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Title: The Canadian Literary Magazine, No 3. October 1833

Date of first publication: 1833

Author: Various

Date first posted: Aug. 20, 2020

Date last updated: Aug. 20, 2020

Faded Page eBook #20200831

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

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No. 3. OCTOBER, 1833. Vol. 1.


[This table of contents is added for convenience.—Transcriber.]


The “Fidler” in Upper Canada

Phenomenon of Dreaming

A Little Incident in a Soldier’s Life


The Sailor’s Return


The Reader, on looking at the title of this Article, will probably expect an account of some itinerant Gentleman who has laid a wager that he can extract a certain sum from the pockets of the Transatlantic charitables by the influence of catgut. Or perhaps those of our Classical readers who, like the worthy father of the Apostolic Adam Clarke, pursue the system of agriculture laid down in the Georgias of Virgil, may hope to find a description of some superhuman Paganini, who, like Orpheus or Amphion of old can, by the music of a Cremona, set the forests a dancing, and at every note clear an acre, without leaving even a single fibre of a single root to check the course of the glittering ploughshare. Glad, indeed, should we be, could we with truth announce such an expeditious mode of subduing forests, and extracting stumps; nay, we would instantly select some favorite spot, as our own romantic Hawthornden, and convert our Editorial goosequill into a gardening hoe. But, alas! we are the bearers of no such welcome tidings. The “Fidler,” we are about to exhibit to our readers, is as miserable a scraper, as ever led the orchestra of a Barn Theatre; his instrument is cracked; his bow is greasy; his bridge has almost broken down. The performer, (alas! for the ears of Moli or De Beriot, were they to hear him!) corresponds with his instrument. He is so short sighted, that he cannot read his notes aright; he has no ear—in short,

Qui Bagpipes non odit, amet, tua carmina, Fidler.

In sober truth, however, the Fidler, we have thus far introduced, is not a Fidler by profession, but a Fidler by name, and by nature—he is no less a person than “the Rev. Isaac Fidler, for a short time Missionary of Thornhill, on Yonge Street, near York, Upper Canada,” and his instrument which we have alluded to in such very complimentary terms, is nothing more nor less, than a book, which the reverend Fidler has composed, under the title of “Observations on Professions, Literature, Manners, and Emigration in the United Slates and Canada, made during a residence there in 1832.” This is his theme, and now for our variations.

Of the Fidler’s strictures on the United States, we do not intend to take much notice; the Americans are fully able to fight their own battles, we intend to confine ourselves principally to those portions of the work, descriptive of Upper Canada.

Be it known then to all men by these presents, that Isaac, of the musical cognomen, “at the latter end of 1831, left England for America, with a view of adopting the United States as his future country, His reasons for taking this stop, were similar to those of most Emigrants. Dissatisfaction with the Government, and the state of things in his own country, by which he had, as he concluded, been hitherto kept back in fortune, and disappointed in his aims, together with a high admiration of the American Republic, formed the foundation of his reasons for Emigrating.” To these reasons, were added the well known opinions of his deceased Father, who, for many years before his death, “had cherished the intention of becoming himself an American.” We are sorry that we cannot furnish details of the early childhood of this distinguished traveller, whom we may venture to compare to that renowned, but much ridiculed tourist, Sir John Carr, Kt.; the little however we can learn of his personal history, we gather from the present work. By his frequent allusions to Yorkshire and Cumberland, it appears probable, that this modern Dr. Syntax, was born in the North of England, and we may therefore not inaptly term him an Aurora Borealis. The Rev. James Tate of Richmond, had the honor and felicity, to teach his young idea how to shoot: a fact, which we learn from an interesting passage in the work before us. During his visit to Boston, the American Athens—but, where, alas! the Persian and Nagaree characters were little known, our author attended an evening party, on which occasion,

“Refreshments of various kinds, were served round, among which were stewed Oysters, of which I partook in memory of a parting supper, which I once ate in company with my much revered preceptor, the Rev. James Tate of Richmond, whose name I found to be held in great esteem among scholars in America.”

Our Reverend Radical, however, no sooner sets his foot upon the American shore, than a change comes over him. The Republican edifice, when viewed from the other side of the Atlantic, presented a noble and imposing aspect to the disappointed Moonshee; upon closer inspection, he abuses it, as if it were no better than a miserable shanty, or a tumble-down log hut. In vain he opens his intellectual stores; the Yankees listen to his learned dissertations on Sanscrit, Persian, and Hindostanee, but calculate that they are rather useless and outlandish tongues, in the Forests and Prairies of the New World, and first guess and finally conclude, that no money can be made by the operation. In return for this neglect, for this infatuated insensibility to learned worth, the Moonshee finds fault with almost every thing American, and to add to his troubles, gets afflicted with the jaundice, which makes him behold every object in the most unfavorable colors. He forthwith shakes the dust off his feet against the Sons of a Republic, which, a few short weeks ago, he had regarded with an “hereditary” veneration: and leaving “Mrs. F.” behind him, at New York, proceeds to Upper Canada, in the hope, of course, that immediately upon his arrival, he would be appointed Professor of Oriental Literature, to the Upper Canada College. It would seem though, from his Reverence’s book, that he expected, to find us, Governor and all, a herd of Canadian Savages; for, upon having an interview with His Excellency Sir John Colborne, he “was struck with his gentlemanly appearance and deportment,”—and a little farther on he says, on the occasion of his calling on a gentleman living on Yonge St., 13 miles from York.

“The gentleman I called on, is a person of opulence, and a Justice of the Peace. My surprise on entering his house, was great, to find in the wilds of Canada, the comforts and even luxuries of civilized life. I was not prepared for expecting the elegance and refinement which appeared around me. A large family, handsomely attired, in apartments well carpeted & furnished, a good library, a blazing fire, and numerous servants.”

An “agreeable surprise,” forsooth, this must have been to the converted Radical. Instead of finding the family muffled up like Russian Peasants, in undressed sheepskins, or like Pitcairn Islanders, in puris naturalibus, he actually found them handsomely attired! Poor ignorant man, with all his Sanscrit, he knew not that Upper Canada had a Rival to Stultz in the person of Murchison, and a counterpart to the establishment of Howell and James, in that of the tasteful and elegant Claris, whose merits are so duly appreciated by the Canadian Fair, that several young Ladies! are wanted as apprentices by this goddess of Fashion. A blazing fire also, in the wilds & woods of Canada, was a great surprise! After this, what would not be surprising!

Leaving all this luxury behind him, the adventurous Missionary, like pious Master Hooker, staff in hand, tramps onward to Newmarket. Little worthy of note befalls him by the road-side, excepting, that a grumbling old Radical enters into conversation with him, and tells him, “You talk mighty fine, you are a mighty elegant gentleman, and have a noble look.” Who would not be intoxicated, with such a compliment, from a hater of Popes, Prelates, Priests and Potentates! Such praise is really enough to make a meek-hearted person, as “drunk as a Fidler.”

Newmarket did not long detain our “christian hero.” Retracing his way to York, he finds—

“A large party of Gentlemen exulting at the general expression of public feelings of loyalty and attachment to the throne of Great Britain, and at the discomfiture of those who had endangered public order. These Gentlemen formed a deputation from the Districts of Cobourg, Newcastle, Brockville, &c. and had waited on the Governor, to congratulate his Excellency on the restoration of tranquility; to assure him of their steady adherence, and that of all respectable men in the neighbourhood, to his Excellency’s government, and to present an anti-grievance petition, in opposition to Mr. McKenzie and his party.

“During the preceding winter, when Parliament was assembled in York, so great were the crowds of revolutionary rebels and American democrats, and so strenuous their efforts to intimidate the Governor, and compel him to surrender up the Province to mis-rule, that apprehensions were entertained in that capital of an overthrow of Government. These misguided men, instigated by factious demagogues, or by those supposed to be in American pay, entered York armed for the most part with bludgeons or shillelahs, and marched in tumultuous procession, with menaces and threats, towards the Government House, where the Governor resides. His Excellency had timely notice of this outrageous insurrection, and having ordered the Riot Act to be read, caused some loaded cannon to be so planted as to command the principal streets which lead to his residence, and the soldiers to be drawn out, and Artillery men with lighted matches to be stationed ready. The factious and tumultuous mob, amounting in numbers to many thousands, pretended when they saw the reception prepared for them, that their sole object was to present a petition for redress of grievances, conscious of their guilty and abominable purposes, and shrinking in cowardice and dismay upon detection, they quietly presented their petition, and withdrew. They were overjoyed at escaping merited punishment, and dispersed with all practicable haste; thus permitting His Excellency, and, through him, the inhabitants of York, to reap the fruits of this firm and decisive measure in recovered tranquillity & order. Such were the facts as related to me.”

Can any one read this, and refrain from bursting out into an equine laugh! The loaded cannon—the soldiers drawn out—the lighted matches! Really, Sir John Colborne’s Peninsular Services, are but the veriest trifles, when compared with this grand precautionary exploit. It is very strange though, that no one in York ever heard the Riot Act read—ever saw the loaded cannon—the soldiers drawn out—the lighted matches. In sober truth, it is a ridiculous piece of fudge. Some Canadian wag perceived that the Musical Isaac, was not a disciple of St. Thomas, and instantly crammed this precious piece of burlesque down the throat of his gaping auditor.

Having made a sad hole in the historical veracity of our credulous Traveller, let us follow him in his career, and see whether he makes amends for his gullibility, by shrewd remarks, or accurate observation. The Archdeacon advised him to proceed at once to Quebec, to see the Bishop, and furnishes him with a letter of introduction,—and (listen to the important fact) “this Gentleman and his Son accompanied me to the Steam-Boat.” Mr. Fidler, however, has omitted to state, what was equally important—the name of the Steam-Boat—the color of his portmanteau, and what he had for breakfast. To proceed: Having escaped all intervening perils, the Rev. Peter Simple, found himself safe in Quebec; and now let him speak for himself;—

“The Bishop conferred on me the honor of inviting me to dine at his house every day I remained in Quebec, and I availed myself of it in every instance except one. His Lordship examined my papers, and approved of them. I was also questioned as to my views of some leading doctrines of our Church, which I answered to his Lordship’s approbation. I was requested to read part of a Greek Play, and a few verses of the Hebrew Bible, and thus my examination ended.”

The Bishop of Quebec, offered Mr. Fidler, the Mission of Yonge Street.

“This was the Mission which I had earnestly longed for, and I accepted it immediately. But at the same time I mentioned that my final acceptance of it must depend on Mrs. F’s pleasure, whom I had induced to cross the ocean much against her wish, and who seemed resolute on returning as speedy as possible. “You must write to me from New York,” said his Lordship, “after your resolves have been concluded; and if you accept the Mission, your stipend will commence from the date of your letter.” In this I acquiesced. On the Sunday which I passed in Quebec, I had the extreme pleasure of preaching twice before his Lordship, the Archdeacon, his Lordship’s Chaplain, &c. &c. in the Cathedral Church!!

Leaving Bishops, Archdeacons, Cathedrals and Chaplains behind him, the learned Moonshee wends his way back to New York, and thus describes his reception:—

“I had the crowning felicity of returning safe to my family, and of finding even that part of it, which was sick at my departure, in renewed health and strength. Flushed with my good fortune, free from sickness and debility, and welcomed by the endearments of my family, I disclosed the issue of my journey. My tale was told in a propitious moment, and imbibed with an approving ear. Only one stipulation was proposed and agreed to,—that I would resign if required. I wrote the next morning to the Bishop, and announced my acceptance of the Mission. We packed up the articles we deemed essential, and were on our journey to Canada in the course of a week.”

Having got as far as Oswego, on his way towards York, the learned Moonshee, Vicar of Thornhill,

“Proceeded to the harbour in quest of a trading vessel bound to York in Canada, and had the good fortune to find one which would sail in an hour. I agreed with the Captain for nine dollars for myself, family and baggage; and he, on his part, assured me, that he would land us safe in twenty-four hours. Our provisions were included in the fare.—Instead of reaching York in one day, we were five days on the Lake. He had to call at Youngstown on the American side, at the mouth of the Niagara River, in order to unship part of his freight, and receive payment. There were two passengers besides ourselves, equally disappointed and impatient. I therefore intimated to the Captain, who was a good-natured man, that unless he proceeded immediately to York, I would, when he landed us, oblige him to compensate his passengers for loss of time. He declared to me that the Storekeepers had not been able to pay him, and his stay for the two previous days, had arisen from this circumstance; he soon after hoisted his sails without being paid, I believe, and we reached York in the evening.

“While detained at Youngstown, I witnessed a scene between an American and an Irishman, painful yet ludicrous. The latter had been a servant in the employment of the former, and feeling himself ill-treated and deprived of his wages, left his employer in disgust, with an intimation that he would sue him for the debt, the American followed his servant,—“independent, free and equal,” and having overtaken him at this place, was shaking him most unmercifully. “You shall go back with me,” he said, “and submit to your work.” The poor Irishman swore he would not, and the American swore he should. I could see from the first, that all the American wanted, was to dismiss him without payment. A great number of Americans were standing near, enjoying the sight, rapturously applauding their countryman, and encouraging him to pay Paddy his wages to his heart’s content. This the scoundrel continued to do, till the brow-beaten Irish man agreed to trouble him no further, and to accept blows for wages. The Irish are frequently wronged and injured in the land of exile! but they have been long oppressed in their own land, by those very persons on whom they have claims as friends and brothers. I trust in Heaven that their long endured wrongs will ultimately be redressed.

“The cabin of the vessel served for the sitting, eating and sleeping room of passengers, captain and crew. I expostulated strongly on this usage but the captain informed me we had no alternative. The place commonly assigned to sailors had not been fitted up, and we were forced to tolerate this inconvenience. The sailors slept on the floor, and resigned the berths to the passengers, but not from choice. I frequently perceived, in travelling, that unwillingness with which people in the States give precedence to the English.—The two first nights I slept soundly; but in consequence of becoming pained from sleeping on a thin Mattrass, spread on boards, I passed the three last nights without much comfort. On the first night Mrs. F., whose slumbers are generally light, heard the sailors say to each other, that they could see no reason why these Englishers should be better accommodated than they; “we are as good flesh and blood,” they muttered aloud, “as these foreigners.” Thus, notwithstanding we had promised the captain his full demand, the sailors regarded this privilege, and that of eating before them, with a grudge and jealousy.

“The food generally placed before us for dinner, was salt pork, potatoes, bread, water and salt; tea, bread and butter, and sometimes salt pork for breakfast and tea; no supper. Some displeasure at this fare was expressed, when the cook informed us that their vessel had a better character than any on the Lake for liberal treatment; yet our murmurs obtained for us a quarter of good Lamb at Youngstown. At this place the captain advised us to go on shore and board at some inn till the vessel might sail. “It is quite uncertain,” he observed, when I shall be at liberty to sail, for I am not yet paid: and it is customary for passengers under such circumstances to leave the vessel.” This we all refused, and declared that he had deceived us, and we would not, therefore, quit the vessel till his arrival at York. On debarking he told me that he “perceived we would suit the country, for we knew how to take care both of ourselves and our money.”

“Immediately on landing I went in quest of lodgings but Emigrants had begun to pour in by hundreds daily, and all places where boarders were admitted were already occupied. The Archdeacon’s son, on learning my difficulty, accompanied me to two or three houses, at the last of which we obtained lodgings for eight dollars a week—about one-third what they had cost us in New York—and remained a fortnight. The Rev. Mr. Boulton, one of the Professors of the College, on hearing of our arrival, called on us with his lady. During the course of their visit, they described the country as abundantly fertile, but added, “it is yet more adapted to the prosperity of the labourer, mechanic and farmer, than of other classes. It may properly be termed the Poor Man’s country. The prudent-industrious man finds it an inestimable treasure.” My stay was sufficiently protracted to show me the correctness of the statement.

“At this Gentleman’s house was a Barrister, lately arrived from London, in hopes of obtaining professional engagement. He had suffered disappointment in consequence of a prohibition, unknown to him previously, which excludes an English lawyer from practising in Canada till after a five year’s apprenticeship in the country. He had fixed on no plan at the time we left the house, and I am ignorant of his subsequent fortunes.”

The Barrister here alluded to, we believe, was soon afterwards called to the Provincial Bar. The exclusion spoken of, extends only to English Attornies. No Legislature, however, will long sanction an iniquitous Statute, dictated by a selfish and contracted spirit.—The education received by an English Attorney, entitles him to consider himself, without the least presumption, as well stored in general information, and as well grounded in legal knowledge, as any alumnus of Osgoode Hall, who perchance with much ado; can hobble through a sentence of Cæsar, and distinguish a lease from a mortgage. The exclusion has been defended, on the ground of reciprocity. “A Canadian Attorney,” say the exclusives, “would not be at liberty to practice in England.” True enough,—neither could a Canadian Barrister practice at the English Bar! Yet an English Attorney is debarred from pursuing his profession, while an English Barrister is free from such an impediment. Why did not the framers of this unjust Statute, exclude English Barristers? They dared not attempt it. Why, we also ask, is Mr. Attorney General Jameson, admitted as a Canadian Barrister, and Mr. Keele, an English Attorney, debarred from exercising his profession? To aggravate the matter, we hear that it is in contemplation to introduce a Bill, investing Mr. Jameson with the functions and the privileges of an Attorney; a character, which, in conjunction with that of a Barrister, he never did bear, and never could have borne, at home. Thus then Mr. Jameson transplanted to Canada, will, if this inequitable Bill be passed, find himself not only a Barrister, but an Attorney, and able, forsooth, to take his articled clerks; while the poor Attorney finds the door of Osgoode Hall, slammed violently in his face. But the King’s Attorney General has no more right to a single privilege, or to a special Act of Parliament in his favor, than the King’s meanest subject; and it is disgusting to see, that many of those who have almost strained themselves hoarse, in declaiming against what they call public wrongs, are the most strenuous in upholding and defending this illiberal and unconstitutional exclusion, little regardless of inflicting a private wrong, provided it suits their private interest. Can it be alleged as a reason for this exclusion, that an English Attorney, being ignorant of Canadian law, ought to study a certain time, to render him competent to practice his profession in this Province? If this can be alleged with justice, which we deny,—how much more necessary is it, that the King’s Attorney General, the legal adviser of the Provincial Government, should run through such a course of probation!

To return from Law to Divinity, let us hear what the Reverend Moonshee propounds concerning York:—

“During the fortnight we were in York, the corner-stone of an elegant Church was laid by the Governor, with the usual solemnity. The Archdeacon delivered an appropriate sermon. In consequence of oversight in the Managers, no separate accommodations were prepared for ladies, and they were under the necessity of struggling through the crowd, or of being excluded. This new Church is contiguous to a former one of wood, from the belfry of which, the place where the corner-stone was laid, could be distinctly seen. The Archdeacon’s lady and daughters, with some other ladies, ascended to the belfry; but the room was already so crowded with spectators, that admission to the windows was impossible, unless some of the others would resign their place. I interceded for the ladies, but those who were already on the vantage ground, refused to resign it, and the ladies were consequently debarred. This proves how strongly the spirit of independence exists in Canada as well as in the States. A great difference, however, is perceptible, between American and Canadian manners. The old Church, I imagine, will be removed, when the new one, which is of stone, shall have been completed. It will form one of the ornaments of that capital.

“The number of brick and wood buildings in progress of erection, was quite surprising. All over the town were building lots, on which Masons and Carpenters were busy. The saw, the axe, the chissel, the hammer, and the trowel, resounded on every side. In addition to the numerous private buildings in which workmen were engaged, there were some public edifices, as the Church I have mentioned, a capacious Market House of Brick, and the Houses of Parliament. The Market House is a quadrangular building of great extent, fitted for the accommodation of a much larger place, and having a prospective reference to the rapidly increasing population. It stands upon a block of ground of an oblong square, occupying the area contained between four streets, with a dead wall on its two longer side. At one end, which faces the principal street of the town, a townhall is erected, through the centre of which is an archway, and a street passing down the middle of the Market within, to a similar archway at the opposite end, which faces the waters of the harbor. On the other sides are parallel streets, passing from side to side, and cutting the former at right angles. The Market stalls are consequently, all formed to face the interior of the square, and are not observable from without. The convenience of this building, and the building itself, has no equal of the kind even in New York, or the States.

“The Houses of parliament are beautifully situated on the west end of the town, near the Governor’s residence, and not far from the College: they face the water near the entrance of the harbor. The principal part of these elegant [!!!] buildings, is of brick, but with ornamented stone-work around the doors, windows, &c. The extensive plot of ground encircling them, has been levelled and beautified. In front of them a spacious and delightful road passes from the chief landing place in the harbor, along the summit of the banks of the Lake, for several miles, and will be one of the most beautiful promenades, and drives imaginable, when the improvements now in progress are completed. No building between it and the water is permitted to be raised. Several extensive and imposing mansions and residences, line the ulterior margin of the road, on both sides of the Parliament Houses, and command an extensive view of the Lake. York Town has a fine appearance as we approached it from the water, & has become much more healthy since the draining of the marshes.

“The Archdeacon with his Lady, called on us, and kindly offered me a horse to ride on, whenever I might desire it. To this gentleman I am indebted for more favors than need be mentioned, all of them conferred with the greatest readiness, and without the expectation, or even the possibility of requital. Perhaps I might have imagined myself a particular favorite, had I not found out that his kindness extends to all of every class, whose condition requires his assistance. This disposition is benevolent and open, and Heaven has blessed him with resources which he employs for the benefit of his fellow men. Of this kindness I failed not to avail myself, and rode on his horse several times to my new Church at Thornhill.

“The house promised at Thornhill where my Church was situated, could not be procured for us. The gentleman who formerly received me so kindly, informed me that the title was disputed, and possession not yet given, and that for the present I must be content with lodgings. Lodgings were accordingly provided instead of the house, consisting of five rooms, three above and two below, and comprising one half of a large mansion. The upper rooms were merely lathed, but not plastered; and consequently could be seen into from the outside. As another family, the owner’s of the mansion and the estate it pertained to, resided in the same house, we made no use of them, except for our servant.

“Had the inside of our residence corresponded with the outside, it might have been counted among the beauties of Canada. It was delightfully situated on the summit of a hill, not far from the Church, and above a pleasant bend of the valley. A perennial stream, sufficient at all times to give motion to a grist and saw mill, ran through the grounds a little below. In front, but at the distance of several hundred yards, were the expanded waters of a mill pond, forming a small lake, which gave variety to the scenery, and was exceedingly agreeable from the prospect it afforded. Behind this sheet of water, was a thick grove of lofty pines, standing on a steep acclivity. The view from the house was extensive, and commanded a sight of Yonge Street, for a considerable distance on both sides. The village of Thornhill, a thriving and increasing place, was on nearly the same level, and one-third of a mile distant. We were surrounded on all sides by families of great respectability, from whom we received every attention we could wish. The same conveniences, however, could not be obtained as in a large and more populous place; and this formed the grievance of which my family afterwards complained.

“Mrs. F. was impatient to enter her parsonage house, as she imagined, when we left New York, she could speedily do, and was already wearied with confinement to one room in a boarding house. She hastened me to take her from York into the country, even should the house not prove so convenient in all respects as she could wish. I lost no time in making such arrangements as were in my power. Dissatisfaction, however, soon evinced itself. She grew more and more averse every hour to continue, and her first impressions could never be effaced.

“The gentleman who had actively interfered in procuring for us the lodging, had a few things done for our convenience, and omitted nothing in his power to make us comfortable. All the most respectable of our neighbors, and several of them were highly respectable, and very wealthy and influential, had visited us on our arrival, and welcomed us to Thornhill. When we alluded to our apartments and furniture, they replied invariably, that they had encountered the same inconveniences to a greater extent; and that a little time, exertion and expense, would completely remove our disquietudes. The lady of the house, where I remained all night on my first ramble up Yonge Street, accommodated us most obligingly, with a good feather bed which she permitted us to use during our residence at Thornhill.

“The manner in which we lived, was not very splendid, but sufficiently accorded with the country, and our recent arrival. The house had no oven: one had been built, which was fallen to decay. The bread we eat was consequently either thin cakes or loaves, baked in a pan. We could sometimes, but not regularly, have bread from York; but as we could not depend on such a luxury, and as the obligation we seemed to owe to the person who brought it, appeared greater than the favor, we discontinued our orders for its supply.

“It was not always possible to obtain joints of fresh meat when wanted.—There are no butchers’ stalls in country places, at which a constant supply of meat is provided. We were, consequently, often debarred from such food for several days together, and had only salted pork and puddings, or pies; with fish, when I could find an opportunity to go to York. Our usual drink was tea; into which a little whiskey or brandy had been infused. Sometimes a little wine and water. Mrs. F. occasionally procured ale for HERSELF, at the price of eight pence per quart.—Butter, milk, cheese, &c. are attainable, but not at lower prices than at England. Cheshire cheese was between three and four shillings per lb.

What pitiful trash is this for a Gentleman and a Clergyman, to indite! But as he has chosen to lay before the public the details of his domestic economy, we feel ourselves at perfect liberty, to make a few remarks on them. It is surely a very strange habit for a Clergyman’s family to indulge in; that of drinking “tea, into which a little whiskey or brandy, had been infused.” Is such a habit indulged in by any Gentleman’s family in the Province! Decidedly not;—and Mr. Fidler’s voluntary statement, is not calculated to raise a favorable opinion of the habits of himself or family. Weak man! could he not have kept Mrs. F.’s foaming quart of strong ale out of sight? We are of Lord Byron’s opinion, that it is disgusting to see a woman eat: it destroys at once the ethereal character with which our fancy may have invested her: but when we see her sipping swipes—tremendous! her spiritual attributes vanish, and the witchery of her sex departs. We are not well versed in cheesy matters, but we have made inquiries of several eminent Grocers, and find that Cheshire cheese never bore a higher price than one shilling and eight pence per lb.

Then follows a rambling and ill-written account of the fatal ravages of the Cholera in York and its neighbourhood. Hitherto we have only laughed and sneered at Mr. Fidler; we must now express our intense disgust at certain passages in his book. We do not, from motives of delicacy, wish to allude to them more pointedly; but we have no hesitation in affirming most deliberately, that Mr. Fidler has been guilty of a gross violation of the sanctity and privacy of domestic life; and that he has written what is calculated to harrow up the feelings of those who have already sustained the bitterest afflictions. We do not accuse this weak-headed, but seemingly kind-hearted man, of doing this wilfully; we only condemn his folly, and lament that he should have ever stultified himself so excessively, as to patch up such a contemptible book.

Our author certainly can allege, that if he divulges the secrets, and violates the privacy of others, he does not spare himself; and that his victims have no right to complain at having the same measure meted out to them, which he metes out unto himself. But Mr. Fidler must not estimate the rest of mankind by his own standard in this respect. He may feel no reluctance to inform the public how much he enjoyed his trip from New York to Quebec and back again; because it afforded him a cessation of domestic discord, and family cares; he may take a pleasure in dragging forth into open and broad day-light, those minute domestic circumstances, which good taste and good feeling usually consign to secrecy; and he may think it no breach of confidence to print an observation of Dr. Strachan, who, in the course of conversation remarked, that a certain German author in the U.S., to whom he had been introduced, was prejudiced and narrow-minded. The German Author has, no doubt, read Mr. Fidler’s book, and will most naturally ever afterwards regard Dr. Strachan with dislike. Is this then the return made for the Archdeacon’s kindness?—that words casually dropped, in the course of conversation, are noted down, and perpetuated in print: words which Mr. Fidler must have known, would make an enemy to Dr. Strachan. This reverend recorder of falsities and trifles—this reporter of chit-chat—this chronicler of small beer, alludes, in one place, to his vision having been weakened with “long and intense study.” In the course of his “long and intense” studies, does he not remember to have met with the following passage?

Est e fideli tuta silentio

Merces, vetabo, qui Cereris sacrum

  Vulgarit arcanæ sub isdem

    Sit trabibus, fragilemve mecum

Solvat phaselon.

“Take him all in all,” we never shall look upon Mr. Fidler’s like again. Sir John Carr,[A] in his day, wore the cap and bells without dispute; the Rev. Mr. Dillon then stepped in, and successfully asserted his claim to the highest niche in the Temple of Folly; and he is now in his turn, compelled to yield precedence to the Rev. Isaac Fidler. For what portion of manly sense; what powers of observation; what knowledge of human character, can that man possess, who tells us, in addition to the nonsense already quoted, that a hail-storm having occurred in the midst of a funeral, he quenched his thirst with the hailstones collected off the surrounding hillocks?—who tells us, that “the only thing during their Canadian residence, with which Mrs. F. seemed to be amused, was the frequent visits which the cows and sheep of our landlady made into the forests and pastures of other people, and which her neighbors’ cows and sheep made into hers”—who tells us a childish story of a carriage upsetting, and “all the Ladies and Gentlemen trundled out of it like rollingpins”!

From the extracts already given, it may be easily concluded, that Mr. Fidler was not composed of materials sufficiently strong to stand the wear and tear of Canada. It is true, he professes himself delighted with the kindness and generosity of his flock, and represents himself as becoming gradually reconciled to the country; but Mrs. F. determined on a return to England; and like a certain character in a certain Farce, called the Mayor of Garret, Mr. Fidler returns to England, dispossessed of his hereditary veneration for the glorious and indissoluble Union.

Before, however, we dismiss this ridiculous farrago of rubbish, we must make a few remarks on the tone of Mr. Fidler’s observations on the United States. Mr. Fidler left England disaffected to the government of his native land, and the Americans had sense enough to look with suspicion upon a clerical malcontent: he, consequently experienced that revulsion of feeling, which happens to every one visiting the States, under similar circumstances. Indignant at the low estimation in which those unsaleable commodities, Persian, Sanscrit, and Hindostanee, were most properly held in a new country like America, he feels piqued, and vents his spleen. When he comes into Canada, he doffs his yellow spectacles, and looks around him with complacency and pleasure—and lavishly scatters praise. At York, he sees laid the corner-stone of an elegant Church. Mark! in Canada, he pronounces a Church elegant, from seeing the corner-stone laid; but in the States, he cannot see any of the numerous and handsome Churches to be met with in every village. Shame upon you, Mr. Fidler. Is this manly conduct? Is it the conduct of an Englishman, a Gentleman, or a Clergyman of the Established Church? We have never felt as you have done, a veneration for a Republic. Church and King, has been, and is, our constant toast.—But we can see objects worthy of admiration in the United States, as well as in England. We can walk through the territory of our brother Jonathan, and feel proud, that from Great Britain, he has derived his lineage, language and laws. We can see, that a village in the States, with a population not exceeding 4,000, has 5 handsome Churches, and a sixth building: while York, with a population of 9,000, boasts as its best Church, a building, externally more like a Barn, than a Sacred Temple. In the smallest places, in the U.S. we can see Book Stores supplied with standard works, and the newest publications, thus evincing a demand among the people, for solid information and intellectual recreation. As no creature is too insignificant to confer utility; so, no creature, however contemptible, but can exasperate and annoy. A mouse may release a lion; and a mosquito may lash him to madness. And, though your Book, Mr. Fidler, should only be treated with ridicule, yet to many it will cause disgust, and will create feelings in the hearts of Americans, prejudicial to that country, which they name with pride, as the fountain from which they flowed. The feelings of that man are not to be envied, who would sow distrust and animosity between two powerful and kindred nations. Moreover, his task will be hopeless. Englishmen are beginning to find out, that all Americans are not Calibans: and Mr. Rush has shown to his countrymen, that the Aristocracy of Great Britain, are not altogether tyrants and despots, and foes to public liberty and public happiness. In the individual intercourse of life, what more delightful than a reciprocity of kindly offices—than an exchange of mutual congratulations, and expressions of good will. How glorious then,—how animating the sound of that congratulation, wafted over the Atlantic from one mighty nation to the other! It is a sound, breathing peace and mutual good will—it is a sound which will overwhelm the scrapings of any inharmonious Fidler, who may strive to mar the music which he cannot appreciate! None but simpletons like Moses Primrose, will credit for an instant those absurd declarations of Mr. Fidler, that the Canadian demagogues are in the pay of the United States; or the story of the parent, who, when making a match for his Son, recounted “numerous instances of successful and clever villainy, of which his Boy had been guilty, and which the young Lady’s Father, admitted as equivalent to a fortune.” We have read an authentic account of a Sailor swallowing knives, but Mr. Fidler far surpasses him in omnivorous capability.

We hope that our friends in the Old Country, will not think that Mr. Fidler has represented Canada as it is;—his Book is a complete libel upon the country, and its native and adopted children.—Were it not for their extravagant nonsense and amusing absurdities, their flowers of egotism and risibility exciting contents, we should consign the observations to the cheesemonger, and say, as Sir Charles Wetherell said of the Reform Bill, in its original state, that it was useless for any other purpose, than that of enveloping butter and cheese.

Et piper, et quicquid chartis amicitur ineptis.

Sir John Carr, who called himself a Knight, by virtue of some foreign order, published some ridiculous Travels which were severely handled by the critics, against one of whom, the irritated Traveller brought an action for libel, in which he failed.

The Rev. Mr. Dillon, who some few years ago was Chaplain to the then Lord Mayor of London, accompanied this civic dignitary in an aquatic excursion to Oxford, and subsequently published an account of it. His work, however, was welcomed with one universal peal of laughter and he had the good sense, to buy up every copy that he could possibly obtain. A copy of the book, now fetches a high price, from its rarity.


It has been found very difficult to give a clear definition of insanity. For, although the symptoms by which insanity is known, are easily detected, by an ordinary observer, and very readily by children, still it is very difficult to state clearly, in a few words, the exact mental difference between a sane and an insane person. Dr. Cullen seems to have thought, that insanity consists in thinking differently from other people, concerning the common occurrences of life. Dr. Darwin seems to have thought, that it consists in putting a wrong estimate on the value of things. And Locke seems to have thought, that it consists in dawning conclusions from imaginary propositions. The whole of these opinions, may be symptoms of insanity, and they certainly are so; but they are not definitions. Still it is easier to condemn them generally, than to substitute what is better in their stead. I shall, however, venture to substitute the following definition of my own, which, at the worst, can only be another failure, added to the long catalogue of failures, which have already appeared in the republic of philosophy:—A sane man is master of his ideas, an insane man is not. Still this definition is imperfect, and requires explanation. What is meant to be expressed in the foregoing definition, is this:—A sane man, by a power which we call volition, can detain his ideas in their passage through the sensorium, and direct them to any given subject as long as he pleases. Whereas, an insane man cannot do so; he has not the command of his ideas, he cannot detain them in their passage through the sensorium, they are fugitive, and break away every moment. That is, insane men are continually making sudden, involuntary transitions, from one subject to another, without the slightest association. Besides the regular catenation of well associated ideas, passes slowly through the sensorium of a sane person. But the broken, involuntary transitions of headlong ideas, already described, pass through the sensorium of an insane person, with amazing rapidity, so that it is unnatural for the well associated ideas of a sane person, to break off suddenly, and follow the incoherent flights of a madman.

Now, if the definition of insanity, which I have attempted, is correct and intelligible, so far as it goes, and I hope it is so, in that case, there can be no difficulty in explaining the Phenomenon of Dreaming satisfactorily, to every intelligent mind.

While we are awake, the sensorium is never without a catenation of ideas passing through it; and we may as well attempt to find a natural vacuum in the atmospheric air, as expect a complete cessation of ideas in the sensorium, during the absence of sleep. But the moment we fall asleep, our ideas cease, the sensorium becomes a complete vacuum, as much so, as it is in death; and every thing is forgotten, the same as in that dark changeless state. Whereas, in that drowsy state of existence, between waking and sleeping, when the ideas are leaving the sensorium, they break loose from their natural associations, at the same time, they escape from under the power of volition; and while they continue to wander through the sensorium in that unconnected state, they represent disfigured and unconnected objects to the drowsy senses; which, upon the whole, bear a strong resemblance to the ordinary objects, and occurrences of real life. And those wandering unconnected, and uncontrolled ideas, continue to operate in the sensorium, like a magic lantern, by producing the most extravagant representation of things, until sleep actually takes place, when all these visions vanish, like the quivering light of an expiring taper. The same wandering of our ideas, or to use a figurative expression, the same twilight shadows of the mind, occasionally occupy the sensorium for some time, during the process of awakening from sleep—while the ideas are returning to their natural associations. Besides, in dreaming, as in other cases of insanity, the transition of ideas thro’ the sensorium, is amazingly rapid; so that it will frequently take hours to tell the events of a dream, that happened in as many minutes.—Thus, we frequently dream the broken tale of a shipwreck, during the crashing of a mast—the evolutions of a battle, during the report of a gun—the conflagration of a city, during a gleam of lightning,—and a long history of thieves in the opening of a door.

When the sensorium is labouring under strong impressions, in other words, when it is filled with interesting ideas, and the body comparatively free from fatigue, so that sleep advances slowly, and the drowsy state continues long, in that case, we are almost certain, that long dreams will be the consequence. Besides our dreams, particularly those that take place when we are falling asleep, when the ideas are leaving the sensorium, are for the most part, a mixture of absurdity—jumbled with an out-line of the most prominent ideas of our waking hours during the preceding day. Whereas, dreams occasioned by the return of our ideas to the sensorium, during the drowsy process of awakening from sleep, are usually more baseless, wild and incoherent still, than those dreams which take place when our ideas are leaving the sensorium, during the drowsy process of falling asleep. But, in no case, whatever, do we ever find a dream, a rational and well connected story; although dreams always in part, assume the complexion of the mind. Thus, dreams which occur in the night, after having spent a happy evening with our friends, in which we were much pleased with the company, as well as with ourselves, are generally dreams of a happy kind; in part, resembling the delightful scenes we so lately left.—On the contrary, dreams which occur during the drowsy moments of our long dreary nights of sickness, when sleep has forsaken our couches, perhaps for ever, are generally dreams of a frightful or unpleasant kind. Hence, pleasant or unpleasant dreams, depend on the health of the body and the mood of mind. Tincture of opium, when taken to a certain extent, from the tranquil drowsiness which it occasions, in persons enjoying perfect health, is a medicine remarkable for producing long and pleasant dreams, which often continue for the greater part of the night, and are visions more delightful than the realities of life. But when given improperly, during the raging paroxysm of a fever, tincture of opium generally produces dreams of the most terrifying and distressing kind. In real insanity, as well as in dreaming, the former likeness of the mind, is still in some measure preserved, after delirium has commenced; at least, such persons for the most part, continue to retain a few of the stronger and more prominent ideas, that occupied their minds during a state of sanity—and these ideas appear amidst the ruins of the dilapidated mind, like the massy but mutilated pillars of an ancient temple, which look grand at a distance, after the surrounding walls and connecting arches are gone;—or, like a reef of rocks, peering thro’ the foam and spray of a tempestuous ocean.

To this, then, the whole Phenomenon of Dreaming resolves itself at last—a temporary insanity, which may or may not take place, in that drowsy slate of existence, which intervenes between awaking and sleeping, and likewise between sleeping and waking.

“So fade to nought the tales of old,

The marvellous tales of that dark day,

Ere miracles had passed away.”

Yet if we believe the superstitious voice of mankind, it is during these fitful moments of insanity which bewilder humanity, that the eternally-wise, and incomprehensible Jehovah, has chosen to communicate his secrets of futurity, to drowsy individuals. That Being, whose wisdom created the universe, with all the wonders of the Microscope and Telescope, would certainly have chosen a more lucid interval of the human mind, to communicate his secrets to individuals, than a temporary fit of insanity; when these individuals must necessarily be incapable of hearing attentively, and consequently afterwards of promulgating the secret correctly.—But, belief in dreams, disgraceful as it may be to reason, has not only influenced the destinies of families, but has changed the dynasties of nations, and brought about or defeated, the most important events in the history of the world. On the ravings of this temporary insanity, did the Chaldean Magi, the Egyptian Magicians, the Grecian Augurs, the Roman Soothsayers, and in fine, all the pretenders to divination, ancient and modern, found their fame; and on the same baseless fabric, have the believers in delusive divination, ancient and modern, founded their faith. So that interpreting dreams, has been one of the deceptions of the cunning—and believing in the oracular prognostications of these impostors, one of the delusions of the simple, in all ages and countries. It is almost impossible to repress an ironical smile, at the wilful stupidity of mankind, when we reflect, that amongst them, they have scarcely a single popular belief founded in reason. So unaccountable does human credulity appear, that we are almost drawn into the conclusion, that amongst the plurality of worlds, this one of ours has been selected as a mad-house for all the rest. Or, perhaps, the weak-minded who cannot think for themselves, and who are always found of the marvellous, implicitly believe every thing which they cannot comprehend; while, at the same time, they reject almost every thing that is rational or evident. Besides, from silly vanity, which they profess, they readily conceive themselves illuminated by some great spiritual intelligence, from whom they receive mysterious but friendly admonitions. Further, as dreams, like objects seen in the dark, take any shape the imagination chooses to give them, so any future occurrence of importance, that can befall, will serve for their fulfilment. Dreams, therefore, mean every thing, because they mean nothing.

Connected with the subject of dreaming, a number of superstitious spells, were formerly practised, and till very lately, half confided in, by the lower classes in Scotland and other parts of Great Britain. Those who were anxious to know their future wives or husbands, had only at bed-time, to tie nine slip knots on one of their garters, and after binding that garter round the left arm, walk to bed backwards, without speaking a syllable to any one, from the commencement of the ceremony till after the first sleep was over.—When, if such persons were ever to be married, they would that night, during their first dream, see their future bride, or bridegroom, come and untie the garter. Another method of discovering the same important secret, was by eating a salted herring raw, at the same time, going to bed in the same way, and preserving the same silence, as in the case of the knotted garter; and during the night, the future bride, or bridegroom, would be sure to appear in their first dream, and offer the person who had eaten the herring, a cup of cold water to quench his, or her thirst; a beverage which I have no doubt, would be very acceptable. But, the most unerring of all these divinations by dreams, and the one in which superstitious females put the greatest confidence—altho’, perhaps many of them shuddered at the apparent sacrilege which it involved, is a spell which consisted in laying a piece of silver, such as a shilling, on the following words of scripture:—“Lay me down now, put me in surety with thee; who is he will strike hands with me.” The Bible was then closed upon the piece of silver, and secretly put under the pillow of her, and by her, who performed the spell, and was to be the dreamer. She, like the other dreamers, had to attend to the same ceremonies when going to bed; and the first male animal of the human species, whom she dreamed of that night in her first dream, was sure to be her future husband. But those unfortunate individuals, who dreamed not at all, during the memorable night, in which they were under the immediate influence of any of these spells; belonged ever after, to the number of those luckless mortals, who were condemned to single blessedness; never to enjoy the felicity of a beloved partner, to double their joys, and divide their sorrows.

That these SPELLS, were for the most part productive of the desired dreams; and that these dreams were often darkly prophetic, is what might have been philosophically anticipated in the ordinary issue of future events. For these dreams, were naturally excited by the strong impressions, which such spells made on the minds of those who had faith in them. At the same time, the dreams themselves were nothing more than a broken shadow of the ideas which thronged the sensorium, at the moment when the drowsy, or dreaming state of existence commenced.—Therefore, these dreams were prophetic to the same extent, that the ideas of the dreamer were so.—And it not unfrequently happens, in the history of love, that young people can foretel who they intend to marry, for some time before the hour arrives; at least, they can tell at any time whom they wish to marry, and what people ardently wish, they endeavor, if possible, to bring to pass. These dreams, therefore, if we may be allowed the figurative expression, were nothing more than an echo of the wishes of the dreamers, reverberated through the sensorium, during the process of dreaming. Our young people are now become less impatient in love, or more wise, and content themselves with believing in their waking dreams, which are certainly more rational, if they are not more true than the others. For the former is the original, the latter is only the picture, when it is any thing at all.



That which these eyes have seen, and these ears have heard, I can recount—to be sure, after a fashion of my own, about which nobody, peradventure, will infringe the last of the decalogues—still, I can recount it; but formally to arrange the writing implements on my table, with the positive design of relating that which these plain, mattter-of-fact senses of mine, have never regarded, is just what I must not, because I cannot do. My pate becomes vertiginous at the very thoughts of these towering flights into the Utopian regions of romance. Tales of fiction!—what are they?—Parradiddles at best—Sir, Jonah, Barringtons.—These brats of a fertile head, put the imagination to the rack, and they, who illaudably delight in hatching them, richly merit the torture of their brains. Then i’-faith, I discard your inventive stories, and confine myself to sober truth. Who I may be, concerns no one; notwithstanding, I intend, with Cobbett pudicity—ay, libel me and my archetype as egotists, if you will—to patronise the grateful monosyllable, I. Pugh! autobiography, the most interesting of all the graphies, does it not ever commence with this identical letter? The reader has nought with me, save to peruse this cursory sheet of writing, or schediasm, or any other preferable appellation he may choose for it. I beg now, once for all, to tell him, I scribble for my own amusement—not his. I fancy myself gossipping at the mess-table, with the ruby, sparkling, inspiriting beverage before me—gadzooks! but it needs a vivacious nous to do that; little of the grape trickles down my half-pay throat now-a-days—and I shall vent my uppermost ideas, careless whither they wander.—Should he then afterwards deem this, which most probably he will, not worth the time bestowed on it, he has no right to censure me, but the printer, for having injudiciously popped it into the pages of the Canadian Literary Magazine.

Well then—in the spring of 1814, I was a young and, according to the military phrase, jolly Ensign in a regiment, attached to the independent brigade of the present Governor General, Lord Aylmer. I had the honor, for honor it assuredly was, of bearing one of our gallant colors through the impregnable Bayonne. The hey-day of the blood then frolicked through my veins, and my buoyant spirits were increased in buoyancy, as our embroidered glittering flag undulated in the breeze, before the gaze of the thronging Frenchmen. I believe, only our brigade wended through the august streets of Bayonne: its route to Bordeaux, extended across the flat arenaceous department of Landes. I state this, to mention an extraordinary custom, peculiar only to these inhabitants. A village there will send forth its male population of old and young, great and small, clothed in sheepskins with the fur outside, and mounted upon stilts. They commence with stilts about a foot high from the ground, until able to augment that distance to 5 or 6 feet. Are they impeded by a barrier, which the mere human legs are constrained to climb? They, with their elongated ones, step over it as you would a small log. A man overtakes the rear of our battalion in its advance—a few stretches of his ligneous members speedily transports him to its front. I stood erect, with my regimental cap on my head—no feather in it, mind ye, for the Wellingtonians never countenanced such an ornament—under the feet of one individual without touching them—didn’t I, Ben Rooth? Nevertheless, the odd epithet I once heard bestowed upon a lawyer’s stature, cannot strictly be applied to mine, I am not a brief man. I saw that same man of Landes, supported by the pole, extend himself to an angle of about 25 degrees with the ground, bend down, and pick up a small silver coin. The reader may think that a bouncer, if he likes; but I don’t care what he thinks. Thank my stars! he wo’n’t tell me so to my face, for he doesn’t know me; therefore, there’s no danger of bloodshed between us. These rustics are mostly shepherds: such appendages to their lower extremities enable them to overlook the champaign on which their sheep are grazing. They rest, like a three-legged stool, with their backs leaning against their pole, and can readily overtake any rover of their flock—but to my tale.

Our march terminated on the plains of Blancfort, a small scattered village, about half a dozen miles from Bordeaux. The evening after our arrival, a serene charming one in May, enticed me to ramble, two or three miles from our tents, with an old school-fellow and intimate friend of another regiment, when we reached a wicket, conducting by a footpath to a Château. There was a garden in front, most exquisitely disposed in shrubberies and flower-borders; while the ambient air was redolent with their odours. A compact sweetbriar hedge, just putting forth its blossoms, encompassed the premises. Screened by this hedge, we could command a full view inside the gate. All around betokened it the abode of prosperity and taste, of tranquillity and contentment. It was a lovely, a halcyon retreat. I have it before me now; its every feature clearly, distinctly traced in my mind’s eye. I had spent there—no, no, not spent, for oft I live through them again—I had enjoyed there some of those blissful, yet, alas! fleeting moments, with which the being of man is sometimes chequered—they serve as beaconed prominences to mark the track I have voyaged upon this ruffled ocean of life. Ah! I see the latticed summer-house, over whose seat the fragrant honeysuckle and radiated passion-flower were wont to twine; wherein I have so often sat and laughed, and sung their vaudevilles. I see too the verdant sloping lawn before it, on which I have so joyously danced and revelled—memory, by her spell, groups the vivid picture for my vision; but I am not au fait at description. The lively imagination can delineate for itself, and save me the trouble. As I have already said, we were standing by the wicket, secure from observance by the briary fence. An approaching infantine voice exclaimed, “I wish somebody would tune my guitar. I cannot do it myself.” At that instant, a child and her juvenile companion passing on, without having noticed us, I rested my arms upon the gate and said to her, “Let me, my dear, tune it for you.” The little girl turned her innocent smiling countenance directing first her inquisitive eyes towards me, and then to my friend. We were both in uniform, and of course recognised as British officers. Though hardly 12 years old, she detected, perchance, more of the ‘suaviter in modo’ in my friend’s visage than mine; for she handed her Spanish Guitar to him, who knew no more of music than the man in the moon: however, I undertook the task. When I had completed it, and ran over a few chords, I heard other footsteps nearing us, and then stop suddenly. I was sure we had listeners, tho’ the height and luxuriance of the hedge, effectually baffled my sight of them. I now resolved, if possible, to win a passage to the interior of their domicile. I, accordingly, sang the French canzonet of ‘Bouton de rose,’ throwing into it what pathos my mediocre talents could command. Scarcely had I ceased, ere an elderly gentleman and lady came forward: the instrument still hung by its riband on my shoulder. A Frenchman can no more doff ‘la politesse,’ than he can shed his skin: so I was complimented on my performance, and, after a few common place remarks, invited with my friend, Harry, to the house. I have since frequently meditated with wonder upon the very trifles that seem, at the first glance of our finite understandings, to guide the destinies of men. Thus, from the simple circumstance of being able to tune a bit of catgut—pish! I must not anticipate.

We were ushered into a room, where sat, by a harp, the old gentleman’s eldest daughter. Never shall I forget the beauteous creature that rose to greet us. The genial warmth of 17 summers were just maturating the tender bud into the bloom of womanhood. ’Twas not the coral lip, the balmy breath that issues thence, or the bright, but impure scintillation of the eye, that poets love to paint, which constituted her beauty, or rivetted my notice during the evening. No; it was her look indicating a soul, wherein might be traced that chaste, that deep intellectual light, which only wise and religious instruction could impart. As those eyes, at times, gazed with admiration and delight upon the flowers, reared by her own fair hands, how often have I marked them silently and reverently lifted from these works of nature up to nature’s God. I will not be ethical now, or reason upon the fact: but that woman’s face will assuredly lack its most witching loveliness, if, not alive to her utter dependance upon the High and Holy One, she coldly neglect the pious orison for His blessing and protection. Such a vapid ingrate was not Emily. Her lips and cheeks shamed, ’tis true, the new-blown rose—yet, the purity that slumbered there repelled the unhallowed sigh to touch them. Lavishly adorned with personal and mental endowments, she was the hope, the all on earth of her doting parents—the link, the enduring link, that bound them with fervent gratitude to the giver of every good, of every perfect gift.

The family soon assembled in the parlor, consisting of 3 sisters, 2 young brothers and a cousin. The harp was not long permitted to rest in unheeded silence; the impassioned voice of Emily, commingling with its mellifluous tones, swelled into the most touching harmony. The sweet syren was circling her potent sorceries around my friend. Love’s first mysterious sentiment, was stealing upon him. To dispel the seriousness from his noble features and divert his attention, I took a flute, struck up Mozart’s favorite waltz, when a couple of the younger ones opened the door leading to the adjoining hall, and commenced waltzing there. Every mortal knows that dancing is a species of chorea; it is, in sober parlance, a saltant disorder of the whole system, highly infectious, and this evening lent a determinate confirmation to this hypothesis; for, in less than ten minutes, the entire family, except papa and mamma, were twirling upon their toes. Harry and Emily, attracted into these mazy circumgyrations as partners, in truth appeared to think my lungs inexhaustible. However, it was a consolation to me, that every sublunary thing must have an end; even this waltzing came to a conclusion. The kind-hearted parent joyed in the happiness of his children, and, now whispering, a sprightly urchin, who bounded off on his errand, we shortly had an addition of two young gentlemen and their sisters to our social party. Our new-comers were Musical. Trios, quartets, were executed and sung; waltzes, cotillions figured off, in which Harry, an admirable dancer, displayed his fine form to advantage: fortunately for him too, he spoke the language with fluency. Envious old time speeded on with such rapid wings, that the day had fairly dawned ere we deemed the night half consumed. We hesitated, lingered—dreaded the moment of separation: when it did arrive, the voice, the look that bade us come again operated as an anodyne to its pain. I need hardly say, we availed ourselves of it; with exultant willingness, Elysian thoughtlessness, we plunged into the transport of the hour; yet was I not backward in discovering that Harry, although unskilled in harmonious sounds, was doomed hereafter to perform first fiddle. I have since observed, that all our most expert, most judicious musicians, deprecate the playing dances, and I would most strenuously admonish all that fraternity, from the commission of such folly; they but beat down the protecting outworks of a woman’s heart, to cover the approach of more subdolous adversaries. Our intercourse was constant at the Château, until the order for embarkation was promulgated. On the 4th June, our ships dropped down the Garonne; we bade adieu to the Gallic shores; Harry returned to England; while the vessels, which bore our regiment, steered away for Canada.

After the lapse of nearly two years, I obtained leave of absence. Visiting London in the Spring, I called upon Harry, now a Captain on half pay: he was preparing a trip to Paris, and pressed me with much earnestness to accompany him. Ignorant how better to dissipate the sterile hours, I consented, made preparations, and many days did not intervene, before we found ourselves in the far-famed metropolis of France. I was promising myself a round of amusement there, when the vacillating Harry proposed that we should prolong our tour to the South, and visit Paris on our return. I submitted to his guidance, and we were once more on the move. Ascertaining shortly that we were directing our course much to the West of South, I began to rally my friend with the intention of carrying me to Blancfort; sure enough, at last the hospitable door of the very Château yawned to admit us. The astonishment of the worthy family at my appearance was unbounded; their kind welcome equally so: but they evinced no vast surprise on seeing my friend, although their treatment of him was evidently more flattering. Pshaw! the sly rogue had been there already; tarried some months, and had thus returned to play the hero at a wedding: he has, at the present period, a house about a mile from the Château, and four promising children. A portion of every year is beguiled in his native country, Emily being equally the idol of his parents, as of her own.

A short time ago, I received a letter concluding thus:—“What trifles apparently influence the fortunes of us men! So, your tuning a bit of catgut, metamorphosed a prejudiced Englishman into half a Frenchman, and ushered four dear little human beings into life.” Reader! it’s all a fact; depend upon it.



Fresh in the morn, see glist’ning round

The beaded shrubs, the jewell’d ground:

The waning stars have shower’d the gems

From their etherial diadems;

And topaz, emerald, sapphire hues

Blent tremblingly, their tints diffuse.

Lo! manna, Christian, for thy heart,

Take thou the truth the fields impart;—

A million sparkling dew-drops burn,

Lit from the same all-glorious urn;

From one bright centre darts the beam

That gives to each pure drop its gleam,—

So the warm ray that gilds the road

Of each rejoicing child of God,

That like a ceaseless balmy rill,

Spreads joy and peace midst every ill,

To each, to all, from one source springs,

The pledge of greater, better things.

Oh! happy brethren, holy band,

Scatter’d afar in every land,

Tho’ varying climes and tongues divide,

The mountain’s chain,—the ocean’s tide,

Tho’ chill in bosom, as your snows,

Or warm, as heav’n above you glows,

The Moor, the Mississagua-man,

The call’d of Iceland or Japan,

O’er all are stretch’d th’ eternal arms,

All, one hope cheers—one spirit warms;

All,—be he John, the meek of soul,

Or Paul, whose fervor spurn’d control,—

With mingling hearts in faith are bold,

On the same grace to lay firm hold,—

Together bow, in wonder lost

To think its freeness, count its cost.

O Son of Righteousness! arise!

Thy dew-drops deck with heavenly dyes!

O cheer them trembling in thy ray,

And light them to the perfect day,

When to the bright and holy urn,

From whence each sprung, may each return;

And then from dross and dimness free,

May each and all unite in Thee!



By Mrs. Moodie.

“Do not talk to me of Love Cousin Arnold,” said Amy Morris, rising from the lowly seat she had occupied by her Father’s grave. “My heart is closed for ever to your suit. I shall never love again.”

“My Uncle has been dead eighteen long months,” replied her companion, wilfully misunderstanding her. “Enough surely has been given to sorrow.”

A hectic flush for a moment suffused the pale cheek of the delicate young female. But the evanescent glow passed away, almost as instantaneously as it had been called up.

“Grief is not measured by time,” she returned. “The empire of sorrow is in the heart, and I feel the voice of joy will never gladden mine again.”

“My poor Father!” she continued looking down wistfully on the well turfed grave: “blind, infirm and old. I mourn not for him. Arnold, it was not of him I thought.”

The tears again rushed to her eyes, and, in spite of her fortitude under mental sufferings, deep sobs burst from her bosom!

Arnold Silverstone was affected by her grief. He took her passive hand, and gently seated her on the broad low step of the Church Yard stile. A long and painful silence succeeded. Nothing was audible but the evening song of the blackbird, and the vainly suppressed sobs of Amy Morris.

The young man who tenderly supported her, was tall and well made, and strikingly handsome. His countenance possessed that frank, good-humored expression, which so often belongs to a Sailor, which the tight blue jacket, white trowsers, and the black silk handkerchief he wore carelessly tied about his neck, proclaimed him to be. His age did not exceed four and twenty; though long exposure to the scorching sun of a hotter climate, had bronzed and given a foreign cast to his complexion and features.

He had early lost his own Parents, and had been brought up under his Uncle’s roof, with his pretty cousin Amy, who, like himself, was an only child, and the pride and delight of her Father’s heart. Arnold had loved her when a boy, but he wanted courage to tell her so; and went to sea with the important secret locked up in his own breast: for Amy, accustomed to consider her rosy curly-headed playmate as her brother, never suspected one word of the matter. Arnold never forgot his cousin Amy. When drinking with his messmates, she was his constant toast. When shipwrecked, it was the thought of Amy Morris, that made death so bitter, and the hope of deserving her esteem, which gave him courage in the day of battle; and after a painful absence of ten long years, he returned with £300 prize money, to his native village, to make glad his old Uncle’s heart, and to claim Amy Morris as his wife!

Arnold sought the white cottage on the edge of the common where his Uncle used to reside, and felt not a little proud of his personal appearance, as he approached the gate that separated the little garden from the road. “I wonder whether Amy will know me,” he internally said, putting back the glossy raven curls that shaded his manly brow with a sudden motion of the hand. “Or the good old soul who used to dandle me on his knee, and call me his own boy.”

Here, a sudden chill came over his pleasing reveries. “Time may have made sad changes. Uncle may be dead—and Amy,” and he checked an involuntary sigh, “may be married.”

He quickened his pace, and rapped at the door with a trembling hand. It was opened by a stranger. His heart sunk within him. He enquired in a faultering voice, for Caleb Morris.

The woman answered, “He was dead.”

“It was a great mercy,” she continued, “that it pleased the Lord to take him. He had been blind for six years before he died.”

Arnold, who had so warmly anticipated a meeting with his aged relative, thought it none.

“Is his daughter still living?” he asked in a constrained voice, which made his emotion more apparent.

“Yes! But you will find her sadly altered, poor girl, the Black Ox has trod upon her foot. She has suffered enough to break a young heart.”

“Is she married?” demanded Arnold eagerly.

“Married!” reiterated the woman, “good luck—and never will be. It is an old prophesy in our village, that Amy Morris will die a maid.”

Arnold smiled to himself, and sailor-like, threw the good woman a piece of silver, and having first enquired of her Amy’s new place of abode, pursued his walk towards the village.

Wishing to visit the graves of his own parents, and see that the Sexton had properly kept them up, he took the path that led thro’ the Church Lane.

“So my poor Uncle Caleb is gone at last!” he said wiping the truant tears from his eyes, as if ashamed of the unusual moisture that obscured his sight. But none of his messmates were near to smile at his emotion, and the tribute to nature was freely paid. “Amy has had a hard trial it seems. But the task is ended. Perhaps”—and he glanced with secret satisfaction on his smart naval dress and manly figure—“the return of her old play-fellow may dry her tears.”

He was now opposite the Church—a low picturesque edifice, embosomed in old elm trees, and its burial ground entirely surrounded by high and neatly trimmed hawthorn hedges.

It was a lovely evening in the Spring of the year, and the blackbird was trolling his merry lay from a bower of May blossoms, and the green banks of the lane sported a thousand flowers. Arnold felt his heart glow with many long forgotten emotions, as he crossed the stile which led into the burial ground. He thought how many strange changes had taken place; how many lands he had visited, and how many dangers he had dared, since he and his cousin Amy used to seek that spot hand in hand, to look for the first primroses. “Nature,” he thought, “did not change like man. The church yard wears the same aspect that it did ten years ago. The primroses appear the same; and the blackbird speaks the welcome of an old friend. And shall I cast anchor here?” he continued unconsciously aloud, “would it not be sweeter to sleep under this emerald sward, than to be tossed to and fro by the restless waters of the ocean.”

His voice startled a young woman whom he had not noticed before. She was seated on the ground, beneath the shade of a majestic ash, whose waving foliage darkened the chancel window of the church, carefully planting a sweet briar rose at the head of a high and well turfed grave.

She looked up for a moment from her pious task. The level beams of the sinking sun glanced full upon her pale fair face; and though sorrow had chased the glow of health from her cheeks, Arnold recognised Amy Morris and sprang forward to meet her.

Amy welcomed her long absent cousin with unfeigned pleasure, and not only returned with affectionate tenderness the warm pressure of his hand, but even the kiss which the enraptured Arnold pressed on her ruby lips.

He seated himself beside her on the turf, and listened with the most intense interest to every word she uttered; while Amy recounted the melancholy events which had taken place during their absence from each other. Her grief for the loss of her Parent was renewed, while relating to his young relative his closing scene, and the trials and sorrows she had endured since his death. When she ceased speaking, Arnold, with much embarrassment, urged his suit with all the earnestness of a genuine and long cherished passion.

His declaration carried a pang to Amy’s heart; and her answer, though it did not entirely annihilate hopes which had been so long and fondly nursed, threw a deep shade of gloom over the joy of his return. The first wish of his heart to find Amy Morris unmarried was fulfilled; but her passionate grief intimated a prior engagement, and Arnold was lost in doubts and conjectures.

“Dearest Amy,” he said tenderly pressing her hand between his own—“forget your past sorrows and live for the future.”

Amy shook her head thoughtfully.

“The past, the present and the future, are now alike to me.”

“Hear me cousin Amy!” cried the young sailor, looking earnestly in her face—“I have loved you from boyhood; and have worked hard, and ploughed the salt seas, in the hope of making you rich, and providing for my Uncle in his old age. I have so long considered you as my wife, that it would break my heart to see you married to another.”

“You will be spared that trial, dear Arnold,” returned Amy, “I trust your rival is in heaven!”

Something like joy flushed the brow of young Silverstone. His rival was dead then, and Amy was free from any living tie. Hope revived and brightened through the tears which a few moments before had softened the expression of his dark and spirited eyes.

“If you cannot love me, Amy, as you loved him, grant me your esteem, and that alone will make me happy.”

Amy was touched, but she answered firmly—“I sacrificed too much in that attachment to transfer it lightly to another.”

“Alas! Amy, you make me miserable. Tell me who and what this rival was; who, whether alive or dead, is doomed to bar my happiness?”

“ ’Tis a sad tale, cousin Arnold, but I need not blush to tell it.”

Then after a pause of a few minutes, she continued in a livelier manner.

“Two years after you left us to go to sea, my Father was attacked by a violent fever. I nursed him with the most tender assiduity, and wearied Heaven with prayers for his recovery. My suit was granted. The fever abated, and his senses returned; but he never again beheld his daughter’s face! It was a lovely Spring morning—I was sitting by his bed-side. The sun rose gloriously, and the birds were singing sweetly in the little copse, at the edge of the common. All nature seemed to rejoice but me. My Father had sunk into a deep sleep. It was the first he had enjoyed for many days. He had slept for some hours, and I looked from time to time anxiously on his face. At length, he awoke with a low sigh. His fever was gone, and he recognised the voice of his child.”

“ ‘Do the birds sing at midnight?’ ” he said. “ ‘Draw back the curtains Amy. It is very dark.’ ”

“I was alarmed at the request, and drew back the curtains with a trembling hand. The broad sun flashed full upon his pale emaciated countenance.

“ ‘It is enough my child,’ ” he replied, bowing himself on his bed. “ ‘I feel the warmth of his beams, but these eyes will behold them no more. It is the will of him who gave, and who should dare to gainsay it.’ ” He folded his hands together, and his lips moved for some time in fervent prayer. He could not behold my tears, and I hid my sorrow from him; for I perceived it would increase the weight of his calamity.

“He slowly regained his strength, and his helplessness rendered him doubly dear to me. He was no longer able to support himself and the little he had saved to settle me in life, had been expended in paying for medical attendance, during his long affliction. It was now my turn to provide the necessaries of life for him, and I labored indefatigably, both by night and day, to that end. The few hours that I could snatch from unremitting toil, were devoted in reading to him, or in leading him out on the common for air and exercise. Through the mercy of God, I was a great support and comfort to him, under this unforeseen calamity, and his daughter was more precious to his health than the sight he had lost.

“About this period, Mr. Jones left his farm on the common, and a Mr. Ashford rented it of my Lord D——. He was a native of one of the Midland Counties; and his family consisted of a Son and Daughter. Emma Ashford was my own age, but James was several years my senior.

“I offered my assistance to the new-comers, and helped them to unpack and arrange their furniture. I could not forget, while talking to Miss Ashford, that I had been a farmer’s daughter myself; and though misfortune, which could neither be foreseen nor avoided, had reduced my Father and me, to the most bitter poverty, it had not deprived us of the mental advantages that a better station had given. My manners ill accorded with the meanness of my apparel. Mr. Ashford observed it, and when once acquainted with my history, I became completely domesticated with this amiable and benevolent family. My poor father wanted no comfort which their bounty could supply; and their generosity was felt and acknowledged with tears of gratitude by us.

“The invariable kindness which I received from Mr. Ashford, made me consider him in the light of a second parent. The young people were my constant companions, and seldom a day passed without some friendly intercourse; and my blind Father was as often supported to his favorite seat beneath the old maple tree in the garden by Emma and James Ashford as he was by me. Love which is founded on esteem and gratitude, is the strongest of all human ties. Language would fail to express sentiments towards this excellent family. I gave them my whole heart.

“The attention which I received from James Ashford, was so marked, that even my Father noticed it. The discovery gave me great pain; and, tho’ on analyzing my feelings, I found them equally inclined towards the generous young man, a sense of gratitude forbade me from giving the least encouragement to his passion. I withdrew myself more from his society, and seldom frequented Mr. Ashford’s house, and when James called, which he did daily at the cottage, to enquire after my Father’s health, I was rarely visible.

“It was then, and not till then, that I knew the real state of my mind, and the impression which young Ashford had made on my heart. These acts of self-denial, robbed my cheek of its bloom, and my bosom of peace; and I was no longer the gay lively Amy Morris; but a melancholy hopeless creature; cherishing feelings which I was ashamed to reveal.

“Emma remarked the great change that had taken place in my manners and appearance, and Mr. Ashford called on my Father himself, to learn the cause of my estrangement.

“They were shut up some time together. During this long conference, I felt a restless and insatiable desire, to know the meaning of Mr. Ashford’s visit. At length, the door opened, and he appeared, his benevolent face irradiated by a smile of inward satisfaction.

“He called me to him, but a new and unusual degree of timidity, kept me from obeying the summons. He took my hand, and kissing my cheek, said:

“How now little trembler, have you learnt to fear me?”

“He led me into the other room. My Father was sitting in his high-backed arm-chair, his head resting on his clasped hands, and supported by his stick; and standing beside him with a face sparkling with animation and joy, I beheld James Ashford; his manly upright figure, forming a striking contrast with the feebleness and decrepitude of age. My Father raised his sightless eyes as I approached; but when I encountered the gaze of young Ashford, I drew back. He sprang eagerly forward to meet me, and Mr. Ashford smiling at my confusion, joined our hands and bade us be happy in each other’s love! Seeing me about to speak, he interrupted me: “ ‘We will take no refusal Amy. Your worthy Father and I have settled the business, and disposed of you as we think for the best—so the only alternative left you, is to be a good and dutiful child, and anticipate our wishes.’ ”

“Kind and excellent Mr. Ashford,” I faultered out, “you have indeed anticipated mine.”

“James looked his thanks as he led me to my Father’s feet. The dear old man blessed us with streaming eyes, and in spite of his age and infirmities, declared that moment to be the happiest in his life. From that blissful hour, I considered James Ashford as my future husband, and we loved each other with a tenderness and confidence which can only be felt once—the heart cannot conceive any thing like it a second time. We took sweet counsel daily together, and enjoyed that communion of spirit which can only exist between kindred minds.

“Every preparation was made for our approaching marriage, and Mr. Ashford had agreed to resign his farm to his Son, that we might begin the world under fair auspices.

“The current of our happiness had hitherto run so smoothly, that it appeared destined to experience no alloy, but the storm was even then gathering which overthrew our highly raised expectations, and converted our smiling paradise into a howling wilderness.

“A large Bank in which Mr. Ashford’s property was vested, unexpectedly failed; and he was from this calamity reduced from comparative affluence, to the most cruel poverty! The bills which he had incurred from the various

[Transcriber Note: This is where the original text ends.]


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 last two pages of the last story are missing from the source text. (The last line of text is “he had incurred from the various”.)


[The end of The Canadian Literary Magazine, No 3. October 1833 by Various]