa, and having passed above the Chaudière, they launched them on the placid bosom of a broad, lake-like stream. On they glided, those two egg-shell ships, freighted with the future of Canada, past where now on either side villages and churches, school-houses and farm homesteads diversify the richly-cultivated farm-land, interspersed with here and there a grove of oak or maple, the survival of what was then primeval forest. Nine miles from the Chaudière they heard again the rush of falling water, and saw the white spray-column, like smoke from a bush fire, ascending from the largest of the sixteen cataracts of the Chats. Here a wall of granite, broken by interspaces of cataract, crosses the river, which thunders with the whole force of its volume of water through every crevice and opening. Past this, once more they dragged their canoes by land. Again they embarked on the Lake of the Chats, and proceeded without further hindrance till they reached the rapids which extend from the Devil’s Elbow at Portage du Fort. Thence they enjoyed a calm passage till they reached Allumette, where an Indian chief named Tessouat received them with much kindness. He gave a solemn feast in Champlain’s honour, runners being sent in all directions to summon the neighbouring chiefs to the feast. Early on the next day, the women and girls, who were Tessouat’s slaves, swept the floor of his hut to prepare for the festival. At noon the naked warriors appeared from every direction, each furnished with his own wooden spoon and platter. The large hut which did duty as Tessouat’s palace was as full as it could hold of warriors, row within row, squatting on the ground like apes, and expectant of the feast. First came a compound, not unsavoury, so Champlain writes, of pounded maize boiled with scraps of meat and fish; next venison, and fish broiled on the burnt-out logs. Water was the only drink, and when the feast was over the pipes were lighted, and the council began. The pipe having first been passed to Champlain, the council smoked for half an hour in silence; Champlain then made a speech in which he desired them to send four canoes and eight men to guide him to the country of the Nipissings, a tribe to the north of the lake of the same name. To this the Indians demurred, as they were not on friendly terms with the Nipissings. Tessouat gave expression to their feelings: “We always knew you for our best friend amongst the Frenchmen. We love you like our own children. But why did you break your word with us last year when we all went down to Montreal to give you presents and go with you to war? You were not there, but other Frenchmen were there who cheated us. We will never go again. As to the four canoes, you shall have them if you insist upon it. But it grieves us to think of the hardships you will endure. The Nipissings have weak hearts. They are good for nothing in war, but they kill us with sorcery, and they poison us. They will kill you.” At length, however, on Champlain assuring them he was proof against sorcery, he extorted a promise to give him the canoes; but he had no sooner left the reeking and smoking hut than they re-considered their promise and gave him a direct refusal. Champlain returned to the council and expostulated with them. “This young man,” said Champlain, pointing to Vignan, “says he has been in their country, and that they are not so bad as you describe them.” The chief looked sternly on the young Frenchman: “Nicholas!” he cried, “Did you say you had been in the country of the Nipissings?” “Yes, I have been there,” said the impostor. All the Indians gravely fixed their eyes upon him. At length Tessouat spoke: “You are a liar; you spent the whole winter sleeping in the house with my children. If you have been to the land of the Nipissings, it must have been in your sleep. You are trying to deceive your chief, and induce him to risk his life. He ought to put you to death, with tortures worse than those with which we kill our enemies.” Champlain led the young man from the council house; after much equivocation Vignan finally confessed that the whole story was an invention of his own, fabricated, it is hard to say from what motive; perhaps from the morbid love of notoriety, which is sometimes found among travellers of a later day.

The Indians rejoiced over Champlain’s discomfiture. “Why,” they said, “did you not listen to chiefs and warriors instead of believing that liar?” They earnestly advised Champlain to permit them to put Vignan to death by torture. His generous chief preferred to forgive him freely.

Champlain returned to Montreal, or, as he called it, the Sault, where he met his lieutenant, Du Parc, who, having been most successful in hunting, was able to give a plentiful repast to his half-famished chief. Having seen that all went well at Quebec, Champlain sailed for France, promising to return the next year.

The French merchants who had taken interest in the Canadian enterprise gave it but a half-hearted support. They never looked beyond the beaver skins and furs; with Champlain’s higher projects of colonizing and Christianizing Canada they had but scant sympathy. And yet, reflection might have taught them that to win the Indians from their heathenism into the fold of the Catholic Church was to extend the political influence of France, and with that influence, to extend its trade. They did not see that men like Samuel de Champlain, the knight-errant of exploration, men like the Recollet and Jesuit missionaries, in all their efforts, in every conquest made by sword or breviary, were advancing the best interests of French commerce by giving to its operations a continually widening area. But, though Champlain realized this, his motive was a higher one. He belonged to a class of explorers peculiar to the great days of discovery in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries; men of a temperament grave, valiant, adventurous, whose faculty for threading the mazes of unknown seas and impenetrable forests amounted to an instinct; men who did nothing for the praise of men, but all for the glory of God. Such were Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Sir Humphrey Gilbert; such, at a later day, was David Livingstone. To this noble and heroic type, in a special degree, belonged Samuel de Champlain. With him the saving of souls by the conversion of the heathen, was an actual, living, motive force in all that he did, as shown by a saying of his, characteristic of the man and his age in its exaggerated piety: “The saving of one soul is worth an empire.” But he found few, even among the clergy, to sympathize with him. The French Church of those days was, as Carlyle says of it at a later and still baser day, “a stalled ox, thinking chiefly of provender.” But Champlain found help in time of need from a friend, one Houël, of Brouage, who introduced him to the brethren of a convent near that town, and belonging to an order whose name will be ever memorable in Canadian history—the Recollet.

Early in the thirteenth century appeared that extraordinary man, St. Francis of Assissi, in whom met all that was most fanatical, most ascetic, most lovable in the faith of the Dark Ages. Called by dreams and visions in early youth, he chose poverty for his bride, robbed his wealthy father in order to build a church, stripped himself naked in presence of the Bishop of Assissi, begging of him in charity a peasant’s dress. He kissed and consorted with lepers, he travelled to Africa and Syria, and went to preach conversion to the ferocious Caliph, at the head of his army. Strange to say, the Caliph sent him back with marks of honour, probably from the reverence eastern natives entertain for those madmen whom they consider inspired. Wherever he went through Europe, his fervent and passionate oratory attracted the multitude and made converts. His Order waxed strong in every European land. It furnished to the Church’s Calendar no fewer than forty-six saints, who suffered martyrdom for the faith; besides four popes, and forty-five cardinals. But in process of time discipline was relaxed, and abuses crept in. A reformation took place in one branch of the Great Franciscan Order, and the “Recollati” or Recollet Fathers were known as the Franciscans of the Strict Observance. Such were the men to whom Champlain now applied for help. Several of the Order, “inflamed with pious zeal,” undertook the Canadian Mission, which no other priest would touch.

Chapter VII.


THE Recollet Order was a mendicant one, and as it strictly observed the vow of poverty in the spirit of St. Francis himself, it had no funds to contribute to the new mission. However, the exertions of Champlain’s friend Houël, who held the post of Comptroller-General of the salt mines of Brouage, and of some others interested in the mission, procured enough money to enable the Fathers dedicated to it to proceed to the scene of their pious work. Those of the Recollets who had a vocation for the mission to Canada were four, Denis Jamet, Jean Dolbeau, Joseph Le Caron, and Pacifique du Plessis. All confessed their sins, received plenary absolution, and set sail with Champlain from Harfleur. They reached Quebec in the last week of May, 1615. According to the custom of their Order in undertaking a mission in a strange place, their first proceeding was to choose a site for their convent. They selected a position close to the wooden rampart surrounding the fort and barracks erected by Champlain. They next set up an altar, decorated it with a crucifix and the mystic seven candlesticks, and intoned a mass beneath the blue vault of heaven, a fitting temple for the first mass ever celebrated in Canada. Dolbeau was the celebrant. The entire colony of New France knelt on the bare earth before him, the naked savages from forest and river looked on in amazed perplexity, and as the host was held on high by the officiating priest, cannon after cannon sent forth its salute from ship and ramparts. After this the friars took counsel together in order to allot to each his sphere of labour in this vast harvest field of souls.

To Father Dolbeau the Montagnais were assigned as his peculiar care; to Le Caron, the distant tribes west and north-west of Lake Huron; Fathers Jamet and Du Plessis were for the present to remain in the convent at Quebec. Dolbeau, fired with missionary enterprise, accompanied one of the roving lodges of the Montagnais hunters to their winter hunting grounds. Of these it has been said by a missionary priest who knew them well, that whereas the Iroquois were nobles of the Indian race, and the Algonquins the burghers, the Montagnais were the peasants and paupers. Dolbeau was not of strong constitution, and was subject to a weakness of the eyes. The Indian hunters treated him kindly, and shared with him such food as they used themselves: boiled maize, fish speared through the ice, and the flesh now and then of deer, bear, wild-cat, porcupine, and a multitude of other such animals with which the forest swarmed. But Dolbeau was expected, when the camp moved, to carry his share of the poles and birch bark of which their frail hut consisted; a task too heavy for his strength. Day and night the icy wind swept through every crevice in the scanty walls. Day and night the pungent smoke from the wood-fire tortured the eye-sore missionary. The dogs, the intolerable stench, the filthy cooking, the innumerable fleas, the scolding, the incessant chatter of women and children, made the good father’s life a burden too heavy to be borne. At last he debated in the court of conscience and casuistry the question whether God required of him the sacrifice of losing his eyesight, and having most sensibly decided that this was not the case, he returned to his convent at Quebec. But in the spring of 1616, undaunted by his experiences, a worthy disciple of the saint who embraced lepers, he went once more with a Montagnais hunting lodge on a tour through the vast sea of forest that extends to the regions of perpetual ice. He penetrated so far north as to meet wandering bands of Esquimaux.

While the Recollet convent was being rapidly brought to completion by the willing hands of the brothers set apart for the duty, Le Caron had gone in a canoe to the trade rendezvous at “the Sault” (Montreal), where were assembled countless canoes laden with furs, and a number of eager, chattering, gesticulating Indians, of the Huron and Algonquin tribes. Here Le Caron stayed for some time, picking up what he could learn of the Huron language, and observing their manners. He succeeded in winning the friendship of several of the Huron chiefs, who invited him to accompany them in their canoes on their return voyage, and promised that they would convey him to the chief town of their nation, Carhagouha, and there build him a house and listen to his teachings. When Champlain and Pontgravé arrived, they tried to dissuade Father Le Caron from his project of spending the winter among these far-off savages. But in vain. The disciple of St. Francis had devoted his life to perpetual poverty; he knew no ambition but to serve his God; what to him were privations?

On the festival of Dominion Day in our modern Canada, July 1st, 1615, Father Le Caron bade adieu to the scanty comforts of such civilization as then was in New France, and embarked on board one of the large Huron canoes. Twelve French soldiers, devout Catholics, attended the expedition. Day after day the fleet of frail but exquisitely graceful craft shot over the expanse of the unrippled stream; day after day the wondering eyes of the missionary must have rested on scenes of nature’s beauty on which, scarcely changed since then, the tourist of the Upper Ottawa looks with such pleasure at this day. There, on either bank of such a river as the simple French monk had never seen before, was an everchanging Eden of maple, oak and beech; while, over all, the giant pines lifted heads defiant of the storm. Then, on countless islets of emerald green, summer had spread her honey feast for humming-bird and bee. The strange beauty of the forest, fresh with the life of summer, the colours and scents of unknown flowers, the ever-changing panorama of river, lake, and island archipelago, must have awakened new sensations of pious happiness and gratitude in the breast of the Franciscan missionary. The voyage proceeded. As with slow steps the voyageurs carried their canoes by the portage, long and difficult, that leads past the Falls of the Calumet, the pious Catholics must have felt scandalized to see their heathen guides cast in their tobacco offerings to the guardian Manitou, the water-fiend, as it seemed to Le Caron, who had his lair in the recesses of those dark precipices crowned with sombre pines, or beneath the arches of those masses of descending water lashed into a sea of foam. The missionary tried to dissuade them from this act of devil-worship so abhorrent to his soul. But the Indians persisted in their act of unmeaning superstition, saying to Le Caron that it was the custom of their fathers. On from thence the canoes held their way without interruption, past the mouth of the river which the town of Pembroke had not yet poisoned with the saw-dust of its lumber mills; on, where for seven miles the river became a lovely lake, beneath the ink-black shadows and sheer precipice of the Eagle rock (Cape Oiseau) till the roar of rapids and the death-dance of breakers fatal to many a gallant lumberman’s boat warned them to the portage of De Joachim. Thence, for twenty miles, straight as bird can fly, the Ottawa lay pent between its deep and dark mountain shores. Thence past the Rocher Capitain, where the imprisoned river struggles like a huge serpent between its rocky barriers; past the Deux Rivières, where it escapes into a wider channel; at length they reach the junction of the tributary river Mattawa. That scene is little changed since the seventeenth century. There the congregated hills, covered with gloomy frondage, still harbour the beasts of prey which have become extinct elsewhere in Upper Canada; there still the scream of the eagle is not yet silenced by the whistle of the newly arrived locomotive. Ascending the Mattawa some forty miles the voyagers launched their canoes and men on the marge of a limpid lake, bearing the name, as it does still, of the Nipissing Indians. All day long they saw leafy shores, and verdure-covered islands seemed to float by them in the depth of blue. Avoiding the villages of the Nipissings, a nation who, as the Huron chief told the much-believing Franciscan, were a nation of sorcerers, and whose country, fair as it seemed to the eye, was the abode of demons and familiar spirits, they passed down the stream now called French River, and reached the country (near Lake Huron) of the Indian tribe afterwards known as the Cheveux Relevés. These bestowed the most elaborate care in plaiting and dressing their long black hair. They next reached the principal Indian town of Carhagonha, which Le Caron found to present a seeming approach to civilization such as he had seen in no other Indian community. It contained a multitude of large-sized houses, each with the household fires of many families, and was defended by a triple rampart of palisades, thirty-five feet high, supporting a gallery with a breastwork, whence stones and missiles could be hurled against a foe. Here, on their arrival, the Hurons built a house of suitable size for the missionary, who at once began his labours to teach and convert them. A few days after his arrival he beheld, with the joy of one who sees a brother from whom he has long been parted, Champlain and his ten French soldiers. The true-hearted priest pressed the illustrious soldier to his heart.

Then mass was celebrated—the first mass in the country of the Hurons. The forest was Le Caron’s sanctuary, the song-birds of midsummer were assistant choristers, the odour of a thousand blossoms blended their perfume with the incense. Multitudes of the heathen beheld with awe what seemed to them the Medicines of the White Man, the monotoned prayer, the gorgeous vestments, the strange, sweet chanting of the psalms, the altar with its mystic lights, the figure which looked on them from the crucifix with agonized face and tortured limbs. Thus did this brave Franciscan, armed with cross and breviary, carry the Cross into the very stronghold of savage paganism, and, by offering the holy sacrifice of the mass at his mystic altar, bid defiance to its lords.

But our thoughts must turn from these wielders of the spiritual weapons to that great man whose influence with the Indian heathen was far greater than that of any “Chief of the Black Robe.” These benighted pagans were much more anxious for Champlain’s aid with the carnal weapon. Again and again they prayed him to come once more to their aid against the common enemy. After mature deliberation, Champlain and Pontgravé agreed that the wisest course for the good of New France would be to throw in their lot with the Hurons and Algonquins, to strike a blow at the Iroquois ascendency, and endeavour to form out of the shifting and disunited tribes of Canada a confederacy capable of resisting the formidable league south of Lake Ontario. Of such a confederacy it was intended that the French colony should be the centre, that its armies should be led and officered by Frenchmen, and that its bond of union should be allegiance to the faith taught by French missionaries. Thus the Indian race, indifferent to dangers from its numbers, and its skill in the tactics of the wilderness, would be ruled by being divided. It was a plausible scheme, and to the last continued to be the policy of the French colony of Canada. To a certain extent it was successful; the Algonquins were made the faithful allies of New France, the Hurons were exterminated in the course of the struggle. The French power stood in the path of the Iroquois power to the complete ascendency over all tribes north of the lakes, which they would, no doubt, otherwise have obtained; but the Iroquois threw in their weight against New France in the English war of conquest, as they did against American Independence in 1778, and American aggression in 1812. For New France to side with the Indian tribes of Canada against those south of the lakes was inevitable, but she thereby incurred the hostility of the boldest, best organized and most terrible enemies that the savagery of the wilderness could match against civilization.

A war council was held (June, 1615) at “the Sault,” of the chiefs of the Ottawa Algonquins and of the Hurons. It was stipulated by Champlain that they should raise a force of twenty-five hundred warriors, to be in immediate readiness for invading the Iroquois territory. He himself would join them with all his available force of French soldiers. To this the Indian chiefs, after much discussion and many speeches, agreed. Champlain went back to Quebec to muster his force and prepare what was necessary for the expedition; but when he returned to the place of meeting he found that the volatile and impatient Indians had set fire to their camp and departed, taking with them, as has been already related, the missionary Le Caron. But Champlain was determined not to be baffled by the fickleness of his allies. Taking with him only his French soldiers, one of whom was the trusty and intrepid Etienne Brulé, his interpreter, and ten Indians, with two large canoes, he made his way over the track of his former expedition up the Ottawa as far as Allumette. Beyond this he followed the course of the Ottawa, till among the sombre hills of Mattawa he reached its junction with the river of that name. Following the course of that stream, and crossing Lake Nipissing, he reached the Huron country, not without having undergone severe suffering from hunger, for the ten Indians, with the usual improvident glutting of their race, had gorged themselves with the entire commissariat supply for the voyage, and they were glad to gather blueberries and wild raspberries for sustenance. Encountering some of the Chéveux Relevéss Indians, of whom mention has been made, they found that they were within a day’s journey of the great inland sea of the Hurons. Soon launched upon the broad bosom of the “Mer Douce,” the Sweet-Water Sea of the West, he held his course for over a hundred miles along its shores, and through the mazes of its multitudinous islands. Crossing Byng Inlet, Parry Sound and Matchedash Bay, he reached, as the terminal point of his voyage, the inlet of the bay near the present village of Penetanguishene. Then they left their canoes hidden in the woods, and struck inland for the Huron town Otouacha. Champlain found this to be one of the better class of Indian towns. It was of long, bark dwellings, surrounded by a triple line of palisades, and stretching far into the distance were fields of maize, the ripe yellow spears of grain sparkling in the sunshine, and the great yellow pumpkins lolling over the ground. At Otouacha Champlain met with enthusiastic welcome. “The man with the breast of iron” was feasted again and again, amid rows of stolid warriors squatting on their haunches around him, while the younger squaws handed round the huge platter containing boiled maize, fried salmon, venison, and the flesh of various other animals, not to be too curiously enquired into.

Pending the complete muster of his Indian allies, Champlain made an extensive tour of observation through the Huron country. At Carhagouha, as has been mentioned, he met the Recollet missionary, Le Caron. He visited a number of the Huron villages and towns, the largest of which was Cahiague, in the modern township of Orillia. This contained some two hundred of the usual, long, bark dwellings. The entire number of those towns in the Huron territory of sixty or seventy square miles was eighteen, according to Champlain’s estimate. Cahiague was now swarming with hosts of warriors in readiness for the march. It was known that a neighbouring tribe had promised to send into the Iroquois territory a reinforcement of five hundred warriors. Of course, the inevitable feasting and speech-making went on for several days. At length the muster was complete, and, laden with their canoes and stock of maize for commissariat, they began their march. They crossed the portage to Balsam Lake, and passed across the chain of lakes of which the River Trent is one of the outlets. Those lakes are at the present day among the most desolate features of Canadian scenery. Nothing varies the monotonous wall of woodland which fringes the horizon. The canoe of the traveller moves along forests of reeds, hundreds of acres of extinct forest growth—cemeteries of dead trees, with not a sign of life or movement, except when the cry of the startled crane or heron breaks the silence of the solitary mere.

At length they reached, after many portages at the various rapids, the mouth of the Trent. Where now the pleasant streets of the picturesque town of Trenton nestle amid the villas and gardens which fringe the Bay of Quinté, Champlain crossed the Bay close to the present village of Carrying Place to the township of Ameliasburgh, in Prince Edward county, and, crossing the two-mile-wide creek which leads to the village of Milford, passed through the township of North Marysburgh to the lake shore beyond. Their voyage was prosperous; they landed on the New York coast, and, leaving their canoes carefully concealed in the wood, they marched, silent and vigilant as hyena or panther, through the forest to the south. After four days they reached a forest clearing, and saw the fields of maize and pumpkin, which showed an Iroquois town to be close at hand. Presently, they saw a large number of the Iroquois at work gathering in their harvest. With their usual incapacity for a moment’s self-restraint, and contrary to Champlain’s orders, they yelled their war cry and ran to capture their foes. But the Iroquois warriors were armed, and offered a prompt resistance, fighting with such resolution as to turn the war against the Hurons, who were retreating in disorder, when a shot from Champlain’s arquebuse drove back the pursuers. The Iroquois town was of considerable size, and Champlain describes it as more strongly fortified than those of the Hurons. The rampart of palisades, crossed and intersecting, was four feet deep. They gave support to a gallery defended by a breastwork of shot-proof timber, well furnished with piles of stones for defence; while, as a precaution against an attempt by an enemy to fire the wood-work below, a wooden gutter ran round the walls, capable of being amply supplied with water from a small lake on one side of the defences.

The Huron chiefs and warriors seemed to have no plan and very little heart for attacking the town. Their idea of a siege seemed to be to leap and dance round the palisades, screaming out epithets of abuse, and shooting their arrows at the strong, wooden buildings which they could not penetrate. At length Champlain called them together, and upbraiding them in no measured terms for their inaction and want of courage, proposed a plan by which the town might be assailed with more effect. Borrowing his tactics from the moveable towers of mediæval warfare, Champlain, aided by his few Frenchmen and the Hurons, constructed a huge wooden tower capable of commanding the wall, and with a platform sufficiently spacious to support a body of Frenchmen armed with the arquebuse. Two hundred Hurons dragged the tower, to which ropes had been fastened, close to the palisades, and the French arquebusiers at the top began their fire on the naked savages densely crowded on the rampart below them. The Iroquois stood their ground with rare courage, even when exposed to the terrors of a mode of attack to which they could offer no effectual resistance. But the excitable Hurons lost all self-control. Instead of making a united effort to storm the palisade under Champlain’s leadership, they yelled, danced, gesticulated, and showered aimless arrows at the defences of the Iroquois. Champlain’s voice was drowned in the tumult. The attack was discontinued after three hours; the Hurons falling back to their camp, which they had taken the precaution of fortifying. Champlain was wounded in the leg and knee by arrows. Losing all heart from their repulse, the Hurons resolved to remain where they were for a few days, in order to see if the five hundred promised allies would come; if not, to withdraw homewards. After five days waiting, they left their camp, retiring in what order they could maintain, and carrying in the centre of the main body their wounded, of whom Champlain was one. He was packed in a basket and carried on the back of an able-bodied Huron brave. Meanwhile the Iroquois hovered on their flanks. At last the miserable retreat was ended. They launched their canoes and crossed the lake in safety, paddling over the sheet of water between the eastern mouth of Bay Quinté and Wolf Island. Having landed, Champlain learned conclusively the value of an Indian’s promise. The Huron chiefs, in return for Champlain’s promised aid in war, had undertaken that at the close of their expedition they would furnish him with a guide to Quebec. They now very coolly declared that it was impossible; he must winter with them, and return in the spring with their trade canoes down the St. Lawrence. And so the irregular army disbanded, each eager to return home, and all quite indifferent as to what might become of their late ally. Fortunately a chief named Durantal, an Algonquin, whose abode was on the shore of a small lake north of Kingston, most probably Lake Sharbot, offered Champlain his hospitality. With him the French leader stayed during the first part of the winter. Durantal’s dwelling seems to have been much more comfortable and better provided than most Indian houses. It was necessary to wait till the setting-in of the coldest season of the winter should freeze the marshes and rivers that lay in their path before they could make the journey to the Huron towns. Meantime Champlain amused himself by sending the shot from his arquebuse among the multitudinous wild fowl that flocked and flew around the lake shore. On one occasion he had a narrow escape from being lost in the woods. A deer-hunt was being prepared for, on the banks of a small river which had its outlet into the lake. They constructed two walls of forts connected by interlaced boughs and saplings, which, standing apart at a wide distance, converged and met. At the angle where they met, the walls were strengthened with timber on each side, so as to form an enclosure from which there was no escape. The hunters then dispersed through the forest and drove the deer into the enclosure, where they were easily slaughtered. It happened that Champlain was posted deeper in the forest than the rest, and he was attracted by the appearance of a strange red-headed bird, unlike any that he had seen before. It flew before him from tree to tree; he followed, so absorbed in watching it that when on a sudden it took flight and disappeared from view, he had lost all trace of the direction whence he had come. He had no pocket compass. All round him was the mountainous maze of forest, no one tree to be distinguished from another. The night closed on him wandering and perplexed, and he lay down to sleep at the foot of a tree. The next day he wandered on once more and came to a dark pool, deep in the shadows of the pine woods. Here he shot some wild fowl with his arquebuse, and flashing some powder among the dry leaves, managed to light a fire and cook it. Then, drenched by rain, he lay down once more on the bare ground to sleep. Another day and another night he passed in the same way. At length he came to a brook, and following its course he reached the river just at the spot where his friends were encamped. They received him joyfully, having searched everywhere for him in vain.

December, at last, brought the true, hard frost of winter; and after nineteen days’ journey they reached the Huron town of Cahiague. There they rested for a few days, then proceeded to Carhagouha, where Champlain found the missionary, Le Caron, in good health, and still actively engaged in the good work of conversion. Le Caron had by this time made some progress in the mysteries of the Huron tongue. Champlain and he visited the Tobacco Nation, a tribe south-west of the Huron, and of kindred origin. They also visited the Cheveux Relevés, to whose custom of cleanliness and neatness he pays a tribute of admiration, but justly condemns their total abstinence from wearing apparel. Champlain was about to proceed homeward when he was delayed by having to act as umpire in a quarrel between a tribe of the Allumette Algonquins and the Hurons of Cahiague. The latter had given the Algonquins an Iroquois, with the kind design that the Algonquins should amuse themselves by torturing him to death. The ungrateful Algonquins on the other hand adopted the man, and gave him food as one of themselves. Therefore a Huron warrior stabbed the Iroquois, whereupon he was forthwith slain. War would have been the result, but that fortunately they asked Champlain to decide between them. He pointed out to them the exceeding folly of quarrelling among themselves when the Iroquois were waiting to destroy them both, and certainly would destroy them, if they became disunited. He then pointed out the great advantages both sides would gain from the trade with the French, and urged them to shake hands like brothers, and be at peace. This good advice was taken, fortunately both for the Indians and for New France. At last Champlain went homewards by the circuitous route of the Upper Ottawa, while the frequent presence of roving Iroquois bands in the St. Lawrence region rendered it the only secure one. He took with him his Huron friend and entertainer, Durantal. At Quebec it had been rumoured by the Indians that Champlain was dead; great therefore was the joy of all the dwellers in Quebec, when it was seen that the Founder had returned safe and well.

Chapter VIII.


CHAMPLAIN found the future metropolis of New France in an unsatisfactory condition. The merchants of his own company obstructed the practical working of the schemes of colonization for the forwarding of which their charter had been granted. Whatever colonists came to Quebec were hampered and discouraged in every way, were not allowed to trade with the Indians, and compelled to sell their produce to the company’s agents, receiving pay, not in money, but in barter, on the company’s own terms. The merchants, not Champlain, were the real rulers. But few buildings had been added. Champlain erected a fort on the verge of the rock over-hanging what is now the Lower Town, and where still may be seen the ruined buttresses of the dismantled Castle of St. Louis. A few years afterwards the Recollet friars built a stone convent on the site of the present General Hospital. The number of inhabitants at this time did not exceed fifty or sixty persons. These consisted of three classes, the merchants, the Recollet friars, and one or two unhappy pauper householders who had neither opportunity nor wish for work. Small as was the community, it was full of jealousies, and split up into a number of cliques. To other evils was added the pest of religious controversy. Most of the merchants were good Catholics, to whom any discussion or doubt of the Faith was a sin. But some were Huguenots, belonging to the most ignoble form of Protestantism, because the narrowest and most exasperatingly disputatious. The Huguenots would not leave the Catholics alone; they persecuted them with dragonnades of controversy. Forbidden to hold religious services on land or water in New France, they roared out their heretical psalms, doggerel that, like the English “Tate and Brady,” degraded and vulgarized the finest and oldest religious poetry in the world. Added to this, the Huguenot traders of Rochelle carried on a secret traffic with the Indians, to the great loss of Champlain’s company of monopolists.

Champlain was not discouraged. Again and again he visited France in order to revive the interest, always flagging, of the merchants of St. Malo and Rouen in the colony. Repeatedly the post, which the opportunity of receiving bribes made a lucrative one, changed hands by purchase or intrigue among noblemen, the worthless bearers of great historic names. At last, with some hope that the merchants of the company would fulfil the promises they had made to him in 1620, Champlain returned to Quebec, bringing with him his beautiful young wife. As the boat that bore Madame de Champlain neared the shore, the cannon from the fort welcomed her to the colony founded by her husband. The story of their marriage is a curious one, illustrative as it is of religion a la mode of the Catholic France of 1620. The lady was daughter of Nicholas Boulé, a Huguenot, who held the post of Secretary of the Royal Household, at Paris, under Henry the Fourth. The marriage contract was signed in 1610, but the bride being then but twelve years old, it did not take effect till her fourteenth year, although 4,500 livres out of a 6,000 livres dowry were, it seems, paid over to Champlain. He, in return, bequeathed all his fortune to his wife, “in case he should die while employed on sea or land in the service of the King.” The young Madame de Champlain was a Huguenot, but Champlain exerted himself to such good effect for her conversion that she became a most devout Catholic, and only consented to live with her husband on the understanding that they lived together as if unmarried, in a sort of celibate matrimony, familiar in the legends of monasticism. But at Quebec the monopoly continued to palsy all improvement. The few colonists outside the circle of merchants belonging to the company fell into the lazy, loafing ways of people to whom honest labour was forbidden, and even the Montagnais Indians began to plot against the settlement. They and other tribes of cognate origin actually met, to the number, it is said, of eight hundred men, with the design of overpowering and destroying the colony for the sake of what plunder they could gain. But Champlain found out the treason they were plotting, and the wretched cowards and ingrates soon afterwards, being threatened with starvation, were fain to crawl to him for a morsel of food. When we consider the benefits which Champlain and the French colony under him had so freely bestowed on these contemptible savages—their battles fought against a nobler race of savages, their women and children fed, clothed and taught by ladies like Madame de Champlain—one is tempted to thank with some brief thanksgiving the beneficent law of the Unsurvival of the Unfittest. Their tribe and its kindred tribes have long vanished from our Canadian Province of Quebec, but the taint of their blood, no doubt, still lurks in the veins of some of the habitants.

But in the summer of 1622 a more dangerous foe descended on the colony of New France. A formidable band of the Iroquois came to attack Quebec, but the dread of the White Man’s thunder, and former experience of the arquebuse fire, kept them from venturing too near the walls of the fort. The Recollet convent was close by, but it was built after the fashion of the block houses of a later period, and the upper windows commanded all the approaches. The good Franciscans were equal to the occasion, and while some addressed their prayers to the saints in the chapel below, the others, lighted match and arquebuse in hand, stood on the walls, ready to pick off the approaching foe. So the Iroquois withdrew, merely burning the Huron captives in sight of Quebec, as a hint of their intentions towards the garrison.

So great were the dissensions with regard to the fur trade monopoly, and so bitter the wrangling between the merchants of St. Malo and Rouen on the one side, and that of Rochelle on the other, that the great noble who held the post of Governor of Canada suppressed the company formed by Champlain, and gave the fur monopoly into the hands of the Huguenot merchants, William and Emery de Caen. It must be remembered that the Huguenots of Rochelle had not yet broken out into open rebellion, and that their irrepressible self-assertion was backed by this influence of powerful robbers. The brothers De Caen undertook all sorts of pledges to support the Catholic missions, and to promote the interests of colonization, which pledges they respected as little as the company they superseded had respected theirs. Such confusion and ill-feeling resulted from their rule at Quebec that Champlain addressed a petition to the king. But a new influence had come into operation at Paris, which was destined not only to set aside the ascendency of fanatical interlopers like the De Caens, but to influence powerfully the whole future of New France. The worthless historic-named noble who held the post of Viceroy of Canada, becoming weary of the correspondence and worry it caused him, sold it, such being the political morality of France in those days, to another noble, his nephew. The noblesse of those days, not yet ripe for the guillotine, were either profligates or fanatics. The new Governor of Canada was an amateur in the conversion of souls. He had left his place at Versailles, and had entered into holy orders. His mind, such as it was, a Jesuit confessor directed. It was suggested to him that the strength of that mighty order which had been in part put forth at the ill-fated Acadian settlement might be exerted with happier results in converting the heathen in Canada. But the Jesuit enterprise in New France and in the Huron country deserves a chapter to itself. In the meantime the influence of the elder De Caen was being attended with the worst scandals in Quebec. He not only insisted on holding his interminable Huguenot services, but forced Catholics to join them. He was continually devising new insults against the Jesuit Fathers who had now undertaken the mission of Canada. And more than any preceding monopolists, he forced all trade with the Indians into his own hands, in one year exporting, in place of the ordinary number of beaver skins, which did not exceed twelve thousand, as many as twenty-two thousand. In spite of the greed and the sinister bigotry of De Caen, the colony showed signs of improvement. The inhabitants of Quebec now numbered 105. Several families were self-supporting, subsisting on the grain and vegetables yielded by their farms. Although De Caen, in direct violation of his solemn promise, long delayed furnishing the men and funds needed to rebuild the fort which was by this time untenable against an enemy, Champlain’s complaints at length had their effect, and a new fort was begun.

Happily for New France, there came into power at this time a ruler whose masterly intellect could appreciate the value to France and to Catholicity of the policy which Champlain had so long been labouring to carry out against every hostile influence. Cardinal Richelieu, the Bismarck of the seventeenth century, ruled France in the name of the despicable imbecile who was nominally King, Louis the Thirteenth. He soon perceived the advantages of French supremacy in at least a portion of the New World. To the abuses connected with the De Caen régime, he applied the efficacious remedy of annulling all their privileges by a decree from that King who was a mere tool in his powerful hands. He then formed an altogether new company, that of the Hundred Associates, of which he constituted himself president. The investment at once became a fashionable one. Several of the great nobles took shares; merchants and rich citizens followed in their wake. They were granted ample privileges, no less than sovereign power over all the territory claimed by France in the New World, a claim which, nominally, covered the entire continent from the North Pole to Florida. They were granted, for ever, a monopoly of the coveted fur trade, and of all other commerce whatever for a term of fifteen years. All duties on imports were remitted. A free gift from the King conferred on the company two ships of war, fully equipped for active service.

This was in 1627. In 1628 the company were pledged to transport to Quebec several hundred artisans, and before 1643 to import at least four thousand immigrants, men and women; to provide for their maintenance for three years after their arrival in the colony, and to give them farms already cleared. None but Catholics were to be admitted as settlers. Historians like Parkman, to whom the commonplaces of nineteenth century toleration seem applicable to all times and conditions of human society, have exclaimed against this exclusion of the Huguenots, and have speculated on the benefit to Canada of a large immigration of French colonists during the persecution, which forced them from the country against which they had so persistently plotted and rebelled during the seventeenth century. But New France’s experience of Huguenot rule under De Caen does not support the conclusion that what is called Richelieu’s bigotry was anything else than political common sense. Unity was above all else needful in a community which, among the multitudinous savage nations around it, had countless foes and not a single friend. The Huguenots had ever shown themselves intolerant, tyrannical, and impracticable. A considerable number of them settled in Ireland about the close of the seventeenth century. The Protestant oligarchy opened its ranks to persecuted Protestants, many of whom bore the noblest French names. As a consequence the new importation strengthened the hands of the oppressors of the Celtic and Catholic proletariat, and intensified religious bitterness. The Huguenot immigration to Ireland is perhaps no slight factor in the anarchic deadlock of the Ireland of to-day.

Quebec was now in the utmost need of supplies of food, a famine being threatened. The new company showed its vigour by taking prompt measures to avert this calamity. A number of transports laden with immigrants and abundant stores of provisions, seeds, and agricultural tools, left Quebec in April, 1628. They were destined never to arrive, though watched for week after week by the starving garrison. For, in the meantime, war had broken out between England and France, or rather between France and the worthless favourite who controlled the weak mind and weaker principles of the first Charles Stuart. The Duke of Buckingham had received a slight from the French Government. He forced on his country an abortive war in aid of the Huguenots of Rochelle, now in open rebellion against France. When war was declared, a favourable opportunity presented itself for taking possession of the French colony in Canada. The “cruel eyes that bore to look on torture, but dared not look on war” were turned greedily toward New France. And a Huguenot renegade was not wanting to be his tool in ruining Quebec. David Kirk, though on the father’s side of Scotch extraction, was to all intents and purposes a French citizen of Dieppe. He was a zealous Huguenot, and with his brothers, Louis and Thomas, Kirk had been among the loudest singers of psalms, and wranglers in controversy, who had so troubled the peace of Quebec. For this he had been expelled by Champlain as soon as Richelieu’s new company was established. He now saw his way to revenge. With true Huguenot hatred against the country of his birth and the colony out of whose monopolised trade he had made a fortune, De Caen, through a creature of his, one Michel, whom Charlevoix describes as “a fierce Calvinist,” “Calviniste furieux,” suggested a descent by a sufficient naval force on Quebec. The suggestion was at once carried out. David Kirk, who, as a mariner, had considerable experience, and knew especially well the navigation of the St. Lawrence, was appointed Admiral, many Huguenot refugees being under his command. But at Quebec the colonists were confidently awaiting the arrival of the promised fleet laden with provisions from France. On July 9th, 1628, two men from the outpost at Cape Tourmente made their way to Quebec, and announced that they had seen six large ships anchored at Tadousac. Father Le Caron and another Recollet friar volunteered to go in a canoe to ascertain the truth. They had not passed the Isle of Orleans when they met a canoe whose Indian crew warned them to return to Quebec, and shewed them a wounded man at the bottom of the canoe. It was the French commandant at Cape Tourmente. The six ships were English men-of-war, and their destination was to capture Quebec. Champlain had but scant means of resistance. The fort was little better than a ruin, two of the main towers had fallen, the magazine contained but fifty pounds of powder. For this, Quebec had to thank the malicious neglect of duty of the Huguenot De Caen. Yet, Champlain resolved on resistance to the last; even with starving garrison and ruined fort he assigned to every man his post, and when some Basque fishermen brought a summons to surrender from the Huguenot renegade Kirk, he refused. Meantime, the disastrous news had arrived that a battle had taken place between the four French ships of war and the squadron of six ships under Kirk. The French had been worsted, and all the fleet of transports, laden with the supplies so long expected, had been captured by the English and their Huguenot captains. Within the walls of Quebec the handful of defenders were now brought to the last extremity. Yet so boldly defiant was Champlain’s bearing, and such his character for determined courage, that the Huguenot feared to attack him, and cruised about the St. Lawrence gulf, doing what mischief he could by destroying fishing boats. In Quebec the population subsisted on roots, acorns, and a daily diminishing pittance of pounded peas. Champlain had even conceived a plan to leave the women and children whatever food remained, and himself, with the garrison, invade the Iroquois country to the south, seize on one of their villages, entrench himself therein, and subsist on the stores of buried maize invariably to be found in Iroquois towns. Meanwhile Kirk’s squadron returned to England, and Quebec, left without supplies, was almost perishing. But in July, 1628, the English fleet came once more in sight, and though Champlain ordered his garrison, now reduced to sixteen, to man the ramparts, when a boat with a white flag arrived with a proposal to surrender, he accepted it, the conditions being that the French were to be conveyed to their own country, each soldier being allowed to take with him furs to the value of twenty crowns. The fort and the town were given up to the English, who made no harsh or unfair use of their conquest. The few farmers were encouraged to remain. The Recollet and Jesuit Missions were not interfered with. And so, for a short space the Red Cross flag waved over the rock of Quebec, whence, a century later, it was to float permanently, or until succeeded by the ensign of a new Canadian nationality.

Kirk’s enterprise was piracy, pure and simple. He held no commission from the English Crown, but so lax were the laws of maritime war at the time that a privateer who succeeded, at his own risk, in inflicting a blow on the enemy, was sure of countenance, if not of reward. Kirk’s piratical proceedings were more flagrant, inasmuch as he well knew that before he began his descent on Quebec, peace had been ratified between the two Governments. When his squadron had reached the English port of Plymouth, Champlain at once repaired to London, where he induced the French ambassador to insist on the restoration to France of her colony, in accordance with the terms of the treaty. Neither the French nor the English Government set much store on the feeble trading post beneath the rock of Quebec. Kirk was commanded by the English King to surrender Quebec to Emery De Caen, who was commissioned by the French Government to occupy the fort and hold a monopoly of trade for one year, as compensation for great losses sustained by him during the war. Why the renegade was thus favoured it is hard to say. Doubtless the great Cardinal’s subtle policy had good reason.

Chapter IX.


THE last years of the heroic founder of New France closed with a picture of dignity and happiness pleasant to contemplate. Cardinal Richelieu saw further into the future than the short-sighted sneerers at the arpents of snow and the handful of half-frozen settlers on the rock of Quebec. He saw that France should not be without a share in the vast inheritance which the other maritime powers of Christendom were portioning out for themselves in the New World. Intercourse with Canada would prove an invaluable school for the French marine. And the fact that he, the Cardinal Duke de Richelieu, was at the head of the company whose possessions had been seized by foreign pirates, gave the ruler of France the strongest personal motive for dispossessing the intruders. He knew of one man only who deserved the trust of ruling the new colony. By order of the King, Champlain was commissioned as Viceroy and Governor-General of New France. Amid the pealing of the cannon from the fort, and the salutes of pikemen and musketeers, Champlain received the keys of the citadel from the crest-fallen De Caen.

For two peaceful years his rule continued. It will have been seen that Champlain’s nature had always a strong tinge of asceticism. In his last days the fires of military ardour and of adventurous exploration seem to have died out. The stern, practical soldier spirit was purified and calmed. His main care henceforward was for the religious and moral interests of his colony. In this he was well seconded by the Fathers of the Jesuit missions whose history will be given in another chapter. Under Champlain’s rule Quebec became like a convent. Religious services were held at each one of the nine canonical hours from prime to compline. The traffic with the Indians for fire water was no longer permitted. Indeed it is a noteworthy fact to the credit of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada that they have from the first done all they could to suppress this iniquity. But the Indians were encouraged to visit the fort, and when they did so they were kindly received, and encouraged by every means to enter the Christian fold. As the bells of the church which the Governor had built were ringing for mass on Christmas Day, 1635, the spirit of Samuel de Champlain passed quietly away. So, after many hardships, battles and wanderings, the life of one of the greatest men of his generation closed in peace and honour, and with every consolation of the faith he loved. The entire colony of New France attended his funeral. The funeral oration, in adequate terms of affection and respect, was pronounced over his remains by the Jesuit Father Le Jeune; and over the spot where he was buried a fitting monument was raised. So passed away from French history the type of soldier, half hero, half saint—a type which another ten years was to display in Puritan England.


Champlain was generally thought to have been buried in the Governor’s Chapel. This is a mistake. He was buried in a brick vault in the church built by the Recollet Friars in 1615. The site of this church was in Little Champlain Street, in the Lower Town of Quebec. Some years ago a public officer caused an excavation to be made in the street referred to. He found a brick vault at the foot of “Break-neck Stairs.” It contained a coffin with the remains, apparently, of some very distinguished man. The coffin and relics were handed over to the Cathedral authorities. The Archbishop of Quebec ordered it to be buried in the churchyard of the Cathedral, and record to be kept of its location. This unfortunately was neglected. But on examination of the vault, an inscription could be traced: “Samuel de Champlain.” Champlain’s wife survived him, and became an Ursuline nun, in a convent founded by herself.

Chapter X.


WE have described the apostolic labours of the Recollet Fathers for the conversion of the Indians. But the field was too vast, and the resources at command of a poor community too slender, to support an enterprise so great. The Recollet Fathers suggested that the mighty Jesuit order might attempt the work of Indian Missions with better chance of success. The Jesuits came, saw and conquered. Their Canadian missions include a record of martyrdom and apostolic labour without parallel since the first century of Christianity. The history of Canada cannot be complete without some account of these men and their work.

The first superior of the Jesuit residence at Quebec was Father Le Jeune, who came to Canada when the piratical seizure of Quebec by the Huguenot Kirk had been annulled by order of the English King, to whose service Kirk professed to belong. Le Jeune arrived at Quebec on July 5th, 1632. He found the Jesuit residence a heap of ruins, the Huguenots having entertained a special hatred of that order. The earliest settler in New France had been a man named Hébert, who had by thrift and industry made the ground around his house for some acres a tolerably thriving farm, and had built an unusually commodious house. To that house Father Le Jeune now repaired in order to celebrate his first mass in the new country. He was received with tears of joy by the widow Hébert and her pious family. That first of duties performed, Le Jeune and his companions set themselves at once to rebuild their residence, with such skill and materials as they could command, and to cultivate anew the fields left waste so long. The residence was on the eastern side of the little river St. Charles, probably on the very spot where Cartier spent the winter of 1535. It was fortified by a square enclosure of palisades, no unnecessary precaution. Within this were two buildings, one of which was store-room, workshop, and bakery; the other a rude frame building, thickly plastered with mud, and thatched with the long dry grass from the river banks. It had four principal rooms, one used as refectory, a second as kitchen, a third as a sleeping place for workmen. The remaining or largest room was the chapel. All were furnished in the most primitive manner possible. The chapel had at first no other ornament than two richly executed engravings, but the Father had now obtained an image of a dove, which was placed over the altar, seeing which, an Indian asked if that was the bird that caused the thunder. They had also images of the Jesuit Saints, Loyola and Xavier, and three statues of the Virgin. Four cells which opened from the refectory gave lodging to six priests. First, Jean de Brebœuf, a noble of ancient family in Normandy, a man stalwart and tall, with the figure and mien of a soldier. Next was Masse, who had been the associate of Father Biard in the Acadian mission of whose failure we have made mention. There were also Daniel, Davost, De Noué, and Father Le Jeune. Their first object was to learn the Algonquin language. The traders, who did not love Jesuitism, refused to help them. At last, Le Jeune sighted a hunter who had lived in France some time, and consequently could speak French or Algonquin equally well. This man, Pierre, was one of those outcasts who had learned only the vices of civilization, but whose want of practice in the woodcraft of savage life unfitted him to support himself as other savages do. By a present now and then of a little tobacco, Le Jeune prevailed on Pierre to become his private tutor, and speedily gained a working knowledge of the Indian dialect. To improve this, he resolved to accept an invitation from Pierre and his brothers to join their winter hunting party. Many were the hardships that befel Le Jeune in that expedition. His friends, with ill-judged zeal, had persuaded him to take with his provisions a small keg of wine. The provisions were soon devoured by the gluttonous savages, and the first night that he spent with them, Pierre tapped the wine cask, got drunk, and would have killed Le Jeune had he not sought refuge in the forest, where he passed the night under a tree. By day he accompanied their march, carrying his share of the baggage. Towards evening the squaws set up the poles which supported the birch-bark covering which was their sole defence against an unusually severe winter. The men shovelled the snow with their snow-shoes till it made a wall three or four feet high, enclosing the space occupied by the wigwam. On the earth thus bared they strewed cedar or spruce boughs for a bed. A bear skin served as a door at the opening by which they entered; in the centre a huge fire of pine logs blazed fiercely through the night. At the top of the wigwam was an opening so large that Le Jeune, as he lay on his spruce bough bed at night, could watch the stars through it. In this narrow space, men, women, children and dogs were huddled together. Attempt at decency there was none. Le Jeune classes the sufferings he went through in this expedition under four chief heads: cold, heat, dogs and smoke. Through crevice after crevice the icy blast crept in, threatening to freeze him on one side, while on the other the intense heat of the pine fire nearly roasted him. The smoke that filled the wigwam was an intolerable nuisance; when a snowstorm took place, it was often necessary for all of them to lie with their faces to the ground, in order to avoid its penetrating acrid fumes. The dogs were of some use, for by sleeping around where he lay they kept him warm, but they were in intimate alliance with another pest, the fleas, innumerable as voracious, which often rendered sleep impossible. At length he became so ill and worn that one of the better-natured Indians offered to carry him back to Quebec. Their frail canoe narrowly escaped being crushed by the floating ice-masses, it being the beginning of April, when the ice fields break up. They were obliged to camp as best they might on the Island of Orleans. Le Jeune narrowly escaped drowning, but his companion had sufficient strength to draw him up to the fixed ice, and at three o’clock in the morning the long absent Superior knocked at the door of the residence of Notre Dame des Anges, Our Lady of the Angels.

It became evident to the Jesuit Fathers that their efforts would be wasted on the scattered and wandering Algonquin hunters, and that in order to produce a permanent effect, it would be necessary to attempt the conversion of some settled race, the dwellers in villages and towns. Such a race was that to which the Recollet, Le Caron, had made a mission journey which produced no converts owing to the brief period of his stay; the Huron tribes whose seventeen or eighteen towns had, most of them, been visited by Le Caron and Champlain. A description has been given in a former chapter of the superior agriculture and social organization of this race of Indians. They were akin to other powerful and settled communities; to the Tobacco Nation whose territory was south-west of the Georgian Bay; and to the Neutral Nation which extended south towards Niagara, between the Iroquois and the Canadian Indians. The Jesuits had ever before their eyes the great things accomplished by their order among a people akin to these Indians in Paraguay. Could the history of that success be made to repeat itself in Canada, what mattered the long and terrible journey through a wilderness haunted by savage beasts and more savage men, amid the gloom of pathless forests, by rock and cataract, till the dismal travel led to a drearier termination? What mattered a life passed remote from every pleasure and every prize, amid the filth and squalor of naked savages; day after day attempting conversion that seemed hopeless, rolling the stone of Sisyphus up an interminable hill? If the Church of God and the Order of Saint Ignatius Loyola could but gain thereby, what mattered the life of martyrdom, the death of fire?

In July, 1633, the three priests chosen by their superior La Jeune for the Huron Mission were introduced by Champlain to the assembled Hurons who had come down to the Sault (Montreal), as was their annual custom, to trade the furs which they had collected during the winter. The three Jesuit missionaries were Brebœuf, Daniel, and Davost. Champlain earnestly commended them to the reverence and good offices of the Hurons, who made every promise of charity and friendship, as is invariably the custom of their race. But Champlain refusing to set at liberty an Algonquin who had murdered one of his French soldiers so angered them that they refused to take with them “the three Black robes.” The Jesuits gave a year to quiet study of the Huron language at their convent. Next year the unstable savages changed their minds, and consented to carry back the missionaries. Terror of the Iroquois made it necessary, as usual, to take the long and circuitous route by the Upper Ottawa. The distance was at least nine hundred miles. The toil was severe, all day toiling with unaccustomed heat, and faring far worse than the galley slaves in their own country, since the only food given to them was a little maize pounded between two stones and mixed with water. There were thirty-five portages, where they had to carry the canoes, often by tortuous and difficult paths, round rapids or cataracts. More than fifty times they had to wade through the water, pushing their canoes before them by main force. Add to this, that the fickle savages soon lost their first good-humour, and treated the priests as prisoners, whose work they exacted to the uttermost. Davost’s baggage they threw into the river, and it was with the greatest difficulty, even when the party reached the Huron country, that the three priests made their way to the town of Ihonatiria. Here, at first, they were welcomed, the whole town turning out to assist in building them a house, which was erected on the usual Huron pattern, but which they divided in the interior by a partition, into dwelling place and chapel. As long as the novelty of their visit lasted, “the Black-robes” were caressed and petted. The savages were never tired of looking at several wonderful things which the Jesuits brought with them, especially a magnifying glass, a coffee mill, and above all a ticking and striking clock. The Jesuits, as usual, neglected no means to impress and attach the Indians among whom they had cast their lot for life. They visited and tended the sick, baptizing any child that seemed likely to die. They gathered the children to their chapel, and after each lesson gave presents of a few beads or sweetmeats. The children learned prayers in the Huron tongue; the ave, credo, and the commandments in Latin; and were proficients in the art of crossing themselves. The Jesuits also taught the Hurons to build fortifications with flanking towers wherefrom the arquebusiers could harass an attacking foe.

All seemed to go smoothly for a time. Then came a drought, want of water, and fear of famine in the maize fields. The Black robes were sorcerers; the huge cross, painted red, which stood before their chapel, had frightened the bird that brings the thunder. Worse still, a terrible pestilence broke out; all the chief medicine men of the tribe declared that it was the witchcrafts of the Black robes, their baptisms and crucifixes and other White Medicine which had brought the sickness. The lives of the Jesuits were at this time frequently in danger. They faced it with courage as unflinching as that of any Iroquois prisoner whom the Hurons had tortured at the stake. In vain they toiled through the snowdrifts from one plague-stricken town to another, bending over the victims of pestilence to catch the slightest confession of faith uttered by that tainted breath, risking instant death from the parents who looked on baptism as a dangerous act of sorcery, and by stealth giving the indispensable sacrament to some dying infant with a touch of a wet finger and formula noiselessly uttered. They met with no immediate success, but when the panic of the pestilence had passed off, the savages, ungrateful as they were, began dimly to recognize in the Black robes the goodness of superior beings.

But the Black robes were no longer at their town. They thought it better to choose a more central position for a mission settlement, and chose a spot where the river Wye, about a mile from its debouchement into Matchedash Bay, flows through a small lake. The new station was named Sainte Marie. It had a central position with regard to every part of the Huron country, and an easy water communication with Lake Huron. From thence Fathers Garnier and Jogues were sent on a mission to the Tobacco Nation. Though they escaped torture and death, their preaching produced no effect whatever on these obdurate savages. When they entered the first Tobacco town, a squalid group of birch-bark huts, the Indian children, as they saw the Black robes approach, ran away, screaming “Here come Famine and Pestilence.” They found themselves everywhere regarded as sorcerers, sent thither by the white man to compass the destruction of the Indians. In other towns no one would admit them into his house, and from within they could hear the women calling on the young men to split their heads with hatchets. Only the darkness of night and of the forest enabled them to escape.

On November 2nd, 1640, Fathers Brebœuf and Chaumonot left Sainte Marie for a mission to the Neutral Nation. Their mission produced no other results than the curses and outrages of the heathen. But in the Huron country the Jesuit mission had begun to bear fruit. Each considerable Huron town had now its church, whose bell was generally hung in a tree hard by, whence every morning was heard the summons to mass. The Christian converts were already a considerable power in the councils of the tribes, and exercised a most salutary influence in humanizing to some degree even their still heathen kinsmen. The Christian Hurons refused to take part in the burning and torturing of prisoners. In March, 1649, there were engaged in missionary work in the Huron country eighteen Jesuit priests, four lay brothers, twenty-three devout Frenchmen who served the mission without pay, and by their success in fur-trading—not for their own profit but that of the order—made the mission self-supporting. Fifteen of these priests were stationed at various towns throughout the Huron country; the rest at Sainte Marie. Every Sunday the converts resorted to Sainte Marie from all the surrounding country, and were received with the most hospitable welcome. The august rites of the Catholic Church were celebrated with unwonted pomp. Eleven successful mission stations had now been established among the Hurons, and two among the Tobacco Nation. The priests who served these stations endured hardships through which it seems incredible that men could live. To toil all day paddling a canoe against the current of some unknown river; to carry a heavy load of luggage under the blaze of a tropical sun; to sleep on the bare earth; in winter to be exposed to storm and famine; the filth and indecencies of an Indian hut: these were held as nothing, if only it was “ad majorem gloriam Dei”—“to the greater glory of God.” The first death among their ranks was that of De Noué, a Jesuit Father who was found in the snowdrift kneeling, his arms crossed on his heart, his eyes raised heavenwards, frozen while he prayed. The efforts of the Jesuit priests at last were being crowned with success, and the Huron country might have become a second Paraguay but for the annihilation of the Huron tribes, whom it had taken such heroic efforts to convert. The fair prospects of the mission were overshadowed by a dark cloud of war as early as 1648. Had the Hurons been united and on their guard they might have been a match for the Iroquois, to whom they were not so much inferior in courage as in organization and subtlety.

Father Daniel had just returned from one of those brief visits to Sainte Marie, which converse with his brethren, and some approach to stateliness of religious ceremonial, made the one pleasant event in missionary life. He was engaged in celebrating mass at the church of his mission station of St. Joseph, when from the town without was raised the cry, “The Iroquois are coming!” A crowd of painted savages screaming their war-whoop were advancing on the defenceless town. Daniel hurried from house to house calling on the unconverted to repent and be baptised, and so escape hell. The people gathered round him imploring baptism; he dipped his handkerchief in water and baptised them by aspersion. The Iroquois had already set the town in a blaze. “Fly,” he said to his congregation—“I will remain to stop them from pursuit. We shall meet in Heaven!” Robed in his priestly vestments, he went forth to meet the Iroquois, confronting them with a face lit up with unearthly enthusiasm. For a moment they recoiled, then pierced his body with a shower of arrows. Then a ball from an arquebuse pierced his heart, and he fell gasping the name of Jesus. They flung his mutilated corpse into the flames of his church, a fit funeral pyre for such a man.

This was the beginning of the end of the Huron Nation. Next year (1649) the Huron village which the Jesuits had named after St. Louis was taken by surprise. The priests of this mission station were Brebœuf and Lalemant. They were urged by their converts to fly with them into the forest, but reflecting that they might be able to cheer some of the congregation in the hour of torture, as by baptizing a repentant heathen to snatch his soul from perdition, they refused to escape. Brebœuf and Lalemant, with a large train of Huron captives, were led away to be tortured. The Iroquois then attacked Sainte Marie, but the French laymen, with their hundred Christian Hurons, assailed them with such impetuous valour that they were glad to retreat to the ruined palisade of St. Louis. But before they left for their own country, on March 16th, 1649, the Iroquois bound Father Brebœuf to a stake. He continued to exhort his fellow-captives, bidding them suffer patiently pangs that would soon be over, and telling them how soon they would be in the Heaven that would never end. The Iroquois burned him with pine wood torches all over his body to silence him. When he still continued to pray aloud, they cut away his under lip, and thrust a red hot iron into his mouth. But the descendant of the ancient Norman nobles stood defiant and undaunted. Next they led in Lalemant, round whose body they fastened strips of bark smeared with pitch. Lalemant threw himself at Brebœufs feet. “We are made a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men!” he cried, in the words of St. Paul. They then fastened round Brebœuf’s neck a collar of red-hot hatchet-blades, but still the courage of the Christian martyr would not yield. A renegade Christian poured boiling water on his head in mockery of baptism; still he would give no signs of giving way. This, to an Indian, is the most provoking rebuff. If he fails by his tortures to wring out a cry of pain from a prisoner, it is held a disgrace and evil omen to himself. Enraged, they cut pieces of flesh from his limbs before his eyes. They then scalped him, and when he was nearly dead cut open his breast and drank his blood, thinking it would make them brave. An Iroquois chief then cut out his heart and devoured it, in the hope that then he could endue himself with the courage of so valiant an enemy. Next day the defenders of Sainte Marie found the blackened and mutilated bodies of the two priests amid the ruins of the St. Louis mission. The skull of Brebœuf, preserved in the base of a silver bust of the martyr, which his family sent from France, is preserved at the nunnery of the Hotel Dieu at Quebec.

Other Iroquois armies invaded the Huron country, and carried all before them. Fifteen Huron towns were burned or abandoned. The Jesuit Fathers resolved to abandon Sainte Marie, and with a number of Huron converts which gradually swelled to over three thousand, sought refuge on an island in the Georgian Bay which they called St. Joseph. There they built a fort, and managed to sustain the wretched remains of the Huron nation through the winter, eking out what scanty supplies of food they possessed with acorns and fish purchased from the northern Algonquins. With the spring it was known that a large band of the Iroquois meditated a descent on their last place of refuge. The Huron chiefs implored the Jesuits to allow them to remove to Quebec, where, under the shelter of the fort, they might enjoy their religion in peace. To this the Superior agreed. With sorrow and many tears the Jesuit missionaries left the land which had been the scene of their apostolic labours, and where the blood of their martyr brethren had been the seed of a church which would have proved a centre of Christian civilization, “had it not pleased Christ, since they ceased to be Pagans and became Christians, to give them a heavy share in His Cross, and make them a prey to misery, torture and a cruel death.” The Superior added, truly enough, “They are a people swept away from the face of the earth.”

Thus ended the Jesuit mission to the Hurons. It cannot be called a failure, for it succeeded in converting the heathen, and only collapsed by the extermination of its converts.

Chapter XI.


TO Champlain succeeded a Governor of very similar temperament, Charles Herault de Montmagny, with his lieutenant, De Lisle, and a brilliant train of French gentlemen. Both Montmagny and De Lisle were members of the semi-military, semi-ecclesiastical order of the Knights of St. John, of Malta. Both were therefore in thorough accord with the Jesuits in favouring that system of paternal government by the priesthood which, fostered by them, has more or less prevailed in New France ever since, and of which many survivals exist in French Canada at the present day. Montmagny was the bearer of letters from some of the most illustrious nobles and the greatest ladies of France, expressing their interest in the Canadian mission. The Relations of the Canadian Jesuits, especially those of Le Jeune, had been read throughout all France. The apostolic lives of these most self-denying of missionaries had awakened a general enthusiasm, of which the Jesuits throughout France took full advantage to stir up the susceptible minds of female devotees to aid, with prayers and money, the good work in Canada. Some person unknown to men, but blessed of God, was about to found a school for Huron children at Quebec. In one convent thirteen of the sisters had bound themselves by a vow to the work of converting the Indian women and children. In the church of Montmartre a nun lay prostrate day and night before the altar, praying for the Canadian mission. Accordingly, in 1637, the Jesuits succeeded in building at Quebec a college for French boys and a seminary for Huron children. The commencement of the work with the latter was not hopeful for the few original pupils. One was taken away by his father, four ran away, and two killed themselves by over-eating. The Jesuits were enabled to complete both buildings by a generous donation of six thousand crowns by a French nobleman. An appeal was made by Le Jeune, in his Relations, to the effect that he prayed God might put it into the heart of some virtuous and charitable lady to come out and undertake the training of the female children of the Indians. A young lady of rank whose name is one of the most remarkable in the early history of New France, Marie Madeleine de la Peltrie, when a girl of seventeen, had a romantic longing to enter a convent. This her father strongly opposed, being exceedingly fond of his only child. He insisted on taking her into the gaieties of fashionable society, and induced her to accept the hand of M. de la Peltrie, a young nobleman of excellent disposition. The marriage was a happy one, but Madame de la Peltrie was left a childless widow at twenty-two. She read Le Jeune’s appeal to the women of France; her old religious fervour returned; and she resolved to devote all her wealth and the rest of her life to founding a sisterhood for teaching the Indian girls at Quebec. But her father, dismayed at the prospect of losing his only child, threatened to disinherit her if she went to Canada. He pressed her to marry again; but her Jesuit confessor suggested a means of escape. She was to pretend to marry a nobleman of great wealth and thorough devotion to the Church. The marriage took place. Her father fell ill and died before he could discover the deception. Madame de la Peltrie was caressed and honoured by some of the greatest ladies in France. The Queen herself sent for her. At Tours the Superior of the Ursuline Convent, with all the nuns, led her to the altar and sang Te Deum. They threw themselves at her feet, each weeping as she entreated to be allowed to go with her to Canada. That privilege was accorded to two; a young nun of noble family, whose pure and earnest religious temperament was united with strong common sense and a natural gaiety which in after years shed brightness on the Ursuline Convent at Quebec. The second was the celebrated Marie de l’Incarnation. In the history of these times we find ourselves in an atmosphere of miracle. Jesuitism had brought back to Europe the faith of the Middle Ages. With the age of faith came back the age of miracles, of dreams, voices, and visions; the relation of which, by witnesses whose honesty of purpose is above suspicion, make them to the true believer additional proofs of supernatural religion, while the heretic only sees in them phenomena of constant recurrence in the history of religious enthusiasm, and capable of easy psychological explanation. Marie de l’Incarnation beheld in a dream an unknown lady who took her by the hand; and then they walked towards the sea. They entered a magnificent temple where the Virgin Mother of God sat on a throne. Her head was turned aside, and she was looking on a distant scene of wild mountain and valley. Three times the Virgin kissed her, whereon in the excess of her joy she awoke. Her Jesuit confessor interpreted the dream: the wild land to which the Virgin was looking was Canada, and when for the first time she saw Madame de la Peltrie she recognized in her the lady seen in her dream. The Ursuline nuns, with Madame de la Peltrie, arrived at Quebec on August 1st, 1659. They were received with every honour by Montmagny, and soon were established in a massive stone convent on the site of their present building. Their romantic garden where Marie de St. Bernard and Marie de l’Incarnation used to gather roses is as beautiful as ever; and an ash tree beneath whose shade the latter used to catechise the Indian girls is flourishing still. The good nuns devoted themselves with much ardour to their task, and taught their pupils such a righteous horror of the opposite sex, that a little girl whom a man had sportively taken by the hand, ran off crying for a bowl of water to wash away the polluting touch of such an unhallowed creature. A nobleman named Dauversière one day while at his devotions heard a voice commanding him to establish a hospital on an island called Montreal, in Canada. At Paris a young priest named Jean Jacques Olier was praying in church, when he heard a voice from Heaven telling him that he was to be a light to the Gentiles, and to form a society of priests on an island called Montreal, in Canada. Soon after this, Dauversière and Olier, who were utter strangers to each other, met at the old castle of Meudon. By a miracle, as we need scarcely say, they knew and greeted each other by name at once; they even could divine each other’s thoughts. Together they undertook the task of raising funds, and soon succeeded in obtaining a large sum of money and a grant from the king of the Island of Montreal. They chose as military leader of the soldiers whom it would be necessary to take with them for defence, a gallant and devoted young nobleman, Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, one in whom the spirit of the ancient crusaders seemed to have returned to life, and who had long eagerly wished to dedicate his sword to the service of God. The little body of colonists, who had taken the name of the Society de Notre Dame de Montreal, received a valuable addition in an unmarried lady of noble family named Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance, who at the tender age of seven had bound herself by a vow of celibacy; also a little later by the unobtrusive goodness, sweet charity, and practical common sense of Marguerite Bourgeoys. In 1653, having given all her possessions to the poor, the latter embarked for Quebec. She brought from France a miracle-working image of the Virgin, which at this day stands in a niche in the old seventeenth century Church beside the harbour at Montreal; and still many a bold mariner, many an anxious wife, invokes the aid of “Our Lady of the Gracious Help.” Before the ship set sail, Maisonneuve, with Madamoiselle Mance and the other members of the expedition, knelt before the altar of the Virgin in the ancient cathedral church of Notre Dame at Paris. With the priest, Olier, at their head, they solemnly dedicated Montreal to the Virgin. The town they were about to build was to be called Ville Marie de Montreal. They arrived at Quebec too late in the fall to make the journey to Montreal till the spring of 1642. The Governor, Montmagny, seems to have felt some jealousy of Maisonneuve as a possible rival in governing the colony. Maisonneuve seems to have yielded to the temptation of encouraging his men in small acts of insubordination. The new colonists were sheltered by the hospitality of M. Pruseaux, close to the mission, established four miles from Quebec by the generosity of a French noble, Brulart de Sillery, which still bears his honourable name. Maisonneuve and his men spent the winter in building large flat-bottomed boats for the voyage to Montreal. On the 8th of May they embarked, and as their boats with soldiers, arms and supplies, moved slowly up the St. Lawrence, the forest, springing into verdure on either side, screened no lurking ambush to interrupt their way. This of course was due to no less a personage than the Virgin Mary herself, who chilled the courage and dulled the subtility of the Iroquois, so that they neglected this signal opportunity of crushing the new colony at its inception. For the Iroquois had now mastered the use of the fire-arms they had purchased from the Dutch traders on the Hudson. These arms were short arquebuse muskets; so that the savages were on equal terms with the white men. On the 17th of May, 1642, the boats approached Montreal, and all on board with one voice intoned the Te Deum. Maisonneuve was the first to spring on shore. He fell on his knees to ask a blessing on their work. His followers did the same. Their tents and stores were landed without delay. An altar was prepared for mass. It was decorated with admirable taste by Mademoiselle Mance, aided by Madame de la Peltrie, who, with the capricousness which distinguishes even the saintliest of her sex, had taken a sudden fancy to abandon the Ursulines in favour of the new settlement at Ville Marie. Then mass was celebrated, a strange and brilliant picture, with colour and music, as if the rite of the middle ages had been brought suddenly into the heart of the primeval forest. The altar, with its lights and glittering crucifix; before it the priest in vestments, stiff with gold; the two fair girls of delicate nurture, attended by their servants, erect and tall; above the soldiers kneeling around him, Maisonneuve in panoply of steel; further off, artisans and labourers, the rank and file of the colony: such was the brilliant picture whose background was the dark aisles of columned woods. When mass was said, the Jesuit Father, Vimont, Superior of the mission, addressed to those assembled a few remarkable words to which subsequent events have given the force of prophecy. “You are but a grain of mustard seed, that shall rise and grow till its branches overshadow the earth. You are few, but your work is the work of God. His smile is on you, and your children shall fill the land.”

Chapter XII.


FOR a year the new settlement of Ville Marie escaped the notice of the Iroquois. The settlers were therefore left unmolested till they had entrenched themselves with a strong palisade. A birch-bark chapel was raised above their altar. At first the whole community lived in tents, but soon strongly-built wooden houses were erected, and the first feeble beginnings of what should be a great city in the future began to shape themselves. The whole community lived together in one large house, with the Jesuit Superior, Vimont, and his brother priest. The life of the settlement was a simple and happy one, regulated in all things by the religious enthusiasm which was the life of the colony. The great event of each month was a festival, a procession, a high mass, in honour of some saint’s day. Then the soldiers were marshalled under arms by Maisonneuve. The altar was decked with a taste which showed culture as well as piety, by Mademoiselle Mance and Madame de la Peltrie. For this purpose they loved to resort to the neighbouring wood, and gather the May-flowers and the lilies among the fresh green grass. They were unmolested by human enemies, but with December came a rise of the St. Lawrence which well nigh swept away the entire village. In this their strait the pious Maisonneuve placed a large wooden cross on the margin of the rising tide, and at the same time he vowed a vow to the Mother of God that if it so might be that the advance of the waters were stayed, he would carry another cross, equally large, to the summit of the mountain. Our Lady of Gracious Help hearkened to his prayer, and the rising tide was stayed. Therefore, Maisonneuve, bearing a heavy cross which the good Fathers had consecrated, carried it to the topmost brow of the hill. With him followed the ladies, the soldiers, and the other colonists. Long did that cross stand there, a sign of hope to the beleaguered inhabitants of Ville Marie in many a bitter day.

Ville Marie received an important addition to its strength in the autumn of 1643, when Louis d’Ailleboust de Coulonges, a valiant and devout nobleman of Champagne, accompanied by his young and beautiful wife, arrived. She, too, was noble. When she was asked in marriage by d’Ailleboust, she refused him, having at the age of five made a vow of perpetual chastity. To this refusal her Jesuit confessor objected, since her proposed husband was about to proceed to Canada, to devote his sword and his life to the service of the church in that distant land. It was most important that she should go with him to help in the good work. But how could her conscience be relieved of the vow she had taken? Her confessor suggested a means of escape. Let the marriage ceremony be performed, but let husband and wife live together as if unmarried. A year after its foundation the Iroquois discovered Ville Marie. Fortunately, very soon afterwards, d’Ailleboust, who was a skillful engineer, had surrounded the town with ramparts and bastions of earth, that proved a far more secure defence than mere palisades. One day ten Algonquins, flying from a band of Iroquois, sought shelter in Ville Marie. For the first time, the Iroquois beheld the new fortifications. They examined the place carefully, and carried the important news home to their nation. In the summer of 1643, a party of sixty Hurons descended the St. Lawrence, laden with furs for the Ville Marie market. When they came to the rapids of Lachine they had to land and carry their canoes by the portage. Quite unexpectedly, they came on a large war-party of Iroquois. The Hurons, panic-stricken, sought to gain favour with their enemies by betraying all they knew of the defences of their French benefactors. The Iroquois sent a party of forty warriors, who surprised six Frenchmen within shot of the fort, and having killed three of them, carried off the others for torture and the stake. It is satisfactory to know that the Huron traitors were, most of them, put to death that night by the Iroquois. Of the French captives, one escaped to Ville Marie, the others were burned alive with the usual tortures. It now became unsafe to pass beyond the gates of the fort without a vigilant and well-armed escort. From this time forth the Iroquois were in perpetual ambuscade, not only at Ville Marie, but near a fort lately built at the central point of Three Rivers, and at another fort which Montmagny had erected at the mouth of the Richelieu, to check the advance of the Mohawk Iroquois, who usually made their descents on the settlements by this river. At Ville Marie, especially, the Mohawk spies lay in wait; concealed in a wood, or coiled up, bear-like, in a hollow tree, a single warrior would watch for days, almost without food, for the opportunity of taking the scalp of whoever ventured unarmed outside the gate. But this danger was much lessened by the arrival from France of a number of strong mastiffs which proved to be most efficient in instantly indicating the presence of the Iroquois, so that it was no longer possible for the savages to lurk in the woods undetected. Among these dogs the most remarkable was one named Pilot, which every morning, followed by a strong detachment of her progeny, explored the outskirts of the fort. If any one of them was lazy, or returned unauthorized to the fort, she bit the delinquent severely. She could detect the presence of the Iroquois, even at a distance, by the scent, on which she would run back with loud barking to the fort. In 1644, a considerable detachment of Iroquois camped near Ville Marie, intending, if possible, to surprise the garrison. But Pilot gave warning of their movements every day, and Maisonneuve—although no braver soldier ever drew sword beneath the flag of France—thought it his duty to observe extreme caution in exposing his men to a fight with an enemy of far superior force. But his soldiers grew discontented at this forced inaction. They even so far forgot themselves as to accuse Maisonneuve of want of courage. Hearing of this, Maisonneuve resolved on decisive action. One morning in March, while the snow still lay deep around Ville Marie, Pilot ran into the fort barking furiously. The soldiers begged their leader to allow them to confront the foe. “Yes,” said Maisonneuve, “get ready at once, and take care that you are as brave as you profess to be. I will lead you myself.” All was made ready, and with guns well loaded, a body of thirty French soldiers sallied forth, Maisonneuve at their head. They marched into the forest east of the fort, whence the barking of the dogs had first been heard. Suddenly from behind the trees started forth some eighty Iroquois warriors, who greeted them with a volley of bullets and arrows. Steadily the Frenchmen returned the fire, and several of the savages fell dead in the snow. The French had the advantage of being armed with the newly-invented flint-lock musket, while the Indians had only the match-lock arquebuse. Maisonneuve, with wise precaution, ordered his men to imitate the tactics of the foe by taking shelter behind trees. But, being outnumbered, the fight was an unequal one, and it was necessary to retreat to the fort. From time to time, the French turned round and fired on their pursuers; but as they got closer to the fort, the retreat became a panic, and Maisonneuve was left alone. The Iroquois pressed close upon him, and might have surrounded him, but that they wished to leave the honour of his capture to their chief. Maisonneuve shot him dead with a pistol, and while the savages busied themselves with securing the body of their chief, the French leader made his way in safety to the fort.

In 1645, Montmagny endeavoured to secure a treaty of peace with the Iroquois. He had succeeded in saving from the stake several Iroquois who had been captured by the Algonquins. These he sent back to their own country unharmed. The result was an embassy from the Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois. The Iroquois, it will be remembered, consisted at that time of five nations, of which the Senecas and other western tribes were engaged in exterminating the Hurons, while the Mohawks alone carried on the war against New France. The Mohawk ambassadors were received by Montmagny with much pomp at the fort at Three Rivers. Endless speeches were made, endless belts of wampum were presented; one belt to unite the French and the Mohawks as brothers; one belt to scatter the clouds; one belt to cover the blood of the slain Iroquois; one belt to break the kettle in which the Mohawks boiled their enemies; and so on, through the endless maze of metaphors which constituted the oratory of these grown-up children. Peace was concluded, but Montmagny overlooked the fact that it was only ratified by two out of the three tribes of the Mohawk Nation. The clans of the Wolf and the Turtle seemed to have been sincere in their desire for peace; that of the Bear was unappeased. Father Jogues, a Jesuit missionary, was sent to the Mohawk country by Montmagny as a political emissary. The story of this man’s life is a remarkable one. His portrait, as given by Charlevoix, presents a delicate, refined, almost feminine type of face; not by any means one that would typify the stoical endurance of Brebœuf, or the placid courage of the martyred Daniel. But, as has been well said, when inspired with the same holy enthusiasm, the lamb has proved as brave as the lion. Several years before, when on the Huron mission, Jogues had been captured by the Iroquois, from whom he suffered incredible tortures, but one finger being left on his hands. By the kindness of a Dutch trader, he was able to escape to France, where he was received with the greatest enthusiasm. Numerous honours and preferments were offered him. Anne of Austria, the Queen of Louis the Thirteenth, kissed his mutilated hand. As Charlevoix says, he had all the more temptation to enjoy repose at home, because he must have felt that it was deserved. But he would not be unfaithful to his vocation, and returned to Canada. His embassy to the Mohawks soon came to an end. The minority of the Bear tribe, being eager for war, desired to implicate the other Mohawks by taking the life of the French emissary. A sickness fell on the town in which he lived. The old cry was raised that the Jesuit was a sorcerer whose presence brought famine and the pest. Jogues was murdered, happily without torture, by a blow on the head. So the peace of a few months was broken, and the Iroquois terror once more haunted forest and stream.

As the French King had decreed that the term of office for colonial governors should not exceed three years, Montmagny resigned in 1648. The government of this nobleman was made illustrious by the foundation of Montreal and of the Ursuline Convent at Quebec, and by his wise erection of the Richelieu fort. He was succeeded in the same year by M. d’Ailleboust, who had taken a leading part in the settlement at Ville Marie, and had afterwards been commandant at the important fort at Three Rivers. During the two years of his term of government took place the extirpation of the Hurons, a small remnant of whom sought shelter in Quebec. At Lorette, a few miles from thence, their descendants are still to be found, though with ever-dwindling numbers. In 1648 an envoy arrived at Quebec from the British colonies in New England. This was the first direct communication between the colonies of France and England. The New England envoy proposed a treaty for reciprocity of commerce, and an alliance between the colonies. The proposal was very acceptable to the government of New France. They sent to Boston, as their representative, a Jesuit priest named Druillettes. Only three years before, a law had been passed by the New England Legislature that any Jesuit entering New England should be put to death. It has been truly said that the men of Boston hated a Jesuit next to the devil or a Church of England minister. However, owing to his character of envoy, Druillettes reached the Puritan mother city in safety, and was hospitably entertained. He visited Boston again in 1651, in order to press on the New England government d’Ailleboust’s wish for an alliance between New France and New England against the Iroquois. But then, as now, the New Englander was disinclined to fight for any interests but his own. And as to the plea which Druillettes urged, that it was the duty of the English colonists to protect his Huron converts against their heathen fellow-countrymen, the Puritans probably thought that there was little to choose between the heathenism of the Iroquois and the idolatries of the popery to which the Hurons had been converted. So the negotiation came to nothing.

In the year 1650, that of the final destruction of the Hurons, M. d’Ailleboust resigned office, but settled in the colony where he died. He was succeeded by M. de Lauzon, who had been one of the leading men in Richelieu’s company. The prospects of new France were dark when he entered on its government. The Iroquois, flushed with their success over the Hurons, directed all their energies against the unhappy colonists, and their yet more unhappy Indian allies. None, without being armed, dared to plough a field or bind up a sheaf of grain. The dwellers on outlying farms had either to entrench themselves with strong defences, or to abandon their dwellings. As an illustration of the straits to which the colony was reduced, the following from the Relations for 1653 may be quoted: “The war of the Iroquois has dried up all the sources of prosperity. The beavers are allowed to build their dams in peace, none being able or willing to molest them. Crowds of Hurons no longer descend from their country with furs for trading. The Algonquin country is dispeopled; and the nations beyond are retiring further away still, fearing the musketry of the Iroquois. The keeper of the company’s store here in Montreal has not bought a single beaver skin for a year past. At Three Rivers, the small means at hand have been used in fortifying the place from fear of an inroad upon it. In the Quebec store-house, all is emptiness. And thus everybody has reason to be malcontent, and there is not wherewithal in the treasury to meet the claims made upon it, or to supply public wants.” An Iroquois band attacked Three Rivers, and killed the commandant, with several men, in a sortie from the fort. So critical was the condition of Ville Marie in the year 1651 that Maisonneuve went to France to represent the state of the colony. He obtained, chiefly from Maine and Brittany, a body of a hundred and five colonists, all well trained both in war and agriculture, whose arrival checked the Iroquois advance, and greatly served to build up the fortunes of Ville Marie. By this time the fickle Iroquois seemed inclined for peace, which was accordingly concluded in 1655, and though the war broke out again in a few months, even this short interval of tranquillity was of great use to the colony. A number of Jesuit missionaries took advantage of the peace, precarious as it was, to venture their lives in preaching the gospel among the Iroquois. The Onondaga Nation had requested of M. de Lauzon that a settlement might be formed in their country, in consequence of which Captain Dupuis, a French officer of noble birth, was sent into the Iroquois country with fifty soldiers and four missionaries. When they left Quebec their friends bade them a last solemn farewell, not expecting to see them return alive from the land of those ruthless savages. The French force began to form a settlement in the Onondaga country, but the sleepless jealousy of the savage tribe was soon aroused against them. Jealousy soon became hatred. A dying Indian who had been converted warned one of the priests that the Iroquois had resolved on surprising and slaughtering their French guests. Dupuis resolved on a stratagem, pardonable under the circumstances: he invited the Iroquois to a feast, gave them plenty of brandy, and when every man, woman and child, was perfectly drunk, he and his soldiers embarked in canoes which had been secretly prepared, and made their escape.

In 1658, Viscount d’Argenson became governor. He ascended the river Richelieu with two hundred men, and drove back the Iroquois for a considerable distance. In 1659 the celebrated De Laval came to Quebec as Vicar Apostolic, a step by which the Pope made Canada independent of the French episcopate. He was afterwards bishop, and by his arbitrary assumptions of authority was engaged in constant bickering with the civil government. In 1660 it became known to the colonists of Ville Marie and Quebec that a united effort for the destruction of those towns and of Three Rivers, and the consequent extermination of the entire French race, was meditated by the Iroquois. The danger was averted by an act of heroic self-sacrifice not unworthy to be compared with the achievements of a Decius or a Leonidas. A young French nobleman, named Daulac des Ormeaux, with sixteen companions, resolved to strike a blow which, at the sacrifice of their own lives, might check the savage enemy’s advance, at least for the present. They confessed their sins, received absolution, and, armed to the teeth, took up their position in an old palisade fort situated where, then as now, the roar of the Long Sault Rapids on the Ottawa blend with the sigh of the wind through the forest. With them were some fifty Huron allies, who, however, basely deserted them in the hour of danger. While they were engaged in strengthening their fortifications the Iroquois fell upon them. For ten days, and through incessant attacks, this handful of Europeans held at bay the five hundred painted savages who swarmed, screeching their war-whoops and brandishing their tomahawks, up to the very loop-holes of the fort, but only to be driven back by the resolute fire of its defenders. The savages left their chief among the heaps of slain. Repulsed again and again, the Iroquois put off their main attack till the arrival of reinforcements, the chief body of their forces which was moving on Ville Marie. To the last, Daulac des Ormeaux and his handful of gallant followers held their own against the swarming hordes. The base Hurons deserted, and, it is satisfactory to know, were nearly all put to death by the Iroquois. At length Daulac and his men, exhausted by their almost super-human efforts, as well as by hunger, thirst, and sleeplessness, fell, fighting to the last. Four only survived, of whom three, being mortally wounded, were burned at once. The fourth was reserved for torture. The Iroquois had paid very dearly for their victory over a handful of men, whose valour so daunted the spirit of the savages that they gave up their designs on the French colony. There was great joy in Quebec at this deliverance, and a solemn Te Deum was sung in the churches.

In 1661 the Baron d’Avaugour was appointed governor. He was a skilful soldier, and had seen service in the wars in Hungary. His term of office was embarrassed, like that of his predecessor, by constant disputes with Laval, chiefly on the subject of selling liquor to the Indians, to which Laval, like all the rest of the clergy, was, on principle, opposed. D’Avaugour at this time induced the French king to give up a project which many of the French court advocated—the abandonment of Canada. He also obtained for the garrison of New France a reinforcement of four hundred men.

In February, 1663, a terrible earthquake affected the whole of Canada, the shocks being felt two or three times a day over a period of half a year. No damage, however, was done to life, and very little to property. The Indians believed that the earthquake was caused by the souls of their ancestors, who wished to return to the world. D’Avaugour induced King Louis XIV. to abolish the Richelieu company, and to take the government of Canada into his own hands. Under the King, Canada was to be governed by a Sovereign Council, consisting of the Governor, the Bishop, the Intendant, or Minister of Justice and Finance, and five leading colonists. Acadia, where the English, or rather the Huguenot Kirk under English colours, had destroyed every vestige of the French settlements, had been ceded again to France at the request of Cardinal Richelieu. It was divided into three provinces, under three governors, one of whom, a Huguenot adventurer named La Tour, intrigued and finally rebelled against the governor in chief, Charnissey, in 1647. With the usual Huguenot tactics, La Tour asked for and obtained aid from the English colony at Boston against his own countrymen, although England and France were then at peace. Charnissey remonstrated with the English, who proposed an alliance between his government of Acadia and New England. Having learned that La Tour was absent from fort St. John, Charnissey attempted to take it by surprise. It was gallantly defended by Madame de La Tour, a French lady of noble birth and of great beauty and accomplishments. Charnissey was forced to withdraw, after a loss of thirty-three of his men. He perceived during the siege that English soldiers from Boston, contrary to the treaty, were among the garrison. Enraged at this breach of faith, Charnissey seized and destroyed a ship belonging to New England. Alarmed at the danger to their commerce, the practical-minded Bostonian merchants sent no more aid to their unfortunate co-religionists. Again, and with a stronger force, Charnissey besieged fort St. John. Again, the Lady of the Castle, with a few faithful followers, beat back his thrice-repeated attack. The treason of one of the garrison enabled him to make his way, at an unguarded entrance, into the main body of the fort. But Madame de La Tour and her soldiers stood at bay in an outlying part of the castle, and Charnissey agreed to terms of surrender which he basely violated. He had the unspeakable wickedness to hang every one of these faithful soldiers, and to force the noble lady whom they had served so well to witness the execution with a halter round her neck. The shock affected her reason, and she died soon after. Her husband had better fortune. When Puritanism, under Cromwell, became the arbiter of Europe, La Tour was appointed one of the three governors of Acadia. By the treaty of Breda, Acadia was once more transferred to France. Its history at this time contains little worthy of record. With a meagre soil and a sea-board ever exposed to invasion it was held of little consequence, either by England or France.

Chapter XIII.


BARON D’AVAUGOUR was succeeded by the Chevalier de Mézy. In consequence of the continual quarrels between the late Governor and Bishop Laval, De Mézy had been chosen because, from his ostentatious professions of piety, it was thought that he would be certain to act in harmony with the priesthood, so powerful in New France. This proved to be a mistake. Of De Mézy’s government there is nothing left worthy of record. He quarrelled with two members of the Council, and, in utter contempt of law, dismissed them from office. This was trenching on the royal prerogative, of which his master, Louis XIV., was so jealous. Worse still, knowing that Bishop Laval and the Jesuits were most unpopular in the colony, on account of the tithes exacted by the Bishop, and the constant interference of the Jesuits in secular matters, he actually made an appeal to the people by calling a public meeting to discuss the conduct of the officials he had displaced. This was the worst of all sins in the opinion of the Grand Monarque. Louis resolved to make an example of De Mézy. He was superseded, and death only saved him from being impeached in the Quebec court. Alexander de Prouville, Marquis de Tracy, was appointed by King Louis as Viceroy. He reached Quebec in 1665, bringing with him one who was destined to succeed him as Governor, Daniel de Rémi, Sieur de Courcelles, and M. Talon, who was to fill the new office of Intendant, and prove one of the wisest and most successful fosterers of industry and colonization that New France has ever known. In the same year with De Tracy, arrived almost the entire regiment of Carignan, veteran soldiers of the war against the Turks in Hungary. With them came their Colonel, M. de Salières. The transport which conveyed them brought a considerable number of new colonists, and of sheep, cattle, and horses; the latter never before seen in Canada, although the Jesuits had imported some to their short-lived Acadian settlement. De Tracy’s first care was to check the Iroquois. For this purpose he built three new forts on the Richelieu River, two of them called after his officers MM. Sorel and Chambly, who were the first commandants. Meanwhile, three out of the five nations of the Iroquois had made peace. De Tracy and Sorel marched into the country of the other two Iroquois nations, who sued for peace, but who, with their usual perfidy, could not resist the opportunity to massacre a party of Frenchmen who fell in their way. Among those murdered was a nephew of Marquis de Tracy.

It so happened that several envoys from the Iroquois had waited on De Tracy, and were being entertained by him at dinner. One of the savages, flushed with wine, boasted that it was his hand that had taken the scalp of De Tracy’s nephew. All present were horrified, and the Marquis, saying that he would prevent the wretch from murdering anyone else, had him seized, and at once strangled by the common executioner. This most righteous punishment of course broke off the negotiation. Meantime M. de Courcelles invaded the Iroquois country. After a toilsome march of seven hundred miles through wilderness and forest deep with snow, he marched at the head of his men, shod with snow-shoes, and, like the private soldiers of his command, with musket and knapsack at his back. With him, under La Vallière and other French nobles of historic name, marched for the first time the representatives of that Canadian militia which has since gained such deserved fame for courage and every soldier-like quality. They found the Iroquois country a solitude; the men were all absent on expeditions elsewhere; the women had fled to the woods. But this expedition, made at mid-winter, struck terror into the hearts of the savages, and showed them that they were contending with a civilization whose power was greater than they had supposed. It would exceed the limits of a work like this to give in detail all the benefits which Canada owes to the wise and virtuous Talon. It was he that discovered the existence of iron at Gaspé and at Three Rivers; it was he that opened up trade with the Hudson’s Bay Territory, and that suggested the mission of Joliet and Marquette to the Mississippi. He and De Courcelles resigned office in the same year—1671-2. The next Governor was Louis de Buade, Count de Frontenac; a noble of high reputation for ability and courage. Taking advantage of existing peace with the Iroquois, and with the consent of their chiefs, Frontenac built at the head of Lake Ontario a fort, called by his own name. It stood on the site of the present artillery barracks at Kingston. The discovery of the Mississippi by Joliet, although it took place in Frontenac’s term of office, hardly belongs to Canadian History. Another explorer, La Salle, sailed down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. He received a grant of Fort Frontenac, which he rebuilt with stone walls and bastions. A few miles above Niagara Falls he built a ship of sixty tons and seven guns, which he called the Griffon. In this vessel he sailed to Lake Michigan. On his return he sent back the Griffon laden with furs, but she was never seen again, and is believed to have foundered in a storm. Frontenac was much harassed by disputes with Laval and the clergy on the old vexed question of the liquor trade, to which they were opposed. In 1682 he was succeeded as Governor by M. de La Barre. The Iroquois once more began to give trouble by endeavouring to take what remained of the fur trade out of the hands of the French, and transfer it to the British colonies. La Barre, with two hundred soldiers, marched into the Iroquois country; but sickness and a badly managed commissariat made his expedition a failure, and cancelled the influence which the successes of the three previous Governors had won over the savages. He was recalled in 1685, and the Marquis de Denonville took his place. Denonville’s administration marks the lowest point in the fortunes of New France, which now contained about ten thousand colonists. He was meditating an attack on the Iroquois, when, in 1686, he received a letter from the English Governor of New York, warning him that the Iroquois were now subjects of the King of England, and therefore must not be molested by the French. But Denonville was about to strike the Iroquois with weapons that were not carnal; he was about to degrade himself by fighting them with their own favourite arms, dissimulation and treachery. Through the influence of the missionaries in the Iroquois country, he called a meeting of the chiefs at Fort Frontenac, where he had them seized and sent in chains to France to work as galley slaves. Even the selfish tyrant on the throne of France was ashamed of an act like this, and wrote to reprimand his viceroy. Denonville meantime collected as many Iroquois as he could lay hands upon, intending to send them also to the galleys; but an order from the King released these and the other victims. Denonville’s act was not only a great crime, but a still greater mistake. Strange to say, the Iroquois did not visit it on the missionaries who lived in their country. They said to the Jesuits, “O men of the Black Robe, we have a right to hate you, but we do not hate you! Your heart has had no share in the wrong that has been done to us. But you must leave us. When our young men sing the song of war, haply they might injure you in their fury. Therefore, go in peace.” And so the Iroquois chiefs sent away the missionaries, under the protection of armed guides, who escorted them to Quebec. For some time all seemed tranquil. A raid made by Denonville into the Iroquois country led to no adequate result; and an Indian of the Huron race, known as “The Rat,” whom Raynal terms “the Machiavel of the Wilderness,” complicated matters still further, by seizing some Iroquois envoys who were on the way to treat of peace with Denonville. Of these “The Rat” murdered one, and having captured the rest, told them that this was done by Denonville’s orders, but that he would set them free. This of course infuriated the Iroquois still more. “I have killed the Peace!” said the Rat. With the accession of William III. and Mary, war broke out between England and France, the first of the wars between their rival colonies. In that war the Iroquois gave their powerful support to New York and New England. But they had a private grudge for which a signal vengeance was to be exacted. On the night of August 5th, 1689, all was still in the picturesque village of Lachine. The industrious inhabitants, weary with the day’s work in their harvest fields, lay asleep none the less soundly for a storm of hail which swept on their village from the lake. Under cover of this storm, which effectually disguised the noise of their landing, a force of many hundreds of Iroquois warriors, armed and painted, made a descent upon Lachine. Through the night they noiselessly surrounded every building in the village. With morning’s dawn the fearful war-whoop awoke men, women, and children to their dawn of torture and death. The village was fired. By the light of its flames in the early morn the horror-stricken inhabitants of Montreal could see from their fortifications the cruelties that preceded the massacre. It is said that the Iroquois indulged very freely in the fire water of the Lachine merchants, and that had the defendants of Ville Marie been prompt to avail themselves of the opportunity, the drunken wolves might have been butchered like swine. Paralyzed by the horrors they had witnessed, the French let the occasion slip. After feasting all day, at nightfall the savages withdrew to the mainland, not, however, without signifying by yells, repeated to the number of ninety, how many prisoners they carried away. From the ramparts of Ville Marie, and amid the blackened ruins of Lachine, the garrison watched the fiercely-burning fires on the opposite shore, kindled for what purposes of nameless horror they knew too well.

Panic-stricken, the French blew up Fort Frontenac and withdrew to Montreal, Three Rivers, and Quebec, to which towns the French possessions in Canada were now reduced. In this crisis Frontenac, superseding the incompetent Denonville, was once more sent to govern New France. He at once organized three expeditions, which invaded and ravaged what are now the States of New York, New Hampshire, and Maine. In retaliation, the British sent two expeditions against Canada. The first, under General Winthrop, broke down before it reached Montreal. The second, a fleet of twenty-two ships of war, was directed against Quebec, but owing to Frontenac’s vigorous resistance, was forced to withdraw, abandoning its artillery to the Canadians. In honour of this success a church was built in Quebec and dedicated to “Notre Dame des Victoires.” Next year another attack on Montreal by the English was repulsed. This war between the colonies, which is called “King William’s war,” was brought to a close by the treaty of Ryswick in 1697. The veteran soldier De Frontenac died at Quebec in the year 1698, and was succeeded by one of his lieutenants, M. de Callières. In 1701 war broke out again between France and England, and, therefore, between their colonies. It is known as “Queen Anne’s war.” In 1700 Callières died at Quebec, and was succeeded by the Marquis de Vaudreuil, under whom the colony attained its greatest prosperity. The total population of New France was then 15,000. An attack was made by four hundred French on a border fort named Haverhill, which they captured. In 1710 seven regiments of Marlborough’s veterans were sent under Admiral Sir Hovendon Walker to meet a force of four thousand under General Nicholson. But the fleet was wrecked among the St. Lawrence reefs, and Nicholson, when he heard of this, marched back to Albany. This war closed with the peace of Utrecht, in 1713, by which Acadia, Newfoundland, and Hudson’s Bay Territory were ceded to England. Canada was retained by France. In 1725 Vaudreuil, like his two predecessors, died at Quebec. He was succeeded by the Marquis de Beauharnois, in whose time the population rose to 40,000. This Governor, with consent of the Iroquois chiefs, built a fort at the entrance of the Niagara River. In 1745 war broke out again between France and England, but happily this did not affect Canada, as its operations were chiefly carried on in the Maritime Provinces, where a British force took Louisbourg. The next Governor was the Marquis de la Jonquière; but he was taken prisoner, his fleet being defeated by Admiral Anson. For the two years that followed—1747-1748—the war closed by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, when La Jonquière, being released, assumed the government. As a defence against the British fort of Oswego, La Jonquiere built a fort near the River Humber on Lake Ontario, called, from the French Minister of Marine, Rouillé, or by its Indian name, Toronto. This first feeble beginning of a great metropolis dates from 1749, a year for this reason one of the memorable ones of Canadian history. This fort, the germ of Canada’s industrial and intellectual centre, was situated about a mile from the Humber, to the south of the present Exhibition Building, in West Toronto. Meanwhile the administration of New France was becoming more and more corrupt. The greed and dishonesty of Bigot, the last of the Intendants, did much to hasten the downfall of the colony. The wealth he accumulated by fraud amounted to the enormous sum of £400,000. La Jonquière died at Quebec in 1752, and was buried in the church of the Récollet Friars, beside Frontenac and Vaudréuil. He was succeeded, in 1752, by the Marquis Duquesne de Menneville. This Governor sent a force to destroy a fort named Fort Necessity, which was defended by a Virginian officer of militia known to history as George Washington. Washington was forced to capitulate to the French commandant, M. de Villiers. The war which ensued is called the French war. Duquesne having applied for his recall, was succeeded by the Marquis de Vaudréuil-Cavagnal, son of the former Governor Vaudréuil, and born at Quebec. He arrived in Canada in 1755. Every man in New France was now called to arms; the farms were deserted, the fields uncultivated, the fur trade was extinct, prices rose as provisions became scarce, and wretches like Bigot throve on the miseries of the people. But the English received a check by the almost total destruction of their army in the fight in which General Braddock fell. This, however, was partly retrieved in the victory gained by General Johnson over the French General Baron Dieskau, near Lake George. George the Second made Johnson a baronet, as a reward for his success. In 1756, the French King named the Marquis de Montcalm Commander-in-chief of the forces in New France. Thus, on the eve of her downfall, after suffering much from incompetent rulers and corrupt officials, there was given to New France a leader who, in the purity of his chivalrous nature, in his combination of the two-fold type of soldier and statesman, is not unworthy to be compared with the heroes of her earlier and nobler day, with Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Samuel de Champlain.

In the autumn of 1756 Montcalm captured Forts Ontario and Oswego, and demolished them. This gave the French command of the entire lake region which Fort Oswego had controlled, and diverted the fur trade from the English colonies to New France. Montcalm continued his victorious career until Fort William Henry—which a French force, under a brother of Vaudréuil, had vainly endeavoured to take in the early part of the year—had surrendered, and was destroyed. This brilliant success gave Montcalm the control of Lake George, which he utilized by capturing and sinking all the English war ships that sailed on it. The glory of these exploits was stained by a series of massacres of English prisoners by Montcalm’s Indian allies and camp followers. But so great was the impression made by his exploits that the ever-faithless Iroquois meditated deserting their alliance with England, and would have done so had it not been for the influence of Sir William Johnson.

The Pitt administration had now assumed power in England, and the war was carried on with greater energy. An expedition was sent to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton in 1758, and, in the face of great difficulties, Louisbourg was taken. This was due in part to the skill and courage of a young officer, Brigadier-General Wolfe, who succeeded in marching a body of troops up a height which had been thought inaccessible—tactics which he was destined to repeat, with an ampler success, on a more memorable occasion. A second expedition, consisting of the largest army yet assembled in America, marched on Ticonderoga and Crown Point under General Abercromby. Montcalm in vain applied to the French King for succour; the selfish voluptuary, whose political wisdom was expressed in the saying, “After me the Deluge,” preferred spending the people’s money on diamonds for his mistresses, rather than in an effort to redeem the national honour by preserving to France her finest colony. But Montcalm did not relax his efforts, though he knew that his cause was hopeless. “We shall fight,” he wrote to the French Minister, “and shall bury ourselves, if need be, under the ruins of the colony.” One final triumph awaited him, the greatest victory ever gained on American soil by a far inferior force over a magnificent army. Montcalm, with 3,600 Canadians, had entrenched himself on a triangular space of elevated ground between a small river, called La Chute, and Lake Champlain into which it flows. At the apex of the triangle was a small fort, whose guns commanded lake and river. Abercromby advanced with his army of 15,000 veteran troops in four columns. Montcalm had defended his position on the only assailable side by a breastwork of felled trees, and had ordered the country in front to be cleared of woods, so as to afford no cover to an attacking force. The fight began by a movement made by a number of gun-barges on the river, which opened fire on the right flank of the French. They were speedily sunk by the cannon of the fort. Then the four columns of the British advanced, Montcalm writes, “with admirable coolness and order.” The column, composed chiefly of Highlanders under Lord John Murray, opened fire on Montcalm’s right wing, commanded by M. de Lévis, who, seeing the danger, ordered a portée to be made in order to assail the flank of the attacking column. This move succeeded. The column of Highlanders, in order to avoid a cross flanking fire, were forced to incline the column next their own; thus the four columns of the British as they advanced to the breastwork became massed into a dense body of troops, an easy mark for the fire of their opponents. Montcalm took advantage of the disgraceful blunder in strategy by which Abercromby sacrificed the lives of so many gallant soldiers. He gave strict orders that his troops should reserve their fire till the English came within twenty paces of the entrenchments. His order was obeyed to the letter. When the densely crowded mass of the English columns came quite close to the breastwork of trees, a storm of shot and flame leaped forth at once from all the French line in front of them; the leaden hail tore its way resistlessly through their crowded ranks. In vain they attempted to return the fire against the Canadians, secure behind the entrenchments. Falling back in some confusion, the English columns reformed and returned to the attack. They displayed the utmost valour. The Highlanders, in Montcalm’s own words, “covered themselves with glory,” the picturesque costume of the Scotch mountaineers being distinctly visible through the smoke in the foreground of the battle. But Montcalm held a position impregnable except by artillery, and Abercromby’s artillery lay on board the gun-boats at the bottom of the river. For six hours the attack was renewed by the British columns, but whenever they advanced to the breastwork of trees they were driven back by a murderous fire to which they could not reply with advantage. All through the battle Montcalm exposed himself to every danger. From his station in the centre he hastened to every spot where his men were most hotly assailed, bringing reinforcements, and cheering them by his voice and example. Such was the great victory which shed its lustre on the name of Montcalm and the declining fortunes of New France.

This defeat was in some degree retrieved by the capture and destruction of Fort Frontenac (Kingston) and of Duquesne by General Forbes, who changed its name to Pittsburg, in honour of the great Commoner. Abercromby was now superseded by General Amherst, who made a successful move against Ticonderoga and Crown Point. At the same time General Prideaux and Sir William Johnson attacked Fort Niagara, where Prideaux was killed by the bursting of a mortar. Johnson succeeded in taking the fort. Meanwhile, Mr. Pitt, with that instinctive appreciation of true genius which distinguished that great minister, had appointed young General Wolfe to the supreme command. James Wolfe was a typical example, to borrow Wordsworth’s language, of “whatever man in arms should wish to be.” Devoted to his profession, he declined lucrative staff appointments in order to go on active service. At the capture of Louisbourg he had already distinguished himself. Unlike most of the military men of his time, Wolfe had an ardent love for literature and art. He was engaged to be married to a young lady of great beauty and considerable wealth; but he left England with the germs of a mortal disease in his constitution, which would too probably prevent his seeing her again. Late in May, 1759, a fleet of twenty ships of the line and as many frigates conveyed Wolfe and his lieutenants, Townshend and Murray, with their eight thousand regular troops, up the St. Lawrence to the Isle of Orleans, where the troops disembarked, and took up a position at the western end, facing Quebec. The fleet meantime reconnoitred, the soundings being taken by James Cook, afterwards the celebrated sea captain and discoverer. It is a curious coincidence that there were then present in the two opposing camps of France and England the two greatest explorers of that age—Cook and Bougainville. Wolfe himself ascended the river, above Quebec, in a barge, in order to make a general observation of their position. It is characteristic of him that he held in his hand, and read from time to time, a poem, then lately published in England, by Mr. Gray, of Cambridge—“An Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” “Gentlemen,” he said to the officers beside him, “I would rather have the glory of having written this poem than that of the capture of Quebec.” “None but God knows how to attempt the impossible!” wrote Montcalm from his post within the beleaguered city. The king whom he had served with such signal success had abandoned him to his fate. His army was forced to subsist on horse-flesh and a small daily allowance of biscuit. In front of him, supported by a powerful fleet, was a well-appointed army abundantly supplied with provisions and munitions of war. The viceroy and his creatures thwarted him at every step; yet, amid all discouragements, the victor of Carillon held his ground, firm as the rock on which he stood.

A British force under Moncton defeated the French troops at Point Lévis, directly opposite Quebec. From this commanding position, Wolfe, with his heavy artillery, proceeded to bombard the city. The cathedral and the best houses were destroyed, the whole of the Lower Town was consumed by fire; a shell struck the garden of the Ursulines, ploughing a deep trench close to the wall. Meanwhile, Montcalm had taken up a position outside the city, his army being entrenched from the mouth of the St. Charles, which was defended by a boom of ships, with masts chained together, to the mouth of the Montmorency; every point where an enemy could land being defended by a small redoubt. Every point where access seemed possible was guarded by sentinels, especially one zigzag path that led from what is now Wolfe’s Cove to the Plains of Abraham above the city. It seemed scarce likely that such a harebrained attempt would be made as to risk the ascent by such a narrow and precipitous approach. Still, sentries were posted on the river bank below, and a redoubt with cannon commanded the entire ascent. The command of the redoubt was intrusted to one Vergor, who, three years before, had surrendered Beausejour to the British. Brought to a court-martial for this unsoldier-like act, he was acquitted by the influence of the Intendant, Bigot, whose creature he was. Wolfe resolved to attack Montcalm’s army on the left wing, near the mouth of the Montmorency River. On July 31st, under cover of broadsides from the men of war, Wolfe, with eight thousand troops arranged in four columns, landed on the north St. Lawrence strand, crossed the Montmorency by a ford in the face of fire from a redoubt, which Wolfe captured. They were then within musket shot of Montcalm’s entrenchments. Wolfe’s troops, having formed once more in column, attacked the entrenchments with fixed bayonets. But as at Carillon, the Canadian militia reserved their fire till the British were within a few yards of their position; they then rose from the trenches and poured in their fire with unerring aim. The British soldiers fell fast before it. Wolfe’s columns were broken, and they fled. Their retreat was covered by a violent thunderstorm. When the mist and rain cleared away, the British were seen re-embarking with their wounded. The glory of the victory of Montmorency belongs to De Lévis, one of Montcalm’s lieutenants. Anxiety at this defeat brought on a severe attack of Wolfe’s malady. He called a council of war, and was in favour of renewing the attack from the direction of Montmorency. Colonel Townshend proposed the daring plan of marching the army up the steep ascent already referred to, and entrenching themselves on the Plains of Abraham, commanding the city. This plan Wolfe at once adopted. That night 4,828 men, with one field-piece, proceeded in barges to Wolfe’s Cove. Wolfe had ascertained from deserters the watch-word which the crews of some provision barges, expected that night, were to give to the sentries on the river bank. Officers who spoke French were appointed to answer the challenge of the sentries; thus the barges passed undiscovered. When they touched the shore Wolfe sprang out, followed by his light infantry. They quickly overpowered the French soldiers in the guard-house at the foot of the ascent. Noiselessly and quickly, company after company ascended the narrow and precipitous pathway. At the top was a redoubt. It was surprised. Vergor, the commandant, was taken prisoner in bed. At dawn Wolfe’s army was ranged in battle array on the heights above Quebec. Montcalm, probably fearing that the British might entrench themselves, marched through St. John’s Gate to attack them. His army advanced in an irregular line three deep, and began the fight with a well-sustained fire, which the British bore without flinching. Wolfe passed through the lines of his men to animate their courage. He ordered each soldier to put two bullets into his musket, and not to fire till the French were within twenty yards. So effective was the storm of shot that met the French advance that their lines were broken, on which Wolfe, though wounded in the wrist, led his Grenadiers to the charge. Presently he fell, shot through the chest. “They run!” cried one of the officers who was supporting him in his arms. “Who run?” asked Wolfe. “The French,” was the reply. “Then I die happy,” were the last words of the hero.

Quebec was won, and with Quebec was won Canada for English speech, English law, English freedom of thought and utterance. The remains of Wolfe were sent to England to be buried. Those of the conqueror of Carillon who had fallen about the same time with Wolfe, found a resting place in the garden of the Ursulines, being buried in a trench which a shell had ploughed close to the wall. On September 8th, 1760, the other French forces in Canada surrendered, and all Canada was ceded to England by the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

Chapter XIV.


FOR ten years after the cession of Canada to England, the government of the colony was necessarily a purely military despotism. The first arrangement of any regular governmental machinery was made by General Amherst, who divided Canada into three departments, following the old division of Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers, in each of which martial law was to be in force, under the direction of General Murray at Quebec, General Gage at Montreal, and Colonel Benton at Three Rivers. Murray instituted a council composed of seven of his officers, which sat twice a week, and took cognizance of the more important civil and criminal cases. But in all, he reserved to himself the decision, without appeal. Gage, with yet more regard to the rights of the conquered French Canadians, established five justice courts, composed of former officers of the French Canadian militia, reserving a right of appeal to himself. This military administration of justice does not seem to have been, in practice, offensive; but to the naturally susceptible feelings of the conquered race it seemed an intolerable tyranny, and rather than appear before such tribunals, litigants generally settled their differences by referring them to the arbitration of the parish curé or notary. For some time, the hope was cherished that France would make yet another effort to regain her greatest colony. It was now seen that such hopes were vain, indeed. The court was only too glad to get rid of a source of constant expenditure. Madame de Pompadour made bon mots about the King having only lost a few acres of snow. The rising spirit of republicanism rejoiced at the capture of Quebec as a victory of freedom over despotism. There was a considerable emigration from Canada to France during the years following the Conquest. Many Canadians obtained high offices at Court, and were in favour with Napoleon, and even with the Republicans of 1792. Those who resolved, come what would, to remain in Canada, sent envoys to London to represent their interests at Court. George III. was struck with the beauty of the wife of one of their delegates, the Chevalier de Lévy, and said, “If all Canadian ladies resembled her, we may indeed vaunt of our beautiful conquest!”

In October, 1763, the King, by an edict never confirmed by the English Parliament, and, therefore, not constitutionally binding, set aside the old French law, always hitherto in force, and put in place of it the law of England. This was from every point of view impolitic and tyrannical; and in depriving the French colonists of the jurisprudence to which they were accustomed, the royal decree did not give them in exchange the rights of British subjects, since it declared that representative assemblies for Canada should be held only when circumstances allowed. In November, 1763, Murray was appointed Governor-General, and in accordance with orders, convened a council, which, in concert with himself, was to exercise all executive and legislative functions. It consisted of the chief military governors, with eight of the leading colonists nominated by himself. In this council there was but one French Canadian. In consequence of this high-handed treatment, there was much irritation among the Canadians, who did not consider that the Treaty of Paris had been carried out. To give them some measure of relief, Murray issued a proclamation to the effect that in all questions relating to landed property and inheritance the old French laws and customs should be the standard. For General Murray, though stern, was just, and was by no means willing to see the brave inhabitants of the conquered province trampled under the feet of the adventurers. Camp-followers and hangers-on of great men now swarmed into Canada, and, on the ground of being English-born and Protestants, tried to engross all preferment and power. These men, at first, carried everything before them. They tried to do what the Family Compact, in after years, succeeded in doing. They had, for a time, the ear of England, where they could always appeal to the rooted prejudices of race and religion, and they might have succeeded in making Canada another Ireland, had not the trumpet blast of American Revolution awoke the muddle-headed King and his Councillors to the necessity of keeping the faith pledged to the Canadians at the Treaty of Paris. For the present, the British Protestant clique had influence enough to procure the recall of Murray, whom they charged with autocratic military rule. Their real reason for hating him was the justice of his rule, which they construed into partiality to the French Canadians. It is curious to record how these men, themselves the most unscrupulous of oppressors, posed as advocates of the rights of Britons, and demanded an elective Assembly in place of military rule. They wished for an Assembly to which none but their own clique could be elected, and it is certain that French Canada in those days of anarchy fared far better under military rule, which, if at times despotic, was for the most part well-intended, and often conciliatory.

In 1763, a plot, surpassing in the magnitude of its scope any other ever known in Indian annals, was framed, under the instigation of certain French ex-officials, by an Ottawa chief named Pontiac. Believing, on the assurance of the French who made him their tool, that the King of France would send another army to Canada and expel the English, Pontiac matured a complicated and far-reaching plan to seize on the fifteen military posts from Niagara to Lake Michigan. The basis of operation was, as usual in Indian warfare, treachery and surprise. Pontiac, with a number of his warriors with muskets whose barrels had been cut short to admit of being concealed under the blankets of the Indians, was to gain friendly admission to the fort at Detroit, to overpower the sentries when once inside the gate, and admit a host of warriors who would be in readiness without. But an Ottawa girl was the mistress of the commandant, and put him on his guard. Besides Detroit, the forts of Niagara and Pittsburg were able to repel Pontiac’s attacks. The other forts were surprised, and all the horrors of torturing and scalping were wreaked on the hapless women and children who were captured and deceived into surrender. One lady, the wife of an officer, after being struck in the face by an Indian, with the reeking scalp just torn from her husband’s head, managed to escape in the confusion. She returned at night to her ruined home, and contrived, unaided, to bury her husband’s body, after which she made her way to a place of safety. It is humiliating to think that General Bradstreet, when, in 1764, he arrived with a relieving force, condescended to make peace with Pontiac. The wretch was killed soon afterwards, while drunk or asleep, by the knife of an Indian as treacherous as himself. In our day, a brilliant American historian has thought it worth his while to record, in two volumes of high-sounding rhetoric the life of this execrable savage.

Sir Guy Carleton was appointed to the Government of Canada in 1766, and, acting under the instructions he had received from the home authorities, considerably relaxed the stringency of military rule. He also obtained a number of reports on various subjects connected with the French Canadians, and these being translated to the Home Government, were carefully examined and commented on by the Law Officers of the Crown; the result of which was the framing of a law which passed the British Parliament, and is known as the Quebec Act. This Act provided that the French law, consisting of the “Custom of Paris” and the edicts of the Canadian Intendants, should decide all but criminal cases; that the French language should be used in the courts of law; that there should be complete civil equality between the French and English; and that legislative power, with the exception of taxation, which was reserved for the crown, should be vested in a council in concert with the governors, by whom its members were to be chosen. The Quebec Act was a crushing blow to the schemes of those who sought to erect a British-born and Protestant oligarchy. Many of these men were so angry that they became sympathizers with the revolutionary measures already maturing in the thirteen colonies. But this most righteous law secured the adherence to Britain, in the struggle that ensued, of the Canadian priests and seigneurs, and, through them, of well nigh the whole French Canadian people.

Chapter XV.


AT the commencement of the struggle between Great Britain and the American colonies, Congress sent broadcast over Canada printed documents dwelling on the advantages of independence, and urging the conquered race to assert their rights. These representations had some weight at first, and with a few; but the wiser among the French colonists were of opinion that they had nothing to gain by alliance with those New England colonies, who were Puritans, and opponents of their religion, and who a few years back had been the worst enemies of their race. Franklin was sent by Congress to try his powers of persuasion; but the Canadians remembered how, fifteen years before, he had been foremost in urging the British to conquer their country, and the philosopher’s mission proved a failure.

In the autumn of 1775, Congress and General Washington, at the instance of General Montgomery, resolved on the invasion of Canada. Montgomery, with three thousand men, besieged and took the forts of Chambly and St. John. A detachment of his army, a hundred and ten strong, under Colonel Ethan Allen, attempted to seize Montreal, by aid of sympathizers within the city; but Allen and his force were surrounded and made prisoners by three hundred Canadian militia under Major Carden, who met them at Longue Pointe. Allen was sent in irons to England. A second expedition of a thousand men marched from Maine, under Colonel Benedict Arnold, the Judas of the War of Independence. After enduring great hardships, they arrived at Point Lévis, but, not having canoes to cross the St. Lawrence, and Colonel Maclean being well on his guard at Quebec, a surprise was impracticable, and Arnold waited at Pointe-aux-Trembles. Meanwhile, Carleton, hearing that Quebec was threatened, at once repaired thither. Montreal, being thus left without defence, was immediately occupied by Montgomery—a fact which sober history must set down as no valid ground for boasting. From Montreal Montgomery marched east, to unite his force to that of Arnold, for an attack on Quebec.

Meanwhile, Carleton made great efforts to strengthen the defences of Quebec. The population in 1775 amounted to 5,000. The garrison numbered 1,800, of whom 500 were French Canadian militia. The fortifications had been, to a great extent, rebuilt since the war of the Conquest, and additional artillery had been provided, both on the landward side and toward the St. Lawrence. The Lower Town was defended by batteries at the centre, and by barricades masking artillery. At the approach to the Upper Town, on Champlain street, a masked battery of seven cannon commanded the entire street. When Montgomery arrived, the Americans proceeded to invest the city, making their headquarters at Sainte Foye. It was impossible, without artillery adequate to the purpose, to attempt a regular siege. Montgomery’s object seems rather to have been to watch his opportunity to capture the place by a sudden dash, when the garrison was off their guard. There is no doubt that he expected support from American sympathizers within the city. A considerable force of Canadians had joined him—men who had been alienated by Carleton’s injudicious attempt to force the Canadian militia to take up arms. But, as the seigneurs, without exception, adhered to England, these men had to be officered by an American, Colonel Livingstone. Montgomery had met with a number of successes since he had invaded Canada; but these were either against such forts, like Chambly, guarded by an insufficient force, or against more important places, such as Montreal and Three Rivers, which he found altogether undefended, and occupied without any opposition. A successful attack on Quebec, even with a sufficient force, required—what Montgomery did not seem to possess—genuine military skill. A competent general would have perceived that the American force was not sufficient to justify the attempt. Montgomery’s men, ragged and ill fed, were unaccustomed to the rigour of a winter like ours; they were also decimated by an outbreak of the most malignant form of small-pox. For the sick there was no hospital accommodation whatever. They were also almost altogether unprovided with funds. The Canadians, who had lost heavily by an inconvertible paper currency, issued by Bigot during the war, would have nothing to do with the paper money issued by Congress. It is true that several of the Montreal English traders had undertaken to deal with Congress, as representatives of Canada; but these men belonged to the clique already described as being so justly odious to the French Canadians, and had, of course, no influence whatever. Add to this, that the French who had sided with the Americans soon found that they were treated as an inferior race, their opinions never being asked. They foresaw that, if the Americans conquered Canada, they would be, in every respect, worse off than under British rule. The ragged and unsoldier-like appearance of Montgomery’s levies, too, could not but excite the contempt of those who, in the British and French armaments, were well accustomed to the pomp and circumstance of war.

Montgomery decided on attempting to carry Quebec by escalade, on the night of December 31st. The weather was suitable for his purpose: neither moon nor stars shone through the darkness; a boisterous wind would serve to prevent the movements of the attacking force from being noticed. But several days before this, Carleton had been warned by deserters that a night attack was in contemplation, and was well on his guard. The cannon on the ramparts and barricades were kept ready loaded, and the sentries warned to give the alarm at any sign of an enemy’s approach. Montgomery sent two detachments to make a feint of attacking St. John’s Gate and the Citadel, in order to divert Carleton’s attention from his own movement. Arnold, with 450 men, was to enter the Lower Town from the suburb of St. Roche, and take the battery at the Sault au Matelot. He himself leading the strongest column, would carry the barricade of the Près de Ville, and march by Champlain Street to the Upper Town. At 4 a.m., January 1st, 1776, his troops were ready, but the signals agreed on, two rockets, answered by others from the other columns, were of course seen by Carleton’s sentries, who at once gave the alarm. Montgomery’s column had to move along a narrow path between the cliff and the strand, encumbered with ice-blocks and snow. However, they reached Près de Ville in good order, and succeeded in passing the outer barricade. But as the column approached the next barricade a battery of seven cannon confronted it, manned by fifty men under Captain Chabot. Montgomery rushed forward, followed by the men of his column, when the battery opening fire, discharged a storm of grape shot through their ranks. Montgomery fell dead with his two aides-de-camp, and many others. The rest turned and ran away, not caring to face a second salute from the battery. Arnold, as he approached the outer barricade of the Sault au Matelot Street, was severely wounded in the leg by a ball, and had to be carried back to his camp. This column was efficiently led by a Captain Major, who succeeded in passing the outer barrier, but the inner barricade was so admirably defended by a party of French Canadians, under Captain Dumas, that he could make no further way, and Carleton having sent round a strong force to attack the Americans in the rear, they were caught as in a trap, and obliged to surrender. Carleton then stormed the battery at St. Roche. The British general did himself honour by burying the remains of the brave but rash Montgomery with full military obsequies.

The American forces continued to invest Quebec, but removed to a distance of several miles. They tried to bombard the city from Point Levis, but failed, not having artillery of sufficient range. Carleton, with somewhat of excessive caution, did not take the field against them till the arrival of reinforcements from England, when he marched with a thousand men and six field-pieces, and defeated the Americans, who ran, leaving their stores, artillery and baggage, with the sick and wounded, in the hands of the British. But Congress did not relax in its efforts to hold the ground which Montgomery had won in Canada. They sent reinforcements both to Montreal and to General Sullivan, who was in command in the Richelieu district, so that the Americans in Canada amounted to 5,400 men. But Carleton had been largely reinforced from England, especially by a corps of German mercenaries whose hereditary prince had sold them to George III., and who after the war made very useful settlers in Upper Canada. He took the field against Sullivan, defeated the American force, taking a number of prisoners, and finally drove the invaders from Canada by the fall of 1776. Elsewhere during this war the English arms were not as successful as in Canada. But the record of their reverses, and of the triumphs of the Americans when fighting on their own soil, does not belong to Canadian history. Peace was made, and the independence of the United States recognized by the Treaty of Paris, in 1783.

Thus did the most momentous event in the annals of the civilized world, since the Reformation and the discovery of America, rivet the attachment of conquered New France to her British masters. In the American Revolution, as in the European Revolution, which was its afterbirth, New France had neither part nor lot. The peasantry, the soldier settlers of Montcalm and his predecessors, hated the Puritan enemy of New York and New England far more than the subjects of King George. The landed proprietors and the priests scented in the new revolutionary gospel all that resulted therefrom in the Terror of 1793. Unlike the France of those days, New France was an island stranded by the wreck of the Middle Ages on the shores of North America. There were but two classes, the nobles—with whom we count the priests—and the peasants. There was no tiers etat. There were no newspapers. Means of education were scant and sparse.

Chapter XVI.


THE party, mainly composed of traders and agents of English mercantile houses, who had been baffled by the Quebec Act in their scheme of making their own class supreme over the French Canadians, had never ceased to foment disturbance in the Legislative Council; among those in England who were opposed to the war against the Thirteen Colonies; and even among the seigneurs, some of whom were now desirous of an elective Assembly. At the end of his term of office, Carleton, in accordance with instructions from the English Ministry, formed a sort of Camarilla in the Legislative Council; a Privy Council of five members, nominated by the Governor. This caused some discontent among the members of the Legislative Council not included in this new Cabinet. Chief Justice Livius, in particular, questioned the action of the Governor, and demanded the production of the instructions upon which he acted. Carleton, in consequence of this, deprived Livius of his office. On the matter being brought before the Board of Trade in England, it was decided that Carleton had acted illegally. In consequence of this dispute, Carleton resigned office and left Canada, to which he had done signal service in holding Quebec against Montgomery, in driving the American invaders from our frontier, and in conciliating by just treatment the French Canadian people at a most dangerous crisis, notwithstanding the pertinacious opposition of the English Colonial office seekers.

Carleton was succeeded as Governor by General Haldimand, a Swiss soldier in the British pay, who took office in 1778. Unlike Carleton, he was of a hard, stern, and despotic disposition. In proportion as it became evident that the United States were about to succeed in their assertion of independence, so did Haldimand increase the severity of his rule in Canada. He forced on Canada the oppressive exactions against which the Puritans of England had risen in revolt a century before; compulsory enlistment, and enforced statute labour. On the slightest suspicion of discontent with his rule, or of sympathy with the American Revolution, even such sympathy as was openly avowed by the English Opposition, he committed the suspects to prison, and kept them there for months without the pretence of a trial. With a meanness characteristic of the crafty and suspicious race, which has furnished the mercenaries and lackeys of every European despotism, he descended to violate the sanctity of private correspondence. The Postmaster-General had frequently found the European and other mail bags lying open in the Governor’s office, and the letters, with broken seals, scattered on the floor. It must be remembered that in those days a Governor-General was not the mere titular shadow of departed power, not the harmless dispenser of civil speeches with which we of the Canada of 1884 are familiar. In those days the Governor-General ruled the country with an absolute authority permitted to no king of England since the Stuart tyrants were executed or expelled. Numbers of citizens were arrested on the merest suspicions; the most innocent were never safe from a long incarceration; a man would disappear, none knew how, and months might pass before his anxious family knew in what dungeon he was immured. The Swiss adventurer was careful, however, to confine his high-handed measures to the French Canadians. The English settlers, he knew, regarded him as an alien, and might, if roughly handled, turn the current of public opinion against his administration in England.

As was the Governor, such were his underlings. The mode of administering justice had become a public scandal. Ruinous fines were imposed by judges who sat on the bench drunk, or who refused to hear evidence on the ground that they already knew all about the case, or declined to investigate a charge, because the person inculpated was, in the judge’s opinion, incapable of anything of the sort. One stranger was arrested on suspicion, without any definite charge being brought against him. It was reported that he was a young French noble, one of Lafayette’s suite. The sentry in front of the prison was ordered to watch whether the prisoner showed his face at the window of his cell, and if so, to fire at him. And when those who had been thus imprisoned were at length set free, they could get no satisfaction from the Government as to the crime with which they had been charged. But Haldimand, in one instance, mistook the man he had to deal with. A French Calvinist merchant of Montreal, named Du Calvet, is entitled to the honour of being recorded in Canadian history as the first assertor of Liberal principles in Canada. In the darkest time of tyranny, when the French majority had not an idea beyond their narrow exclusiveness of race and religion; when the English minority sought representative institutions only as a means of oppressing others, Du Calvet raised and has left on record his protest on behalf of equality for all races and creeds, for representative and responsible government, and for free public school education. This admirable citizen, of whom no mention is made in most so-called histories of Canada, was suspected by the Swiss Governor of correspondence with the Americans, on what grounds Du Calvet was never able to ascertain. He was suddenly seized by a body of soldiers, who carried him from his home in Montreal, taking also his money and papers. He was hurried to Quebec, where he was confined on board a ship of war, and afterwards in a dark and loathsome dungeon, called the “black hole,” used for punishing refractory soldiers of the garrison of Quebec. He was thence removed to the Recollet Convent, which, under Haldimand’s regime, had been turned into a prison for political offenders, the common jail not being large enough to accommodate the victims. He was detained there for two years and eight months, and was then liberated, but could gain no explanation as to why he was imprisoned or why he was set free. The same thing, as has been stated, had been done in the case of many others, and none of them had the courage to challenge the constitutional right of the Governor to exercise this system of irresponsible inquisition. But Du Calvet was made of sterner stuff. As soon as the prison doors closed behind him, he travelled to London, and obtaining an audience of the king’s ministers, stated the wrongs he had sustained, and requested that Haldimand might be recalled, in order that, being on English ground, he might be prosecuted. But those were the palmy days of Toryism, when not only the king, but his governors, could do no wrong. The ministers turned a deaf ear to Du Calvet’s complaints. He appealed to another tribunal, the public. He published a volume of letters which he had scattered broadcast over England and Canada. They were terse, often eloquent, and bore the impress of truth. He detailed in simple, forcible language, the persecutions to which he had been subjected, and told how his enemy, the Swiss Governor, sought to influence the Court of Justice against him by taking his seat on the bench beside the judges. He drew a striking picture of the corrupt and despotic government of Canada, the peculations of public money, and the persistent refusal to permit the use of French law, in violation of the English Parliament’s Quebec Act of 1774. Finally, he demanded for Canada constitutional government, as the basis of French law for French Canadians in civil cases; in criminal cases trial by jury; permanent tenure of office during good conduct for all judges; the Governor-General to be subject, like other citizens, to the law; an elective assembly; Canada to be represented in the English Parliament; freedom of conscience for all sects alike; liberty of the press; and free education by parochial schools. Du Calvet’s proposition for Canadian representation in the English Parliament was indeed chimerical, though less chimerical than the form in which the same notion has been revised in the recent craze called Imperial Federation. But there was something to be said for it at the time. Canada was merely a dependency of England, governed by a satrap sent out by the Home Ministry. There were no newspapers worthy of the name; no telegraphs, no rapid transit to England, none of those thousand means by which in our days a complaint against official wrong-doing is sure to make itself heard.

Du Calvet was evidently a man far in advance of his time. His book did not produce any immediate result, but it was widely read in England, and no doubt laid the foundation of that intelligent sympathy with Canadian aspirations for self-government which manifested itself so beneficently in Pitt and Fox in that century, and in Melbourne and Lord Durham in the next. Haldimand’s one service to Canada was his aiding in the settlement of the immigrants who sought a home here at the close of the American war. Of that immigration an account will be given in a subsequent chapter. A more questionable service was his granting to the Iroquois an enormous quantity of the most valuable land in Canada, six miles on either side of the Grand River, from its mouth to its source. It is true that these savages had sided with the British in the American war, but they were paid for their services, and as to their “loyalty,” it seems absurd to talk of such a sentiment in the case of these unstable, shiftless tribes who were ever ready to turn against England or America, according to the changes of fortune, and whose atrocities disgraced whatever banner they fought under. Haldimand’s action condemned to nearly a century’s barrenness thousands of acres of the best land in Canada.

Haldimand’s term of office lasted for six years. The duties of Governor were performed for a time by Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton and by Colonel Hope; but in 1785 the office was conferred on Sir Guy Carleton, now Lord Dorchester, who landed at Quebec in October, 1785. On his arrival Lord Dorchester found considerable political discontent. The Legislative Council was regarded as a mere court for registering the decrees of the executive. Allsop, who had led the opposition in behalf of the English settlers in Quebec, had been expelled from the Council. Petition after petition was now sent to the English Parliament. One, signed both by the English and French Canadian colonists, asked that the English law of habeas corpus might be introduced into Canada, in order to secure the colonists, French and English, from such arbitrary arrests as those practised by Haldimand. They also prayed, in rather vague terms, but aiming, it is to be supposed, at an elective assembly, that all Canadians, without distinction of race or creed, might enjoy the rights, privileges, and immunities of British subjects. Counter petitions were sent from the Legislative Council, who, of course, did not wish any portion of their power to be shared with an elective assembly. An address was moved and carried, praying the king to maintain intact the constitution of 1774. Mr. Grant moved an amendment in favour of an elective assembly, but he was promptly voted down. The Tory ministers of George III. naturally took sides with the colonial oligarchy. Habeas corpus they would grant; to demand trial by jury, or an elective assembly, was little better than disloyalty. In spite of this discouragement, petitions in favour of an elective assembly continued to pour in, and Lord Dorchester was directed to collect authentic information on the political and industrial state of the colony. An enquiry was therefore set on foot on such questions as the administration of justice, education, agriculture, and statistics; to each of these, a committee was appointed by the Legislative Council. That appointed to consider the working of the existing system of administering justice ascertained that the grossest abuses and irregularities prevailed. Their investigation led to results which were strengthened by those arrived at by the Committee on Trade, the merchants examined before whom demanded the adoption in its entirety, of English law, including, in all cases, trial by jury. These merchants stated that no uniform system existed in the practice of the Canadian tribunals; some decided according to French, some according to English law; while some pursued an independent course of their own, which they called equity.

The Committee on territorial proprietorship showed its British pre-possession by giving decisions that feudal tenures should be done away with. Such tenures, it was maintained, were anti-progressive, and hindered the settlement of the country. The seigneurs, however, made most determined opposition to any change which would curtail their hereditary rank and emoluments as a privileged class, and it was resolved that no alteration of the feudal tenures should be recommended. The report of the committee on education manifested a more progressive spirit. At that time there existed no means of supplying education outside of the priesthood and the religious orders. Even those were of the scantiest. There were absolutely no schools whatever in the country parishes. In Montreal and Quebec the seminaries still diffused a little “dim religious light.” The excellent educational system of the Jesuit College at Quebec had fallen with the fall of the order. Nor did the bishop of Quebec, when applied to by the leading men of the diocese, think that the colony was advanced enough to support a university. He was examined before the committee, and he sought the restoration of the buildings of the Jesuits’ College, then used as a barracks, promising to establish therein classes in civil law, mathematics, and other branches of learning, preparatory to a university being founded. As to female education, the only schools were those attached to the convents of Montreal and Quebec.

The Committee recommended elementary schools in all parishes, district schools for arithmetic, French and English grammar, and practical mathematics and land surveying; also a university to teach the sciences and liberal arts, to be governed by a board composed of leading officials and citizens. A coalition was now formed between the British settlers and those of the French who desired a representative form of government. The former disclaimed any wish to seek political preponderance for their own race. The united party were termed “Constitutionalists,” and were actively opposed by the Legislative Council and its adherents, as well as by a numerous and respectable body of the French Canadians who looked on all change with apprehension, and desired only that the provisions of the Quebec Act of 1774, with regard to their own laws and language, should be carried out. Endless petitions and counter petitions were sent by both parties to the English Parliament. On the eve of the great French Revolution, there had arisen in England a strong tendency to favour liberal opinion, as was seen in the speeches of Fox, and till the session of ’93 brought about a reaction, in those of Pitt and Burke. This ensured a careful and favourable reception of the very moderate demands of the Constitutionalists. Another feeling then strong in the minds of English statesmen contributed to the same result: the desire to secure British America against the United States, to maintain it in thorough attachment to England, both as the limit to the aggrandizement of the Americans, and as a military basis, whence, in case of war, troops could be poured across their frontier. A difficulty had arisen by the sudden formation of a considerable population of English-speaking Protestants, numbering over twelve thousand, who had lately settled along the shore of Lake Ontario, and on the Bay of Quinté. It was clearly absurd to impose French law on these people, who could not understand the language. The difficulty was solved by a new constitution, laid before the English Parliament by William Pitt, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, he having previously submitted a draft of it to Lord Dorchester. The main provisions of the Act of 1791 were, (1) the division of the old Province of Quebec into two new provinces, Upper and Lower Canada, with separate legislatures; (2) the concession of an elective assembly to each Province.

The debate on this important measure elicited its warm approval by Fox, who, however, objected to the proposed division into two provinces, and wished the legislative council as well as the assembly to be elective. The illustrious Edmund Burke also spoke in favour of constitutional government for Canada. The bill was passed unanimously. It is known in our history as “The Constitutional Act of 1791.” Besides providing that the old Province of Quebec be divided into the two Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, it enacts that a legislative council and assembly be established in each province; the council to consist of not fewer than seven members in Upper Canada, not fewer than fifteen in Lower Canada, these to be chosen by the Crown. Both Provinces were to be divided into electoral districts in order to return representatives to the Legislative Assemblies; the Governor-General to define the limits of the electoral districts, and the number of representatives; in Lower Canada the number of the members to be not less than fifty, in Upper Canada not less than sixteen. All laws to receive a vote, in each case, by mere majority, of assent from both the council and the assembly, and in addition the approval of the Governor as representative of the Crown. There was also for each Province, an executive council, consisting of the Governor and eleven gentlemen nominated by the Crown.

It seems strange that the British settlers, who had been such ardent constitutionalists, were dissatisfied with the new constitution. They feared, and with some reason, that they would be swamped politically by an alien race and an intolerant religion. They looked on the new settlement on the lake shores as a band of pitiable exiles; they had not patience to wait for the gradual effect of the mighty power of English speech and Protestantism on a race that has never been a progressive one, and a church which cannot co-exist with the spread of education. Above all, they could not forecast the magnificent future of the younger and greater Canada.

Chapter XVII.


THE conclusion of the War of Independence saw a vast migration of the defeated party in a political struggle between “Whig” and “Tory,” which had aroused no less bitter feelings between faction and faction than the struggle between the armies of Washington and of George III. in the field. The “Whigs” were not all of the same political complexion, and the word “Loyalist” imperfectly describes the attitude of many who entirely disapproved of the tyrannical acts of the Hanoverian king of England, but, like a large minority of the population of the Thirteen Colonies, did not approve of all the acts of the republican executive. At this distance from the heroes of the crusade that first made republicanism possible, we can see that in all that they did, in all that they suffered, a true political instinct led them through obstacles that seemed impervious to light and air. But we must not refuse our sympathy to those who could not, at the time, see what Washington and Franklin saw: whom a strong sentiment of attachment to the country of their birth or ancestry, or whom a survival of that loyalty to the personal government of a king, which had once been a genuine factor in the national life of England, led to risk life and fortune on a lost cause. Passions ran high toward the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. The “Tories,” or “king’s friends,” it must be owned, met with scant measure of justice. And we must remember the confiscations, the cruelties, the perpetual insults to which the families of the insurgent colonists had been subjected, during the war, by British officers. Action and reaction are equal in social phenomena, as in all others. Injustice to the Americans, fighting for freedom, produced equal injustice to the partisans of the mother country. Many were imprisoned, were treated with the greatest hardships; the life of a returned “Tory,” who had been fighting in the British ranks against the new Republic, was never safe.

An effort was made by Lord Shelburne’s Government at the conclusion of the war to obtain the restoration of their properties, in compensation for losses, to the adherents of England during the war. “The question of Loyalists or Tories,” says Lord Mahon, “was a main object with the British Government—to obtain, if possible, some restitution to the men who, in punishment for their continued allegiance to the king, had found their property confiscated and their persons banished.” And this was strongly and persistently urged by those who represented the British Government. Dr. Franklin, representing the Americans, at first refused point blank to entertain any proposal for compensation to partisans of England in the States. He next devised an astute compromise by which he offered to take account of the losses sustained by Loyalists, provided account were also taken of the losses inflicted on the Americans, by the raids and other excesses in which the Loyalists had taken part during the war. As this would have led to endless disputes, the British commissioners were fain to be content with Franklin’s assurance that Congress would do its best to induce the several States to make reparation for losses incurred by the adherents of Britain. In spite of the well-meant, but utterly ineffectual efforts of the American executive, the return of the Royalist partisans to their former homes was as unwelcome as the proposed reimbursement for their losses during the war. In many cases, committees were formed, who with every resource of outrage opposed their continuing as residents among their former neighbours. So general was this persecution that over 3,000 of these American Royalists applied, through their agents, to the British Parliament for protection. The duty of providing for these faithful adherents of the mother country, engaged the serious attention of Parliament, and the leading men of both political parties agreed that the national honour was pledged to succour and support them. The first effort to fulfil this duty was the transportation of a number of families to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, “countries,” as a U. E. immigrant wrote in 1784 “where winter continues at least seven months in the year, and where the land is wrapt in the gloom of a perpetual fog.” But with fuller experience of the climate and soil of the maritime provinces, these first prejudices were reversed, a sparsely peopled and imperfectly cultivated region was endowed with a new and vigorous population; the chief families of these flourishing provinces whose coal mines supply half Canada with fuel, whose agricultural resources equal those of any other part of Canada, whose sea-board cities and trade facilities are a new element in the progress of our country, date from the advent of those half-hearted immigrants of a century ago. Many of those who at first settled in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick became discontented, and sought “fresh fields and pastures new” in Western Canada. The country west of Montreal was then an unknown wilderness of swamp and forest, the haunt of wild beasts and reptiles, the hunting ground of savages whose hatred of civilized man made its exploration perilous. Here and there along the chain of lakes, a few small posts had been established, and with difficulty maintained. Michilimackinac at the entrance to Lake Michigan, Detroit, and Frontenac, were half posts, half trading depots. Beyond the clearings which fringed their palisades it was not safe for white men to penetrate too rashly the mystery of the wilderness. But in 1783, various causes co-operated to make the English Government wish to settle a new colony on the more accessible portions of that vast territory, hitherto only known as “Indian Hunting Grounds.” In view of the incessant disputes between the British settlers and the older French Canadian colonists which had embarrassed every Governor of Quebec since the Conquest, it was felt that the large number of immigrants who had now to be provided for must be settled at a distance from those who insisted on the domination of the French law and French language. It was also thought politic to preserve the French Canadians intact and distinct as a separate element in the colony, who might be relied on to oppose all revolutionary tendencies. Governor Haldimand was, therefore, authorized to have a survey taken of the lands around the Bay of Quinté, in the neighbourhood of Fort Frontenac, and to found settlements on the Niagara and Amherstburgh frontiers. Grants of land were then to be made, the applicant producing proof, when possible, on the evidence of a single witness, of his having sustained loss or injury from the people of the United States, in consequence of attachment to British interests. From the nature of the case many of the most deserving were unable to produce the evidence required, but the cases of the genuine applicants for relief seem to have been entertained in a liberal spirit, and it is even thought that many Americans who had little claim to the rewards of self-sacrificing loyalty obtained grants of land in the new settlements. As an instance of the manner in which these settlements were formed, I take the following account of the first settlement of Kingston and of the neighbouring part of the Quinté coast, from Dr. Ryerson’s Loyalists of America: “The government of the colony of Quebec found that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were overcrowded with Loyalist emigrants, and were beginning to turn their thoughts to the unexplored western part of Canada. The late John Grass, of the township of Kingston, had been a prisoner of war with the French at Fort Frontenac. The Governor having heard of this, questioned him as to the suitability of that part of the country for settlement, and the account given of it by Grass being favourable, offered to furnish to John Grass, and as many of the Loyalists as he could induce to accompany him, means of conveyance from Quebec, and the supplies necessary for subsistence till the settlers could provide for themselves. Grass accepted this offer, and with a considerable company of men, women and children, set sail from Quebec in a ship provisioned for the purpose. They were forced to spend the winter at Sorel, in Lower Canada, but in the spring reached Frontenac, pitching their tent on “Indian Point,” where the pleasant village of Portsmouth is now built around its two caravanseries for crime and misfortune, the Penitentiary and Lunatic Asylum. The adjoining country was not fully surveyed until July. Other companies had meantime arrived at the new centre of colonization. The Governor, who had come to visit them, called on Mr. Grass as having the first claim to a choice as to which township he would choose for himself and his company. Grass chose the first township, that of Kingston. In the same way Sir John Johnson chose the second township, Ernestown; Colonel Rogers the third township, Fredericksburg; Major Van Alstine the fourth township, Adolphustown; and Colonel Macdonnell the fifth township, Marysburgh. Those who, like the present writer, have lived for some time in Prince Edward County, know well how their names, borne, as they are, by worthy representatives of the Pilgrim Fathers of Ontario’s settlement, are household words among the thriving populations of “the garden of Canada” at the present day; and on those beautiful shores of the Bay of Quinté, where the wild beast and the prowling savage have long disappeared, where the masts of ships overtop the apple orchards and harbour, and harvest fields are almost everywhere close at hand, the few survivors of the children of the first settlers have many a tale of the hardships and privations with which their childhood was familiar. Even to reach the new settlements in Western Canada was a matter of much time and difficulty. The journey was performed in “batteaux,” large flat-bottomed boats resembling scows, calculated to contain four or five families and their effects. Twelve boats were counted as a brigade, and each brigade had a conductor, who gave orders for the safe management of the boats. These boats were supplied with but the bare necessaries of life. Shelter there was none. At night the immigrants slept, huddled close together, with only the sky above them.”

Grants, in a few cases of pensions, but for the most part of provisions, farming tools, oxen and seed, were made to the new settlers. Including the officers and men of the disbanded 8th regiment, the number of United Empire Loyalists who first settled in what is now the Province of Ontario may be estimated at between ten and twelve thousand men, women and children. Thus was English-speaking Canada settled in the manner most advantageous for its future progress. That settlement was not like that of French Canada, a tentative and gradual process, feebly subsisting on the fisheries and fur trade; it was a compact and organized invasion of the wilderness by an army of agricultural settlers. And these men, unlike later immigrants to Canada, did not need to be acclimated, they had nothing to learn of wood-craft or forest farming, they were no old country settlers glad to seek a home in Canada because they were failures elsewhere. They were of the distinct type of manhood which this continent had already begun to produce; energetic, self-helpful, and versatile. And the growth of their settlement of a century ago into its present greatness has been in geometrical proportion to the slow advance of the French Province. From the immigration in 1783 to the establishment of Upper Canada as a distinct Province in 1791, the settlement grew in silence; its only record during those years being that it strengthened the hands of those in the Lower Province who opposed the exclusive domination of the French Canadians. The Upper Province had been divided by Lord Dorchester, previous to 1791, into four districts, of whose uncouth German names, chosen to flatter the Hanoverian king of England, happily no trace remains. These were: Lunenburg, from the river Ottawa to Gananoque; Mecklenburgh, from Gananoque to the river Trent; Nassau, from the Trent to Long Point, on lake Erie; and Hesse, which included the rest of Upper Canada and the lake St. Clair. A judge and a sheriff were appointed to administer justice in each of these districts.

The first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada was one who has left his mark for good deeply impressed on our country. General John Graves Simcoe was an English gentleman of landed property, and a member of the British House of Commons, in which he had voted for the constitution of 1791. He had also served with distinction in the late war. He arrived at Kingston on July 8th, 1792, when the members of the Executive and Legislative Councils of Upper Canada were sworn in, and writs issued for the election of members of the Legislative Assembly. The capital of the new colony was at first fixed at Newark, now the old town of Niagara, then a straggling village at the mouth of the Niagara river. Here Governor Simcoe built a small frame dwelling which also served as a place of meeting for the first Parliament of Upper Canada; which body consisted of eight members of the Legislative Council and sixteen members of the Assembly—sturdy pioneers of the settlements which were now beginning to trench, with here and there a clearing, on the surrounding sea of forest. The session lasted four weeks, from September 17th to October 15th, 1792. Eight bills were passed; all well considered and of practical benefit to the new colony. They enacted that English law should be in force throughout the colony, with trial by jury in all cases; that the allowance claimed by millers should be limited to one bushel for every twelve bushels ground; provided for the easy recovery of small debts; and for the disuse of the German names which Lord Dorchester had imposed on the divisions of Upper Canada. The district from the river Ottawa to the river Gananoque was now to be the Eastern District; that from Gananoque to the river Trent was to be the Midland District; from the Trent to Long Point on Lake Erie was to be the Home or Niagara District; the rest of the Province, west to Lake St. Clair, was the Western, or Detroit District. Each of these districts was again divided into twelve counties, and it was enacted that a jail and court-house should be erected in each district. When Governor Simcoe found that the Niagara river was settled as the boundary between Canada and the United States, he judged it unwise to have the capital of the Province under the guns of an American fort, and desired to found a new London in the centre of the western peninsula, on a river formerly called La Tranche, but which he named the Thames. Lord Dorchester preferred Kingston, but Governor Simcoe would submit to no dictation from that quarter, and, after much deliberation, he fixed upon a site at the mouth of a swampy stream called the Don, and near the site of the old French fort Rouillé. The ground was low and marshy, but it had the best harbour on the north shore of Lake Ontario, and was comparatively remote from the frontier of the United States. The Governor christened the place York, in honour of Frederick, Duke of York, one of the royal princes. Governor Simcoe’s regiment, the Queen’s Rangers, were employed to make a road through the forest, extending north to the lake which bears the name of the first Governor of our country. It was called Yonge Street, in honour of Sir George Yonge, Secretary of War in the Imperial cabinet, who was a personal friend of the Governor’s. This, and many other projects of Governor Simcoe’s origination, were interrupted by his removal to St. Domingo, in 1796. His successor, the Hon. Peter Russell, was a man of a very different stamp, and furnished the first instance of the abuse of political power to personal aggrandizement which afterwards assumed such vast proportions under the Family Compact. His grants of new land were sometimes to himself, and were worded as follows: “I, Peter Russell, Lieutenant-Governor, do grant to you, Peter Russell,” etc. In the four years of Governor Simcoe’s administration, the population of Upper Canada increased to 30,000. Although Toronto was now the seat of Government and the capital of the Province, the Parliament of Upper Canada still met at Niagara. In the second session of our first Parliament an Act abolishing slavery was passed, ten years in advance of the loud-professing philanthropy of Lower Canada. Another Act, for offering rewards for the heads of bears and wolves, indicates the primitive condition of a Province which required such legislation. Major-General Hunter succeeded President Russell, and directed the administration up to the time of his death, which occurred at Quebec in the summer of 1805. Mr. Alexander Grant, a member of the Executive Council, temporarily took the direction of affairs. His successor arrived in 1806, in the person of Lieutenant-Governor Francis Gore, who had formerly administered the Government of Bermuda. He was a loyal and non-progressive man, suited to the times in which he lived. He surrendered himself to the domination of his Executive Council, and was a drag on the wheel of progress. Despite bad government, the Province had flourished. Its population now numbered 50,000. Ports of entry were established at Cornwall, Brockville, Kingston, York, Niagara, Queenston, Fort Erie, Turkey Point, Amherstburg, and Sandwich. In 1807 Parliament appointed a grammar school for each district, the teachers to have a salary of £100 per annum.

Meanwhile the tide of immigration continued to flow into Upper Canada, a land where taxes were unknown, where peace and plenty were the reward of industry, and which was consequently attractive to the overtaxed natives of Britain, burdened, as they were, with the expenses of a long and costly war.

Chapter XVIII.


THE elections held for the first Assembly of the new Province of Lower Canada by no means swamped the British element, many of whose representatives were returned by French and Catholic constituencies. Nor did the new constitution put an end to the old issues, as the use of the French law and language were the first subjects of debate. Lord Dorchester, having obtained leave of absence, sailed for England, appointing General Alured Clarke as his deputy. Clarke fixed the time of meeting for the new Assembly in December, 1792. The Legislative Council and the Assembly met on December 17th, in separate halls within the Palace of the Bishops of Quebec, a building which, ever since the Conquest, had been devoted to secular uses. The first debate in the Assembly was on the choice of a President. Messrs. Grant and McGill, two traders of British origin, were put forward by their party, but M. J. A. Panet, a distinguished lawyer, well versed in both English and French, was elected by a majority of ten. An injudicious and premature effort was made by the British party under Mr. Grant, seconded, strange to say, by the President, M. Panet, to have the minutes of the Assembly drawn up in English only. It was rejected, and a resolution was passed that the minutes should be recorded in both French and English, but that the laws passed should be expressed in English or French, according as they referred to British or French legislation. A bill was then passed providing for a most important need, the establishment of parish schools. A warm discussion took place with regard to the illegal appropriation by the executive of the Jesuit estates. These, it was urged with much justice, had been granted not for the personal benefit of the Jesuits, but for the purpose of education. The principal result of this, the first session of the Assembly of Lower Canada, was the maintenance of the French language. In this year (1792) a monthly mail was established for the first time between New York and Quebec.

In 1793, Lord Dorchester returned to Quebec for a third term of office. He brought instructions very conciliatory to the Lower Canadian French, that the seminaries of Montreal and Quebec should be permanently maintained, and lest the religious orders should create a revolutionary propaganda in Canada, he induced the assembly to pass a resolution authorizing the executive to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act. This, which was in fact simply an Alien Act, was renewed every year until 1812. M. Panet was re-elected President by a unanimous vote. The overthrow of the French State Church, and the expatriation of its clergy by the revolutionary government of France, had meantime thrown all the influence of the French Canadian priesthood on the side of the British. M. Plessis, parish priest of Quebec, in his funeral oration over the late Bishop of Quebec, used the strongest language in favour of loyalty to Britain. “Beneficent nation!” he exclaims, apostrophising the English people, “which daily gives us, men of Canada, fresh proof of its liberality. No, no! your people are not enemies of our people; nor are ye despoilers of our property, which rather do your laws protect; nor are ye foes to our religion, to which ye pay all due respect. The maxim of M. Briand (the late bishop) was that even sincere Catholics are, and must be, all obedient subjects of their legitimate sovereign.” The preacher gave thanks to Providence that Canada had been snatched, as it were, a brand from the burning, from dependence on an impious nation which had overturned His altars.

In 1793, Dr. Jacob Mountain was appointed by the English Ministry to be the first Church of England bishop in Canada. He was sent out at the instance of a powerful corporation, the society for the propagation of the Gospel, and took the title upon himself of bishop of Quebec, which properly belonged to the Catholic bishop. Although the assumption of this designation was both in the letter and the spirit an infraction of the Treaty of 1763 and the Act of 1774, the Catholic bishop met the Anglican on his landing with a fraternal embrace. Dr. Mountain was appointed by Royal Letters Patent, and had, therefore, a quasi right to the title of “My Lord,” by courtesy; to which modern Church of England bishops, not appointed by the Crown, have not the shadow of a claim. Dr. Mountain was a cautious, amiable man, of no very brilliant abilities. In 1804, a very commonplace-looking-building was erected as an Anglican Cathedral, on ground memorable as having been the site of the old church of the Recollet Fathers. In the summer of 1796, Lord Dorchester returned to England, being succeeded as Governor, by General Prescott.

In this year, one Black, having decoyed an American citizen named McLane to Canada, in the hope of spreading republican principles, betrayed him to the executive, in order to receive the “blood money” offered in such cases. McLane was brought to summary trial and swift execution, all the barbarous customs which, in that day, degraded the white race to a level with the Indians, being fully observed. The body was lowered from the gibbet and cut open, the entrails were torn out, the heart burned, the severed head held up by the hangman, with the formula, “Behold the head of a traitor!” It is satisfactory to know that the execrable wretch who planned this judicial murder was shunned by every one, and died in the most squalid poverty.

In 1797, Governor Prescott got into some difficulty with the board for supervising Crown Lands, the president of which, Judge Osgoode, was (untruly) said to be a natural son of George III., and at all events had considerable influence in England. The board were accused of appropriating to themselves large tracts of land, to the great hindrance of the legitimate settlement of the country. In consequence of these disputes, Prescott, who had not been popular with any class, was re-called, and Sir Robert Shore Milnes sent as his successor. The new Governor thanked the Assembly for the money which the French Canadians had subscribed to aid in carrying on the war against the revolutionary government of France.

A proposal brought forward at this time by Bishop Mountain was adopted. It was to the effect that school-masters should be employed in the towns and larger villages, to teach the English language free of charge, and writing and arithmetic at a small fee. The Assembly passed a bill for the establishment of free public schools, to be maintained from the funds which had belonged to the Jesuits; but the Catholic priesthood were opposed to the measure, and it ended in grammar schools being founded in Montreal and Quebec only. In 1803, Chief Justice Osgoode ruled that slavery was contrary to the laws and constitution of Canada, and all slaves then in the country, in number three hundred, were emancipated. A refusal to raise the salary of the French translator of the Assembly gave rise to some irritation, as the ever-watchful jealousy of race caused it to be regarded as a premeditated insult; nor were matters soothed when Sir Robert Milnes, in a somewhat arbitrary manner, closed the dispute by proroguing the Assembly. But the bitterness thus evoked found expression next session, when the Assembly ordered the arrest of the publisher of the Montreal Gazette, in which paper an article had appeared censuring the action of the majority in the Assembly a session before. The publisher of the Quebec Mercury also had to apologise at the bar of the House. The popular party in the Assembly did not see that by thus assailing the liberty of the press, they were striking at their own best means of defence. In 1806, Sir R. Milnes returned to England, little regretted by any class in Canada. A step in advance was taken by the French Canadian party in November of this year by the establishment of Le Canadien, a paper edited with great ability, but, under an elaborate profession of loyalty to the British crown, bitterly hostile to the advancement of the British race and language in Canada. By this time a growing alienation prevailed between the United States and England. The republicans of America, not unnaturally, felt a sympathy for France, their ally in the war of Independence, now hemmed in by the European despotisms with which the Tory Government of England had thrown in its lot. The right of search, too, claimed by England, which at that time was mistress of the seas, was exercised on American vessels, with scant courtesy or regard for the feelings of the new nation, which the English had not yet forgiven for conquering in the late war. A new war was evidently at hand, the Americans, with characteristic shrewdness, calculating on being able to strike at England under the sword of Napoleon. In Canada preparations for defence were hurried on. Mr. Dunn, who was acting as deputy Governor, held a grand review, and called out for service a fifth part of the militia. In 1807, Sir James Craig arrived as Governor for Canada. He was a distinguished military officer, but had narrow views, and stern and unpleasing manners. The clique of office-holders who formed his court worked on his suspicious nature, to induce a belief in the existence of supposed disloyal conspiracies among the French Canadians. He was induced to make the Canadien newspaper more powerful for mischief than it could otherwise have been by persecuting the shareholders, several of whom, including the loyal and influential M. Panet, were put off the list of militia officers. Of course this gave much offence, and at the session of 1808, M. Bedard sounded the first note of the struggle for Responsible Government in an elegant and temperate speech, which however drew on him severe official censure as “The Apostle of Revolution and Sedition.” Craig met the Assembly’s determined attitude of opposition by first scolding, then dissolving it. But the people of Lower Canada replied to the Governor’s insults by returning a House of a yet more popular character than in the last session.

The Canadien justly animadverted on Governor Craig’s conduct. “He had power by law to dissolve the Assembly when it seemed good to him. He had no constitutional right to address abusive remarks on the conduct of the Assembly in the discharge of its legislative duties, a matter over which the law gave him no control whatever.” The agitation in the colony increased. At the next session of the Assembly, Bedard and Papineau, the chiefs of the constitutional party, proposed a committee of seven members to investigate the Parliamentary precedents with regard to the Governor’s late censures of the Assembly. It was also in contemplation to anticipate the recent action of the Dominion Government of Canada by sending an accredited agent to represent their Province in London. But these and other measures were interrupted by Craig, with a repetition of his former insult, proroguing the Assembly. In order to frighten the electors, this was followed up by another step, in what Craig’s admirers in the Executive Council called “vigorous policy.” A body of soldiers, accompanied by a magistrate, entered the office of Le Canadien, seized the printing press and type, and arrested the printer. After being subjected to a long inquisition, conducted with closed doors, before the Executive Council, the printer was sent to prison. The articles in the numbers of Le Canadien which were made the pretext for this foolish violation of the laws, appear harmless enough, absurdly destitute of anything like ability, their only evil tendency being to stimulate race prejudice, while the prosecution of the paper was certain to irritate much more than hundreds of Le Canadien editorials. One of them bore the mysteriously “disloyal” title of “Take hold of Your Nose by the Tip.” The Dogberry in office detected treason in this—an intention of violent seizure and disloyal tweaking of the official proboscis. Craig did not stop at this. Supported by the Executive Council, associated with whom it is unpleasant to see the name of Dr. Mountain, the Anglican bishop, he issued warrants for the arrest of Bedard, Taschereau, and Blanchet. Others were arrested afterwards. The severity with the political prisoners was such as to cause the death of one of them, M. Corbeil, of Isle Jesus. In vain they demanded to know of what they were accused, in vain they demanded the British subject’s privilege of being brought to trial. Meantime the Catholic bishop and his priests did all they could to allay discontent and promote attachment to British rule. This was difficult under the circumstances, and at the next election the popular delegates were once more returned in force to the Assembly. The English ministers had been influenced by despatches which Craig and his followers wrote to them, accusing the French Canadians of every kind of disloyalty, and it is plain that severe measures of repression would have been adopted, and the liberty granted by the constitution of 1791 still further trenched on, had it not been for the impending war with the United States. Lord Liverpool wrote to Craig unmistakable directions to adopt a conciliatory policy before it was too late. In consequence of this, the Assembly, when it met the Governor, was astonished to hear an address in which, after eulogizing the loyalty of Lower Canada, he expressed his hope that the utmost harmony might prevail between himself and all branches of the Legislature. Bedard was soon after this released from prison, but not till the session had closed, Craig fearing that the Assembly might claim the credit of having forced his hand. Soon after this Craig’s health gave way, and the “Reign of Terror,” as the French Canadians magniloquently termed his petty tyranny, ended with his departure for England, where he soon afterwards died.

The first steamboat was launched on the St. Lawrence in November, 1809. She was named the Accommodation, and was built by Mr. John Molson, of Montreal. The newspapers of the time contain glowing accounts of this wondrous ship which “could sail against any wind or tide.” She was crowded with admiring visitors and passengers. The fare from Quebec to Montreal was ten dollars, which included meals on board the boat.

Sir George Prevost, a distinguished officer, succeeded Craig. He was a man of mild and conciliatory disposition. His first act was to add seven additional members to the Executive Cabinet, which had hitherto been taken altogether from the Legislative Council, and to appoint to a judgeship M. Bedard, the object of his predecessor’s persecutions; to another popular leader, M. Bourdages, he gave a colonelcy of militia. Thus the French Canadians were conciliated, and their loyalty secured in the presence of a pressing danger.

Chapter XIX.

THE WAR OF 1812-’15.

ON the 18th of June, 1812, war was declared against Britain by the United States; as regards Canada it may well be called the War of Aggression. The States’ Government knew well that Britain needed all her armaments for the gigantic struggle in which she was then engaged with the greatest soldier of the age. They calculated on over-running Canada. A force of 25,000 regular troops was ordered to be enlisted by Congress. This was to be supported by 50,000 volunteers. General Dearborn, a veteran officer of the War of Independence, was appointed to command. Sir George Prevost at once ordered all Americans to quit Canada within fourteen days, and made a tour of observation along the St. Lawrence and lake frontier. He found the settlers of Upper Canada, all of them good marksmen and trained to fighting as well as farming, to a man ready to leave farming or clearing to the care of the women and boys, and to take the field in defence of their newly-settled country. Had the United States Government confined itself to fighting England, as was done with a fair amount of success by their spar-decked corvettes, on the high seas which were the original scene of the quarrel, the people of Canada might have felt some sympathy for a brave people subjected to the wanton insult of the right of search. But to strike at England through Canada, a country whose manifest destiny it was to grow up into a free nation, was felt to be mere aggression. The spirit of Lower Canada, too, was roused to resistance. The insolence, the squalor, the exaction of Montgomery’s troops, whom their officers allowed to seize on the farmer’s stores, and who never pretended to pay for anything except in their worthless paper money, were remembered with disgust. The clergy gave the whole weight of their influence, all-powerful as it was, to kindle the patriotic resolution for the defence of altar and hearth against a heretic banditti. Although the Lower Canadian Assembly declined to pass an Alien Act, they gave a most liberal grant for organizing the militia, and for the general defence of the Province. The money so voted was to be raised in the form of army bills, in order to prevent specie from being carried to the United States. In Upper Canada, the Lieutenant-Governor had temporarily left the Province, having gone to England, leaving the administration of public affairs in the hands of Major-General Isaac Brock, a name which has become inseparably woven with our history. Though a comparatively young man, he had had much military experience, and was admirably fitted by nature and training for the difficult part he was now called upon to play. He had at first some difficulty in gaining the desired grant from the Legislature, which did not believe that war would ensue. But as soon as hostilities were declared, they cheerfully passed a very ample militia bill. There were then in Upper Canada 3050 regular troops; in Lower Canada, 1450. The Governor-General informed Brock that no further aid need be expected from England for at least some months.

The war began with the capture of Fort Mackinac, (Michillimackinac) by Captain Roberts, commandant of the small military post of St. Joseph, on Lake Huron. Mackinac was surrendered without bloodshed. It was an important position, commanding the entrance to Lake Michigan. On July 12th, 1812, the American General Hull invaded the western peninsula of Upper Canada with 2,500 men. He occupied Sandwich, and issued a proclamation inviting the Canadians to join his standard, and “enjoy the blessings of peace and liberty,” which he proceeded to illustrate by vaunting his country’s alliance with war and despotism incarnate in the person of Napoleon I. Colonel St. George was stationed at the neighbouring town of Amherstburg with a force of about 300 regulars. Had Hull advanced at once, St. George must have been overpowered. But Hull delayed, sent small detachments which St. George defeated, and meantime the Indians from Grand River poured in to St. George’s support, and Brock advanced in force from Toronto. Hull now recrossed the river, and took up a position at Detroit. Among the Indians present in Brock’s command was one of the most remarkable of Indian chiefs, Tecumseh, who in physique was a typical example of the strength and versatile dexterity which the wilderness sometimes developes in its children. He was born in the Miami Valley, and having distinguished himself in war and hunting, became recognized as a chief of note among his countrymen. He devised a new scheme for uniting the Indians into a political confederacy under his sway. In concert with his brother, who claimed supernatural powers, he originated a religious movement, in part borrowed from Christianity; but after some years the American troops attacked his town in Tecumseh’s absence. It was taken and destroyed, and this Mahomet of the Red Men had ever since hated the Americans with the implacable rancour characteristic of his race. In a council of war held opposite Detroit, Tecumseh traced with his scalping knife on a piece of birch bark a rude plan of the defence of Detroit. Brock then crossed the river, and opened fire on Detroit, which he was on the point of assaulting, when General Hull signalled his wish to capitulate. Hull and all his regular troops were sent to Quebec as prisoners of war. Brock returned in well-deserved triumph to York. But the Americans, anxious to efface the disgrace of Hull’s unsoldierlike conduct, sent an army of 6,000 men to the Niagara frontier, with orders to the General in command, Van Rensellaer, to force his way through Brock’s lines of defence, and establish himself on Canadian territory. The British and Canadian force for the defence of this entire frontier of thirty-six miles was less than 2,000 men. The Americans succeeded in landing, after some opposition from a party of the 49th regiment under Captain Dennis, who was compelled to retreat. He was met by General Brock with his aide-de-camp, Colonel McDonnell. Brock at once put himself at the head of six hundred men of the 49th, and, drawing his sword, led them to charge the Americans on the heights above. They advanced under a heavy fire, which killed several; among the first the gallant Brock. Infuriate at the fall of a leader universally beloved, the regulars and Canadian troops rushed up the hill, and swept before them a foe far superior in numbers. But the Americans were reinforced, and the British and Canadian force of three hundred, after a brilliant display of valour, had to retire. Meanwhile a vigorous attack had been made on General Scott’s forces (he had succeeded Van Rensellaer) by a young Iroquois chief, John Brant, who came in command of a body of warriors from the Grand River Reserve. General Sheaffe now succeeded Brock, and after a sharp conflict for about half an hour, although with a force inferior in numbers, forced the enemy to surrender. Brock was buried side by side with the brave McDonnell, at Fort George, Niagara, the Americans as well as his own army firing minute guns during his funeral.

Dearborn now threatened to invade Lower Canada from his position at Plattsburg. General Prevost then called out the entire Lower Canadian militia, and his summons was obeyed with such enthusiasm that Dearborn gave up the proposed invasion as impracticable. Meanwhile General Smith, who now commanded the American force on the Niagara River, made several attempts to cross to the Canadian frontier, in all of which he was so completely held in check by a much smaller force, that he had to skulk from his camp to avoid the anger of his own soldiers. These brave men deserved a more competent general. He was received in Buffalo with general execration, the very taverns being closed against him. He was soon after most deservedly cashiered. Meanwhile, in Congress, the representatives of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, who had refused to furnish militia for the war, were backed up by Maryland. Mr. Quincy denounced the war against Canada as piratical. “Since the invasion of the buccaneers,” he said, “there has been nothing in history more disgraceful than this war.” In 1813, once again the legislatures of both Upper and Lower Canada took ample measures to supply the Governor with funds for defence of the country. The campaign of this year opened with a victory of Colonel Proctor with five hundred regulars and six hundred Indians over General Winchester, in command of a detachment of General Harrison’s army. Winchester, with five hundred of his men, was taken prisoner. This checked Harrison’s advance. For the rest of the campaign, raids were made with varying success on both sides, upon either bank of the St. Lawrence. Ogdensburg was taken by Major McDonnell, who crossed the frozen river with a force of regulars. Fort Presentation, with seven guns, four field pieces, and a considerable quantity of arms, ammunition, and other stores, was taken by Captain Jenkins and Captain Eustace. In the next campaign, Commander Chauncey sailed from his naval stronghold of Sackett’s Harbour, with 1,600 regulars on board of fourteen vessels. These troops, under Brigadier Pike, landed, after some opposition, three miles west of York. Meanwhile the fleet opened fire on the very insignificant defences on shore, where Pike had succeeded in carrying the first battery. As he advanced, a tremendous explosion from the powder magazine shook the earth, and killed many, mortally wounding others, among whom was General Pike. It was impossible for General Sheaffe, with the force at his command, to resist the American invaders. He withdrew in orderly retreat to Kingston, leaving, for some, inexplicable reason, Colonel Chewett with two hundred and ninety-three militia, who, after a hard-fought conflict of seven hours, surrendered. Having fired the town and destroyed what public stores were left, Chauncey, with reinforcements from Sackett’s Harbour, made a descent on Niagara, where General Vincent, with but fourteen hundred men, held Fort George. Those who have visited the dismounted earthworks, where now the Niagara sheep, horses and children play in the casements and entrances, will have observed how completely it is exposed to the fire of the American Fort Niagara on the east side of the river. The fort now opened fire. Chauncey’s ships poured in a shower of grapeshot and shell from the lake close by. After three hours’ fighting, Vincent spiked his guns, blew up his magazine, and retreated to a position on Burlington Heights, near Hamilton. On the Detroit frontier, General Harrison, who, notwithstanding Winchester’s defeat, wished to retake Detroit and Michigan, received a severe check from General Proctor, with a loss of seven hundred men. But Proctor’s Indians wished to return home with their plunder, the militia were unwilling to sustain a siege, and he was thus compelled to leave Detroit, carrying with him his stores and munitions of war.

Sir James Yeo was now sent from England with a naval force of four hundred and fifty men. In concert with him, Prevost led an expedition against Sackett’s Harbour, which was partially successful, and would have been completely so, had not Prevost, mistaking the dust raised by the fugitive Americans for the approach of another army, ordered a retreat; a disgraceful blunder for which he was deservedly condemned by public opinion. Dearborn was now established on the Niagara peninsula, where, however, he was held in check by the neighbourhood of Vincent, with his small army on Burlington Heights. Dearborn sent a force of six thousand regulars, two hundred and fifty cavalry, and nine field pieces, to attack Vincent. The latter resolved on a night attack upon the American camp, which was carelessly guarded. With but seven hundred men Vincent and Colonel Harvey surprised the camp, inflicted a heavy blow on the enemy, and took a hundred and twenty prisoners, with the Generals, Chandler and Winder. Dearborn now retreated to a position on Forty Mile Creek, whence Yeo’s fleet soon forced him to fall back on Fort George, at Niagara. From thence Dearborn sent five hundred men, with fifty cavalry and ten field guns, to attack a British post at Beaver Dam, between Queenston and Thorold. Mrs. Secord, wife of one of the soldiers of Queenston, heard of this expedition, and the night before it took place, walked nineteen miles through the woods to give warning to Lieutenant Fitzgibbon, who at once communicated with the commanders of regulars and Indians in the vicinity, and prepared to give the Americans a warm reception. After a sharply contested struggle, the Americans surrendered to a force not half their number. Meanwhile, Vincent, by a skilful movement, extended his lines from Twelve Mile Creek to Queenston, thus isolating the four thousand Americans at Fort George to the narrow neck of land between river and lake.

But Chauncey had now built another ship of war at Sackett’s Harbour, and had the superiority over Yeo’s squadron. He attempted a descent on Vincent’s depot of stores at Burlington, but was prevented from doing any mischief by the militia regiment from Glengarry, which marched from Toronto to Burlington. They thus, however, left York unprotected. Chauncey sailed thither, burned down the barracks and stores, and set free the prisoners from the jail. Thus was the Provincial capital twice captured during this war of piratical raids. The Americans now put forth all the resources of their powerful country in order to stem the tide of Canadian success. Commodore Perry, with a well-equipped fleet of craft, outnumbering by ten the British squadron, and carrying guns of far heavier metal, encountered the British squadron, under the command of Captain Barclay, off Put-in Bay, on Lake Erie. The British ships were embarrassed by the insensate measure of having more landsmen than sailors on board. The fight began at a quarter before twelve, and continued till half-past two, during which time fortune seemed to favour Barclay’s fleet. Perry’s flagship, the Lawrence, being injured by the British fire, he went on board the Niagara. Soon after this the Lawrence struck its colours. But so defective was the equipment of Barclay’s ships that there was not even a boat to enable him to board his prize. A change of wind, which occurred just at the crisis of the fight, enabled Perry to get at the weather-side of the British ships, into which he poured such a deadly fire that, the officers being all killed or wounded, a third of the crew killed, and the vessels unmanageable, the entire squadron of Barclay surrendered. Perry showed the courtesy due from one brave man to another, to Barclay, whom he released on parole. The defeat and loss of the ships was a severe blow to General Proctor, who was now compelled to retreat. Having destroyed the fortifications of Amherstburg and Detroit, he now commenced his disastrous retreat. His army consisted of eight hundred and thirty men, with an auxiliary force of 1,200 Indians, under the chief Tecumseh. General Harrison followed in pursuit with three thousand men, among whom were included one thousand dragoons and mounted Kentucky riflemen. Near Chatham, Harrison overtook Proctor’s rear guard, and captured all his stores and ammunition. The only resource for Proctor now was to try the fortune of a battle. The ground he chose seems to have been well selected. Those who have visited and examined the field will remember that at this point the river banks are steep, descending some twenty feet to the water. There is still a swamp among the remains of the woods a few hundred yards from the river. The intervening ground is now level and open; it was then covered with lofty trees. Proctor’s left wing was protected by the river, and strengthened by a field-piece; part of his centre and all the right wing were defended effectually by a swamp; in the swamp, lurking in their usual manner behind trees, were a large body of Indians, with Tecumseh. The battle may be said to have begun and ended with a charge which General Harrison ordered to be instantly made by Colonel Johnson with the mounted Kentucky riflemen. To ordinary cavalry the ground, swampy as it was, would have been most unfavourable, but the Kentucky horsemen had been from boyhood accustomed to ride at full speed through the forests and swamps of their own state. They swept in full career on the British ranks before they had time to discharge a third volley. The soldiers, exhausted by forced marches and hunger, were no match for fresh troops, well supplied with everything, and flushed with Perry’s recent victory. The battle was lost. Proctor fled ignominiously, as did his men, nor did either stop till they reached the shelter of Burlington Heights. Meanwhile Tecumseh and his Indians kept up a galling fire from behind trees in the swamp. The American Colonel’s horse was shot, and he fell with it to the ground. A chief, conspicuous for his plume of eagle’s feathers, rushed forward, knife in hand, to scalp him. Johnson drew a pistol and shot the Indian dead. He believed that he had shot Tecumseh, but his having done so is, to say the least, very doubtful. It is certain, however, that Tecumseh was slain at the battle of the Thames, though his body was never found. The site of the battle is now marked by the site of a house, opposite the Indian village of Moravian Town, and formerly used as a tavern. It is now a farm house called the Red House.

Proctor’s force was scattered to the winds. Some two hundred and twenty, with the General, answered to their names next day at Burlington Heights. Harrison set fire to the village of the unoffending Christian Indians under care of the Moravians. It has since been rebuilt, and still retains its name, a reminiscence not to be set aside of the good work done among the Indians by the “Unitas Fratrum.” For his conduct on this occasion General Proctor was brought to a court martial, severely censured, and fined six months’ pay.

But in Lower Canada the British arms had more success. Colonel Taylor, with his gunboats manned by artillerymen from one of his regiments, attacked the American naval force on Lake Champlain, and in a fight closely contested on both sides, all but annihilated the American naval power on that lake. In the same campaign two victories took place, each of which more than compensated for the rout of Proctor’s army at Moravian Town—the battles of Chateauguay and Chrysler’s Farm.

On September 20th, 1813, the American General Hampton, with a well-equipped army of five thousand infantry and cavalry, advanced towards Montreal by a road leading through the village of Odelltown. There was then a forest swamp of about fifteen miles square, which Colonel De Salaberry, with his corps of Voltigeurs, had during the year before rendered impracticable by abattis. On account of these obstructions, Hampton changed his direction westward by the banks of the Chateauguay River. Colonel De Salaberry took up a position with his small force of four hundred men in a thick wood on the banks of this river, constructing breastworks of felled trees, and covering his front and right wing with an abattis; his left wing being sufficiently defended by the river. There was a small ford, which he commanded with a breastwork outpost. He rightly judged that, at whatever odds, this point ought to be defended against an invading enemy; for it was the only position where a stand could advantageously be made, all the rest being open ground as far as the St. Lawrence. On October 24th, Hampton advanced with three thousand five hundred men, led by General Izard. He sent Colonel Purdy, with a brigade, to march by a detour and attack the British in the rear. But Purdy got lost in the woods, and did not arrive in time. De Salaberry placed his men in extended order along the breastwork in front of their line, with orders not to fire till he discharged his own rifle as a signal. The Americans advanced in open columns of sections to within musket shot, when De Salaberry gave the signal by firing his rifle, with which he brought down a mounted officer among the enemy’s line. A hot fire was now poured into the dense columns of the Americans. They wheeled into line and attempted to reply, without much effect. De Salaberry now tried a ruse which Dr. Ryerson compares to Gideon’s ruse de guerre described in the Book of Judges. He stationed his buglers as far apart as possible, and ordered them to sound the advance. This caused a panic among Hampton’s troops, who thought that large reinforcements were about to aid the British. At the same time Purdy had been encountered by two companies of De Salaberry’s men, who completely routed his force. General Hampton, disconcerted at the failure of Purdy to execute his orders, and not daring, though with a force so immensely superior, to attack the breastwork and abattis with the bayonet, withdrew in good order. Thus did this gallant French Canadian soldier, with a force of less than four hundred, defeat an American army of several thousand strong. Well may Lower Canada be proud of De Salaberry’s memory, and honour those who bear his name at this day.

Meantime, Wilkinson, with an army of nine thousand Americans, had moved from Sackett’s Harbour, intending to take Kingston, form a junction with Hampton, and march on Montreal. But finding that Kingston was now garrisoned by ten thousand men, under General De Rottenburg, he did not attack it, but carried his army in three hundred boats down the St. Lawrence. Within three miles of Prescott he landed on the American side, in order to avoid the British batteries at that place, while his fleet of barges passed them in the night.

By this time a force of 800 regulars and militia, had been sent from Kingston to follow Wilkinson’s movements. On the 10th of November this corps of observation came up with Boyd’s division of Wilkinson’s army, consisting of between three and four thousand men, at Chrysler’s Point. The British took up a position, the right flank resting on the river, the left on a dense growth of pine wood. A general engagement took place, during which the British stood firm against a charge of an entire regiment of American cavalry, whom they met with a fire so hot that the cavalry were driven to retreat in confusion. At half-past four in the afternoon the entire American force withdrew from the field. Such was the battle of Chrysler’s Farm, the most elaborate military display of the war. On the Niagara frontier, the American General, McClure, after ravaging the surrounding country, by the barbarous orders of Congress, set fire to the village of Newark (Niagara). The darkness of the night of December 10th, 1813, was lit up by the flames of the burning houses, the women and children were turned, shelterless, upon the snow. Of course reprisals followed this outrage; General Riall surprised and gave to the flames the American towns of Buffalo and Lewiston, and the worst passions of warfare being now aroused, both armies marched torch in hand.

The Assembly of Lower Canada which met in the next year (1814) impeached several of Governor Craig’s subordinates as having been accomplices in his unconstitutional acts, more especially in the mission of the spy and traitor, John Henry, through whose agency, before the war of 1812, Craig had tried to sow disunion in some of the northern States. No definite result, however, followed. In the spring of 1814, Colonel Williams, with a force of 1,500 men, was attacked unsuccessfully by General Wilkinson with 4,000 Americans. The British General Drummond captured Oswego in May, but Commodore Yeo sustained a defeat in the same month, when endeavouring to cut out some boats laden with stores, at Sackett’s Harbour. In the Niagara district, General Riall having been reinforced from Toronto, resolved to assume the offensive against General Brown in the neighbourhood of Chippewa. Brown’s force amounted to over 4,000. On July 25th, 1814, the battle of Lundy’s Lane was fought. At first the British were worsted, and their general, Riall was taken prisoner. But the arrival of General Drummond from Toronto with a force of 800 men turned the scale, and the Americans made a hasty retreat to Fort Erie. After the victory of the British at Toulouse and the abdication of Napoleon, troops could be spared for service in Canada, and 1,600 of Wellington’s veterans were sent over. Sir George Prevost, however, disgracefully mismanaged the abundant means thus placed at his disposal. He attacked Plattsburg with 11,000 men, and after some idle manœuvring withdrew before a force of 1,500 Americans. For this misconduct he was to have been tried by court martial, but death saved him from the disgrace it might have inflicted.

In the Niagara district, General Brown compelled the British General, Drummond, to return to Burlington Heights. Drummond being supported by Commodore Yeo with a squadron on Lake Ontario, compelled Brown to withdraw from Fort Erie, and to retire beyond the river. On December 24th, 1815, this weary and unnatural war ended by the Treaty of Ghent, and the sword drawn for fratricide was sheathed, never, God grant it, to be drawn again.

Chapter XX.


GENERAL DRUMMOND succeeded Sir George Prevost as Governor of Lower Canada. He had been before this Governor of Upper Canada. He speedily got into disputes with the Assembly, on the old vexed question of the impeachment of the judges, which the Prince Regent had ordered to be set aside. He was succeeded in July, 1816, by Sir John Sherbrooke, who had been Governor of Nova Scotia. He saw, and reported to the English Ministers, the great need there was for a conciliatory policy, and the bitter animosity that was growing up between the Assembly and the Executive Council. In 1817 the Assembly chose as its Speaker the rising young orator Louis J. Papineau, son of the constitutionalist leader before the war. In the same year the Bank of Montreal, the earliest bank in Canada, was established in Montreal; and, soon afterwards, the Bank of Quebec in the older capital. In 1818 the Governor informed the Assembly that he was instructed from England to apprise them that their former offer to undertake the civil list of the country was now accepted. This was a most welcome announcement to the popular head of the Legislature, who had long desired the control of the public expenditure. Sherbrooke, disgusted with the reluctance of the English Tory Government to permit needed reform, returned home, much regretted by the Lower Canadians. He was succeeded by the Duke of Richmond, a dissipated and spendthrift noble, who had often “heard the chimes at midnight” “with the wild Prince and Poins.” A year afterwards, the Duke’s eccentric career was closed by an attack of that terrible malady, hydrophobia, the result of the bite of a tame fox. The Duke broke from his attendants, and ran furiously along the banks of the little tributary of the Ottawa which flows through the village of Richmond. Arrived at the nearest house, the unhappy nobleman died in the village that bears his name, which he had purposed to make a considerable town.

In June, 1820, the Earl of Dalhousie came from Nova Scotia, where he had been Governor, to Canada, as Governor-in-Chief. A stormy session of the Legislature took place in 1821. Inquiry was demanded into the accounts of the Receiver-General of the Province, who was suspected of having appropriated large sums of public money. Exception was also taken to the iniquitous system of making lavish grants of Crown lands to the favourites of Government. As the Council and the Assembly could not agree on these points, no money was voted by the Assembly for the civil list. Meanwhile the Province advanced; no such freedom, no such prosperity, had been known under the French régime, as no less a witness than M. Papineau was free to own in a speech from the hustings. Montreal steamers were numerous on the lakes and the St. Lawrence. The Lachine and Rideau canals gave a great impetus to trade. The first beginnings of Ottawa were being advanced by Colonel By. The lumber trade was beginning to reap its harvest of rafts from the hitherto useless forests. The Eastern Townships alone now held a population as large as that of all Canada at the Conquest. There now arose a project for the Union of the two Canadas, to which the French Canadians were bitterly opposed. They sent John Neilson and Louis J. Papineau to England with a petition against it, signed by sixty thousand French Canadians. A gross case of fraud and embezzlement was now clearly proved against the Receiver-General, John Caldwell. The Government had been guilty of the folly of screening him, and were compelled to bear the odium of his crime. In June, 1824, Lord Dalhousie was succeeded by Sir Francis Burton, his Deputy, till 1826, when Dalhousie returned. The dispute between the French and English colonists, between the oligarchy of the Executive Council and the popular Assembly, went on year by year with wearisome iteration, Papineau being in the van of the malcontents. At last the Governor refused to recognize Papineau as Speaker, and declared that he could listen to no communication from the Assembly till it got itself legally constituted by electing a Speaker. The ever-recurring wrangle between the Government and the Assembly at last attracted notice in the British Parliament, and a Committee was appointed to consider the Lower Canada question. They met and decided every point in favour of the French Canadians. The Assembly ordered four hundred copies of their report to be printed and circulated through the country.

Chapter XXI.


IMMEDIATELY after the war, measures were taken by the British Government to send a stream of immigration into Upper Canada. A large number of valuable settlers came at this time from Scotland. In 1816 an Act of the Upper Canada Parliament established Common Schools, the first of a series of measures destined to culminate into the present Public School system which has attracted the admiration of European nations. With increased prosperity the people of Upper Canada began to have leisure to observe the working of the machinery of Government. Much dissatisfaction was caused by the promised lands not being given to the militia who had served during the war. The Executive Government, too, was in the hands of a few influential men, for the most part connected more or less by family ties, who kept all offices, all emoluments, and well nigh all grants of land in their own hands, and about this time became known by the name which has such sinister association in Canadian History—that of the Family Compact.

At this time Robert Gourlay, a Scotch immigrant who was desirous of becoming a land agent, bethought himself of the expedient of addressing a number of blank forms containing each thirty-two queries as to agricultural matters in each district. Unfortunately he added another query: “What, in your opinion, most retards the improvement of your township in particular, or the Province in general?” This alarmed the Government, who were in the habit of conferring large grants of land on their own favourites, a practice which they well knew was injuring the Province. Gourlay began to be denounced as a republican and preacher of disloyalty; while on the other hand, the generality of the replies that poured into his hands denounced the Clergy Reserves as the bane of provincial improvement. The Clergy Reserves, set apart as an endowment for a State Church, took from the people one-seventh of the Province of Upper Canada. They were not in one place, but scattered here and there all over the Province. For the most part, they were waste, and this deteriorated the value of adjoining property, by their paying no tax, and infesting the neighbourhood with the wild beasts they sheltered. Finding himself the object of unjust attack, Gourlay proposed to the people of Upper Canada to petition the Imperial Parliament for an investigation of the affairs of the Province. On the ground of a passage in a draft of this petition, prepared by Gourlay, a prosecution was entered against him on a charge of libel. He was imprisoned for six months in Kingston gaol, but when tried was acquitted. He had every chance of becoming a popular leader, when he offended the Assembly by proposing to assemble a rival body, “the Convention;” and so lost popularity. The Family Compact were then able to hunt him down unhindered. A creature of their own basely swore that Gourlay was a seditious person. He was ordered to quit the country, and not doing so, was thrown into a cell at the old jail of Niagara whence he wrote some telling attacks on the Family Compact Government in the Niagara Spectator. But ill-usage and prolonged incarceration told on his health. He became almost insane, and after being brought to trial, and condemned, was allowed to quit the country, where he owned a considerable tract of land. Thirty-five years later an old man whom no one knew visited the villages and farms on what had once been Gourlay’s estate. It was Robert Gourlay himself, come to reclaim his land. The squatters, great or small, were compelled to come to terms with him. In 1822 he published his book on Canada. It is full of bombast and ill-temper, but contains much valuable information for those who wish to picture to themselves the state of things in this Province during the palmy days of the Family Compact. Maitland, the Lieutenant-Governor, had completely identified himself with that party, and his unfair dealings with poor Gourlay made him more unpopular than any previous Governor. Notwithstanding misgovernment, Upper Canada was now more flourishing than ever, with a population of 120,000. In consequence of this, there was an increase of representation in the Assembly. Five new members were added to the Legislative Council, by far the most remarkable and influential of whom was the Rev. John Strachan, who afterwards became the first Church of England bishop of Toronto. This noteworthy personage made his first appearance in Canada as private tutor in the household of the late Richard Cartwright, of Rockwood, near Kingston, at a salary of fifty pounds a year. From this he was promoted to be teacher of the District school at the village of Cornwall, where he married a widow with some money. Young Strachan had been bred a Presbyterian, but Presbyterianism at that time in Canada meant poverty. The Church of England was the Church of the Family Compact magnates, and to minister at its altars insured good pay and admission to the best society. So John Strachan threw aside his dislike to the “rags of popery,” and the “kist o’ whustles,” and without difficulty was ordained. He became an extreme advocate of political absolutism and religious intolerance, and to the end of his long life hated non-episcopalian Protestantism with intense bitterness. In 1823, a new subject of contention arose between the Legislative Council and the Assembly, in consequence of the attempts of the Family Compact to set aside the election of Marshall Spring Bidwell, for Lennox and Addington. On one pretence or other they were successful for the time, and their creature, one G. Ham, was declared elected, but Bidwell was soon afterwards returned, and became Speaker of the Assembly. The Family Compact made themselves odious in every way. The Assembly, in 1823, passed a law enabling Methodist ministers to solemnize marriage, but the Upper House, acting under Dr. Strachan’s influence, threw it out.

On the 18th of May, 1824, the first trumpet note of reform was sounded in the publication of The Colonial Advocate of William Lyon Mackenzie. This remarkable man was the son of a poor Highland family of Perthshire. His grandfather had fought with the Cavalier Prince at Culloden, after which he had escaped with him to France. Young Mackenzie came to Canada in 1820, and for some time kept a small drug store in Toronto. The first few numbers of his paper showed a vigour and command of sarcasm hitherto unknown in Canadian journalism. It was eagerly read by the great body of the people in Upper Canada, and in proportion aroused the bitter hatred of the Family Compact; for Mackenzie designated the Legislative Council as the “tools of a servile power,” pointed out the injustice of one church monopolising a seventh part of the Province, and freely criticised the unjust imprisonment of Gourlay. In 1826, the hatred of the Family Compact against Mackenzie rose to such a pitch that a mob of well-dressed rioters broke into the printing office in Mackenzie’s absence, wrecked the printing machines, and threw the type into the lake. This outrage was almost openly sanctioned by the Family Compact. But Mackenzie was not to be thus suppressed. He sued the rioters, and gained his case, with £625 damages, and costs. Of course Mackenzie now became more popular than ever, and in 1828 was elected to the Assembly for the county of York by a large majority.

Meanwhile in Lower Canada discontent and ill-feeling became worse and worse, though the colony continued to flourish. In 1826, McGill College, Montreal, received a charter, and in 1828, a petition signed by 87,000 of the French Canadians, was sent by their delegates to the Imperial Parliament, a committee of which recommended that its prayer should be granted, and the whole of the revenue be placed under the control of the Lower Canada Parliament. Lord Dalhousie was now recalled, and Sir James Kempt, formerly Governor of Nova Scotia, was sent to succeed him, charged with a mission of reconciliation. He confirmed the election of Papineau as Speaker, called into the Council representatives of the popular party, and in 1829, raised the representation of Lower Canada from fifty members to eighty-four. In 1830, Kempt was succeeded by Lord Aylmer. In the same year, the entire control of the revenue was assigned to the Provincial Legislature. The property of the Jesuits, long the subject of dispute, was now definitely made over for educational purposes.

In 1832, a terrible outbreak of Asiatic Cholera passed over Canada, from a ship at the quarantine station on the St. Lawrence. A second visit of the same pest took place in the summer of 1834. By this time the popular party, kindled into enthusiasm by the fervent harangues of Papineau, began to dream of an independent Republic. Constitutional clubs were formed, and a convention was held. The Assembly also appointed the late Mr. Roebuck as their representative in the Imperial Parliament, where he was of the utmost service to Canada in explaining the tyranny of the executive of Lower Canada, which, unless it were abolished, he affirmed, would drive the colony into insurrection.

Chapter XXII.


SIR JOHN COLBORNE succeeded the unpopular Maitland in Upper Canada. When Parliament met, it was found that the Assembly consisted almost entirely of Reformers. Mackenzie was perpetually harassing the Family Compact Executive by asking all kinds of awkward questions, no less than by his eloquent advocacy of the Assembly’s right to control all the revenues of the Province. For, with the growth of prosperity in the colony, the territorial revenues which were still retained by Government had increased so much that the executive had now a civil list of their own, and were independent of the popular branch of the Legislature.

It will be observed that the grievances objected to by the Reform party in Upper and Lower Canada were the same, but it would be untrue to conclude that the political aims of Reformers in the two Provinces were identical. Both complained of the tyranny of the irresponsible executive; and both wished the Legislature to have full control of the public revenue. But while the Upper Canada Reformers desired, as the result of a radical change in these respects, the equality of all citizens irrespective of creed or race, those of Lower Canada wished to get power into their own hands in order to tighten the bonds of race and creed exclusiveness, to isolate themselves more completely in their Provincial-French nationality, to exclude from equal share of power and place those English-speaking settlers in Quebec and Montreal who had waked the slow-going old colony into active industrial life, but whom the Canadian sneered at as aliens and intruders. It would be an abuse of language to call Papineau and his followers “Liberal.” A new member of the Assembly who had been elected to represent Toronto now began to exert considerable influence. His father, Dr. Baldwin, had left his native Cork in the heat of the troubles of 1798, and some time after his arrival in Canada had come to Toronto, near which he built a house called by the name Spadina, a name still preserved by the stately avenue which stretches its broad highway from Knox College to the lake. Dr. Baldwin practised law as well as medicine, a union of several professions, not uncommon in those primitive times of Toronto’s history. Dr. William Baldwin did not seem to be of aristocratic family, or to be received as such by the exclusive coterie of the Family Compact. His first venture in Toronto was that of a private schoolmaster. It is probable that his exclusion from what were then regarded as the aristocratic circles of the capital of English Canada determined Dr. Baldwin’s mind in the direction of that Liberalism afterwards so ably advocated by his celebrated son. But by the death of the Hon. Peter Russell, a large estate, in what is now western Toronto, fell into the hands of his sister, a maiden lady, who thought fit to bequeath it to Dr. Baldwin, who then became a rich man and a person of consequence. Like most parvenus, he seemed to be bent on “founding a family,” and resolved that “there should be forever a Baldwin of Spadina.” The original house thus grandiloquently described stood on the corner of Spadina Avenue and Oxford Street. Having been built before the property was laid out, it stood with the gable end to the street. The son of this gentleman, Robert Baldwin, commanded general respect by his unimpeachable integrity and honesty of purpose, no less than by his political good sense, which, while it made him side with the Reform party on all the main issues, preserved him from “the falsehood of extremes,” and the Reformers of Upper Canada were now beginning to form into two distinct camps. On the one side, were the moderate men who were determined, come what would, to seek their constitutional aims by constitutional means. Of these Robert Baldwin was now the recognized leader. The other section of the Reform party was led by Mackenzie, whose influence was great, especially all through the county of York, and through most part of the counties of Brant and Oxford. Indeed, the farmer population generally, with the exception of the Orangemen, now a factor of some influence in the community, and the Anglican Church people, were assiduous readers of the Colonial Advocate, and sympathizers with Mackenzie.

Meanwhile, the stream of immigrants continued to pour into Canada. A large number of Catholic Irish settled in Peterborough and the central part of Upper Canada. These, as a rule, favoured the Reform party. Many Ulster Protestants also took up land, sturdy and thrifty colonists, whose love of constitutional freedom inclined them to join the moderate Reformers, while the hatred they had learned to feel for the Irish “rebels,” kept them thoroughly in the groove of loyalty. The population of Upper Canada in 1831 had reached a quarter of a million. At the election of 1830 the Family Compact exerted every influence that a large corruption fund placed at their disposal to secure a majority of their own supporters in the Assembly. Their tactics were successful. Mackenzie moved a resolution that the House ought to nominate its own chaplain, instead of having the choice of the Executive forced upon them. But the Assembly, by a three-fourths vote, refused to allow the motion, and the Family Compact Attorney-General, Boulton, compared the claim that the House should appoint its own chaplain to the conduct of a street assassin, to which rabid insult the Assembly tamely submitted. Mackenzie then moved for a committee of inquiry into the state of legislative representation in the Province of Upper Canada. It was bad indeed, a House packed with Family Compact officials, the mere creatures and mouthpieces of the Executive Council. Mackenzie’s unanswerable exposure of the corruption of the existing system so alarmed the House that they consented to his motion for inquiry amid applause from the public in the gallery of the House. But Mackenzie would not stop there; pension lists, fees, sinecurists, salaries, money abuses of all kinds so rife in that Augean stable of corruption, the Family Compact Government, were attacked and exposed in speeches whose scathing common sense struck home and were carried broadcast over the Province in the columns of the Colonial Advocate. At last, driven to despair, the Family Compact resolved to crush the man whom they could not answer. A committee headed by Allan MacNab, the Attorney-General, endeavoured to impeach Mackenzie for breach of privilege, but their case broke down. Mackenzie now continued to spread the agitation for Reform all through the Province. He spoke to excited multitudes in Galt, in Cornwall, and Brockville. His success in rousing the people’s mind was great, even in the heart of such Family Compact centres as Brockville and the Talbot settlement. He now prepared a petition in Toronto, asking that the Assembly might have full control of the public revenues and of the sale of public lands; that the clergy reserves might be secularized; that municipal councils might be established; that the right to impeach public officials might be conceded; that judges and clergymen might be excluded from Parliament; and the law of primogeniture repealed. To this petition 25,000 signatures were appended. All that Mackenzie asked has long been part of the law of Canada. We scarcely realize the benefits of our free institutions, because we take them, like light and air, as a matter of course. It is well to remind ourselves of what we owe to those who struggled in the bitterness of patient battle, not fifty years ago, against corruption entrenched in power. But the Family Compact, having now secured a majority of its own creatures in the Assembly, resolved to make use of it to crush their enemy. Some pungent and not very judicious strictures on the Assembly’s reception of petitions from the people were, by a vote of the House, construed as a libel. By another vote Mackenzie was expelled from the Assembly. In the debate on this question Attorney-General Boulton called Mackenzie “a reptile,” and Solicitor-General Hagerman compared him to a spaniel dog. Mackenzie rose to the height of his popularity; petition after petition poured in to the Governor entreating him to dissolve the corrupt Assembly. On the day of Mackenzie’s dismissal nine hundred and thirty of those who had signed the petition waited on the Governor to receive his reply. It was given in two or three curt, contemptuous words. The troops were ready armed, artillery men stood beside the loaded cannon, prepared, at a moment’s notice, to sweep the streets with grapeshot. It was well that the crowd of Canadian Reformers was perfectly orderly, as the chivalrous English Governor was fully prepared for the massacre of men, women and children within range of his guns. But the Assembly now attempted to bid for popularity; they voted an address to the Crown, praying that the clergy reserves might be secularized for the purpose of education. They then issued the writs for York County, but Mackenzie was returned by acclamation. Again they expelled him from the Assembly; again he was triumphantly returned. In 1832 Mackenzie went to England with his petition.

In 1834 the Lower Canadians embodied their grievances in the famous “ninety-two resolutions,” chiefly drawn up by Papineau. The effect of these on the Imperial Parliament was to appoint a committee who reported that the successive Governors had done their duty; that the troubles in Lower Canada were due to the quarrels between the two Houses of the Legislature. This was to shelve the difficulty, and it was now evident that the Lower Canadian Reformers would, sooner or later, revolt. In 1835 Lord Aylmer was succeeded by the Earl of Gosford, but he did not produce more effect than his predecessors on the heated passions of the French. Papineau, who aspired to be the Mirabeau of Lower Canada, was, for the moment, all powerful. In 1837 it became evident that the revolt was inevitable. Gosford learned that Papineau was organizing societies for the purpose of insurrectionary drill, and applied to Sir Colin Campbell, Governor of Nova Scotia, for a regiment, which was accordingly sent. Meanwhile, throughout the country parishes, drilling and arming went on openly. But the priesthood, whom the abolition of the Catholic Church by the French revolutionists had taught to hate the name of Republic, were frightened at Papineau’s republican projects. He had provoked the opposition of a power whose hold on the French Canadian peasant was mightier than his own.

The first collision with the authorities took place in Montreal, where a republican society, called the “Sons of Liberty,” were attacked while walking in procession. They were easily put to flight, and warrants were issued for the arrest of Papineau and twenty-six other leaders. Papineau sought shelter at the house of one of his Parliamentary colleagues, Dr. Wolfred Nelson, in the heart of the disaffected district. General Colborne, determining to check the insurrection at the outset, sent Colonel Gore, a Waterloo veteran, to attack St. Denis with a force of two hundred infantry, a troop of militia cavalry, and three field pieces.

Chapter XXIII.


DR. WOLFRED NELSON had for many years practised medicine in and around St. Denis. He spoke the language and thoroughly understood the character of his French neighbours. Considerable professional skill, freely exerted without pay or reward for all the poor among the habitants, had made him for years past exceedingly popular. He was elected to the Assembly, and there followed the leadership of Papineau, with whose republicanism he sympathized. Early intelligence was, of course, brought to him by the habitants of Colonel Gore’s approach. Nelson had seen service as military surgeon during the late war, and had sufficiently the courage of his opinions to resolve on active resistance. Not so Papineau. The Mirabeau of Montreal had not a particle of the pluck that gave backbone to the somewhat bizarre eloquence of the Mirabeau of the great Revolution. He left his followers to their fate and made an inglorious retreat to the States. Meanwhile Nelson rang the village tocsin, and the aroused habitants came flocking to its summons. Nelson stationed his men at the windows and loop holes of a large stone building, and at those of two others wherever a flanking fire could be directed on an attacking force. When Colonel Gore arrived he attacked Nelson’s position from ten in the morning till four in the afternoon. But his one gun could make no impression on the thick stone walls. He could not take the building by storm, his own men were being shot down, and at last he was forced to spike and abandon his field piece, and retreat as best he could. This victory, the only marked success of the revolt of 1837, was gained on November 23rd. But at St. Charles, though the insurgents were in far greater force, they were badly led, and fell an easy prey to Colonel Wetherell, who had been sent with a strong force to attack the place. With the exception of a raid by American sympathizers, across the border, this was the last of the revolt in 1837. It is pleasant to record that Dr. Nelson, who had shown the greatest kindness to Colonel Gore’s wounded soldiers, left on his hands, succeeded in escaping to the States, whence, in calmer times, he returned to his home in St. Denis. But next year a second insurrection took place in Lower Canada, led by a brother of Dr. Nelson. It was soon suppressed. Both insurrections were severely avenged by gallows and torch. Numbers of men were hanged with scant form of trial, and the darkness of the December night, in the parishes of St. Denis and St. Charles, were lit up by blazing homesteads and barns.

In Upper Canada, Colborne had been superseded at his own request, and was succeeded by Sir Francis Bond Head, a half-pay Major and an industrious writer of second-rate magazine articles. This vain and self-opinionated officer was sent out with instructions to pursue a policy of conciliation, which he at first attempted to carry out by appointing three Reformers, Rolph, Baldwin, and Dunn, to the Executive Council. But he never consulted these gentlemen, and they soon resigned in disgust. At the elections of June, 1836, the Family Compact put forth all their apparatus of corruption, and again secured a subservient majority in the Assembly. By this time the easily-flattered Governor was completely won over by the blandishments of the Family Compact clique. It was evident to Mackenzie that there was no hope in constitutional agitation, to which he and his followers had adhered while the faintest hope of fair-play remained. All which will be told at more length in the following chapter.

Chapter XXIV.


AS the mist of party prejudice clears away we are able to judge of public acts by their results.

The rebellion of 1837-’38 was a purely Canadian movement, an armament of a portion of the Canadian people to win back by force those constitutional rights which the Family Compact Government had wrested from the electors; and, but for accidental circumstances, to be detailed in the sequel, this rebellion would, no doubt, have been successful in overthrowing, without bloodshed, the whole Family Compact system, and the rule of Sir Francis Bond Head. Of course, it would have been absurd to suppose that any attempt could have been made to hold Upper Canada against the military power of England. But the course of subsequent events, and the legislation which followed the publication of Lord Durham’s Report, show that it is equally absurd to suppose that the Liberal party then in power in England would have exerted military force to retain a system like that of Head and the Canadian Tories.

The Mackenzie rising, in 1837, must be carefully distinguished from the other movements, from the Lower Canadian insurrection, and from the filibustering raids of American “sympathizers” which followed. The English Canadian movement resembled only in appearance the Lower Canadian insurrection of 1837. The Upper Canadian movement was essentially a popular one. It was supported by the great mass of English Canadian people. Not so the rising in French Canada. The latter movement never had a really popular support, for it was from the first under the ban of the Church, and the Lower Canadian is a Catholic first, a patriot afterwards. Lafontaine had to mend his ways and become reconciled to the Church before he could become, what Papineau never had been, the real leader of French Canada. The English Canadian movement, under Mackenzie, had a distinctly national aim and support, and a military programme which came very near being successful. The French revolt under Papineau never could have been a success. Its solitary success in the field was gained under the English-speaking leader, Dr. Wolfred Nelson. Nor is the movement of 1837 to be confounded with the raids at Navy Island, at Amherstburgh, and at Prescott in the succeeding year, which were mere filibustering expeditions, for which no justification whatever is admissible.

It is clear that Sir Francis Bond Head was sent to Canada on what was intended to be a mission of conciliation. He bore the reputation of holding Liberal, or rather Whig opinions; he had been a zealous official as Assistant Poor Law Commissioner, in Kent; he was chiefly known to the public as the author of several magazine articles describing his personal adventures, and written in a garrulous, egotistical, but good-humoured tone. His utter ignorance, frankly avowed in his narrative of his official career, of Canadian politics, was not likely to be regarded as a disqualification by his English superiors, it being then the custom for English insular officialism to ignore colonial interests.

Sir Francis Head arrived at Toronto in January, 1836, and was greeted with inscriptions covering the fences on King Street of “Welcome to Sir Francis Head, the tried Reformer!” The “tried Reformer” soon showed the cloven hoof of partisanship. In reply to an address adopted at a public meeting of the citizens of Toronto, he snubbed the addressers as of inferior capacity, and requiring to be addressed “in plainer and more homely language,” words which naturally gave much dissatisfaction. Head’s manner, as he met the members of the Legislature, was also discourteous and haughty.

A reply to the Lieutenant-Governor’s official insolence was drawn up by Drs. Rolph and O’Grady. “We thank Your Excellency,” it began, “for replying to our address, principally from the industrious classes of the city, with as much attention as if it had proceeded from either branch of the Legislature; and we are duly sensible in receiving Your Excellency’s reply, of your great condescension in endeavouring to express yourself in plainer and more homely language, presumed by Your Excellency to be thereby brought down to the lower level of our plainer and more homely understandings.” The rejoinder then deplored, with sarcastic humility, the deplorable neglect of their education, resulting from the misgovernment of King’s College University, and the veto imposed by the Executive Government on the popular Assembly’s resolutions that the Clergy Reserves should be applied to the needs of public education. This able document proceeded to recite other grievances, and concluded with what, according to Mr. Charles Lindsey, “William Lyon Mackenzie, in a manuscript note he has left, calls the ‘first low murmur of insurrection.’ ” “If Your Excellency will not govern us upon those principles, you will exercise arbitrary sway, you will violate our charter, virtually abrogate our law, and justly forfeit our submission to your authority,” ran the reply. The able and sarcastic rejoinder was left by James Leslie and Jesse Ketchum at the door of Government House, and its bearers were whirled out of sight before the irate Lieutenant-Governor could discover who they were. In one of his outbursts of undignified fury he sent the paper to Mr. George Ridout, a member of a distinguished Toronto family, whose name did not even appear among the signers. It was at once returned to Sir Francis by Mr. Ridout. But the rejoinder was already in print, and in the hands of every member of the Legislature.

But Head had not proceeded thus far without some show of efforts to carry out his mission of conciliation. The Tory leaders had at first regarded Sir Francis with distrust on account of his presumed Reform tendencies. On this account, according to Sir Francis Head’s own statement—no very reliable authority, as he repeatedly contradicts himself—he was more ready to make overtures to the popular side. He induced three of the popular leaders to accept office in his Executive Council, the Hons. John Rolph, John Henry Dunn and Robert Baldwin. But these gentlemen, finding that they were never consulted by Sir Francis, and that thus they were made responsible for measures which they had never advised, soon afterwards resigned. Hence Sir Francis threw himself into the arms of the Family Compact, and ruled avowedly as an Irresponsible Governor.

Soon after this the Lieutenant-Governor appointed four new members of the Executive Council, all members of the extreme Tory faction, one being the clever renegade, Robert Baldwin Sullivan. This heightened the people’s indignation, the Assembly declared its entire want of confidence in the men whom Sir Francis had called to his Councils. A petition from Pickering, where the Reform party were ably led by Peter Matthews, protested against British subjects being reduced by the Lieutenant-Governor to a state of vassalage, and demanded the dismissal of the new Councillors. Other petitions to the same effect poured in from other townships.

In effect Sir Francis Head now regarded the people of English Canada as belonging to two classes, the “loyal”—i.e., those who supported the irresponsible executive in all its monopolies and the “rebels”—who demanded responsible government—all of whom were put down by Sir Francis Head as “traitors and republicans.” Yet in reality it was the Lieutenant-Governor himself who was the “rebel,” if disloyalty to the instructions of his English superiors can be so described. Lord Glenelg had sent a despatch in which he instructed Sir Francis Bond Head that in the British American Provinces the Executive Councils should be composed of individuals possessing the confidence of the people. In despite of these distinct instructions from the English Government, his masters, this addle-headed Governor persisted in treating as “rebels” all who desired to carry into effect the very system of responsible government which Lord Glenelg had charged him with the duty of establishing in Canada. But the British Colonial Office had yet to find out that they had to deal with a subordinate who had no notion of subordination, and whose only guide was his own over-weening restless vanity. The able men who directed the Family Compact counsels, men such as Strachan, Robinson, Powell, Hagerman and Sullivan, soon took the measure of the conceited little riding-master, and flattered him into the notion that it was his mission to suppress “democracy.”

Head’s next step was to dissolve the House, which was now completely beyond his control, and to issue writs for a general election. He had the supreme self-conceit to write to his superior, Lord Glenelg, telling him of his intention, and actually requesting that no orders might be sent him on that subject. To the English Colonial Office he reported his policy as supported by the loyal inhabitants of Canada, and entreated that he might not be interfered with in carrying it out. For the moment these representations had weight at the Foreign Office, more especially as Head’s account of things seemed confirmed soon afterwards by the success of his party at the general elections of 1836.

It is of the utmost importance that we obtain a thorough and clear understanding of the fact that at the general election of 1836, the agencies of force and fraud were openly and unblushingly used to exclude members of the Reform party, and to compel or bribe constituencies to choose Tory candidates. The Canadian constitution was virtually abrogated, by the right of electing their representatives being wrested out of the hands of the people. It was this that made the crisis of December, 1837, inevitable. It was this that made civil war a sacred duty to all who were loyal to their country.

Of this fact of the utter unconstitutionality of the elections of 1836, I wish to give the reader clear proofs. Lord Durham states in his famous “Report,” an authority whose truthfulness is admitted by the parties to be above suspicion, that “in a number of instances the elections were carried by an unscrupulous exercise of the influence of the Government, and by a display of violence on the part of the Tories, who were emboldened by the countenance afforded them by Government; that such facts and such impressions produced in the country an exasperation and a despair of good government which extended far beyond those who had actually been defeated at the polls.” The Tories raised an enormous corruption fund, grants of land were freely issued to those who would vote on the side of Government. In the North Riding of the County of York a set of lots at the mouth of the Credit Valley River were distributed during the election. It was well known that the great banking company, the Bank of Upper Canada, was at that time nothing more or less than a corruption machine, holding in trust large sums of money to be used in bribing the electors. It was no secret in Family Compact circles that about a month before the elections of 1836 the manager of the Bank sent for Attorney-General Hagerman, and that the cashier handed to him a large bundle of notes due to the Bank, at the same time giving him explicit instructions to be very lenient with every voter in York County who would pledge himself to vote against Mackenzie, but to “put on the screws” in the case of any who refused to pledge themselves. The Tories could not control public opinion. The unbiased elections of twenty years had made that plain enough. But they could, and they did hire mobs of drunken ruffians armed with guns, stones and bludgeons, to overawe the electors. At Streetsville, the polling-place for the newly formed Second Riding of York County, the path of Mackenzie’s friends was barred by a procession of Orangemen, with banners displayed and bands braying forth their party tunes. The refusal of scrutiny into election proceedings in many another case by the corrupt Parliament thus elected has hidden from record in how many another constituency the Tory Lords of misrule led forth their hired gladiators infuriate with loyalty and whiskey. There was many a polling-place where it was risking life to vote for a Reformer.

At the head and front of these outrages on the constitution stood the conceited and unprincipled Lieutenant-Governor. He openly avowed himself a partisan. He as openly denounced the Reformers. He stumped the country. He has been praised for the dexterity with which he threw himself into the role of an agitator, for his appeals to spread-eagle “loyal” sentimentality, his bunkum stump oratory about the “glorious old flag of England,” his ridiculous anti-climax, “let them come if they dare,” to an imaginary enemy, in the name of militia regiments, not one of which had he common-sense to embody for the defence of his Government when it was threatened by a serious danger. But all this, justly regarded, is but the stock in trade of a political charlatan, without common sense as he was without principle, his ever restless self-conceit exulting in a little brief notoriety. None of Head’s predecessors would have stooped to such a course, though some of them, such as Sir John Colborne and Sir Peregrine Maitland, were deeply attached to Tory principles. But they were high-minded English gentlemen. Head, whose real name was Mendez, had not a particle of right to the respectable English name he bore. His true surname was that of his grandfather, Moses Mendez, the descendant of a Portuguese Jew, a quack doctor who had settled in England some generations before. What has been said will, it is to be hoped, enable the reader to realize the iniquities practised by the Tories at the election of 1836.

The constitution of Canada was gone, the elective principle was a thing of the past, hope of constitutional remedy there was none. Well might Samuel Lount, the late member for Simcoe, when asked why he did not appeal to the House for an investigation of the corrupt practices by which it was patent that he had been unseated, reply: “it would be only throwing away £100; the present Parliament would give it against me all the same.” To complain of bribery before the tribunal of the House would be to challenge immorality before a jury of prostitutes. Well might Mackenzie, in his address to the Second Riding of York, express his despair of redress by constitutional methods. “I have been diligent in the Legislature; every proposition calculated to make you happier I have supported; and whatever appeared to me to be against popular government and the interests of the many, I have opposed, please or affect whom it might. The result is against you; you are nearer having saddled on you a dominant priesthood; your public and private debt is greater; the public improvements made by Government are of small moment; the priests of the leading denominations have swallowed bribes like a sweet morsel; the principle that the Executive should be responsible to the people is denied you; the means to corrupt our electors are in the hands of the adversaries of popular institutions, and they are using them; and although an agent has been sent with the petitions of the House of Assembly to the King and House of Commons, I dare not conceal from you my fears that the power that has oppressed Ireland for centuries will never extend its sympathies to you.” The fiery orator little foresaw the day when both political parties in the freely-elected Parliament of Canada would unite their forces to petition the British Government to extend to unhappy Ireland the system of Home Rule and Responsible Government under which Canada has thriven so well. But truly, at that time the outlook was dark indeed; all constitutional landmarks were effaced, every vestige of electoral freedom was trampled under the hoof of oligarchy. Dominie Strachan’s State church dominant; the night-birds of Tory corruption jubilant over the land! There remained but a pale hope of redress in answer to petition, and what beyond? Mackenzie’s last words were ominous enough: “If the reply be unfavourable, as I am apprehensive it will, then the Crown will have forfeited all claim upon British freemen in Upper Canada, and the result is not difficult to foresee.”

Chapter XXV.


THE Reform party of English Canada, hitherto describable in scientific language as “homogeneous,” now became “differentiated” into two distinct elements, those who still clung to constitutional methods, and the revolutionists. Many a staunch advocate of Reform principles sided with the former. In Toronto the Scotch shrewdness of James and William Lesslie, the mild wisdom of Robert Baldwin, impelled them to take the constitutional side. It is true that these men were denounced as “rebels” by Head and his colleagues, and that they suffered insult during the brief hour of the Tory terror. For instance, Mr. James Lesslie, still happily surviving in the city, had his offices occupied by a lawless gang of militia soldiers, who stole and destroyed everything within their reach.

On the other side, that of revolution, were the most resolute leaders of the Reform party, prominent among whom was William Lyon Mackenzie. He had early been inured to poverty, and had all through boyhood been taught a daily lesson of unselfishness and self-help by the example of his widowed mother. He had received the usual excellent education of the primary kind obtainable in a Scottish public school. But the latter part of Mackenzie’s mental training was self-given. He had the advantage of studying thoroughly a few good books. He read the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton; then Plutarch’s Lives, Rollin, and a few of Robertson’s now forgotten histories, and these were the staple of his mental equipment for life. As a public speaker he had in a pre-eminent degree that power of carrying with him a large audience which is apt to follow from intense earnestness on the part of the speaker. His speeches are remarkable for an almost total lack of rhetorical ornament. They contain powerful passages, but these result from the intense convictions which form themselves into forcible expression, and “form thick and fast the burning words the tyrants quake to hear.”

Next in weight of character to Mackenzie came Marshall Spring Bidwell, he of the noble intellect and stainless life, statesman, orator, jurist, but above all Christian and gentleman. Born in Massachusetts, while it was still an English colony, Bidwell in early boyhood lived at Bath, near Kingston. It has been distinctly proved that never at any time did Bidwell overtly connect himself with the revolutionists, though it is pretty certain that he approved of their aims, and that he, on at least one occasion, advised them as to the legality of their proceedings. Though fearless in his opposition to evil, Marshall Spring Bidwell was moderate and discreet in word and action; he was one of the most impressive speakers on the Reform side in the Assembly, and had a singularly clear and expressive voice.

For many-sided talent it may be doubtful if any of the leaders of 1836-’37, was the equal of the Hon. John Rolph. An Englishman of good education, Rolph was for some time settled on Colonel Talbot’s estate, and according to Colonel Ermatinger was a special favourite with that eccentric old warrior till their political opinions separated them. Rolph began, like the first of the Baldwin settlers, to practise law, and was equally distinguished as a physician. As an orator the few specimens that remain of Dr. Rolph’s Parliamentary speeches rank with the best Canada can boast of. In consequence of a quarrel that took place between Mackenzie and Rolph, subsequent to 1837, those who side most warmly with the former are apt to undervalue Rolph’s services to the revolutionary cause. After careful enquiry I can see no just evidence against Dr. Rolph. He certainly staked everything on the perilous game then about to be played. He knew that whoever else might escape, he certainly could not hope to escape the unforgiving hatred of the Tory chiefs whose dearest plans his sarcastic oratory had thwarted so often. Dr. Rolph was singularly successful in his profession, and succeeded in attracting the warm affection of the young men with whom he came into contact as their teacher. His features were pleasing, his figure tall and commanding, and up to the day of his flight from Toronto no one was more trusted by those bent on a revolt.

Dr. Thomas D. Morrison, physician and member of Parliament, was another influential member of the revolutionary organization. He was a cautious, reticent man, a good speaker on political matters, and exceedingly influential with his party.

Samuel Lount, formerly member for Simcoe, had gained much influence among the farmers in the northern part of York County, especially in the neighbourhood of Holland Landing, where he resided. He combined with farming the business of blacksmithing, could make excellent horse shoes, and if need be, pike-heads also. An honest, affectionate, generous man, a kind husband and father, much beloved of all men, he had been deprived of his seat for Simcoe by the unconstitutional outrages of Head and his Tory abettors.

David Gibson, a land surveyor, and member of the Assembly, had a house on Yonge Street, at which Mackenzie’s friends frequently met in council. The same may be said of the home of James Hervey Price, which was situated in the same neighbourhood. The city meetings were generally convened at the large brewery owned by Mr. John Doel, on the north-west corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets. Part of this building is still standing (1884) and is used as a planing mill. Mr. Doel was much respected by men of all political opinions. Even Dr. Scadding, a pronounced though never uncharitable Loyalist, admits that in giving what comfort he could to the persecuted insurgents of 1837, Mr. Doel did himself honour. It was at this brewery that the first overt steps were taken towards forming a revolutionary organization. Here a meeting of Reformers was held on July 28th, 1837, at which a resolution was passed which was afterwards known as the “Declaration of Independence of Upper Canada.” This important document (as we learn from Mr. C. Lindsey’s “Life of William Lyon Mackenzie,” Vol. II. p. 17) had been previously drawn up mainly by Dr. Rolph, at Elliott’s tavern, at the corner of Yonge and Queen Streets. Its main features were a pledge to make common cause with the French Canadian Reformers, and “to summon a convention of delegates at Toronto, to take into consideration the political condition of Upper Canada, with authority to its members to appoint commissioners to meet others to be received on behalf of Lower Canada and any other colonies, armed with suitable powers to seek an effectual remedy for the grievances of the colonists.”

From this first measure towards revolution, it is evident that the thoughts of those who planned it were already moving in the direction of a Union of the Provinces. A lack of statesmanlike insight as to the condition of the French, as compared with the English colonists, is apparent in the reliance placed on Papineau’s frothy gasconades as a permanent political force.

At the Brewery meeting of July 31st, a permanent vigilance committee was appointed, of which Mackenzie was to be agent and corresponding secretary. He was to hold meetings in various parts of Upper Canada, and organize branch vigilance societies which were to be so organized as to be easily available for military purposes. Each society was to count not less than twelve, or more than forty members, as far as possible residents in the same neighbourhood. The secretaries of five of these societies were to form a township committee. Ten of the township committees were each to choose a representative to form a county committee, and these again were to elect a district committee, Upper Canada being divided into four districts. At the head of all was to be an executive committee. The secretary of each subordinate society would rank as sergeant, the delegate of five societies to a township committee as captain, the delegate of ten township committees to a district committee as colonel, at the head of a battalion of six hundred men.

The public meetings, the first of which was held at Newmarket, in the county of York, were enthusiastically attended by excited multitudes, who eagerly drank in Mackenzie’s fervid oratory. Among the chief promoters were Samuel Lount, of Holland Landing; Nelson Gorham, afterwards an exile in the United States; Giles Fletcher, who also became an exile; Jeremiah Graham; Peter Matthews, a farmer of Pickering, who held the rank of colonel, and was executed in 1838. Mackenzie was appointed chief of the Provisional Government; Dr. Rolph was invested with sole power as executive; Gibson, besides holding the rank of colonel, was appointed comptroller; and Jesse Lloyd as delegate to communicate with the French Canadians. It will be seen that the military organization aimed at was of the loosest kind. Mr. Lindsey tells us that not even an oath of secrecy and fidelity was exacted; all that was aimed at was to associate men from the same neighbourhood, who could trust each other, and to attain sufficient organization and discipline to enable its members to act together in the effort at surprising Toronto, which was from the first the main aim of the revolutionists. But the weekly drill on Yonge Street was regularly attended, bullets were cast, and old flint-lock muskets and pea-rifles carefully furbished; and at Lount’s forge, at Holland Landing, pike-heads were manufactured, and fitted to stout six-foot handles.

It is hardly possible now to estimate the actual number of Mackenzie’s avowed supporters. When the insurrection failed, numbers who would have joined Mackenzie had the attack on Toronto succeeded, multitudes who, in the London district, had actually taken up arms under Dr. Duncombe, made a pretence of offering their services to Colonel MacNab or Sir Francis Head, as the best means to secure their personal safety. Head’s boasts of the numbers of “loyal militia” that poured in to support him, rested therefore on very slight foundations. It was well known that Mackenzie had a very large following in Toronto itself, where he was most popular, having been the city’s first mayor in 1834. The intended rising was known, though not, it is believed, in all its details, to many gentlemen of high position, among others to Marshall Spring Bidwell and to the elder Baldwin. The latter, it is certain, did not communicate his knowledge of the revolutionary plans to his son Robert, who afterwards explicitly declared, in his place in Parliament, that he was in complete ignorance of what was going on. Sir Francis Hincks has also assured the writer that although everyone felt that a crisis of some kind was impending, he himself had no sympathy whatever with anything under Mackenzie’s leadership. East of Toronto, Mackenzie had a considerable following—about Cobourg, Port Hope, and Pickering. With the exception of the Orangemen, with which powerful organization Mackenzie had made the great mistake of quarrelling, and the Irish Roman Catholics, whose clergy denounced Mackenzie (he had made another mistake in picking a quarrel with their bishop), all the farmers of the Home District, and most of those in the Gore and Niagara Districts, were in full sympathy with Mackenzie. These were for the most part steady, industrious land-owners, men who risked not only life, but all that for half a lifetime they had toiled to reclaim from the wilderness, on the doubtful issues of insurrection. Many took the precaution of deeding in trust to friends, or to their children, what land they possessed, as a safeguard against government confiscation, should the rising fail. Besides the Home District contingents which were levied by Mackenzie and his lieutenants, Lount, Anderson, Gibson, Matthews and Lloyd, a very considerable force was raised in the Western Peninsula of Ontario, between the Detroit River and Lake Erie. This was one of the most fertile and best settled districts in English Canada; consequently it was one where the grievance of the Clergy Reserves was keenly felt. It was, as it is, a centre of Reform influence in Upper Canada.

The leading spirit in this phase of the revolutionary organization was Dr. Charles Duncombe, a resident of the village of Bishopsgate, on the town-line between Burford and Brantford townships, in the county of Brant. Like Dr. Rolph, like Dr. Wolfred Nelson in French Canada, this gentleman had gained considerable personal influence by his skill in the exercise of his profession, as well as by the self-sacrificing generosity with which he would ride for miles through swamp and forest to visit pioneer patients too poor to give any fee but gratitude. Like the able physicians named above, Duncombe was a many-sided man, a lucid and impressive speaker, well read in history and general literature, and gifted with a personal magnetism which enabled him to exert no slight influence over the farmers of the sections of five or six counties into which (so energetic were the medical men of those days,) his practice extended. He had been for many years representative in the Assembly of the riding in which he lived. In Parliament Dr. Duncombe exerted a marked influence. He it was that transmitted to the British Colonial Office such an impeachment of Sir Francis Head’s misgovernment, accompanied by proofs, as to cause the charges to be examined into, and the delinquent Lieutenant-Governor recalled in something very like disgrace. Duncombe had acquired considerable wealth in the course of his practice, and owned much land in Brant and Oxford.

On July 4th, 1837, a “significant date,” as Mr. Lindsey says, Mackenzie began to publish a newspaper called The Constitution, which, as compared with the more moderate public criticisms of his former Colonial Advocate, must be regarded as the organ of revolution. It lasted with some intermissions till the very eve of the rebellion. It was the voice of Mackenzie’s vigorous, incisive trumpet-call of insurrection, and openly recommended that new branch societies should be formed, and well supplied with “pikes and rifles.”

Chapter XXVI.


SIR FRANCIS HEAD has in his published writings made two contradictory statements with regard to his knowledge of the preparations for insurrection. According to one, he sent the troops out of Upper Canada in order to tempt Mackenzie to an overt act of revolt; being well aware of the insurgents’ design. According to the other, he knew nothing about the rising till he heard of it at midnight, on December 4th. The truth probably is between the lines of the two statements. Head was, as he said, extremely desirous of forcing into apparent rebellion men like Bidwell, whom he had been ordered by his superiors to promote to the judicial bench. He hoped that the outbreak of actual insurrection would justify his boastful despatches, his ridiculous stump orations, his incessant denunciations of the advocates of Responsible Government as “rebels.” As to the cost to the people of Upper Canada in blood and treasure, as to the sacrifice of life on either side in the struggle, this charlatan descendant of a Jew quack took no account whatever, provided he carried his point, provided his purposes were served, what did that matter to the descendant of Moses Mendez? Meanwhile, trusting, as the political quack always does trust, to chance, and desirous above all things of self-display, this foolish coxcomb actually sent to Lower Canada the two companies of regulars which Sir John Colborne had left for the defence of the Toronto Government House and stores. Nor did he take the simple precaution of calling out a single regiment of militia; it was enough that the winter seemed likely to be an open one, and a small steamer was kept moored in the harbour in case the gallant Lieutenant-Governor should find it convenient to fly from his post. Nor, if the insurrection did not succeed, can its supporters impute any blame to Sir Francis Head. The force by which he apparently proposed to defend his Government consisted of a single artillery-man. There were some ten field-pieces, which had been moved from the Fort to the City Hall. Four thousand stand of arms, muskets with bayonets, belts and ammunition, were deposited in the City Hall at the disposal of any one who might choose to take them.

Mackenzie saw that the time had come for action. His first proposal, made at a meeting held in the beginning of November, at Mr. Doel’s brewery on Bay street, was in effect to take a strong party of “Dutcher’s foundry-men, and Armstrong’s axe-makers,” go with them to Government House, seize Sir Francis, confine him in the City Hall, and take possession of the muskets deposited there, and at once arm the innumerable friends who would rally to their support. It will be observed that Mackenzie, in making this proposal, did not insist on a demand for independence, but would have been content with the grant of Responsible Government and a fairly elected Assembly, the very privileges soon afterwards conceded by the beneficent liberal legislation which followed Lord Durham’s mission as Lord High Commissioner to Canada. The plan thus proposed, though bold, was perfectly feasible. The prestige of Head and the Family Compact must have broken down under a bloodless coup d’état which would have made them ridiculous. But Dr. Morrison, apprehensive, as Mr. Lindsey thinks (Life of Mackenzie, II., p. 56), of the fidelity of some one present at the meeting, threw cold water on the proposal. A few days later a more daring plan still was adopted, with the concurrence of Dr. Morrison and the other leaders. The entire available forces of the insurgents were to be concentrated at Montgomery’s hotel, on Yonge Street, a few miles north of the City Hall, and were thence to make a descent upon the city, capture Head, and seize the arms at the City Hall. The attack, which it was expected would be a surprise, was to take place at night, between six and ten o’clock. Dr. Rolph, as the executive, was to have supreme control of the enterprise, Mackenzie to carry out its details. Among the many deliberate falsehoods by which Head endeavoured to blacken the character of political opponents who were what no impartial historian can say that Head was, honourable and high principled, was the charge that Rolph and Mackenzie intended to rob the banks and set fire to the city. As Mr. Lindsey well remarks in commenting on this preposterous canard, the insurgents were, as a rule, of the wealthiest class of farmers in the county of York. Such men as Samuel Lount and David Gibson were supposed by Head to be mere bank robbers. Sir Francis Hincks, in 1838, a time when it was still perilous to defend the insurgent leaders even from unjust accusations, repels Head’s mendacious charge against the personal character of men like Rolph and Mackenzie with an honest warmth creditable to his true Irish heart, more especially when we remember that Mackenzie had, Scotchman-like, regarded young Hincks with harsh distrust as “a mere Irish adventurer.”

Head was repeatedly warned from the most reliable sources that preparations for a rising were taking place. The ablest of Canadian Methodist ministers, the Rev. Egerton Ryerson, with a brother clergyman, warned Attorney-General Hagerman of the incessant drillings and patrollings going on in that part of York County in which they had lately been ministering. Captain Fitzgibbon warned Judge Jones of the pike-heads and handles being distributed at Markham, and got snubbed for his over-officious zeal. Besotted in their self-conceit, Head and his Government would accept no advice, nor take any precaution.

Meanwhile the breakdown of Papineau’s movement in French Canada damped the ardour of Mackenzie’s followers, who had very unwisely over-estimated that gasconading poltroon, and had overlooked the fact that the Catholic Church alone could control the action of the French Canadians. As soon as the work of actual fighting began, Papineau had basely withdrawn, leaving braver men to fight their way out of the difficulty into which he had led them. As to the Church, as soon as she had allowed the insurrectionary movement to grow to such a sufficiently alarming proportion as might enhance the value of her own mediation, she spoke in decisive tones, and all good Catholics abandoned the standard which she denounced as rebellious and infidel.

Late in November the last details of the military arrangements had to be settled, for which purpose Mackenzie made a hurried tour of the country north of Toronto, visiting Lloydtown, Holland Landing and other centres of the movement. He distrusted, without reason indeed, as was plainly manifested in the fight at Montgomery’s hotel, his own want of military skill, and secured the services of Colonel Van Egmond, a veteran Colonel of Napoleon’s grand army. This gentleman had acquired a large property in Canada, all of which he risked and lost in his unselfish endeavour to serve the Canadian cause. Colonel Van Egmond, who was advanced in years, was captured subsequently to the battle of Montgomery’s Hotel, and died in the hospital of the prison where he was confined.

On the night of December 3rd, Mackenzie, having visited the house of David Gibson, one of the leaders already mentioned, learned, to his no small dismay, that the day of rendezvous had been in his absence altered by Dr. Rolph’s sole order, from Thursday, the 7th of December, to Monday, the 4th. This, of course, Mackenzie thought would throw all their plans into confusion, and was a violation of the undertaking into which all the leaders had entered, that the day of rising should not be changed except by general consent. But there is no reason to think that Dr. Rolph acted otherwise than in perfect good faith. And the issuing of a warrant for Mackenzie’s arrest, which followed at once on the publication of the latest issue of the Constitution, and the issuing of arms to a city volunteer company, seem to have fully warranted Rolph’s action. Had his plan been but privately carried out, Toronto would have fallen into Mackenzie’s hands on the morning of Tuesday, December the 5th. Fifty resolute men could have done it. Nor can it be considered wise in Mackenzie to endeavour to change the day of rendezvous back to the original date. How much better to have accepted the situation than thus to play at cross-purposes. In vain did he send messages to Colonel Lount, who sent word that the men were already on the march, and that no further change could be made. Mackenzie saw that the die was cast, and resolved, come what might, to abide the issue.

Montgomery’s hotel was a frame building of two stories, and of the type still familiar in many a backwoods settlement. Round the front aspect of the house, which faced towards Toronto, ran a platform, or “stoop,” raised on three steps to avoid the slush in spring thaws. On one side of the door was the usual large bar-room, over the main entrance a lamp, and before the house a huge sign-board raised on high, bearing the usual hospitable announcement. Thither Mackenzie repaired on the evening of the 4th of December, the day appointed by Dr. Rolph for the rendezvous. The hotel belonged to John Montgomery, who had rented it to one Lingfoot, a man who, if anything, was a Loyalist. Montgomery is stated by Mr. C. Lindsey to have had no direct connection with the insurrection. A strong contrary opinion has been expressed by Mr. Wilcox, the companion of Mackenzie’s flight after the battle, and by Mr. Brock, at present of Toronto, then one of Mackenzie’s officers. It is evident, say these gentlemen, that Montgomery knew all about his house being constantly made a place of meeting by the patriots. But the anticipation of the day of meeting had spoiled all commissariat arrangements. Mackenzie could procure neither beef nor bread till the next morning, and when, late in the evening, Colonel Lount arrived with some ninety men, dispirited by a tramp of thirty miles through the Yonge Street mud, little comfort awaited them beyond what might be had from bare boards and bad whiskey. Mackenzie now advised two measures, one a most sensible one, to cut off all communication with the city by placing a guard across Yonge Street. This was done at once, and had well nigh succeeded in preventing the news of the rising from reaching the Lieutenant-Governor that night. The other was that an immediate advance on the city should be made by Lount’s company of riflemen and pikemen. Against this proposal Colonels Lount and Gibson and Jesse Lloyd protested. They seem, from a military point of view, to have been quite right. Lount’s company were utterly exhausted by a thirty-mile tramp through heavy mud. They had not received any provisions. Men in such a condition were not fit for a further forced march, to conclude, perhaps, with a fight against fresh and well-fed opponents. Mackenzie then offered, if accompanied by three others, to ride into the city, ascertain the state of matters, and return with Dr. Rolph and Dr. Morrison. Captain Anderson, one of Mackenzie’s most trusted officers, and two others rode with him towards Toronto. On their way they met a mounted patrol consisting of Alderman John Powell and Mr. Archibald Macdonald. Mackenzie explained that the rising had taken place, and said he must send them as temporary prisoners to Montgomery’s hotel, where he would give orders that they should be well treated. He then put them on parole as to their being possessors of weapons. Powell gave his word of honour that he was without a weapon, but he had not ridden far before he dropped behind his mounted escort, and, drawing a pistol, shot Anderson in the back. Anderson fell dead, his murderer galloped away, and as he passed Mackenzie he fired the other pistol at him. The clumsy flintlock, however, failed to accomplish his deadly purpose.

Meanwhile a meeting of Loyalists was held at the house of Colonel Moodie, near Richmond Hill, in consequence of the march of Lount’s men having been observed on the neighbouring part of Yonge Street, at four o’clock in the afternoon of that day. Several of the loyal gentlemen resolved to ride, if necessary, through the guard at Montgomery’s hotel, in order to carry the news to the Lieutenant-Governor in Toronto. The other members of the Loyalist party were stopped by the insurgent guard, and conveyed as prisoners into the hotel, where, by Mackenzie’s orders, they were treated with every respect. But Colonel Moodie had, most unfortunately, been drinking heavily. He acted like a madman, drew a pistol in either hand, and fired right and left upon the guard. It was not to be expected that the fire, under such circumstances, should not be returned. Moodie fell, and was removed to the hotel, where he died two hours afterwards. Mr. Lindsey, who certainly is the most reliable authority, says that the fatal shot was fired by a man named Ryan, who stood on the steps in front of the hotel, where the moonlight, falling full on Moodie, gave him a good mark. But two gentlemen, who were present when Moodie fell, state that the shot was fired from a crowd of men on the other side of the road, where there was an open clearing, and that the unhappily successful marksman was a farmer from Simcoe.

When Powell had passed Mackenzie, after riding forward for a little, he dismounted, and, fancying himself pursued, hid for some time behind a log. He then proceeded to the city with the first news of the revolt. He first waited on the Chief Justice, together with whom he went to Government House, where courtly historians record that Sir Francis Head “had gone to bed with a sick headache.” Hurried orders were given to assemble the chief government officials. Torches flared in the streets, where excited groups continued to gather until dawn, and the city bells, with loud clangor sounding the alarm, gave warning to the insurgent camp that the time for a surprise had gone by. It had, in reality, not gone by. In the city, the Lieutenant-Governor, terrified and incapable, put his family and household effects on board the small steamer ready for flight, should Mackenzie capture the city. A son of the Hon. William Hamilton Merritt, then a pupil in Upper Canada College, thus describes the scene of that morning in Toronto: “It was a curious sight to behold; guards of civilians hanging about Government House; the shops all closed! People hurrying silently in all directions, some with arms, some without. And then, at the Town Hall, where were assembled the cannon, with torches ready to be lighted, and the arms distributed. Melancholy exhibited in every countenance. All was new and strange! Nothing was done that day, but various movements took place in their turn. All was exciting.” The judges, the city aldermen, and other leading gentlemen, set the example of coolly forming themselves into a company for defence of their Government. Sheriff Jarvis got together a small corps of volunteers who were supplied with arms. But still the condition of Head and his Government may be described as one of panic all the forenoon of Tuesday, December 5th. Two hundred resolute men, had that opportunity been seized, might have captured the Government House and sent the Lieutenant-Governor flying in the steamer he had provided for the purpose.

At the insurgent camp, at Montgomery’s hotel, all the conditions were favourable for an advance on Toronto at that critical moment of the insurrection. Colonel Lount’s men had recovered from the fatigue of their long march of the day before. New companies and straggling bodies of men had poured into the camp all night. On Tuesday morning the insurgents mustered between seven and eight hundred men, an ample force to have carried all before them. The greater number were armed with pikes of Lount’s manufacture, a rude but most effective weapon, especially for street fighting. Many had the old heavy-handle pea-rifle, which those who possessed it were pretty sure to know how to use. A sufficient commissariat, too, had been procured. Lingfoot, the “Loyalist” tenant of John Montgomery, was not unwilling to take the rebel money which Mackenzie most honourably paid for all expenses incurred. Requisitions were made on several neighbouring houses belonging to Loyalists, but Mackenzie and his lieutenants would permit no violence nor injury to property, in this respect showing a very different spirit from that displayed by the Loyalist forces when their time came for reprisals. Ample supplies of fresh and salt beef, too, as well as of bread, had been procured from a “truly loyal” butcher, some two miles north of Montgomery’s hotel. If the men had been refreshed with a good breakfast, and then had marched on the city, the attack must have succeeded. For, by Head’s own account (Sir F. B. Head’s Narrative, p. 331), he had but three hundred supporters in the city that morning, besides which he was notoriously unpopular, while Mackenzie had many ardent supporters in Toronto ready to join his force had it once advanced. And Mackenzie himself strongly urged an immediate advance. He was overruled by his lieutenants, especially by David Gibson, on the ground that the detachments from the west had not yet arrived, and that nothing was known of the state of things in the city, where the alarm bells warned them that their enterprise had been discovered, and would no doubt be resisted. Thus was the favourable moment lost by the want of proper discipline, and of subjection to those in authority. In fact, one of the gravest errors of the insurgents in planning the rising had been the neglect of securing communication by means of emissaries who would not be suspected, and by devious routes. They had trusted too much to receiving communications through leading men such as Rolph and Morrison, every movement of whom was sure to be watched by the Government. Dr. Morrison did, it is believed, endeavour to make his way to the camp at Montgomery’s on the night of December 4th. A Loyalist, Captain Bridgeford, meeting him, is supposed to have caused his return to the city (see Lindsey’s Life of Mackenzie, Vol. II. p. 80, a curious detail of circumstantial evidence in connection with this incident as discovered at Morrison’s trial for high treason in 1838). All through the 5th every avenue which directly led to the northern part of Yonge Street was watched by armed patrols, who did not hesitate to fire on any one whom they saw approaching in the direction of Montgomery’s hotel. Thus the younger Merritt, in his school diary, relates:—“In such a state of things human life is held at a very cheap rate. Next day, by going too near where the rebels were stationed, we (several Upper Canada College students) were taken prisoners. When in durance, I saw a sentry aim his musket at a person who was running away.”

As a proof of the abject state of panic to which Sir Francis Head was by this time reduced, he actually stooped to send a flag of truce to the insurgents’ camp, thus acknowledging them as belligerents with whom he might make terms. In his own account of this transaction, Head states that he sent the flag of truce on Wednesday, December the 5th, and that his motive was humanity. Both statements are false. It was on Tuesday, not on Wednesday, that the flag of truce was sent, and Head’s motive was not humanity, but fear, and a desire to gain time till his reinforcements of militia might arrive. Instead of sending a couple of his own officials, Sir Francis further showed the white feather by selecting as his emissaries men who were believed to be deep in the confidence of the insurgents. He first, through Sheriff Jarvis, appointed Mr. J. Harvey Price, well known to be a friend of Mackenzie’s, but Price refused point blank, lest he should afterwards be said to have gone to join the camp at Montgomery’s. At length Mr. Robert Baldwin and Dr. Rolph agreed to go, and arrived at Montgomery’s about one o’clock. For Rolph to have undertaken this mission as the representative of Head’s Government was a very great mistake. His appearance as the emissary of Head did much to discourage those whom he had urged on to take up arms. He should have declined the mission at all hazards to his personal liberty, or should have remained with his friends, leaving Robert Baldwin to carry back Mackenzie’s reply to Head’s message as to their demands: “Independence, and a convention to arrange details.” But, ever given to subtle policy, Rolph attempted a middle course. He went with Baldwin and returned with him, but sought a few minutes private conversation with Lount, in which he urged an immediate advance of the whole force on the city.

It is due to Mackenzie’s military reputation to say that he took immediate measures for carrying their advice into effect. He rode westward by College Avenue to what is now the head of Spadina Avenue, where a large body of the insurgents were stationed, and led them towards Yonge Street. When he arrived at Yonge Street he met Baldwin and Rolph, who brought word of the Lieutenant-Governor’s refusal to grant their demands. Here again Rolph advised an advance on the city, where they might expect to be reinforced by six hundred of their friends, by six p.m. At a quarter to six the whole of Mackenzie’s force were mustered at the toll-bar on Yonge Street.

Mackenzie on that occasion did all he could to animate his followers with his own intrepid spirit, but nothing he could say would supply the utter want of discipline in their disorderly ranks. They marched without order, those of Lount’s men who had rifles, in front, the pikemen following. They met and disarmed a Captain Duggan of the volunteer artillery, but soon afterwards they were fired on by a party of Sheriff Jarvis’s volunteers, who after the first volley ran away. A disgraceful panic ensued. Had the insurgents shown anything of the courage which, too late to save their cause, they showed when brought to bay on December the 7th, the result would have been very different. All but a score at most retreated to a considerable distance above the toll-gate. Mackenzie, aided by Lount and Alves, tried in vain to rally them, but Lount’s men threw away their pikes. They said they would march no further that night. Next morning, Rolph, finding that all hope of success was lost by the failure of the insurgents, left for the United States. The particulars of his escape, never before published, will be given in the next chapter. Many of the insurgents now went back to their farms, but some new arrivals kept up the force at Montgomery’s to nearly five hundred men. Thenceforth, their history is but a record of divided counsels and consequent failures, redeemed, it is true, by the courage with which they confronted, on the morning of the 7th, a greatly superior force of militia, well-armed and supported by artillery. Another error was committed by Mackenzie, though as he says in obedience to Rolph’s express orders, burning the house of Dr. Horne, a loyalist spy. This unduly alarmed the citizens of Toronto, and gave colour to Head’s accusation that Mackenzie and Lount meant to fire the city. This imprudent act, Mr. Brock, one of Mackenzie’s officers now surviving, tells me that he and his two brothers strongly opposed.

On Wednesday, Mackenzie, with Lount, Alves, Brock and others, galloped to Dundas Street to intercept the Western mail, which they succeeded in effecting. But meantime Sir Francis Head had received reinforcements on a scale that enabled him to assume the offensive. On the morning of Thursday, December the 7th, Colonel Van Egmond, as originally arranged, arrived to take command. He at once approved of all Mackenzie’s measures, and advised a delay till night, and meantime to divert the enemy’s attention and prevent an attack by sending a party of sixty men, including forty armed with rifles, to destroy the bridge over the Don, and intercept the mail from Montreal. This plan was carried out successfully, although the Don Bridge was but partially burned. But divided councils and Gibson’s opposition to the measures proposed caused a delay of two hours, which, as Mr. Lindsey says, proved fatal. Three steamers had conveyed Colonel MacNab’s and other bodies of militia to the Toronto wharves. At noon on Thursday, Sir Francis Head’s force marched from Toronto, (he calls it in his Emigrant “an overwhelming force”), led by Colonels MacNab, Fitzgibbon and Jarvis. They presented a motley appearance. Only the chief officers were mounted and in uniform; the rank and file were ununiformed; they had a sort of extemporized military band, and were preceded by the two field-pieces from the City Hall. About one in the afternoon the attacking column came in sight of the outposts of the insurgent camp. Mackenzie rushed forward to reconnoitre. Returning to his men, he asked if “they were ready to encounter a force greatly superior in numbers to themselves, well armed, and provided with artillery? They replied in the affirmative.” (Lindsey’s Mackenzie, Vol. II., 94.)

On the west side of the Yonge street roadway was a second growth of pine wood, just south of Montgomery’s hotel. On the other side of the road was an open clearing, where a party of the insurgents were posted under cover of the fence. But the main body were now stationed by Mackenzie, who had by this time abandoned his horse, in the pine grove on the west side. Meanwhile, the militia had halted, a little more than a gunshot from the insurgents, and opened fire with grape and canister. One or two of the shots knocked off an angle of the wall of a small building once used as a school house—a vestige of the battle which might have been seen till recently. The shot from the field-pieces crashed among the pine trees, throwing the splinters in all directions. Meanwhile, the militia, firing volleys of musketry as they went, with much effect, advanced both in front and on either flank, wherever they could find cover. They enormously outnumbered the insurgents, yet, says Mackenzie, “never did men fight more courageously. In the face of a heavy fire of grape and canister, with broadside following broadside of musketry in steady and rapid succession, they stood their ground firmly.” Hard pressed and outnumbered, they were at length compelled to retreat, their leaders, above all Mackenzie himself, fighting to the last. An eye witness, quoted by Mr. Lindsey (Life of Mackenzie, II., 96), states: “So unwilling was Mackenzie to leave the field of battle, and so hot was the chase after him, that he distanced the enemy’s horsemen only twenty or thirty yards by his superior knowledge of the country, and reached Colonel Lount and our friends on their retreat, just in time to save his neck.” Brock, who was with him all through the fight, has told me how Mackenzie, during the struggle, which lasted about an hour in all, exposed his person with the most intrepid courage. The battle was lost, and the insurrection was crushed under the feet of Head’s “overwhelming force.” Yet the bloodshed and the courage displayed by Mackenzie and his followers were not in vain. Their appearance in arms against the tyranny of irresponsible government drew upon English Canada with enduring beneficial effect the attention of English Liberalism. Head, MacNab, and their “overwhelming force” did indeed gain a victory over the four hundred insurgents, but it was a victory which to them and their cause proved more disastrous than any defeat. On the side of the Loyalists all was exultation. Carts were ordered up to receive the wounded of both sides, of whom there were many, but the insurgents managed to carry away most of their wounded to friendly farm houses. Several of the insurgents were killed. Head, before marching back to the city, ordered Montgomery’s hotel to be burned down.

Chapter XXVII.


VICTORY in their hands, the exultation of the Family Compact knew no bounds. The prisons were crowded with unoffending citizens, arrested “on suspicion.” To have been a Reformer of the mildest and most constitutional kind was sufficient to cause the man of a family to be imprisoned for months. When released, as arbitrarily as they had been arrested, they would find house and furniture wrecked by the brutal militia-men sent to occupy it. Rewards, to large amounts, of blood-money were set on the heads of the leading chiefs of the late insurrection.

Meanwhile the western division of the insurgents had met at the village of Scotland, in the southern township of Brant County. They were about five hundred, generally armed with rifles. On the news of the defeat of Mackenzie reaching them, Colonel Sackrider, who, as has been stated, was a veteran officer of 1812, wished to occupy the pine woods south of Burford, where they could have a friendly country as a base of supplies, and might make a stand against MacNab and the Loyalist militia. But Duncombe gave it as his opinion that they had better disperse, which was accordingly done. A full account of the interesting circumstances of Duncombe’s escape from the Loyalist prison, as gathered by myself from Dr. Duncombe’s daughter, and from the son of the gentleman who contrived the escape; as also of the flight, under circumstances of great difficulty, of Mr. Hagel, one of Duncombe’s officers, will be given at full length in a future work. As yet these stories, so characteristic of that period of Canadian history, have never been laid before the public. It is hoped, also, that in the advanced work a fuller account may be drawn from sources entirely original of Dr. Rolph’s escape from Toronto. His opponents were thirsting for his blood, and he knew it well. Calmly, on the morning of Wednesday, the 6th of December, he sauntered along King Street, passing in and out of the houses of his patients, as if intent on his professional practice. In advance of him a favourite pupil of his, now one of Toronto’s most eminent practitioners, had Rolph’s best horse ready saddled. A little past the western city limits, however, they met a party of militia, commanded by an exceedingly zealous Loyalist. Most fortunate for a life yet destined to be most useful to Canada and science, he had just received a letter from a sister, who lived at some distance, and was dangerously ill. Rolph produced the letter, said he was about to ride to see the patient, and was allowed to go on his way. He easily made his escape into the United States, where he resumed the practice of his profession with much success, until a pardon enabled him to return to Toronto.

Of William Lyon Mackenzie’s wonderful adventures during his flight a most graphic account is given by Mr. Lindsey. Less fortunate was the brave and generous-hearted Colonel Samuel Lount. For a short time he retreated along with Mackenzie, at the head of about ninety armed men. It was then thought most judicious that the party should separate. The Hon. James Young, in his amusing and useful book on Galt and Dumfries, states, on the authority of a militia officer still living, that Lount was secreted for some days near Galt. Mr. Young adds that Lount would certainly have been captured were it not that his arrest would have involved all who had sheltered him in the penalties of high treason. Lount was next secreted in an almost impenetrable swamp, near Glenmorris. Thence he was moved to the house of a political friend, near the village of Glenmorris; a magistrate arrived at the front door of that house to arrest him, just as Lount left by the back-door. Samuel Latchaw, a well known South Dumfries farmer, conveyed him thence to Waterford, where he lay concealed in the hay-mow of Grover’s hotel, while the Loyalist militia were scouring the country all round in search of him. At last, after many such adventures, he made his way to the Niagara river, where he was captured, as Mr. Young well puts it, “within sight of the United States and safety.” He was next seen being led through Chippawa as a prisoner. His cap had blown off his head into the river, and a ragged old red night cap had been placed on his head by his “loyal” escort in mockery of the Republican Cap of Liberty. Though given in heartless insult, no better head-gear could have befitted the brow of Samuel Lount. He was tried soon afterwards at Toronto, with Peter Matthews of Pickering. They were found guilty, and an eminent physician of this city who was present in the court house during the trial tells me that Chief Justice Sir John Beverley Robinson pronounced the cruel death sentence with evident satisfaction. It was as if he was eating honey. Orders had been sent from England to delay the capital sentence, but the Chief Justice and the Rev. John Strachan used all their influence to bring Lount and Matthews to the scaffold. They died calmly, confident in the justice of the cause for which they gave their lives, on April 12th, 1838. Of a very different nature from Mackenzie’s attempt to create a revolution by seizing the capital and overthrowing the Family Compact tyranny, and utterly unjustifiable on any patriotic ground, were the raids on Canadian territory by American sympathizers in 1838. The chief of these was made from the American side, whence a force of about a thousand Canadian and American sympathizers occupied Navy Island in the Niagara river above the Falls. They were, however, induced to disperse by the American General Scott. A steamer which they had used to convey supplies to the island was seized by MacNab, who set it on fire, and sent it to drift over the cataract. For this achievement MacNab was knighted.

In 1838 Head was recalled, and Sir George Arthur came to Upper Canada as Governor. The Family Compact had triumphed, and had filled the prisons with the “rebels.” Two of the leaders, Lount and Matthews, were executed; rewards were offered for the capture of Mackenzie, Duncombe and others, dead or alive, and the frontier was haunted by prowling Iroquois from the Grand river, eager to take the scalp of the “rebel” chiefs and earn the Government blood-money. In October of this year a raid was made by a body of sympathizers under a Pole named Von Schoultz, who occupied a stone wind-mill near Prescott. They were attacked by a large force of militia, and compelled to surrender. Von Schoultz was taken to Kingston and tried for high treason, being ably, but unsuccessfully, defended by a young lawyer named John A. Macdonald. Von Schoultz was executed. An attempt was also made by the insurgents to capture Windsor and Amherstburg, but they were dispersed with a loss of twenty-one by Colonel Prince. Four prisoners were taken, who were shot in cold blood by the Colonel. In their triumph the insolence of the Family Compact knew no bounds. The Reign of Terror in France and the Bloody Assize in England seemed about to repeat themselves in Canada. But a great change had taken place in England. The Tory party, which had been supreme since Waterloo, had fallen from power, and their place was filled by the great Liberal Administration of Lords Grey and Melbourne. By them Lord Durham was sent out as Imperial High Commissioner to adjust all questions and grievances in Canada. He stood between the political prisoners and the Family Compact party, who were made to see that their hour was past. Lord Durham, on his return to England, published his celebrated “Report,” which must ever be regarded as one of the chief documents of Canadian freedom. In this he recommended nearly all the reforms for which Mackenzie had for so many years asked in vain. Thus the insurrection, though as a military movement it failed, by arousing the attention of English Liberalism to the tyranny of the Family Compact, accomplished, in an indirect manner, all at which it aimed.

Chapter XXVIII.


IN 1839 Mr. Charles Poulett Thomson, an English merchant, was appointed Governor-General. Colborne, who now returned to England, received the title of Lord Seaton. In accordance with instructions from the English Minister, Thomson proposed for acceptance a measure which united the provinces, provided for equal representation of both in the conjoint Legislature, and conceded the full acknowledgment of the long-wished-for right of Responsible Government. The Lower Canadians were, of course, bitterly opposed to the union, but no attention was paid to their opposition. The Family Compact saw in it the ruin of their supremacy, but the hour was gone by in which they could cajole the English Government, now in the hands of the Liberals, who, thanks to Lord Durham, were no longer ignorant of Canadian politics. In 1840 the vexed question of the Clergy Reserves was again brought forward, and a bill passed authorizing their sale, but as it gave the lion’s share of the proceeds to the Anglican Church, the Reformers were still dissatisfied. But a victory had been won for Constitutional Government which outweighed all minor grievances, and the knell of the Family Compact oligarchy sounded in Governor Thomson’s message to the Upper Canada Parliament: “I have been commanded by Her Majesty to administer the Government in accordance with the well-understood wishes of the people, and to pay to their feelings, as expressed through their representatives, the deference that is justly due to them.”

The union of Upper and Lower Canada came into force in 1841. Kingston was made the seat of Government. Mr. Thomson received the title of Baron Sydenham. He endeavoured to carry out faithfully the work of inaugurating the system of Responsible Government, and introduced, through the Executive Council, many useful measures. Unfortunately when riding up the hill of Portsmouth, near Kingston, his horse fell, crushing his leg, an injury of which, to the great sorrow of all true Canadian patriots, he died on September 19th, 1841. By his own desire, he was buried at Kingston. He was succeeded by Sir Charles Bagot, a High Churchman and a Tory, who was at first received with dread by the Reformers, and with exultation by the Tories, who hoped that the good times of Sir Francis Head were come again. But neither party knew their man. Sir Charles Bagot had been sent to Canada to administer Responsible Government, and was, from first to last, faithful to his trust. He gave his confidence to the Reform Government, and refused to lend an ear to the blandishments of the Family Compact. Unhappily, he fell into ill health, aggravated by hard work, and exposure to the rigors of a Canadian winter, and he died at Alwington House, Kingston, in May, 1843. His successor, Sir Charles, afterwards Lord Metcalfe, was a politician of very different stamp. He threw himself wholly into the arms of the Tory party, who were the heirs of the defunct Family Compact, and, mainly by his influence, a small majority for that party was obtained at the elections of 1844. A Tory Ministry under Mr. Draper now came into power, Sir A. MacNab being Speaker. In 1845, the Draper Government proposed to pay all losses sustained by Loyalists during the troubles of 1837-’38 in Upper Canada. The French agreed to this, provided that similar compensation was given to Lower Canada. Commissioners were appointed, who reported that £100,000 would be required. As a sop to his French supporters, Draper proposed a grant of $9,986 in partial payment of Lower Canadian losses. This satisfied nobody, and the Draper Administration became unpopular on all sides.

In 1846 common schools were established throughout Upper Canada, the germ of our present public school system being introduced by Dr. Egerton Ryerson. The history of this very able administration in connection with our public school system arose out of the following circumstances connected with the official acts of Lord Metcalfe. The Governor-General had, it is believed, received secret instructions from a reactionary administration in England to oppose, as far as possible, the growth of Responsible Government. In carrying into effect these back-stairs instructions, Metcalfe had thrown all his personal and official influence into the support of Mr. Draper’s Government, which, it was evident, did not possess the confidence of the people. Metcalfe, in consequence of this, was exposed to considerable unpopularity, and was justly criticised by the caustic pens of Francis Hincks and Robert Baldwin Sullivan. Meantime it was suggested to the Rev. Egerton Ryerson, at that time President of the Methodist University at Cobourg, that he might, with advantage to his church and the university, employ his pen in defending Lord Metcalfe against the aspersions constantly thrown upon his political course by some of our ablest public ministers. The person who made this suggestion was the Hon. William Hamilton Merritt, of Welland Canal notoriety, in connection with which expensive enterprise he was more than suspected of serious malversation of public funds. The Rev. E. Ryerson was, at a time when such writing was more scarce than it is now, a vigorous and versatile writer, and a man of great force of character. But his Metcalfe letters are the least pleasant reading of anything the late Superintendent of Education has left behind him. They contain an admixture of political special pleading with the unctuous phraseology of the pulpit, which would be intolerable in the present day, and was only bearable at the time from the more influential position filled by preachers in influencing public opinion. As the first editor of the Christian Guardian, as a convert for conscience sake from the rich Episcopalian Church of his fathers, as a devoted missionary to the Indians, as the ablest of the ministers and champions of his church, Egerton Ryerson was, at the time, a power, and Lord Metcalfe and his advisers knew it. As a direct result of the Metcalfe letters, the position of Chief Superintendent of Education was offered to Dr. Ryerson, pretty nearly on his own terms. He was certainly the best man for the position, and both as regards income and power, it was decidedly the best position the country could offer. In the course of his long autocracy, Dr. Ryerson established an eclectic system of public education, in part based on the Prussian and part on the New England school system, with a selection of non-denominational text-books similar to those used at the time by Protestant and Catholic alike in the national schools in Ireland. Whatever mistakes Dr. Ryerson may have made from time to time in matters of detail, however imperious his self-assertion, it was necessary to have a firm hand and a strong will at the helm in those troublous times that saw the establishment of our school system. To Dr. Ryerson we owe the establishment of the collection of works of art in the Normal School museum, the germ, it is to be hoped, of a Canadian national gallery. In the graded improvement of this collection, in the collection of an admirable series of specimens of engravings historically arranged, and in the completion of an art catalogue likely to be of use to art study, Dr. Ryerson’s work has been well carried out by his subordinates. Of Dr. Ryerson’s work in our educational system it may be said, as we point to our city schools in Toronto, “if you seek his monument, look around you!”

Lord Elgin arrived in Canada as Governor General in 1847. The decaying Tory Government was now attacked with much effect by Mr. Francis Hincks in the Montreal Pilot. This able writer and speaker had much advanced the cause of Reform by his articles in the Toronto Examiner in 1839. The Clergy Reserves question was now again agitated. A famine in Ireland and Scotland caused an immense immigration to Canada in this year, as many as 70,000 having landed at Quebec. But these were the least valuable class of settlers. Too weak to be of use as labourers, they carried the seeds of pestilence and death broadcast over the country. At the elections of 1848, the Reformers were once more successful, and, Draper being forced to resign, the Baldwin-Lafontaine Ministry came into power. In 1849, the strength of the two parties was tested by a new Rebellion Losses Bill, to which the Tories were bitterly opposed. Meantime the Governor announced that the British Government was prepared to hand over the control of the Post Office Department to the Canadian Government, and that it was optional with the Canadian Legislature to repeal the differential duties in favour of British manufactures. Dr. Wolfred Nelson and M. Papineau were now returned as representatives from Lower Canada, but the magic of Papineau’s influence had gone with his cowardice at St. Denis, and the French Canadians followed in preference the leadership of the more moderate Reformer, Lafontaine. There was a memorable debate in Parliament over M. Lafontaine’s Rebellion Losses Bill. Sir Allan MacNab’s party entered the conflict with a will. The Knight led the attack, and his invective was unsparing and indiscriminate. He did not wonder that a premium was put upon rebellion, now that rebels were rewarded for their own uprising; for the Government itself was a rebel Government, and the party by which it was maintained in power was a phalanx of rebels. His lieutenants were scarcely less unsparing and fierce in the attack. But the Government boldly took up their position. Mr. Baldwin, Attorney-General West, maintained that it would be disgraceful to enquire whether a man had been a rebel or not after the passage of a general act of indemnity. Mr. Drummond, Solicitor-General East, took ground which placed the matter in the clearest light. The Indemnity Act had pardoned those concerned in High Treason. Technically speaking, then, all who had been attainted stood in the same position as before the rebellion. But the opposition were not in a mood to reason. The two colonels, Prince and Gugy, talked a great deal of fury. The former reminded the house that he was “a gentleman;” the latter made it plain that he was a blusterer. Mr. Sherwood was fierce, and often trenchant; while Sir Allan reiterated that the whole French Canadian people were traitors and aliens. At this date, we are moved neither to anger nor contempt at reading such utterances as those of the knights, for it would be wrong to regard them as else than infirmities; and it is deplorable that by such statements the one party should allow itself to be dominated, and the other driven to wrath. But through all these volcanic speeches Sir Allan was drifting in the direction of a mighty lash, held in a strong arm; and when the blow descends we find little compassion for the wrigglings of the tortured knight. It was while Sir Allan had been bestriding the Parliament like a Colossus, breathing fire and brimstone against every opponent, and flinging indiscriminately about him such epithets as “traitor” and “rebel,” that Mr. Blake, Solicitor-General West, stung beyond endurance, sprang to his feet. He would remind them, he said, that there was not only one kind of rebellion, and one description of rebel and traitor. He would tell them that there was such a thing as rebellion against the constitution as well as rebellion against the Crown. A man could be a traitor to his country’s rights as well as a traitor to the power of the Crown. He instanced Philip of Spain, and James II., when there was a struggle between political freedom and royal tyranny. These royal tyrants found loyal men to do their bidding, not only in the army but on the bench of justice. There was one such loyal servant, he who shone above all the rest, the execrable Judge Jeffreys, who sent among the many other victims before their Maker, the mild, amiable and great Lord Russell. Another victim of these loyal servants was Algernon Sidney, whose offence was his loyalty to the people’s rights and the constitution. He had no sympathy with the spurious loyalty of the honourable gentlemen opposite, which, while it trampled on the people, was the slave of the court; a loyalty which, from the dawn of the history of the world down to the present day, had lashed humanity into rebellion. He would not go to ancient history; but he would tell the honourable gentlemen opposite of one great exhibition of this loyalty: on one occasion the people of a distant Roman province contemplated the perpetration of the foulest crime that the page of history records—a crime from which nature in compassion hid her face, and over which she strove to draw a veil; but the heathen Roman law-giver could not be induced by perjured witnesses to place the great Founder of our religion upon the cross. “I find no fault in Him,” he said. But these provincials, after endeavouring by every other means to effect their purpose, had recourse to this spurious loyalty. “If thou lettest this man go thou are not Cæsar’s friend!” Mark the loyalty; could they not see every feature of it; could they not trace it in this act; aye, and overcome by that mawkish, spurious loyalty, the heathen Roman governor gave his sanction to a deed whose foul and impure stain eighteen centuries of national humiliation and suffering have been unable to efface. This spurious, slavish loyalty was not British stuff; this spurious bullying loyalty never grew in his native land. British loyalty wrung on the field of Runnymede from the tyrant king the great charter of English liberty. Aye, the barons of England, with arms in their hands, demanded and received the great charter of their rights. British loyalty, during a period of three centuries, wrung from tyrant kings thirty different recognitions of that great charter. Aye, and at the glorious era of the Revolution, when the loyal Jeffreys was ready, in his extreme loyalty, to hand over England’s freedom and rights into the hands of tyrants, the people of England established the constitution which has maintained England till this day, a great, free and powerful nation.

So fierce was the animosity of the Tory party to the Rebellion Losses Bill that some of them broke out into threats of secession, and clamoured for annexation. The bill however passed on April 26th, 1849. On the afternoon of that day a riotous mob assailed the Governor, Lord Elgin, as he was leaving the Parliament House; but his carriage drove rapidly away, and he thus escaped. Baulked of their object, the mob then turned their attention to burning the Parliament Buildings, to which a torch was applied by a Tory member for a constituency in the Eastern Townships. The Parliament House, with its library, containing historical documents of great value, was totally destroyed. In consequence of this disgraceful outrage, in which the Tory party demeaned itself in a manner worthy of Guy Fawkes, the seat of Government was removed for the next two years to Toronto, the name of York having been changed for the more appropriate Indian designation in 1834. Subsequently, until Ottawa was fixed upon as the seat of Government, the sessions of Parliament were held sometimes at Toronto and sometimes at Quebec.

A period of depression now set in, owing to the English market being opened to the importation of grain from all countries by the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. In 1849 municipal government was organized in Upper Canada, and in the following year in the Lower Province. In 1850 a treaty of reciprocal trade was proposed to the United States Government. At the same time the Clergy Reserves Bill was agitated anew, and a division took place on this question in the Reform ranks, those who advocated the secularization of the Reserves being called “Grits.” This was Canada’s Railway year. The first lines constructed were the Great Western, Grand Trunk, and Northern.

In 1851 Mr. Hincks became the head of the Ministry. In 1853 a bill for election reform extended the number of representatives in the Lower House from eighty-four to one hundred and thirty. The Reciprocity Treaty with the United States was concluded in 1854. In the same year Lord Elgin was recalled, and the office of Governor-General filled by Sir Edmund Head.

In 1855 the Clergy Reserves question was definitely settled by the secularization of the land, and the State in Canada was declared altogether independent of Church connection. In the Lower Province, all the remains of the feudal system, which had long been a hindrance to progress, were swept away, a balance of £656,000 being paid as compensation to the Seigneurs from the Treasury of United Canada. In 1856 a further reform was introduced, by the Legislative Council being made elective, and, as the population and general prosperity of the country increased, additional representation was from time to time secured. The abolition of the long-standing iniquity of the Clergy Reserves, the most bitter of all the oppressions against which Mackenzie had done battle, was effected. Perhaps no part of the community has been more a gainer by this great act of justice than the ancient historic Church which her bishops had wronged by their persistent efforts to grasp property that was not rightly theirs.

In 1859 the beautiful buildings of our Provincial University were completed amid the surroundings, not unworthy of such an edifice, of the people’s chief park in Toronto. The University buildings are, next to the Ottawa Parliament House, the most beautiful in the Dominion, and worthily represent the progressive condition of University education since it was liberated from the mediæval sectarianism of King’s College, Toronto. At the same period the introduction of a decimal coinage put an end to the vexatious anomalies caused by the use of the foreign monetary system of “pounds, shillings and pence,” and gave Canada a currency identical with that of the great continent to which she belongs.

In 1860 the magnificent bridge over the St. Lawrence, at Montreal, was opened for use. It ranks among the wonders of the modern world, and as a work of human art is well placed amid some of the finest scenery in Canada. In this same year was laid the foundation of the new Parliament House at Ottawa, a building of which any civilized nation might well be proud.

In 1861 Sir Edmund Head retired from office. He had not been a popular ruler—for rulers in some sense the foreign Governors of Canada still were in his day. But the principle of Responsible Government had been too firmly established as part of the Canadian constitution to be safely assailed, even by a Governor appointed by the Crown. Soon after his withdrawal to England, Sir Edmund Head died without issue, and his baronetcy expired with him. His successor was Lord Monck, an Irish Peer (and thus an inferior article in English view).

In 1861 broke out that great struggle which was to have such momentous results in the life of the great Republic, our neighbour. It was an hour of peril for Canada. The Jingo party in England, backed by the aristocracy and all the enemies of freedom, wished for nothing more than to involve England in war with the Republic, and more than once they seemed likely to gain their point. Had this happened, our country would have been the battle-field, our cities and homesteads would have fed the torch, our harvests have been trampled by the armies of England and the United States. War between England and the United States may always be looked on as a possible though not as a probable event in the future, as long as the Jingo party is influential in England, and the Irish millions who hate England increase, as they must increase, in numbers and power in the States. It is therefore ever increasingly the interest of Canada to keep out of the quarrel, by securing, as soon as may be in her power, the right to stand alone and apart from the feuds of foreign nations. As it providentially happened, no great harm came to Canada out of this war—except that business was unhealthily stimulated during its continuance by a scale of demand and of price which could not last, and was of course followed by a reaction proportionately violent. The general sympathies of the English Canadians may be considered to have been for the North and Freedom, against the slave-holding South, though the “shoddy aristocracy” at Ottawa thought it a fine thing to echo the English Jingo’s hatred of the world’s greatest Republic in the hour of her trial.

In 1862 Parliament met at Quebec, and a new administration came into power under John Sandfield Macdonald and L. V. Sicotte. Their programme included the double-majority principle in legislation, and the maintenance of the royal choice of Ottawa as the seat of Government. Ottawa has unfortunately proved to be “out of the way” of the general current of Canadian intellectual and industrial life, whose true centre is in Toronto. Mr. George Brown, who had assumed the leadership of the moderate Reformers, now began to attack from his place in the House, and in the columns of the Globe, of which paper, established in 1844, he was proprietor. He assailed the new Ministry, and upheld with much eloquence the only rational system of representation, that by population, irrespective of a division between the Provinces. In this year died Sir Allan MacNab, who, in spite of his championship of an unpatriotic cause, had done much good service to Canada, and personally was much esteemed. He had long retired from political leadership, the torch of Family Compact and Tory tradition having been handed on to John A. Macdonald, the able and astute member for Kingston. The revolt of the slave-owning oligarchy in the Southern States was now in full progress. Fortunately, in spite of sympathy on the part of English Toryism, and the attempts of Southern refugees to abuse Canadian hospitality by making our country a basis for raids on the neighbouring Republic, Canada escaped being involved in the war.

In the Parliament of 1863 Mr. George Brown appeared as member for the South Riding of Oxford. The Globe now led the battle in favour of Upper Canada obtaining her just share of increased representation, in consequence of its great advance over Lower Canada in increased population. Public opinion in this Province was, of course, on his side, but the action of the Ministry was then, as it has been so often since, to the detriment of our interest, hampered by the Lower Canadian vote. The Ministry also lost ground with Protestant Reformers, who justly condemned its weakness in yielding to the clamours of the French and Irish Catholics the right to a Separate School system. Sandfield Macdonald, on Parliament being dissolved, tried to regain the support of the Brown section of Reformers by reconstructing his Cabinet. In consequence of this he lost the support of one of the most eloquent orators yet heard in Canadian legislative halls—the Irish patriot, Thomas D’Arcy McGee.

In 1864, the Reciprocity Treaty being withdrawn by the Government of the United States, a season of depression again occurred in Canada. When Parliament met, the Sandfield Macdonald Ministry was evidently in a state of collapse. On its resignation a Tory or Conservative Administration was formed by Sir E. P. Taché and Mr. (afterwards Sir George Etienne) Cartier. In this Government John A. Macdonald held office as Attorney-General. But when Parliament met in May, 1864, it was evident that Government could not be efficiently carried on. The scheme for the union of the provinces had resulted in continual dead-lock. Upper Canada would not forego its rightful claim to an increased representation. Lower Canada would not concede the passing of a measure which would force her into a second-rate position.

At this juncture John A. Macdonald for the first time, and on a great scale, displayed the talent for which he has since been distinguished above all other modern politicians, except perhaps the late Lord Beaconsfield—the most valuable political talent of appropriating the ideas of other men, and utilizing them for the advancement of his party. John A. Macdonald had again and again ridiculed the scheme of joint Federal authority, of which Mr. Brown had been an advocate. It was seen by the wily party-leader from Kingston that his opponents had after all been in the right, and that the only escape from anarchy was the separate Provincial Government of Upper and Lower Canada, with a Federal Government of the whole country based on representation by population. But the history of Confederation is of so great importance as to require a chapter to itself. Meanwhile we must notice an influence from without, which had a considerable indirect share in bringing about the federal union of the Provinces which now bear the common name of Canada.

Since the troublous days of “sad but glorious ’98,” the American Republic had furnished cities of refuge for the proscribed agents of Irish revolt. There Thomas Addis Emmett, brother of the more gifted but more unfortunate Robert Emmett, was welcomed by the members of the American bar, among whom he rose to eminence. There, without taking into account the unstable and capricious McGee, the really able leaders of young Ireland found a career. With every year, from the dismal 1847, which the writer so well remembers, the crowds gathered on the Dublin quays, eager to fly from Sligo, dark with famine and pestilence. Thousands upon thousands repeated and twice told over, carried the religion of their fathers, the love for their country, the undying hatred of her oppressors, into the new world. A new and greater Ireland had grown up beyond the Atlantic, whose sons had fought, with the valour which had beaten back the bloody Duke of Cumberland at Fontenoy, the battles of their protectress Republic against the slave-holding South. An organization having for its avowed object the establishment of an independent Irish Republic had been founded in Ireland, and had extensive branches throughout the Northern States and army. It took the name of “Fenian” from the ancient militia of the tribal system of the Brehon era of Irish civilization. It attempted a revolt in Ireland, of course without any success, for England was then unhampered by foreign wars, and English gold and steel were free to gag and smite. But it cannot be denied, except by the merest haters of all things Irish, such as Mr. Froude and some of his still more eminent literary confreres in England, that the Fenian movement in Ireland called forth the devotion, freely given through years of cruel imprisonment, of men like John O’Leary, Thomas Luby and John Martin. It is quite true that there has been in connection with the present Irish nationalist movement in the United States a great deal of misfortune, as well as many of those dynamite assassination horrors which would disgrace any cause; but in Ireland, and among the leaders there, this was not the case. Lever, who knew well what he was writing about, has described most truthfully the better side of the early Fenian movement in one of the most graphic of his later novels, “Lord Kilgobbin.” It must always be remembered that one wing, and that the most respectable by culture and character, opposed from first to last any proposal to make raids on Canada. It must be remembered also that if such raids were made there, they were out of no ill-will to the Canadians, but as an indirect means of striking at England. Had Canada been independent, no Fenian would have carried a rifle across her borders. But the guilt of entertaining such a proposal cannot be palliated. It was not only a crime but a mistake. It tended to create bitterness between Canada and the United States, which would surely be the greatest loss to Irish nationalism, as it would tend to strengthen the hold of British connection in Canada, and perpetuate for the use of English Jingoism its only available basis of operations against the United States. Happily the raids of the banditti calling themselves Fenians have never produced that effect. Between Canadian Liberalism and Irish Nationalism there has never been a close alliance. O’Connell was the firm friend of William Lyon Mackenzie, and used all his great influence to advance the victory, in this country, of Responsible Government. And very recently both political parties in the Canadian House of Commons joined forces to support the address expressive of a hope that Ireland might yet enjoy the measure of Home Rule possessed by Canada, which brought out so much British Billingsgate from the English journals, and aroused such intense sympathy in Ireland. As to the question between England and Ireland, a history of Canada does not enter into it, but this much is patent: the position of England is that of a strong man who has taken possession of his weaker neighbour’s house. Out of the original wrong-doing has grown hatred, agrarian outrage, murder most foul in myriad-shaped atrocity; but whence come all these evil results, if not from the original wrong-doing? The causes will continue to come home to roost till Ireland is granted the same Home Rule as is enjoyed by Canada. It is easy to declare against the plagues which afflict Egypt, but the plagues will continue till the oppressor ceases to harden his heart and let the oppressed go free. Fortunately for Canada, and fortunately for Irish Nationalism, the Fenian Raids in Canada were entirely premature, and could not have gained the smallest measure of permanent success—a fact which showed that the motives of invading peaceful Canada in order to punish English wrong-doing was a military error, as well as a political crime. In American Fenianism there is no doubt that there was a great deal of misfortune and swindling, which desired to make cheap capital out of an easy and dangerless raid, and so be able to trade on the one intense passion of the Irish American race, hatred of the oppressors of Ireland. At the time it seemed to many people that the Fenian raiders might be dangerous foes. The great war against slavery had just been concluded, and the Fenian raids were mainly manned by veteran soldiers. But their numbers were quite insufficient for any large operations. They were acting against the prevailing sentiment in the United States, where it was felt that to invade Canadian farms, and frighten the hired girls, was contemptible brigandage, and many a Canadian by adoption who was in thorough sympathy with the struggle of the Irish for Responsible Government and Home Rule, was glad to carry a rifle in the ranks of the volunteers who marched against the Fenian marauders in 1866.

In 1866 the Fenian movement in the States became divided into two parties; one under James Stephens, who wished to confine their operations to the proposed liberation of Ireland; the other led by Sweeney, who advocated the senseless plan of advancing Irish interests by making a raid on Canada. In June, 1866, a body of 900 Fenians, well armed, crossed the Niagara River, landing a little below the humble village, and once hotly-contested but now ruinous earthworks, of Fort Erie. They were commanded by a Colonel O’Neil, and mainly consisted of veterans of the late war. They took possession of the village of Fort Erie, and wrought much destruction among the provision stores and whiskey shops, licensed and unlicensed. They destroyed a part of the Grand Trunk Railway track, cut the telegraph wires, and attempted to burn bridges, but did not insult the inhabitants or wantonly injure private property, except to levy forced requisitions for rations. At the same time the United States’ armed steamer Michigan entered that part of the river, as if to prevent breaches of international law, but her commander did not trouble himself to interfere with O’Neil’s supporters as they crossed the river under his guns. When news of this “invasion” reached the Canadian cities, there was a general feeling of indignation, and the volunteers responded with enthusiasm to the call, promptly given, to march against the invaders of Canada. The present writer was then a lieutenant in the Lennoxville Company of the Sherbrooke Rifle Battalion, commanded by Colonel Bowen, a raid on Montreal being at this time expected on the Eastern Counties frontier. Most unfortunately, the military reserves of the country were, at that crisis in the hands of a Minister of Militia whose habits were such that he was notoriously incompetent to perform his public duties for above a week. Contradictory orders were sent, and steamers bustled hither and thither in most admired disorder. But the volunteer authorities lost no time in hurrying their men to the front. Major-General Napier, without delay, ordered the troops of the regular British service in Toronto and Hamilton districts to the Niagara frontier. Six hundred of the finest young men in Toronto mustered under Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis and Major Gillmor, of the Queen’s Own. Hamilton furnished her quota, the 13th Battalion. Lieutenant-Colonel Booker was sent in charge of these volunteer corps to Port Colborne for the purpose of securing the Welland Canal. Most unfortunately the entire armament was under the command of Colonel George Peacocke, of the 16th Regiment; a brave officer, no doubt, but from his ignorance of the locality through which he had undertaken to direct the movements of his troops, and from the arrogance of temper, which too often in English officers of the “regular army” disdain to profit by the counsels of “mere colonials,” seemed but too likely to make his expedition a second version of that disastrous one of General Braddock, little more than a century before. He sent orders by Captain Akers, who knew the country as little as himself, to instruct the commanding officer at Port Colborne to join the troops under his command to his own at Stevensville, a village a short distance west of Fort Erie. Akers duly communicated these orders early next day at Port Colborne.

Meantime, at Port Colborne, Lieutenant-Colonel Booker had received intelligence that the Fenian force at Fort Erie was smaller than had been supposed; that it was ill-disciplined and demoralized by drinking and plunder, and in fact afforded material for an easy victory. He accordingly took it on him to reconstruct the entire plans of the expedition. He, with his volunteer force, would proceed by rail to attack the enemy at Fort Erie. Captain Akers and Lieutenant Colonel Dennis might, if Peacocke approved, support the attack with the Welland garrison battery. But Peacocke did not approve, and Booker, altering his plans in deference to his superior officer, took his troops by train as far as Ridgeway station, whence he marched towards Stevensville. Soon after this his advance guard encountered the Fenian out-posts. O’Neil, having resolved before withdrawing to the States to destroy the locks of the Welland Canal, Colonel Booker and Major Gibson resolved to attack the enemy at once, not doubting that Peacocke and his regulars must be close at hand for their support. They did not realize the fact that by Booker’s want of attention to his superior officer’s orders, in leaving Port Colborne an hour before the time agreed on, he had thrown into confusion all Colonel Peacocke’s plans for combining the movements of his troops. Meanwhile the order to advance was given; the Fenians came into view, some few on the road in front of our men, the others firing under the cover of the fences of fields on either side of the road. The volunteers attacked with spirit, and repulsed the enemy’s out-posts and first line. Just at this crisis an orderly reached Booker with a despatch from Colonel Peacocke, ordering him to delay his departure from Port Colborne two hours from the time appointed. As Booker, contrary to all the traditions of military duty, had in fact started an hour before the time appointed, it was now but too plainly evident that he could get no support for at least three hours. Meanwhile the Fenian fire poured hotly on the companies of brave young volunteers, who, without any hope of support, were then exposed to a far superior force of veteran soldiers. A cooler head might yet have carried the day by a brisk attack on either flank, but Booker seems to have lost all presence of mind, and as a rumour reached him that a body of “Fenian cavalry” was approaching (it being well known that the United States army at that time had very little cavalry, and the Fenians none at all), Booker ordered Major Gillmor to “form his men into square to resist cavalry,” which manœuvre massed the unfortunate volunteers into a dense phalanx, the easiest of targets for the enemy’s rifles. When Gillmor noticed the mistake he tried to form into line once more, but it was too late. Something very like panic possessed the troops, the rear companies fell back in disorder, and the word was given to retreat.

It is only veteran troops that can be safely manœuvred when under a heavy fire, and only these when they have full confidence in their leaders. The volunteers were a few companies of imperfectly drilled college lads, lawyers’ clerks and business employees. I am told by more than one volunteer captain present at that skirmish, that what contributed most to the panic was the certainty that “someone had blundered.” Number One Company, Queen’s Own, held the rear guard, the post of honour in a retreat, and marched out of the field in good order. The Trinity College and University Companies distinguished themselves by their grand gallantry; they took skirmishing order and fired on the enemy as calmly as if on parade. The Fenians pursued, but did not, fortunately, understand the full extent of their advantage, or know that they had Booker’s troops at their disposal, without hope of reinforcement for the next two hours, or they might have followed up their success with much more disastrous results to our brave volunteers. As it was, the loss to the Canadians was one officer and eight men killed, six officers and twenty-six men wounded. The officer killed on the field was the gallant young Ensign McEachren, whom the present writer knew well when he served in Number One Company of the Queen’s Own, from which corps he exchanged into the Sherbrooke Battalion, having occasion to remove to the Eastern Townships of the Province of Ontario shortly before the Fenian raid took place. When McEachren fell, Dr. S. May, then serving as assistant-surgeon, rushed forward under a heavy fire to rescue him, but found life extinct. Worse consequences still may be expected from a system which makes the appointment of volunteer officers a political perquisite of the Ottawa Government, a Government of whom it is no breach of charity to suppose that in the future, as in the past, they will have no scruple whatever in committing the defences of the country to incompetent officers in order to subserve the omnivorous needs of party. It is well that a more disastrous defeat did not follow on drunkenness in the Council and incompetence in the presence of the enemy.

In the following year the Dominion Government lost one of its most influential outside members (a phrase by which I mean to designate one whose political training had not been that of the party and its leaders), Thomas D’Arcy McGee. This eccentric luminary of Irish, New York, and Montreal politics, began as one of the many orators of the young Ireland movement in 1847-8. Helped to escape from Ireland by the kindness of a Catholic bishop, McGee next appeared as a journalist in New York, where he quarrelled with the Catholic Church. Thence to Montreal, where, from the way in which his name had been connected with Irish revolt against English rule, McGee was for a time all-powerful with the Irish vote. His first attachment was to the Reformers, whom he left for the camp of their opponents. His most successful speeches were in advocacy of Confederation, but in proportion as he expressed admiration for English institutions, his popularity with the Montreal Irish began to change into hatred. At two a.m. on April the 6th, he had left the House of Commons, after delivering what was considered a brilliant speech. He had returned to his boarding house, and was about to open the door with his latch key, when, shot from behind by an assassin’s pistol, he fell dead. It is a comfort to know that the cowardly murderer was detected and hanged.

Canada showed her gratitude and regret by voting a pension of £300 to McGee’s widow. McGee has left to Ireland and to Canada nothing that will live. He was here, as there, “the comet of a season.” It is worth noting that poor McGee had, from the convivial habits natural to his light-hearted countrymen, fallen for some time into drinking habits. One of his best speeches just before Confederation was delivered while under the influence of liquor. When it was finished, the last firework of the peroration shot off, the actor sank back incapably drunk into the arms of a friend. It is possible that this, which took place at Lennoxville, in the Eastern Townships, may have been a mere tour de force, the speech having been, as all McGee’s speeches were, memorized previously to delivery, and thus easily thrown off by the brain already charged with it. My authority for the anecdote was a captain of the Lennoxville Company, in which I was lieutenant. However this may be, the fact is sufficiently notorious, that McGee used to drink very hard. A year before his death he became a total abstainer, and not even when in a severe illness, and when his physician assured him that brandy was necessary, would he expose himself to the temptation of its taste. McGee was, to the last hour of his life, faithful to his pledge. In this he has set a good example to some leading statesmen of his party, for of what use can it be for a party leader to make speechifications to temperance deputations, and catch the temperance vote, while his own life, that of a bar-room loafer from his first entrance into politics, continues its mockery of cynical comment in his professions, and makes men talk of the political corruption of those in high place? What use can it be to expect anything else from men who do not begin by being personally pure, whose conversation would pollute the ears of any virtuous young man, whose souls have been, for half a century, steeped in alcohol? Can we exaggerate the moral effect for good on the English people of the life of such a ruler as Gladstone, a life sincere, pure, temperate in all things? Whoever would venture to repeat in Mr. Gladstone’s presence some of the full-flavored anecdotes in which some of our Ottawa statesmen are said to delight would meet cold looks and prompt dismissal.

Chapter XXIX.


IT had been for some time evident that under the legislative system which had existed since the union of Upper and Lower Canada, frequent deadlocks were inevitable, and that some new basis for the Constitution must be sought elsewhere. In the session of 1864 the Sandfield Macdonald Government had received the full support of Mr. George Brown, and of the Liberal party, which regarded him as their leader, and his newspaper as their organ and standard. Tired of the endless party wrangling that had impeded all useful legislation, that Government resigned—a mistake, as it has always seemed to many Reformers, in political tactics. To them succeeded the Taché-Macdonald Government, which led a hand-to-mouth existence from day to day on the sufferance of Parliament, and in virtue of a majority of two. From this feeble Administration Mr. Brown succeeded in obtaining a Committee to “consider the best means of settling the constitutional changes which might be recommended, to avoid trouble.” The Committee adopted and presented to Parliament a report in favour of “a federation system, applied either to Canada or to the whole of the British North American Provinces.” John A. Macdonald was foremost in opposing the adoption of the report. But next day the decrepit Conservatives fell into one of those pitfalls which their leaders have so often unwittingly prepared for the downfall of their own popularity. It “came out”—how many such things have “come out” since John A. Macdonald has been leader of the Conservatives—that A. T. Galt, Finance Minister in the Cartier-Macdonald Government, had, without the sanction of Parliament, lent $100,000 to the Grand Trunk Railway corporation. This of course inculpated, as they themselves did not attempt to deny, the whole of the Cabinet. Mr. Dorion moved a vote of want of confidence in this helpless Ministry, the two members whose votes alone sustained them in office having become hostile at this critical moment. What use did George Brown, for in those days George Brown and Canadian Liberalism were convertible terms, make of this signal victory? His bitter political foes lay at his mercy in humiliating defeat. A less high-minded statesman would have thought of party, if not of personal objects. George Brown was above both considerations, and thought only of the opportunity now ready to his hand of carrying into effect the federation system which he and he alone had desired, which above all else he wished to see carried into effect, even if the glory of its achievement should accrue to the Conservatives, who till the previous day had been its bitterest opponents.

Immediately after the Ministerial defeat Mr. Brown sought an interview with J. H. Pope and Alexander Morris, Conservative members of the House. He did this after consultation with his principal friends and supporters, as to how far the Reform party would consent to forego mere personal and party advantage in order to ensure the carrying out of a constitutional change of great benefit to the country. He conferred next with Messieurs Pope and Morris. Alone of the Reform party, the French Canadian Reformers refused to follow his self-sacrificing course in this matter, preferring the ordinary course of party triumph on the defeat of opponents. Mr. George Brown was grieved at this defection of his so long faithful allies, but he would not for that reason swerve from the path of patriotic duty.

In consequence of the conversation between Mr. Brown and Messieurs Morris and Pope, interviews took place between the Reform leader and members representing the defeated Government. John A. Macdonald exhibited a highly characteristic willingness to get his Government strengthened by a coalition, there being no other possibility of prolonging its existence, and proposed, with what motive it is easy to guess, that George Brown should himself become a member of the Cabinet. But the Father of Confederation was too wary to act with precipitation, and proposed that all personal matters should be postponed for the present.

On Mr. Brown asking what remedy the Government proposed, to do away with the present system of injustice to English Canada, Messieurs Macdonald and Gait stated that they proposed as the remedy a federal union of all the British North American Provinces, local matters being committed to local bodies, and matters common to all, to a Federal Government. It will be remembered that but two days before John A. Macdonald had voted directly against the proposal for a Federation of the Provinces. Truly, the conversion was sudden, and the neophyte zealous. In reply, Mr. Brown objected, not to the adoption of Federation, which had been his own ideal from the first, but to its too great remoteness and uncertainty, as a means of settling the injustice of which English Canada complained. As a more prompt measure, he asked for representation by population for all Canada, with no dividing line. But ultimately a compromise was arrived at, on the adoption of the principle of Federation for all the Provinces, as the larger question, or for Canada alone, with provision for the admission of the Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory. A general accord was reached, on the basis that as the views of Upper Canada could not be met under the present system, the remedy must be sought in the adoption of the federal principle. As a guarantee to the Reform party, three seats were to be placed at the disposal of Mr. Brown and two of his friends. Parliament was now at once prorogued, and on the same day, the Hon. George Brown entered the Government as President of the Council, supported by the able but unstable Hon. William McDougall, as Provincial Secretary, and by the far more able and high principled Hon. Oliver Mowat, as Postmaster-General. The Hon. A. Mackenzie, in his “Life of the Hon. George Brown”[2] frankly states that the appointment of Mr. McDougall was one desired by very few of the party. During the ensuing summer the various members of the new Coalition Government made a general tour of the Provinces, and held a convention of the Provincial delegates in October at Quebec. Parliament met early in 1865. The debate which ensued was one of the most remarkable which had, as yet, taken place in a Canadian Legislature. Of the two great changes which had been effected in the constitution of our country, the first, in 1791, had been altogether the work of the English Parliament, where its details gave rise to one of the most memorable debates of a great Parliamentary Assembly. The union of the Canadas in 1841 was also both planned and put into practical form by British statesmen, the consent of the Canadian Legislatures being but a form, and a form which, in the case of the French Canadian, was very summarily dispensed with. But the inception, the adoption, and the practical working out of the Confederation Scheme was entirely the work of our own Canadian statesmen; and the debating powers displayed when this question came before the Legislature were said to show a very marked advance in political insight and breadth of view from that shown in any previous discussions in the records of our Legislatures. A few years of that Home Rule which results from Responsible Government had already proved a political education. The leading speeches, those of Messieurs Brown, Macdonald, and Cartier, in support of the measure; those of Messieurs John Sandfield Macdonald, Huntington, Dorion and Holton, against it; the very exhaustive and luminous criticism with which Mr. Dunkin’s remarkable oration examined its bearings from every side, are well put forward and accompanied with much apt comment in the Hon. John H. Gray’s important historical work on Confederation—only the first volume of which unfortunately has been given to the public. John A. Macdonald’s speech on this question was one of those rare oratorical successes which came on a few great occasions from one who had hitherto been regarded, even by those who knew him most intimately, simply as an adroit debater, a matchless Parliamentary whipper-in, and a retailer of obscene bar-room jests. More logical, more incisive, far more effective with thinking men, was the speech of the real founder of Confederation, George Brown. But the most remarkable of all the addresses delivered on this memorable occasion was that of Mr. Dunkin, Colonel Gray’s criticism of which must be regarded by the impartial historian as utterly beside the facts. Colonel Gray says: “All that a well-read public man, all that a thorough sophist, a dexterous logician, a timid patriot, or a prophet of evil could array against the project, was brought up and pressed against the scheme.” Of course Colonel Gray regarded Confederation as the be-all and end-all of Canadian politics. Later students of Canadian political history, who see that difficulties have been left unprovided for, the distribution of authority between Federal and Provincial Governments unsettled, and a way left open to vast financial abuses, will see that Mr. Dunkin was right in supposing that the settlement effected by Confederation was no more a final one than that of the Union of the Canadas, or of the Act which created English Canada in 1791. A remarkable speech in favour of the proposed measure was also delivered on this occasion by Mr. Walter Shanly, member for South Grenville. On Friday, March 10th, the debate had exhausted itself, and the Hon. John A. Macdonald proposed the following motion:—“That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that she may be graciously pleased to cause a measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of uniting the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, in one Government, with provisions based on certain resolutions, which were adopted by a conference of delegates from the said Provinces held at Quebec on the 16th of October, 1865.” After some further debate this resolution was carried by a vote of 91 to 33. The wish of John A. Macdonald in navigating the measure which he had with such consummate dexterity stolen from its legitimate author through the shoals of Parliamentary debate, was well understood to have been to centralize power as much as possible in the Federal Government, leaving the Provincial Legislatures in the position of mere municipal councils. This was in thorough harmony with John A. Macdonald’s political character, his insatiate greed for power, and that clinging to every exercise of personal authority which makes him delay conferring an official appointment, even upon a personal friend. But in this matter he was, to a certain extent, backed up by a feeling on the part of all those engaged in the work of political reconstruction, that Canada ought to take warning by what had recently seemed likely to be the break-down of the United States Constitution. It was thought, most erroneously, that what had caused the strain was the weakness of the central Federal authority. In reality the reverse was the case. The war was caused by one faction only, the opposition to slavery on the part of Mr. Lincoln’s Cabinet. That Cabinet was unlike a Canadian one, utterly unrestricted in its exercise of authority. John A. Macdonald did not on the occasion of the inception of Confederation succeed in his wish of sowing the dragon’s teeth of constitutional mischief, but never since then has he lost sight of his centralizing propensities, or neglected an opportunity to trample on Provincial Rights. A similar motion was introduced in the Legislative Council by Sir E. P. Taché, and carried by a vote of three to one.

In April Messrs. John A. Macdonald, Galt, Brown and Cartier made a visit to England, in order to confer with the Imperial Government, and arrange the final details of the scheme of Confederation. Meantime the feeling of the Maritime Provinces was increasingly manifested against the proposed Confederation. In Nova Scotia the opposing issues were advocated by two of the ablest orators that British America has produced, by Dr. Charles Tupper, erewhile a druggist at Amherst, and by Joseph Howe, a Halifax printer, being the ideal and representative man of his native Province. New Brunswick, ever cautious and reserved in her isolation from the rest of English speaking Canada, dreaded increased taxation. The little Province of Prince Edward Island held aloof, and the bleak cod-fishing banks of inhospitable Newfoundland withdrew into their native bay. When in England, the Canadian delegates held conference after conference with the Imperial Ministers on the proposed measures, on the question of treaties and legislation, the defences of Canada, the settlement of the North-West Territories, and the claims for compensation put forward by the Hudson’s Bay Company. And as one of the most cogent arguments put forward by the opponents of Confederation in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was that the aim of those who forwarded that measure was to effect the independence of Canada, and the severance of all connection with England, the Canadian delegates pressed on the British Cabinet the desirability of a strong expression from the Home Government in favour of Confederation being conveyed to the Governments of the Maritime Provinces. It is a curious comment on the change that has come over public opinion, that in 1865 the mere mention of independence should have been regarded as offensive. Strong representations in favour of Confederation were accordingly transmitted from the English Ministry to the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, a step which, curiously enough, drew forth from the anti-Confederationists many bitter expressions of what might most justly have been described as “disloyalty,” and the British authorities were roundly denounced for attempting “an odious system of coercion of the colonies into the hateful bund.” It required all the arts of which John A. Macdonald is so justly reputed a consummate master to induce the recalcitrant Maritimes to fall into line. This, however, was at last effected, and the long disjointed pieces of the Canadian fishing-rod at last received that accession of strength which comes from union. Of all the able speeches delivered on this question, the most remarkable is one delivered by the Hon. George Brown, a passage from which may well be quoted as an example of how this important constitutional change was regarded by the first of Canadian Liberal statesmen, and by one who held no second place either as an orator or writer. “I venture to assert that no scheme of equal magnitude ever placed before the world was received with higher eulogiums, with more universal approbation, than the measure we have now the pleasure of submitting for the acceptance of the Canadian Parliament. And no higher eulogy could, I think, be pronounced than that I heard a few weeks ago from one of the foremost of British statesmen, that the system of Government now proposed seemed to him a happy compound of the best features of the British and American constitutions. And well might our present attitude in Canada arrest the attention of other countries. Here is a people composed of distinct races, speaking different languages, with religious and social and municipal and educational institutions wholly different; with sectional hostilities of such a character as to render Government for many years well nigh impossible; with a constitution so unjust in the view of one section as to justify every resort to enforce a remedy. And yet, here we sit, patiently and temperately discussing how these great evils and hostilities may justly and amicably be swept away for ever. We are endeavouring to adjust harmoniously greater difficulties than have plunged other countries into all the horrors of civil war. We are striving to do peaceably and satisfactorily what Holland and Belgium, after years of strife, were unable to accomplish. We are seeking, by calm discussion, to settle questions that Austria and Hungary, that Denmark and Germany, that Russia and Poland, could only crush by the iron hand of armed force. We are seeking to do, without foreign intervention, that which deluged in blood the sunny plains of Italy; we are striving to settle for ever issues hardly less momentous than those that have rent the neighbouring republic, and are now exposing it to all the horrors of civil war. Have we not, then, great cause for thankfulness, that we have found a better way for the solution of our troubles than that which has entailed on other countries such deplorable results? and should not every one of us endeavour to rise to the magnitude of the occasion, and earnestly seek to deal with this question to the end in the same candid and conciliatory spirit in which, so far, it has been discussed? The scene presented by this chamber at this moment, I venture to affirm, has few parallels in history. One hundred years have passed away since these provinces became, by force, part of the British Empire. I speak in no boastful spirit, I desire not for a moment to excite a painful thought; what was then the fortune of war of the brave French nation, might have been ours on that well-fought field. I recall those olden times merely to mark the fact that here sit to-day the descendants of the victors and the vanquished in the fight of 1759, with all the differences of language, religion, civil law, and social habit, nearly as distinctly marked as they were a century ago; here we sit to-day seeking amicably to find a remedy for constitutional evils and injustice complained of—by the vanquished? no—but complained of by the conquerors! Here sit the representatives of the British population claiming justice! only justice! And here sit the representatives of the French population discussing in the French tongue whether we shall have it. One hundred years have passed away since the conquest of Quebec, but here sit the children of the victors and the vanquished, also avowing hearty attachment to the British Crown, all earnestly deliberating how we should best extend the blessings of British institutions—how a great people may be established on this continent in close and hearty connection with Great Britain. Where, in the page of history, shall we find a parallel for this?”

Some disturbance of the amicable relations between the parties to the coalition was caused by the death of the Premier, Sir Etienne P. Taché, and the accession to the position of Sir Narcisse Belleau. Mr. Brown and the Reformers, however, thought it their duty to acquiesce.

The last Canadian Parliament opened in August at Quebec, and was occupied altogether with receiving the report of the delegates to England. The Government measure for Confederation was carried by overwhelming majorities. It was loyally supported by Mr. Brown and the Liberals, although that gentleman, whom the Tory tacticians vainly endeavoured to decry, having been studiously slighted when on a mission to Washington upon the reciprocity question, had thought it due to his own dignity to withdraw from the Government. Thus was this great change accomplished—a vast step in advance towards independence, although as passing events show more clearly every day, it cannot be regarded as a final one. The Hon. A. Mackenzie well observes (Life of Hon. George Brown, p. 107): “The first day of July, 1867, saw the great reform accomplished for which Mr. Brown had toiled so many years, and saw also that the Conservatives who opposed it to the last were reaping the fruits of their opponent’s labour. Therefore, Mr. Macdonald would be able to boast that he was the father of Confederation on the same ground that he boasted of carrying the measure to secularize the Clergy Reserve lands. He strongly opposed both measures, on principle, as long as it was possible to do so, and then joined the man who initiated and carried on the movement of both, and declared the work was all his own. Having no great work of his own to boast of, he bravely plucks the laurel from the brows of the actual combatants and real victors, and fastens it on his own head.”

Chapter XVI., p. 95. The remark would be endorsed by most Reformers of the present day.

Chapter XXX.


THE office of Governor-General had now become practically a sinecure, and a sinecure of most noxious influence on social and political life in Canada. Lord Monck was the incumbent of Rideau Hall in 1867. He was an impecunious sporting peer, and an Irish rack-rent landlord, glad to eke out an impoverished income by the $50,000 a year paid by Canadian taxpayers. He was the first, and, unhappily, not the last, used by the Imperial Government to corrupt Canadian statesmen, by bestowing “tin-pot knighthoods,” which, of course, bound the acceptor to prefer Imperial to Canadian interests whenever the two came in conflict. The first recipients of this questionable distinction were John A. Macdonald and George Etienne Cartier.

Now began a prosperous reign of Conservatism, under Sir John A. Macdonald, with the championship in French Canada of Sir George E. Cartier. The latter was a marked personage in the Conservative coterie, and few who have beheld that keen man’s figure, and heard the tones of that strident, high-pitched voice, will forget either. In early life Cartier had sat at the feet of Papineau, and, showing a courage of which that frothy demagogue was incapable, had fought bravely at St. Denis, when the French peasants, led by Dr. Wolfred Nelson, repelled a corps of the regular British army, led by a veteran of Waterloo. Like his leader, Cartier withdrew to the United States, and when amnesty was proclaimed for political offences, returned to Canada, a sadder and a wiser man. In 1848 he supplanted the Rouge leader, M. Dorion, as member for Vercheres, and, having had the sense to see what the old Rouge leaders had not insight for, the absolute necessity of keeping on good terms with the clergy and the Church, Cartier became the most adroit, successful, and popular manager of the vote of Jean Baptiste. The Finance Minister in the new Government, Alexander Tilloch Galt, was the son of a second-rate writer who had attained a sort of second-rate reputation as the acquaintance of Byron, of whom he wrote a biography. The elder Galt came to Canada in the service of the Canada Land Company, and resided at Toronto, of which place, and of Canada in general, he expressed the supercilious disdain with which foreigners who live on Canadian pay are apt to express their noble scorn of the people who are their paymasters. Sir Alexander Galt is chiefly noted for the quasi diplomatic position held by him for some time in London, England, and as one of the chief promotors of that most impracticable of enterprises, Imperial Federation.

The new Secretary of State, Hector L. Langevin, was formerly editor of the Courrier du Canada, in Quebec. In 1855 he was awarded the first of three prizes for an essay on Canada to be circulated in Paris, and being elected to the Canadian Parliament as member for Dorchester, soon took a leading position, second only to Cartier, to whose leadership he rightfully succeeded. Not less noteworthy was Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley. An earnest, although not eloquent speaker, he did good service to the country by promoting the adhesion of the Maritimes to Confederation. Sir William Howland, another tin-pot creation, and the Hon. William McDougall were two of the Liberal members of the Coalition which had caused Confederation, but were seduced by the siren blandishments of office to cast in their lot personally with “Sir John.” But in all the Cabinet there can be no question that the most remarkable figure was that of the astute and versatile lawyer from Kingston who was at its head. His deep and intricate knowledge of all the men and interests engaged in Canadian politics, much tact, a felicitous readiness in debate or repartee, and a command of what might be almost mistaken for eloquence, gave the Tory leader a pre-eminence to which none of his English-speaking satellites could in the remotest degree aspire. But the habits of the Premier were those of the pot-house politician to whom John A. Macdonald has been frequently compared—the English statesman Walpole, who first introduced into politics the infamous maxim, “Every man has his price.” Macdonald resembles Walpole in his systematic use of corruption, and in the coarse humour and full-flavoured stories for which both have such an unsavoury reputation. But here the likeness ceases. Walpole’s peace policy saved England. Macdonald has never originated a single measure for the benefit of his country save such as he stole from the Liberal repertoire. He has dragged the good name of Canada in the dirt with cynical disregard of public opinion, and has literally “sold his country” as well as himself. It is no excuse to say “that amid corruption he has continued personally pure,” for we consider the crime of the bawd to lose none of its infamy because she may not herself practise the sin to which she entices others. But at the time we write of, John A. Macdonald’s character was as yet comparatively untarnished.

A Reform Convention was now held at Toronto, which endorsed enthusiastically the patriotic and self-denying conduct of the Hon. George Brown, and declared that the deserters, Howland and McDougall, deserved ostracism from the Reform ranks. Howland, however, made the amende for a temporary lapse, by heartily throwing in his lot with the cause of Reform. A general election was at once held, and returned a considerable majority in favour of Confederation, and, therefore, as a matter of course, in favour of “Sir John,” the vessel of whose Cabinet was carried in over calm seas, its sheets distended by the wind which had been so adroitly taken out of the Liberal sails.

From that general election to the Day of Doom, when Mr. Huntington thundered forth the first sentence of his Pacific Scandal indictment, Sir John and Sir George Cartier were “the great twin brethren” of Canadian politics, against whom no champion could avail. The Ministry were now supported by a new politician, destined to exercise no small influence, to rise to all the honours of the tin-pot, and become even a dangerous “brother near the throne” to Sir John himself. In the little town of Amherst, on the New Brunswick frontier of Nova Scotia, an humble wooden store, garnished with bottles and gallipots, long bore the legend of “Dr. Tupper—office-hours 8 to 11 a.m.” He alone of the advocates of Confederation was able to stem the torrent in his native Province. Another Blue-nose representative was returned to Ottawa in the person of Timothy Warren Anglin, a trenchant writer and speaker, but, like Tupper, given to overtax the patience of his hearers. A mightier figure was that of the popular idol of the Nova Scotia fishermen, the versatile, vigorous, vituperative Joe Howe. But the reactionary effort to undo the work of Confederation was now met by a statesman whose intellectual force and oratorical power were, in that Parliament, and in many a succeeding one, to meet few seconds and no superiors. Edward Blake was now the leader of the Liberal phalanx on their slow but certain return to power. Mr. Blake is an instance of what is so rarely seen, hereditary talent, such as that of the two Pitts. He and his eminent brother, the Hon. Samuel Blake, are sons of the Hon. William Hume Blake, whose famous extempore reply to Sir Allan MacNab when the Tory chief taunted the Liberals of English Canada with the charge of rebellion, will be remembered as constituting such a brilliant episode in the history of Canadian Parliamentary debate. Mr. Blake’s luminous and crushing retort on Howe and the Maritime malcontents was ably seconded. A few months later, Sir Francis Hincks, an able financier, a clear and forcible speaker, and one whose personal magnetism rendered him a welcome acquisition even to a popular administration, once more entered public life, and became Minister of Finance. Sir Francis, at once after entering on office, delivered Canadian currency from the nuisance of a depreciated United States silver currency. The year 1868 was saddened by the murder of Thomas D’Arcy McGee, of whose career some account has been already given.

Chapter XXXI.


THE Hon. William McDougall had been rewarded for his defection from the Liberal camp by being appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories, and had proceeded with his family into that “far country,” where none doubted that a suitable field would present itself for his undeniable abilities, and in demonstrating the interests of which, and its importance to Ontario and Canadians in general, some of the ablest efforts of his life had been directed. He was undoubtedly the right man to rule Manitoba. So every one thought, excepting the Manitobans themselves, who were then half-breeds, and like most half-breeds, inherited the vices of their double descent. They were voyageurs and coureurs des bois, hunters, horse dealers, a suspicious and irritable race, who were easily induced to believe that the plan adopted by the Ottawa Government was a device for dispossessing them of their lands, and were in revolt shortly before the arrival of Governor McDougall. Their leader was Louis Riel, a half-breed, of considerable influence, of a daring, subtle, and malignant disposition. Associated with him were Ambrose Lepine and John Bruce. They had soon a force of four hundred armed men, and seized Fort Garry and other points. Governor McDougall was notified to leave the territory under pain of death before nine o’clock the next day. He did not get a fair chance to show what he could do. The Hudson’s Bay officers who, had they chosen to support him, could have stamped out this contemptible rebellion in a day, were only too much in sympathy with Riel and his cause. This dog-in-the-manger policy was about to meet a deserved rebuff by Ontario’s assuming the management of the magnificent country of whose products they had long held the most selfish of monopolies. The only other power that could and would have pacified the rebels, Bishop Taché, was absent in Rome.

Meantime some fifty Canadians banded themselves together under the leadership of Dr. Schultz. They were seized by Riel and confined in the fort, whence after three weeks’ imprisonment, Schultz managed to escape. Riel threatened to have him shot if recaptured, and events soon showed that the half-breed would have kept his word. Fortunately Schultz escaped to Ontario. A second attempt was made to vindicate the authority of Canada by about a hundred men under Major Boulton, but Boulton, with forty others, was captured and sentenced to death. The Catholic and Protestant clergy with much difficulty saved his life. But among the prisoners was a young man named Thomas Scott, a thorough adherent of the Canadian cause, a Protestant and an Orangeman, and for both reasons regarded by Riel with vindictive hate. Riel had him tried by a mock “court-martial,” and sentenced to be shot on the following morning. In vain did Methodist Missionary Young and others beg a reprieve. At noon Scott was blindfolded, and led to a spot a few yards from the fort. He was ordered to kneel, and a volley was fired, three bullets piercing his body. One of the firing party then put a revolver to the wretched victim’s head, and fired. This, however, did not end the agony, for Scott was heard to groan as the coffin was carried away.

It will hardly be believed that Sir John A. Macdonald had the temerity to condone this, the foulest crime known to Canadian history, and to allow the murderers of Scott to escape all punishment. He was the slave of his French allies, who of course sided with their compatriots and co-religionists. It will scarcely be believed that the Orangemen, instead of being true to their principles, and demanding justice for the murder of a member of their order, again and again voted into power the men and the Ministry on whose head rests to this day the unavenged blood of Thomas Scott. A fiasco of Fenian revolt in 1871 once more alarmed the country, and another attempt at a raid was made on the Missisquoi frontier. The Imperial authorities were now under the influence of a doctrine most forcibly put forward in a series of letters by Professor Goldwin Smith, and published in the London Daily News, that the colonies would be better off, more self-reliant, and less burdensome to England, if they were independent. In accordance with this just and statesmanlike view, it was resolved to withdraw the soldiers employed to garrison Canadian cities, with the exception of a few troops stationed at Halifax, on account of the necessity for that port being retained as a naval depot. This withdrawal of the foreign soldiers was, in every respect, a gain to Canada. Every vice followed in the train of the regiment. Drunkenness and prostitution are notoriously most prevalent in garrison towns, and the artificial would-be aristocratic manner of the men tended to create a vicious social tone, to disgust young Canadians with the industries of peace, and to teach our fine ladies to disapprove of the simpler ways of their own countrymen. It was a good day for Canada when the last regiment marched down the historic hill where Wolfe and Montcalm and Montgomery fell. New retribution fell on the Macdonald Cabinet in the revelation of its full connection with the Pacific Scandal disclosures, which are too recent in the public mind to need repetition here.

The history of Ontario, the premier Province of Canada, the only one entirely solvent and entirely Liberal, is that happiest of all histories, one with few marked events, and a quiet progress of self-improvement and beneficent, because practical, administration. Under Mr. Mowat’s Government economical rule has been carried out to a degree unapproached as yet by any Province in the Dominion. Party, at least on the main issues which divide the contending factions at Ottawa, has been banished from the Provincial Councils, appointments in the Civil Service have been made, not from a party standpoint, but on the sole grounds of efficiency for the public service, and, as a consequence, a Government has been established solid in the confidence and in the affections of the people. The ghost of the Family Compact has, in vain, attempted to do evil with its old weapons, calumny and corruption—the former has proved its own refutation, the latter is now in the criminal’s dock of our Police Court.

Part II.


The County of York.


Chapter I.

Introductory.—Character and Limits of Our Local History.—The Twilight of Fable.—Michilimackinac, the Western Centre of the Fur Trade.—The Various Routes thither.—The Huron Nation.—The “Pass” by Toronto.—Destruction of the Hurons by the Iroquois.—Fort Rouillé.—The Province of Upper Canada Constituted.—Governor Simcoe.—York.—The Aborigines.

THE history of the County of York, like that of almost every county in Western Canada, is closely bound up with the general history of the Province; insomuch that, in treating of those subjects, it occasionally becomes a matter of no little difficulty to keep the respective narratives perfectly clear and distinct from each other. Much of what commonly passes for local history is the inseparable birthright of the Dominion at large, and cannot adequately be represented upon a narrow canvas. But the Metropolitan County has nevertheless a consecutive series of incidents which are exclusively its own; which no other community can claim to share with it, and which consequently are of special interest to dwellers upon its soil. In some few cases these incidents are of genuine and undoubted historical value. In others they are transitory and ephemeral in their nature, and have no further interest for posterity than that which arises from their local associations; but they are not on that account to be contemptuously rejected by any one who undertakes to chronicle the local annals for the mingled instruction and amusement of future generations of local readers. The greatest historian of modern times declared that he would cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dignity of history if he could succeed in placing before the English of the nineteenth century a true picture of the life of their ancestors. In like manner, a less ambitious historian may leave “the dignity of history” to take care of itself, and may venture to declare that he shall feel as though his task had been well accomplished, if he can succeed in placing before his readers a faithful panorama of the mutations through which the scenes immediately surrounding them have passed in the course of the last two hundred years.

The known and actual history of the County of York reaches back to a time

“When wild in woods the noble savage ran,”

and extends over a period of about a hundred and thirty-five years; that is to say, from the year 1749. Prior to that time we have merely a few tolerably well authenticated but widely disconnected facts with reference to it. These facts, however, are generally founded upon no written data, and fable and tradition enter so largely into the record that it is frequently difficult to separate them, or to say whether or not they rest upon any substantial foundation of truth. About others there is such an amount of vagueness that but little real significance can be attached to them, even assuming them to be true. For instance, what importance can be attached to the conjectural visit of mendacious Father Hennepin to the mouth of the Humber, in 1678? Or to the subsequent visit of that bold discoverer in unknown regions, Robert Cavelier de la Salle?

There seems to be no manner of doubt that the territory comprised within the present limits of the County of York was trodden as long ago as the middle of the seventeenth century, and even earlier, by some of those intrepid adventurers of New France who were the first European explorers of the wild western wilderness. Whether the territory adjoining the beaten track which lay northward from Lake Ontario along the course of what is now the Humber River was to any considerable extent explored by them seems extremely doubtful. That an occasional coureur des bois may have varied his adventurous enterprises by more or less prolonged sojourns among the natives is likely enough. But such voyageurs, if any, have left no permanent traces behind them. All that is absolutely essential for us in these days to know on the subject is, that no portion of the domain now forming the County of York was the fixed abode of any civilized human being until near the middle of the eighteenth century. The Indians, however, have left very perceptible traces behind them, and with a view to comprehensiveness of outline, it is here desirable to say something about their connection with the region under consideration.

At a very early period in the history of western exploration, the attention alike of explorers and of natives was turned in the direction of the fur trade. The beetling cliffs of Cape Diamond would yield neither gold nor precious stones; but the contiguous forest, extending indefinitely in all directions, contained a seemingly never-failing supply of fur-bearing animals which promised to yield a princely revenue. The cupidity of French capitalists was aroused. They formed various companies for the purpose of developing the trade, and despatched their agents to all points of the compass. Some of these agents were scions of illustrious families, and were impelled to adopt this mode of life merely from a wild spirit of adventure. The picturesqueness and freedom of the pathless forest had for them an irresistible fascination. They fraternized with the natives, and left the adjuncts of civilization far behind them. By degrees they pushed their explorations into far-distant regions where their white faces afforded never-ceasing wonderment to the red barbarians of the wilderness. Their eagerness to obtain furs necessarily aroused a similar spirit in the breasts of the Indians, who found that the pale-faces at Quebec would give them knives, beads, and various other much-desired commodities in exchange for the skins of the beaver, the mink, the fox and the otter. Quebec, however, was a long way to go from the upper lakes where these animals were most abundant, and erelong the companies found it to their interest to establish trading-posts at various points along the St. Lawrence. These were but the precursors of still more distant posts along the shores of the lakes. Finally, a post was established on an island in the remote lake region of the west, at a place which is now a delightful summer resort, but which was then regarded by the French voyageurs as the very farthest limit of exploration. The island was called Michilimackinac, and is now known as Mackinaw. Its situation is well known to every summer tourist of the present day. It soon became the great western centre of the fur trade. Thither, at stated periods, the Indians of the Lake Superior region, and even from the head waters of the Mississippi, resorted in countless multitudes, to exchange their peltries with the representatives of the great Company of One Hundred Partners.

Michilimackinac having thus become a great central place of resort, all the land-trails and water-ways were chosen with a special eye to convenient and expeditious arrival thither. The route most traversed from Quebec and the Lower St. Lawrence was by way of the Ottawa and French Rivers to the inlet of Lake Huron now known as the Georgian Bay, whence the course was open and unrestricted. But those who adopted this route were perforce compelled to neglect the traffic of the upper St. Lawrence, and of Lakes Ontario and Erie, which yielded an abundant annual supply of the much-coveted furs. In order to catch this traffic, some agents made their way to and from Michilimackinac by a more southerly route than that by the Ottawa. Pursuing their way up the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, they thence struck across by the River Trent and the chain of lakes and streams intervening between there and the Georgian Bay. This route was invariably productive, for it was literally alive with fur-bearing animals, but it was very toilsome and arduous, owing to the numerous portages, and the consequent difficulty of transportation. A still more southerly route was by way of the Niagara River. The voyageur ascended the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, and coasted along either the northern or southern shore to the mouth of the Niagara, trafficking along the route wherever the smoke on the neighbouring shore indicated the proximity of Indian wigwams, and the attendant possibility of turning an honest penny by turning his prow shorewards. By the time he had reached the mouth of the Niagara he had generally secured a sufficient supply of peltries to load his batteau to the water’s edge. He accordingly sent back his cargo and boat to Montreal or Quebec, and proceeded up the river to beyond the cataract, where he procured another boat and proceeded to Michilimackinac by way of Lake Erie and Lake Huron, and the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers.

But there was still a fourth and intermediate route, which, to readers of these pages, will be the most interesting of all. This was by way of the river now known as the Humber, which was long a not uncommon mode of reaching the Georgian Bay. The voyageur, whose ultimate destination was Michilimackinac, frequently made his way westward along the northern shore of Lake Ontario, calling at the mouth of the stream where the pretty town of Port Hope now stands, and where he generally found an Indian encampment well supplied with peltries. Thence proceeding westward, he soon passed the curving peninsula which in those remote times nearly encircled the beautiful bay upon which the intellectual capital of Canada was destined to rear its front in a far-distant future of which he did not venture to dream. Thence he arrived at the mouth of the Humber, where he was commonly able to complete his cargo, and start his batteau on its return voyage. He himself then proceeded on his way to Michilimackinac. The Humber River afforded him access to the ancient country of the Hurons, in what is now the County of Simcoe. Several well-marked trails existed thence to the Georgian Bay, where a boat was easily obtained for the rest of the journey.

In those days the Humber was one of the two direct routes between the Huron country and Lake Ontario; the other being by way of the Severn, Lakes Couchiching and Balsam, and the chain of lakes and rivers already referred to, having the Trent as its southerly terminus. The Huron country seems to have contained several spots known by the general name of Toronto. The Georgian Bay is set down in some old French maps as “Baie de Toronto.” In others the present Lake Simcoe is set down as “Lac de Toronto.” The Humber is sometimes set down as “Riviere de Toronto,” and other small streams and lakelets are similarly designated. The explanation of this is to be sought for in the meaning of the word Toronto, which is now generally admitted to be a Huron term signifying “a place of meeting.” The entire route from the mouth of the Humber to a point near the present site of Penetanguishene was frequently referred to by French writers of two hundred years ago as “the Pass by Toronto.” The word “Toronto” is spelled by old writers in a great variety of ways. Thus, we find it variously spelled Toronto, Toronton, Otoronton, Atouronton, Tarontah, Tarento, and so on through numberless variations. The conflict is doubtless due to the attempts of different writers to bring the Indian pronunciation within the principles of European orthography.

As the reader is doubtless aware, the whole of this portion of Canada then formed part of the domain of the King of France. The country south of Lake Ontario, on the other hand, forming the present State of New York, was an English colony. The profits of the fur trade gave additional keenness to the rivalry already existing between the French and English colonists, and there were frequent invasions of each other’s rights. The English resolved to participate in the immense profits arising out of the trade at Michilimackinac. Companies of New York adventurers made several expeditions into that distant region, and in each case the profits were sufficient to recompense them for the very serious danger they incurred. The danger was two-fold. The French very naturally regarded them as trespassers, and did not hesitate to treat them as such. The Indians thereabouts were staunch allies of the French, and they had additional grounds of dislike to the English arising out of the alliance of the latter with the much-dreaded Iroquois. Still, they were very much like their white brethren in one important respect—they had ever an eye exceedingly wide open to the main chance. The English colonists offered better prices than the French, and the Indians did not refuse to deal with them. In this way the monopoly claimed by the French as a matter of right was seriously threatened, and they cast about to find a remedy. For some time the English were restricted to the route by way of the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers. The Ottawa swarmed with French traders and their allies, and the English could not have made their way to Michilimackinac by that route without fighting their way inch by inch. The two intermediate routes presented obstacles equally serious, for they led directly through the Huron country, and the Hurons were firm allies of the French. In the middle of the seventeenth century, however, these two routes were thrown open to the English. It came about in this wise. In 1649 and 1650 the Huron country was subjected to an invasion by the Iroquois from the Province of New York. The invasion forms one of the most tragical chapters to be found even in the history of Indian warfare. The doomed Hurons were dispersed, driven away from their ancient home, and nearly annihilated. Their cultivated fields were turned into a wilderness. There was thus nothing to prevent the English trespassers from availing themselves of this shorter and more expeditious route to the great western fur depôt.

The French were quick to appreciate the situation, and to perceive that a remedy must at once be found. They resolved to erect strong forts at the entrance to each route. A fort was accordingly built at Cataraqui, to guard the passage to the mouth of the Trent by way of the Bay of Quinté. Near the mouth of the Niagara River another fort was built to guard the passage to Lake Erie. A detachment of men was about the same time despatched westward to the Detroit River to prevent the English from passing through to Lake Huron, but a fort was not actually constructed there until early in the eighteenth century. The “Pass by Toronto” was still left unguarded, as the resources of the French were seriously taxed by the preparations already referred to, and by the necessity of repelling frequent and formidable incursions on the part of the Iroquois, who became bolder and more aggressive year by year. The Humber route thus being the only avenue left free and unguarded, it was largely taken advantage of by the English colonists, who passed thereby to and from the Upper Lake region with comparative impunity. Their numbers and operations increased to such an extent as to occasion very serious disquietude to the French, who, after the lapse of many years, found it necessary to make special exertions to preserve their supremacy. These exertions were rendered all the more necessary from the fact that the English, in 1722, established a trading-post at Chouéguen, or, as it is now called, Oswego. The latter thus gained practical control of much of the traffic on Lake Ontario, as they offered better terms than the French, and gained a reputation among the Indians for liberal and straightforward dealing. Many of the barbarians who had been accustomed to resort to the forts at Cataraqui and Niagara to dispose of their wares now began to repair to Chouéguen, and the number of those who did so rapidly increased.

Such was the problem which stared the French adventurers in the face. The solution was obvious. The erection of a fort and trading-post at the mouth of the Humber would not only guard the “Pass by Toronto” against the English, but would be the means of arresting the traffic there. This had become the ordinary route of the Indians from the north and north-west to Chouéguen. If they found that they could dispose of their peltries to good advantage at the mouth of the Humber, there would be no inducement for them to extend their journey across the lake to the English trading-post.

The French bestirred themselves, and in 1749 a trading-post was built a short distance from the mouth of the Humber, on the eastern side of the bay. Its exact site is marked at the present day by the cairn in the Exhibition Grounds, near the lake shore, a few yards south of the main Exhibition building. It was fortified by a stockade, and was named Fort Rouillé, in honour of the French Colonial Minister of the period, Antoine Louis Rouillé, Count de Jouy. The fortifications do not seem to have been very effective, to judge from the account left by M. Pouchot, in his “Memoir upon the War in North America, 1755-60.” “This fort, or post,” he remarks, “was a square of about thirty toises on a side, externally with flanks of fifteen feet. The curtains formed the buildings of the fort. It was very well built, piece upon piece, but was only useful for trade.” He adds: “A league west of the fort is the mouth of the Toronto (i.e., the Humber) River, which is of considerable size. This river communicates with Lake Huron by a portage of fifteen leagues, and is frequented by the Indians who come from the north.” Remains of the foundation of this fortress were distinctly visible six years ago, when the Ordnance Lands were acquired by the Industrial Exhibition Committee.

Rouillé, as has been said, was the official designation conferred upon the fort. But wont and usage refused to be turned aside at the bidding of mere officials. The adjacent stream had, as we have seen, been known as the Toronto River. The very site of the fort itself had from time to time been used as a “Toronto,” or place of meeting, by the Indians. Wigwam villages had occasionally arisen there, to endure only for a brief space, and until the stock of furs on hand could be bartered away to a passing French trader. The name “Toronto” clung to the site, and that of “Fort Rouillé” sank into disuse, except in formal and official reports of the agents stationed there. At least as early as 1753 the spot became popularly known as Fort Toronto, and by that name it continued to be known as long as it had an existence—and, indeed, for long after. For “the Old French Fort,” as it was sometimes called, was not destined to be a permanent institution. Upon the conquest of Canada by the English, there was no longer any reason for maintaining it as a trading-post. It was burned and deserted by its former occupants, after a brief existence of about ten years. From that time forward history only catches one or two fitful glimpses of the spot, until the arrival of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe in the harbour of Toronto in the month of May, 1793. In September, 1760, Major Robert Rogers and his troops called here on their way westward to take possession of Detroit. They found the fort in ruins, and the cleared ground in the neighbourhood fast relapsing into a state of nature. The Major himself, in his published account of the spot, says: “I think Toronto a most convenient place for a factory”—by which he means a trading-post—“and that from thence we may easily settle the north side of Lake Erie.” Other visitors called there from season to season during the next three decades, and a certain amount of traffic with the Indians appears to have been periodically carried on there. But nothing was attempted in the way of permanent settlement. The hour and the man—Governor Simcoe—had not arrived. In an old manuscript map, the date of which is not definitely ascertainable—but which must have been prepared between 1760 and 1793—the site of Rouillé is designated by a little cluster of wigwams, appended to which are the words: “Toronto, an Indian village now deserted.”

Some account of the plan made in 1788 by Captain Gother Mann, and recently discovered in the English archives by Mr. Thomas Hodgins, of Toronto, will be found in the portion of this work specially devoted to an account of the city. From that plan, as well as from various references in colonial despatches and documents of the period, it appears that Toronto was even then regarded as the probable site of a future city. Captain Mann delineates an ideal town of large dimensions, extending from about the present eastern boundary of High Park to a considerable distance east of the Don, and stretching away indefinitely to the north. It is in the highest degree improbable that any survey of such a town-plot was ever made. At any rate, no trace of such a survey has ever been discovered.

In 1791, the statute known as the Constitutional Act of 1791 was passed by the Imperial Parliament, and Canada was divided into the two Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Upper Province, upon which he has stamped his name in indelible colours. He reached his capital—then called Newark, and now called Niagara—in 1792, and opened his first Parliament there on the 17th of September in that year. But Newark did not, in his opinion, fulfil the requisites of a Provincial capital. It was situated opposite the guns of the American fort on the other side of the Niagara River, and it was in a remote corner of the Province; both of which circumstances he justly regarded as serious disqualifications. He explored his domain from east to west in search of a suitable site for the future operations of his Government. He was much in favour of the present site of London the Less, where he at one time had serious intentions of founding a city to be called Georgina, in honour of His Majesty King George III. But the founding of the Forest City was to be the work of other hands than his. While exploring the northern shores of Lake Ontario, early in May, 1793, he entered the harbour now known as Toronto Bay. It was then completely land-locked, except on the western side, for what is now “the Island” was then a peninsula, to which the Indians from the mainland were wont to resort for sanitary purposes. The present site of Toronto was then a desolate marsh, from which rose the smoke of two or three wigwams, whose denizens were the only inhabitants of the place. The spot, however, possessed important natural advantages, and the Governor was not long in making up his mind that here should arise the future capital of Upper Canada. The Indian name, Toronto, was not to his taste, and he resolved that the place should be called York, in honour of the King’s son Frederick, who, it will be remembered, was Duke of York. In the course of the ensuing summer he took up his abode here, with his suite. He also brought over most of his troops and officials, and thenceforward only repaired to Newark during the sessions of the Provincial Legislature. On the 27th of August, a royal salute was fired by the troops from the shore, and replied to by certain ships in the harbour. This instituted the formal inauguration of the new capital, which was thenceforward known as York for a period of nearly forty-one years. All of which events will be found described at full length in the history of the city. They merely require enumeration here in so far as they form part of the history of the County of York.

A few words respecting the aboriginal inhabitants of this part of Canada would seem to be in order here. The Hurons already referred to were in their own tongue known as Wyandots—a word variously spelled, according to the nationality of the speller. Sagard, one of the earliest authorities, gives it as “Houandates,” of which word he supplies no interpretation. “Huron” was a purely French word, originating in jest among the soldiers and sailors of New France, and afterwards employed seriously, for the sake of convenience, by the French immigrants generally. A fashion of preserving a row or two of upright bristles along the ridge of the cranium, while the sides were closely shaven, produced, as the first European beholders thought, a grotesque resemblance to the head of a wild boar, called in French hure. Hence, according to Gabriel Lalemant, arose the name Huron, a word which lent itself readily to the Latin tongue, like Teuton and Saxon. The Hurons were comprised in a Confederation of four cantons, or nations, to which the Tobacco Nation was afterwards united. They were of the blood and speech of the Iroquois, who nevertheless became implacably hostile to them, and finally, as has been seen, destroyed them as a nation, and converted their “place of meeting” into a desolate wilderness.

The Mississagas, a few of whom were found encamped on the site of Toronto in 1793, were of the Algonquin race and speech. They were in fact Chippewas, who, after the desolation of the Huron country of the Iroquois, migrated from their homes on the rock-bound north coast of the Georgian Bay, and betook themselves to the more genial shores of Ontario. These Chippewa bands were called Mississaga-Chippewas, to distinguish them from the Chippewas of Sault Ste. Marie and the Lake Superior region generally. The specific name Mississaga was applied because those of them who were first fallen in with by the French hailed from the neighbourhood of the River Mississaga, an important stream which enters Lake Huron about 150 miles west of French River.

Several localities around Lake Ontario still bear names derived from the Mississaga Indians. On the west side of the entrance to the Niagara River is Point Mississaga, with the dismantled Fort Mississaga still conspicuous upon it. In the Bay of Quinté is another Point Mississaga, as well as an island called Mississaga off the mouth of the Trent. These names doubtless indicate customary camping-places of bands of Mississagas. Major Rogers speaks of the Mississagas whom he found on the site of Fort Rouillé in 1760; and Bouchette speaks of Mississaga wigwams on the same spot in 1793. So unmixedly were Mississagas found along the north shore of Lake Ontario at the time of the British Conquest of Canada that they were treated by the British authorities as the sole owners of the soil thereabouts, whose rights must be extinguished before the Crown could lawfully take possession.

The words Mississaga and Chippewa are variously spelt in early works in which they are referred to. Among modern writers the latter word is re-assuming the form of “Otchipway.” From a partial similarity in sound, Mississaga has been imagined by some to be connected with a Chippewa word for eagle; and, without any foundation in fact, it has been concluded that an eagle was the token or cognizance of the Mississagas. The correct interpretation of the word Mississaga is given by Mr. Alexander Henry, in his “Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories between the Years 1760 and 1776,” a work which is becoming exceedingly scarce, and which has begun to command a fancy price among Canadian bibliophiles. “I pursued my journey,” he writes, “to the mouth of the Missisaki [Mississaga], a river which descends from the north, and of which the name imputes that it has several mouths, or outlets. From this river all the Indians inhabiting the north side of Lake Huron are called Missisakies [Mississagas].” Michi, or Missi, signifies great or many, while saki or saga conveys the idea of the mouth or outlet of a river. It may further be observed that the Mississaga-Chippewas were sometimes called Matchedash Indians, from their descending to the shores of Lake Ontario from the direction of Matchedash Bay.

Chapter II.

The Building of Yonge Street.—Origin of its Name.—Dundas Street.—Early Territorial Divisions of Upper Canada.—Extent of the County of York.—Departure and Death of Governor Simcoe.—Interest Attaching to His Name.—An Unpublished Letter of His.—Selfish and Unpatriotic Policy of other Lieutenant-Governors.—President Russell and His Successors.—Pen-Pictures by Robert Gourlay.

YORK and its neighbourhood soon began to present an appearance of energetic settlement and civilization. The harbour was surveyed by Joseph Bouchette, who, in a paragraph which has been quoted by every subsequent writer on the subject, describes “the untamed aspect which the country exhibited.” The troops were well employed by Governor Simcoe in building operations, and in making roads. Mr. W. H. Smith, author of “Canada, Past, Present, and Future,” writing in 1851, and commenting upon this utilitarian employment of the Provincial troops by our first Governor, remarks: “It would be well for the Province, and equally beneficial to the troops, if other Governors employed them as usefully. The Province would then derive some benefit from the troops being stationed here, and the men themselves would be more healthy, and from being actively employed would be less likely to be led themselves, or to lead others, into dissipation.”

The most important highway surveyed and laid out under the Governor’s auspices was Yonge Street, extending all the way from York to Lake Simcoe, thirty miles distant in the northern wilderness. The name of “Yonge Street” was bestowed upon it by the Governor in honour of his friend Sir George Yonge, who was Secretary of War in the Imperial Cabinet during the early part of Governor Simcoe’s residence in Upper Canada. It may also be mentioned that Lake Simcoe, just mentioned, was named by the Governor in honour of his father, Captain Simcoe, of the Royal Navy, who died on the St. Lawrence River during the expedition against Quebec in 1759. The building of Yonge Street was intended to serve the double purpose of opening up the country along the route, and of shortening and facilitating travel between Lake Ontario and the North-West. It is thus referred to by Provincial Surveyor D. W. Smyth, in his Gazetteer, published in 1799. “This communication affords many advantages. Merchandise from Montreal to Michilimackinac may be sent this way at ten or fifteen pounds less expense per ton than by the route of the Grand or Ottawa Rivers, and the merchandise from New York to be sent up the North and Mohawk Rivers for the North-West trade, finding its way into Lake Ontario at Oswego, the advantage will certainly be felt of transporting goods from Oswego to York, and from thence across Yonge Street, and down the waters of Lake Simcoe into Lake Huron, in preference to sending it by Lake Erie.”

Another well-known thoroughfare, which we owe to Governor Simcoe’s enterprise, is Dundas Street, which was intended by him to be a means of communication throughout the whole of Upper Canada from east to west. It was named by him after the Right Hon. Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville, who was Colonial Secretary in those days. Only a small portion of it was actually built during Governor Simcoe’s régime. A portion of it is still known in local parlance as the Governor’s Road, though its proper and official designation is the one originally bestowed upon it.

The territorial divisions of Upper Canada in Governor Simcoe’s days were very different from those now existing. The first was made by proclamation issued by Lord Dorchester, Governor-General of Canada, under authority of an Imperial statute. The proclamation was dated the 24th of July, 1788, at which date the Constitutional Act had not been passed, and while the Province afterwards known as Upper or Western Canada still formed a part of the Province of Quebec. The division thereby effected was into four districts, named respectively Lunenburgh, Mecklenburgh, Nassau and Hesse. The only one of the four with which the present narrative has any special concern is the District of Nassau, which embraced a large tract of country, extending westward from the head of the Bay of Quinté to a line extending due north from the extreme projection of Long Point, on Lake Erie. It thus included, among other land, the whole of the present County of York. This division was purely conventional and nominal, as the country was sparsely inhabited, and the necessity for minute and accurate boundary lines had not become pressing. Upon Governor Simcoe’s arrival he made a second territorial division whereby the Province was divided into nineteen counties, one of which was the County of York. This was in the month of July, 1792, nearly a year before he had caught his first glimpse of the site of his future capital of that name. The County of York, as then defined, extended from the County of Durham westward to the River Thames, then called La Trenche or La Tranche. During the first session of the First Parliament of Upper Canada, which closed its sittings on the 15th of October, 1792, an Act was passed (32 Geo. III. cap 8) whereby the names of the four districts set apart in 1788 were altered to the Eastern, Midland, Home and Western Districts—the Home District corresponding to the one theretofore called Nassau. One member was deemed sufficient to represent the Counties of York and Durham and one Riding of the County of Lincoln in the Provincial Legislature. Parliament was convened at Newark for five successive years. It met at York for the first time in 1797, by which time Governor Simcoe had bidden the Province a final adieu. In the year 1796 he departed on a special diplomatic mission to the Island of Hayti, or St. Domingo. After the fulfilment of his mission he returned to England. He died on the 25th of October, 1806, and his remains were interred in a little chapel on his Devonshire estates. A mural tablet is erected to his memory in Exeter Cathedral.

In this country, and more especially in the County of York, a strong interest must ever attach to the name of Governor Simcoe. This interest arises not merely from the fact that he was the first Governor of Upper Canada, but from his merits as a man and as an administrator. He was a man of enlightened views, in many respects considerably in advance of his time. He set on foot a wise system of administering public affairs, and, had his example been followed by his immediate successors, Upper Canada would have escaped some of the most serious evils which befell her during nearly half a century of her history. The special obligations of the County of York to him need no elaborate recapitulation. Briefly, it may be said that to him we owe the establishment of the Provincial and intellectual capital within our domain. To him we owe the construction of Yonge Street, and the opening up of the northern townships. His memory has claims upon us and our descendants which are not likely to be forgotten. As everything relating to him may be supposed to have an interest for us, the following letter, addressed by him, about five years before his death, to the clergyman of his parish, and now published for the first time, will doubtless be acceptable to the readers of this work. The original is in the possession of Dr. Scadding, of Toronto, whose valuable contributions to our local archæology are well known.—“Dear Sir,” it runs: “On the 22nd of this month I shall have lived half a century. You will therefore much oblige me if you will spend the day with me, and will celebrate divine service at 12 o’clock in our chapel. I shall esteem it as a favour if you would take for your text ‘Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,’ etc. The advantages of being a Christian, of having been educated by a most pious and excellent mother (my father dying, whilst I was yet an infant, in the service of his country), assisted by the companions of my father’s youth and the protectors of my own; the advantages of being an Englishman, and of that Church where Christianity is administered in its purest form; the advantages of being a member of that government where laws are most equal, and where justice is administered in mercy, are impressed on my heart, and I wish them to be recommended to my children. There is a text in Leviticus, I believe, that particularly enforces purity of heart to those who aspire to military command. As mine in all views is a military family, it may not be amiss in a more especial manner to inculcate the remembrance of the Creator to those who shall engage in the solemn duties of protecting their country at these times from foreign usurpation. I am truly yours, J. G. S. Feb. 14th, 1801.”

This interesting letter is thoroughly characteristic of the man. It breathes throughout a spirit of intelligent conservatism and devotion to duty. Its writer was recognized by successive Governments as a useful public servant. He has left behind him very distinct traces of his temporary direction of Upper Canadian affairs. Lake Simcoe, named by him as already mentioned, commemorates to successive ages his own name and that of his father. The County of the same name, and the metropolitan town of the County of Norfolk, were also designated after the founder of York. Simcoe and John Streets, Toronto, were moreover so called by way of commemoration of his surname and one of his Christian names. The maiden name of his wife, Miss Gwillim, is also commemorated in the townships of North, East and West Gwillimbury.

The laying out of Yonge Street was prosecuted under the personal supervision of Mr. Augustus Jones, a well-known land surveyor of those primitive times. He began his labours on the 26th of February, 1794. For many years after the original survey, and indeed down to a period within the memory of persons still living in Toronto, it did not extend southerly to the bay shore, but terminated at Queen (then called Lot) Street. During the early years of the present century it was impassable south of what is now Bloor Street. Persons driving into Toronto from the northward were here compelled to make a detour to the eastward until they arrived at Parliament Street, which was in tolerable condition for those times. In 1801 John Stegmann, another land surveyor whose name is frequently met with in old Upper Canadian surveys, was appointed to examine and report upon the condition of Yonge Street. He reported that: “from the Town of York to the three-mile post on the Poplar Plains the road is cut, and that as yet the greater part of the said distance is not passable for any carriage whatever, on account of logs which lie in the street. From thence to lot 1 on Yonge Street the road is very difficult to pass at any time, agreeable to the present situation in which the said part of the street is.” The Poplar Plains mentioned in this extract were situated immediately to the north of what is now Yorkville. But Yonge Street was of too much importance to be allowed to remain in such a state as that above indicated. It was largely used by the North-West Company, to whom good roads were an object, for purposes of transportation. They supplied funds for the improvement of the road, and contributed for that purpose as much as £8,000 in one single payment. About the close of the first decade of the century Yonge Street was serviceable along its entire length.

The land on each side of the road was granted to actual settlers on condition of their performing the usual settlement duties, which involved the necessity of building a house, clearing a proportionate part of the land, and “making the road across or in front of each lot.” It might be supposed that such liberal terms as these would have been readily and eagerly taken advantage of; yet we find that the progress of actual settlement was slow. In 1799 the entire population of the Home District was only 224. For some years afterwards its growth was barely perceptible. In 1798 the aggregate population of the townships of York, Scarborough and Etobicoke, together with the Town of York itself, was only 749. For this state of things the line of policy adopted by Governor Simcoe’s successors was in great measure responsible. Large tracts of land throughout the District were granted to favourites of successive administrations, and to others who could bring influence to bear upon those who had the ear of the executive. The lands so granted were usually “held for a rise” by the patentees, who resorted to all sorts of devices to avoid even the performance of the ordinary settlement duties. In this way a great proportion of the land was locked up in private hands, and practically closed to settlement. The practice flourished throughout the entire Province, but the Home District, being the headquarters of the Government, naturally became the focus and centre of such abuses. More than ten millions of acres of the public lands had been granted to the U. E. Loyalist immigrants alone; and one-seventh of the entire lands of the Province had been appropriated for Clergy Reserves. It was easy to perceive that land in Upper Canada would in course of time become exceedingly valuable, and many pages might be written illustrative of the spirit of greed which animated the office-holders of those days. There was very little check upon their rapacity, for the same spirit seemed to actuate all the officials, from the highest to the lowest. President Russell, who, as senior member of the Executive Council, succeeded to the administration of affairs upon Governor Simcoe’s departure for the West Indies, was wont to make grants of public land directly to himself—the verbiage employed being somewhat after the following fashion: “I, Peter Russell, administrator, do grant unto Peter Russell,” etc. During the regime of his successor, Lieutenant-General Peter Hunter, as well as under those of Commodore Grant and Francis Gore, similar practices prevailed, though it does not appear that in the case of any other person than Russell did the administrator go the length of conveying real estate directly to himself, without the intervention of a trustee.

In the original surveys of the territory embraced within the County of York, as then constituted, it appears that the frontier townships of Pickering, Scarborough and York were at first named Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin respectively. Pickering, as the reader is doubtless aware, now forms part of the County of Ontario. Full accounts of the other two townships will be found in their proper places in the present work, under separate and distinct headings, together with lists of the early patentees, showing the slow rate of progress of the settlements. The names of Glasgow and Dublin did not long attach to them, as it appears that they were known by their present designations before the advent of the present century. All, or nearly all, of the territory comprised within these townships, was surrendered by the Mississaga Indians to the Crown during the early months of Governor Simcoe’s administration. Other surrenders were made from time to time, until the Indian title was gradually extinguished, except as to lands specially reserved on their behalf, and as to which unfettered power of alienation was not admitted.

In 1798, during President Russell’s direction of affairs, an Act was passed “for the better division of this Province,” whereby it was enacted that the Counties of Northumberland, Durham, York and Simcoe should form the Home District. The County of York was divided into two parts, to be called respectively the East and West Ridings. The East Riding was declared to consist of the townships of Whitby, Pickering, Scarborough, York (including its peninsula, now the Island), Etobicoke, Markham, Vaughan, King, Whitchurch, Uxbridge, Gwillimbury, “and the tract of land hereafter to be laid out into townships, lying between the County of Durham and the Lake Simcoe.” The West Riding was made up of the townships of Beverley and Flamborough, East and West, so much of the tract of land upon the Grand River in the occupation of the Six Nation Indians as lay to the northward of Dundas Street, and all the land between the said tract and the East Riding of the County of York, “with the reserved lands in the rear of the townships of Blenheim and Blandford.” This adjustment remained undisturbed until the year 1816, when an Act was passed carving the District of Gore out of portions of the Niagara and Home Districts. By this Act also the township of Toronto was annexed to the East Riding of York. Five years later, in 1821, a new territorial division was made of the entire Province, whereby the townships of Reach, Brock, Scott and Georgina were annexed to the East Riding of York, and the townships of Albion, Caledon, Chinguacousy and the Gore of Toronto were annexed to the West Riding. The County of Simcoe was at the same time formed, being made up of various old and new townships formerly included within the limits of the County of York. The population of the Home District at this time was about 12,000. As it had then been settled nearly thirty years, the admission must be made that its progress had been very slow indeed.

Poor Robert Gourlay, writing several years before this time, gives a vivid, and, upon the whole, an accurate pen-picture of the conflicting elements then at work in the Home District. As his book has long since become practically unobtainable, and as his account will doubtless prove interesting to the present inhabitants of the territory so graphically described, it is worth while to quote a portion of it, more especially as it is of much topographical value. In order to make his allusions intelligible, the reader should be made acquainted with a few preliminary facts. Mr. Gourlay was a Scottish gentleman, of a decidedly critical cast of mind, who visited Canada in 1817, and who, after some observation of the country, resolved to engage in business as a land-agent, and to organize an extensive system of emigration from the British Islands to Canada. Having obtained much statistical information with respect to public lands and settlers, and having become cognizant of the unscrupulousness of many of the officials, and the baneful influence exercised by the Family Compact, he determined to make the facts generally known in Great Britain. In order to obtain minute and exhaustive intelligence, he addressed a series of printed questions to the principal residents in each township in Upper Canada, asking for information as to the date of settlement, number of inhabitants, houses, churches, schools, stores and mills; the general character of the soil; the various kinds of timber and minerals; the rates of wages; cost of clearing land; usual time of ploughing and reaping; extent and condition of wild lands, etc. The questions were thirty-one in number. All of them were unobjectionable, except the last, which ran thus:—“What, in your opinion, retards the improvement of your township in particular, or the Province in general, and what would most contribute to the same?” Nearly all the replies received to this question echoed the same strain. The slow development was attributed to the Crown and Clergy Reserves, and to the immense tracts of lands held by non-residents. The prevailing sentiment was well mirrored in a reply received from Kingston. Thus it ran:—“The same cause which has surrounded Little York with a desert, creates gloom and desolation about Kingston, otherwise most beautifully situated; I mean the seizure and monopoly of the land by people in office and favour. On the east side, particularly, you may travel miles together without passing a human dwelling. The roads are accordingly most abominable to the very gates of this, the largest town in the Province; and its market is supplied with vegetables from the United States, where property is less hampered, and the exertions of cultivators more free.”

These remarks, which were perfectly true as applied to the neighbourhood of Kingston, were still more applicable to the Home District. In the Home District, however, the influence of Dr.—afterwards Bishop—Strachan was paramount. The Doctor regarded Mr. Gourlay as a pestilent interloper whose career should not be allowed to go unchecked. Owing in a great measure to the exertions and influence of this active-minded ecclesiastic, not a single reply was received from the Home District. But the tract of country included therein was too important to be left out of Mr. Gourlay’s consideration, and in compiling his “Statistical Account of Upper Canada,” he prepared nine octavo pages of printed matter, wherein the District was portrayed in colours which were all but universally recognized as combining truthfulness with vigour. “From this District,” he writes, “I did not receive a single reply to my address, although it was first published here, and had the cordial approbation of the head magistrate of the Province, as well as of everybody with whom I held converse. This may be ascribed to two causes: first, the opposition of a monstrous little fool of a parson, who, for reasons best known to himself, fell foul of the address which I had published, abused me as its author, and has ever since laboured, with unremitting malignity, to frustrate its intention.”

The person thus irreverently alluded to as “a monstrous little fool of a parson” was of course Dr. Strachan. “This man, unfortunately,” he continues, “was a member of the Executive Council, and his efforts, from that circumstance, were but too successful.... The second cause may be traced to the low condition of society in the Home District, owing to the peculiar state of property. The foregoing reports sufficiently demonstrate how the farmers of Upper Canada have been baffled in their improvements by the large tracts of unsettled land; but in the Home District they have suffered most from this, and not only has it dulled the edge of husbandry, but in a remarkable degree clouded the rise of intellect and spirit among the inhabitants. No sooner was York fixed upon as the capital of the Province than it became obvious that sooner or later the landed property around, and on the high roads to Kingston, etc., would bear a high value. For this good reason, the creatures in office and favour bent their avaricious eyes upon it, and large portions were secured to them and their friends. The consequences are melancholy. For five miles round the capital of Upper Canada scarcely one improved farm can be seen in contact with another; and even within a gunshot of the place the gloomy woods rise up in judgment against its nefarious inmates. I say ‘the gloomy woods,’ because Nature does not appear in her full attire in the neighbourhood of Little York. The need of firewood has chosen from the forest its chief ornaments, and left a parcel of scorched and decaying pine trees to frown over the seat of rapacity. The only connected settlement commences about five miles to the north, on Yonge Street. In other directions, so far as the District goes, you might travel in 1817 to its utmost limits, and not find more than one farm house for every three miles. It is true, that round York, and particularly to the westward, the soil is inferior, but the convenience attendant on proximity to a town would long ago have overbalanced this disadvantage, had property not been monopolized and mangled. Where Yonge Street is compactly settled, it is well cultivated and thriving, particularly beyond what is called the Oak Hills or Ridges, a strip of elevated and irregular ground which parts the waters flowing into Lakes Simcoe and Ontario, and which indeed forms a sort of continuation of the mountain running through Gore and Niagara Districts. In this quarter the land is excellent, and it is well occupied by industrious people, mostly Quakers. In other quarters, simple and unsuspecting Germans—Tunkers, and Menonists—have been thinly stuck in by the knowing ones among their precious blocks and reserves, by whose plodding labours the value of this sinecure property may be increased.

“A curious document has been published in this country, which gives a sad proof of the effect of narrow-mindedness and wrong arrangement in property. The document is meant to draw reverence to the above-mentioned parson; but, in fact, is the strongest evidence against his deeds and sentiments. It is stated that seven or eight miles from York, on Yonge Street, there is a place of worship, where it is customary to see many grown persons coming forward to be baptized. The fact is, that this, with another belonging to the above mentioned Quakers, are the only places of worship to be seen in Yonge Street, extending near forty miles. In the first mentioned, service is only performed once a month; the dominant parson allowing nobody to preach but himself! Much moan has been made in this country as to the lagging of the gospel in Upper Canada; but I can assure the public that the chief cause rests in the state of property, which so scatters the people as to put the necessary union for building and endowing churches out of the question. The moment that Upper Canada becomes thickly peopled, the gospel, having free course, will be glorified; and this will the sooner take place, the sooner that clergy reserves, vainly set apart for the erection of an established church, are sold off to actual settlers. Next to personal security, the security and right ordering of property is the prime concern of wise legislation. Let these indeed be properly seen to, and all else will go well, whether the pate of magistracy be covered with a cowl, a crown, or a cap of liberty.

“There are not more desirable situations for settlement in the Province than on the great road from York to Kingston; but here the largest portions of land have been seized upon by people in power and office. Some twenty years ago, these people sold two whole townships of Crown Land, and had the effrontery to lay out great part of the proceeds in opening the road through their favourite locations, which actual settlers would cheerfully have done gratis, besides keeping it in continual repair. The road was indeed opened, but to this day, except in sleighing time and fine weather, it is an absolute block up against him who would attempt to pass between the two principal towns of the Province. Upon one occasion that I wended my weary way through this dismal defile, I was glad to rest for a little while in a farm-house, ‘far in the wild.’ It has been my frequent custom to judge my fellow men partly through external appearances—their farms—their houses—their dress. When approaching a human dwelling in Upper Canada, I would survey its neighbourhood: I would observe whether the fire-wood was neatly piled; the implements of husbandry snugly secured from wind and weather in a shed; or whether the pump and oven were in good repair. Sometimes, nay, I shall say often, all was right, sometimes quite the reverse. In front of a farm-house, I would sometimes see broken ploughs and decayed wagons lying upon a heap of chips which had been accumulating for years, and which had for smaller garnishing many-coloured and filthy rags, broken bottles, and pieces of crockery. What was to be augured of the man who exhibited such signals? certainly neither good humour nor rational conversation. Yet if the weary traveller must have rest and refreshment, he will not be repelled by these; he will at least march up to the house, and consult the windows. If well glazed and bright, in he may go, assured that the mistress will prove tidy, though her man is a sloven; and that the interior will yield comfort, though the exterior forbid the hope. If, on the contrary, an old hat, or piece of dirty blanket supplies the place of a pane of glass, the case is bad indeed; and nothing but the strongest necessity, or most violent curiosity, would induce me to enter. Both were urgent on this occasion; and after resting a little, I began to examine the various articles by which the light of the front window was obscured, or I should rather say, by which its numerous orifices were closed up. Let the reader reflect on the catalogue. There was one old great coat, and two pair of ragged pantaloons. This story, I think, will match with that of the paganism of Yonge Street, and the same cause has laid the foundation of both. Inspect all the wretched cottages of England, and you will not find a window so patched as that which I have spoken of. It is not mere poverty that produces such appearances. The poorest creature could find a piece of board, or a bit of paper, to nail or paste up in the place of a broken glass; and either the one or other would have some show of neatness and respectability; but an old hat, a blanket, a great coat, or ragged pantaloons, taken advantage of for such a purpose, mark a degree of degradation below brutality; and such is the state to which circumstances and situation can reduce humanity. It is the removal from social intercourse, the indulgence of indolence, the want of excitement, which can make the mind completely torpid, and at once extinguish taste, feeling and shame. The master of the house spoken of was tenant of a Clergy Reserve. But enough of this at present: there is quite enough to show why I had no reply to my queries in such a District.

“To carry on my estimate of population, I suppose that Little York might contain, in 1817, of people, I shall not say souls, 1,200. There are thirteen organized townships in the District; that is, such as hold town meetings for the choice of town office bearers, and to these, three others are united, each containing a few inhabitants. If to these thirteen townships, with their additions, are allowed 500 people each, the full number, I think, will be obtained as it stood in 1817 ...

The above1,200
Total white population7,700.”

Mr. Gourlay personally reaped nothing but ignominy and imprisonment from his public spirit. As his statements could not be met by just argument, the prevailing faction resorted to the argumentum ad hominem, and employed the most villainous means of silencing him. The same species of persecution assailed him, under the semblance of law, as was suffered in Great Britain by the Tookes, the Leigh Hunts, and the Cobbetts. Spies were sent about the country to dog him, in the hope that they might find something in his language upon which an indictment might be founded. The plan was successful. Indictments were found against him by packed Grand Juries, and cumulative prosecutions were set on foot in order to leave him no loophole of escape. The sad story of Robert Gourlay forms one of the darkest chapters in the national history. He was cast into prison at Niagara, and detained there for many months, after which, by virtue of an old statute which his persecutors warped to their own ends, he was ordered to quit the Province within twenty-four hours, on pain of death in case of his return. He accordingly left the Province, to which he did not return until after the lapse of many years. But the people of Upper Canada in general, and of the Home District in particular, had abundant reason to bless his name. The shameful treatment to which he had been subjected drew public attention to his case, and was the indirect means of bringing about a better state of things. When, nearly forty years afterwards, he again set foot in the County of York, he found that a new dynasty had arisen, and that all the most grievous of the old abuses had been swept away.

Chapter III.

Modern Territorial Divisions of York.—Parliamentary Representation.—The Rebellion.—Want of Harmony Among its Leaders.—Inaction and Defeat.—Execution of Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews.—The Place of their Interment.—Gallows Hill.—Origin of the Name.

IN addition to the statutory territorial divisions indicated in the preceding chapter, several Acts of partial application only, affecting the County of York, were passed both before and after the Union of the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841. In 1827, 1832 and 1836, three several enactments came into operation regulating or affecting the local boundaries, but in a brief sketch like the present it would serve no useful purpose to follow minutely the course of Provincial legislation. Suffice it to say that by the statute 14 and 15 Victoria, chapter 5, passed during the session of 1851, just before the second Lafontaine-Baldwin Administration went out of office, it was enacted that the County of York should consist of the townships of Etobicoke, Vaughan, Markham, Scarborough, York, King, Whitchurch, Gwillimbury East and Gwillimbury North. By this Act, which came into operation on the 1st of January, 1852, the counties of York, Ontario and Peel were declared to be united for municipal and judicial purposes. By section 5 provision was made for the dissolution of unions of counties, and under this enactment Ontario separated from York and Peel at the close of the year 1853. York and Peel remained united until 1866, when a separation took place, and they have ever since been entirely distinct municipalities.

Several subsequent partial enactments were consolidated in chapter 5 of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, the 41st section whereof enacts that the County of York shall consist of the townships of Etobicoke, Georgina, Gwillimbury East, Gwillimbury North, King, Markham, Scarborough, Vaughan, Whitchurch, York, the City of Toronto, and the villages of Aurora, Holland Landing, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Yorkville. In a municipal sense, this is the present division, except that the Village of Yorkville was last year admitted into the City of Toronto under the name of St. Paul’s Ward.

The reader hardly needs to be informed, however, that the municipal divisions are not identical with the divisions for the purpose of Parliamentary representation. It has been seen on a former page that in very early times one member was considered sufficient to represent a tract of territory very much larger than the present County of York. To trace the progress of Parliamentary representation for the County of York from that time down to the present would occupy much space, and would be attended with very little benefit or entertainment to the reader. It will be sufficient to begin with the Union, at which date York was divided into four electoral Ridings, known respectively as the First, Second, Third and Fourth Ridings. During the First Parliament, which lasted from the 8th of April, 1841, to the 23rd of September, 1844, these constituencies were respectively represented by James Hervey Price, George Duggan, jr., James Edward Small, Robert Baldwin, and Louis Hypolite Lafontaine. The Second Parliament lasted from the 12th of November, 1844, to the 6th of December, 1847. Messieurs Price, Duggan, and Baldwin continued to represent their various constituencies. Mr. Small was reëlected for the Third Riding, but his return was declared null and void on the 14th of March, 1845, and his opponent, George Monro, was declared to have been duly elected. Mr. Monro accordingly represented the constituency from that time forward until the close of the Second Parliament. As for Mr. Lafontaine, his representation of an Upper Canadian constituency was merely a temporary expedient, and after the close of the First Parliament he was returned for the Lower Canadian constituency of Terrebonne. Before the assembly of the Third Parliament a re-adjustment and re-naming of the constituencies had taken place, and they were thenceforward respectively known as the North, East, South and West Ridings. The North Riding consisted of the townships of Brock, Georgina, East Gwillimbury, North Gwillimbury, Mara, Rama, Reach, Scott, Thorah, Uxbridge, and Whitchurch. The East Riding was composed of the townships of Markham, Pickering, Scarborough, and Whitby. The South Riding comprised the townships of Etobicoke, King, Vaughan, and York; and the West Riding was made up of the townships of Albion, Caledon, Chinguacousy, Toronto and the Gore of Toronto. During the Third Parliament, which lasted from the 24th of January, 1848, to the 6th of November, 1851, the North Riding was represented by Robert Baldwin, the East Riding by William Hume Blake and Peter Perry, the South Riding by James Hervey Price, and the West Riding by Joseph Curran Morrison. During the Fourth Parliament an Act was passed increasing the representation to sixty-five members from each section of the Province. Thenceforward York was divided into three constituencies only, the North, East and West Ridings. Without consecutively following the representation and divisions of the county any further, it may be said that by the eighth section of the second chapter of the Consolidated Statutes of Canada, the County of York is divided into three Ridings, to be called respectively the North Riding, the East Riding and the West Riding; the North Riding consisting of the townships of King, Whitchurch, Georgina, East Gwillimbury and North Gwillimbury; the East Riding consisting of the townships of Markham, Scarborough, and that portion of the Township of York lying east of Yonge Street, and the Village of Yorkville; the West Riding consisting of the Townships of Etobicoke, Vaughan, and that portion of the Township of York lying west of Yonge Street. By statute 45 Victoria, chapter 3, passed on the 17th of May, 1882, entitled “An Act to re-adjust the Representation in the House of Commons, and for other purposes,” it is enacted that the East Riding of the County of York shall consist of the townships of East York (i.e., the portion lying east of Yonge Street), Scarborough and Markham, and the villages of Yorkville and Markham; and that the North Riding shall consist of the townships of King, East Gwillimbury, West Gwillimbury, North Gwillimbury and Georgina, and the villages of Holland Landing, Bradford and Aurora.

Representation in the Local Legislature is provided for by the eighth chapter of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, entitled “An Act Respecting the Representation of the People in the Legislative Assembly,” whereby it is provided that the County of York shall be divided into three Ridings, to be called respectively the North Riding, the East Riding and the West Riding; the North Riding to consist of the townships of King, Whitchurch, Georgina, East Gwillimbury and North Gwillimbury, and the Villages of Aurora, Holland Landing and Newmarket; the East Riding to consist of the townships of Markham and Scarborough, that portion of the Township of York lying east of Yonge Street, and the villages of Yorkville and Markham; the West Riding to consist of the townships of Etobicoke and Vaughan, that portion of the Township of York lying west of Yonge Street, and the Village of Richmond Hill. Upon the admission of Yorkville as a portion of the City of Toronto, in 1883, it was specially provided that the village should for Parliamentary purposes still remain attached to the East Riding of York.

Independently of territorial and Parliamentary divisions, there is not much to record in the way of purely County history, beyond what is given in the various Township histories which will be found elsewhere in this volume. The County played a very conspicuous part in the Rebellion of 1837-’38, but the details of that ill-starred movement are recorded at considerable length in the “Brief History of Canada and the Canadian People,” with which the reader of these pages may be presumed to be already familiar. The merest outline is all that can be attempted here. The public dissatisfaction with the many abuses which existed in those days, and with the high-handed tyranny of the executive, was intensified in 1836 and 1837 by the injudicious proceedings of the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Francis Bond Head. That dignitary employed the most corrupt means during the elections of 1836 to secure the return of members favourable to his policy, and the leading Reformers of Upper Canada were defeated at the polls. The most shamelessly dishonest means were employed to secure the defeat of William Lyon Mackenzie in the Second Riding of York, for which constituency he had already been returned five times in succession, and he had as often been unjustly expelled from membership in the Assembly. The combined tyranny and abuses of the time had long since aroused a spirit of resistance, and before the year 1837 was many months old this spirit had begun to assume an active shape. An enrolment of the disaffected throughout the Second Riding took place, and the list included many persons of the highest respectability and intelligence. Mackenzie’s paper, The Constitution, circulated largely throughout the constituency, and his influence there was paramount. He and his coadjutors made urgent and repeated inflammatory appeals to the people of the Province generally, who were incited to strike for that freedom which could only be won at the point of the sword. A Central Vigilance Committee was formed, and Mackenzie devoted all his time to the organization of armed resistance to authority. Drillings were held at night throughout nearly the whole of the northern part of the County of York. It was at last settled that an attempt should be made to subvert the Government. The time fixed upon for the commencement of hostilities was Thursday, the 7th of December (1837), at which date the rebels were to secretly assemble their forces at Montgomery’s Tavern, a well-known hostelry on Yonge Street, about three miles north of Toronto. Having assembled, they were to proceed in a body into the city, where they expected to be joined by a large proportion of the inhabitants. They were to march direct to the City Hall, and seize 4000 stand of arms which had been placed there. The insurrectionary programme further included the seizure of the Lieutenant-Governor himself and his chief advisers, the capture of the garrison, and the calling of a convention for the purpose of framing a constitution. A provisional government was to be formed, at the head of which was to be placed Dr. John Rolph, one of the ablest men who has ever taken part in Upper Canadian affairs.

The scheme promised well enough, but there was no efficient organization among the insurgents, who were from the beginning doomed to failure. The details seem to have been largely deputed to Mr. Mackenzie’s management, and if active energy could have insured success at the outset, the insurgent programme would have been fully carried out. Sir Francis Head, though kept continually informed of treasonable meetings in various parts of the Home District, treated all such intelligence with contempt, and made no preparation to defend his little capital. There was absolutely no possibility of failure on the part of Mackenzie and his forces, if they had manifested the least ability for conducting an armed insurrection. But the leaders had no common plan of operations, and were out of harmony with each other. No one seems to have been invested with undivided authority. Mackenzie reached the house of his friend and co-worker Mr. David Gibson, in the neighbourhood of Montgomery’s, on the evening of Sunday, the 3rd of December, when, to quote his own words: “To my astonishment and dismay, I was informed that though I had given the captains of townships sealed orders for the Thursday following, the Executive had ordered out the men beyond the Ridges to attend with their arms next day (Monday) and that it was probable they were already on the march. I instantly sent one of Mr. Gibson’s servants to the north, countermanded the Monday movement, and begged Colonel Lount not to come down, nor in any way disturb the previous regular arrangement.... The servant returned on Monday with a message from Mr. Lount that it was now too late to stop; that the men were warned, and moving, with their guns and pikes, on the march down Yonge Street—a distance of thirty or forty miles, on the worst roads in the world—and that the object of their rising could no longer be concealed. I was grieved, and so was Mr. Gibson, but we had to make the best of it. Accordingly, I mounted my horse in the afternoon, rode in towards the city, took five trusty men with me, arrested several men on suspicion that they were going to Sir Francis with information, placed a guard on Yonge Street, the main northern avenue to Toronto, at Montgomery’s, and another guard on a parallel road, and told them to allow none to pass towards the city. I then waited some time, expecting the Executive to arrive, but waited in vain. No one came, and not even a message. I was therefore left in entire ignorance of the condition of the capital, and, instead of entering Toronto on Thursday with 4,000 or 5,000 men, was apparently expected to take it on Monday with 200, wearied after a march of thirty or forty miles through the mud, in the worst possible humour at finding they had been called from the very extremity of the county, and no one else warned at all.”

This was certainly a disheartening state of affairs, though as a simple matter of fact there is no doubt that the city might easily have been taken just then, even with a less force than 200, if the rebels had been efficiently commanded. But the change of date from Thursday to Monday seems to have completely disheartened Mackenzie, who from that time forward seemed to act without either energy or judgment. Instead of proceeding into the city, he actually kept his forces at Montgomery’s until Thursday in a state of complete inaction. By that time the authorities in Toronto had of course become aware of the movement. Assistance had been summoned from Hamilton and elsewhere, and all hopes of success for the insurrection were at an end. On Thursday the loyalist forces advanced northward and met the rebels a short distance north of Gallows Hill. A skirmish followed, but was of very short duration, as the rebels were altogether outnumbered, and fled in all directions. Mackenzie and the other leaders succeeded in making their escape to the United States; all except poor Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews, who were captured and executed at Toronto on the 12th of April following. Their remains are interred in the Toronto Necropolis.

As, owing to their tragical ending, much interest is felt in these unfortunate persons, it may not be amiss to give some account of them. The following is condensed and adapted from “Canada in 1837-38,” a work written by Edward Alexander Theller, an Irish-American citizen who acted as a “Brigadier-General in the Canadian Republican Service.” Samuel Lount was born in the State of Pennsylvania, and lived there until he migrated to Upper Canada, which event took place when he was about twenty-two or twenty-three years of age. He settled near the shores of Lake Simcoe, in what was then a wilderness. By industry and frugality he in course of a few years amassed considerable property. To the many poor settlers who came from Europe and obtained grants of land from the Government he was a friend and adviser, and in cases of necessity he frequently supplied their wants from his own purse or his own granaries. He saw and deplored the many grievances which afflicted his adopted country. In 1834 he was elected a member of the Provincial Assembly, in which he served until 1836, when, owing to the machinations of Sir Francis Head and his advisers (who did not scruple to employ the most corrupt means to achieve such a result), he was defeated at the polls by a brother of Chief Justice Robinson. Like Mackenzie, Rolph and other leaders of the Reform party, he despaired of accomplishing anything of importance by further constitutional agitation, so he allied himself with the insurrectionary movement, and marched a body of men to Montgomery’s. When the collapse of the movement came, he fled, with others, to the neighbourhood of Galt, whence, accompanied by a friend named Kennedy, he made his way to the shores of Lake Erie. Having secured a boat, they attempted to cross to the United States, but their little craft was driven ashore by floating ice. They were at once captured and forwarded to headquarters at Chippewa, where Colonel MacNab’s camp was. Lount had no sooner reached Chippewa than he was recognized. He was next sent to Toronto and placed in jail until his trial. There was no question as to his guilt, in a legal and technical sense, and he attempted no defence. He was found guilty, and sentenced to death. The sequel has already been told.

Peter Matthews was a wealthy farmer, possessed of great influence among the people in the neighbourhood of his residence. He had served as a Lieutenant in the incorporated militia of the Province during the War of 1812, ’13 and ’14, and had signalized himself by his bravery. He made common cause with Mackenzie and Lount, and raised a corps in the neighbourhood of his home, at whose head he marched to Montgomery’s. On the morning of that fatal Thursday he proceeded with a company of men to the Don Bridge, for the purpose of creating a diversion in the east end of the city. While there he heard the noise of the engagement at Montgomery’s, and was compelled to vacate his position. He fled from the scene, and took refuge in the house of a friend, where, a few days later, he was discovered and captured. He adopted the same policy as Lount, and made no defence. He suffered the extreme penalty of the law, as has already been related. “He was,” says Theller, “a large, fleshy man, and had much of the soldier in his composition; and sure am I that he demeaned himself like one, and died like a man who feared not to meet his God.” Mackenzie, in his “Caroline Almanac,” bears testimony to the same effect. “They behaved,” he remarks, “with great resolution at the gallows; they would not have spoken to the people had they desired it.” He adds: “the spectacle of Lount after the execution was the most shocking sight that can be imagined. He was covered over with his blood, the head being nearly severed from his body, owing to the depth of the fall. More horrible to relate, when he was cut down, two ruffians seized the end of the rope and dragged the mangled corpse along the ground into the jail yard, some one exclaiming: ‘This is the way every d—d rebel deserves to be used.’ ”

A word upon the subject of Gallows Hill, near which the engagement between the loyal and insurrectionary troops took place. Every person living in or near Toronto is familiar with the spot, but comparatively few are acquainted with the tragical circumstances to which it is indebted for the name it bears. In the early years of the present century a rude wagon track ascended the hill a short distance west of where the road now is. Near the top was a narrow notch, with high banks on each side, caused by excavations. Lying directly across the notch, and at a sufficient height to admit of the passing of loaded wagons beneath, was a huge tree, which had been blown down by a violent storm, and which lay there undisturbed for many years. In the late twilight of a summer evening a belated farmer, driving home from attending market at York, was horrified to find an unknown man hanging by a rope from the tree which spanned the roadway. No clue was ever obtained, either as to the identity of the man, or as to the circumstances under which he met his death, though it was commonly believed that he must have committed suicide. The name of Gallows Hill soon afterwards came into vogue as applied to the spot, and it has been perpetuated ever since. Such is the origin of a phrase which has been a household word in and around the Upper Canadian capital for more than seventy years.

Chapter IV.

The Rebellion not altogether a Failure.—A York County Cause Célèbre.—The Tragedy of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery, near Richmond Hill.—Execution of James McDermott.—Grace Marks, the Female Fiend.—Her Sham Insanity.—Her Pardon and Marriage.

NOTWITHSTANDING the heavy stake for which the County of York played during the troublesome days of 1837, matters quieted down within its bounds much sooner than could reasonably have been expected, and within a year or two after the collapse at Montgomery’s, matters, persons and things throughout the county had resumed their customary aspect. Lord Durham’s mission was the medium of procuring for the Canadian people nearly all the privileges for which they had contended. Lord Durham’s mission was a direct result of the rebellion, so that it cannot be said that the latter was fruitless, or that the blood of the Canadian martyrs had been shed altogether in vain. The Union of the Provinces followed in the wake of Lord Durham’s “Report,” and ere long a Reform Government came into power, with a York County representative—the Hon. Robert Baldwin—as its Upper Canadian head. In due time pardons were granted to the exiled rebels, most of whom returned to their homes. The northern portion of the County of York abounds with the descendants of persons who were “out” in ’37.

In the year 1843 a terrible crime was committed within the limits of the County of York—a crime which is still remembered by many old inhabitants, and which, even at this distance of time, can hardly be recalled without a shudder. As no account of it has been prepared for the sketch of the township wherein it occurred, and as no authentic account of it is accessible to the general public, the present would seem to be a suitable place for recounting the tragical story.

In the summer of the year 1843, and for some time previously, a gentleman named Thomas Kinnear resided in the Township of Vaughan, somewhat more than a mile northward from the northern outskirts of the village of Richmond Hill. He was possessed of considerable means, and lived a life of careless ease and self-indulgence. His house, which was of better construction than the common run of farm-houses in York County in those days, stood on the west side of Yonge Street, about twenty rods from the road. His housekeeper was a rather attractive looking woman named Nancy Montgomery, and the relation between the two seems to have been rather less than kin and considerably more than kind. The remainder of the domestic establishment consisted of James McDermott, a man-servant, twenty years of age, and a girl named Grace Marks, a sort of general household servant, who was but sixteen. Both the latter were Irish by birth and extraction, and had been only a few years in Canada. They had not been long in Mr. Kinnear’s employ before a criminal intimacy was established between them. They became envious of the easy lot of Nancy Montgomery, who dined with their master, and was the supreme head of domestic affairs, while they were compelled to take their meals in the kitchen, and to perform whatever drudgery and menial offices were required of them. “After the work of the day was over,” said McDermott,[3] “she [Grace Marks] and I generally were left to ourselves in the kitchen, [the housekeeper] being entirely taken up with her master. Grace was very jealous of the difference made between her and the housekeeper, whom she hated, and to whom she was often very insolent and saucy. Her whole conversation to me was on this subject. ‘What is she better than us?’ she would say, ‘that she is to be treated like a lady, and eat and drink of the best. She is not better born than we are, or better educated. I will not stay here to be domineered over by her. Either she or I must soon leave this.’ Every little complaint [the housekeeper] made of me was repeated to me with cruel exaggerations, till my dander was up, and I began to regard the unfortunate woman as our common enemy. The good looks of Grace had interested me in her cause; and though there was something about the girl that I could not exactly like, I had been a very lawless, dissipated fellow, and if a woman was young and pretty I cared very little about her character. Grace was sullen and proud, and not very easily won over to my purpose; but in order to win her liking, if possible, I gave a ready ear to all her discontented repinings.”

These two human tigers allowed their morbid envy and jealousy to work upon their minds until they were ripe for any deed of darkness. McDermott was careless in doing his work, and, after repeated admonitions from Nancy Montgomery, received from her a fortnight’s notice to leave. On the afternoon of Thursday, the 27th of July (1843)—a day or two before the expiration of the fortnight—Mr. Kinnear rode into Toronto on horseback to draw certain bank dividends which were due to him. He was to return on the day following, when McDermott was to be paid off. Grace was also to be paid off and discharged, in consequence of her impertinence to the housekeeper. Whether they had formed any murderous designs before this time is not clear, as there is a conflict between their respective confessions in this particular. At any rate, they now determined to kill both their master and the housekeeper, and to proceed across the borders to the United States with such plunder as they could get together. They believed that Mr. Kinnear intended to bring a considerable sum of money with him upon his return from Toronto, and this belief may possibly have had something to do with their resolve to kill and rob him.

During the afternoon of this same Thursday, several hours after Kinnear’s departure from Toronto, Nancy Montgomery went out to pay a visit to some friends of hers in the neighbourhood, and during her absence this pair of wild beasts completed their arrangements. Nancy and Grace were to sleep together that night. After they had gone to bed McDermott was to enter the room and brain the housekeeper with an axe. “She always sleeps on the side nearest the wall,” said Grace, “and she bolts the door the last thing before she puts out the light; but I will manage both these difficulties for you. I will pretend to have the toothache very bad, and will ask to sleep next the wall to-night. She will not refuse me, and after she is asleep I will steal out at the foot of the bed and unbolt the door.”[4] The doomed woman, in ignorance of the terrible fate impending over her, came home to supper before dark. “She was,” says McDermott, in his confession to his counsel, “unusually agreeable, and took her tea with us in the kitchen, and laughed and chatted as merrily as possible. Grace, in order to hide the wicked thoughts working in her mind, was very pleasant too, and they went laughing to bed, as if they were the best friends in the world.” A youth named James Walsh, who lived with his father in a cottage on Mr. Kinnear’s farm, spent the evening with them, and remained until half-past ten at night, playing his flute, at the housekeeper’s request. What happened after young Walsh left, and after the two women had retired to bed, is thus narrated by McDermott. “I sat by the kitchen fire with the axe between my knees, trying to harden my heart to commit the murder, but for a long time I could not bring myself to do it.” After some time spent in self-communing, he concluded to carry out his resolution. “I sprang up,” he continues, “and listened at their door, which opened into the kitchen. All was still. I tried the door. For the damnation of my soul, it was open. I had no need of a candle; the moon was at full. There was no curtain to their window, and it [the moon] shone directly upon the bed, and I could see their features as plainly as by the light of day. Grace was either sleeping or pretending to sleep—I think the latter, for there was a sort of fiendish smile upon her lips. The housekeeper had yielded to her request, and was lying with her head out over the bed-clothes, in the best possible manner for receiving a death-blow upon her temples. She had a sad, troubled look upon her handsome face, and once she moved her hand, and said ‘O, dear!’ I wondered whether she was dreaming of any danger to herself and the man she loved. I raised the axe to give the death-blow, but my arm seemed held back by an invisible hand. It was the hand of God. I turned away from the bed, and left the room—I could not do it. I sat down by the embers of the fire, and cursed my own folly. I made a second attempt—a third—a fourth—yes, even to a ninth, and my purpose was each time defeated. God seemed to fight for the poor creature, and the last time I left the room I swore, with a great oath, that if she did not die till I killed her she might live on till the day of judgment. I threw the axe on to the wood heap in the shed, went to bed, and soon fell fast asleep.”

It is hard to know how much of all this is worthy of belief, for the more one ponders over the actions and language of this terrible pair, the more convinced does one become that neither of them was capable of speaking the whole truth. Their confessions, given independently of each other, and without collusion, differ materially on several important points. They would seem to have reached such a depth of depravity that they were incapable even of thinking—to say nothing of telling—the exact truth. It does not seem probable that McDermott could have entered the bedroom nine times without waking his intended victim. Moreover, his antecedent and subsequent conduct would seem to indicate no such infirmity of purpose as would be involved in such a course of procedure as that above outlined. At any rate, even according to his own admissions, the taunts of his partner in iniquity were more potent with him on the following morning than any memory of his resolutions of the previous night. “In the morning,” he proceeds, “I was coming into the kitchen to light the fire, and met Grace Marks with the pail in her hand, going out to milk the cows. As she passed me she gave me a poke with the pail in the ribs, and whispered with a sneer, ‘Aren’t you a coward!’ As she uttered these words, the devil, against whom I had fought all night, entered into my heart, and transformed me into a demon. All feelings of remorse and mercy forsook me from that instant, and darker and deeper plans of murder and theft flashed through my brain. ‘Go and milk the cows,’ said I with a bitter laugh, ‘you shall soon see whether I am the coward you take me for.’ She went out to milk, and I went in to murder the unsuspicious housekeeper. I found her at the sink in the kitchen, washing her face in a tin basin. I had the fatal axe in my hand, and without pausing for an instant to change my mind, ... I struck her a heavy blow on the back of the head with my axe. She fell to the ground at my feet without uttering a word; and, opening the trap-door that led from the kitchen into the cellar where we kept potatoes and other stores, I hurled her down, closed the door, and wiped away the perspiration that was streaming down my face.”

A few minutes later Grace Marks came in with her pails, “looking as innocent and demure as the milk they contained.” McDermott told her what he had done, and demanded that she accompany him down into the cellar to dispose of the body of the murdered woman. She obeyed, and they went into the cellar, which presented a dreadful spectacle. Nancy Montgomery was not dead; she had only been stunned by the blow. She had partly recovered her senses, and was kneeling on one knee as the hideous pair descended the ladder with a light. “I don’t know if she saw us,” says McDermott, “for she must have been blinded with the blood that was flowing down her face; but she certainly heard us, and raised her clasped hands, as if to implore mercy. I turned to Grace. The expression of her livid face was even more dreadful than that of the unfortunate woman. She uttered no cry, but she put her hand to her head, and said: ‘God has damned me for this.’ ‘Then you have nothing more to fear,’ says I; ‘give me that handkerchief off your neck.’ She gave it without a word. I threw myself upon the body of the housekeeper, and, planting my knee on her heart, I tied the handkerchief round her throat in a single tie, giving Grace one end to hold, while I drew the other tight enough to finish my terrible work. Her eyes literally started from her head. She gave one groan, and all was over. I then cut the body in four pieces, and turned a large washtub over them.”

Such is the horrible narrative of McDermott to his counsel, the late Mr. Kenneth Mackenzie, as reported by Mrs. Moodie. It, however, contains some gross inaccuracies, and it seems probable that for some of the most revolting details the author of Life in the Clearings was indebted to her morbid, but by no means powerful imagination. In the published reports of the trial, for instance, there is no mention of the body having been quartered. The witnesses who discovered the remains depose to having “found the body of Nancy Montgomery, the housekeeper, doubled up under a washtub, in the cellar, in a state of decomposition.” The details are diabolical enough, in all conscience, without piling up fictitious horrors.

Mr. Kinnear returned about noon, not on horseback, as he had departed, but driving a light one-horse wagon. He was informed that the housekeeper had gone away to town in the stage; to which he replied: “That is strange; I passed the stage on the road, and did not see her in it.” After eating his dinner, Kinnear lay down to rest on his bed, and remained there until towards evening, when he got up and went out into the yard, and about the premises. He returned into the house and took tea about 7 o’clock. He was then inveigled by McDermott into the harness-house or back kitchen, and there shot through the heart. He staggered forward and fell, exclaiming as he did so: “Oh God, I am shot.” The body was then thrown down into the cellar. “I heard the report of a gun,” says Grace Marks, in her confession, made in the Toronto jail on the night prior to her removal thence to the penitentiary at Kingston—“I ran into the kitchen, and saw Mr. Kinnear lying dead on the floor. When I saw this I attempted to run out.” McDermott called her back, and ordered her to open the trap-door, which she did, whereupon he threw the body down. “We then,” continues Grace Marks, “commenced packing up all the valuable things we could find. We both went down into the cellar—Mr. Kinnear was lying on his back in the wine-cellar. I held the candle. McDermott took the keys and some money from his pockets. Nothing was said about Nancy. I did not see her, but I heard she was in the cellar, and about 11 o’clock McDermott harnessed the horse. We put the boxes in the wagon, and then started off for Toronto. He said he would go to the States, and he would marry me. I consented to go. We arrived at Toronto, at the City Hotel, about 5 o’clock; awoke the people, and had breakfast there. I unlocked Nancy’s box and put some of her things on, and we left by the boat at 8 o’clock, and arrived at Lewiston about 3 o’clock, and went to the tavern. In the evening we had supper at the public table, and I went to bed in one room and McDermott in another. Before I went to bed I told McDermott I would stop at Lewiston, and would not go any further. He said he would make me go with him, and about 5 o’clock in the morning Mr. Kingsmill, the high bailiff, came and arrested us, and brought us back to Toronto.”

The arrest of the murderers was of the most informal and irregular character, and was effected through the vigilance and public spirit of Mr. F. C. Capreol, of Toronto, who accompanied Mr. Kingsmill to Lewiston, where the facts were laid before a local magistrate, who forthwith issued his warrant without waiting for any process of extradition. The culprits were arrested and conveyed on board a steamer chartered expressly for the purpose by Mr. Capreol, and brought across the lake to Toronto, where they were lodged in jail. Mr. Capreol was not reimbursed, even for his actual outlay, until some years afterwards.

The trials took place at the Court House, in Toronto, on Friday and Saturday, the 3rd and 4th of November following. The Crown was represented by Mr. (afterwards the Hon.) William Hume Blake, father of the present leader of the Opposition in the Dominion Parliament. The prisoners were defended with much ability by Mr. Kenneth Mackenzie, who afterwards took high rank at the Upper Canadian bar. McDermott is described in the reports of the trial as “a slim made man, of about the middle height, with rather a swarthy complexion, and a sullen, downcast and forbidding countenance.” The female prisoner is described as rather good looking, totally uneducated, and possessing a countenance devoid of expression. Upon being arraigned they both pleaded “Not Guilty.” A demand was made by their counsel that they should be tried separately, which was granted. McDermott was then put upon his trial for the murder of Mr. Kinnear. The proceedings lasted until half-past one o’clock on the following morning. The evidence was necessarily circumstantial, as there had been no eye-witnesses of the actual commission of the murders except the prisoners themselves. It however left no doubt as to the guilt of the accused. The jury were absent about ten minutes, when they returned a verdict of “Guilty.” The Judge then addressed the prisoner McDermott, pointed out the heinousness of his crime, and sentenced him to be hanged on the 21st of the month. The condemned man evinced not the slightest emotion, either of fear or anxiety, hope or despair.

Next day Grace Marks was placed on trial for the murder of Mr. Kinnear. The evidence was substantially the same as that given on the previous day. The jury speedily returned a verdict of guilty, but recommended the prisoner to mercy. This was one of those kindly but mistaken impulses by which juries are apt to be swayed where good-looking women are concerned. The only conceivable grounds upon which any claim for mercy could justly have been founded in the case of Grace Marks was her extreme youth. The Judge sentenced her to suffer the extreme penalty of the law on the same date as that assigned for the execution of her partner in iniquity. On hearing her sentence she fainted away, but soon revived. The Judge held out no hope of clemency, but stated that he would forward the recommendation of the jury to the proper quarter; which being done, the prisoner was remanded to jail, and the trial was at an end. It will be observed that the criminals were tried for the murder of Mr. Kinnear only. Capital sentences having been pronounced upon them, it was considered unnecessary to proceed with the indictments against them for the murder of Nancy Montgomery.

The prisoners maintained a stolid silence as to their crime until shortly before the day appointed for their execution. On the 17th of the month Grace Marks, whose sentence had meanwhile been commuted to imprisonment for life in the Penitentiary, made a voluntary confession. With the exception of some portions which are irrelevant, and of others which are unfit for publication, it was in the following words:—

“My name is Grace Marks, and I am the daughter of John Marks, who lives in the Township of Toronto. He is a stone-mason by trade. We came to this country from the north of Ireland about three years ago. I have four sisters and four brothers, one sister and one brother older than I am. I was sixteen years old last July. I lived servant during the three years I have been in Canada at various places.... In June last I went to live with Thomas Watson, shoemaker, on Lot Street. Nancy Montgomery used to visit there, and I was hired as a servant by her for Mr. Kinnear at $3 per month, and I went there the beginning of July last, and saw at the house Mr. Kinnear, Nancy Montgomery, and McDermott. McDermott had been, I understood, about a week at the house. Everything went on very quietly for a fortnight, except the housekeeper several times scolding McDermott for not doing his work faithfully, and she gave him a fortnight’s warning that when his month was up he was to leave, and she would pay him his wages. He often after this told me he was glad he was going ... but would have satisfaction before he went.... About a week after this McDermott told me if I would keep it a secret he would tell me what he was going to do with Kinnear and Nancy. I promised I would keep the secret, and then he said Mr. Kinnear was going to the city in a day or two, and would, no doubt, bring back plenty of money with him. He would kill Nancy before Kinnear came home, would shoot Kinnear when he came home, and would take all the money and all the valuable things he could, and would go over to the United States. Mr. Kinnear left for the city on Thursday afternoon, the 27th July, about three o’clock, on horseback. McDermott, after Mr. Kinnear was gone, said to me it was a good job he was gone; he would kill Nancy that night. I persuaded him not to do so that night. He had made me promise to assist him, and I agreed to do so. He said the way he intended to kill Nancy was to knock her on the head with the axe, and then strangle her; and shoot Kinnear with the double-barrelled gun. I slept with Nancy Montgomery that night, and on Friday morning after breakfast she told me to tell McDermott that his time was up that afternoon. She had money to pay him his wages. I told him so, and he said: ‘Tell Nancy I shall go on Saturday morning’—which I did. He said: ‘—— her, is that what she is at? I’ll kill her before the morning;’ and he said: ‘Grace, you’ll help me, as you promised, won’t you?’ I said yes, I would. During the evening James Walsh came in, and brought his flute with him. Nancy said we might as well have some fun, as Mr. Kinnear was away. Nancy said to McDermott: ‘You have often bragged about your dancing; come, let us have a dance.’ He was very sulky all the evening, and said he would not dance. About ten o’clock we went to bed. I slept with Nancy that night. Before we went to bed McDermott said he was determined to kill her that night with the axe, when in bed. I entreated him not to do so that night, as he might hit me instead of her. He said: ‘—— her, I’ll kill her, then, the first thing in the morning.’ I got up early on the Saturday morning, and when I went into the kitchen McDermott was cleaning the shoes. The fire was lighted. He asked me where was Nancy. I said she was dressing, and I said: ‘Are you going to kill her this morning?’ He said he would. I said: ‘McDermott, for God’s sake don’t kill her in the room, you’ll make the floor all bloody.’ ‘Well,’ says he, ‘I’ll not do it there, but I’ll knock her down with the axe the moment she comes out.’ I went into the garden to gather some shives, and when I returned McDermott was cleaning the knives in the back kitchen. Nancy came in. She told me to get the breakfast ready, and she soon after called me to go to the pump for some water. McDermott and her were at this time in the back kitchen. I went to the pump, and on turning round I saw McDermott dragging Nancy along the yard leading from the back kitchen to the front kitchen. This was about seven o’clock. I said to McDermott, ‘I did not think you was going to do it that minute.’ He said it was better to get it done with. He said: ‘Grace, you promised to help me. Come and open the trap-door, and I’ll throw her down the cellar.’ I refused to do so, being frightened. He presently came to me and said he had thrown her down the cellar, and he said he wanted a handkerchief. I asked him what for. He said, ‘Never mind; she is not dead yet.’ I gave him a piece of white cloth, and followed him to the trap-door. He went down the stairs. I saw the body lying at the foot of the stairs. He said, ‘You can’t come down here.’ Went down himself, and shut the trap-door after him. He came up in a few minutes. I asked him if she was dead. He said yes, and he had put her behind the barrels. He said to me, ‘Grace, now I know you’ll tell; if you do your life is not worth a straw.’ I said, ‘I could not help you to kill a woman, but as I have promised you, I will assist you to kill Kinnear.’ McDermott then had some breakfast. I could not eat anything, I felt so shocked. He then said: ‘Now, Mr. Kinnear will soon be home, and as there is no powder in the house, I’ll go over to Harvey’s, who lives opposite, and get some.’ He soon came back. He took one bullet from his pocket, and cut another from a piece of lead he found in the house. Mr. Kinnear came home about eleven o’clock in his one-horse wagon. McDermott took charge of the horse and wagon as usual, and I took the parcels out. I asked Mr. Kinnear if he would have anything to eat. He said he would—was there any fresh meat in the house? Had Jefferson, the butcher, been there? I told him no. He said that was curious. He then said he would have some tea and toast and eggs, which I provided for him. Mr. Kinnear went into the dining-room, sat down on the sofa, and began reading a book he had brought with him. When I went into the kitchen McDermott was there. He said, ‘I think I’ll go and kill him now.’ I said, ‘Good gracious, McDermott, it is too soon; wait till it is dark.’ He said he was afraid to delay it, as if the new man was to come he would have no chance to kill him. When Mr. Kinnear first arrived home he asked me, ‘Where is Nancy?’ I told him she has gone to town in the stage. He said that was strange, as he had passed the stage on the road, and did not see her in it. He did not mention Nancy’s name afterwards to me. After Mr. Kinnear had his dinner he went to bed with his clothes on, I think, and towards evening he got up and went into the yard, and about the premises. When Mr. Kinnear was in bed, McDermott said, ‘I’ll go in now, and kill him, if you’ll assist me.’ I said, ‘Of course, McDermott, I will, as I have promised you.’ He then said, ‘I’ll wait till night.’ When Mr. Kinnear was in the yard, McDermott always kept near to me. I said to him, ‘Why, McDermott, if you follow me about so, Mr. Kinnear will think something.’ He said, ‘How can he imagine anything except you’ll tell him?’ I said I should not tell him anything. Mr. Kinnear had his tea about seven o’clock. I went into his room to take the things away, and, coming into the front kitchen with them, McDermott said, ‘I am going to kill him now. How am I to get him out? You go and tell him I want him.’ I said, ‘I won’t go and call him.’ I then took the tea things into the back kitchen. The back kitchen is in the yard adjoining the end of the house. As I was putting the tea-tray down I heard the report of a gun. I went into the kitchen and saw Mr. Kinnear lying dead on the floor, and McDermott standing over him. The double-barrelled gun was on the floor. When I saw this I attempted to run out. He said ‘—— you, come back and open the trap-door.’ I said, ‘I won’t.’ He said, ‘You shall, after having promised to assist me.’ Knowing that I had promised I then opened the trap-door, and McDermott threw the body down. I was so frightened that I ran out of the front door into the lawn, and went round into the back kitchen. As I was standing at the door, McDermott came out of the front kitchen door into the yard, and fired at me. The ball did not hit me, but lodged in the jamb of the door. I fainted, and when I recovered McDermott was close to me. I said, ‘What made you do that?’ He said he did not mean to do me any harm; he supposed there was nothing in the gun. This was about 8 o’clock, and the boy James Walsh came into the yard. McDermott had just then gone across the yard without his coat on, having the gun in his hand. He went into the poultry yard. He said if any one came and asked about the firing he would tell them he had been shooting birds. I went out to speak to Walsh, and McDermott, seeing me talking, came up to us. The boy said, ‘Where is Nancy?’ I said, ‘She is gone to Wright’s.’ ... After talking a short time the boy said he would go home, and McDermott went part of the way across the lawn with him. McDermott told me when he came back that if the boy had gone into the house he would have made away with him. He then told me how he had killed Mr. Kinnear; that when I had refused to call him out, and when I was taking the tea things away to the back kitchen, he went to the door of the dining-room and told Mr. Kinnear his new saddle was scratched, and would he come and look at it in the harness room. Mr. Kinnear rose from the sofa with a book in his hand, which he had been reading, and followed McDermott towards the harness room. The harness room is a small room at one corner of the kitchen. McDermott got into the harness room, took up the gun which he had loaded during the day, came out and fired at Mr. Kinnear as he was crossing the kitchen. He told me he put the muzzle of the gun very near his breast. We then commenced packing up all the valuable things we could find,” etc. The rest of her confession has been quoted on a former page.

Three days later—i.e., on the day before McDermott’s execution, his counsel, Mr. Mackenzie, had a final interview with him, in the course of which the murderer admitted his guilt, and made the several communications already quoted. He was profoundly disgusted to hear of Grace Marks’s reprieve. “Grace,” said he, “has been reprieved, and her sentence commuted to imprisonment in the penitentiary for life. This seems very unjust to me, for she is certainly more criminal than I am. If she had not instigated me to commit the murder, it never would have been done. But the priest tells me that I shall not be hung, and not to make myself uneasy on that score.” “McDermott,” replied Mr. Mackenzie, “it is useless to flatter you with false hopes. You will suffer the execution of your sentence to-morrow, at eight o’clock, in front of the jail. I have seen the order sent by the Governor to the Sheriff, and that was my reason for visiting you to-night. I was not satisfied in my own mind of your guilt. What you have told me has greatly relieved my mind, and, I must add, if ever man deserved his sentence, you do yours.” When the unhappy wretch realized what was before him, and that he must pay the penalty of his crime, his abject cowardice and mental agonies were indescribable. He dashed himself on the floor of his cell, and shrieked and raved like a maniac, declaring that he could not and would not die: that the law had no right to murder a man’s soul as well as his body, by giving him no time for repentance: that if he was hung like a dog, Grace Marks, in justice, ought to share his fate. “Finding,” said Mr. Mackenzie, “that all I could say to him had no effect in producing a better frame of mind, I called in the chaplain, and left the sinner to his fate.”

Later on the same day McDermott, having become somewhat more composed in his mind, made a voluntary confession, which is worth preserving for the purpose of comparison with that of Grace Marks. The reader will notice certain contradictory statements in the two confessions. Each of these human monsters did all that was possible to throw blame upon the other.

The following are the ipsissima verba of the confession of McDermott, as taken down by Mr. George Walton, in the jail of the Home District, at four o’clock in the afternoon of Monday, the 20th of November, 1843.

“I am twenty years and four months old, and was born in Ireland, and am a Catholic. I have been six years in Canada, and was, previous to 1840, waiter on board the steamers plying between Quebec and Montreal. I enlisted into the First Provincial Regiment of the Province of Lower Canada in the year 1840. Colonel Dyer was the Colonel. The regiment was disbanded in 1842, and I then enlisted as a private in the Glengarry Light Infantry Company, and we were stationed at Coteau du Lac. The Company consisted of seventy-five men. I did not serve as a private in the regiment, but was servant with the Captain, Alexander Macdonald. The Company was disbanded 1st May this year. I had been in the Company just twelve months. After being discharged I came up to Toronto seeking employ. I lived in the city for some time at various places, upon the money I had saved during the time I was in the regiment, and I then determined to go into the country. I thought I would go in the direction of Newmarket. I set out about the latter end of June, and on my way I was informed Mr. Kinnear wanted a servant. I went to the house and saw the housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. She hired me subject to the approval of Mr. Kinnear when he should return home. Mr. Kinnear, when he came home, approved of what the housekeeper had done as to hiring me. Grace Marks was hired as a servant a week afterwards. She and the housekeeper used often to quarrel, and she told me she was determined, if I would assist her, she would poison both the housekeeper and Mr. Kinnear, by mixing poison with the porridge. I told her I would not consent to anything of the kind. The housekeeper, Nancy, after I had been at the house a short time, was overbearing towards me, and I told Mr. Kinnear I was ready and willing to do any work, and did not like that Nancy should scold me so often. He said she was the mistress of the house. I then told him I would not stop with them longer than the month. Grace Marks told me a few days before Mr. Kinnear went to town that the housekeeper had given her warning to leave, and she told me, ‘Now, McDermott, I am not going to leave in this way. Let us poison Mr. Kinnear and Nancy, I know how to do it. I’ll put some poison in the porridge. By that means we can get rid of them. We can then plunder the house, pack the silver plate and other valuables in some boxes, and go over to the States.’ I said, ‘No, Grace, I will not do so.’ When Mr. Kinnear went to the city on Thursday she commenced packing up the things, and told me I was a coward for not assisting her. She said she had been warned to leave, and she supposed she should not get her wages, and she was determined to pay herself after Mr. Kinnear was gone to the city. She said now was the time to kill the housekeeper, and Mr. Kinnear when he returns home, and I’ll assist you, and you are a coward if you don’t do it. I frequently refused to do as she wished, and she said I should never have an hour’s luck if I did not do as she wished me. I will not say how Mr. Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery were killed, but I should not have done it if I had not been urged to do so by Grace Marks. After Nancy Montgomery was put in the cellar, Grace several times went down there, and she afterwards told me she had taken her purse from her pocket, and she asked me if she should take her ear-rings off. I persuaded her not to do so. The gold snuff-box and other things belonging to Mr. Kinnear she gave me when we were at Lewiston. Grace Marks is wrong in stating she had no hand in the murder. She was the means from beginning to end.”

On the following morning, a short time before his execution, McDermott confirmed his confession of the previous afternoon. He added some further particulars. He said that when the housekeeper was thrown down into the cellar, after being knocked down, Grace Marks followed him into the cellar, and brought a piece of white cloth with her. He held the housekeeper’s hands, she being then insensible, and Grace Marks tied the cloth tight round her neck and strangled her.

A few minutes before noon, the condemned was brought pinioned into the hall of the jail. The Rev. J. J. Hay, a Roman Catholic priest, prayed with him for a few minutes. He appeared perfectly calm and penitent. He then walked with a firm step to the scaffold, accompanied by Mr. Hay and another Catholic clergyman. In two minutes more he was launched into eternity. At one o’clock the body was taken down and handed over to the Medical School for dissection.

The younger criminal was duly forwarded to Kingston Penitentiary, where she remained for many years. In 1848 her counsel, Mr. Mackenzie, visited her there. He found that she retained a remarkably youthful appearance. “The sullen assurance,” said he, in his account of the interview, “that had formerly marked her countenance had given place to a sad and humbled expression. She had lost much of her former good looks, and seldom raised her eyes from the ground.” She informed her visitor that it would have been better for her to have been hanged with McDermott than to have suffered for years, as she had done, the tortures of the damned. “My misery,” said she, “is too great for words to describe. I would gladly submit to the most painful death if I thought that it would put an end to the pains I daily endure. But though I have repented of my wickedness with bitter tears, it has pleased God that I should never again have a moment’s peace. Since I helped McDermott to strangle Nancy Montgomery her terrible face and those horrible bloodshot eyes have never left me for a moment. They glare upon me by night and day, and when I close my eyes in despair I see them looking into my soul. It is impossible to shut them out. If I am at work, in a few minutes that dreadful head is in my lap. If I look up to get rid of it, I see it in the far corner of the room. At dinner it is in my plate, or grinning between the persons that sit opposite to me at table. Every object that meets my sight takes the same dreadful form. At night, in the silence and loneliness of my cell those blazing eyes make my prison as light as day. They have a terribly hot glare, that has not the appearance of anything in this world. And when I sleep, that face just hovers above my own, its eyes just opposite to mine; so that when I awake with a shriek of agony I find them there. Oh, this is hell, sir! These are the torments of the damned! Were I in that fiery place, my punishment could not be greater than this.”

It may be reasonably inferred that Mr. Mackenzie and Mrs. Moodie between them have somewhat polished and idealized the foregoing sentences, which are certainly not likely to have emanated from an uneducated and ignorant woman such as Grace Marks undoubtedly was. Several years later Mrs. Moodie paid a visit to the Penitentiary, and having heard Mr. Mackenzie’s account, she was desirous of beholding this unhappy victim of remorse. “Having made known my wishes to the matron,” she writes, “she very kindly called her [Grace Marks] in to perform some trifling duty in the ward, so that I might have an opportunity of seeing her. She is a middle-sized woman, with a slight, graceful figure. There is an air of hopeless melancholy in her face which is very painful to contemplate. Her complexion is fair, and must, before the touch of hopeless sorrow paled it, have been very brilliant. Her eyes are a bright blue. Her hair is auburn, and her face would be rather handsome were it not for the long, curved chin, which gives, as it does to most persons who have this facial defect, a cunning, cruel expression. Grace Marks glances at you with a sidelong, stealthy look. Her eye never meets yours, and after a furtive regard, it invariably bends its gaze upon the ground. She looks like a person rather above her humble station, and her conduct during her stay in the Penitentiary was so unexceptionable that a petition was signed by all the influential gentlemen in Kingston, which released her from her long imprisonment. She entered the service of the Governor of the Penitentiary, but the fearful hauntings of her brain have terminated in madness. She is now in the Asylum at Toronto; and as I mean to visit it when there I may chance to see this remarkable criminal again.”

This partly-expressed hope was soon afterwards realized. Mrs. Moodie visited the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, at Toronto, and was there once more brought face to face with the strangler of Nancy Montgomery. “Among the raving maniacs,” writes she, “I recognized the singular face of Grace Marks; no longer sad and despairing, but lighted up with the fire of insanity, and glowing with a hideous and fiend-like merriment. On perceiving that strangers were observing her, she fled shrieking away like a phantom into one of the side rooms. It appears that even in the wildest outbursts of her terrible malady, she is continually haunted by a memory of the past. Unhappy girl! when will the long horror of her punishment and remorse be over? When will she sit at the feet of Jesus, clothed with the unsullied garments of His righteousness, the stain of blood washed from her hand, and her soul redeemed and pardoned, and in her right mind?”

This hysterical effusion, like a good many others from the same source, was utterly thrown away upon its subject. According to the opinion of Dr. Workman and other leading experts in matters pertaining to cerebral disease, Grace Marks never was insane, but was a fiendish impostor to her heart’s core. She became weary of the monotony of life in the Penitentiary, and feigned madness in order to excite sympathy, and in order that she might be transferred to the Lunatic Asylum, where she would not have to work, and where she would enjoy certain indulgences not vouchsafed to her at Kingston. She was successful in her attempt, and was for some time under Dr. Workman’s charge in the Provincial Asylum. That shrewd judge of shams was suspicious of her from the first, but did not conclusively make up his mind about her until he had had ample time and opportunity for forming a positive opinion. It was during this interval that Mrs. Moodie visited the Asylum as above narrated, when Grace Marks “came out from her hiding-place, and performed a thousand mad gambols round her.” Dr. Workman in due course made his official report, upon the strength of which the incorrigible Grace was re-transferred to Kingston. But she so wrought upon the sympathies of visitors and others that a succession of petitions to the Government were sent in, praying that a full pardon might be granted to her. Various well-meaning but weak-minded persons made periodical appeals to Dr. Workman to join in these petitions, but in vain. On one occasion, after Grace’s return to the Penitentiary, the Doctor was waited upon by a deputation consisting of several clergymen and a number of ladies. They made an urgent and final appeal to him on behalf of their protegée, urging that she had been incarcerated for many years; that she had suffered untold mental agony; and that she had bitterly repented her great crime. “If she were at liberty,” urged the reverend gentleman who acted as chief spokesman for the deputation, “something might easily be done for her temporal, as well as her spiritual weal, and she might enjoy a few brief years of quiet happiness before the grave closes over her. She would thus have an opportunity of meditating over the past, and of preparing for a future life.” After continuing in this strain for some time he concluded by asking: “And now, Dr. Workman, will you still persist in refusing to join in the petition for her release, and thereby perchance close the gates of Paradise to a repentant sinner.” The Doctor’s reply was eminently characteristic of the man. He said: “Sir, I have no control whatever over the gates to which you refer, and if she is worthy to enter there she will doubtless be admitted without any interference on my part. But certainly the gates of the Penitentiary will never be opened to her through any act of mine. I have studied her carefully, and know her character and disposition better than you can possibly do. She is a creature devoid of moral faculties, and with the propensity to murder strongly developed. She is not safe to be entrusted with the ordinary privileges of society, and if her liberty were restored to her the chances are that sooner or later other lives would be sacrificed.” But persistence at last met with its reward. One petition after another went in to the Government, and doubtless other influences were brought to bear. This almost unique malefactor received a pardon, and was conveyed to New York, where she changed her name, and soon afterwards married. For all the writer of these lines knows to the contrary, she is living still. Whether her appetite for murder has ever strongly asserted itself in the interval is not known, as she probably guards her identity by more than one alias. Such is the astounding narrative of Grace Marks, which will doubtless be perused by many readers of these pages with greater avidity than any other portion of the volume.

The scene of the frightful tragedy has undergone little change during the last forty-one years. It was visited by the writer of this chapter on the afternoon of Saturday, the 20th of September, 1884, the object of the visit being to give completeness to the narrative by ascertaining the present condition of the locus in quo. The house still stands intact, and neither the building itself nor its immediate surroundings are sufficiently altered to prevent their being recognized by any one who had been familiar with them in bygone times. The orchard intervening between the house and Yonge Street has grown up in the interval, and now almost excludes the view of the building from the passer-by. The harness-house, adjoining the kitchen, where Mr. Kinnear met his doom, has been pulled down, and a new structure erected in the near neighbourhood; but with these exceptions the general aspect of the place is pretty much the same as it was in 1843, and if poor Kinnear were permitted to revisit the glimpses of the moon, he might well be permitted to marvel that time has wrought so few and so trifling modifications in the aspect of his earthly tenement. The parlour—the bedrooms—the hall—the kitchen where Nancy Montgomery’s terrible fate came upon her—the trapdoor, and the cellar into which the bodies were cast—all remain precisely as they were, except that they have grown older, and that one may here and there perceive more or less distinct traces of dilapidation.

The present owner of the property is Mr. John Clubine, who resides a short distance north of Aurora, and who purchased the place in the autumn of 1883. He intends to tear down the old house, and to replace it by a new brick mansion next year. The occupant of the place is Mr. James McWilliams, who has resided upon it between four and five years, and who declares most solemnly that he has not been subjected to any ghostly visitations since taking up his abode there.

As mentioned early in the present chapter, the house is situated on the west side of Yonge Street, about a hundred yards from the highway. It is approached by a gate leading down from Yonge Street to the barnyard. The barns are twenty-five or thirty yards north of the house. The writer, upon his arrival, was greeted by Mrs. McWilliams, a genial old lady, who cheerfully communicated all the information she possessed on the subject, and afforded every facility for inspecting the premises.

“So, Mrs. McWilliams,” remarked the writer, “this is the actual kitchen in which McDermott struck down Nancy Montgomery with the axe?”

“Yes, Sir,” was the reply, “and there is the trap-door to the cellar where the body was thrown down. Mr. Kinnear was not killed in the house, but in the harness-room, which has been pulled down. It stood there,” continued Mrs. McWilliams, pointing to a contiguous outhouse of modern construction. “He was shot through the lungs, and his body thrown into the cellar, where the housekeeper’s body was. Would you like to go down into the cellar?”

The implied invitation was accepted, and, the trap-door having been raised, the writer stepped down into that gruesome slaughter-house. It is of large dimensions, and is lighted at one end by a window, over which the cobwebs of years have clustered. Sure enough, there was the awful spot where Nancy Montgomery was strangled, and where her maimed body was doubled up beneath the washtub. A considerable quantity of vegetables are kept there at the present time, which necessarily create an odour. To the writer, who was familiar with the whole ghastly story, including many particulars not set down in these pages, that odour was sickeningly suggestive. It seemed as though forty-one years had been all too short a time to cleanse the spot of its impurities. There was no inducement to linger in such an atmosphere, clogged, as it was, with such unhallowed and nauseating memories, and the writer soon rejoined his hostess at the top of the landing.

“It’s not much of a place, is it, Sir?” resumed the lady.

“No, indeed; and do none of you ever see or hear any ghosts?”

“We don’t, and we are not afraid. Some of the neighbours used to try to frighten us when we first moved in, but we paid little attention to them. We have no objection to the place, except that it is too old to be comfortable. This kitchen is awfully cold in the winter, but Mr. Clubine won’t bother repairing it, as he intends to demolish the place and build a new house next spring. Yes, I have heard that Grace Marks is still living in New York, and that she got married there. I think they might better have kept her in the Penitentiary.”

The writer thought so too, and, having expressed his assent, he bade Mrs. McWilliams a cordial farewell. It seemed a relief to get away from the murder-haunted spot, and as he drove through the gateway Wordsworth’s lines emerged from the chambers of his memory:—

“A merry place, ’tis said, in times of old;

But something ails it now; the spot is cursed.”

See his story, as related by Mrs. Moodie, in Life in the Clearings, chap. X. Mrs. Moodie blunders grievously, both as to facts and proper names.

See Life in the Clearings, as above.

Chapter V.

The Principal Streams of the County of York.—The Credit.—Origin of its Name.—Peter Jones and Egerton Ryerson at the Credit Mission.—Indian Witchcraft.—The Humber.—The Don.—Sir Richard Bonnycastle’s Account of a Ride Through the County Thirty-eight Years Since.—Richmond Hill Without the Lass.—Thornhill.—The Blue Hill.—List of County Wardens.—The Municipal Council.—Officers Appointed by the Council.—Tables of Values.

A TOLERABLY full account of the milling and other establishments to be found on the banks of the principal streams which meander through the County of York will be found scattered through the various local and township histories embodied in the present volume. The county as a whole is well watered. The Credit River, which takes it rise in the range of hills known as the Caledon Mountains, is a considerable stream. It enters Lake Ontario at the Village of Port Credit, about fourteen miles west of Toronto. Its head waters and upper tributaries formerly swarmed with that most delicious of all fish, the Canadian brook trout, but the erection of saw-mills and the march of civilization have greatly diminished the supply, although there are places where “the sweet, spotted fry” are still to be found in sufficient numbers to afford amusement to the disciple of Isaac Walton. The lower reaches of the river used to be prolific of salmon, but these also have been driven away by the encroachments of civilization, and the salmon leistering so graphically described by Mrs. Jameson nearly half a century ago can only be enjoyed as a picture of the past. The name of the river has given rise to a good deal of discussion among local archæologists. It is said by one or two writers to have been originally derived from a French trader named Crédit, who used to make periodical excursions from Lachine westward, to traffic with the Indians for furs, and who was accustomed to make the mouth of this stream the western terminus of his operations. Others derive the name from the fact that the traders used to buy peltries from the natives on credit. This custom was by no means confined to the particular locality under consideration, though the last-named derivation has received the imprimatur of competent authorities. “The River Credit is so called,” says Mrs. Jameson, in her “Sketches in Canada, and Rambles Among the Red Men,”[5] “because in ancient times—i.e., forty or fifty years ago—the fur traders met the Indians on its banks, and delivered to them on credit the goods for which, the following year, they received the value, or rather ten times their value, in skins.”

It was here that the Rev. Peter Jones and the Rev. Egerton Ryerson respectively laboured with much acceptance among the Mississagas of the district. For an interesting account of Peter Jones’s labours, the reader is referred to the reverend gentleman’s well-known work on the subject. Dr. Ryerson’s work is set out in detail in the Story of his Life edited by Dr. Hodgins, and published in Toronto a few months ago. The following extract from a letter written by the Rev. William Ryerson to his brother George, on the 8th of March, 1827, is worth preserving, as affording a glimpse of missionary life in Canada fifty-seven years ago. “I visited Egerton’s mission at the Credit last week, and was highly delighted to see the improvement they are making, both in religious knowledge and industry. I preached to them while there, and had a large meeting and an interesting time. The next morning we visited their schools. They have about forty pupils on the list, but there were only about thirty present. The rest were absent, making sugar. I am very certain I never saw the same order and attention to study in any school before. Their progress in spelling, reading and writing is astonishing, but especially in writing, which certainly exceeds anything I ever saw. They are getting quite forward with their work. When I was there they were fencing the lots in the village in a very neat, substantial manner. On my arrival at the mission I found Egerton, about half a mile from the village, stripped to the shirt and pantaloons, clearing land with between twelve and twenty of the little Indian boys, who were all engaged in chopping and picking up the brush. It was an interesting sight. Indeed he told me that he spent an hour or more every morning and evening in this way, for the benefit of his own health, and the improvement of the Indian children. He is almost worshipped by his people, and I believe, under God, will be a great blessing to them.”

In Dr. Ryerson’s own diary, kept at this period and place, we find numerous passages suggestive of the primitive state of civilization among the Indians. Under date of March 19th, 1837, he writes: “An Indian who has lately come to this place, and has embraced the religion of Christ, came to Peter Jones, and asked him what he should do with his implements of witchcraft—whether throw them in the fire, or river, as he did not want anything more to do with them. What a proof of his sincerity! Nothing but Christianity can make them renounce witchcraft, and many of them are afraid of it long after their conversion.”

Next in importance to the Credit, among the streams of the county, is the Humber, which is fully treated of elsewhere, and which was originally named after the river of the same name in the north of England. Like the Credit, it was formerly a noted spawning-ground for salmon, which have since found other local habitations. It empties into Lake Ontario about a mile west of the present city limits, and is a good deal resorted to by pic-nickers and holiday makers during the summer season. The Don, also fully treated of elsewhere, was formerly a picturesque stream, but it has greatly diminished in size of late years and has been shorn of much of its ancient glory. The other local streams do not call for any particular remark.

We have topographical descriptions of portions of the county of York from the pens of many writers, from which it appears that the local scenery has little to distinguish it from the scenery of other rural neighbourhoods in Western Canada. Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle, in his “Canada and the Canadians in 1846,” gives a characteristically fault-finding and inaccurate account of a hurried ride from the northern portion of the county to Toronto. Space fails to follow him throughout the entire journey. It will be sufficient if we join his retinue at Richmond Hill. “Behold us,” he writes, “at Richmond Hill, having safely passed the Slough of Despond which the vaunted Yonge Street mud road presents, between the celebrated hamlet of St. Alban’s and the aforesaid hill, one of the greatest curiosities of which road, near St. Alban’s, is the vicinity of a sort of Mormon establishment where a fellow of the name of David Wilson, commonly called David, has set up a Temple of the Davidites, with Virgins of the Sun, dressed in white, and all the tomfooleries of a long beard and exclusive sanctity. But America is a fine country for such knavery. Another curiosity is less pitiable and more natural. It is Bond Lake, a large, narrow sheet of water, on the summit between Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario, which has no visible outlet or inlet, and is therefore, like David Wilson, mysterious, although common sense soon lays the mystery in both cases bare—one is a freak of Nature concealing the source and exitus; the other a fraud of man.” The local reader will hardly need to be informed that the foregoing characterization is grossly unfair and inaccurate as applied to the founder of the sect known as Davidites, who have very little in common with the disciples of Joseph Smith. Sir Richard next refers to the Oak Ridges, and the stair-like descents of plateau after plateau to Ontario, as being “remarkable enough, showing even to the most thoughtless that here ancient shores of ancient seas once bounded the forest, gradually becoming lower and lower as the water subsided.” He journeys on southward until he reaches what he terms “Richmond Hill without the Lass,” where he found “Dolby’s Tavern a most comfortable resting-place for a wearied traveller.” “We departed from Richmond Hill,” he continues, “at half-past five, and wagoned on to Finch’s Inn, seven miles, where we breakfasted. This is another excellent resting-place, and the country between the two is thickly settled. We have now been travelling through scenes celebrated in the Rebellion of Mackenzie. About five miles from Holland Landing is the blacksmith’s shop which was the headquarters of Lount, the smith who, like Jack Cade, set himself up to reform abuses, and suffered the penalty of the outraged laws. Lount was a misled person who, imbued with strong republican feelings, and forgetting the favours of the Government he lived under, which had made him what he was, took up arms at Mackenzie’s instigation, and thought he had a call to be a great general. He passed to his account, so requiescas in pace, Lount! for many a villain yet lives to whose vile advices you owed your untimely end, and who ought to have met with your fate instead of you. Lount had the mind of an honest man in some things, for it is well known that his counsels curtailed the bloody and incendiary spirit of Mackenzie in many instances.... Next to Richmond Hill is Thornhill, all on the macadamized portion of the road to Toronto. Thornhill is a very pretty place, with a neat church and a dell, in which a river must formerly have meandered, but where now a streamlet runs to join Lake Ontario. Here is an extensive mill, owned by Mr. Thorne, a wealthy merchant, who exports flour largely, the Yonge Street settlement being a grain country of vast extent, which not only supplies his mills, but the Red Mills, near Holland Landing, and many others. From Montgomery’s Tavern to Toronto is almost a continued series for four miles of gentlemen’s seats and cottages, and, being a straight road, you see the great lake for miles before its shores are reached. Large sums have been expended on this road, which is carried through a brick-clay soil, in which the Don has cut deep ravines, so that immense embankments and deep excavations for the level have been requisite. Near Toronto, at Blue Hill, large brick-yards are in operation, and here white brick is now made, of which a handsome specimen of church architecture has been lately erected in the west end of the city.” The structure here referred to was St. George’s Church, on John Street, which was erected in 1844.

The present municipal system came into operation in the beginning of the year 1850. Previous to that time the County of York was governed by the Home District Council, which was presided over by a Chairman, elected annually. Since the new system has been in vogue the deliberations of the County Council have been presided over by a Warden, who is also elected annually. The following is a list of the gentlemen who have occupied that high office, together with the respective years of occupancy:—

1850.Franklin Jackes,Esquire.
1851.Franklin Jackes,Esquire.
1852.J. W. Gamble,Esquire.
1853.Joseph Hartman,Esquire.
1854.J. W. Gamble,Esquire.
1855.Joseph Hartman,Esquire.
1856.Joseph Hartman,Esquire.
1857.Joseph Hartman,Esquire.
1858.Joseph Hartman,Esquire.
1859.Joseph Hartman,Esquire.
1860.David Reesor,Esquire.
1861.J. P. Wheler,Esquire.
1862.J. P. Wheler,Esquire.
1863.J. P. Wheler,Esquire.
1864.William Tyrrell,Esquire.
1865.H. S. Howland,Esquire.
1866.H. S. Howland,Esquire.
1867.H. S. Howland,Esquire.
1868.William A. Wallis,Esquire.
1869.William A. Wallis,Esquire.
1870.James Parnham,Esquire.
1871.Peter Patterson,Esquire.
1872.William H. Thorne,Esquire.
1873.William H. Thorne,Esquire.
1874.William Cane,Esquire.
1875.James Speight,Esquire.
1876.William C. Patterson,Esquire.
1877.James Robinson,Esquire.
1878.N. C. Wallace,Esquire.
1879.Joseph Fleury,Esquire.
1880.Joseph Stokes,Esquire.
1881.William Eakin,Esquire.
1882.William H. Rowen,Esquire.
1883.Erastus Jackson,Esquire.
1884.E. J. Davis,Esquire.

The names and post-office addresses of the gentlemen composing the Municipal Council of the County of York for the current year (1884), together with the names and addresses of the various township clerks, appear from the following table:—

EtobicokeM. Canning, Islington P. O.J. D. Evans, Islington, P. O.Alex. McPherson, Islington, P. O.
GeorginaJ. R. Stevenson, Georgina P. O.Henry Park, Vochill P. O.Angus Ego, Georgina P. O.
N. GwillimburyR. M. VanNorman, Keswick P. O.D. H. Sprague, Keswick P. O.Henry Sennett, Bellhaven P. O.
E. GwillimburyW. H. Rowen, Sharon P. O.Charles Traviss, Holt P. O.J. T. Stokes, Sharon P. O.
J. Holborn, Ravenshoe P. O.
KingE. J. Davis, King P. O.Charles Irwin, Lloydtown P. O.Joseph Wood, Laskay P. O.
Thomas Wilson, Newmarket P. O.
M. J. O’Neil, Holly Park P. O.
MarkhamD. James, Thornhill P. O.Robert Bruce, Gormley P. O.J. Stephenson, Unionville P. O.
F. K. Reesor, Box Grove.
A. Forster, Markham P. O.
Scarboro’John Richardson, Scarbro’ P. O.A. M. Secor, Woburn P. O.John Crawford, Malvern P. O.
George Morgan, L’Amoreaux P. O.
VaughanT. Porter, Humber P. O.William Cook, Carrville P. O.J. M. Lawrence, Richmond Hill P. O.
D. Reaman, Concord P. O.
Alexander Malloy, Purpleville P. O.
WhitchurchM. Jones, Bloomington P. O.L. Hartman, Aurora P. O.J. W. Collins, Newmarket P. O.
C. Brodie, Bethesda P. O.
YorkH. Duncan, Don P. O.F. Turner, Bracondale P. O.J. K. Leslie, Eglinton P. O.
Joseph Watson, Fairbank P. O.
H. R. Frankland, Doncaster P. O.
Joseph Davids, Norway P. O.
NewmarketE. Jackson.T. H. Lloyd.David Lloyd.
Holland LandingJames McClure.Fred. J. Kitching.
AuroraA. Yule.William Ough.S. H. Lundy.
Markham VillageG. R. Nanzant.H. R. Corson.
Richmond HillJ. Brown.M. Teefy.
StouffvilleW. B. Sanders.W. H. Woodgate.
ParkdaleHugh McMath.G. S. Booth.H. S. Langton.
BrocktonDr. McConnell.D. McMichael.
WestonWilliam Tyrrell.W. J. Conron.
WoodbridgeJohn Abell.C. J. Agar.

The following are the officers appointed by the Council for the current year:—

E. J. Davis, Esq., Warden, King; J. K. Macdonald, Esq., Treasurer, Toronto; George Eakin, Esq., Clerk, Toronto; J. T. Stokes, Esq., Superintendent York Roads and County Engineer, Toronto; J. T. Jones, Esq., High Constable, Toronto; J. K. Leslie, and Joseph Stokes, County Auditors; John Crawford and F. Jackson, Board of Audit; The Warden and Messrs. M. Jones and John Richardson, Commissioners of County Property; Robert Hull, Housekeeper.

County Board of Examination of Teachers:—James Hodgson, of Toronto, and David Fotheringham, of Aurora, County Inspectors; James H. Hughes, of Toronto, R. W. Doan, of Toronto, and George Rose, of Newmarket, Examiners.

Trustees of High Schools:—No. 1, Weston—William Tyrrell, John McConnell, M.D., and J. P. Bull; No. 2, Markham—John Crawford, P. Wideman, and John Gibson; No. 3, Richmond Hill—William Trench, P. Patterson, and M. Naughton; No. 4, Newmarket—C. Webb, A. J. Hughes, and Francis Starr.

The respective township treasurers are sub-treasurers of school moneys.

The following tables, obtained from official and trustworthy sources, will doubtless be specially acceptable to readers of this work:—


Showing the Aggregate Value of Real and Personal Property and Income; also Average Value per Acre of the Several Municipalities in the County of York for the Year A.D. 1883.


A. No. of Persons Assessed.

B. No. of Acres Resident.

C. Value of Acres Resident.

D. Aver’ge value pr. Acre Resident.

E. No. of Acres Non-Resident.

F. Value of Acres Non-Resident.

G. Average Value per Acre Non-Resident.

H. Total No. Acres Resident and Non-Resident.

I. Total Value of Resident and Non-Resident.

J. Average Value of Resident and Non-Resident.

K. Taxable Income.

L. Personal Property.

M. Total Personal and Income.

Etobicoke75429,1481,546,14053 04108
Georgina57131,056710,55022 555,017
Gwillimbury, North55730,864846,29527 45580
Gwillimbury, East1,34251,6531,370,06425 073,769
King1,93486,1563,094,83635 92368
Markham1,72767,4323,268,07348 46.....
Scarborough1,03442,2052,214,28052 46385
Vaughan1,66964,8393,061,50547 22.....
Whitchurch1,30459,7381,861,94531 16341
York3,22863,9155,557,76586 95232
Total of Townships14,120530,00623,531,453.....10,800
Holland Landing135.....75,65073
Richmond Hill191.....150,805.....
Total of Towns and Villages.4,002.....3,469,294.....74½
Grand Totals18,122530,00627,000,747.....10,874½

Table continued ...

Etobicoke3,74034 6229,2561,549,880
Georgina25,9505 1736,073736,500
Gwillimbury, North3,9356 7831,444850,230
Gwillimbury, East15,7304 1758,4221,385,794
King6,87518 6886,5243,101,711
Scarborough22,60058 7042,5902,236,880
Whitchurch3,65010 7060,0791,865,595
York22,55597 2164,1475,580,320
Total of Townships105,035.....540,80623,636,488
Holland Landing975..........76,625
Richmond Hill150..........150,955
Total of Towns and Villages.5,550.....74½3,474,844
Grand Totals110,585.....540,880½27,111,332

Table continued ...

Etobicoke52 9770099,400100,100
Georgina20 4185044,40045,250
Gwillimbury, North27 031,00038,45039,450
Gwillimbury, East23 721,90065,04066,940
King35 848,050205,950214,000
Markham48 465,400156,970162,370
Scarborough52 524,640113,750118,390
Vaughan47 225,250129,840135,090
Whitchurch31 051,700103,200104,900
York86 9915,800236,600252,400
Total of Townships.....45,2901,193,6001,238,890
Holland Landing.....4003,9254,325
Richmond Hill.....3,1007,60010,700
Total of Towns and Villages......27,200106,885134,085
Grand Totals.....72,4901,300,4851,372,975


Showing the Aggregate Value of Real and Personal Property and Income; also Average Value per Acre of the Several Municipalities in the County of York for the Year A.D. 1883.—Continued.


A. Total Real, Personal and Income.

B. No. of Acres Assessed.

C. Difference between ’82 & ’83.

D. No. of Acres Returned by Government.

E. Excess or Deficiency.

F. No. of Persons in Family.

G. No. of Cattle.

H. No. of Sheep.

I. No. of Hogs.

J. No. of Horses.

K. No. of Dogs.

L. No. of Bitches.

M. No. of Acres of Woodland.

N. No. of Acres of Swamp, Marsh or Wet Land.

O. No. of Acres of Orchard and Garden.

P. No. of Acres of Fall Wheat.

Gwillimbury, North889,68031,54931,444D10531,200E244
Gwillimbury, East1,452,73457,60458,422E81861,575D3,153
Total of Townships24,875,378539,943540,806.....456,675.....
Holland Landing80,950.........................
Richmond Hill161,655.........................
Total of Towns and Villages.3,608,929.....74½...............
Grand Totals28,484,307539,943540,880½.....456,675.....

Table continued ...

Gwillimbury, North1,8172,5572,1991,075998
Gwillimbury, East3,6202,6733,4231,7351,583
Total of Townships44,61731,23030,70116,39718,594
Holland Landing45123714818086
Richmond Hill77762336373
Total of Towns and Villages11,169692356785847
Grand Totals55,78631,92231,05717,18219,441

Table continued ...

Gwillimbury, North12054,1304,7443003,761
Gwillimbury, East24336,30313,5454345,719
Whitchurch39713not taken.....
Total of Townships3,98710856,95642,6018,45445,855
Holland Landing44.........................
Richmond Hill376....................
Total of Towns and Villages60339....................
Grand Totals4,59014756,95642,6018,45445,855


Showing the Assessed and Equalized Value of the several Municipalities in the County of York for 1883.


A. Assessed Value of Residential & Non-Residential Lands.

B. Average Value per Acre.

C. Equalized Value per Acre.

D. Equalized Value of Real Estate.

E. Assessed Value—Personal and Income.

F. Equalized Value of Personal and Income.

G. Total Equalized Value of Real, Personal and Income.

H. Total Assessed Value of Real, Personal and Income.

TOWNSHIPS.$$ c.$ c.$
Etobicoke1,549,88052 9752 001,521,312
Georgina736,50020 4128 001,010,044
Gwillimbury, North850,23027 0333 251,045,513
Gwillimbury, East1,385,79423 7235 002,044,770
King3,101,71135 8540 003,460,960
Markham3,268,07348 4656 003,776,192
Scarborough2,236,88052 5252 002,214,680
Vaughan3,061,50547 3255 503,598,564
Whitchurch1,865,59431 0539 002,343,081
York5,580,32086 9982 005,260,054
Total of Townships23,636,48826,275,170
Holland Landing76,62585,270
Markham Village187,047187,000
Richmond Hill150,955157,800
Total for Towns and Villages3,474,8443,255,159
Grand Total27,111,33229,530,329

Table continued ...

Gwillimbury, North39,45073,0001,118,513889,680
Gwillimbury, East66,940139,0002,183,7701,452,734
Total of Townships1,238,8901,663,00027,938,17024,875,378
Holland Landing4,3258,73094,00080,950
Markham Village30,00029,000216,000217,047
Richmond Hill10,70020,200178,000161,655
Total for Towns and Villages134,085196,3803,451,5393,608,929
Grand Total1,372,9751,859,38031,389,70928,484,307

Part I., p. 39.

Chapter VI.

The Report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission.—Statistics Relating to the County of York.—Character of the Soil.—Water.—Price of Farms.—Stumps.—Fences.—Farm Buildings and Out-buildings.—Drainage.—Farm Machinery.—Fertilizers.—Uncleared Lands.—Acreage and Average Products.—Stock and Stock By-laws.—Timber Lands.—Market Facilities.—Local Industries.—Mechanics, Farm Labourers and Domestics.

IN the Report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission, compiled and published under the auspices of the Ontario Government about three years since, is to be found a great mass of agricultural and other information respecting the more important municipalities in this Province. The information collected therein with regard to the County of York is especially comprehensive and valuable, and includes statistical data relating to the soil, climate, topographical features, cultivable area and products, and the general progress and condition of husbandry. The various townships comprised within the County of York, as at present constituted, are represented as having been “entered and largely settled” between the years 1790 and 1815. “The first entered”—so runs the report—“was Markham, and the last Georgina, in the years named.” One-third of the latter township is represented as being still unsettled, together with about two thousand acres in East Gwillimbury and one thousand in North Gwillimbury; but some progress has been made since the publication of the report, and the proportion of unsettled lands are at the present day slightly under the figures therein given. In the remaining townships, we are informed, the process of settlement was completed in, on an average, a little more than 45½ years.

Under appropriate headings, we next find in the report the following useful information:—


Heavy clay, clay loam, and sandy loam, are the predominating soils in this county. Heavy clay exists in the proportion of about twenty-one per cent., with a depth of from eight to twenty-four inches, and resting principally on subsoils of clay and marl; clay loam, about thirty-eight per cent., depth from eleven to fifteen inches, and resting principally on subsoils of clay and marl; sandy loam, about twenty-two per cent., depth from six to twelve inches, with subsoils of clay and marl; sand, about ten and a-half per cent., depth not determinable, with subsoils of quicksand and gravel; gravelly, not appreciable; black loam, about eight and a-half per cent., depth from two to eight feet, and resting on clay, sand and quicksand. Except in North Gwillimbury, which reports three thousand acres, there is no land in the county which is too stony or has rock too near the surface to be profitably cultivated. About seven per cent. is so hilly as to be objectionable for the purposes of cultivation, about eleven per cent. is bottom, seven and a-half per cent. is swampy, and rather less than two per cent. wet, springy land. About sixty-eight per cent. of the area is reported as rolling and cultivable. About forty-four and a-half per cent. is reported first-class for agricultural purposes, thirty-three per cent. second-class, and the remainder third-class.


The county is reported well watered by creeks, springs and wells; also by the Don, Holland, Humber, Black, and Rouge Rivers; in the south by Lake Ontario, and in the north by Lake Simcoe, and many tributary streams. Water is obtained by digging, at depths varying from four to one hundred feet.


The price of land depends wholly on locality, soil and buildings, and ranges from $25 to $100 per acre. The latter rate is exceptional. From $70 to $80 per acre may be taken as the average price of land within a radius of twenty miles of Toronto. Farms are leased at from $2.50 to $5 per acre.


About fifty-four per cent. of the cleared acreage is reported free from stumps. Of the stumps remaining a large proportion are pine.


About sixty-nine per cent. of the farms are reported to be under first-class fences, consisting principally of cedar, pine and hemlock rails.


About sixty-two per cent. of the farm dwellings are reported to be either of brick, stone, or first-class frame; the remainder are log, or of inferior frame. Of the outbuildings fifty-seven per cent. are reported first-class; the remainder are inferior.


About twelve and a-half per cent. of the farms are reported to have been drained, principally in King, Markham and York townships. Tile has been largely used in the latter township, and in the others to a limited extent.


About ninety-three per cent. of the farmers use improved machinery for seeding and harvesting.


There are larger quantities of artificial fertilizers employed in this county than in any other county in the Province—the average being forty-two per cent. Plaster and salt are used in the proportion of from one hundred pounds to one hundred and fifty pounds of the former, and three hundred pounds of the latter, on nearly all descriptions of crops—but plaster, principally, on clover and roots, and salt on cereals. Superphosphate is also employed to a small extent on roots.


About eighty-nine per cent. of the uncleared land is reported suitable for cultivation, if cleared.


The township area of York is 540,271¼ acres; the cleared area is 392,513¾. Of the latter, about 12¼ per cent. is devoted to fall wheat, which yields, on an average (omitting East Gwillimbury, which does not in any case report the yield), about 20 bushels per acre; spring wheat, about 13 per cent. and 12-2/3 bushels; barley, 11½ per cent. and 25-1/3 bushels; oats, 12-1/3 per cent. and 38-1/3 bushels; rye (hardly any sown), from 15 to 20 bushels; peas, 7 per cent. and 19½ bushels; corn (hardly any grown), from 25 to 40 bushels; buckwheat (in Whitchurch only), 1 per cent. and 15 bushels; potatoes about 1½ per cent. and 103½ bushels; turnips, 1-3/10 per cent. and 383 bushels; other root crops, about 1 per cent. and 457 bushels; hay, about 14 per cent. and 1¼ tons. About 16 per cent. is devoted to pasture, and about 2 per cent. to orchards. In King 12½ per cent., in Markham about 9 per cent. and in Vaughan about 14 per cent. is put under summer fallow. The county is well adapted for stock raising, grain growing and dairying. A good deal of attention is being paid to the former in townships specially adapted for grazing and for the growth of clover. Fruit growing and market gardening are also largely followed, especially in Etobicoke and York townships, where are also some extensive nurseries.


The townships sustain 27,669 horned cattle, 20,230 horses, 27,984 sheep, and 14,388 hogs. The horses are draught and general-purpose, with Clydesdale blood (some fine thoroughbreds have been introduced, and the number is increasing); cattle—Durham, Ayrshire and Devon grades; sheep—Leicester, Cotswold and Southdown; and hogs—Berkshire, Suffolk and Essex. A great improvement has taken place of late years in all descriptions of farm stock.


About twenty-two and a-half per cent. of the area of York is still under timber, consisting of beech, maple, elm, basswood, pine, hemlock, cedar, tamarack and birch; used for building purposes, fencing and firewood.


The market facilities of this county are unexceptionable. Toronto, the principal market centre, is easily reached by road and railway. There are also good markets at Newmarket (which has just become a town—the only one in the county outside of Toronto), Sutton, Aurora, Stouffville, and King. Every township has one or more railways passing through it, or is within easy access to railways. Nearly all the farm produce of the county is consumed in Toronto, or is shipped thence to eastern and western markets.


Omitting the City of Toronto, which has no municipal connection with the County of York, and which has large and varied manufactories, there are, in addition to other local industries dependent upon or providing a market for agricultural products, three flouring mills reported in Etobicoke; two cheese factories, two tanneries, two carding mills, seven saw mills and seven grist mills, in King; milling, farm implements, carriage and wagon and two cheese factories, in Markham; two agricultural implement factories in Vaughan; six grist, one woollen, and three paper mills and three tanneries, in York; and flouring, saw and planing mills, a tannery, a woollen mill, a hat manufactory, and organ, carriage and furniture manufactories in Newmarket. Some lumbering is still carried on in the county. All which matters are more particularly treated of in the respective townships to which they severally belong.


There is no special demand for farm labourers, but good hands can always secure work in summer at high wages, and domestics all the year round. The demand for mechanics is not great.

The following table, modified and adapted from the Agricultural Commissioners' Report, summarizes much of the foregoing information:—

Townships.In what year settled.What proportion now settled.How many years after the entrance of the first settlers could it be said to be all settled?General character of the soil.
Etobicoke1800All40 yearsGood.
Georgina1815About two-thirdsNot yetA portion swamp; half good soil.
Gwillimbury, East1798About 56,000 acres out of 58,000.Not all settled yetLight.
Gwillimbury, North1803All except 1,000 acres......Tolerably good.
King1799All may be considered settled for all practical purposes.65 yearsClay loam.
Markham1790The whole1830Clay and clay loam.
Scarborough1798All settled.About 40 yearsClay loam.
Vaughan1796AllAbout 35 yearsClay and clay loam.
Whitchurch1795AllAbout 60 yearsFair.
York1792All40 yearsAll grades—from drifting sand to heavy clay.

Chapter VII.

Public Schools of the County of York.—Division of the County for Educational Purposes.—Extracts from Reports of Inspector Hodgson.—School Statistics.—Inspector Fotheringham’s Report.

THE public schools of the County of York will compare favourably with those in other parts of Western Canada, and are maintained in a high degree of usefulness and efficiency. For educational purposes the county is divided into two parts, known respectively as the northern and southern divisions. The Inspector for the northern division is Mr. D. Fotheringham, of Aurora. For the southern division the Inspector is Mr. James Hodgson, of Bloor Street West, Toronto. The report of the last-named gentleman, bearing date the 11th of June, 1883, contains a good deal of interesting and useful information respecting the public schools in his division. “In the Township of York,” he writes, “the standing and efficiency of the schools have, upon the whole, been well maintained, fourteen schools ranking in the I. class, six schools in the II. class, and five schools in the III. class.

In the Township of Markham10schools rankin theI.class.
9schools rankin theII.class.
4schools rankin theIII.class.
In the Township of Scarborough6schools rankin theI.class.
4schools rankin theII.class.
1schools rankin theIII.class.
In Etobicoke5schools rankin theI.class.
3schools rankin theII.class.
1schools rankin theIII.class.
In Vaughan4schools rankin theI.class.
3schools rankin theII.class.


“In the Village of Markham a new brick school-house, containing four large, airy school-rooms, has been erected, and in S. S. No. 22, Markham, a new brick school-house also; the school accommodation in South York is now ample. In the Village of Parkdale the school buildings are decidedly superior, and all the appliances necessary for successful teaching have been provided by the trustees, and the staff of teachers of the I. and II. class undoubtedly entitle it to be made the Model School for the training of teachers in South York. The head master is a first-class teacher, holding a Provincial Certificate, and is an undergraduate of Toronto University. In the school building there is a room to be specially set apart for the accommodation of teachers in training, so as not to interfere with the ordinary work of the school; this requisite was never provided in the Yorkville Model School.

“For the above reasons, and also for the convenience of candidates for the teaching profession in South York, I have recommended to the Education Department that the public school in the Village of Parkdale should be constituted the Model or Training School for the southern division of the County of York, and I feel confident that such is the public spirit of the trustees and inhabitants of that village that nothing will be left unprovided to make it a credit to the entire county.”


The highest salary of a male teacher in the Townships of Scarborough and Markham was $525; in York, $900; in Etobicoke and Vaughan, $450. The lowest salary to a male teacher in York, $267; in Scarborough, $340; in Etobicoke, $300; and in Markham, $325.

The average of male teachers in the township was $422.56. Of female teachers in the township, $234.


In York23teachers hada Normal training.
In Markham11teachers hada Normal training.
In Scarboro’4teachers hada Normal training.
In Etobicoke2teachers hada Normal training.
In York3teachers heldI. Class Provincial.
In York22teachers heldII. Class Provincial.
In Markham15teachers heldII. Class Provincial.
In Scarboro’7teachers heldII. Class Provincial.
In Etobicoke2teachers heldII. Class Provincial.

In the County of S. York there were 16 teachers Old County Board, I. Class. Forty-three teachers New County Board, III. Class.


In the whole of South York (not including villages) 40 children between 7 and 13 did not attend any school. On the Daily Registers 8,753 pupils of all ages attended school; of these 8,537 were of the ages between 5 and 16.

2,241pupilsattended100days, or20school weeks.
1,856pupilsattended150days, or30school weeks.
1,916pupilsattended200days, or40school weeks.
432pupilsattendedevery day during the year


7,336 in Spelling and Dictation; 7,642 in Writing; 6,610 in Arithmetic; 4,648 in Geography; 3,274 in Grammar and Composition; 1,089 in Canadian History; 1,326 in British History; 943 in Hygiene; 247 in Algebra; 228 in Geometry and Mensuration; 376 in Bookkeeping.

76 Schools opened and closed with prayer. 47 Schools repeated the Ten Commandments with fair regularity. The Inspector hopes to be able to state in the next year’s report a decided improvement in these particulars, as the keeping of the Commandments, and a regard to the Moral Law lie at the foundation of individual and social happiness, and there can be no security for our country’s prosperity and well being without them.


In Scarboroughthe average for daily attendance was, per pupil,$109
In Yorkthe average for daily attendance was, per pupil, 10967
In Etobicokethe average for daily attendance was, per pupil, 1127
In Markhamthe average for daily attendance was, per pupil, 91057


In 1881 the daily average inYork was7,109
In 1881 the daily average inMarkham,819
In 1881 the daily average inScarboro’,517
In 1881 the daily average inEtobicoke,346
In 1882 the daily average inYork was1,231
In 1882 the daily average in Markham,861
In 1882 the daily average in Scarboro’,523
In 1882 the daily average in Etobicoke,339

In his latest report, presented on the 9th of June, 1884, Mr. Hodgson, referring to the statistics presented during the previous year, remarks as follows: “I find, upon comparison, very little change in any of the statistics above named, and it has been to myself a source of unfeigned pleasure to witness the earnestness manifested by the teachers generally in their school work, and the increasing efficiency exhibited by them in the discharge of their onerous duties. A great deal has been said of late in favour of what are called ‘Uniform Promotion Examinations.’ I am not going to trouble you with arguing the question at length. It is one of the hobbies of the age, and, of course, has its admirers and advocates. My decided opinion is that the teacher is the proper person to make the promotions from one class to another. He knows, or ought to know, what strangers cannot possibly know, the real standing of every scholar, the ability of each, and the temperament also; and I hold him responsible for all promotions, and can never willingly consent to remove that responsibility from the teacher, and place it upon an irresponsible committee, however talented. I very seldom find any particular ground of complaint for improper promotions. My practice is to advise any new or fresh teacher, on taking charge of a school, not to make any changes in classification in a hurry, but to wait and thoroughly understand and find out the merits and standing of each pupil before attempting any changes whatever. I have full confidence in the candidates trained in our Model School for South York, that they will exercise suitable caution in this respect, and what I conceive to be the needless expense incident to uniform promotions will be avoided altogether.

“Of all the drawbacks affecting the success of our public schools, irregular attendance is the greatest, and seems to be the most difficult to be grappled with. Could not something be done effectively by giving prizes in books for regular attendance only, irrespective of attainments, or even what has been termed good conduct? The great object to be aimed at is to get the children to attend school, trusting the teacher to see to it that every thing be done on his or her part to secure their improvement or advancement in knowledge. The daily register would be the criterion for deciding as to the reward. Here there could be no favouritism shown; and superior talents could not carry off the prizes, as is often the case, thus giving a premium to ability instead of real merit, and often discouraging and sometimes crushing the spirit of more deserving pupils.

“The following note was attached to the annual returns of one of the School Sections in Etobicoke, æThe undersigned trustees wish very respectfully to say that they consider the School Law, in its present state, as regards the attendance of children between the ages of seven and thirteen years, as impracticable, at least in rural districts, as it requires the appointment by the Trustees in each School Section of a public prosecutor, to prosecute delinquent parents. Such a person cannot be found in a majority of rural sections. And while we think the attendance of the children in question very desirable, we think the end would be better, and much more effectually reached by the Trustees being required to examine into each case, and, if they found the non-attendance to be inexcusable, that they be directed to impose a penalty to be collected as a tax through the local Council, or otherwise. The end, in our opinion, would be more effectually reached in this way, without the odium and expense of going before a magistrate.’ I concur most fully in the above opinion, and think it very desirable that some such change should be made in the School Law by the proper authority and remedy, as far as possible, the evil of non-attendance, which is too prevalent in almost all the rural School Sections, as well as in many of our villages.”

The last report of the Inspector for the Northern Division, which was presented to the Municipal Council in June last, embodies a comparison of the state of public school education in 1871 and 1883. It also refers to other factors in educational work, not established in 1871, and not therefore open to comparison, but which now add considerably to general results from year to year.

“It is,” says Mr. Fotheringham, “over twelve years since the administration of school matters was put into the hands of County Inspectors, and since the law and regulations were so modified as to begin what may be styled the New Era of Education in Ontario. The period since 1871 is so considerable as to justify conclusions and inferences of comparative reliability; and, in this way, a vantage ground may be reached from which to look forward and plan for the future wisely and liberally.


School population (5 to 16)8,3217,000
Average attendance of those enrolled372545
Cost per pupil$545$665
Pupils to each teacher10570
Teachers employed—Male6065
Teachers employed—Female2536
Teachers employed—Total85101
Teachers Normal trained2048
Certificates—Provincial I23
Certificates—Provincial II1848
Certificates—O. C. Board426 
Certificates—N. C. Board2143 
Value of School Property71,00000150,00000
School Corporations7179
Sites Adequate3179
School Houses7182
School Houses Brick1426
School Houses Frame5356
School Houses Log40
School Houses Erected in 12 years44
School Houses Enlarged in 12 years26
Expended on sites and buildings89,28400


On Buildings and Sites$3,01300$2,58800$8,09700
Fuel, Repairs, etc.7,131008,642007,30900
Salaries of Teachers37,9230037,2100037,02600
Maps, etc.221001220039300

“From these statements gratifying progress in most directions is evident.

“The population, not accurately reported for 1883, owing to an error in printing the annual returns, but about 7,000 has fallen off in about the same proportion throughout the Province, as indicated by the annual report of the Minister of Education. But increased facilities have been provided for attendance as shown by the addition of eleven school houses and eight school boards since 1871. That this has been appreciated is evidenced by a rise in the average attendance from 37¼ to 45 per cent.

“That liberality in the support of education is growing throughout the Inspectorate is evident from the very large amount expended on building, from the marked advance in the average salaries of both male and female teachers, and from the higher rate per pupil paid in the county. The average per pupil in the public schools of this Inspectorate is now $6.65. Throughout the Province it is $6.42; $6.03 in rural districts; $8.81 in cities; $6.86 in towns. In Toronto the cost per pupil is $9.31. The average cost per pupil of the High Schools is $27.56 throughout Ontario. The average attendance, 45 per cent., in North York, is the same as in all the Province. Waterloo County has an average of 49 per cent.—the highest among counties. The per cent. of attendance in Hamilton is 66; in Toronto, 64.

“The average salary of male teachers in the counties of Ontario is $385; of female teachers, $248; in cities, of male teachers, $742; of females, $331. In York (N.), male teachers receive an average of nearly $425, and females, $265.62.

“School property has been largely renewed, and has more than doubled in value; while the accommodation has greatly improved in character as well as in space. The teaching staff has kept pace in this march of improvement—in training, in literary attainments, and in efficiency. There are now 48 or nearly half of the teachers Normal trained; and the 43 third-class teachers have also received training, though of a more limited character, in County Model Schools.

“These conclusions may be reached and confirmed through facts to be observed in another direction. The classification and work of the schools are shown to be more efficient by the large increase of successful candidates at the half yearly Entrance Examinations to the High Schools, and also by the numbers that have passed the Uniform Promotion Examinations which have now been held in the Inspectorate three times. After an impartial and careful examination last March, 430 out of about 800 candidates for promotion were successful, and secured certificates.

“It is due to the County Council to say that after three half-yearly examinations for promotions in the schools of North York, these have more than realized my anticipations. They have given general satisfaction, and have proved a healthy and powerful stimulus to both teachers and scholars. So long as they deserve this character, you will not hesitate to make the usual half-yearly appropriation, which is hereby respectfully solicited.

“The High School Entrance Examinations, established thirteen years ago, have done much to stimulate to thorough work in the higher classes of the public schools; and never more than at present. About sixty at Newmarket and forty-five at Richmond Hill present themselves on each occasion, and an increasing percentage is successful from time to time. These places are, however, so far from some of the rural districts that the task of leaving their own neighbourhood, the cost of travel and board, and the nervousness produced by mingling with strangers at an examination, have deprived many of the advantages of the Entrance Examinations.

“To meet this difficulty I enquired in the schools of North Gwillimbury and Georgina, as to the number who might attend were an Entrance Examination held in Sutton, and was encouraged by the estimate of about twenty. I next secured the sanction of the Hon. G. W. Ross, Minister of Education, to this proposal, similar to an arrangement in Peel, where several special examinations are held, and the results found excellent. I then explained the matter to the Warden of the county, who also favoured the plan, and undertook to guarantee the expense, as the Council could not be consulted in time to allow the necessary advertising to be done. When I state that I have now applications from forty-five candidates to be allowed to write to Sutton, all of whom would either not have written at all or would have gone to High School out of the county, I am sure the Council will see the wisdom of this new departure, and readily provide for the necessary outlay, about one dollar per candidate. The plan I propose is to appoint one, or, if necessary, two competent persons to preside at the examination for two days; then to have all the papers sent to myself; and, with the Newmarket Head Master, I will examine and value the work done. The School Board of Sutton have kindly and readily placed their building at our disposal for the examination, without charge. Should this experiment prove satisfactory, I anticipate your approval of its repetition from time to time. It will afford much better facilities for pupils on the Lake Simcoe Branch Road, as well as for those in the two northern townships; and, at present, several from Mount Albert will attend who otherwise would go out of the county.”

Further interesting information with respect to the schools of the County of York will be found interspersed here and there throughout the sketches of the various townships.


YORK is by far the most populous and important township in the county from which it takes its name. It is situated in the centre of the front tier of townships bordering upon the lake, having Scarborough on the west, Etobicoke on the east, and Vaughan and Markham on the north. It is divided for purposes of Parliamentary representation into East and West York, Yonge street being the dividing line. The concessions, which run north and south, are numbered east and west from Yonge street. East York comprises four and West York seven concessions, two or three of the latter being small and broken, owing to the course of the Humber, which forms the western boundary. The city of Toronto occupies the greater portion of the water front, which would otherwise be embraced within the limits of this township, and within a radius of several miles there are numerous suburban villages within the territory of the township proper, giving it a different character from the other divisions of the county, owing to the overflow of the suburban population.

The history of York township as a distinct territorial division commences in 1791, in which year the work of survey was undertaken. Eleven townships extending along the lake front, from the Humber river to the Bay Quinté and the river Trent, were marked out, York being at the western end of the line. The name at that time bestowed upon it was Dublin. All that was then done in the way of survey was to run the dividing lines between these townships. Mr. Augustus Jones, who had charge of the work, completed it, as far as “Dublin” was concerned, on September 15th, 1791. The name was shortly afterwards changed to that which it now bears, though it seems to have also borne for a while the designation of “Toronto,” as is shown by the following entry in the official records having reference to the laying out of the townships:

“Surveyor General’s office, Province of Upper Canada, 26th January, 1793. Description of the township of York, (formerly Toronto) to be surveyed by Messrs. Aitken and Jones. The front line of the front concession commences, adjoining the township of Scarborough (on No. 10), at a point known and marked by Mr. Jones, running S. 74° west from said front, and one chain for a road, and so on till the said line strikes the river Toronto [Humber] whereon St. John is settled. The concessions are one hundred chains deep, and one chain between each concession to the extent of twelve miles.” This is the earliest official reference on record to the township of York. The work was not completed by Messrs. Aitken and Jones. Other surveyors were employed on it at subsequent dates, and it was not until 1829 that the survey was concluded by Mr. Wilmot. The following names appear on the record of the early patentees of this township for the years indicated:

1796—Patrick Barns, Samuel Cozens, Paul Wilcott, John Ashbridge, Jonathan Ashbridge, Parker Mills, Benjamin Mosley, John Cox, John Scadding, George Playter, John Matthews, Joseph Barker, James Playter, Eli Playter, John Playter, John Coon, Hon. Peter Russell, William Demont, D. W. Smith, William Smith, Isaac Devens, Abraham Devens, Levi Devens, John McBride, William Youman, Elizabeth Russell, Jacob Philips, Elias Anderson, Benjamin Davis, John Graves Simcoe.

1797—David Ramsay, John Matthews, Christopher Robinson, John White, James Macauley, J. B. Bouchette, Major D. Shank, John Hewett, Abraham Lawraway, Lewis Vail, P. DeGrassie, Mary Ridout, Rev. Thomas Radish, John Lawrence, William Cooper, John Wilson, Junr., Capt. R. Lippincott James Johnson, Ephraim H. Payne, William D. Powell, Junr.

1798—William Cooper, E. W. Smith, Robert J. D. Gray, Peter Russell, William Cooper, Hon. Alexander Grant, Lieut.-Col. D. Shank, David Barns, Alexander McNab, William Chewett, William Allan, Thomas Ridout, Elizabeth Johnson, John White, Isaiah Aaron Skinner, Hon. John Elmsley, Eleanora D. White, William Wilcox, Sr., Lieut. John McGill, James Ruggles, Lieut. James Givins, John Ross, Alexander Macdonell, Anne Powell, Hon. W. D. Powell, William Halton, George Cruikshank, John Wilson, Reuben Clark, Bernard Cary, Capt. Daniel Cozens, Capt. William Graham, Robert Franklin, William Jarvis, Christopher Samuel White, Charles S. White, William S. White, Joshua Chamberlain, Jr., Zekel Chamberlain, Thomas Kirgan, David Burns, Alexander Burns, Marian White.

1799—Hon. Eneas Shaw, Rev. Edmund Burke, Elizabeth Tuck, Isabella Chewett.

1800—Lawrence Johnston, Nicholas Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Joseph Kendrick, Duke William Kendrick, Abraham Johnson, Joseph Johnson.

1801—Alex Gray, Sr., John Small, John Atwell Small, Benjamin Davis, John Dennis, Angus Macdonell, Edward Gahan, Robert Henderson, James Clark, William Davis, Jacob Gower, Ann Hollingshead, Elijah Huson, Jonathan Bell, Nathaniel Huson, Edward Baker Littlehales, Hugh Cameron, George Porter, Jacob Nathawdt.

1802—Stilwell Wilson, Augustus Jones, Alex. Gray, Jr., Thomas Ridout Johnson, David Smith, Hiram Kendrick, Christopher Heron, Jacob Winter, James Roch, Isaac Hollingshead, Elsie Willard, Joseph Provost, Mary Garner, George Wickle.

1803—Thomas Gray, Hon. Henry Allcock, Robert Richardson, William Allan, Richard Gamble, William Weeks, Margaret Cockran, John Everson, John Macintosh, Alexander Montgomery, John Coun, W. Baldwin, John McDougall, Charles Field, John Cowan, Mathias Saunders, Jacob Fisher, Jr.

1804—Frederick Brown, Andrew Macglashan, Francis Brock.

1805—John Kendrick, Patrick Bern, Joseph Shepherd, John Wilson.

1806—Henry Mulholland, William Armstrong, D’Arcy Boulton, Jr., S. Smith.

1807—Malcolm Wright, Augustus Boiten, Thomas Ruggles, Thomas Hamilton, Dorothy Arnold, James Lymburner, Joseph Philips, Alexander Macdonell, Michael Harris, Robert Lymburner, Thomas Hamilton.

1808—Richard Lawrence, William Marsh, Joshua G. Cozens.

1809—Hon. John McGill, Henry Jackson.

1810—William Halton, George Taylor Denison.

1811—William Jarvis, John Macdonell, John Eakins, Jr., Jacob Nathawdt, Stephen Jarvis, Cornelius Thompson, Robert Macdonell, Michael Dye.

1812—James Block, Simeon Devins, Thomas Humberstone.

1813—John Baskerville Gregg, John McLang.

Among later patentees were King’s College, the Rectory of St. James, and the Canada Company.

In 1798, according to the abstracts of the town clerk’s return of inhabitants in the Home District, the town of York, York township, Etobicoke and Scarborough altogether had a total population of only 749. The returns for 1802 give 659 inhabitants for York town and township and Etobicoke. The abstract of the assessment of the Home District for the year commencing 8th March, 1803, gives the area of cultivated land in the township at 1,109 acres. From the same we learn that the live stock of the settlers included 68 oxen, 133 milch cows, 45 young horned cattle and 53 swine. The township at this time also boasted one grist mill, a couple of saw mills and two taverns.

In 1820 York Township had 1672 inhabitants, an increase of 349 over the preceding year. In 1825 the population numbered 2412. In 1830 it was 3127. In 1842 there were 5720 inhabitants, and the rateable property in the township was assessed at £82,682. Since that time the population and wealth of York have increased steadily, though there have been continual fluctuations in the prosperity of different localities. An extensive shipping trade, for instance, was once done at the Humber river, from which as many as 84,000 barrels of flour and half a million feet of lumber have been shipped in one season. There was formerly a shipyard at the mouth of the river, where during the war of 1812 two vessels were constructed. Now it is merely known as one of Toronto’s most popular pleasure resorts, its industries having long since disappeared. Other localities have sprung up, and the tendency of the railroad system has been largely to centralize commerce in Toronto and its immediate neighbourhood.

The population of York Township according to the census of 1881 was 13,748, of whom 6,491 were in the Eastern, and 6,257 in the Western division. This indicates a considerable increase during the decade of 1871-81, the numbers returned by the census of ’71 being, East York, 4,390, West York, 4,112, or a total of 8,502. This is evidently due to the overflow of the city population into the suburban localities which still form part of the township, rather than to the normal increase of the rural population. Of the population 8,143 are of Canadian birth. In the eastern section the proportion of the English element is greater than in most localities, 3,649 being of English origin. In the eastern portion of the township the number of occupiers, according to latest census returns, is 548, of whom 357 are also owners of the land. The total acreage occupied is 26,728 acres, of which 21,409 is improved; of this 14,377 is in crops, 5,137 in pasture and 1,895 acres occupied as garden and orchards. In West York there are 677 occupiers, of whom 418 are also owners of the soil they till. The total acreage in occupation is 34,195 acres, of which 28,999 acres is improved land—22,043 acres are in field crops, 5,218 devoted to pasturage, and 1,738 to gardens and orchards. For the whole township the figures are as follows:—Occupiers 1,225, of whom 775 are also proprietors, acreage in occupation 60,923, of which 50,408 or as nearly as may be, five-sixths, has been improved; crop-growing land 36,420 acres; pasture land, 13,355 acres; and orchards and gardens 3,633.

The yield of the township in the staples of agricultural production is given as follows in the census returns of 1881: East York, wheat, 46,612 bushels; barley, 44,983 bushels; oats, 80,611 bushels; peas and beans, 10,500 bushels; potatoes, 126,312 bushels; turnips, 19,850 bushels; other root crops, 64,874; hay, 5,208 tons; West York, wheat, 72,390 bushels; barley, 78,004 bushels; oats, 115,625 bushels; peas and beans, 27,707 bushels; potatoes, 112,207 bushels; turnips, 37,056 bushels; other root crops, 59,117 bushels; hay, 8,301 tons; total yield for the township: wheat, 119,002 bushels; barley, 122,987 bushels; oats, 196,236 bushels; peas and beans, 47,207 bushels; potatoes, 238,519 bushels; turnips, 56,906 bushels; other root crops, 123,991 bushels; hay, 13,509 tons.

It may be interesting to compare these figures of the present production of the township with the returns for the year 1849, as given by W. H. Smith in his well-known work on “Canada—Past, Present and Future.” In round numbers these are as follows:—Wheat, 142,000 bushels; oats, 123,000 bushels; peas, 43,000 bushels; potatoes, 58,000 bushels; turnips, 9,000 bushels; and hay, 4,000 tons. As compared with recent figures they indicate the change that has been going on latterly all over the country in the direction of paying less attention to wheat growing and more to other crops. It will be noticed that although the population of the township has increased by more than one-third during the interval, the wheat production has considerably fallen off, while the roots and leguminous crops have very largely increased, and barley, not mentioned at all by Smith, now exceeds the wheat crop in volume. The farmers of Canada have learned by bitter experience the folly of risking everything on one staple, and the precarious nature of the wheat market in consequence of the opening up of new grain-producing countries is likely to confirm this tendency towards a diversification of farm produce.

The report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission issued in 1881 contains some valuable information respecting the nature of the soil and agricultural capacity of the township. The general character of the soil is described as being of “all grades from drifting sand to heavy clay.” About two-tenths of the area is estimated to be of heavy clay, four-tenths of clay loam, three-tenths of sandy loam, and one tenth sand. A very small proportion of the land is gravelly. The rich black loam which is so fertile in sustaining luxuriant crops is only found in few localities. There is no land too stony or having rock too near the surface to be uncultivable, but about one-tenth of the total area is sufficiently hilly and broken to render tillage difficult or impossible. Two-thirds of the land is undulating, but not to a degree sufficient to interfere with cultivation. Not more than one-twentieth is low-lying, flat land such as would be subject from its location to frequent floodings which would seriously depreciate its value, and swamp land is still rarer, only about one acre in three hundred coming under this category. A still smaller proportion is classed as wet, springy land, which is not estimated to include more than two acres out of every thousand. One third of the total acreage is ranked as being first-class agricultural land, another third as second-class, one-sixth as third class and one-sixth as inferior. The township is described as being generally well watered, but the depth at which water is obtainable by digging varies from five to one hundred feet. The price of land rules from $40 to $80 per acre, but this of course in a township surrounding a great commercial centre is liable to be governed by other considerations than those of agricultural fitness, and the land in the immediate neighbourhood of Toronto has a speculative value owing to the rapid growth of the suburbs and the possibility of its being some day available for building purposes. One half the farms are under first-class fence. Two-thirds of the dwellings and outbuildings are of stone, brick or first-class frame. Half the farms are partially drained, principally by tile drainage. The proportion of the acreage devoted to the leading crops and the average yield per acre is given as follows:—Fall wheat, two-twentieths, twenty bushels; spring wheat, one-twentieth, fifteen bushels; barley, four-twentieths, twenty-eight bushels; oats, two-twentieths, thirty-five bushels; rye, one-eightieth, twenty bushels; peas, two-twentieths, twenty bushels; potatoes, one-fortieth, one hundred bushels; hay, four-twentieths, one and one half tons per acre. About one twentieth of the township is still timbered, a good deal of pine being mixed with the hardwood which forms the principal growth. The exact area is given at 64,399¾ acres, indicating a degree of precision and scrupulous avoidance of exaggeration that cannot be too highly commended. The total number of cleared acres is set down at 56,501, and the enumeration of live stock shows 3,370 cattle, 2,728 horses, 1,970 sheep and 1,520 hogs.

The first municipal record of the township relates to a meeting of the inhabitants held in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of the Provincial Legislature, passed in 1835, entitled, “An Act to reduce to one Act the several laws relative to the appointment and duty of the township officers in the Province.” This Act made several important changes in the methods of municipal government. The record is as follows:—“Monday, 4th January, 1836. In pursuance of the statute passed in the fifth year of the reign of His Majesty William IV., the inhabitants of the Township of York met at the house of William Cummers, when they unanimously appointed James Hervey Price, Esq., their chairman, who, in consequence of the unfitness of the house for a public meeting, adjourned to the tavern of Mr. John Marsh, on Yonge Street, when the chairman read over the Act, and the meeting proceeded by ballot to choose the township officers. David Gibson, Esq., was chosen secretary to the meeting.” The candidates for the office of township clerk were John Cummer, Elisha Pease, Joseph McMullin, and John Willson, 4th. On a vote being taken, John Willson, 4th, was declared duly elected. It may be necessary to explain to modern readers that the numeral affix to his name denotes that the wearer was the fourth in the line of descent bearing the same name. The practice still obtains in the New England States. A son who is his father’s namesake will sign himself “2nd,” instead of “junr.,” following the royal fashion. We commend this fact to those writers who are always endeavouring to prove that the Americans have still a sneaking affection for monarchical institutions. It would be just as relevant as many adduced with that object. But to return to the Township Council for 1836. The vote for councillors resulted in the return of James Davis, Daniel McDougall, and William Donaldson. James McMullin was chosen assessor. The following were then appointed by a show of hands:—Collector, Abraham Johnson; pathmasters, John Montgomery, William Kendrick, E. Pease, Robert Erwin, William Morse, John Beates, John James, Alexander Wallace, William Denison, Jacob Kertz, Richard Smith, Joseph Gale, Robert Harding, Henry Crosson, J. Griffith, John Duncan, Stephen Brunndage, Thomas Denison, George Cooper, Henry Phillips, Joseph Helliwell, George Thorn, William Milne, Alex. McCormick, James Cunningham, John Sanburn, Richard Willson, John Harris, David Cummer, Archibald Wright, Edward Brock, Henry Devenish, Richard Herron, Christopher Williams, Henry Earl, John Thompson, and Jonathan Ashbridge; poundkeepers, Thomas Maginn, Joseph Holby, John Montgomery, and Mr. Finch. The Treasurer’s account for the year comprised the following items:—Cash received of the District Treasurer for wild lands assessment, £3 11s. 9d.; cash received for fines and costs, £7 11s. 4d.; cash received in commutation of statute labour, £1 12s. 6d. Credit—Cash paid constable for services, £3 10s. 10d.; blank book for use of the township, 9s. 6d.; for paper, etc., 5s.; balance on hand, £8 10s. 2d. Economy was evidently the rule in municipal administration in those days. In 1837 the township meeting was held on January 2nd, at John Montgomery’s, destined shortly afterwards to be the scene of civil commotion and bloodshed. David Gibson officiated as chairman, Elisha Pease was chosen township clerk, Conrad Grau, Jacob Snider, and William Donaldson were elected members of the Council, Abraham Johnson, assessor, and William James, collector. In 1838 we find the electors meeting at Montgomery’s and adjourning to Anderson’s tavern, York Mills, where the following officials were duly chosen:—William Hamilton, town clerk; Peter Lawrence, assessor; Robert Harding, Alex. Montgomery, and William Marsh, commissioners; and William Evans, collector. In 1839 John Willson, 4th, was again elected town clerk, a position which he continued to hold from that time forth until his death, which occurred in 1866. He was succeeded by his son, Arthur Lawrence Willson, who has also had a long term of office. And here some details respecting the Willson family, who have been so long and intimately connected with the township, may appropriately be given. John Willson, 1st, was a native of Surrey, England. The maiden name of his wife, who belonged to the same locality, was Rebecca Thixton. In the year 1752 they emigrated to America, settling in New Jersey. In 1776 John Willson took the Loyalist side, and obtained a captaincy in the army, his son, also John Willson by name, entering the same service as a lieutenant. The property of the family was confiscated, and they joined the large number of U. E. Loyalists who sought refuge in New Brunswick. John Willson, 2nd, was married at this time, his wife being Sarah Sackman, a native of Wales. The family removed to Upper Canada at the time of Governor Simcoe’s arrival, some twenty-four other families of exiled Loyalists accompanying them on their long journey to the Western wilderness. After a short residence in the Niagara District they settled on Yonge Street. Capt. Willson had four sons, John (2nd), Stillwell, William, and Jonathan. The first of these was the grandfather of the first township clerk of York. His son, Arthur L. Willson, who held the office for about a dozen years, is the author of a Municipal Manual which has been found of practical value as a guide to those requiring a knowledge of municipal law.

In 1842 the records show the election of school commissioners, viz.:—Rev. James Harris, Bartholomew Bull, James Sever, Clark Bridgland, Charles Maginn, John Andrew and James Davis. Among the names most frequently recurring in the latest records in connection with the more important positions, we find those of William James, who was township reeve for the period 1852-60, William Tyrrell, who succeeded him in office, Bartholomew Bull, Jr., J. P. Bull, William Mulholland, William Jackes, E. Playter and R. E. Playter. The Playter family have taken a prominent part in the affairs of the township and county. They are of Loyalist stock. Their ancestor, Capt. George Playter, originally came from Suffolk, England. He settled in Philadelphia, where he married a Quakeress and became himself a member of that denomination. But his peace principles could not stand so powerful a strain as the outbreak of the war for Independence. It is recorded that when he stripped off the Quaker clothes which he wore, to put on his uniform as a loyalist soldier, he laid down the discarded apparel with the exclamation “Lie there Quaker!” and so went forth to do his part manfully in the struggle. He participated in several engagements, and when the patriots secured their Independence, he was of course among the proscribed. On first coming to Canada he resided in Kingston, but shortly after York had been selected as the capital, he moved to the township, and with his sons took up extensive tracts of land. The family did much to forward the progress of the community in various ways. His services to the Crown, during the war, received the recognition of a pension at the hands of the British Government. Capt. Playter was a gentleman of the old school. His precision of manner and old fashioned style in costume were a conspicuous survival of antique modes. He is described as habitually wearing a three-cornered hat, silver knee-buckles, broad-toed shoes with large buckles and white stockings, and carrying a long gold-headed cane. His house was a short distance beyond the limits of Toronto, being immediately north of Castle Frank. His son, Capt. John Playter, lived immediately across the Don. At the time of the American invasion in 1813, many of the archives of the Province were conveyed to their residences for safety, but the precaution was in vain, for the invaders found out where they had been placed and carried away all they could lay their hands on. One of the sons of Capt. George Playter, called after him, was, for some time, deputy sheriff of the Home District, and another Mr. Eli Playter at one time represented North York in the Provincial House.

The officials for the year 1884 are as follows:—Reeve, H. Duncan; Councillors, F. Turner, Joseph Watson, H. R. Frankland and Joseph Davids; being all Deputy Reeves in the order in which they are named. Clerk, J. K. Leslie; Treasurer, William Jackes. The township hall is situated in the village of Eglington, on Yonge Street, in immediate proximity to the site of the famous Montgomery tavern where Col. Moodie met his death in the outbreak of 1837. Eglington is about four miles from Toronto, and is a long straggling village of about 700 inhabitants. For many miles Yonge Street is thickly settled on both sides, so that that the numerous villages along the route are not so noticeable or distinctive in their character as where the population is more drawn to a centre. About half a mile from Eglington, to the south-west, the remains of an Indian village were discovered about twelve or fifteen years ago. The character of the relics unearthed, which were of the usual kind found about the sites of aboriginal settlements in this neighbourhood, indicated that it had been a populous village, and that it must have been a place of habitation for a long period.

Between Toronto and Eglington is the Village of Davisville, near which, on the eastern side of Yonge Street, is the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, which is beautifully situated and very tastefully laid out in accordance with the modern idea that the last resting-place of those we have loved and lost should be made attractive and cheerful in its surroundings, instead of sombre and repellant. Nearer Toronto, again, on the brow of the high land is Deer Park. There are a large number of handsome villa residences in these villages and the intervening spaces, most of them of quite recent construction. The land rises abruptly a short distance beyond the present limits of Toronto, and from the brow of the elevation a magnificent view of the surrounding country is obtainable. This lofty bluff which runs to the westward for some distance is known as the Davenport Ridge, and is some 250 to 300 feet above the Lake Ontario level. This ridge consists of fine rounded gravel, the beds of which all dip to the southward. Rounded lumps of fine clay are also of common occurrence among the gravel. Their presence is accounted for by supposing them to have been rolled, perhaps when in a frozen state, by the waves of the ancient lake. In a paper presented to the Geological Society of London, in 1837, Mr. Thomas Roy states the occurrence of thirteen ancient water margins between Toronto and Lake Simcoe, the lowest of which is 342 feet and the highest 996 feet above the sea level. The conclusion drawn from these investigations is that the country was at one time submerged, and that the waters have gradually, or perhaps by spasmodic changes, retired to their present level. Along the Davenport Ridge, which is beautifully wooded in parts, and affords a commanding view of the city and adjoining country, with the blue waters of the lake in the distance, are a large number of handsome suburban residences.

Seaton Village, a thriving and rapidly growing community, is situated immediately north of the city limits, about a mile west of Yonge Street. In this vicinity there are large deposits of clay suitable for the manufacture of white bricks, an industry which is extensively carried on in the environs of the city. This clay, which extends through a considerable area of the township, is bluish when moist, but ash-coloured in a dry state. It has a distinctly-jointed structure, and is sparingly interspersed with pebbles and boulders. Over the irregularly denuded surface of this horizontally stratified clay is spread a coating of yellow clay and sand, which conforms to the undulations of the surface soil. In one section the upper stratum of yellow clay, which holds pebbles and boulders and burns to red brick, is three feet in thickness; beneath, in two sections, are some five to nine feet of yellow sand interstratified with yellowish and bluish clay, both burning white. Under this there is a solid blue clay, which has been penetrated to the depth of sixty feet without apparent change. To the east of Toronto clays generally overlaid by sand continue through the southern section of the township.

West of the former limits of the city of Toronto, but hemmed in to the north and west by the outlying portion of the city, formerly the village of Brockton, is Parkdale, a recently built-up suburb, possessing a separate municipal organization. It is beautifully situated, overlooking the lake shore, and contains a number of handsome villa residences. Of late manufacturing enterprise has been developed, and the population is increasing rapidly. It numbered 1,170, according to the census of 1881, and its population must now be in the neighbourhood of 2,700. Mr. Hugh McMath is reeve of the village, G. S. Booth is deputy-reeve, and H. S. Langton clerk. The natural beauties of the scenery in the vicinity of the lake shore from this point westward to the Humber are greatly appreciated by residents of Toronto. Humber Bay, which is surrounded by shores wooded in portions down to the water’s edge, forms almost a semicircle, and on a bright, clear day the view is a most picturesque one. At the head of the Bay is situated High Park, one of Toronto’s most delightful pleasure resorts. It comprises some 290 acres, the principal portion of which is the gift of John G. Howard, whose name ought always to be held in grateful remembrance by the people of Toronto. Other wealthy men have endowed churches, colleges, and the like, but it is questionable whether any of them has an equal title to the gratitude and esteem of posterity as the donor of High Park, who has given what was much more urgently required—a breathing-space for a densely crowded and rapidly increasing population, deprived by the stupidity or venality of the municipal representatives of the larger portion of the Queen’s Park. An additional area of forty-five acres, retained by Mr. Howard for his own use, will be added to the Park on his death. From the lake front a large marsh runs north between the eastern and western sections of the Park. The high ground to the west rises in an abrupt, heavily-wooded slope from the marsh, like an unbroken wall of variegated verdure. A less precipitous incline on the eastern side of the marsh affords space for a shaded drive winding in and out among the trees—now along an open glade, now into the heart of some gloomy hollow, where the overhanging branches exclude the sunlight, and now on the crest of a ridge shaded by the interlacing foliage. The higher ground is reached by a succession of easy ascents, passing several partially wooded elevations, which add to the varied beauties of the charming landscape. To the northward lies an undulating grassy plain, dotted with shade trees, singly or in groups. In the northern portion of the enclosure are great stretches of natural park lands, where art has merely removed what was obstructive or unsightly, leaving the natural beauties undefaced. The western slope of the Park overlooks the Grenadier Pond, a pear-shaped sheet of water, the broadest portion of which is towards the lake. The opposite shore rises almost precipitously out of the water, and is well timbered. To the northward stretch away the rich uplands, laid out in tillage or orchard. Tradition traces the origin of the name to the drowning of a party of grenadiers in its waters during the war of 1812. It is alleged that when crossing the pond in the winter the ice gave way beneath them. The truth of the story, however, is not beyond peradventure. The pond is of unknown depth, and its edges marshy and overgrown with rank vegetation.

The Humber River lies about half a mile further west, forming the boundary between York and Etobicoke townships. It is also a favourite resort for excursionists and pleasure-seekers. Its banks present a variety of scenery, large areas of low lands and swamps overgrown with reeds alternating with steep wooded bluffs. There are stone quarries at intervals. The rocks, which crop out of the abruptly rising ground, are of the Hudson River formation, which consists of a series of bluish-grey argillaceous shale, enclosing bands of calcareous sandstone, sometimes approaching to a limestone, at irregular intervals, and of variable thickness. In some instances the bands are of a slaty structure, splitting into thin laminæ in the direction of the beds; in others they have a solid thickness of a foot, but in few cases do they maintain either character for any great distance. The sandstones while in the beds are hard and solid, and upon fracture exhibit a grey colour with much of the appearance of limestone, but by protracted exposure to the weather they turn to a darker brown, and ultimately crumble to decay. These sandstones generally abound in calcareous fossils, which in some places predominate, so as to give rise to beds of impure limestone, which are, however, rare. The slaty variety of the sandstones is well adapted for flagging, and by a careful selection some of the arenacious bands yield abundance of good building material, but the stone cannot be said to be generally adapted for the purpose. The banks of the Humber, as well as those of the Mimico, Etobicoke, and Don, for certain distances from the lake shore, expose sections exhibiting sixty feet or more of these strata, but advancing northward the formation becomes concealed by the great accumulation of drift, of which the interior of the country is composed. At Lambton, a village of some 400 population, about three miles up the Humber, partly situated in Etobicoke, the banks of the stream rise to a height of more than one hundred feet, of which from fifty to sixty feet are composed of the Hudson River shales and sandstone, while the upper part consists of sand and gravel.

About the close of the last century the old Indian trail along the margin of the lake was enlarged, so as to admit of the passage of vehicles, and became what is now known as the Lake Shore Road. A ferry was established at the mouth of the Humber, where passengers and wagons were taken across in a scow. In 1815 a Scotchman, named McLean, had charge of the ferry, and kept tavern in a building on the York side of the river. This was for some time the only house for the accommodation of travellers between Toronto and Hamilton. After McLean’s death his widow continued business at the hostelry for many years. In 1853 Mrs. Creighton was in charge of the tavern, but the building was destroyed when the Great Western was built. In 1838, Mr. Rowland Burr, one of the pioneers in mill construction in York County, erected a saw-mill on the York side of the Humber, not far from its mouth. The mill was shortly afterwards sold to Mr. William Gamble, who converted it into a barley-mill, and afterwards erected a bone-grinding mill immediately adjoining it. The property fell into the hands of the Bank of Upper Canada, from whom it was purchased, in 1864, by David and Joseph Atkinson. The mills were finally swept away by a spring freshet.

In 1801 a saw-mill and a grist-mill were erected at Lambton on the east side of the stream, north of the Dundas Road, by Mr. Thomas Cooper, an Englishman, who some years afterwards sold out the property to his son. About 1840 the property was purchased by Mr. William P. Howland, now Sir William, who took some of his brothers into partnership. Messrs. Peleg and Frederick Howland afterwards became sole proprietors, and in 1845 put up a new flour mill, five stories high, and with six run of stones, south of the Dundas Road, the old mills being pulled down. A saw-mill was erected by the Howlands in the same neighbourhood in 1844, which was some time afterwards leased by Edward and Alfred Musson, and turned into a brewery.

In 1846 a new saw-mill was built by Mr. Samuel Scarlet in York Township, about a mile above Lambton, but he abandoned it in a few years for a new site across the river, where greater water-power was obtainable. Further up the stream Mr. Joseph Dennis put up a saw-mill in 1844, which afterwards became the property of his son, Henry Dennis, who converted a portion of it into a flax-mill. James Williams had a carding and fulling mill a little distance above, which was destroyed by fire in 1865.

The Humber River used to be a famous stream for salmon fishing, but the erection of mills destroyed the fisheries at an early period. We find the following anecdote, illustrating the plentifulness of salmon at one time, in Smith’s “Canada,” which we insert to tantalize the modern follower of Isaac Walton, who sits patiently on the bank all day and comes home with an undersized rock bass and a couple of measly little perch. The legend runneth thus:—A party during the time the salmon were running came up the river in a skiff to spear fish. In drawing their boat ashore, as they intended to spear standing in the water, they inadvertently left it resting across a log lying on the beach. The salmon were plentiful, and they were able to spear them as fast as they could take them out of the water. As they caught them they threw them into the skiff, and excited with the sport took no heed of the way they were piling them up until a sudden crash arrested their attention, and they saw their skiff broken in two in the middle by the weight of the salmon pressing it down on the log.

About three miles above Lambton, on the Humber, and some eight and a half miles from Toronto, by the Grand Trunk Railway, is the Village of Weston, to which more extended reference is made elsewhere. Other villages in the western portion of the township are Carleton, about a mile and a half from Lambton, and six miles from Toronto by the Grand Trunk, Davenport, half a mile east of Carleton on the Northern Railway, and Fairbank, about a mile north of Davenport, and a short distance from the Northern Railway, on the road leading to Vaughan. From Davenport to the northern part of Toronto, lately the Village of Yorkville, runs the Davenport Road, winding in an irregular course at the foot of the Davenport Ridge, previously described. The neighborhood of Carleton and Davenport is a network of railways. A short distance south of Carleton the tracks of the Grand Trunk, Toronto Grey and Bruce and Credit Valley, which run alongside from Parkdale, begin to diverge, the Credit Valley taking a westerly direction parallel with the Dundas Road, until it reaches Lambton, when it deflects to the south-west, and the others running to the north-west. At this point of divergence the new Ontario and Quebec Railway makes its junction with the Credit Valley. This railway centre is known as West Toronto Junction. Here the railway yard for the accommodation of the through freight traffic of the Ontario and Quebec Railway is located, and it is expected that it will very shortly become an important and populous neighbourhood.

Reference has already been made to the most notable localities on Yonge Street as far northward as Eglington, and we will resume a detailed description of the local features of interest at that point. About Eglington the name of Snider is prevalent, the family being of old U. E. Loyalist stock, and originally of German ancestry. The name is the Anglicized form of the Teutonic “Schneider.” Martin Snider was one of the Loyalist refugees who emigrated to Nova Scotia. He afterwards settled on Yonge Street. One of his sons, Jacob Snider, was engaged as a volunteer under Gen. Brock in 1813. Another of the early settlers in this neighbourhood was Mr. Charles Moore, who was born in Ireland in the year 1793. He emigrated to the United States, but the strong anti-British sentiment then prevailing rendered his position uncomfortable, so he crossed over to Canada. After a few years spent in the Township of Nissouri, then an almost unbroken wilderness, he removed to Yonge Street and purchased a farm on the present site of the Village of Eglington. For many years he was one of the most prominent residents in this section. His death took place in 1867.

North of Eglington, and about six miles from Toronto, is the Village of York Mills, for long popularly known as Hogg’s Hollow, from James Hogg, who was at one time the owner of the flour mills in the valley. Here the western branch of the Don is crossed by a bridge. The banks of the river are very steep, but in places the ascent is broken by intervening level land. On one of these flats half-way down the bluff Mr. Hogg erected at an early period a Presbyterian place of worship. He was a man of strong individuality, and took a prominent part in political affairs. Once, incensed at a newspaper criticism of his conduct, he sent a challenge to mortal combat in due form to Mr. Gurnett, editor of the Courier. The meeting, however, did not take place. His death occurred in 1839. The second Episcopal Church in York was erected at York Mills in the fall of 1816. It was an oblong frame building, erected by the united liberality of the people of the neighbourhood, Messrs. Seneca Ketchum and Joseph Shepherd being among the chief promotors; the first named contributing largely of his means and time, the latter giving three acres of land for the site of church and for burial ground. The corner-stone was laid in the presence of a large number of spectators by Lieut.-Governor Gore and the Rev. Dr. Strachan, the missionary for York, in a manner in keeping with the infant state of the parish. A hole was dug, and a bottle containing a medal and a halfpenny was placed in it, a rude and unpolished stone was used to cover it. The missionary preached to the people, who had seated themselves on boards and timbers collected near the site. In 1842 it was decided to erect a more commodious church, 40 x 60, in plain and simple style of construction. On Tuesday, May 30, 1843, the foundation stone was laid. Although a very wet and inclement day, a large congregation assembled in the old church. At noon, Bishop Strachan, the former missionary, took his place within the church. The Rev. A. Sanson read the prayers, the Rev. Dr. Beaven, Professor of Divinity in the University of King’s College, preached from Psalm cxviii. 22, 23, 24 verses. The Bishop afterwards administered the apostolic rite of confirmation to the Reverends A. Townley and A. Sanson, also to Messrs. Leach and Richie, formerly Presbyterian ministers, but then candidates for holy orders in the Church of England. After these services the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the new church was proceeded with. The Rev. H. J. Grasett, the Bishop’s chaplain, read the appointed prayers, after which the following, inscribed on a roll of parchment, was read by Rev. A. Sanson, the minister of the parish:—“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, amen, this corner-stone of St. John’s Church, Yorkville, County of York, Home District, was laid on the thirtieth day of May, 1843, in the sixth year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, by the Honourable and Right Reverend John Strachan, D.D., LL.D., Lord Bishop of the Diocese, Rev. A. Sanson being minister of the congregation, etc., etc.” This document together with the latest number of The Church Journal, a programme of the ceremony, an English shilling, sixpence and fourpenny piece; a penny and halfpenny of the Montreal bank, a halfpenny of King George III., and three silver medals were placed in a bottle which the architect sealed and deposited in a cavity of the stone. One of the medals had been dug up in a good state of preservation from beneath the south-east angle of the old church and bore on one side this inscription:—


     Lieutenant-Governor 1816.”

on the other “56th of George III.” The following inscription was added: “Removed from the old church near this, 30th May, 1843.” The church was opened for divine service in the fall of 1843. The large folio Bible and Prayer-book used in the old church is still in use in St. John’s Church, Yorkville, on the fly-leaf of each is the following:—“Presented by the Chief Justice Powell to the Second Episcopal Church in York.”

The present rector of St. John’s Church, Rev. H. B. Osler, was ordained and appointed missionary to Lloydtown, Township of King, Albion and parts adjacent, in October 29th, 1843, and held the appointment until removed to York Mills in May, 1874. For many years he held regular services on Sundays and week days in King and Albion, with occasional ones in the Townships of Adjala, Mulmur, Mono, Caledon, Chinguacousy, and Vaughan. He was born and educated at Falmouth, Cornwall, England, came to Canada in 1841; read for holy orders with Rev. F. L. Osler, at Tecumseth; was ordained October, 1843; received the appointment of Honorary Canon of St. James’ Cathedral in 1867 from Bishop Strachan. He was appointed Rector of St. John’s, York Mills, May, 1874, and Rural Dean of west and north York in 1875, by Right Rev. A. Bethune, D.D., second Bishop of Toronto. Owing to the steepness of the valley at York Mills, Yonge Street formerly made a considerable detour to the east. It now crosses the hollow in a bee line on a raised embankment constructed about the year 1835.

About a mile north of York Mills is the Village of Lansing, and a little further on is Willowdale. Here stood the residence of David Gibson, one of the leaders of the insurrection of 1837, which was burned by the militia, acting under the order of Sir Francis B. Head, after the defeat of the insurgents. Mr. Gibson was a surveyor and farmer, and at one time represented North York in the Provincial Parliament. After the rebellion he became a superintendent of Colonization Roads. His death occurred at Quebec in 1864. A short distance to the eastward from Willowdale is a noted camp meeting ground, on the lot formerly owned by Jacob Cummer, one of the early German pioneers. It was in the midst of a thick maple bush, and witnessed many characteristic scenes. Peter Jones, the celebrated Indian missionary, furnished in his autobiography the following description of one of the old-time religious gatherings held at this spot. Writing under date of the 10th of June, 1828, he says: “About noon I started for the camp ground; when we arrived we found about three hundred Indians collected from Lake Simcoe and Scugog Lake. Most of those from Lake Simcoe have just come in from the back lakes, to join with their converted brethren in the service of the Almighty God. They came in company with brother Law, and all seemed very glad to see us, giving us a hearty shake of the hand. The camp ground enclosed about two acres, which was surrounded with board tents, having one large gate for teams to go in and out and three smaller ones. The Indians occupied one large tent, which was 220 feet long and 15 feet broad. It was covered overhead with boards, and the sides were made tight with laths to make it secure from any encroachments. It had four doors fronting the camp ground. In this long house the Indians arranged themselves in families as is their custom in their wigwams. Divine service commenced towards evening. Elder Case first gave directions as to the order to be observed on the camp ground during the meeting. Brother James Richardson then preached from Acts II. 21., after which I gave the substance in Indian, when the brethren appeared much affected and interested. Prayer-meeting in the evening. The watch kept the place illuminated during the night.”

A mile or so north of Willowdale, and about the same distance south of the township line, is the little village of Newton Brook. The villages of East York are mostly of a suburban character, situated to the front of the township, within easy access of Toronto. The city now extends along the lake front eastward as far as the township line south of the Kingston Road. North of that thoroughfare, a short distance east of the present city limits, is the village of Leslieville, which took its name from Mr. George Leslie, one of the early inhabitants. The nursery of fruit trees established by him is the most notable feature of the locality. The Woodbine Driving Park is a little further on, on the south side of the Kingston Road. At this point, about two miles east of the Don River, the Kingston Road takes a north-easterly turn, leading to the Village of Norway. A short distance to the north-east of this is the new railway suburb of Little York, where the Grand Trunk Railway has constructed a large freight yard. The amount of railway business transacted at this point renders it probable that the population will increase rapidly, as a number of the employés have their homes here.

The villages of Doncaster and Todmorden lie within a short distance of each other on the east bank of the Don; the former being about half a mile lower down. The scenery of the Don, in this neighbourhood and for miles further up, is extremely picturesque. The Don winds through a broad valley, the bottom lands immediately adjoining the river, which are usually flooded in the spring time, yielding rich pasturage. The banks, which are thickly wooded, rise abruptly, sometimes from the water, but more often at a considerable distance. They are broken by ravines, where tributary streams unite their waters with the Don, and occasionally these bluffs enclose a wide space, giving an amphitheatre-like effect. The river pursues a serpentine course, but the general direction in ascending it is northward for about four miles, when it takes a turn to the east, the same characteristics being observable. About two miles above Todmorden is the Forks of the Don, where the river divides into three branches, the eastern, middle, and western streams. It is the western Don that crosses Yonge Street at York Mills. The neighbourhood of the Forks, where there is a small village, abounds in romantic scenery. Owing to the hilly and broken character of the land this section is not thickly settled, and much of it, especially along the water courses, remains heavily timbered. The wildness and beauty of the ravines, glens, and stretches of woodland, present attractions for the lover of nature not readily surpassed in this part of Canada.

The water-power in this neighbourhood was formerly utilized for milling and manufacturing purposes to a much greater extent than at present. On the east branch of the Don, or Scarborough Creek, as it is best known, there were at an early period three saw-mills, one built by William Hough, one by a man named Dark, and the other, further up the stream, by John Heron. These mills are all gone, leaving hardly a vestige of where they stood. A German, named Knotthardt, also erected a carding-mill on this stream, which has long since disappeared. The volume of the stream, once considerable, has greatly diminished, owing to the clearing of the country, and it is no longer available for milling uses. In the year 1817, Alexander Milna built a large mill, three stories in height, driven by an overshot wheel, eighteen feet in diameter, upon a creek tributary to the west branch of the Don. The two lower stories of the mill were used for carding and fulling, and the third story was a saw-mill. The water-power was shortly afterwards found to be insufficient, and Mr. Milna abandoned this location for a better one on the main branch of the Don, where a woollen factory and saw-mill were put up. Here an extensive new brick building was erected in 1879-80, by Alexander William Milna, a descendant of the original owner of the property. The old carding machine, used by Alexander Milna in the first mill, is preserved as an heirloom. The next saw-mill above Milna’s was at one time the property of John Hogg. It began operations about 1829, and was run for fifteen or twenty years. Above this site is William Gray’s grist-mill, with two run of stones, and Alexander Gray’s saw-mill. In the same neighbourhood there was formerly a distillery, owned and operated by James Gray. A saw-mill was built a little further up by Mr. Knotthardt, who committed suicide in 1840, the mill afterwards falling into the hands of James Hunter. It was rebuilt, a short distance further down stream, by J. Hunter & Sons, and in 1878 was destroyed by a flood. The firm has since erected a steam mill. Farther up, again, stood Stilwell Wilson’s mill, which was swept away by a flood caused by the bursting of a water-spout, about 1828. The property afterwards passed into the hands of Thomas Sheppard, who ran a grist-mill here for some time, until it was burned in 1869. Above this was a saw-mill constructed by Philip Phillips, and then a saw-mill and woollen-mill built and run by Mr. Cummer. His successors in the woollen manufacturing business were Mr. McIntosh and James L. Vroom, operations being discontinued about 1857. Cupper’s grist-mill came next. It was situated near the point where the German Mill Creek empties into the Don. A saw-mill was built on this creek by Mr. Davidson, and afterwards came into the possession of John Sellers, who ran it until about 1870. Further up the main Don was a saw-mill formerly belonging to Samuel Hamil, which was worked until about twenty years ago. The last mill on the stream, east of Yonge Street, is Brunskill’s grist-mill. A log grist-mill, built by W. Walker, stands just on the west side of the street.

On the lower Don, between the Forks and the city, are situated Taylor’s paper mills, one near Todmorden and the other a mile or so further up.

At an early period, the boats of the North-West Company en route to Lake Huron used to make their way up the western Don as far as Yonge Street, at the present locality of York Mills, where they were taken out of the water and carried on trucks to the Holland River. On the banks of the Don, fresh water shells have been found beneath a considerable thickness of sand, thirty feet above the lake level—which, in connection with other indications, are taken as evidence that the entire region has, at one time, been submerged. The Don and its tributaries are crossed in several places by the substantial bridges of the recently constructed Ontario and Quebec Railway which, skirting the northern limit of Toronto, strikes across the township in a north-easterly direction.

The Village of L’Amaroux is situated in the northern part of the township, near the Scarborough line. It is about nine miles from Toronto.

There are in all twenty-five public schools situated within the limits of the Township of York, all of which are under the jurisdiction of Mr. Hodgson, who has already been referred to as the Inspector of Public Schools for the South Riding. The most important of them are located as follows: No. 1, at Davisville, a short distance north of Mount Pleasant Cemetery; No. 2, at Eglington; No. 3, at York Mills; No. 4, at Willowdale; No. 5, at Newton Brook, near the northern outskirts of the township; No. 7, at Doncaster; No. 8, at Wexford, on the town-line between York and Scarborough; No. 9, near Don Post Office; No. 12, at L’Amaroux; No. 13, at Davenport; No. 14, on the second concession; No. 15, at Fairbanks; No. 16, between the second and third concessions, near Mr. Duncan’s; No. 17, at Down’s View, in the fourth concession; No. 18, on the fourth concession, but farther north than No. 17, and near Elia Post Office; No. 19, beyond Weston, near Emery Post Office; No. 20, at Norway; No. 21, at Weston; No. 25, at Seaton Village.


ETOBICOKE Township, situated at the south-west corner of the county, is irregular in shape, and laid out in a fragmentary and unsystematic fashion. It fronts on Lake Ontario, having the Humber river as its eastern boundary. Its western limit is Etobicoke Creek and the Gore of Toronto in Peel County, and to the north lies the Township of Vaughan. It comprises 29,540 acres, being, with the exception of North Gwillimbury, the smallest township in the county. The northern portion, comprising about two-thirds, is laid out in concessions running north and south, the three western concessions being numbered, and the eastern ones known as A, B, and C. The southern portion is broken up into smaller rows of concessions, some numbered from west to east, and others running north and south, in a very confusing manner.

The etymology of the name Etobicoke is uncertain. It is usually supposed to be Indian, but on the earliest documents it appears as “Toby Cook.” In the Crown Lands Department there is preserved a map dated Newark, 1793, by Abraham Iredell, Assistant Deputy Surveyor, upon which has been written the following memorandum:—“The river Toby Cook is a rapid stream of water. The land in the bottom good, but much cut to pieces with the high water. On the rear boundary line from the river Toby Cook to the large stream of water on lot 15, the land is very good. From the stream to the north angle is a burr and pine plain; from thence to the said stream, from the stream to lot No. 9, burnt land, but tolerable good; from thence to the lake, good. The land west of the 100 acre lots on the line No. 16, W. is good to lot No. 7, but low land to No. 13, the other lots good.” “Toby Cook” appears to have been the customary spelling during the early days of settlement, as it is seen on several other maps, but in 1811 the name was given as it is now spelled, on an official plan, and since that time “Etobicoke” has been the recognized etymology. As no such person as Toby Cook is known either to history or tradition in connection with the locality, it is altogether probable that the first surveyors or settlers caught the Indian pronunciation imperfectly, and rendered it by this homely appellation as a matter of convenience, the true derivation being obscured by the spelling. The first settlement of the township took place about the beginning of the century. In 1795 the “militia lands” were laid out by Surveyor Iredell. Part of the boundary was marked out in 1797 by Mr. Augustus Jones. The following year a surveyor named Hambly undertook the work of survey, which was continued at various intervals by Messrs. Wilmot, Ridout, Hawkins and Castle, the latter completing the laying out of the township in the year 1838.

The earliest settlers of Etobicoke were the U. E. Loyalist refugees, who sought to build up homes in the wilderness, whose strong arms and stout hearts subdued the forest and dared the perils of an unknown and savage land. All honour to their memory! Those were indeed “the times that tried men’s souls.” Their descendants of to-day, in the midst of comfort and plenty, surrounded by the blessings of civilization, can hardly even picture to the imagination the rough and rude beginnings of our national greatness, the unbroken forest north of the great lakes, the arrival of the few travel-worn bands of emigrants whom the result of the revolutionary struggle had reft of home and possessions, often of their nearest and dearest. Old men, whom cruel war had robbed of the sons whom they fondly hoped would be the stay of their declining years, widows and orphans, youths barely grown to manhood, pushed out to battle with the perils and vicissitudes of an unknown region, together with those in the prime and vigour of maturer years, survivors of many a hard-fought field, who had laid down the sword or musket to assume the implements of peaceful industry and carve out homes and build up fortunes for themselves in the Canadian wilds. Such were the original elements of our flourishing and prosperous community.

I hear the tread of pioneers

   Of nations yet to be;

The first low wash of waves where soon

   Shall roll a human sea.

They halt where the land seems richest and the position most favourable, and the forest echoes are awakened with three ringing cheers for King George. Then follows the bivouac around the camp fire, and the next day the woods ring to the unaccustomed sound of the axe, and many a tall tree topples to the ground with a resounding crash, letting the sun stream down on the thick underbrush through the ever-widening rifts in the canopy of green. Rude log-huts are built with chimneys of unhewn stone without plaster, and a single aperture to serve for door and window. The first crop is sown on the narrow clearing, thickly studded with stumps, and bounded on all sides by the straight grey columns of the tree trunks, charred by the burning of the brush heaps. Winter comes, and the pitiless storm drifts the snow in between the chinks of the logs, and the howl of the wolves is heard at nights. There is scant store of provisions, and the skill of the hunter must supplement the shortness of the crop. There is sickness, and accident, and death. Ofttimes the settler is crushed and mangled by falling timber or prostrated by fever, and the medical appliances are of the rudest. And so the stern contest with nature goes on until the clearings widen and the forest retreats, until glimpses of the smoke rising from adjoining cabins bring a sense of neighbourhood and closer association. The old Indian trail through the bush is widened into a wagon track. New waves of population follow. The original log cabins give place to larger and more commodious structures. The itinerant preacher comes along, and his visit is hailed with joy as a harbinger of gospel privileges of which the settlers have so long been deprived. He marries half a dozen waiting couples who have delayed their union for perhaps years until such an opportunity should present itself, and admits to the visible Church on earth as many young native Canadians, the first-born of the settlement. It is a great day when a small church of logs is erected, and a settled minister secured. And so here and there population crystallizes around centres, the embryo towns and villages, and the first struggles and perils and inconveniences of the pioneers are over. These struggles, these hardships of which we, their descendants or successors, reap the benefit in such ample measure, should never be forgotten by Canadians.

One of the earliest grantees in Etobicoke was Colonel Smith, of the Queen’s Rangers, who received a large tract of land which now forms the 4th and 5th concessions of the southern portion of the township. Colonel Smith was for some time President of the Province of Upper Canada. Gourlay, in his “Statistical Account of Upper Canada,” thus speaks of Colonel Smith’s homestead on the Lake shore, in the neighbourhood of the River Etobicoke:—“I shall describe the residence and neighbourhood of the President of Upper Canada from remembrance, journeying past it on my way to York from the westward by what is called the Lake Road, through Etobicoke. For many miles not a house had appeared, when I came to that of Col. Smith, lonely and desolate. It had once been genteel and comfortable, but was now going to decay. A vista had been opened through the woods towards Lake Ontario; but the riotous and dangling undergrowth seemed threatening to retake possession from the Colonel of all that had once been cleared, which was of narrow compass. How could a solitary half-pay officer help himself settled down upon a block of land whose very extent barred out the assistance and convenience of neighbours? Not a living thing was to be seen around. How different it might be, thought I, were a hundred industrious families compactly settled here out of the redundant population of England.” The writer continues to narrate how he lost his way in the woods, owing to the disappearance of the road a short distance beyond the President’s house, in a bank of gravel thrown up at the mouth of the Etobicoke. He gave his horse the rein, and let him take his own way. “Abundant time,” he says, “was afforded for reflection on the wretched state of property flung away on half-pay officers. Here was the head man of the Province ‘born to blush unseen,’ without even a tolerable bridle way between him and the capital city, after more than twenty years’ possession of his domain. The very gravel bed which caused me such turmoil might have made a turnpike, but what can be done by a single hand? The President could do little with the axe or wheelbarrow himself, and half-pay could employ but few labourers at 3s. 6d. per day, with victuals and drink.”

Colonel Smith, however, showed a good deal of public spirit in some directions. He did something towards improving the breed of horses, spending considerable amounts in the importation of blood stock from the United States.

Among the original patentees of Etobicoke were the following, their patents bearing date in the respective years indicated:—

1798—Sergeant Patrick Mealy.

1799—Thomas Tivy, Joseph Hunt, James Hunt.

1800—James Crawford, Thomas Moseley.

1801—Francis Bark, Barnabas McGrevie, George Bender, Abraham Cameron, Christian Chisholm, Adam Baker, Jr., William Hooten, Francis Stevenson, John Doggert, Leah T. Gamble, William Clarke, Ann Christie, Catherine Magdalen Gamble, Eliza Christie, William Calder.

1802—Hon. Robert Hamilton, John Gamble, Richard Wilson, S. Stevenson, A. Brigham, B. William.

1803—Isaac Pilkington, Samuel Giles, Alexander Thomson, Michael Miller, Dan Laughlin.

1804—Robert Gray, George McDonald, John Berry, Daniel Stewart, J. Doggert.

1805—Isaac Mitchell.

1806—Robert Richardson, John Gould, John Claus, Samuel Smith, John Thorn.

1807—Andrew Morrow, Gerhard Himck, Thomas B. Gough, Moses Dewar, Dorothy Arnold.

1809—Eleonora Moore, Elizabeth Moore, L. Stevenson.

1810—Simcoe Stevenson, Elizabeth Stevenson, Eleonora Stevenson, Harriet Hainer.

1811—William Halton, Robert Gray.

1815—Sarah Powell, T. H. Stevenson.

1817—Christopher Widmer.

Among others who also received patents at an early date in the history of the township were John Campbell, Caleb Humphrey, Edward Heazzel, John Vanzantee, Esther Burden Davison, Joseph Shaw, George Gowland and Thomas Whitaker. The Canada Company, King’s College and Christ Church, also obtained extensive grants.

No records of the township meetings prior to 1850 have been preserved. At the first meeting in that year, the township was divided into five wards. The following were elected members of the Council by the meeting:—Moses Appleby, Thomas Fisher, William Gamble, William B. Wadsworth and John Geddes. At a subsequent meeting held on the 21st January, the Council was organized by the election of William Gamble as Reeve, and William B. Wadsworth as Deputy-Reeve. Edward Musson was afterwards chosen Township Clerk. A report presented to the Council by Mr. Thomas J. Hodgkin, Superintendent of Common Schools, shows that at this date there were eight school sections in the township, in seven of which schools were established. The report complains of defective school requisites. The number of scholars on the roll between the ages of five and sixteen years was 333, besides ten above school age, two-thirds of the whole number being boys. Only one of the schools was free. Of the scholars, 214 could write, 13 were studying French and 8 taking Latin lessons. The expenditure of the year was as follows:—For bridges, £98. 11s. 4½d.; printing and stationery, £21. 1s. 3½d.; school assessments, £179; contingencies, £20. 13s. 7d.; salaries, £75. 6s. 1½d.; school funds, £89. 0s. 9d.; cash in hand, £179. 15s. 8½d.

In 1851, the Council consisted of Moses Appleby, Alex. McFarlane, Andrew Ward, Joseph Smith and John Geddes. Joseph Smith was elected Reeve, Andrew Ward, Deputy-Reeve, and John R. Bagnell, Clerk and Treasurer. Mr. Smith retained the Reeveship till 1855, in which year he was succeeded by Alexander McFarlane, who in 1858 gave place to Edward Musson. The latter occupied the position continuously for seven years until 1864. W. A. Wallis and Matthew Canning are among those who have since held the Reeveship. Andrew Ward first chosen Deputy-Reeve in 1851, retained that office for five years, William M. Ross succeeding him in 1856, and giving place to W. A. Wallis two years later. Since then the Deputy-Reeveship has been filled by W. B. Wadsworth, Matthew Canning, W. Taylor, P. Wardlaw, E. C. Fisher, Jonathan Orth, Robert Willcock, and others. In 1855, Joseph Dawson was chosen Township Clerk and Treasurer, being succeeded by William R. Scott in 1861, who held the office for three years. In 1864, Alexander McPherson was appointed and has filled the position ever since. The following are the principal municipal officials for 1884: Matthew Canning, Islington, Reeve, J. D. Evans, Islington, Deputy-Reeve; Daniel F. Homer, Mimico, James Kellam, Highfield, and James A. Young, Weston, Councillors; Adam F. Mather, Islington and John F. Hill, Weston, Assessors.

The soil of Etobicoke consists of heavy clay, and clay loam, in the northern section, and sandy loam and sand in the southern division, black loam being distributed over the township. About 25 per cent. of the area is heavy clay, eight inches deep, with an argillaceous subsoil. About equal proportions consist respectively of clay loam, eleven inches in depth, and sandy loam of the depth of one foot, with a clayey subsoil in both cases. Perhaps 10 per cent. is sand, and varying in depth, and 15 per cent. black loam, two feet or so above a stratum of sand and clay. None is too stony to interfere with remunerative cultivation, and only about 1 per cent. objectionably hilly in character. Ten per cent. is rolling land, and the low flat land is not more than 2 per cent. of the total area. An unusual proportion of the acreage of this township can be classified as first-class land, four-fifths being of this quality; 19 per cent. is of second-class quality, and only 1 per cent., third-class. The average price it will bring in the market for agricultural purposes is $80 per acre for first-class, and $60 for second-class land. The township is well watered, and where the springs and creeks do not furnish a supply, water can be reached by digging at a depth varying from 10 to 40 feet. Many of the farms are fenced in first-class style, rail and board fences being the kinds most generally adopted. Three-fourths of the dwellings and the outbuildings of the farms are constructed of brick or stone, or rank as first-class frame buildings. Drainage is not practised to any considerable extent, only 3 per cent. of the farms being drained. Artificial fertilizers are in use upon about one-tenth of the farms, plaster, salt and superphosphate being the kinds generally employed.

The proportion of land devoted to the staple crops is as follows: Fall wheat, 15 per cent.; spring wheat, 5 per cent.; barley, 20 per cent.; oats, 10 per cent.; peas, 5 per cent.; potatoes, 3 per cent.; turnips, 1 per cent.; other root crops, 1 per cent., and hay 15 per cent. Twenty-two per cent. is pasture land, which is a larger proportion than in any other township in the county, and 3 per cent. devoted to fruit raising. The following is the average yield per acre:—Fall wheat, 20 bushels; spring wheat, 15 bushels; barley, 30 bushels; oats, 40 bushels; peas, 20 bushels; potatoes, 100 bushels; turnips, 300 bushels; other root crops, 500 bushels; hay, a ton and a-half. A large proportion of the land is still timbered; the woods consisting mainly of beech, maple, elm, basswood, and pine. There are three flouring mills in the township. In 1881, the number of cattle was, 1887; of horses, 1257; of sheep, 1277; and of hogs, 826. A good deal of imported stock has been introduced. The breeds of stock most extensively raised are draught horses, Durham grade, Devon cattle, sheep of the Cotswold and Leicester breeds, and Suffolk and Berkshire hogs.

In 1850, the population of the township was 2,904—it contained five grist and seven saw mills, and the crop returns for the previous year were: 82,000 bushels of wheat, 16,000 bushels of barley, 41,000 bushels of oats, 20,000 bushels of peas, 25,000 bushels of potatoes, 11,000 pounds of wool, 4,000 pounds of cheese, and 24,000 pounds of butter. Since that time, the population has been almost stationary. In 1871, the inhabitants numbered 2,985, and the census of 1881 gives the number at 2,976. Of this number, 2,137 were native Canadians. The number of occupiers of land was 425, of whom 254 were the owners of the soil. The total area occupied amounted to 28,527 acres, of which 24,801 was improved land. The area in cultivation for field crops included 19,435 acres—4,319 acres were devoted to pasturage, and 1,047 to gardens and orchards.

The staple agricultural products were returned as follows:—Wheat, 58,245 bushels; barley, 90,305 bushels; oats, 104,791 bushels; peas and beans, 15,766 bushels; potatoes, 92,905 bushels; turnips, 50,000 bushels; other root crops, 41,705 bushels; hay, 5,394 tons.

A saw-mill was constructed by the Government about the year 1795 on the Etobicoke side of the Humber, about two miles and a-half from the lake. The work was done by a mill-wright named Nicholas Miller, who was brought from New York State for the purpose. The mill, which was built partly of logs and partly of boards, was run successfully by parties named Jillson, Cushman, and Stile Stephenson, who either rented it or were employed by the Government, it is not certain which. About 1820 the mill and twelve hundred acres of land were leased to Mr. Thomas Fisher at a low rent, but he soon afterwards gave up the greater portion of the land. The mill was purchased by Mr. William Gamble in 1835, and the year following he erected on the site a five-story stone flour-mill with six run of stones. The supplies for the mill were carried up from the mouth of the river in barges, and the flour shipped in the same way. Mr. Gamble afterwards built a wharf and storehouse near the entrance of the Humber.

In 1835, a four-story flour-mill was erected by Mr. Fisher on the Etobicoke side of the present village of Lambton. It was partly stone and partly frame, and was burned down in 1843. It was, however, rebuilt the following year, and leased to the Howland brothers. The dam was washed away by a flood in 1878. In 1880 the property was purchased by George Smith, who made extensive additions, and fitted up the mill for the woollen manufacture. Near this point a carding and fulling mill was constructed in 1820, which underwent several changes in proprietorship as well as in the uses to which it was put. Mr. James Williams was the owner about 1867, since which time it has not been in operation. About a mile above Lambton a saw-mill was erected by Samuel Scarlet, in 1854. It was destroyed by fire six years later, but soon rebuilt. The property was purchased by George Stonehouse in 1875. Half a mile or so higher up stream John Scarlet, father of Samuel Scarlet, put up a saw-mill, in 1831, and also partly constructed two flour-mills in the immediate neighbourhood. The saw-mill and a quantity of adjacent land passed to his son Edward, and in 1871 the mill became the property of Mr. Matthew Canning.

Market gardening is carried on to a considerable extent in the south-eastern portion of the township, the markets of Toronto affording a ready sale for vegetables and fruit. There are excellent railway facilities, especially in the southern portion of the township. The Great Western branch of the Grand Trunk runs within a short distance of the lake, east and west. It has a station near the Village of Mimico, a pleasure resort about a mile and a half west from the Humber, where many of the Torontonians have summer residences. The spot is a favourite one for picnics and excursion parties. At this point the Mimico River enters the lake, and the beauties of the scenery along its banks and in the neighbourhood of the lake shore are greatly appreciated by pleasure-seekers.

The Credit Valley Railway strikes the township at Lambton, about two miles north of the Great Western branch, and traverses it in a south-westerly direction, parallel for most of the distance with the Dundas Road. About a mile from Lambton, on the Dundas Road, is the Village of Islington, where the agricultural exhibitions of the township are held. Two miles further west, partly in Etobicoke and partly in the adjoining Township of Toronto, in Peel County, is the Village of Summerville.

The main line of the Grand Trunk runs west from Weston. The Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway runs northward from the latter point to within about a mile from the northern boundary of the township, when it deflects to the north-west. The principal villages in the northern portion of the township are Clairville, in the extreme north-western angle; Smithfield, about two miles to the south-east; and Thistletown, a mile and a-half further in the same direction. These are all connected by a road running from Weston northward for a mile or so, and then crossing the Humber and running north-west to Clairville. Highfield is situated about a mile from the western boundary, and a short distance north of the Grand Trunk main line.

There are, in all, ten public schools within the limits of the Township of Etobicoke. Their respective situations are shown by the following table:—

No. of School Section.Teacher.P. O. Address.
1John G. RobertsMimico.
2T. E. KaiserSummerville.
3J. B. KaiserLambton Mills.
4R. E. CastinIslington.
5Albert WillsonWeston.
6L. M. StanetteHighfield.
7J. C. ClarkThistleton.
8Richard Lewis, jun’rIslington.
9John F. CampbellHumber.
10John F. EllerbyThistleton.


SCARBOROUGH Township is situated at the south-eastern corner of the county. It comprises nine concessions, of which, however, only five extend to the eastern limit of the county, the rest being broken by the water front, which slopes inwards from the western side-line. The broken concessions are known as A, B, C and D, the remaining ones being numbered. The front of the township was surveyed in 1791 by Mr. Augustus Jones, the name then given it being “Glasgow.” It is bounded on the north by the Township of Markham, on the south by Lake Ontario, on the east by Pickering, in the adjoining County of Ontario, and on the west by York. The concession lines were not run until the year 1833, when the laying out of the township was continued by Mr. Galbraith, P.L.S. In 1850 the western boundary was fixed by Messrs. William Smith and John Shier, Provincial Land Surveyors, and in 1854 the eastern limit was established by Mr. John Shier, P.L.S. The Boundary Line Commissioners fixed the northern limits of the townships. There are many irregularities in the laying out of this township, owing to the surveys having been made by different parties at long intervals, whereby some of the original landmarks were destroyed or lost sight of. Mr. F. F. Passmore, P.L.S., in 1864 presented a report to the Township Council in connection with a map of a re-survey, in which he stated that there were at that time, exclusive of the exterior road between the township and its neighbours, 126 side-roads, many of them well opened up and travelled. The soil of the southern portion of Scarborough is light and sandy, as indicated by the considerable quantity of pine timber intermixed with the hardwood growths. In the central and northern sections the soil is heavier and better adapted for agriculture, the timber being nearly all hardwood. The township is abundantly watered, and the land is generally undulating, excepting in the neighbourhood of Highland Creek and the River Rouge, the banks of which are steep and rugged. In the southern part of the township there are extensive beds of clay, suitable for brick-making purposes, generally overlaid by sand several feet in depth. The geological characteristics of the township are not of much interest, presenting but little variety. Two springs on the 16th lot of the 4th concession have a local reputation for their mineral properties. Their waters give, by boiling, a small amount of earthy carbonate, but even when evaporated to one-tenth they have no marked taste. They contain, in addition, only sulphate of lime with traces of chloride. Sandstone of the Hudson River formation is met with along the banks of the streams near the lake shore.

Traces of the large aboriginal population which occupied the western portion of this township, but disappeared before the advent of the white settlers, are frequently discovered. Their principal settlement appears to have been near the mouth of the River Rouge, where the site of what was once a considerable Indian village was indicated by the remains of the logs which formed a wooden palisade surrounding their habitations. Here have been discovered from time to time a variety of Indian relics, which, in the opinion of scientists, show a continuous residence on the spot for at least a century. Some have all the characteristics of the stone age, and mixed with the rude weapons and implements of “native industry” are those of copper and iron, and also glass beads, which were probably obtained by intercourse with the early French voyageurs and traders. These relics of a vanished race were found intermixed with ashes and charcoal. A few yards from the site of the village a number of graves containing aboriginal remains were discovered.

In the immediate proximity of this site, and near the present villages of Greenvale and Claremont, in the adjoining Township of Pickering, other Indian relics have been found in considerable quantity, showing that aboriginal villages once existed in those localities. At the site near Claremont, a large Indian burying-ground was found. These ancient settlements were connected with the one in Scarborough, and all are believed to have belonged to the once powerful Huron nation.

The first patents to land in Scarborough were granted in 1796. The following are among the original patentees for the years indicated:—

1796—Capt. William Mayne, John White.

1797—James Hoghbelling, John McGill, William Eadus and others, George Irvine, Amos Merritt, Eliza Small, John Hewitt.

1798—Joseph Ketchum, Dorcas Kendrick, James Malloy, Capt. William Demont, James Ketchem, Owen McGrath, Elizabeth Davis, James Whitton, Elizabeth Vanderlip, James Thompson.

1799—Sarah Ashbridge, David Fleming, Jonathan Ashbridge, John Adair, Andrew Templeton, William Osterhout, Nicholas Smith, Thomas Hewitt, Elias Thompson, John Weaver, James Eliot, David Robertson, Samuel Heron, Martin Buckner, Ephraim Payen, Susannah Harris, John Segar, John Markly, Richard Hatt, Andrew Johnston, Archibald Thompson, John Henry Kahman, Eliphalet Hale, Eliza Small, Margaret Ryckman, Richard Flock, Eva Bradt, Lieut. Miles McDonnell, Barnabas Eddy, Azariah Lundy.

1801—Parshall Terry, jun’r, Ellis Dennis, Samuel Heron, Robert Isaac, Dey Gray, John Smith, John Wintermute, John Robert Small.

1802—Submission Galloway, Parker Mills, Robert Tait, Nipporah Robuck, Jacob Fisher, Nicholas Macdougal, David Thompson, Andrew Thompson.

1803—William Devenish, Valentine Fisher.

1804—John Macdougal.

1805—E. Osterhout, Donald McLean.

1806—John Richardson, Alexander McDonnell.

1807—Pelva Cole.

1809—Thomas Cornwell.

1810—Henry Webster, John Robert Small.

1811—Andrew Mercer, James Osburn.

1812—Peter Reesor, Benjamin W. Eaton, George Kuck, Helen Fenwick, John Kennedy, sen’r.

In addition to the patents issued to individuals, King’s College and the Canada Company appear among the early grantees. Many of the names given above are largely represented among the present inhabitants of the township.

No very early municipal records have been preserved, the year 1848 being as far back as the documents now extant reach. In the memorandum of proceedings for that year, the following names of electors are subscribed to a declaration that “We, the undersigned, do sincerely promise and swear that we will faithfully and diligently perform the duties for which we are appointed for the current year”—Joseph Pilkey, George Snider, Adam Walton, William Kennedy, William Fawcett, sen’r, William Mason, Thomas Kennedy, Medley Robinson, Daniel Kennedy, George Galway, John Palmer, John Warren, Isaac Christie, Timothy Devenish, John Richardson, Alexander Wilson, George Stephenson, Abraham Stoner, William Young, William Richardson, William Westeny, William Anthony, James Saw, Isaac Stoner, Thomas Adams, Thomas Booth, King Parkes, James Peters, William Chamberlain, Marshall Macklin, Thomas Adams, jun’r, Isaac Sëcor, William A. Thompson, James A. Thompson, James Johnson, John Sherburn, James Spring, Thomas Brown, John Wilson, John Law, William Nelson, Robert Jackson, Andrew Potter, and Thomas Demma. The first meeting of the “Municipal Corporation” of the township was held at Thomas Dowswell’s tavern, on the 21st of January, 1850, on which occasion were present, Peter Sëcor, reeve; John P. Wheeler, deputy-reeve; William Helliwell, Christopher Thompson and Edward Connell. The following year Mr. Wheeler attained the reeveship, and Thomas Brown was elected deputy-reeve, and Stephen Glosson, clerk. In 1854, John Torrance became reeve, and William Clark, deputy-reeve. Mr. Wheeler was again chosen reeve in 1855, and filled the office for ten years in succession. During three years of this period, 1861-3, he was warden of the county. Among those who have held the reeveship are Donald G. Stephenson, Thomas Brown and George Chester. The deputy-reeveship has numbered among its incumbents John Crawford, Simon Miller and William Tredway. From 1856 to 1865 James Moyle officiated as township clerk. He was succeeded by John Crawford, who still holds that position. The other leading municipal officials for 1884 are: Reeve, John Richardson; 1st deputy-reeve, A. M. Sëcor; 2nd deputy-reeve, George Morgan.

In 1842 Scarborough contained 2,750 inhabitants, and had one grist-mill and eighteen saw-mills. The enumeration taken in 1850 showed that its progress had been very marked, the number having increased to 3,821. It had then three grist-mills and twenty-three saw-mills, and its agricultural products from the crop of 1849 were as follows: 90,000 bushels of wheat, 101,000 bushels of oats, 29,000 bushels of peas, 56,000 bushels of potatoes, 5,000 bushels of turnips, 3,700 tons of hay, 14,000 pounds of wool, 12,000 pounds of cheese, and 35,000 pounds of butter. The returns of the latest Dominion census, taken in 1881, show a large increase in the productive capacity of the township. The leading items are as follows: Wheat, 85,595 bushels; barley, 132,870 bushels; oats, 160,474 bushels; peas and beans, 35,280 bushels; potatoes, 114,838 bushels; turnips, 283,670 bushels; other root crops, 125,839 bushels; hay, 10,510 tons.

Latterly there has been a falling off in the population of the township, largely owing to the considerable emigration to the North-West, which has drawn away many of the young men. The population in 1871 numbered 4,615, in 1881 it had decreased to 4,208. The census of the latter year gives the number of occupiers of land at 588, of whom 412 were also owners. The total acreage occupied was 43,634, of which 36,225 acres were improved. Of this, 28,065 acres were devoted to field crops, 6,892 acres to pasturage, and 1,268 were laid out in gardens and orchards.

Of the total population, 3,233, or more than three-fourths, are of Canadian birth, though mostly of recent British origin, as the U. E. Loyalist element in the population is small. Smith’s “Canada, Past, Present and Future” says on this point: “The Township of Scarborough is said to be occupied almost exclusively by natives of the British Isles, who have obtained some considerable degree of local celebrity as ploughmen.” It is interesting to note that after the lapse of a generation the yeomen of Scarborough still retain their well-won pre-eminence in this department, notwithstanding many a well-contested match in which the representatives of other townships have sought to wrest their honours from them. Mr. James Patton, residing near Scarborough Junction, is the pioneer ploughman of the county, and one of the most active in promoting competitions. On the 17th of June, 1884, the veteran ploughman was presented with an address and testimonial, in recognition of his services in promoting the cause of prize ploughing.

The report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission furnishes some valuable details respecting the condition of agriculture in the township. The report states that the area was all settled in about forty years after the entrance of the first settlers in 1798. The general character of the soil is described as a clay loam, but about one-nineteenth is a heavy clay, and ten per cent. in the middle of the township is a sandy loam; there is a little gravel which is considerably scattered, and about ten per cent. of the soil is black loam; none of the land is too stony or rocky to be profitably cultivated, but about one-fourth is so hilly as to interfere with tillage; the remaining three-fourths is rolling land. Only about one-fortieth is low, bottom lands, one-fourteenth swampy, and one-fifteenth wet and springy. One-half the total area is considered first-class land, the quantity of second and third class being estimated at one-quarter each. Water is obtainable, by digging, at from fourteen to ninety feet. The average price of land is from $80 to $110 per acre for first-class land, from $50 to $80 for second-class, and from $10 to $50 for the third-class quality. About half the land is under first-class fences, the material employed being generally rails and posts. Two-thirds of the dwellings are of brick, stone, or first-class frame, the remaining one-third being log or inferior frame. Two-thirds of the out-buildings are also reckoned first-class. A third of the farms are under-drained, principally by means of tile drains.

The acreage devoted to the leading crops, and the average yield of those crops per acre, as nearly as can be estimated, are given as follows:—Fall wheat, 5 per cent., 20 bushels; spring wheat, 10 per cent., 10 bushels; barley, 12 per cent., 30 bushels; oats, 10 per cent., 45 bushels; peas, 5 per cent., 20 bushels; potatoes, 2 per cent., 130 bushels; turnips, 2 per cent., 500 bushels; other root crops, 1 per cent., 500 bushels; hay, 20 per cent., 1½ tons per acre; 15 per cent. is in pasture lands, and 3 per cent. in orchards. The portion of the township about the flats and banks of the Rouge River and Highland Creek are pronounced better adapted for stock raising than for grain-growing purposes. The kinds of stock most extensively raised are Clydesdale horses, Durham and Ayrshire cattle, Cotswold sheep and Berkshire pigs. A good many of the Clydesdale horses are imported stock. Among the principal owners of thoroughbred stock are John Little, Alexander Neilson, J. and J. Neilson, Stephen Westney, William Westney, John Crawford, William Crawford, and John Lawrie. The proportion of the township still under timber is estimated at about eight or ten acres to the hundred. The principal varieties of timber are cedar, maple, beech, and pine. The exact number of acres is 43,019½, of which 33,760 are cleared. The cattle number 2,371, the horses 2,198, the sheep 951, and the hogs 1,329.

The township is well traversed by highways and railroads, securing the farmers a ready access to the leading markets. The Kingston Road, the old thoroughfare between Toronto and Kingston, runs along the front of the township near the lake shore in the western portion, but striking further inland as it proceeds eastward. The scenery in the neighbourhood of Scarborough Heights, which lie between the road and the lake-shore, near the eastern boundary of the township, is extremely wild and romantic. The Heights, which are about 320 feet above the level of the lake, present an extensive view over the water and surrounding country. They form a thickly wooded elevation, and their masses of foliage rising from the shore present a beautiful view from the lake. There is a steep ravine to the west of the Heights, encircled on every side by densely timbered banks, abounding in swampy recesses where ferns, mosses, and creepers of all sorts grow in rank luxuriance. It is a charming and delightful spot to all lovers of picturesque natural scenery. Within a short distance is Victoria Park, one of the most pleasant and popular of the summer resorts of Toronto, which is within an hour’s sail of the city, and throughout the summer attracts large numbers of pleasure-seekers and wearied citizens in search of a brief respite from the toil and worry of urban life. There is a broad, sandy, shelving beach, running back to a high clay bluff. The front portion consists of a smooth, grassy expanse, fringed with trees, overlooking the lake. A summer hotel and pavilion have been provided for the accommodation of the public. To the rear is the park proper, sloping gradually upwards, retaining most of the natural characteristics of the forest, excepting that the underbrush has been cleared away in places, and winding paths have been made in every direction. The country outside of the Park presents attractions of which many of the wealthier citizens of Toronto have availed themselves, a number of summer residences having been built in the neighbourhood.

Scarborough Village is situated in concession D, about midway between the eastern and western limits of the township. It is distant about ten miles from Toronto, and has a population somewhere in the neighbourhood of three hundred. It is an attractive and pleasant neighbourhood. A more considerable village, four miles further east on the Kingston Road, is Highland Creek, situated on the stream from which it takes its name. It has a population of about six hundred. The Danforth Road enters the township about one mile north of the lake shore, and runs in a north-easterly direction through the small Village of Danforth, from which it takes its name, until the Village of Woburn is reached, which is situated about one mile due north of Scarborough Village, on the road to Markham. The Danforth Road then takes a southward turn to Highland Creek. Malvern Village is the most central in the township, and Armadale is located near the northern boundary. The Grand Trunk Railway, in the western part of the township, runs for some distance almost parallel to the Kingston Road, about half to three-quarters of a mile to the north of it, but crosses it near Scarborough Village, and reaches the lake shore and the township boundary at the Village of Port Union. At Scarborough Junction, about a mile and a half north of the lake, the Toronto and Nipissing Railway diverges from the Grand Trunk, and crosses the township due north and south at a distance of about two miles from its western line. The Ontario and Quebec Railway, which was opened for traffic on the 11th of August, 1884, traverses Scarborough in a north-easterly direction, having a station at the Village of Agincourt, near the centre of the township.

Scarborough possesses a flourishing Mechanics’ Institute, the head-quarters of which are at the Village of Ellesmere, in the western part of the township. It was established on the 7th of April, 1834, being then known as the “Scarborough Subscription Library.” The following were the first subscribers:—J. George, T. Patterson, A. Johnston, A. Glendinning, Wm. Glendinning, S. Thomson, F. Johnston, W. D. Thomson, J. Thom, J. Gibson, S. Cornell, C. Thomson, J. Brownlee, Wm. Forfar, jun’r., Wm. Paterson, James A. Thomson, G. Scott, D. Brown, T. Brown, R. Hamilton, Wm. Hood, J. Muir, R. D. Hamilton, A. Bell, J. Stobo, D. Graham, J. Davidson, J. Findlay, Wm. Elliott, J. Elliott, J. Tingle, Alex. Jackson, A. Patterson, T. Whiteside, J. Martin, George Thomson, J. Glendinning, John Thornbeck, B. Ferguson, M. Macklem, R. Tackett, Wm. Crone, T. Walton, sen’r., Wm. Findlay, Wm. Scott, J. Carmichael. The entrance fee was fixed at five shillings currency, and the annual subscription at the same figure. A general meeting was held half-yearly for the purpose of choosing managers, inspecting books, and deciding upon additions to the library. A substantial frame building was erected in 1846, which is still in good repair. The Institute was incorporated in 1878, at which time the library comprised 1,108 volumes in good condition. No public aid was received until 1879, when a Government grant of $400 was voted to the Institute; and in 1880 a grant of $25 was made by the Township Council. There are 1,737 volumes in the library of the Institute, which has a membership of about sixty. The number of volumes issued last official year was 1,825. The total amount of Government grants paid the Institute from 1879 to 1883 amount to $560.64. The Government Inspector in his last official report bears the following strong testimony to the admirable condition and efficiency of this important factor in the diffusion of intelligence among the people of Scarborough:—“The books are well-arranged. I know of no library anywhere that is better kept. It is really a credit to the municipality and its managers.” The office of librarian was held by David Martin from 1852 until 1882, when he was succeeded by Sidney C. Thomson. There are few, if any, rural communities in Canada where a public library has been so successfully carried on for a lengthened period, and the fact speaks very highly for the intelligence and public spirit of the people of Scarborough.

The Township of Scarborough contains eleven public schools, the situations of which are apparent from the following table:—

No. of School Section.Teacher.P. O. Address.
1Jordan TomlinsonAgincourt.
2Sidney M. WhaleyAgincourt.
3Edward Y. YoungMalvern.
4J. W. SpencerCedar Grove.
5Joseph LutterEllesmere.
6Alexander SmithWoburn.
7George TaftHighland Creek.
8William H BewellScarboro’ Junction.
9Charles L. LappScarborough.
10John MatthewsDanforth.
11D. H. CampbellHighland Creek.


MARKHAM is situated east of Yonge Street, which forms the boundary between it and Vaughan, and north of the Township of Scarborough. It comprises 67,578 acres. It was first settled about the year 1790, some years before any survey was made. It was partially surveyed in 1794, being the third township in the county marked out. In laying out the township Yonge Street was made the base line. There are ten concessions fronting on Yonge Street, each comprising thirty-five lots, the township being almost a square, excepting the eastern line, which is also the boundary of the county, and does not run parallel with the concession lines. Some of the lots in the 10th concession are consequently deficient in area.

The general character of the soil of the township is argillaceous. About one-fifth of the area lying in the north of the township is heavy clay. A belt of sandy loam, being about one-tenth of the acreage, runs through the centre, and the southern section, being about three-fifths of the whole, is clay loam. Black loam tracts are interspersed in the flats of the Don and Rouge Rivers, amounting to one-tenth of the area. The soil is principally undulating in character, and nearly all cultivable, four-fifths of it being considered first-class land, the average price of which is $80 per acre. Second-class land is valued at $60. Water is obtainable, by digging, at an average depth of thirty feet.

Though a few scattered pioneers had here and there taken up land before that date, there was no systematic attempt at settlement until 1794, when a number of Germans came over from the United States, under the leadership of William Berczy. Governor Simcoe, believing that many U. E. Loyalist families still remained in the United States who would be glad of an opportunity to settle in Canada if encouraged to do so by offers of land, held out inducements which were responded to by a good many, who were not actuated so much by the motive of establishing themselves under the rule of King George, as of securing land grants. Among these were sixty-four families of Germans who had but recently arrived from Hamburg, having been brought out by agents to locate on “Captain Williamson’s Demesne,” or, as it was also called, the Pulteney Settlement, in New York State. Here they would have been in the position of tenants, under the “patroon” system then prevailing in New York. The prospect of owning their own farms in Canada was more inviting, and, in the face of great difficulties, they made their way to Markham. There were then no roads and no stores; supplies had to be procured from the south of the lakes; some few articles could be got at Niagara, but nearly everything required in the way of tools, farm implements and provisions had to be brought from the settlements in New York State. York was then a mere hamlet. Yonge Street did not exist, though the line had been marked out. But Berczy, the leader of the expedition, was a man of indomitable energy and boundless resource. He had, during his residence in the United States, constructed a wagon road all the way from Philadelphia to Lake Ontario, and under his direction the immigrants cut their way through the unbroken forest, and made a wagon track from York to the southern portion of Markham, which, winding in and out among the trees, marked the beginning of Yonge Street. Over this primitive road they set out on the journey from York with their families and household effects. Their wagons were ingeniously contrived so that they could be used as boats on an emergency. Made of closely fitting boards with the seams caulked, the body of the vehicle being removed from the carriage could be floated across small bodies of water, carrying a considerable load. Thus they crossed the Don and other streams in their journey. Where the banks were steep they lowered their wagons down the declivity by ropes passed round the trunks of saplings, and pulled them up on the opposite side in a similar manner. They settled on the banks of the Rouge, sometimes known as the Nen River, which they at first supposed to be a tributary of the Don, but on following it to its outlet they discovered that instead of leading to York it entered the lake nearly twenty miles to the eastward. This route afforded them easier access to the front than Yonge Street in its primitive condition, and for many years it was the one mainly in use.

The first saw and grist mills in York County were built by William Berczy in the early days of settlement. They were situated on the River Rouge, on lot No. 4, in the 3rd concession, and were known as the German Mills. The Gazetteer, in 1799, in referring to the Township of Markham, mentions it as having “good mills, and a thriving settlement of Germans.” It may be mentioned here that the two first white children born in the township were John Stivers and Henry Elson, whose parents came in with Berczy’s party.

Berczy became greatly embarrassed in his circumstances, and was discouraged by the treatment he met with at the hands of the Government. The pledges under which the project of settlement was put into execution were not fulfilled as he had expected, and in 1799 he withdrew from the enterprise, and took up his residence in Montreal. His losses in connection with the settlement of Markham were stated at £30,000. Ultimately he returned to the States, and died in New York in 1813. In the year 1805 the mills were advertised in the Gazette for sale. They were purchased by Captain Nolan, of the 70th Regiment, which was then stationed in Canada, but his venture was not successful. In the Gazette of March 19th, 1818, the following advertisement appears: “Notice—The German Mill and Distillery are now in operation. For the proprietors, Alexander Patterson, Clerk.” The mills were again offered for sale ten years subsequently. The U. E. Loyalist of April 5th, 1828, contains the following advertisement relating to them: “For Sale or to be Leased—All or any part of the property known and described as Nolanville or German Mills, in the 3rd concession of the Township of Markham, consisting of 400 acres of land; upwards of fifty under good fences and improvements, with a good dwelling-house, barn, stable, saw-mill, grist-mill, distillery, brew-house, malt-house, and several other out-buildings. The above premises will be disposed of, either the whole or in part, by application to the subscriber, William Allan, York, January 26th, 1828. The premises can be viewed at any time by applying to Mr. John Duggan, residing there.” The Mills formed for long the nucleus of early settlement, the road lying between this point and Yonge Street being a well-travelled thoroughfare.

Another early pioneer in the industries of Markham was Nicholas Miller, who built the first mill on the Humber. In 1794, Mr. Miller settled on lot 33, concession 1, of Markham, and built a small grist mill on a tributary of the Don. About the year 1828, Benjamin Fish put up a distillery near the township line between York and Markham, on the middle branch of the Don. In 1830, he built a saw-mill at this point, and in 1848 a flour mill, which in 1850 he leased to David McDougal. Some years afterwards the flour mill was burned, but it was subsequently rebuilt by Mr. Fish. In 1860 he built a distillery. The property was purchased by John Parsons in 1866. The distillery business was discontinued, and the flour mill remodelled in accordance with modern improvements. On lot 26, in the 1st concession, Rowland Burr built a saw-mill in 1825, which became the property of the late John Arnold, one of the pioneers of the township, who lived to the age of eighty-six. It was burned in 1830, but soon afterwards rebuilt, and was in operation until 1870. The Pomona Mills, on lot 30, in the 1st concession, now the Village of Thornhill, occupy the site which was first utilized by the erection of a saw-mill, in 1820, by Allan MacNab. He afterwards added a grist mill, and after some years sold out to Daniel Brooke, returning to Hamilton to resume his original profession of the law. He subsequently attained a leading position in public life, as Sir Allan MacNab. The mills were rented to George Playter for a term of years. Mr. Playter was well known as the proprietor of a stage line of four-horse coaches, running between York and Holland Landing. After passing through several hands the property was acquired by John Brunskill, who rebuilt the mills on a larger scale, and christened them the Pomona Mills. He ran the mills for twenty-five years. After his death they became the property of Mrs. Harris, and were managed by John Ramsden, who for some time was head miller under Mr. Brunskill.

On the same lot a carding and fulling mill was built by Rowland Burr, in 1839, and worked by Benjamin Williams for some years. On the purchase of the property by Mr. Brunskill, Mr. Williams established the carding mill in a large frame building, which was afterwards burned. Three breweries have been in existence in this neighbourhood, but they have all been short-lived.

A distillery was built on lot 33, on a creek north of Pomona Mills, about 1828, and worked by William Cruikshank for about fifteen years. On the north half of the same lot John Lyons built a distillery, in 1810, and ran it for a long time. To the northward again, on the same creek, Nicholas Miller built the first flour mill in the township, in the year 1793. It was an old-fashioned coffee mill, on a very small scale. Further up the stream, in the year 1856, John Langstaff built a steam saw-mill, shingle factory, and planing mills, which he worked for about twenty years. In 1866 he put up a factory for the manufacture of pails and other wooden-ware driven by steam power.

On the most easterly branch of the Don in the township, in addition to the German Mills, and further to the south, a saw-mill was erected and run by Mr. Hamell, in 1839, on lot 1, concession 3. It was burned down about ten years later. A short distance above the German Mills Mr. Bournan built a carding and fulling mill, in 1832, which, together with the other mills and factories in the neighbourhood, was abandoned in 1835, on account of the damage done by a flood.

Among other mills on this stream were a saw-mill put up on lot 7, concession 2, by Benjamin Fish, about the year 1825; a carding and fulling mill, built in the same year by Benjamin Hoshel, on lot 11, in the same concession; a grist mill, erected by Thomas Shaw in 1848, and burned down almost as soon as completed; a pail factory, put up by John Amos, and also consumed, and a grist mill, erected on the site of the latter, also by John Amos, and afterwards abandoned when the water-power gave out.

Prominent among the early settlers of Markham were several of the French emigrés who obtained grants of land in the Oak Ridges region. Those who obtained patents in this township included René Augustin, Comte de Chalus, Jean Louis, Vicomte de Chalus, the Comte de Puisaye, Quetton St. George, and Ambroise de Farcy. The Comte and Vicomte de Chalus derived their title from the Castle of Chalus, in Normandy, where Richard Cœur de Lion met his death. The Vicomte had been a Major-General in the Royal army. Ambroise de Farcy bore the rank of General. The most notable of these exiles, however, was the Comte de Puisaye. “This man,” remarks Lamartine, speaking of him in his “History of the Girondists,” “was at once an orator, a diplomatist and a soldier—a character eminently adapted for civil war, which produces more adventurers than heroes.” And Thiers, in his “History of the French Revolution,” observes of Puisaye that “with great intelligence and extraordinary skill in uniting the elements of a party, he combined extreme activity of body and mind, and vast ambition.” In 1803 Puisaye, who took a conspicuous part in the futile loyalist struggle against the convention, published, in London, a work comprising five octavo volumes of Memoirs in justification of his course. He died near London, England, in 1827. For a time one of the settlements in the Oak Ridges bore the name of “Puisaye’s town.” The great majority of the emigrés were satisfied with a very brief experience of life in the Canadian backwoods, for which they were not at all fitted, and returned to Europe; but a few remained, and some of their descendants are still in the country.

The following is a list of the early patentees of the township, arranged according to the years in which they received their titles:—

1796—John Lyons, Nicholas Miller, Thomas Kinnear.

1797—Samuel Cozens.

1798—Thomas Lyons, John Dexter.

1799—James B. Macauley, John Simcoe Macauley.

1800—Samuel Ewison.

1801—Ira Bentley, Elizabeth Shiffe, William Johnson, Martin Holder, Samuel Tiphe, Christian Long, James Weiant, Elijah Bentley, Timothy Street, Henry Green, Joshua Millar, jun’r, Lieut. Lunout, Jas. McGregor, James Brown, James Osborne, James Hamilton, Levi Collier, George Boils, Peter DeGeer, Russell Olmstead, Isaac Westcook, Rachel Graham, Oliver Prentice, William Jarvis, Ira Bentley.

1802—Anthony Hollingshead, Baker Munshaw, Hugh Shaw, Andrew Davidson, John Jumon, William Bentley, Jonathan Kuscie, Zachariah Gallway, Nancy Eodus, John Warts, Abraham Gordin, Christian Fred. Krister.

1803—John Leslie, Elizabeth Dennis, Abner Miles, Joshua Sly, John Debrug, Melchier Quantz, John Ulsom Francis Schmidt, John George Schultze, Henry Liedo, Henry Schell, Frederick Schell, Mark Rumohr, John Gottlieb Wycheer, Jacob Botger, Peter Stolus, John Cook, Abraham Orth, Henry Boner, Frederick Ubrick, Jacob de Long, John Klandenning, sen’r, Isaac Davis, Alex. Legg, John Macbeath, Abraham Gordin.

1804—Samuel Gardiner, Oliver Butt, Wm. Smith, John Gray, John Schmeltzer, William Berczy, Robert Isaac de Gray, Charles H. Vogel, Ann Kohmann, John Boye, William Weekes, John Bakus, Frederick Hederick, Abraham van Horn, John Haacke, Peter Millar, Elizabeth Fisher, Anna Margaretha Pingel, John Rumohr, George Pingel, John Nicholas Stiffens, Samuel Nash, John Campbell, Elisha Dexter, Mary McIntyre, Colin Drummond, John Hamilton, John Luman.

1805—Samuel Osborn, Thomas Stovel, Bowler Arnold, Henry Hebuor, John Arnold, Allbright Spring, Jacob Millar, John Peter Lindeman, James Harrison, William Marsh, sen’r, Samuel Mare, William Long, James Farr, John Button, Philip Weedaman, Joshua Miller, sen’r, John Farr, Andrew Clubin, Christian Stickley.

1806—Rene Augustin Comte de Chalus, Le Chevalier de Marscal, Quetton St. George, John Furon, Ambroise de Farcy, Daniel Cousins, Nathan Terry, John McGill, Nero Fierheller, Colin Drummond, John Feightner, John Williams, Margaret Pomeroy.

1807—John Pickard, Michael Franchard, Jean Louis Vicomte de Chalus, Lieut.-Col. Augustine Boiton, Neil P. Holm, Peter Pinay, Daniel Suffer, Anna Overhalt, Peter Anderson, Mary Hollinshead, John Henry Burkmester, Mark Schell, Mary Gray, Norman Milliken, John H. Pingel, John Edgell.

1808—Stilwell Wilson, John Gretman, Nicholas Stover, Peter Haldtz, John Wm. Mischultz, Samuel Bentley, Daniel Merrick, John Philip Eckhardt, Robert Huisborn, George Post, Frederick Kapke, Julian le Bugle.

1809—John Charles Killer, Cornelius van Horn, Cornelius Vanostrand, Philip Beck, William Marr, Mary Malatt, Christopher Hovell.

1810—John Button, John Street, Daniel Furon.

1811—Samuel Mercer, Christian Schroder, Jacob Misener, Watson Playter, Andrew Thompson, Henry Windeeker.

1813—John Henry Langhurst, James Mustard, Samuel Reynolds.

1815—John Sparham, John Kennedy, Reuben Bentz, Matthias Cline, Jessie Haley, Philip Long.

1816—Peter Godfrey, John Walden Miles, John George Munich, John Stann, John Englehardt Helmke, Wm. Carpenter, Joseph Moer, Leonard Caster.

1817—John Farheller, James Stimort, William Hoggner, Samuel Whitesides, William B. Caldwell, Edward McMahon, Henry Keysinger, George Cutler.

1818—George Backendahl, Francis Schmid.

1819—Nicholas Hagerman, Absalom Summers.

1820—John Daniel, Frederick Bush.

1821—Polly Marr, John Marr.

1822—Jacob Rowns.

1824—Christian Whidnear.

1825—John Long.

1827—Joachim Lunen.

1829—Joseph Barris.

1830—Philip Bartholomew.

1832—Daniel Tipp.

1833—Christian Reesor, Christopher Vanalen.

1837—John Reesor, jun’r.

W. H. Smith, in his “Canada, Past, Present, and Future,” refers to Markham as “long noted for the advanced state of its settlement and agriculture.” He states that in 1842 it contained 5,698 inhabitants, and in 1845 there were eleven grist and twenty-four saw-mills in the township. In 1850 the population had increased to 6,868, and there were thirteen grist and twenty-seven saw-mills. The crop of 1849 produced 150,000 bushels of wheat, 11,000 bushels of barley, 7,000 bushels of rye, 145,000 bushels of oats, 45,000 bushels of peas, 55,000 bushels of potatoes, 3,000 bushels of turnips, and 3,000 tons of hay. Education was also well advanced about this period. In 1847 Markham had twenty-seven Common Schools in operation—a larger number than were to be found in any other township in the Home District.

The total production of the principal agricultural staples in 1881 was as follows:—110,050 bushels of wheat, 199,181 bushels of barley, 271,851 bushels of oats, 55,954 bushels of peas and beans, 10,280 bushels of corn, 89,671 bushels of potatoes, 122,312 bushels of turnips, 118,397 bushels of other root crops, and 10,589 tons of hay.

The report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission, issued in 1881, states that 20 per cent. of the acreage of the township is devoted to wheat growing, 15 per cent. to barley, 15 per cent. to oats, 8 per cent. to peas, 15 per cent. to hay, 1 per cent. to turnips, and 2 per cent. each to corn, potatoes and other root crops, 10 per cent. is in pasture land, and 2 per cent. in orchard. The average yield of the leading products per acre is as follows:—Fall wheat, 25 bushels; spring wheat, 15 bushels; barley, 30 bushels; oats, 50 bushels; peas, 25 bushels; corn, 40 bushels; potatoes, 120 bushels; turnips, 500 bushels; other root crops, 600 bushels, and hay, 1½ tons. The varieties of stock most extensively raised in the township are Clydesdale horses, Durham cattle, Cotswold sheep, and Berkshire hogs. Imported stock has been largely introduced. The number in 1881 were—cattle, 3,665; horses, 2,829; sheep, 4,407, and hogs, 1,843.

The Dominion census for 1871 gave the population as 8,152. In 1881 this had fallen to 6,375, the decrease being partly due to a diminution in area owing to the incorporation as separate municipalities of the villages of Markham, Stouffville and Richmond Hill, the first of which lies entirely and the two latter partially within the township lines. Of the population of Markham 1,836 are of German origin, and 2,439 of English extraction. The native Canadians number 5,197. There are 850 occupiers of land, of whom 567 are also owners. The total area in occupation is 66,475 acres, 56,297 acres being improved; 46,732 acres are devoted to tillage, 7,800 to pasture and 1,765 to gardens and orchards. About 10 per cent. of the area of the township is still in timber, principally beech, maple and basswood, with a few pine in some parts.

The municipal records of the township show that in 1850 Amos Wright was reeve, and David Reesor deputy-reeve. The latter became reeve the following year. He was succeeded in 1852 by George P. Dickson. Henry Miller held the position during the years 1853-5. R. Reesor became reeve in 1856 and retained the office for two years. In 1858 W. Button was elected and the next year R. Reesor again filled the chair. In 1860 the reeveship fell to David Reesor, and George Eakin was appointed township clerk and treasurer, a place which he continued to fill until 1874 when he attained his present position as county clerk. In 1861 W. M. Button was chosen reeve and continued in office for three years. In 1864-5 John Bowman was elected to the reeveship, being succeeded in 1866 by W. M. Button. John Bowman again occupied the chair for a year. Then James Robinson held the position for the period 1868-72. William Eakin became reeve in 1873, and in 1874 James Robinson was again elected and retained the position for another period of several years. The township officials for 1884 are: David James, Thornhill, reeve; Robert Bruce, Gormley, first deputy-reeve; F. K. Reesor, Box Grove, second deputy-reeve; A. Forster, Markham, third deputy-reeve; William Lundy, councillor, and John Stephenson, Unionville, township clerk and treasurer. Mr. Stephenson was appointed clerk in 1874, on the resignation of Mr. Eakin.

About a mile and a-half north of the southern limit of the township on Yonge Street, partly in Markham and partly in Vaughan, is the Village of Thornhill. At this point, a short distance north of the old road to the German Mills, another of the numerous tributaries of the Don crosses Yonge Street, flowing between lofty banks. Here mills and manufactories were established as the country became settled. Thornhill was so named in honour of Mr. B. Thorne, who arrived here from Dorsetshire, England, in 1820, and built a residence on the bluff overlooking the Don. The early settlers of Thornhill were principally English. Among the pioneers was Mr. Parsons, another emigrant from Dorsetshire, who was associated with Mr. Thorne in several business enterprises. An English church was organized in Thornhill at an early date. One of the first incumbents was Rev. Isaac Fidler, who attained some celebrity as the author of a book entitled “Observations on Professions, Literature, Manners and Emigration in the United States and Canada.” It was a good deal in the style of Mrs. Trollope, Capt. Basil Hall, and other early British critics of American democracy. Rev. Geo. Mortimer subsequently occupied the pastorate. He was a man of earnest spirituality and energetic temperament; though not physically strong, his labours for the advancement of the cause of religion were unremitting. He died suddenly in the midst of the active duties of his sacred calling. Another incumbent of this church was Rev. Dominic E. Blake, brother of Mr. Chancellor Blake, and uncle of Hon. Edward Blake, at present leader of the Reform party in the Dominion Parliament. Rev. Mr. Blake came to Canada in 1832, from the County Mayo, Ireland. Like most of his family he was a man of unusual mental calibre. His death, which was sudden and unexpected, took place in 1859. His successor was Rev. E. H. Dewar, author of a work published at Oxford, in 1844, entitled “German Protestantism and the Right of Private Judgment in the Interpretation of Holy Scripture.” His thorough acquaintance with the condition of religious faith in Germany was gained while residing at Hamburg, as chaplain to the British residents in that city. His death occurred at Thornhill in 1862. It will be seen that the English congregation of Thornhill was exceptionally favoured for a village community in the high intellectual standing of its successive clergymen.

An advertisement published in the Gazette of May 16th, 1798, shows that at that time salmon were caught in large numbers in the Don at this point. The announcement offers for sale by auction a valuable farm, situated on Yonge Street, about twelve miles from York, and after expatiating on the richness of the soil and other inducements, adds, “above all it affords an excellent salmon fishery, large enough to support a number of families, which must be conceived a great advantage in this infant country.” The present population of Thornhill is upwards of seven hundred.

Three or four miles north of Thornhill, on Yonge Street, is the incorporated village of Richmond Hill, which is partly in the township limits. It will form the subject of a separate notice. A short distance to the north of Richmond Hill in Markham was the residence of Colonel Moodie, who was shot at Montgomery’s tavern in the troubles of 1837. Colonel Moodie was a retired officer of the regular army, having been Lieut.-Colonel of the 104th regiment, and having seen service in the Peninsular war and the struggle with the United States in 1812-13.

The Toronto and Nipissing Railway enters the township from the south in the fifth concession, and proceeds in a northerly direction to Unionville, then making a considerable easterly detour to the village of Markham, and from that point it runs north-easterly to Stouffville, in the north-east angle of the township. The latter village is partly embraced within the limits of Whitchurch, and, with Markham Village, will be dealt with separately.

Unionville is the place of meeting of the Township Council, and is pleasantly and picturesquely situated about two miles and a half west of Markham village, on the River Rouge. The population numbers about three hundred. Smith’s “Canada,” published in 1851, states that it then contained “about two hundred inhabitants, a grist mill with three run of stones and a saw mill, with two churches, Congregational and Wesleyan Methodist.” It is a thriving and prosperous community.

Buttonville is about two and a-half miles west of Unionville. It was named after Major John Button, who came to Canada in 1799, and after a residence of two years at Niagara settled in Markham. He raised and commanded a troop of cavalry, known as the “York Light Dragoons,” which did good service in 1812. His sons, William and Francis, were members of the body, the former being lieutenant. In 1837, the family were again to the front, John Button as major and Francis as captain. Col. W. M. Button, at one time reeve of the township, is the son of the latter.

The smaller unincorporated villages of the township include Gormley’s Corners, Almira, Victoria Square, Headford, Cashel, Milnesville and Mongolia, in the northern portion, and Dollar, Brown’s Corners, Hagerman’s Corners, Milliken, Box Grove, Cedar Grove and Belford, to the south.


VAUGHAN is situated west of Yonge Street, which divides it from Markham, north of Etobicoke and south of King. It has an area of 67,510 acres. It ranks third in size among the townships of York, being a few acres less than Markham, but it is the second in point of population, having 6,828 inhabitants, according to the census of 1881. Survey was commenced in 1795 by Surveyor Tredell, and settlers began to come in during the following year. The concessions are laid out with Yonge Street as the base line, and are numbered to the west. There are eleven in all, the 10th and 11th being defective. The survey was not completed until 1851, and ten years afterwards the side lines were re-surveyed. Owing to mistakes in the early survey of the line in the south-western corner of the township, considerable litigation was necessary before the boundary was rectified.

The following is a list of those who received patents in the earlier years of settlement:

1796—Asa Johnson.

1797—William B. Peters, Captain Richard Lippincott, Samuel Heron, Samuel D. Kiener.

1798—Jacob Fisher, jun’r, Nathan Chapman, Stephen Colby, Lieutenant Abraham Tredell, Jonathan Willcott, John McKarrby, James Cram, Jacob Fisher, Captain Daniel Cozens, Bernard Carey, Samuel Street, Hugh McLean, James Ruggles, William Graham, Nicholas Cower, Robert Franklin.

1799—Silas Cook, Priscilla Tenbreck, Garrett Klingerland, Thomas Barry, Hon. Alexander Grant, Thomas Butter, sen’r, John Tenbroeck.

1800—John Anderson, James Maul, Richard Gamble, Walter Roe.

1801—Jannette Anderson, John McDougall, Thomas Hill, George McBride, Thomas Knight, Dorothy Porter, Alexander Shaw, W. D. Powell, Thomas Forfar, William Forfar, John Wintermute, Hugh Cameron, David Thompson, Annie Dally, James Ledan, Ann Davis, Peter Kulum, Joseph Hilts, Rachael DeFoe, Daniel Cozens, Samuel D. Cozens, W. D. Powell, jun’r, William Harlong, John Dennis, Garrard McNutt.

1802—Elisha Dexter, Robert Marsh, James Perigo, Mary Lawrence, Alice Osburn, Catharine Williams, Achsah Souls, Nicholas Miller, Sally Miller, John McDonnell, Elias Williams, Asail Davis, Eliza Davis, Nathaniel Huson, Rebecca Huson, Ann Haines, John Size, Lawrence Williams, John Wintermute, Jacob Phillips, Sarah Hodgkinson, Conrad Frederick, Hugh Sweeny, Sarah Patterson, James B. Macaulay, George Macaulay, Augustus Jones, Samuel Sinclair, Charles Tremble.

1803—Abner Miles, William Bowkets, Michael Korts, William Hollingshead, Benjamin Cozens, Abigail Bessey.

1804—John Easter, Joshua Y. Cozens, Thomas Medcalf.

1805—Daniel Soules, Samuel Sinckler, William Flannigan, Richard Lawrance, Samuel Backhouse.

1806—John Hampstead Hudson, Ambroise de Farcy, Rene Augustin Comte de Chalus, Quetton St. George, Alexander McDonnell.

1807—Joseph Williams, John Cameron.

1808—John C. Stokes, Julian C. Bugle, Margaret Chapman, Jane Wortsell.

1809—John Wilson, jun’r, Eleanor Moore, Louisa Stephenson.

1810—John Wilson, sen’r.

1811—James Edward Small, John Robert Small, Eliza A. Small, Wm. Hunter, Lucy Allen, Haggai Cooke.

1812—Betsey Ann Holmes, Alex. Wallace, John Crosson.

1815—Sophia Dennison, Francis Henry Stephenson.

1817—James Richardson, jun’r, J. Augustus Stephenson.

1819—David Townsend Stevenson.

1820—Francis Renoux, Michael Saigon, James Marchaud.

1821—Maria Lavinia Hamilton, Augusta Honoria McCormick, Hannah Owen Hamilton, Wm. Monson Jarvis, S. B. Jarvis.

Several of the names in the list are those of French loyalist refugees who settled in the Oak Ridges region, concerning whom particulars have been given in connection with other townships. Another notable name is that of Captain Richard Lippincott, one of the U. E. Loyalists who attained considerable notoriety during the American War. He was a native of New Jersey and a Captain in the Loyalist army. Joshua Huddy, who held the same rank in the patriot forces, having been made prisoner of war, was entrusted to Lippincott’s charge until an exchange of prisoners could be effected. A relative of Lippincott’s named Philip White, a loyalist like himself, had fallen into the hands of the patriots and been cut down while attempting to make his escape. In retaliation Captain Lippincott, acting without any recognized authority, hanged Huddy on April 12th, 1782, leaving his body suspended in the air with the following paper fastened on his breast: “We, the Refugees, having long with grief beheld the cruel murders of our brethren, and finding nothing but such measures carrying into execution, therefore determined not to suffer without taking vengeance for the numerous cruelties, and thus begin, having made use of Captain Huddy as the first object to present to your view; and further determine to hang man for man while there is a Refugee existing. Up goes Huddy for Philip White.”

This unjustifiable act—for the killing of a prisoner attempting to escape was obviously no provocation for the deed—resulted in a demand by Washington for Lippincott’s surrender, which was refused. A British officer, Captain Asgill of the Guards, who had fallen into the hands of the Americans, was selected as a victim in retaliation, and the time for his execution fixed, but strong influences were brought to bear in his behalf, and he was finally released. Lippincott at the close of the war obtained as compensation for his dubious “services” three thousand acres of land, a large portion of it being in Vaughan. His only child, Esther Borden, married George Taylor Denison, of Toronto. Lippincott died in Toronto in 1826, in his eighty-second year.

Another of the early grantees, Captain Daniel Cozens, was also a New Jersey loyalist. He raised at his own cost a company of soldiers, and at the close of the war his large estates in New Jersey were confiscated. He received from the Crown grants amounting to three thousand acres as compensation for his losses. Captain Cozens is said to have built the first house in the Town of York. He died in 1801, near Philadelphia.

Surveyor John Stegmann, whose name frequently appears in connection with the early survey and settlement of the townships of York, also settled in Vaughan. He had been lieutenant in a Hessian regiment, and served in that capacity through the American War, after which he took a leading part in the work of laying out the new settlements in this locality. His descendants still live in the neighbourhood of Pine Grove. The name is now spelled “Stegman.”

The first saw-mill in Vaughan was built in 1801, by John Lyons, who came to Canada from New York State in 1794, and after living for a while in York, settled on lot 32, concession 1, in Markham, The mill was built on the main branch of the Don, where it crosses Yonge Street. In 1802 he constructed a small grist mill with a dam over 200 feet long and ten feet in height. The pond was used to conceal articles taken from the Government warehouse in York at the time the Americans were in possession of the town, during the War of 1812. The invaders generously presented the settlers with a quantity of agricultural implements belonging to the Canadian Government, and when they left a search was made through the country for these articles. Many of the residents in this locality consigned their share of the plunder to the waters of Lyons’ Mill Pond for safe-keeping. John Lyons died in 1814, and his mills and other real estate were purchased by William Purdy, who added many improvements. His sons, in connection with their cousin, William Wright, built a tannery and grist mill. The Lyons’ mill was afterwards used as a carding and fulling mill. A fire in 1828 consumed the new flour mill built by Mr. Purdy, and he sold the whole property to Thorne & Parsons. This firm, in the year 1830, built a new flour mill on a large scale, and also a tannery, and for many years afterwards a large business was done, the locality being named Thornhill in honour of the senior partner of the firm. Mr. Thorne failed in business in 1847, in consequence of heavy losses sustained on flour shipped to England, and shortly afterwards committed suicide. During the period of his prosperity he had added several other branches to his extensive business. After his failure the property fell into the hands of David Macdougall & Co. They were unfortunate, the principal buildings being destroyed by successive fires.

In 1820 Henry White built a distillery farther up the stream. On lot 34, concession 1, Nicholas Caber, a German, built a saw-mill in 1825, which was destroyed by an incendiary fire five years later, being rebuilt the following year. In 1835 it was bought by John Barwick, who ran it for many years, and subsequently sold out to George Wright. It was again burned and rebuilt, and is still in operation. On lot 36, in the same concession, Barnabas Lyons, a son of John Lyons, previously mentioned, built a saw-mill in the year 1839, which was worked for about thirty years. Hiram Dexter built a saw-mill on lot 37, in the year 1836, which was in operation for many years. In 1830 John Dexter put up a saw-mill on the next lot, which was in use until about 1870. At this point the stream divides, the west branch passing the village of Carrville and Patterson’s Agricultural Implement Factory. On lot 16, concession 2, now Carrville, Thomas Cook built a saw-mill in 1850, which was worked for upwards of thirty years, until the supply of logs failed. On the next lot Michael Fisher built a saw-mill, in 1820, and the year following put up a grist mill, which is still in good working order. The small village of Patterson is situated on lot 21, concession 2, where, in 1854, Messrs. Patterson commenced operations by the construction of a saw-mill, afterwards establishing here the extensive farm implement manufactory to which the place owes its prosperity. On lot 41, in the same concession, a saw-mill was built by Reuben Burr in the year 1828, which was worked for about twenty years. Mr. Burr was an excellent mechanic, and constructed the first fanning-mill in use north of Toronto. Rowland Burr, his son, was one of the most noted mill and factory builders in the early days. He put up a flour mill—known as the Greenfield Mill—on lot 41, which was leased to Mr. Shephard, and was destroyed by fire about the year 1840. C E. Lawrence built a saw-mill on lot 42, in 1834, and six years afterwards built a carding and fulling mill and woollen factory, which he worked for many years, until his death, after which it changed hands frequently. James Lymburner built a distillery on lot 43, which was afterwards conducted by Mr. Kurtz, who was succeeded by J. Clarke. The latter also built and kept a tavern at Richmond Hill. On the same lot occupied by the distillery, Lymburner built a small log grist mill in 1811, which was afterwards owned by John Atkinson, who about 1840 put up a new grist mill at a cost of about £1,000. Mr. Atkinson afterwards fell into financial difficulties, and his property was purchased by Edward Hawke, of Toronto. This mill is still in good working order. A double-geared saw-mill was erected on lots 45 and 46 by James Playter in 1848, which is still extant. Higher up, on the same branch of the stream, stood a distillery built by James McDavids in 1844. A saw-mill was built by John Langstaff in 1847, which was the nucleus of various other industries dependent on the same water-power, including a foundry and edge-tool factory. Mr. Langstaff also had an implement factory on another small branch of the Don, in the immediate neighbourhood. This was constructed in 1850, a steel file factory being afterwards added.

On lot 50, concession 1, a saw-mill was built, in 1842, by a man named Heslop, and worked for many years. Peter Frank put up a saw-mill on lot 25, in the second concession, near Patterson, which was used for about twenty years. In all, there have been first to last twelve saw-mills, seven grist mills, and three distilleries, built on the Don and its tributaries in Vaughan Township.

The settlement of Vaughan was completed about thirty-five years after the arrival of the pioneers. The general character of the land is clay and clay loam; 19,266 acres being heavy clay, 41,074 acres clay loam, 5,670 acres sandy loam, and 1,500 acres sand. About one-third of the total area is rolling land. The low bottom-land does not embrace more than 1,000 acres, and about an equal area is wet and springy. Thirty-five thousand acres are regarded as first-class agricultural land, the market price of which averages about $70 per acre; 20,000 are ranked as second-class, and are estimated as worth $50 per acre, and the third-class land, including 12,510 acres, is valued at $30 per acre. About one-half of the farms are under first-class fencing. One-third of the dwellings and out-buildings are of brick, stone or first-class frame. Under-drainage is not practised to any considerable extent, only about one farm in twenty-five being under-drained. As nearly as can be given the proportions of the area devoted to the staple agricultural products are as follow:—Fall wheat, 10,600 acres; spring wheat, 2,750 acres; barley, 6,600 acres; oats, 6,500 acres; peas, 5,000 acres; potatoes, 700 acres; turnips, 700 acres; other root crops, 500 acres; hay, 6,600 acres; pasturage, 8,000 acres, and orchards, 500 acres. The average yield per acre of these crops is as follows:—Fall wheat, 15 bushels; spring wheat, 10 bushels; barley, 18 bushels; oats, 40 bushels; peas, 15 bushels; potatoes, 100 bushels; turnips, 500 bushels; other root crops, 500 bushels; hay, 1½ tons. About 11,000 acres is still wooded with pine and hardwood, which makes the total area of cleared land about 56,500 acres.

In “Smith’s Canada” the population of Vaughan for 1842 is given at 4,300. In 1850 it had increased to 6,255. At that time there were in the township five grist and thirty-four saw-mills, and the crop of 1849 produced 155,000 bushels of wheat, 4,000 bushels of barley, 102,000 bushels of oats, 46,000 bushels of peas, 51,000 bushels of potatoes, and 7,000 bushels of turnips. In the same year the number of Public Schools in operation was twenty.

According to the census of 1881 the total yield was 152,996 bushels of wheat, 149,795 bushels of barley, 242,483 bushels of oats, 75,283 bushels of peas and beans, 103,622 bushels of potatoes, 32,890 bushels of turnips, 48,019 bushels of other roots, and 8,656 tons of hay.

The population, like that of several of the townships of York, shows a slight decrease during the decade 1871-81, for which the exodus to the States and to the Canadian North-West is partly responsible, but is largely accounted for in the case of Vaughan by the incorporation of Richmond Hill, a portion of which is embraced with the limits of the township. In 1871 the population was 7,657; in 1881 it was 6,828. Of the population in the latter year those of German origin numbered 993, being mostly the descendants of old settlers from Pennsylvania. There were 5,248 native Canadians. The occupiers of land numbered 824, of whom 500 were also owners. The total area in occupation was 67,848 acres.

In 1881 the live stock of the township numbered as follows:—Cattle, 2,952; horses, 2,481; sheep, 4,349, and hogs, 2,207. The principal breeds are Clydesdale horses, Durham cattle, long-wooled sheep, and Berkshire and Suffolk hogs. Among the owners of thoroughbred cattle are M. Reaman, Robert Marsh, William Agar, George Bell, Peter Frank, Jacob Lakmer and sons, and Edwin Langstaff.

The municipal records of Vaughan, which have not been preserved farther back than 1850, show that in that year the council was organized under the new legislation which then came in force by the election of David Smellie, David Bridgford, John W. Gamble, James Adams and John Lawrie as councillors. At the first meeting held in the township hall in the fifth concession, J. W. Gamble was elected reeve and David Smellie deputy-reeve, James Ashdown was chosen township clerk, and Nathaniel Wallace, John Stephens and William Porter, assessors. At a subsequent meeting, Rev. James Dick was appointed superintendent of Common Schools at a salary of £20. In 1851 the councillors were David Smellie, D. Bridgford, J. W. Gamble, Alexander Mitchell and John Lawrie. The election for the offices of reeve and deputy resulted as before. Mr. Gamble held the reeveship without intermission until 1858, when Mr. D. Bridgford, who had been elected deputy-reeve every year since 1852, succeeded him. In 1859-60, H. S. Howland was reeve and Alfred Jeffrey deputy. Robert J. Arnold filled the chair in 1861 and the two following years, with William Cook as deputy-reeve. In 1864 H. S. Howland was again chosen reeve, and continued to hold the position until 1868. Alfred Jeffrey was deputy-reeve during the former year, and Thos. Graham for 1865-7. In 1868 the reeveship fell to Peter Patterson, and William Hartman and Robert J. Arnold became deputies. In this year Mr. G. J. F. Pearce, who had officiated as township clerk and treasurer for nearly ten years, resigned, and Mr. J. M. Lawrence was appointed to succeed him. Mr. Patterson held the reeveship for four years. David Boyle was elected reeve in 1872-3, and W. C. Patterson succeeded to the office in 1874, and retained it for several years. In 1875 the number of deputy-reeves was increased to three by reason of the growth of population. The principal municipal officials for 1884 are as follows:—Reeve, T. Porter, Humber; 1st deputy-reeve, William Cook, Carrville; 2nd deputy-reeve, D. Reaman, Concord; 3rd deputy-reeve, Alexander Malloy, Purpleville; councillor, George Elliott, Woodbridge; township clerk and treasurer, J. M. Lawrence, Richmond Hill.

Mr. Lawrence is of U. E. Loyalist origin. His grandfather, John Lawrence, held the rank of captain in the royalist forces during the American War of Independence, and at its close he went to New Brunswick, where he remained until 1817, when he came to Upper Canada. Mr. Lawrence’s maternal grandfather, Robert Marsh, settled in Vaughan in 1800.

The incorporated villages of Richmond Hill and Woodbridge are the most considerable centres of population in the township. Klineburg, a village about two miles from the western and three from the northern line, has a population of upwards of six hundred. Other villages in the northerly portion of the township are Purpleville, two miles east of Klineburg, Teston, Maple, and Patterson, further to the east. Vellore is in the centre of the township, and Elder Mills, Carrville, Pine Grove, Edgeley, Concord and Brownsville in the southern section. The Northern Railway traverses the township almost parallel with Yonge Street three or four miles to the west, and the Toronto, Grey and Bruce, entering it at the south, near the Humber, takes a north-westerly direction.

The first white child born in the Township of Vaughan is said to have been Susan Munshaw, who afterwards became Mrs. Wright.

The School Inspectorate of North York consists of the townships, towns and villages of the North Riding, together with that part of the Township of Vaughan north of the second side-road, which separates between lots ten and eleven across the municipality. For reporting purposes the whole Township of Vaughan is included. This inspectorate, therefore, comprises the townships of Georgina, North Gwillimbury, East Gwillimbury, Whitchurch, King, and Vaughan, the Town of Newmarket, and the Villages of Holland Landing, Aurora, Richmond Hill and Woodbridge; this last reporting only in the northern inspectorate. In these municipalities there are eighty-five school-boards, who employ from one hundred to one hundred and ten teachers, with an aggregate salary of over $40,000; an average of $425 to males and $265.62½ to females. The outlay on building in 1883 was over $8,000; on maps, etc., $400; on care-taking, heating, etc., $7,500; for all purposes over $56,000. The income from all sources in 1883 was over $62,000—nearly $3,700 from the Legislature; $7,000 from municipal grants; $32,000 from direct taxation, over $10,000 from C. R. Fund and other funded moneys, and the balance from 1882. The school population of this district is about 7,600, of which the attendance at present at school is forty-five per cent. Twelve years ago the percentage of attendance was thirty-seven and a quarter. The classification of the children enrolled in 1883 was as follows: 2,400 in the First Book; 1,600 in the Second Book; 1,800 in the Third Book; 1,200 in the Fourth Book; and thirty-five in the Fifth Book. Nearly all are instructed in arithmetic and writing; considerably over half in geography, drawing, grammar and object lessons; while music, temperance and hygiene, geometry and mensuration, algebra, history and elementary physics receive a fair share of attention, according to the numbers in the classes for which these subjects respectively are prescribed. Drill and calisthenics are not entirely overlooked, though they are not taught in half the schools.

In this district there are ninety school-houses. Of these, thirty-two are brick and fifty-eight are frame. In seventy-four cases the premises are freehold and in sixteen the grounds are rented, while the houses are the property of the school corporation. Nearly fifty of the houses have been erected since the year 1871, and thirty have been enlarged or improved so as to meet the requirements of the Act of that year. Almost, if not all the school-grounds, are over half an acre, and many are double that size. School property, which has more than doubled in value in twelve years, is now worth $150,000, and $90,000 has been expended in the improvement of school premises in the same time.

The Township of Vaughan has eighteen school sections and unions with houses in them, and three unions with houses outside the municipality.

No. 1, union with Markham or Thornhill, is a brick house, with a frame addition, in the Village of Thornhill. The average, Vaughan part, 26, Markham part, 29. Teachers, R. O. Harvey and Annie Hendrie.

No. 2, union with Markham. Frame house on Yonge Street, lot No. 9. built nearly fifty years ago, is probably the oldest in the county. Average from Vaughan part, 4, Markham part, 15. Emma M. Ansley, teacher.

No. 3, Carrville School, stands on lot 15, half way across the 2nd concession. This frame building was enlarged a few years ago, and is conveniently arranged for its purposes. Teacher, James Bassingthwaighte. Average attendance, 38.

No. 4, a union with Richmond Hill, has no school of its own.

No. 5, or Hope School, stands on the west end of lot 28, in the 3rd concession. It is a brick building, with a frame addition for an assistant. Average, 37. Teacher, Abram Carley.

No. 6, Maple School, is a substantial brick structure, somewhat awkwardly divided into two rooms. Teachers, Joseph P. McQuarrie and Jennie Walkington. Average, 50.

No. 7, or Mudville School, on the east end of lot 6, 3rd concession, is a good brick building. The average is 32. Teacher, Chester Asling.

No. 8, Edgeley School, is a good brick house on the west end of lot 7, 4th concession. Average, 41. Teacher, Jacob H. Hoover.

No. 9, Town Hall School, is a large frame structure on the west end of lot 17, in the 5th concession. Teacher, Nellie Franks. Average, 24.

No. 10, a fine, new brick building, stands on the north-west corner of lot 30, in the 5th concession. Average 24. Teacher, Robert Moore.

No. 11, Purpleville School, is a good frame house, with excellent furniture recently introduced. It is situated on the east end of lot 27, 7th concession. Average, 34. Teacher, Wm. Watson.

No. 12, Pine Grove School, stands on the west end of lot 9, in 6th concession. The building is frame. Average-attendance, 38. Teachers, John W. Franks and Annie Mason.

No. 13, on the east end of lot 6, in the 9th concession, is of brick. Average, 19. Teacher, Joseph Clark.

No. 14 is a union with, and has its school in, Woodbridge. Average attendance, 9.

No. 15, near the centre of lot 15, in the 9th concession, is a fine, new brick building, fairly furnished and kept. Average, 38. Teacher, Thos. B. Hoidge. A small part of Toronto Gore is in union with No. 15.

No. 16, in union with 7, Toronto Gore, called the Coleraine School, is a brick building, rather awkwardly placed on the ground, and suffering from defective foundations. Teacher, Miss McDonald. Average, from Vaughan, 19, from Toronto Gore, 6.

No. 17, Kleinburg School, in the Village of Kleinburg, is a brick house, with frame addition for assistant. Its situation is fine, overlooking one branch of the Humber. Teacher, Kenneth Beaton. Average, 36.

No. 18, near the middle of lot 31, in the 10th concession, is a frame house, not well furnished. Average, 24. Teacher, James Asher.

No. 19, Patterson School, is a good brick structure, situated on the east end of lot 21, 2nd concession. Average, 28. Teacher, Hesse A. Nicholls.

No. 20, a new frame house on the west end of lot 31, in the 8th concession, has a good situation and is kept in fair condition. Average, 34. Teacher, James R. Graham.

No. 21 is a union with the house in Markham, about two miles north of Richmond Hill, on Yonge Street. Average attendance from Vaughan, 29.


KING has the largest area of any township in the County of York, its total extent being 86,014 acres. It is situated north of Vaughan, and on the west side of Yonge Street. Its northern boundary is the Holland River, which divides it from West Gwillimbury and Tecumseth, and on the west, in the adjoining County of Peel, is the Township of Albion. King has twelve concessions, numbered westward from Yonge Street, but the last two are deficient, as the county line does not run parallel with Yonge Street.

The township was first laid out in 1800 by Surveyor Stegmann. The survey was continued from time to time by others, being completed in 1859 by Mr. Whelock, P.L.S. Some alterations in its boundaries were made in 1851, when the County of Simcoe was organized, and the portion of the township known as North King was detached from West Gwillimbury and annexed to King.

The following are the original patentees for the township as given in the “Domesday Book,” exclusive of that portion known as North King, which was subsequently annexed:—

1797—Thomas Hind, John McKay, Edward Wright, Thomas Phillips, William McClellan, Archibald Thompson, Edward Wright.

1799—Daniel Rose, Alexander Gardnar.

1801—John Cole, Mary McDonnell, James Selloch, Jeremiah Taylor, Mary Lutz, David Bessey, Elizabeth Ross, Joseph Gillie, Jonathan Sells, Mary Gordon, Sarah Playter, Daniel Nixon, Dorothy Burger, Anthony Hollingshead, William Crowder, William Smith, Caty Brown.

1802—Henry Harman, James Cody, P. Cody, James Gilbert, Isaac Phillips, Nathaniel Gamble, jun’r, Alexander Gardner, Eliza Ghent, Hepzibah McWilliams, Lucretia Stewart, Marianne Williams, Pierre Protim, Charles Jabbin, Matthew Hern, Jenny Cairn, Catharine Walker, Fred. Lewis Mills, Eli Skinner, E. Wright, Sarah Vansicklen, Henry Windeckar, George Thompson, Robert Innes, Christopher Harrison, Jonathan Kincey, James Newkirk, Chloe McDonnell, Hannah Palmer, James Osborn, Titus Doran, Margaret Buckner, John Broughner, Philip Bender, Mary Buchnar, Mary Rogers, A. Rogers, Richard Pattinson, Catherine Hesse, Joseph Dennis, Benjamin Wells, John Latteridge, Aaron Crefas, Mary Springer, Duncan Gilchrist, William Gilchrist, Neil Gilchrist, Eleanor Nugent, Charles Gisso, Thomas Walker, David Fraser, John Chisholm, Bernard Maisonville, Margaret Smith, Joseph Dean, Abin Miner, Alice Forsyth, James Cannon, Marie Joseph Gouin, Alexis Maisonville, William Farr, John Van Zantee, Phœbe Adair, Benjamin Springer, Christopher Culp.

1803—Jacob Crane, jun’r, William Kennedy, William Hughes, Isaac Hollingshead, James Fulton, Rachel Skinner, Mary Rott, Martin Fuitz, Elizabeth Newkirk, John File, Hugh Heward, Elizabeth Cline, Rosanna Fairis, Martha McKirbie, Alexander Clendenning, William Lee, John McMicking, Elizabeth Robertson, Mary Smith, George Stewart, jun’r, Mary Ward, William Applegarth, Elizabeth Fogelalay, Joshua Applegarth, John Applegarth, Andrew Wilson, Hugh Wilson, James Hunter, Abraham Astlestine, William Emery, William Crumb, William Burk, Archibald Mitchell, Elizabeth Hogellang, Sarah File, Caleb Swayze, David Van Every, jun’r, Jane Hover, Elizabeth Wright, Sarah Ward, Sarah Mann, John Stoner, Valentine Stoner, Mary Myers, William Macdonell, Annie Turner, Ann Jones, Anna Broughmer, Christopher Overholk.

1804—James Burgess, Rufus Rogers, Asa Rogers, George O’Kill Stewart, Samuel McKirbie, Mary Thompson, D. Secord, Sarah Boyles, Sarah Wagstaff, Mary Cushman, Elizabeth McKenzie, Ann McDonald, Isaac Astlestine, Deborah Hill, Daniel Young, Hannah Coldwell, John Minthorn.

1805—Daniel Jackson, Mary Moody, Wm. Tyler, Isaac Rogers, David Palmer, jun’r, Mary Kithman, Marvin Hunter, Garrett Scram, Gertrand Plato, John Wilson, Catherine Farr, Sol. Austin, jun’r, Charles Stewart.

1806—Rene Augustin Comte de Chalus, John Dean Fisk.

1807—Lieut.-Col. Augustin Boyton.

1808—Joseph Minthorn, Elizabeth Hassun.

1809—Murdoch McLeod, Wm. Weer.

1810—Abraham Webster.

1812—John Haviland, Rev. Clarke.

1813—Henry Bonnell.

1814—John McDonald.

1815—Wm. Moore.

1816—Thos. Whittaker.

1817—Rosannah Ferris.

1827—Patrick Hartney.

1826—Sarah Lotteridge.

1830—N. Gamble.

1833—James Lloyd, Stephen Bissonette.

1832—John Scott, Ann Purvis, Elizabeth Clow.

1835—Hannah Cowell, Peter Rankin, John Proctor, Jeremiah Smith.

1837—Peter Wintermute.

1838—John Fulton, Bernis Baynam, William Boyle, Chas. Tomlinson.

1839—R. Machell, Richard Perry, J. Edmunds.

1840—James Macaulay, Wm. Brydon, John Grant, William H. Moore, Rev. John Rolph, Jeremiah W. Dawson.

1841—James Henderson.

1842—Thos. Irvin.

1843—John Rodenhurst, Martin Snider, William Proudfoot, Isaac Gude.

1844—Robert Cathgart, Samuel Pearson.

1845—Wm. Patton, Thomas Allen Stayner.

1846—W. D. Parker.

1847—Alex. Brown, Philip Boisverd, Isaiah Gardner, William Hane, John Fogart.

1848—Neil Wilkie.

1850—Patrick Tridnor, John Allen Nibbe.

1853—Jeremiah P. Cummins, Rev. Richard Edmund Tyrwhitt, Septimus Tyrwhitt.

1854—Thomas McFee.

1860—Benjamin Pearson.

A considerable area of land lying in different concessions was also granted to the Canada Company.

When the alteration in the township lines took place in 1851 the first concession of West Gwillimbury, lying east of the Holland River, was annexed to East Gwillimbury. The remainder of the portion of that township east of the river, forming a triangular-shaped section terminating in a long, narrow strip running along the northern boundary of King, became part of the latter township. The land of north King, as a rule, is swampy, and not fit for cultivation. Much of it still remains in the hands of the Government, but many lots have been patented. The following names appear on the list of grantees:

1805—Obadiah Rogers, Obadiah Griffin, Bethuel Huntley; 1807—Ann Dennis, Abraham Nelles; 1808—Abraham Vanalstine; 1812—John Haviland; 1840—John Darling; 1843—William Proudfoot; 1845—George Lount; 1847—Ebeny Doan; 1849—S. Watson. The Canada Company also obtained some lots in this section, and numerous patents have been issued during later years.

The predominant character of the soil is clay loam. In the western portion of the township an area amounting to about 30 per cent. of the whole is of heavy clay, of the average depth of eighteen to twenty-four inches. Clay loam prevails in the eastern, central and southern sections, constituting about 40 per cent. of the whole, the average depth of the surface soil being twelve to fifteen inches, with a subsoil of clay. In the northern section there are considerable tracts of rich, black loam, of an average depth of from two to eight feet, comprising about 12 per cent. of the total acreage. In various parts there are areas of sandy loam of a depth of from six to ten inches over a clay subsoil, being about fifteen per cent. of the whole township. Two and a-half per cent. of the soil is deep sand, and gravel beds, also of considerable depth, are also met with. The larger portion of the land is undulating, about one-fifth being so hilly as to lessen its value for agricultural purposes. Swamps and wet springy land comprise 5 per cent. of the area, principally situated along the Holland River, and an equal proportion is bottom-land.

The Oak Ridges, forming the height of land between lakes Ontario and Simcoe, run through the centre of the township from east to west. The region is hilly and broken, and contains a number of lakes and ponds. Some of these are the source of the numerous tributaries of the Humber and Holland Rivers. Boulders displaying a mixture of the characteristics of the Laurentian, Silurian and Huronian formations are met with in this region.

The proportion of first-class land is comparatively small, being only 25 per cent., the average price of which is $70 per acre. The second-class land comprises 60 per cent. of the whole, and its average value is estimated at $45. Third-class land brings $25 per acre, and constitutes 15 per cent. of the total acreage. Three-fourths of the farm buildings are first-class in point of materials and construction, and about the same proportion of the farms are well fenced. Underdrainage is adopted on about one-tenth of the number. Four-fifths of the farmers use some description of artificial fertilizer—the kinds principally employed being plaster and salt.

As nearly as can be given, the following is the proportion of the area given to the leading crops:—Fall wheat, 15 per cent.; spring wheat, 12 per cent.; barley, 8 per cent.; oats, 14 per cent.; peas, 8 per cent.; potatoes and turnips, 1 per cent. each; other root crops, ½ per cent.; hay, 12 per cent. Pasture lands occupy an area of 15 per cent., and orchards about 1 percent.

The average yield per acre of the staple crops is as follows:—Fall wheat, 20 bushels; spring wheat, 12 bushels; barley, 20 bushels; oats, 35 bushels; peas, 15 bushels; potatoes, 100 bushels; turnips, 250 bushels; other root crops, 300 bushels; hay, 1 ton.

Stock-raising is carried on to a greater extent in King than in any other township in the county. In 1881 the number of cattle was 4,088; horses, 2,917; sheep, 5,337; and hogs, 2,282. The larger proportion of these are the common varieties, but in the last decade some importations of thoroughbreds have been introduced, comprising Shorthorn cattle, Southdown, Cotswold and Leicester sheep, Clydesdale horses, and Berkshire and Suffolk hogs. Among the proprietors of thoroughbred stock are: George Hollingshead, John Beasley, James Cherry, jun’r, and William Jardine, in the western part of the township; and George N. Heacock, Seth Heacock, Simeon Lemon, R. J. Kennedy, W. Linton, Robert Riddell, and John C. Tawse, in the eastern portion.

The municipal records of King are unusually complete; the minutes of the township meetings as far back as 1809 being still extant, and throwing a good deal of light on the early condition of the community. A return of the number of inhabitants taken on March 28th, 1809, shows thirty-three heads of families, and a total population of 160. The names are as follows: James Rogers, John Doan, Enos Dennis, Amos Hughes, Isaac Rogers, William Doan, Joseph Doan, Mahlon Doan, Ebenezer Doan, Rufus Rogers, Levi Dennis, Nathaniel Gamble, jun’r, Isaac Phillips, Isaac Hollingshead, Thomas Taylor, John Nichol, Benjamin Pearson, William Hughes, Joseph Cody, Wm. Haines, Jacob Hollingshead, William Tyler, Wm. Kennedy, Henry Harman, Isaac Davis, Caleb McWilliams, John Devine, David Love, James Love, John Hunter, Michael St. John, Henry Sagle and Benjamin Kester. In 1811 the total number of inhabitants was 206. In 1812 there were 42 families and 226 inhabitants. A decrease in population was caused by the war with the United States, which broke out in that year, and three years afterward the inhabitants only numbered 209. But after peace was restored the population began to increase more rapidly, and in 1823 there were 67 families, and the total number of inhabitants was 394. In 1842 the population numbered 2,625. In the course of eight years it more than doubled the number, in 1850 being 5,574. In 1871 it reached its maximum, the Government census of that year showing a total population of 7,482. In 1881 it had fallen to 6,664. Of the latter number 5,248 were of Canadian birth. Those of English descent numbered 2,872; 2,047 were of Irish, and 1,087 of Scotch extraction. The occupiers of land were 907 in number, of whom 611 were the owners of their holdings. The total area occupied was 79,209 acres, of which 59,149 were improved. Of this 49,488 acres were devoted to field crops, 8,402 acres to pasturage, and 1,259 to gardens and orchards.

In 1849, the agricultural produce comprised 149,000 bushels of wheat, 5,000 bushels of barley, 8,000 bushels of oats, 37,000 bushels of peas, 52,000 bushels of potatoes, and 14,000 bushels of turnips.

The census of 1881 gives the yield as follows:—200,185 bushels of wheat, 121,776 bushels of barley, 214,506 bushels of oats, 81,875 bushels of peas and beans, 76,688 bushels of potatoes, 93,701 bushels of turnips, 30,164 bushels of other roots, 8,670 tons of hay and 1,964 bushels of grass and clover seed.

The municipal records for 1809 give the officials for that year as follows: Town clerk, William Haines; assessors, Jacob Hollingshead and William Hughes; collector, William Tyler; overseers of the roads, Henry Harman, Thomas Taylor, Rufus Rogers; pound-keeper, Isaac Hollingshead; town wardens, William Kennedy and John Nichol. The following minutes are recorded:—

“It is agreed that the fences shall be lawful that are five feet high, two feet of which shall not be more than four inches between the rails, and the other part not more than six inches between the rails, except liners, which shall not exceed fifteen inches.”

“It is agreed that hogs shall be free commoners.”

In 1810 the following were the township officers:—William Haines, town clerk; Benjamin Pearson and William Doan, assessors; Wm. Tyler, collector; David Love, John Hunter, Jacob Hollingshead, Thomas Taylor and John Doan, overseers of the roads; Nathaniel Gamble, jun’r, pound-keeper; Henry Harman and William Hughes, town wardens.

William Haines held the position of town clerk until 1836, when he was succeeded in office by John R. Kennedy. The township meetings from 1810 until 1838, with one or two exceptions, were held at the house of Nathaniel Gamble, jun’r. Subsequent meeting places were Samuel Clay’s, James Graham’s tavern, and Goat’s Inn.

In 1843, Joel Hughes and William Brydon were town wardens; Andrew Sloan, town clerk; Nathaniel Pearson, assessor; Richard Murphy, collector; Barnes Beynon, Thos. Cosford, John Tawse, M.A., Jacob Lemon, Isaiah Tyson, Donald McCallum and Capt. A. Armstrong, school commissioners; and Thomas Cosford, Thomas W. Tyson and Henry Stewart, district councillors. In 1844, John R. Kennedy became town clerk, the district councillors being the same as the preceding year. Mr. Kennedy held the clerkship until 1847. The officers for that year were: Town wardens, John McKinley, Thomas Cosford and James Hunter; assessor, James O’Brien; collector, Andrew Sloan; town clerk, Joseph Wood. In 1848, the district councillors were Henry Stewart and Thomas W. Tyson; town wardens, Robert Parker, John Wells and Benjamin Jennings; assessor, James McCallum; collector, Isaac Dennis. In 1850 the present system of municipal organization came into force, and the district councillors were replaced by reeves and deputy-reeves—the first reeve was George Hughes, Joseph Wells being deputy. In 1851 Mr. Hughes was re-elected and Septimus Tyrwhitt chosen deputy. In 1852 Stephen Tyrwhitt was reeve and Joseph Wells deputy-reeve. George Hughes occupied the reeveship again during the period 1853-7, and was succeeded in 1858 by J. D. Phillips, who had previously been deputy-reeve for three years. A. Armstrong filled the chair in 1859, and the next year gave place to James P. Wells, who had held the second place two years before. Mr. Wells remained in office until 1864, when Albert Webb was elected. In 1865 Joel Phillips was chosen reeve. Mr. Webb had another innings in 1866. T. Tyson and J. Stokes followed each for one year, and Mr. Webb served a third term of two years’ duration. Among the later occupants of the position are J. D. Phillips, Joel Phillips and Joseph Stokes. The township officers for 1884 are E. J. Davis, King, reeve; Charles Irwin, Lloydtown, 1st deputy-reeve; Michael J. O’Neill, Holly Park, 2nd deputy-reeve; Thomas Wilson, Newmarket, 3rd deputy-reeve; Robert Norman, councillor; Joseph Wood, township clerk; Gershom Proctor, treasurer; John Leigh and William Brydon, assessors; Charles Fuller and William Winter, collectors; John D. Phillips, township engineer.

Mr. Wood has filled the office of clerk since 1847. He is an Englishman by birth, and came to Canada in 1830 when quite young. The family, after remaining in York for a year, removed to Whitchurch, near Aurora. In 1835 they took up land in the 6th concession of King. Mr. Wood is well known as a prosperous and public-spirited citizen, and the fact that he has been clerk for thirty-seven years continuously shows how highly his services in that capacity are appreciated.

The principal villages of King are Lloydtown and Schomberg, near the northern boundary, in the western part of the township; Linton, in the eighth concession, towards the centre; Nobleton, in the south-west; Pottageville, Kettleby and Grenville, in the northern section; and Laskay, King Horn, King, Eversley, Temperanceville, Springhill and Oak Ridges, in the south and south-east. Aurora is partly in King and partly in Whitchurch. The Northern Railway runs across the south-eastern section and enters Whitchurch near Aurora. After a lengthy detour to the eastward through that township it crosses the swamp lands of North King in a north-westerly direction. Its most important station in the township is at the thriving Village of King, about a mile from the southern boundary, which is a stirring and lively place, with a population of about 120.

Lloydtown is a place of some note in the annals of York County. It early became one of the principal centres in the north, and was one of the rallying points of the Mackenzie rising in 1837. A description of the village and the neighbouring country is given in Smith’s “Canada.” There have been of course many changes since that time. Entering the township from the west the road known as the “tenth line” leads to the village. The first portion of the road is very hilly, and the timber consists of pine and hardwood intermixed. About four miles before reaching Lloydtown you cross a cedar swamp, after which the timber becomes principally pine and hemlock for the next two miles; large tracts of land bordering the road being still (1851) covered with wood; the country then opens, and large clearings lie before and on either side of you. The character of the timber here becomes changed, and a large proportion of it is hardwood. The soil the whole distance is of a loamy character, varying in consistence. The country generally has a new appearance, a large portion of the stumps still standing in the fields, and the houses and farm buildings are poor with few exceptions. The road the whole distance is hilly, or composed of a succession of rolling ridges. The population of Lloydtown is given as 350. “The village,” Smith goes on to say, “is situated in the midst of a hilly country. The west branch of the Holland River runs through the village, and a grist mill having three run of stones, a saw mill, and a carding and fulling mill, are situated on it. The grist mill has a fall of twenty-five feet. There are also in the village two tanneries, a post-office, and two churches—Episcopal and Methodist. Lloydtown is twelve miles from Yonge Street, nine miles from the Vaughan Plank Road, sixteen miles from Holland Landing, nine miles from Bond Head, twelve and a-half from Bradford, and fourteen from Newmarket. At about a mile from Lloydtown, situated to the north-east, is a small village called Brownsville. It contains 138 inhabitants, a grist mill, saw mill, and tannery, and a church open to all denominations. Brownsville is also situated on the west branch of the Holland River, which has here a fall of twenty feet.” The name was subsequently changed to Schomberg. The road east from Lloydtown to Kettleby, or as it was then more generally known, Tyrwhitt’s Mills, is described as very hilly, and for part of the distance timbered with cedar, hemlock and pine, with a little hardwood intermixed.

It was at Lloydtown that the second of the series of public meetings in support of Mackenzie’s agitation in 1837 was held. At a meeting of Reformers, held at John Doel’s Brewery, Toronto, on the 28th of July in that year, a plan submitted by Mr. Mackenzie “for uniting, organizing, and registering the Reformers of Upper Canada” was adopted, under which societies were to be established all through the Province as the machinery of agitation. The first outside meeting under this plan was held at Newmarket, the second at Lloydtown, on the 5th of August. It was addressed by Messrs. W. L. Mackenzie, Jesse Lloyd, Samuel Lount, and David Gibson, all of whom afterwards took a prominent part in the insurrection. Seventeen resolutions were passed. Any intention of resorting to arms was disclaimed. One of the resolutions declared that “A bribed and pensioned band of official hirelings and expectants, falsely assuming the character of the representatives of the people of Upper Canada, corrupted by offices, wealth, and honours bestowed upon their influential members by Sir F. B. Head, since they took their seats in the House of Assembly, have refused to allow a free trial to candidates ready to contest their seats, have refused to order new elections for members who have accepted places of gain under the Government, have refused to institute a free and constitutional inquiry into corruptions practised at the elections through Sir F. B. Head’s patent deeds and otherwise; and although they were returned for the constitutional period which the death of the King has brought near to a close, they have violated the most solemn covenant of the British Constitution by resolving that their pretended power of legislation shall continue over us three years longer than they were appointed to act.” Canadian Independence was advocated on the ground that British connection involved a State Church, an “unnatural aristocracy, party privilege, public debt, and general oppression.” It was suggested that the country should pay a money price for its freedom in order that civil war might be avoided, and a resort to the ballot, it was urged, would show a large majority in favour of dissolving the colonial bond. The meeting declared for elective officials, including the judiciary. Some very significant devices were displayed, including a flag which bore a large star, surrounded by six smaller lustres, and in the centre a Death’s head with the inscription, “Liberty or Death.” Another flag displayed the word “Liberty” in bold relief, with figures of pikes, swords, muskets and cannon. It had been intended to erect a liberty pole one hundred feet in height, but the design was abandoned. The meeting elected as delegates to the convention proposed to be held in Toronto, Dr. W. W. Baldwin, Jesse Lloyd, James Grey, Mark Learmont, John Lawson and Gerard Irwin.

Mr. Mackenzie visited Lloydtown again a week or two before the outbreak, in order to complete the arrangements for a descent upon Toronto. It was here that he announced his determination not to assume a position of military command on account of the lack of training and experience requisite to qualify him for it. Samuel Lount and Anthony Anderson were then assigned leading positions. Lloydtown sent a large contingent to the force finally mustered by the insurgents. They were principally armed with rude pikes, few possessing firearms.

The present population of Lloydtown is about four hundred, and it is a prosperous and flourishing community.

The Township of King has nineteen school sections, with two unions having houses in the township, and three unions with houses outside the township.

No. 1, union with Whitchurch, is a double frame house on Yonge Street, three miles south of Aurora. Daniel Gregory is teacher. The average from King is 17; from Whitchurch, 20.

No. 2, Spring Hill School, stands on the east end of lot 7, 4th concession. It is a good brick house with two rooms. Teacher, John T. Saigeon. Average, 54.

No. 3, union with Whitchurch, has its house in Whitchurch, and will be referred to under that township.

No. 4, the Laskay School, is situated on lot 7 in the 5th concession, west end, half a mile north of Laskay. It is a good, brick building, but in need of renovation. Teacher, John Watson. Average, 31.

No. 5, the New Scotland School, stands on lot 16 in the 7th concession, near the centre. The house is a frame one, fairly kept, and well furnished. Teacher, Miss Kate McMurchy. Average, 30.

No. 6, a rather old frame house, stands near the middle of lot 25 in the 5th concession. The average attendance is 18. Teacher, George Edward Brown.

No. 7, stands on lot 8 in the 9th concession, on the west end. The house is a fine brick structure in a fine situation. The teacher is William Boal. Average, 43.

No. 8, is a small union with Albion. Pupils go to Bolton Village.

No. 9, the Grenville School stands between the Old Survey and lot 35 in the 2nd concession. The building, a new plank structure, is conveniently arranged, and has hot air furnaces instead of the universal stove. John S. Stephens is the teacher. Average, 25.

No. 10, is two and a half miles west from Aurora. The house is a good brick one. The teacher is Byron Oliver. Average, 32.

No. 11, Kettleby School, stands on the east end of lot 27 in the 4th concession. Teacher, Thomas Butler. Average, 35.

No. 12, situated on lot 31, near the middle, 5th concession, is a small and old frame house. The teacher is William Pearson. His average, 22.

No. 13, stands on lot 26 in the 7th concession. It is a brick building, recently erected and comfortably furnished. Teacher, Maria Norman. Average, 16.

No. 14, Schomberg School, on the north-east corner of lot 32, in the 9th concession, is a good and commodious brick structure having apartments for two teachers. Mr. A. Wilkinson and Miss J. King. Average, 58.

No. 15, Lloydtown School, is a fine specimen of school architecture in brick, somewhat thrown out of proportion inside by recent division into two rooms. Teachers, Henry Ward and Miss Srigley. Average, 48.

No. 16, Crawford’s School, stands on the south-east corner of lot 21, 11th concession. It is a frame building of moderate size. Teacher, Miss Libbie Cody. Average, 14.

No. 17 stands on the north side of lot 30, near the centre of the 11th concession. It is an old frame building, and not comfortably furnished. Teacher, Malcolm D. Hall. Average, 23.

No. 18, the Linton or Little Lake School, stands on lot 19, in the 9th concession. It is a frame structure. Teacher, Cunningham Moore. Average, 33.

No. 19, Nobleton School, is a double frame house on lot 5, near the west of concession 8. The two teachers are William F. Moore and Adelaide Watson. Average attendance, 60.

No. 20 is a union with 13 Albion, house not in the township.

No. 21 is situated in the 1st concession, west end of lots 7 and 8. It is a substantial and almost new brick house, and well furnished. Teacher, Henry J. Bolitho. Average, 30.

No. 22, the Eversley School, is a fine new brick house, on the west end of lot 9, 2nd concession. Teacher, H. W. Bolitho. Average, 22.

No. 23, Kinghorn School, a well-kept frame house, stands near the west end of lot 6, in the 4th concession. Teacher, Joseph B. Morris. Average, 21.

No. 24, New Amsterdam or Bradford Bridge School, a good frame house, stands in the Old Survey, on the road between Holland Landing and Bradford. Teacher, Sarah C. McConnell. Average, 11. A small union of East Gwillimbury with 24 has an average of 3.


WHITCHURCH is situated to the north of the Township of Markham, and east of Yonge Street, which divides it from the Township of King, being in the middle of the eastern row of townships. It was laid out in 1800 by Mr. John Stegmann, who had been an officer in a Hessian regiment during the War of Independence, and afterwards found employment as a surveyor in Upper Canada. Mr. Stegmann’s work was completed in 1802, but further surveys were afterwards made on the 8th and 9th concessions by Surveyor Wilmot, and in 1869 a re-survey of some of the lines was made by Mr. John Shier. Whitchurch comprises 59,743 acres. It has ten concessions, numbered eastward from Yonge Street, two of which are deficient. Settlers began to come into the township as early as 1795. The “Domesday Book” records the following patents issued in the earlier years of settlement:—

1796—Joseph Bouchette.

1797—Frederic Smith, Charles Fathers, James Pitney.

1798—William Bond, John Chisholm, Capt. W. Graham.

1801—Capt. John Baptist Bouchette, Mary Chambers, Duke William Kendrick, John Stegmann.

1802—Nathaniel Gamble, sen’r, Stephen Barbarce, Simon McMirty, James McMurty, Frederic Baron de Hoen, Isaac Phillips, James Roche, Peter Miller, Ebenezer Cook, John Ferguson, Nathan Hixon, John Baker, George Althouse, John Bogard, John Herns, James Mitchell, William Smith.

1803—Abner Miles, Abraham Tucker, Robert Wilson, James Miles, James Fulton, Hugh Shaw, George Chisholm, Joseph Webster, Godfrey Hilts, Peter Brillenger, John Engelhard, Joseph Durham, Jeremiah Durham, Robert Henderson, Hugh Wilson, Peter Boughstanch, John Cline, Joseph Derick, Gilbert Vanderbarrow, William Bechtel, Samuel Betzner, Jacob Bechtel, sen’r, Adam Cline, Mary Feeks, William Cornell, Samuel McLin, Loyal Davis, John Bricker, David Alberson, George Clemens, John Cornwell, Samuel Bucker, Phil. Saltberger, Hall Davis, Moses McCay, Benham Presson, David Hooter.

1804—John Jones, John Starkweather, Henry Crone, Timothy Rogers, Isaac Pilkington, Isaac Willis, James Starr, William Webster, Thomas Jobett, John Dehart, Jesse Ketchum, Henry Hashall, Ebenezer Lundy, Davenport Philps, John Eyer, Aaron Wilson, James Rogers, Josh. Smades, John Cook, jun’r, Ebenezer Jones, jun’r, Obadiah Taylor, Hannah Beans, Martin Bogart, sen’r, John Berry, Robert Gray.

1805—Ebenezer Britton, Robert Ward, Shadrack Stephens, Andrew Clubine, Abraham Webster, John Lundy, George Semon, John Bassel, Russell Hoag, Mary Walts.

1806—Joseph Chiniqui, Mary McNab, William Hill, Samuel Palmer, William Pearson, Isaac Johnson, Alexander Gray, John Furon, Ambroise de Farcy.

1807—Hannah Johnson, Elijah Groomes, Edward Heazzel, Nathaniel Pearson, Christian Schill, Nathaniel Hastings.

1808—Sarah Vanwick, James Lundy, Peter Wheeler, William Maclean.

1809—Abraham Stouffer, jun’r, Abraham McDonald, George Foukler.

1810—Jacob Long.

1811—John R. Small, W. Widdifield, James Edward Small.

1812—Wm. Eadus, Whitfield Patterson, John Kendrick, Joseph Widdifield, Mary Wells, Aaron Tool, Joseph Randall, Eliezer Lundy, Osborne Cox.

Frederic Baron de Hoen, whose name is given in the above list, received extensive grants of land in Whitchurch. He was an officer in a Hessian regiment which disbanded at the close of the American Revolution, and a great friend of the Baldwin family. His real name was Von Hoen. He also had a farm in York Township, about four miles north of Toronto, upon which he resided. Baron de Hoen officiated as the second of Attorney-General White in the duel with Mr. John Small, in 1800, which resulted in the Attorney-General receiving a fatal wound.

Two or three of the names which appear among the earlier patentees are those of French royalist emigrés, a number of whom settled in the Oak Ridges region. Most of them were located in Vaughan and Markham. The land was rough, and not well adapted for farming, and after a few years most of the French settlers left the country, though some of their descendants still remain. Among the number is Mr. Henry Quetto