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Title: The Scribbler 1822-04-25 Volume 1, Issue 44

Date of first publication: 1822

Author: Samuel Hull Wilcocke (1766-1833)

Date first posted: Jan. 28, 2020

Date last updated: Jan. 28, 2020

Faded Page eBook #20200152

This eBook was produced by: Cindy Beyer & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net


Montreal. Thursday, 25th April, 1822. No. XLIV.

Quid deceat, quid non, quo virtus, quo ferat error.Horace.

What’s right or wrong impartially I paint.

——Exordia pugnæ——                           Virgil.

——The fight’s begun——

Nam sive optatam mecum trahit ille quietem,

  Seu facili totum ducit amore diem,

Tum mihi Pactoli veniunt sub tecta liquores,

  Et legitur rubris gemma sub æquoribus.Propertius.


“Methinks if e’er with me she spends the night,

  Or kindly wastes the day in dear delight,

Beneath my roof Pactolus rolls his stores,

  And gems I cull on Erythræan shores.”


La Chine, 10th April 1822.

Mr. Scribbler,

As the good folks of this neighbourhood would conceive I was paying them a very bad compliment were I not to notice them first in my foraging details, and as I well know many of them have a longing desire to appear in print, no matter how, I will commence with giving you a rough sketch of a few of our principal worthies; in doing which I shall strictly adhere to the rules of precedence in placing them according to their merits. First then there is Big Jack, or Gros Jacques, as the Canadians term him, a would-be nabob, who endeavours to pass himself off as a diamond of the first water, but unluckily fails in the attempt. Like most of the folks in this country who have got above the world, he considers nothing but the wealth and rank in life of those around him, in proportioning the respect, the superciliousness, the civility, and the distance, with which he treats them. To sum up his character in a few words, I can exclaim with the poet,

“A man so proud, but yet so civil

Would hold a stirrup to the devil,

If in a journey to his mind,

He’d let him mount and ride behind.”

He is most exceedingly well suited with a deputy, Mr. Eithersides, of whom I need say no more than that he is a close imitator of his master. Next comes Squire Hayband, a dapper little fellow, of whom it might be said that “while his heart’s at ease, his head’s on fire”; very fond of sailing in the wake of people of quality, and rather too apt to pay that attention to other people’s affairs which would be better bestowed on his own; subject too, at times, to stretch a long bow, he forgets that his hearers can use their own discretion in believing only one tenth of what he relates. Highly deserving of a niche in the temple of fame is young Sneak-about, a conceited coxcomb, scarcely out of his teens, an ungainly, long-shanked shabby looking fellow with a face like a harlequin’s jacket, and a most graceful obliquity of vision. Yet he sets up for an exquisite of the first class, and considers himself irresistible. To complete his character this jackanapes pretends to be a poet, and thinks his lame doggerel without a parallel. The last adventure worthy of notice this hopeful youth was engaged in, was the being detected in secreting himself in that holy of holies, a lady’s bed-chamber, (for what purpose is best known to himself,) the consequence of which was his being conducted by the most prominent feature in his face to the door, and there kicked to his heart’s content. Captain Lepanto, a gay militia hero, enjoys a great share of consequence, he is famous for the talent he displays in quelling riots, and healing breaches of the peace; indeed the inhabitants of La Chine contemplate presenting him with a piece of plate for his eminent services in that respect. He is assisted at times by Old Buff, a dry sort of a codger, but no bad fellow in the main, and who is ever ready to help his fellow-creatures in distress with any thing but his money, for he has a mortal aversion to being put to any expense, whence many persons wonder why he ever got married. As a counterpart to this character, comes Bobby Bustle, a queer fish, but a damned good fellow, if making his friends heartily welcome to the best he has, can entitle him to that appellation; he is rather ticklish in his cups, and when well in for it, would, to use a vulgar phrase, “quarrel with his god-mother.” I conclude with Dr. MacGlyster, a rough Christian, but a jolly soul, and one who can take his share of what is going as well as any of his neighbours. These with some half dozen dandies, and as many old maids form our principal juntos. Owing to the unfavourable weather and badness of the roads, La Chine has had but few visitors during the last fortnight; a couple of North West nabobs, and three or four counter-jumpers forming exceptions. The last were from their dress, mistaken for gentlemen, (a mistake which no body ever made with respect to the former,) but black Peter,[A] a great connoisseur in his way, quickly detected them, by one of them attempting to pass some bad half-pence upon him.

Hoping this will meet your approbation I subscribe myself,

Your trusty scout,


[A] A person of no small repute, being, to use his own words “head ostler to the La Chine Mansion-house-hotel.”

N. B. Green breeches are quite the ton in Lower La Chine; and it is expected that scarlet leggings, with silver hat-bands and breast-plates will soon be worn.

La Prairie, 10th April.

Mr. Scribbler,

It was a maxim of my grand-father’s always to begin at the bottom in order to reach the top; in my reports to you I follow his ideas by commencing with the lowest of this place. And first therefore, Johnny Petitur is said to be a lineal descendant of Cain. It would be endless, and occupy too much space, to give a full account of the variations, gradations, and turns he has gone through; but his bright star has again predominated, and, through the influence of his creditors, he shines as captain of a Steamboat. Such facts are told of him as would hardly be credited, and I will give sixpence to any one who will say he is entitled to the character you gave of Old Bellow, viz. that he is an honest fellow. The next I shall distinguish is Mr. Billytap, who gives private breakfasts; and so polite, so genteel, so pressing are his invitations, so neat, so elegant the entertainment, and so good humoured the host, that the ladies are particularly charmed with the douceurs of bachelor’s hall. I had intended to have taken a wider round; but time prevents me; however, as there is an ancient prophecy which dooms Montreal to be swallowed up by an earthquake, and the good people of La Prairie, anxious for the fate of their neighbours, intend to propose to the Turf-club, to make a race-course on our vast common, as being the best place to assemble for safety in case of an accident; there will then be ample scope for

Your faithful forager


I regret that I have only room to commence my Quebec campaign with the exordium with which my first correspondent there introduces himself and his subject.


Quebec, 8th April.


In consequence of a wish expressed in one of your papers, to have a correspondent at Quebec who would, with truth and boldness equal to your own, expose the follies of this noted town, and finding that a more able censor has not stepped forward, I now with diffidence undertake the task, and though I may not be found to possess talents equal to the object in view I hope my zeal in the cause will supply any deficiency. If I do not succeed, the fault must be wholly in myself, not in my subject, for the unchecked license that has reigned here so long will supply materials for many an essay; however, should the game in my grounds prove less plentiful than in yours, you must allow that I stoop to a nobler quarry.

In the motley assembly which constitutes the society of this city, and which is made up of shreds and patches, in which small and glimmering particles of nobility are thinly scattered, like half hidden stars in a stormy night, Pride, rank Pride, is the striking feature; not the honest pride of deserving merit, but that which is raised by place and profit, with the faint collateral honours that are derived from some distant stock of the peerage, till at last, with an assurance in other climes unknown, they would condemn history to silence, and cite the ancestry of a Torrington as a proof of worth, courage, and honour. Yet with all this pride it is surprising with what eagerness they throw off this foreign manner and descend from their high pinnacle of greatness to the level for which nature meant them, imitating the graces of a coachman, and the politeness of a groom.

Proceeding from general outlines to more particular and separate details, my essay will be like a tocsin to their heedless security, for they are like the inhabitants of ancient Rome, who, having so long remained exempt from the dangers of war, thought that none would dare to insult the majesty of their city till they were fatally convinced of their error by the enemy at the gates.

(To be continued.)

Being under the necessity, for particular reasons, of deferring, for another week, the first biographical sketch furnished me by my learned and ingenious correspondent, Bion Grapheus, the following letter, will perhaps be of some use to him, in the continuation of his elaborate and meritorious researches, which I trust he will not relax in, as the same particular reasons, can not exist at all times, nor in all cases.


Maister McCulloh.

Ye man ken that I hae something to tell ye o’ that great favourite o’ yours Count Oldjoseph as ye ca’ him. Ye man ken that I cam out wi’ him in the same vesshel, and got to be a great friend o’ Joseph’s during the passage. Aften did he relate to me his expectations in this land o’ promise, an’ I made nae secret o’ mine; I wull just relate to ye a conversation that Joseph an’ I had crossing the Atlantic. Cuddie, says he, for that’s ma name, what wull ye do, when we reach America; faith, says I, its mair than I can tell, I can plough pretty weel, an’ there’s nae scant o’ lan’ whar we’re ganging, sae that I wull be likely aneuch to get wark; but what are ye ganging to do yersel: Ou, says he, I need nae fear muckle, ma uncle is weel off, an’ wull aye do something for me, I wad nae be surprised, Cuddie, gif ye wad see me a gentleman sax weeks after our landing. Haud your tongue, Joseph, ye’r blethering, says I, it canna be. It’s the truth tho’, Cuddie, ye’ll see it afore lang. Here the conversation ended, and here I man end ma epistle tull a mair convenient time.

Yours to command


Bion Grapheus may probably also procure some valuable materials for the biography of the Count, from a worthy and distressed relation of his (not a very near one, being only a sister,) now in Quebec, who, it is said, has been most impertinently importunate in soliciting a little relief out of his abundance.

L. L. M.


     Man’s happiest moment.


There is a moment sweeter than

All others to the heart of man;

A half-celestial one, in which

All that is delicate and rich

In sense and sentiment, unite

To form a cluster of delight:

A moment like the perfumed tear

The rose of Mauritania weeps,

(Shed, as it were, in grief or fear,

While its loved luminary sleeps,)

Its very essence, fragrant, bright.

Disclosed at morn, distilled at night.


Such moment is enjoyed by him

Whose hopes long wavering and dim,

At length are crown’d by her, whose charms

Lie lightly slumbering in his arms;

While his enraptured gaze alone

Beholds the prize at last his own:

But soft! the peeping sun-beams break

Athwart the curtain on her eyes;

The blue orbs ope, and a half-shriek

Betrays oblivion and surprise,

For memory, with mist o’ercast,

Has not as yet recall’d the past.


But soon the mist dissolves away

Before the mind’s increasing ray;

The wedding-dress, the nuptial rite,

With all the soft events of night,

And most the lover at her side,

Remind her that she is a bride:

Then sinks the glance unable to

Meet that which so intensely speaks;

And conscious blushes spread a hue

Of deeper damask on her cheeks;

Till with confusion sweet oppress’d,

Her head droops fondly on his breast.


This is the moment half divine,——

Azura! shall it e’er be mine?


Will O’the Wisp.

Argus, Humphry Clinker, and several others intended for insertion, are again most unwillingly shut out. The further favours of Will O’the Wisp are thankfully acknowledged, but they will not all do. Justice must be delayed, probably till it is of no benefit, but it will not be the first time that has happened in Montreal. Examiner can not be admitted. Several articles reserved for the Domestic Intelligencer. Cross the Conjuror’s account of Mrs. Long-one’s routs in St. Jabee Street, the first opportunity, so also Censor, A Friend to Matrimony, Major Rank’em, and Trip; the last is requested to send a key to his humourous sketches, a few of which are not understood. M. A. Y. is gratefully thanked for the interest she (for the writing appears to be in a female hand), takes in the welfare of the Scribbler: no such catastrophe as was reported is in the power of its enemies to accomplish; but if it were, as she well observes, there are other presses, in the country. Figure nine without a tail is requested to send a key of his communication: all correspondents are respectfully urged to observe this rule, without which it is often impracticable to judge of the propriety of insertion.


Information is solicited respecting the constitution, members, and objects, of the Garret Society, and the Montreal Dorcas Society. The interests of society, and morality call loudly for a thorough knowledge of the real state of these institutions, if they exist at all, and are not pretences set up for the worst of purposes.


Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.


[The end of The Scribbler 1822-04-25 Volume 1, Issue 44 edited by Samuel Hull Wilcocke]