The Project Gutenberg EBook of Toronto of Old, by Henry Scadding

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Title: Toronto of Old

Author: Henry Scadding

Release Date: February 9, 2011 [EBook #35225]

Language: English

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Toronto of Old:

Collections and Recollections





Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy-three, by Adam, Stevenson & Co., in the office of the Minister of Agriculture.

Hunter, Rose & Co.,
Printers, Stereotypers and Bookbinders,



The Earl of Dufferin, K.C.B.





This Volume,








It is singular that the elder Disraeli has not included in his "Curiosities of Literature" a chapter on Books originating in Accident. It is exactly the kind of topic we might have expected him to discuss, in his usual pleasant manner. Of such productions there is doubtless somewhere a record. Whenever it shall be discovered, the volume here presented to the reader must be added to the list. A few years since, when preparing for a local periodical a paper of "Early Notices of Toronto," the writer little imagined what the sheets then under his hand would finally grow to. The expectation at the time simply was, that the article on which he was at work would assist as a minute scintilla in one of those monthly meteoric showers of miscellaneous light literature with which the age is so familiar; that it would engage, perhaps, the attention for a few moments of a chance gazer here and there, and then vanish in the usual way. But on a subsequent revision, the subject thus casually taken up seemed capable of being more fully handled. Two or three friends, moreover, had expressed a regret that to the memoranda given, gathered chiefly from early French documents, there had not been added some of the more recent floating folklore of the community, some of the homely table-talk of the older people of the place; such of the mixed traditions, in short, of the local Past of Toronto as might seem of value as illustrations of primitive colonial life and manners. It was urged, likewise, in several quarters, that if something in this direction were not speedily done, the men of the next generation would be left irremediably ignorant of a multitude of minute particulars relating to their immediate predecessors, and the peculiar conditions under which were so bravely executed the many labours whereby for posterity the path onward has been made smooth. For many years the writer had quietly concerned himself with such matters. Identified with Toronto from boyhood, to him the long, straight ways of the place nowhere presented barren, monotonous vistas. To him innumerable objects and sites on the right hand and on the left, in almost every quarter, called up reminiscences, the growth partly of his own experience and observation, and partly the residuum of discourse with others, all invested with a certain degree of rational, human interest, as it seemed to him. But still, that he was sometime to be the compiler of an elaborate volume on the subject never seriously entered his thoughts. Having, however, as was narrated, once tapped the vein, he was led step by step to further explorations, until the result was reached which the reader has now placed before him.

By inspection it will be seen that the plan pursued was to proceed rather deliberately through the principal thoroughfares, noticing persons and incidents of former days, as suggested by buildings and situations in the order in which they were severally seen; relying in the first instance on personal recollections for the most part, and then attaching to every coigne of vantage such relevant information as could be additionally gathered from coevals and seniors, or gleaned from such literary relics, in print or manuscript of an early date, as could be secured. Here and there, brief digressions into adjacent streets were made, when a house or the scene of an incident chanced to draw the supposed pilgrim aside. The perambulation of Yonge Street was extended to the Holland Landing, and even to Penetanguishene, the whole line of that lengthy route presenting points more or less noteworthy at short intervals. Finally a chapter on the Marine of the Harbour was decided on, the boats and vessels of the place, their owners and commanders, entering, as is natural, so largely into the retrospect of the inhabitants of a Port.

Although the imposing bulk of the volume may look like evidence to the contrary, it has been our ambition all along not to incur the reproach of prolixity. We have endeavoured to express whatever we had to say as concisely as we could. Several narratives have been disregarded which probably, in some quarters, will be sought for here. But while anxious to present as varied and minute a picture as possible of the local Past, we considered it inexpedient to chronicle anything that was unduly trivial. Thus if we have not succeeded in being everywhere piquant, we trust we shall be found nowhere unpardonably dull: an achievement of some merit, surely, when our material, comprising nothing that was exceptionally romantic or very grandly heroic, is considered. And a first step has, as we conceive, been taken towards generating for Toronto, for many of its streets and byways, for many of its nooks and corners, and its neighbourhood generally, a certain modicum of that charm which, springing from association and popular legend, so delightfully invests, to the prepared and sensitive mind, every square rood of the old lands beyond the sea.

It will be proper, after all, however, perhaps to observe, that the reader who expects to find in this book a formal history of even Toronto of Old, will be disappointed. It was no part of the writer's design to furnish a narrative of every local event occurring in the periods referred to, with chronological digests, statistical tables, and catalogues exhibiting in full the Christian names and surnames of all the first occupants of lots. For such information recourse must be had to the offices of the several public functionaries, municipal and provincial, where whole volumes in folio, filled with the desired particulars, will be found.

We have next gratefully to record our obligations to those who during the composition of the following pages encouraged the undertaking in various ways. Especial thanks are due to the Association of Pioneers, whose names are given in detail in the Appendix, and who did the writer the honour of appointing him their Historiographer. Before assemblages more or less numerous, of this body, large abstracts of the Collections and Recollections here permanently garnered, were read and discussed. Several of the members of this society, moreover, gave special séances at their respective homes for the purpose of listening to portions of the same. Those who were so kind as to be at the trouble of doing this were the Hon. W. P. Howland, C. B., Lieutenant-Governor; the Rev. Dr. Richardson; Mr. J. G. Worts (twice); Mr. R. H. Oates; Mr. James Stitt; Mr. J. T. Smith; Mr. W. B. Phipps (twice).—The Canadian Institute, by permitting the publication in its Journal of successive instalments of these papers, contributed materially to the furtherance of the work, as without the preparation for the press from time to time which was thus necessitated, it is possible the volume itself, as a completed whole, would never have appeared. To the following gentlemen we are indebted for the use of papers or books, for obliging replies to queries, and for items of information otherwise communicated:—Mr. W. H. Lee of Ottawa; Judge Jarvis of Cornwall; Mr. T. J. Preston of Yorkville; Mr. W. Helliwell of the Highland Creek; the late Col. G. T. Denison of Rusholme, Toronto; Mr. M. F. Whitehead of Port Hope; Mr. Devine of the Crown Lands Department; Mr. H. J. Jones of the same Department; Mr. Russel Inglis of Toronto; Mr. J. G. Howard of Toronto; the Rev. J. Carry of Holland Landing; Major McLeod of Drynoch; the Rev. George Hallen of Penetanguishene; the Ven. Archdeacon Fuller of Toronto; Mr. G. A. Barber of Toronto; Mr. J. T. Kerby of Niagara; the Rev. Saltern Givins of Yorkville; the Rev. A. Sanson of Toronto; the Rev. Dr. McMurray of Niagara; the Rev. Adam Elliott of Tuscarora; Mr. H. J. Morse of Toronto; Mr. W. Kirby of Niagara; Mr. Morgan Baldwin of Toronto; Mr. J. McEwan of Sandwich; Mr. W. D. Campbell of Quebec; Mr. T. Cottrill Clarke of Philadelphia.—Mrs. Cassidy of Toronto kindly allowed the use of two (now rare) volumes, published in 1765, by her near kinsman, Major Robert Rogers. Through Mr. Homer Dixon of the Homewood, Toronto, a long loan of the earliest edition of the first Gazetteer of Upper Canada was procured from the library of the Young Men's Christian Association of Toronto.—The Rev. Dr. Ryerson, Chief Superintendent of Education, and Dr. Hodgins, Deputy Superintendent, courteously permitted an unrestricted access to the Departmental Library, rich in works of special value to any one prosecuting researches in early Canadian history. To Mr. G. Mercer Adam we are much beholden for a careful, friendly interest taken in the typographical execution and fair appearance generally of the volume.

The two portraits which, in no mere conventional sense, enrich the work, were engraved from miniatures very artistically drawn for the purpose, from original paintings never before copied, in the possession of Capt. J. K. Simcoe, R. N., of Wolford, in the County of Devon.

The circulation to be expected for a book like the present must be chiefly local. Nevertheless, it is to be presumed that there are persons scattered up and down in various parts of Canada and the United States, who, having been at some period of their lives familiar with Toronto, and retaining still a kindly regard for the place, will like to possess such a memorial of it in the olden time as is here offered. And even in the old home-countries across the Atlantic—England, Scotland and Ireland—there are probably members of military and other families once resident at Toronto, to whom such a reminder of pleasant hours, as it is hoped, passed there, will not be unacceptable. For similar reasons the book, were its existence known, would be welcome here and there in Australia and New Zealand, and other colonies and settlements of England.

In an attempt to narrate so many particulars of time, place, person and circumstance, it can scarcely be hoped that errors have been wholly avoided. It is earnestly desired that any that may be detected will be adverted to with kindness and charity, and not in a carping tone. Unfairly, sometimes, a slip discovered, however trivial, is emphatically dwelt on, to the ignoring of almost all the points in respect of which complete accuracy has been secured, at the cost of much painstaking. Conscious that our aim throughout has been to be as minutely correct as possible, we ask for consideration in this regard. A certain slight variety which will perhaps be noticed in the orthography of a few Indian and other names is to be attributed to a like absence of uniformity in the documents consulted. While the forms which we ourselves prefer will be readily discerned, it was not judged advisable everywhere to insist on them.

10 Trinity Square, Toronto,

June 4th, 1873.


Introductory, 1
Sect.         I.  Palace Street to the Market Place, 25
    "          II.  Front Street: from the Market Place to Brock Street, 48
    "         III.  From Brock Street to the Old French Fort, 67
    "         IV.  From the Garrison back to the place of beginning, 78
    "          V.  King Street: From John Street to Yonge Street, 88
    "         VI.          "          From Yonge Street to Church Street, 98
    "        VII.          "          Digression Southwards at Church Street: Market Lane, 109
    "       VIII.          "          St. James' Church, 117
    "         IX.          "                      "        Continued, 129
    "          X.          "                      "                " 139
    "         XI.          "          Digression northward at Church Street: the Old District Grammar School, 152
    "        XII.          "          From Church Street to George St., 172
    "       XIII.          "          Digression into Duke Street, 180
    "       XIV.          "          From George Street to Caroline Street, 184
    "        XV.          "          From Caroline Street to Berkeley Street, 195
    "      XVI.  From Berkeley Street to the Bridge and across it, 201
    "     XVII.  The Valley of the Don:
                          (1). From the Bridge on the Kingston Road to Tyler's, 225
                          (2). From Tyler's to the Big Bend, 228
                          (3). From the Big Bend to Castle Frank Brook, 234
                          (4). Castle Frank, 236
                          (5). On to the Ford and the Mills, 241
Sect. XVIII.  Queen Street: from the Don Bridge to Caroline Street, 244
    "      XIX.          "            Digression at Caroline Street: History of the Early Press, 258
    "       XX.          "            From George Street to Yonge St. 284
                                                Memories of the Old Court House, 290
    "      XXI.          "            From Yonge Street to College Avenue, 305
                                                Digression Southward at Bay St., 308
                                                Osgoode Hall, 312
                                                Digression Northward at the College 318
    "    XXII.          "            From the College Avenue to Brock Street and Spadina Avenue, 326
    "   XXIII.          "            From Brock Street and Spadina Avenue to the Humber, 345
    "   XXIV.  Yonge Street: From the Bay to Yorkville, 375
    "    XXV.           "            From Yorkville to Hogg's Hollow, 411
    "   XXVI.           "            From Hogg's Hollow to Bond's Lake, 445
    "  XXVII.           "            From Bond's Lake to the Holland Landing, with Digressions to Newmarket and Sharon, 466
    " XXVIII.           "            Onward, from Holland Landing to Penetanguishene, 496
    "   XXIX.  The Harbour: Its Marine, 1793-99, 508
    "    XXX.         Do.            do.         1800-14, 525
    "   XXXI.         Do.            do.         1815-27, 538
    "  XXXII.         Do.            do.         1828-63, 563
Appendix. 577
Index. 581



In French colonial documents of a very respectable antiquity, we meet with the name Toronto again and again. It is given as an appellation that is well-known, and its form in the greater number of instances is exactly that which it has now permanently assumed, but here and there its orthography varies by a letter or two, as is usually the case with strange terms when taken down by ear. In a Memoir on the state of affairs in Canada, transmitted to France in 1686, by the Governor in Chief of the day, the Marquis de Denonville, the familiar word appears. Addressing the Minister de Seignelay, the Marquis says: "The letters I wrote to Sieurs du Lhu and de la Durantaye, of which I sent you copies, will inform you of my orders to them to fortify the two passages leading to Michilimaquina. Sieur du Lhu is at that of the Detroit of Lake Erie, and Sieur de la Durantaye at that of the portage of Toronto. These two posts" the marquis observes, "will block the passage against the English, if they undertake to go again to Michilimaquina, and will serve as retreats to the savages our allies either while hunting or marching against the Iroquois."

Again, further on in the same Despatch, Denonville says: "I have heard that Sieur du Lhu is arrived at the post of the Detroit of Lake Erie, with fifty good men well-armed, with munitions of war and provisions and all other necessaries sufficient to guarantee them against the severe cold, and to render them comfortable during the whole winter on the spot where they will entrench themselves. M. de la Durantaye is collecting people to entrench himself at Michilimaquina and to occupy the other pass which the English may take by Toronto, the other entrance to lake Huron. In this way" the marquis assures de Seignelay, "our Englishmen[2] will have somebody to speak to. All this, however," he reminds the minister, "cannot be accomplished without considerable expense, but still" he adds, "we must maintain our honour and our prosperity."

Du Lhu and de la Durantaye here named were the French agents or superintendents in what was then the Far West. Du Lhu is the same person whose name, under the form of Duluth, has become in recent times so well known, as appertaining to a town near the head of Lake Superior, destined in the future to be one of the great Railway Junctions of the continent, like Buffalo or Chicago.

The Englishmen for whom M. de Denonville desired an instructive reception to be prepared were some of the people of Governor Dongan of the province of New York. Governor Dongan either could not or would not restrain his people from poaching for furs on the French King's domain. When Denonville wrote his despatch in 1686 some of these illicit traders had been recently seen in the direction of Michilimackinac, having passed up by the way of Lake Erie. To intercept them on their return, the Marquis reports that he has stationed "a bark, some canoes and twenty good men" at the river communicating from Lake Erie with that of Ontario near Niagara, by which place the English who ascended Lake Erie must of necessity pass on their return home with their peltries. "I regard, Monseigneur," continues Denonville to the minister, "as of primary importance the prohibition of this trade to the English, who, without doubt, would entirely ruin ours both by the cheaper bargains they could give the Indians, and by attracting to them the Frenchmen of our colony who are accustomed to go into the woods." Governor Dongan was also always holding communications with the Iroquois and spiriting them on to resist French encroachments. He even audaciously asserted that his own sovereign—it soon became doubtful who that was, whether James II. or William of Orange—was the rightful supreme lord of the Iroquois territory.

As to the particular spot intended when Denonville says M. de la Durantaye is about to occupy "the pass which the English may take by Toronto," there may seem at first to be some ambiguity.

In 1686 the vicinage of Lake Simcoe, especially the district between Lake Simcoe and Lake Huron, appears to have been[3] commonly known as the Toronto region. We deduce this from the old contemporary maps, on one or other of which Matchedash bay is the Bay of Toronto; the river Severn is the Toronto river; Lake Simcoe itself is Toronto Lake; the chain of Lakes passing south-eastward from the neighbourhood of Lake Simcoe and issuing by the Trent in the Bay of Quinté is also the Toronto river or lake-chain, and again, the Humber, running southwesterly from the vicinity of Lake Simcoe into Lake Ontario, is likewise occasionally the Toronto river; the explanation of all which phraseology is to be found in the supposition that the Severn, the Trent chain of lakes, and the Humber, were, each of them, a commonly-frequented line of water-communication with a Toronto region—a well-peopled district—"a place of meeting," the haunt of numerous allied families and friendly bands. (That such is the most probable interpretation of the term Toronto, we shall hereafter see at large.)

The spot to be occupied by de la Durantaye for the purpose of defending "the Pass at Toronto" might therefore be either in the Toronto region itself at the Lake Huron end of the trail leading from Lake Ontario, or at the Lake Ontario end of the same trail, at the point where English trespassers coming from the direction of the Iroquois territory would disembark, when intending to penetrate to Michilimackinac by this route.

At the first-mentioned point, viz, the Lake Huron end of the trail, it was early recommended that a fort should be established, as we learn from letter twenty-three of Lahontan, but we do not hear that such a structure was ever erected there. The remains of solid buildings that have been found in that quarter are those of Jesuit mission-houses, and not of a formal fort established by the French government. At the last-mentioned spot, on the contrary, viz, the Lake Ontario end of the trail, it is certain that a fortified trading-post was early erected; the official designation of which, as we shall presently learn, was Fort Rouillé, but the name by which it came in the course of time to be popularly known was Fort Toronto, as being the object which marked and guarded the southern terminus of the trail or portage leading to the district in the interior commonly called the Toronto region.

It was here then, near the embouchure of the modern Canadian Humber, that "our Englishmen," as Denonville expressed himself, crossing over on illicit errands from Governor Dongan's[4] domain to that of the King of France, were to find "somebody to speak to."


The order sent to Durantaye was indeed not immediately executed. In 1687 Denonville reports as follows to the authorities at Paris: "I have altered" he says, "the orders I had originally given last year to M. de la Durantaye to pass by Toronto and to enter Lake Ontario at Gandatsi-tiagon to form a junction with M. du Lhu at Niagara. I have sent him word," he continues, "by Sieur Juchereau, who took back the two Hurons and Outaouas chiefs this winter, to join Sieur du Lhu at the Detroit of Lake Erie, so that they may be stronger, and in a condition to resist the enemy, should he go to meet them at Niagara."

In 1687 the business in contemplation was something more serious than the mere repression of trespass on the part of a few stray traders from Governor Dongan's province. The confederated Iroquois were, if possible, to be humbled once for all. From the period of Montmagny's arrival in 1637 the French settlements to the eastward had suffered from the fierce inroads of the Iroquois. The predecessor of Denonville, de la Barre, had made a peace with them on terms that caused them to despise the French; and their boldness had since increased to such a degree that the existence of the settlements was imperilled. In a Report to the minister at Paris on this subject M. de Denonville again names Toronto; and he clearly considers it a post of sufficient note to be classed, for the moment, with Fort Frontenac, Niagara and Michilimackinac. To achieve success against the Iroquois, he informed the minister, 3000 men would be required. Of such a force, he observes, he has at the time only one half; but he boasts of more, he says, for reputation's sake: "for the rest of the militia are necessary to protect and cultivate the farms of the country; and a part of the force," he then adds, "must be employed in guarding the posts of Fort Frontenac, Niagara, Toronto, and Michilimackinac, so as to secure the aid which he expects from Illinois and from the other Indians, on whom however he cannot rely," he says, "unless he shall be able alone to defeat the five Iroquois nations."

The campaign which ensued, though nominally a success, was attended with disastrous consequences. The blows struck, not having been followed up with sufficient vigour, simply further exasperated "the five Iroquois nations," and entailed a frightful[5] retaliation. In 1689 took place the famous massacre of Lachine and devastation of the island of Montreal. Denonville was superseded as his predecessor de la Barre had been. The Count de Frontenac was appointed his successor, sent out for the second time, Governor General of New France.


Some years now elapse before we light on another notice of Toronto. But at length we again observe the familiar word in one of the Reports or Memoirs annually despatched from Canada to France. In 1749 M. de la Galissonière, administrator in the absence of the Governor in Chief, de la Jonquière, informs the King's minister in Paris that he has given orders for erecting a stockade and establishing a royal trading post at Toronto.

This was expected to be a counterpoise to the trading-post of Choueguen on the southern side of the Lake, newly erected by the English at the mouth of the Oswego river, on the site of the present town of Oswego. Choueguen itself had been established as a set-off to the fort at the mouth of the Niagara river, which had been built there by the French in spite of remonstrances on the part of the authorities at New York.

Choueguen at first was simply a so-called "beaver trap" or trading-post, established by permission, nominally obtained, of the Iroquois; but it speedily developed into a strong stone-fort, and became, in fact, a standing menace to Fort Frontenac, on the northern shore of the Lake. Choueguen likewise drew to itself a large share of the valuable peltries of the north shore, which used before to find their way down the St. Lawrence to Montreal and Quebec. The goods offered at the English trading-post of Choueguen were found to be superior to the French goods, and the price given for furs was greater there than on the French side of the water. The storekeeper at Niagara told the Abbé Picquet, of whom we shall hear again presently, that the Indians compared the silver-trinkets which were procured at Choueguen with those which were procured at the French Stores; and they found that the Choueguen articles were as heavy as the others, of purer silver and better workmanship, but did not cost them quite two beavers, whilst for those offered for sale at the French King's post, ten beavers were demanded. "Thus we are discredited" the Abbé complained, "and this silver-ware remains a pure loss in the King's stores. French brandy indeed," the Abbé adds, "was preferred to the English: nevertheless that did not prevent the Indians[6] going to Choueguen. To destroy the trade there," he affirms, "the King's posts ought to have been supplied with the same goods as Choueguen and at the same price. The French ought also," he says, "to have been forbidden to send the domiciliated Indians thither: but that" he confesses, "would have been very difficult."

Choueguen had thus, in the eyes of the French authorities, come to be a little Carthage that must be put down, or, at all events, crippled to the greatest possible extent.

Accordingly, as a counterpoise in point of commercial influence, Toronto, as we have seen, was to be made a fortified trading post. "On being informed" says M. de la Galissonière, in the document referred to, bearing date 1749, "that the northern Indians ordinarily went to Choueguen with their peltries by way of Toronto on the northwest side of Lake Ontario, twenty-five leagues from Niagara, and seventy-five from Fort Frontenac, it was thought advisable to establish a post at that place and to send thither an officer, fifteen soldiers, and some workmen, to construct a small stockade-fort there. Its expense will not be great," M. de la Galissonière assures the minister, "the timber is transported there, and the remainder will be conveyed by the barques belonging to Fort Frontenac. Too much care cannot be taken," remarks the Administrator, "to prevent these Indians continuing their trade with the English, and to furnish them at this post with all their necessaries, even as cheap as at Choueguen. Messrs. de la Jonquière and Bigot will permit some canoes to go there on license and will apply the funds as a gratuity to the officer in command there. But it will be necessary to order the commandants at Detroit, Niagara, and Fort Frontenac, to be careful that the traders and store-keepers of these posts furnish goods for two or three years to come, at the same rates as the English. By these means the Indians will disaccustom themselves from going to Choueguen, and the English will be obliged to abandon that place."

De la Galissonière returned to France in 1749. He was a naval officer and fond of scientific pursuits. It was he who in 1756, commanded the expedition against Minorca, which led to the execution of Admiral Byng.


From a despatch written by M. de Longueil in 1752, we gather that the post of the Toronto portage, in its improved, strengthened state, is known as Fort Rouillé, so named, doubtless from Antoine Louis Rouillé, Count de Jouy, Colonial Minister[7] from 1749 to 1754. M. de Longueil says that "M. de Celeron had addressed certain despatches to M. de Lavalterie, the commandant at Niagara, who detached a soldier to convey them to Fort Rouillé, with orders to the store-keeper at that post to transmit them promptly to Montreal. It is not known," he remarks, "what became of that soldier." About the same time, a Mississagué from Toronto arrived at Niagara, who informed M. de Lavalterie that he had not seen that soldier at the Fort, nor met him on the way. "It is to be feared that he has been killed by Indians," he adds, "and the despatches carried to the English."

An uncomfortable Anglophobia was reigning at Fort Rouillé, as generally along the whole of the north shore of Lake Ontario in 1752. We learn this also from another passage in the same despatch. "The store-keeper at Toronto, says," M. de Longueil writes to M. de Verchères, commandant at Fort Frontenac, "that some trustworthy Indians have assured him that the Saulteux (Otchipways,) who killed our Frenchman some years ago, have dispersed themselves along the head of Lake Ontario; and seeing himself surrounded by them, he doubts not but they have some evil design on his Fort. There is no doubt," he continues, "but 'tis the English who are inducing the Indians to destroy the French, and that they would give a good deal to get the Savages to destroy Fort Toronto, on account of the essential injury it does their trade at Choueguen."

Such observations help us to imagine the anxious life which the lonely occupants of Fort Rouillé must have been leading at the period referred to. From an abstract of a journal or memoir of the Abbé Picquet given in the Documentary History of the State of New York (i. 283), we obtain a glimpse of the state of things at the same place, about the same period, from the point of view, however, of an interested ecclesiastic. The Abbé Picquet was a doctor of the Sorbonne, and bore the titles of King's Missionary and Prefect Apostolic of Canada. He established a mission at Oswegatchie (Ogdensburg) which was known as La Presentation, and which became virtually a military outpost of Fort Frontenac. He was very useful to the authorities at Quebec in advocating French interests on the south side of the St. Lawrence. The Marquis du Quesne used to say that the Abbé Picquet was worth ten regiments to New France. His activity was so great, especially among the Six Nations, that even during his lifetime he was complimented[8] with the title of "Apostle of the Iroquois." When at length the French power fell he retired to France, where he died in 1781. In 1751 the Abbé made a tour of exploration round Lake Ontario. He was conveyed in a King's canoe, and was accompanied by one of bark containing five trusty natives. He visited Fort Frontenac and the Bay of Quinté; especially the site there of an ancient mission which M. Dollières de Kleus and Abbé d'Urfé, priests of the St. Sulpice Seminary had established. "The quarter is beautiful," the Abbé remarks, "but the land is not good." He then visited Fort Toronto, the journal goes on to say, seventy leagues from Fort Frontenac, at the west end of Lake Ontario. He found good bread and good wine there, it is stated, and everything requisite for the trade, whilst they were in want of these things at all the other posts. He found Mississagués there, we are told, who flocked around him; they spoke first of the happiness their young people, the women and children, would feel if the King would be as good to them as to the Iroquois, for whom he procured missionaries. They complained that instead of building a church, they had constructed only a canteen for them. The Abbé Picquet, we are told, did not allow them to finish; and answered them that they had been treated according to their fancy; that they had never evinced the least zeal for religion; that their conduct was much opposed to it; that the Iroquois on the contrary had manifested their love for Christianity. But as he had no order, it is subjoined, to attract them, viz., the Mississagués, to his mission at La Presentation—he avoided a more lengthened explanation.

The poor fellows were somewhat unfairly lectured by the Abbé, for, according to his own showing, they expressed a desire for a church amongst them.

A note on the Mississagués in the Documentary History (i. 22) mentions the neighbourhood of Toronto as one of the quarters frequented by that tribe: at the same time it sets down their numbers as incredibly few. "The Mississagués," the note says, "are dispersed along this lake (Ontario), some at Kenté, others at the river Toronto (the Humber), and finally at the head of the Lake, to the number of 150 in all; and at Matchedash. The principal tribe is that of the Crane."

The Abbé Picquet visited Niagara and the Portage above (Queenston or Lewiston); and in connection with his observations on those points he refers again expressly to Toronto. He is op[9]posed to the maintenance of store-houses for trade at Toronto, because it tended to diminish the trade at Niagara and Fort Frontenac, "those two ancient posts," as he styles them. "It was necessary," he says, "to supply Niagara, especially the Portage, rather than Toronto. The difference," he says, "between the two first of these posts and the last is, that three or four hundred canoes could come loaded with furs to the Portage (Queenston or Lewiston); and that no canoes could go to Toronto except those which cannot pass before Niagara and to Fort Frontenac—(the translation appears to be obscure)—such as the Ottawas of the Head of the Lake and the Mississagués: so that Toronto could not but diminish the trade of these two ancient posts, which would have been sufficient to stop all the savages had the stores been furnished with goods to their liking."

In 1752, a French military expedition from Quebec to the Ohio region, rested at Fort Toronto. Stephen Coffen, in his narrative of that expedition, which he accompanied as a volunteer, names the place, but he spells the word in accordance with his own pronunciation, Taranto. "They on their way stopped," he says "a couple of days at Cadaraghqui Fort, also at Taranto on the north side of Lake Ontario; then at Niagara fifteen days."


In 1756, the hateful Choueguen, which had given occasion to the establishment of Toronto as a fortified trading-post, was rased to the ground. Montcalm, who afterwards fell on the Plains of Abraham, had been entrusted with the task of destroying the offensive stronghold of the English on Lake Ontario. He went about the work with some reluctance, deeming the project of the Governor-General, De Vaudreuil, to be rash. Circumstances, however, unexpectedly favoured him; and the garrison of Choueguen, in other words, of Oswego, capitulated. "Never before," said Montcalm, in his report of the affair to the Home Minister, "did 3,000 men, with a scanty artillery, besiege 1,800, there being 2,000 enemies within call, as in the late affair; the party attacked having a superior marine, also, on Lake Ontario. The success gained has been contrary to all expectation. The conduct I followed in this affair," Montcalm continues, "and the dispositions I made, were so much out of the ordinary way of doing things that the audacity we manifested would be counted for rashness in Europe. Therefore, Monseigneur," he adds, "I beg of you as a favour to assure his Majesty that if he should accord to me what I most[10] wish for, employment in regular campaigning, I shall be guided by very different principles." Alas, there was to be no more "regular campaigning" for Montcalm. His eyes were never again to gaze upon the battle fields in Bohemia, Italy and Germany, where, prior to his career in Canada, he had won laurels.

The success before Choueguen in 1756 was followed by a more than counterbalancing disaster at Fort Frontenac in 1758. In that year a force of 3,000 men under Col. Bradstreet, detached from the army of Abercromby, stationed near Lake George, made a sudden descent on Fort Frontenac, from the New York side of the water, and captured the place. It was instantly and utterly destroyed, together with a number of vessels which had formed a part of the spoil brought away from Choueguen. On this occasion we find that the cry Hannibal ante Portas! was once more fully expected to be heard speedily within the stockade at Toronto. M. de Vaudreuil, the Governor-General, informs the Minister at Paris, M. de Massiac, "that should the English make their appearance at Toronto, I have given orders to burn it at once, and to fall back on Niagara."


One more order (the last), issuing from a French source, having reference to Toronto, is to be read in the records of the following year, 1759. M. de Vaudreuil, again in his despatch home, after stating that he had summoned troops from Illinois and Detroit, to rendezvous at Presqu'isle on Lake Erie, adds,—"As those forces will proceed to the relief of Niagara, should the enemy wish to besiege it, I have in like manner sent orders to Toronto, to collect the Mississagués and other natives, to forward them to Niagara."


The enemy, it appears, did wish to besiege Niagara; and on the 25th of July they took it—an incident followed on the 18th of the next September by the fall of Quebec, and the transfer of all Canada to the British Crown. The year after the conquest a force was despatched by General Amherst from Montreal to proceed up the country and take possession of the important post at Detroit. It was conveyed in fifteen whale-boats and consisted of two hundred Rangers under the command of Major Robert Rogers. Major Rogers was accompanied by the following officers: Capt. Brewer, Capt. Wait, Lieut. Bhreme, Assistant-Engineer, and Lieut. Davis of the Royal Train of Artillery. The party set out from Montreal on the 12th of September, 1760. The journal of[11] Major Rogers has been published. It includes an account of this expedition. We give the complete title of the work, which is one sought after by book-collectors: "The Journals of Major Robert Rogers, containing an Account of the several Excursions he made under the Generals who commanded on the Continent of North America during the late War. From which may be collected the most material Circumstances of every Campaign upon that continent from the commencement to the conclusion of the War. London: Printed for the Author, and sold by J. Millan, bookseller, near Whitehall, MDCCLXV."

We extract the part in which a visit to Toronto is spoken of. He leaves the ruins of Fort Frontenac on the 25th of September. On the 28th he enters the mouth of a river which he says is called by the Indians "The Grace of Man." (The Major probably mistook, or was imposed upon, in the matter of etymology.)

Here he found, he says, about fifty Mississaga Indians fishing for salmon. "At our first appearance," he continues, "they ran down, both men and boys to the edge of the Lake, and continued firing their pieces, to express their joy at the sight of the English colours, until such time as we had landed." About fifteen miles further on he enters another river, which he says, the Indians call "The Life of Man."

"On the 30th," the journal proceeds:—"We embarked at the first dawn of day, and, with the assistance of sails and oars, made great way on a south-west course; and in the evening reached the river Toronto (the Humber), having run seventy miles. Many points extending far into the water," Major Rogers remarks, "occasioned a frequent alteration of our course. We passed a bank of twenty miles in length, but the land behind it seemed to be level, well timbered with large oaks, hickories, maples, and some poplars. No mountains appeared in sight. Round the place where formerly the French had a fort, that was called Fort Toronto, there was a tract of about 300 acres of cleared ground. The soil here is principally clay. The deer are extremely plenty in this country. Some Indians," Major Rogers continues, "were hunting at the mouth of the river, who ran into the woods at our approach, very much frightened. They came in however in the morning and testified their joy at the news of our success against the French. They told us that we could easily accomplish our journey from thence to Detroit in eight days; that when the French traded at that place[12] (Toronto), the Indians used to come with their peltry from Michilimackinac down the river Toronto; that the portage was but twenty miles from that to a river falling into Lake Huron, which had some falls, but none very considerable; they added that there was a carrying-place of fifteen miles from some westerly part of Lake Erie to a river running without any falls through several Indian towns into Lake St. Clair. I think Toronto," Major Rogers then states, "a most convenient place for a factory, and that from thence we may very easily settle the north side of Lake Erie."

"We left Toronto," the journal then proceeds, "the 1st of October, steering south, right across the west end of Lake Ontario. At dark, we arrived at the South Shore, five miles west of Fort Niagara, some of our boats now becoming exceeding leaky and dangerous. This morning, before we set out, I directed the following order of march:—The boats in a line. If the wind rose high, the red flag hoisted, and the boats to crowd nearer, that they might be ready to give mutual assistance in case of a leak or other accident, by which means we saved the crew and arms of the boat commanded by Lieutenant M'Cormack, which sprang a leak and sunk, losing nothing except the packs. We halted all the next day at Niagara, and provided ourselves with blankets, coats, shirts, shoes, moccasins, &c. I received from the commanding officer eighty barrels of provisions, and changed two whale-boats for as many batteaux, which proved leaky. In the evening, some of my party proceeded with the provisions to the Falls (the rapid water at Queenston), and in the morning marched the rest there, and began the portage of the provisions and boats. Messrs. Bhreme and Davis took a survey of the great cataract of Niagara."


At the time of Major Rogers' visit to Toronto all trading there had apparently ceased; but we observe that he says it was most convenient place for a factory. In 1761, we have Toronto named in a letter addressed by Captain Campbell, commanding at Detroit, to Major Walters, commanding at Niagara, informing him of an intended attack of the Indians. "Detroit, June 17th, 1761, two o'clock in the morning. Sir,—I had the favour of yours, with General Amherst's despatches. I have sent you an express with a very important piece of intelligence I have had the good fortune to discover. I have been lately alarmed with reports of the bad designs of the Indian nations against this place, and the English in[13] general. I can now inform you for certain it comes from the Six Nations; and that they have sent belts of wampum and deputies to all the nations from Nova Scotia to the Illinois, to take up the hatchet against the English, and have employed the Mississaguas to send belts of wampum to the northern nations. Their project is as follows:—The Six Nations, at least the Senecas, are to assemble at the head of French Creek, within five-and-twenty leagues of Presqu'isle; part of the Six Nations (the Delawares and Shawnees), are to assemble on the Ohio; and at the same time, about the latter end of the month, to surprise Niagara and Fort Pitt, and cut off the communication everywhere. I hope this will come time enough to put you on your guard, and to send to Oswego, and all the posts in that communication. They expect to be joined by the nations that are to come from the North by Toronto."


Eight years after the occupation of the country by the English, a considerable traffic was being carried on at Toronto. We learn this from a despatch of Sir William Johnson's to the Earl of Shelburne, on the subject of Indian affairs, bearing date 1767. Sir William affirms that persons could be found willing to pay £1,000 per annum for the monopoly of the trade at Toronto. Some remarks of his that precede the reference to Toronto give us some idea of the commercial tactics of the Indian and Indian trader of the time. "The Indians have no business to follow when at peace," Sir William Johnson says, "but hunting. Between each hunt they have a recess of several months. They are naturally very covetous," the same authority asserts, "and become daily better acquainted with the value of our goods and their own peltry; they are everywhere at home, and travel without the expense or inconvenience attending our journey to them. On the other hand, every step our traders take beyond the posts, is attended at least with some risk and a very heavy expense, which the Indians must feel as heavily on the purchase of their commodities; all which considered, is it not reasonable to suppose that they would rather employ their idle time in quest of a cheap market, than sit down with such slender returns as they must receive in their own villages?" He then instances Toronto. "As a proof of which," Sir William continues, "I shall give one instance concerning Toronto, on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Notwithstanding the assertion of Major Rogers," Sir William Johnson says, "that even a single trader would not think it worth attention to supply[14] a dependent post, yet I have heard traders of long experience and good circumstances affirm, that for the exclusive trade of that place, for one season, they would willingly pay £1,000—so certain were they of a quiet market—from the cheapness at which they could afford their goods there."

Although after the Conquest the two sides of Lake Ontario and of the St. Lawrence generally were no longer under different crowns, the previous rivalry between the two routes, the St. Lawrence and Mohawk river routes, to the seaboard continued; and it was plainly to the interest of those who desired the aggrandisement of Albany and New York to the detriment of Montreal and Quebec, to discourage serious trading enterprises with Indians on the northern side of the St. Lawrence waters. We have an example of this spirit in a "Journal of Indian Transactions at [Fort] Niagara, in the year 1767," published in the documentary History of New York (ii. 868, 8vo. ed.), in which Toronto is named, and a great chieftain from that region figures—in one respect, somewhat discreditably, however. We give the passage of the journal to which we refer. The document appears to have been drawn up by Norman M'Leod, an Indian agent, visiting Fort Niagara.

"July 17th, [1767.] Arrived Wabacommegat, chief of the Mississagas. [He came from Toronto, as we shall presently see.] July 18th. Arrived Ashenshan, head-warrior of the Senecas, belonging to the Caiadeon village. This day, Wabacommegat came to speak to me, but was so drunk that no one could understand him."

Again: "July 19th. Had a small conference with Wabacommegat. Present—Norman M'Leod, Esq.; Mr. Neil MacLean, Commissary of Provisions; Jean Baptiste de Couagne, interpreter. Wabacommegat spoke first, and, after the usual compliments, told that as soon as he had heard of my arrival, he and his young men came to see me. He then asked me if I had any news, and desired I should tell all I had. Then he gave four strings of wampum. I then told them—Children, I am glad to see you. I am sent here by your father, Sir William Johnson, to take care of your trade, and to prevent abuses therein. I have no sort of news, for I suppose you have heard of the drunken Chippewas that killed an Englishman and wounded his wife very much, above Detroit; they are sent down the country by consent and approbation of the head men of the nation. I am sorry to acquaint you that some[15] of your nation that came here with Nan-i-bo-jou, killed a cow and a mare belonging to Captain Grant, on the other side of the river. I am persuaded that all here present think it was very wrong, and a very bad return for the many good offices done by the English in general towards them, and in particular by Captain Grant, who had that day fed the men that were guilty of the theft. I hope and desire that Wabacommegat and the rest of the chiefs and warriors here present, will do all in their power to discover the thief, and bring him in here to me the next time they return, that we may see what satisfaction he or they may give Captain Grant for the loss of his cattle. [I gave seven strings of wampum.] Children, I am sorry to hear you have permitted people to trade at Toronto. I hope you will prevent it for the future. All of you know the reason of this belt of wampum being left at this place. [I then showed them a large belt left here five or six years ago by Wabacommegat, by which belt he was under promise not to allow anybody whatever to carry on trade at Toronto.] Now, children, I have no more to say, but desire you to remember and keep close to all the promises you have made to your English father. You must not listen to any bad news. When you hear any, good or bad, come to me with it. You may depend upon it I shall always tell you the truth. [I gave four strings of wampum.]

"Wabacommegat replied: 'Father, we have heard you with attention. I think it was very wrong in the people to kill Captain Grant's cattle. I shall discover the men that did it, and will bring them in here in the fall. We will allow no more trade to be carried on at Toronto. As to myself, it is well known I don't approve of it, as I went with the interpreter to bring in those that were trading at that place. We go away this day, and hope our father will give us some provisions, rum, powder and shot, and we will bring you venison when we return.' I replied, it was not in my power to give them much, but as it was the first time I had the pleasure of speaking to them, they should have a little of what they wanted."

In the January previous to the conference, two traders had been arrested at Toronto. Sir William Johnson, in a letter to Gen. Gage, writes thus, under date of January 12, 1767. "Capt. Browne writes me that he has, at the request of Commissary Roberts, caused two traders to be apprehended at Toronto, where they were trading contrary to authority. I hope Lieut.-Gov. Carleton,"[16] Sir William continues, "will, agreeable to the declaration in one of his letters, have them prosecuted and punished as an example to the rest. I am informed that there are several more from Canada trading with the Indians on the north side of Lake Ontario, and up along the rivers in that quarter, which, if not prevented, must entirely ruin the fair trader." In these extracts from the correspondence of Sir William Johnson, and from the Journal of transactions at Fort Niagara, in 1767, we are admitted, as we suspect, to a true view of the status of Toronto as a trading-post for a series of years after the conquest. It was, as we conceive, a place where a good deal of forestalling of the regular markets went on. Trappers and traders, acting without license, made such bargains as they could with individuals among the native bands frequenting the spot at particular seasons of the year. We do not suppose that any store-houses for the deposit of goods or peltries were maintained here after the conquest. In a MS. map, which we have seen, of about the date 1793, the site of the old Fort Rouillé is marked by a group of wigwams of the usual pointed shape, with the inscription appended, "Toronto, an Indian village now deserted."


In 1788 Toronto harbour was well and minutely described by J. Collins, Deputy Surveyor General, in a Report presented to Lord Dorchester, Governor-General, on the Military Posts and Harbours on Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron. "The Harbour of Toronto," Mr. Collins says, "is near two miles in length from the entrance on the west to the isthmus between it and a large morass on the eastward. The breadth of the entrance is about half a mile, but the navigable channel for vessels is only about 500 yards, having from three to three and a half fathoms water. The north or main shore, the whole length of the harbour, is a clay bank from twelve to twenty feet high, and rising gradually behind, apparently good land, and fit for settlement. The water is rather shoal near the shore, having but one fathom depth at one hundred yards distance, two fathoms at two hundred yards; and when I sounded here, the waters of the Lake were very high. There is good and safe anchorage everywhere within the harbour, being either a soft or sandy bottom. The south shore is composed of a great number of sandhills and ridges, intersected with swamps and small creeks. It is of unequal breadths, being from a quarter of a mile to a mile wide across from the harbour to the lake, and runs in length to the east five or six miles. Through the middle of the isthmus before[17] mentioned, or rather near the north shore, is a channel with two fathoms water, and in the morass there are other channels from one to two fathoms deep. From what has been said," Mr. Collins proceeds to observe, "it will appear that the harbour of Toronto is capacious, safe and well sheltered; but the entrance being from the westward is a great disadvantage to it, as the prevailing winds are from that quarter; and as this is a fair wind from hence down the Lake, of course it is that which vessels in general would take their departure from; but they may frequently find it difficult to get out of the harbour. The shoalness of the north shore, as before remarked, is also disadvantageous as to erecting wharfs, quays, &c. In regard to this place as a military post," Mr. Collins reports, "I do not see any very striking features to recommend it in that view; but the best situation to occupy for the purpose of protecting the settlement and harbour would, I conceive, be on the point and near the entrance thereof." (The knoll which subsequently became the site of the Garrison of York, is probably intended. Gibraltar point, on the opposite side of the entrance, where a block house was afterwards built, may also be glanced at.)

The history of the site of Fort Toronto would probably have differed from what it has been, and the town developed there would, perhaps, have assumed at its outset a French rather than an English aspect, had the expectations of three Lower Canadian gentlemen, in 1791, been completely fulfilled. Under date of "Surveyor General's Office [Quebec], 10th June, 1791," Mr. Collins, Deputy Surveyor-General, writes to Mr. Augustus Jones, an eminent Deputy Provincial Surveyor, of whom we shall hear repeatedly, that "His Excellency, Lord Dorchester, has been pleased to order one thousand acres of land to be laid out at Toronto for Mr. Rocheblave; and for Captain Lajorée, and for Captain Bouchette seven hundred acres each, at the same place, which please to lay out accordingly," Mr. Collins says, "and report the same to this office with all convenient speed."

We may suppose that these three French gentlemen became early aware of the spot likely to be selected for the capital of the contemplated Province of Upper Canada, and foresaw the advantages that might accrue from the possession of some broad acres there. Unluckily for them, however, delay occurred in the execution of Lord Dorchester's order; and in the meantime, the new Province was duly constituted, with a government and land-grant[18]ing department of its own; and, under date of "Nassau [Niagara], June 15, 1792," Mr. Augustus Jones, writing to Mr. Collins, refers to his former communication in the following terms:—"Your order of the 10th of June, 1791, for lands at Toronto, in favour of Mr. Rocheblave and others, I only received the other day; and as the members of the Land Board think their power dissolved by our Governor's late Proclamation relative to granting of Lands in Upper Canada, they recommend it to me to postpone doing anything in respect of such order until I may receive some further instructions."

We hear no more of the order. Had M. Rocheblave, Captain Lajorée and Captain Bouchette become legally seized of the lands assigned them at Toronto by Lord Dorchester, the occupants of building-lots in York, instead of holding in fee simple, would probably have been burdened for many a year with some vexatious recognitions of quasi-seignorial rights.

On Holland's great MS. map of the Province of Quebec, made in 1791, and preserved in the Crown Lands Department of Ontario, the indentation in front of the mouth of the modern Humber river is entitled "Toronto Bay"; the sheet of water between the peninsula and the mainland is not named: but the peninsula itself is marked "Presqu'isle, Toronto;" and an extensive rectangular tract, bounded on the south by "Toronto Bay" and the waters within the peninsula, is inscribed "Toronto." In Mr. Chewett's MS. Journal, we have, under date of Quebec, April 22, 1792, the following entry: "Received from Gov. Simcoe a Plan of Points Henry and Frederick, to have a title page put to them: also a plan of the Town and township of Toronto, and to know whether it was ever laid out." We gather from this that sometime prior to Governor Simcoe's arrival, it had been in contemplation to establish a town at Toronto.

The name Toronto pleased the ear and took the fancy of sentimental writers. We have it introduced by an author of this class, in a work, entitled "Voyage dans la Haute Pensylvanie et dans l'Etat de New York, par un Membre adoptif de la nation Oneida;" published at Paris in 1801, but written prior to 1799, as it is inscribed to Washington. The author describes a Council pretended to be held at Onondaga, where chiefs and sachems speak. They discourse of the misery of man, of death, of the ravages of the small-pox. Siasconcet, one of the sages,[19] relates his interview with Kahawabash, who had lost his wife and all his friends by the prevailing malady. Siasconcet exhorts him to suffer in silence like a wise man. Kahawabash replies, "Siasconcet! n'as-tu pas souvent entendu les cris plaintifs de l'ours, dont la compagne avoit été tuée? N'as-tu pas souvent vu couler les larmes des yeux du castor qui avait perdu sa femelle ou ses petits? Eh bien! moi, suis-je inférieur à l'ours ou au castor? Non: je suis homme, aussi bon chasseur, aussi brave guerrier que tes sachems: comment empêcher l'arc de s'étendre quand la corde casse? La cime du chêne ou la tige du roseau de ployer, quand l'orage éclate? Lorsque le corps est blessé, Siasconcet, il en découle du sang; quand le coeur est navré, il en découle des larmes: voilà ce que je dirai à tes vieillards; je verrai ce qu'ils me répondront."

In the reply of Siasconcet, we have the reference to Toronto to which we have alluded, and which somewhat startled us when we suddenly lighted upon it in the work above-named. "Eh, bien!" Siasconcet said: "eh, bien! Kahawabash, pleure sous mon toît, puisque ton bon génie le veut, et pour plaire au mauvais, que tes yeux soient secs quand tu seras au feu d'Onondaga." "Que faut-il donc faire sur la terre," rejoined Kahawabash, "puisque l'un veut ce que l'autre ne veut pas?" "Que faut-il faire?" answered Siasconcet, "considérer la vie comme un passage de Toronto à Niagara. Que de difficultés n'éprouvons-pas nous pour doubler les caps, pour sortir des baies dans lesquelles les vents nous forçent d'entrer? Que de chances contre d'aussi frêles canots que les nôtres? Il faut cependant prendre le temps et les choses comme ils viennent, puisque nous ne pouvons pas les choisir; il faut nourrir, aimer sa femme et ses enfans, respecter sa tribu et sa nation; jouir du bien quand il nous écheoit; supporter le mal avec courage et patience; chasser et pêcher quand on a faim, se reposer et fumer quand on est las; s'attendre à rencontrer le malheur puisque on est né; se réjouir quand il ne vient pas; se considérer comme des oiseaux perchés pour la nuit sur la branche d'un arbre, et qui, au point du jour, s'envolent et disparaissent pour toujours."

Familiar with the modern two-hours' pleasure-trip from Toronto to Niagara, we were, for the moment unprepared for the philosophic sachem's illustration of the changes and chances of mortal life. We forgot what an undertaking that journey was in the days of the primitive birch canoe, when in order to accomplish the pas[20]sage, the whole of the western portion of Lake Ontario, was wont to be cautiously and laboriously coasted.

The real name of the author of the "Voyage dans la Haute Pensylvanie" was Saint-Jean de Crèvecoeur.

To the narrative just given is appended information, which, if superfluous, will nevertheless be read locally now, with some curiosity. The note explains that Toronto and Niagara, are "postes considérables de l'Ontario: le premier, situé à l'ouest de ce lac, est formé par une baie profonde et commode, où le Gouvernement Anglais a fait construire un chantier, et une ville à laquelle on a donné le nom d'York; le second, situé au sud-ouest, est formé par l'embouchure de la rivière Niagara, à l'est de laquelle est la forteresse du même nom, et à l'ouest la pointe des Missisagués, sur laquelle on construit une nouvelle ville, destinée à être la capitale du Haut Canada."

The annotator speaks, we see, of the town on Mississaga point and the other new town on the opposite side of the lake in the same terms: both are in process of construction; and the town on Mississaga point, he still thinks is destined to be the capital of Upper Canada.


The language of the note recalls the agitation in the public mind at Niagara in 1796, on the subject of the seat of Government for Upper Canada—a question that has since agitated Canada in several of its sub-sections. The people of Niagara in 1796, being in possession, naturally thought that the distinction ought to continue with them. Governor Simcoe had ordered the removal of the public offices to the infant York: there to abide, however, only temporarily, until the West should be peopled, and a second London built, on a Canadian Thames. Lord Dorchester, the Governor-in-Chief, at Quebec, held that Kingston ought to have been preferred, but that place, like Niagara, was, it was urged, too near the frontier in case of war. In 1796, Governor Simcoe had withdrawn from the country, and the people of Niagara entertained hopes that the order for removal might still be revoked. The policy of the late Governor, however, continued to be carried out.


Three years previously, viz., in 1793, the site of the trading post known as Toronto had been occupied by the troops drawn from Niagara and Queenston. At noon on the 27th of August in 1793, the first royal salute had been fired from the gar[21]rison there, and responded to by the shipping in the harbour, in commemoration of the change of name from Toronto to York—a change intended to please the old king, George III., through a compliment offered to his soldier son, Frederick, Duke of York.

For some time after 1793, official letters and other contemporary records exhibit in their references to the new site, the expressions, "Toronto, now York," and "York, late Toronto."


The ancient appellation was a favorite, and continued in ordinary use. Isaac Weld, who travelled in North America in 1795-7, still speaks in his work of the transfer of the Government from Niagara to Toronto. "Niagara," he says, "is the centre of the beau monde of Upper Canada: orders, however," he continues, "had been issued before our arrival there for the removal of the Seat of Government from thence to Toronto, which was deemed a more eligible spot for the meeting of the Legislative bodies, as being farther removed from the frontiers of the United States. This projected change," he adds, "is by no means relished by the people at large, as Niagara is a much more convenient place of resort to most of them than Toronto; and as the Governor, who proposed the measure, has been removed, it is imagined that it will not be put in execution."


In 1803-4, Thomas Moore, the distinguished poet, travelled on this continent. The record of his tour took the form, not of a journal in prose, but of a miscellaneous collection of verses suggested by incidents and scenes encountered. These pieces, addressed many of them to friends, appear now as a subdivision of his collected works, as Poems relating to America. The society of the United States in 1804 appears to have been very distasteful to him. He speaks of his experience somewhat as we may imagine the winged Pegasus, if endowed with speech, would have done of his memorable brief taste of sublunary life. Writing to the Hon. W. R. Spencer, from Buffalo,—which he explains to be "a little village on Lake Erie,"—in a strain resembling that of the poetical satirists of the century which had just passed away, he sweepingly declares—

"Take Christians, Mohawks, Democrats, and all,  From the rude wigwam to the congress-hall,  From man the savage, whether slav'd or free,  To man the civilized, less tame than he,—  'Tis one dull chaos, one unfertile strife  Betwixt half-polished and half-barbarous life;  Where every ill the ancient world could brew  Is mixed with every grossness of the new;  Where all corrupts, though little can entice,  And nought is known of luxury, but its vice!"

He makes an exception in a note appended to these lines, in favour of the Dennies and their friends at Philadelphia, with whom he says, "I passed the few agreeable moments which my tour through the States afforded me." These friends he thus apostrophises:—

"Yet, yet forgive me, oh! ye sacred few,  Whom late by Delaware's green banks I knew:  Whom known and loved thro' many a social eve,  'Twas bliss to live with, and 'twas pain to leave.  Not with more joy the lonely exile scann'd  The writing traced upon the desert's sand,  Where his lone heart but little hoped to find  One trace of life, one stamp of human kind;  Than did I hail the pure, th' enlightened zeal,  The strength to reason and the warmth to feel,  The manly polish and the illumined taste,  Which, 'mid the melancholy, heartless waste,  My foot has traversed, oh! you sacred few,  I found by Delaware's green banks with you."

After visiting the Falls of Niagara, Moore passed down Lake Ontario, threaded his way through the Thousand Islands, shot the Long Sault and other rapids, and spent some days in Montreal.

The poor lake-craft which in 1804 must have accommodated the poet, may have put in at the harbour of York. He certainly alludes to a tranquil evening scene on the waters in that quarter, and notices the situation of the ancient "Toronto." Thus he sings in some verses addressed to Lady Charlotte Rawdon, "from the banks of the St. Lawrence." (He refers to the time when he was last in her company, and says how improbable it then was that he should ever stand upon the shores of America):

"I dreamt not then that ere the rolling year  Had filled its circle, I should wander here  In musing awe; should tread this wondrous world,  See all its store of inland waters hurl'd  In one vast volume down Niagara's steep,  Or calm behold them, in transparent sleep,  Where the blue hills of old Toronto shed  Their evening shadows o'er Ontario's bed;  Should trace the grand Cadaraqui, and glide  Down the white rapids of his lordly tide.  Through massy woods, 'mid islets flowering fair,  And blooming glades, where the first sinful pair  For consolation might have weeping trod,  When banished from the garden of their God."

We can better picture to ourselves the author of Lalla Rookh floating on the streams and other waters "of Ormus and of Ind," constructing verses as he journeys on, than we can of the same personage on the St. Lawrence in 1804 similarly engaged. "The Canadian Boat Song" has become in its words and air almost a "national anthem" amongst us. It was written, we are assured, at St Anne's, near the junction of the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence.

Toronto should be duly appreciative of the distinction of having been named by Moore. The look and sound of the word took his fancy, and he doubtless had pleasure in introducing it in his verses addressed to Lady Rawdon. It will be observed that while Moore gives the modern pronunciation of Niagara, and not the older, as Goldsmith does in his "Traveller," he obliges us to pronounce Cataraqui in an unusual manner.

Isaac Weld, it will have been noticed, also preferred the name Toronto, in the passage from his Travels just now given, though writing after its alteration to York. The same traveller moreover indulges in the following general strictures: "It is to be lamented that the Indian names, so grand and sonorous, should ever have been changed for others. Newark, Kingston, York, are poor substitutes for the original names of the respective places, Niagara, Cataraqui, Toronto."


"Dead vegetable matter made the humus; into that the roots of the living tree were struck, and because there had been vegetation in the past, there was vegetation in the future. And so it was with regard to the higher life of a nation. Unless there was a past to which it could refer, there would not be in it any high sense of its own mission in the world. . . . . . They did not want to bring the old times back again, but they would understand the present around them far better if they would trace the present back into the past, see what it arose out of, what it had been the development of, and what it contained to serve for the future before them."—Bishop of Winchester to the Archæological Institute, at Southampton, Aug. 1872.





In Rome, at the present day, the parts that are the most attractive to the tourist of archæological tastes, are those that are the most desolate; quarters that, apart from their associations, are the most uninviting. It is the same with many another venerable town of the world beyond the Atlantic, of far less note than the old Imperial capital, with Avignon, for example; with Nismes and Vienne in France; with Paris itself, also, to some extent; with Chester, and York, and St. Albans, the Verulam of the Roman period, in England.

It is the same with our American towns, wherever any relics of their brief past are extant. Detroit, we remember, had once a quaint, dilapidated, primæval quarter. It is the same with our own Toronto. He that would examine the vestiges of the original settlement, out of which the actual town has grown, must betake himself, in the first instance, to localities now deserted by fashion, and be content to contemplate objects that, to the indifferent eye, will seem commonplace and insignificant.

To invest such places and things with any degree of interest will appear difficult. An attempt in that direction may even be pronounced visionary. Nevertheless, it is a duty which we owe to our forefathers to take what note we can of the labours of their hands; to forbid, so far as we may, the utter oblivion of their early efforts, and deeds, and sayings, the outcome of their ideas, of their humours and anxieties; to forbid, even, so far as we may, the utter oblivion of the form and fashion of their persons.[26]

The excavations which the first inhabitants made in the construction of their dwellings and in engineering operations, civil and military, were neither deep nor extensive; the materials which they employed were, for the most part, soft and perishable. In a few years all the original edifices of York, the infant Toronto, together with all the primitive delvings and cuttings, will, of necessity, have vanished. Natural decay will have destroyed some. Winds, fires, and floods will have removed others. The rest will have been deliberately taken out of the way, or obliterated in the accomplishment of modern improvements, the rude and fragile giving way before the commodious and enduring.

At St. Petersburg, we believe, the original log-hut of Peter the Great is preserved to the present day, in a casing of stone, with a kind of religious reverence. And in Rome of old, through the influence of a similar sacred regard for the past, the lowly cottage of Romulus was long protected in a similar manner. There are probably no material relics of our founders and forefathers which we should care to invest with a like forced and artificial permanence. But memorials of those relics, and records of the associations that may here and there be found to cluster round them,—these we may think it worth our while to collect and cherish.

Overlooking the harbour of the modern Toronto, far down in the east, there stands at the present day, a large structure of grey cut-stone. Its radiating wings, the turret placed at a central point aloft, evidently for the ready oversight of the subjacent premises; the unornamented blank walls, pierced high up in each storey with a row of circular-heading openings, suggestive of shadowy corridors and cells within, all help to give to this pile an unmistakable prison-aspect.

It was very nearly on the site of this rather hard-featured building that the first Houses of Parliament of Upper Canada were placed—humble but commodious structures of wood, built before the close of the eighteenth century, and destroyed by the incendiary hand of the invader in 1813. "They consisted," as a contemporary document sets forth, "of two elegant Halls, with convenient offices, for the accommodation of the Legislature and the Courts of Justice."—"The Library, and all the papers and records belonging to these institutions were consumed, and, at the same time," the document adds, "the Church was robbed, and the Town Library totally pillaged."—The injuries thus inflicted were[27] a few months afterwards avenged by the destruction of the Public Buildings at Washington, by a British force. "We consider," said an Address of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada to Sir George Prevost, "the destruction of the Public Buildings at Washington as a just retribution for the outrages committed by an American force at the seat of Government of Upper Canada."

On the same site succeeded the more conspicuous and more capacious, but still plain and simply cubical brick block erected for legislative purposes in 1818, and accidentally burned in 1824. The conflagration on this occasion entailed a loss which, the Canadian Review of the period, published at Montreal, observes, "in the present state of the finances and debt of the Province, cannot be considered a trifling affair." That loss, we are informed by the same authority, amounted to the sum of two thousand pounds.

Hereabout the Westminster of the new capital was expected to be. It is not improbable that the position at the head, rather than the entrance, of the harbour was preferred, as being at once commanding and secure.

The appearance of the spot in its primæval condition, was doubtless more prepossessing than we can now conceive it ever to have been. Fine groves of forest trees may have given it a sheltered look, and, at the same time, have screened off from view the adjoining swamps.

The language of the early Provincial Gazetteer, published by authority, is as follows: "The Don empties itself into the harbour, a little above the Town, running through a marsh, which when drained, will afford most beautiful and fruitful meadows." In the early manuscript Plans, the same sanguine opinion is recorded, in regard to the morasses in this locality. On one, of 1810, now before us, we have the inscription: "Natural Meadow which may be mown." On another, the legend runs: "Large Marsh, and will in time make good Meadows." On a third it is: "Large Marsh and Good Grass."

At all events, hereabout it was that York, capital of Upper Canada, began to rise. To the west and north of the site of the Houses of Parliament, the officials of the Government, with merchants and tradesmen in the usual variety, began to select lots and put up convenient dwellings; whilst close by, at Berkeley Street or Parliament Street as the southern portion of the modern Berkeley[28] Street was then named, the chief thoroughfare of the town had its commencing-point. Growing slowly westward from here, King Street developed in its course, in the customary American way, its hotel, its tavern, its boarding-house, its waggon-factory, its tinsmith shop, its bakery, its general store, its lawyer's office, its printing office, its places of worship.

Eastward of Berkeley Street, King Street became the Kingston road, trending slightly to the north, and then proceeding in a straight line to a bridge over the Don. This divergency in the highway caused a number of the lots on its northern side to be awkwardly bounded on their southern ends by lines that formed with their sides, alternately obtuse and acute angles, productive of corresponding inconveniencies in the shapes of the buildings afterwards erected thereon; and in the position of some of them. At one particular point the houses looked as if they had been separated from each other and partially twisted round, by the jolt of an earthquake.

At the Bridge, the lower Kingston road, if produced westward in a right line, would have been Queen Street, or Lot Street, had it been deemed expedient to clear a passage in that direction through the forest. But some way westward from the Bridge, in this line, a ravine was encountered lengthwise, which was held to present great engineering difficulties. A road cut diagonally from the Bridge to the opening of King Street, at once avoided this natural impediment, and also led to a point where an easy connection was made with the track for wheels, which ran along the shore of the harbour to the Garrison. But for the ravine alluded to, which now appears to the south of Moss Park, Lot Street, or, which is the same thing, Queen Street, would at an early period, have begun to dispute with King Street, its claim to be the chief thoroughfare of York.

But to come back to our original unpromising stand-point.

Objectionable as the first site of the Legislative Buildings at York may appear to ourselves, and alienated as it now is to lower uses, we cannot but gaze upon it with a certain degree of emotion, when we remember that here it was the first skirmishes took place in the great war of principles which afterwards with such determination and effect was fought out in Canada. Here it was that first loomed up before the minds of our early law-makers the ecclesiastical question, the educational question, the constitutional question. Here it was that first was heard the open discussion, childlike, in[29]deed, and vague, but pregnant with very weighty consequences, of topics, social and national, which, at the time, even in the parent state itself, were mastered but by few.

Here it was, during a period of twenty-seven years (1797-1824), at each opening and closing of the annual session, amidst the firing of cannon and the commotion of a crowd, the cavalcade drew up that is wont, from the banks of the Thames to the remotest colony of England, to mark the solemn progress of the sovereign or the sovereign's representative, to and from the other Estates in Parliament assembled. Here, amidst such fitting surroundings of state, as the circumstances of the times and the place admitted, came and went personages of eminence, whose names are now familiar in Canadian story: never, indeed, the founder and organiser of Upper Canada, Governor Simcoe himself, in this formal and ceremonious manner; although often must he have visited the spot otherwise, in his personal examinations of every portion of his young capital and its environs. But here, immediately after him, however, came and went repeatedly, in due succession, President Russell, Governor Hunter, Governor Gore, General Brock, General Sheaffe, Sir Gordon Drummond, Sir Peregrine Maitland.

And, while contemplating the scene of our earliest political conflicts, the scene of our earliest known state pageants in these parts, with their modest means and appliances, our minds intuitively recur to a period farther removed still, when under even yet more primitive conditions the Parliament of Upper Canada assembled at Newark, just across the Lake. We picture to ourselves the group of seven crown-appointed Councillors and five representatives of the Commons, assembled there, with the first Speaker, McDonell, of Glengary; all plain, unassuming, prosaic men, listening, at their first session, to the opening speech of their frank and honoured Governor. We see them adjourning to the open air from their straightened chamber at Navy Hall, and conducting the business of the young Province under the shade of a spreading tree, introducing the English Code and Trial by Jury, decreeing Roads, and prohibiting the spread of Slavery; while a boulder of the drift, lifting itself up through the natural turf, serves as a desk for the recording clerk. Below them, in the magnificent estuary of the river Niagara, the waters of all the Upper Lakes are swirling by, not yet recovered from the agonies of the long gorge above, and the leap at Table Rock.—Even here, at the opening and close of this pri[30]mæval Legislature, some of the decent ceremonial was observed with which, as we have just said, the sadly inferior site at the embouchure of the Don became afterwards familiar. We learn this from the narrative of the French Duke de Liancourt, who affords us a glimpse of the scene at Newark on the occasion of a Parliament there in 1795. "The whole retinue of the Governor," he says, "consisted in a guard of fifty men of the garrison of the fort. Draped in silk, he entered the Hall with his hat on his head, attended by his adjutant and two secretaries. The two members of the Legislative Council gave, by their speaker, notice of it to the Assembly. Five members of the latter having appeared at the bar, the Governor delivered a speech, modelled after that of the King, on the political affairs of Europe, on the treaty concluded with the United States (Jay's treaty of 1794), which he mentioned in expressions very favourable to the Union; and on the peculiar concerns of Canada." (Travels, i. 258.)

By the Quebec Act, passed in 1791, it was enacted that the Legislative Council for Upper Canada should consist of not fewer than seven members, and the Assembly of not less than sixteen members, who were to be called together at least once in every year. To account for the smallness of the attendance on the occasion just described, the Duke explains that the Governor had deferred the session "on account of the expected arrival of a Chief Justice, who was to come from England: and from a hope that he should be able to acquaint the members with the particulars of the Treaty with the United States. But the harvest had now begun, which, in a higher degree than elsewhere, engages in Canada the public attention, far beyond what state affairs can do. Two members of the Legislative Council were present, instead of seven; no Chief Justice appeared, who was to act as Speaker; instead of sixteen members of the Assembly, five only attended; and this was the whole number that could be collected at this time. The law required a greater number of members for each house, to discuss and determine upon any business; but within two days a year would have expired since the last session. The Governor, therefore, thought it right to open the session, reserving, however, to either house the right of proroguing the sitting, from one day to another, in expectation that the ships from Detroit and Kingston would either bring the members who were yet wanting, or certain intelligence of their not being able to attend."[31]

But again to return to the Houses of Parliament at York.—Extending from the grounds which surrounded the buildings, in the east, all the way to the fort at the entrance of the harbour, in the west, there was a succession of fine forest trees, especially oak; underneath and by the side of which the upper surface of the precipitous but nowhere very elevated cliff was carpeted with thick green-sward, such as is still to be seen between the old and new garrisons, or at Mississaga Point at Niagara. A fragment, happily preserved, of the ancient bank, is to be seen in the ornamental piece of ground known as the Fair-green; a strip of land first protected by a fence, and planted with shrubbery at the instance of Mr. George Monro, when Mayor, who also, in front of his property some distance further on, long guarded from harm a solitary survivor of the grove that once fringed the harbour.

On our first visit to Southampton, many years ago, we remember observing a resemblance between the walk to the river Itchen, shaded by trees and commanding a wide water-view on the south, and the margin of the harbour of York.

In the interval between the points where now Princes Street and Caroline Street descend to the water's edge, was a favourite landing-place for the small craft of the bay—a wide and clean gravelly beach, with a convenient ascent to the cliff above. Here, on fine mornings, at the proper season, skiffs and canoes, log and birch-bark were to be seen putting in, weighed heavily down with fish, speared or otherwise taken during the preceding night, in the lake, bay, or neighbouring river. Occasionally a huge sturgeon would be landed, one struggle of which might suffice to upset a small boat. Here were to be purchased in quantities, salmon, pickerel, masquelonge, whitefish and herrings; with the smaller fry of perch, bass and sunfish. Here, too, would be displayed unsightly catfish, suckers, lampreys, and other eels; and sometimes lizards, young alligators for size. Specimens, also, of the curious steel-clad, inflexible, vicious-looking pipe-fish were not uncommon. About the submerged timbers of the wharves this creature was often to be seen—at one moment stationary and still, like the dragon-fly or humming-bird poised on the wing, then, like those nervous denizens of the air, giving a sudden dart off to the right or left, without curving its body.

Across the bay, from this landing-place, a little to the eastward, was the narrowest part of the peninsula, a neck of sand, destitute[32] of trees, known as the portage or carrying-place, where, from time immemorial, canoes and small boats were wont to be transferred to and from the lake.

Along the bank, above the landing-place, Indian encampments were occasionally set up. Here, in comfortless wigwams, we have seen Dr. Lee, a medical man attached to the Indian department, administering from an ordinary tin cup, nauseous but salutary draughts to sick and convalescent squaws. It was the duty of Dr. Lee to visit Indian settlements and prescribe for the sick. In the discharge of his duty he performed long journeys, on horseback, to Penetanguishene and other distant posts, carrying with him his drugs and apparatus in saddle-bags. When advanced in years, and somewhat disabled in regard to activity of movement, Dr. Lee was attached to the Parliamentary staff as Usher of the Black Rod.—The locality at which we are glancing suggests the name of another never-to-be-forgotten medical man, whose home and property were close at hand. This is the eminent surgeon and physician, Christopher Widmer.

It is to be regretted that Dr. Widmer left behind him no written memorials of his long and varied experience. Before his settlement in York, he had been a staff cavalry surgeon, on active service during the campaigns in the Peninsula. A personal narrative of his public life would have been full of interest. But his ambition was content with the homage of his contemporaries, rich and poor, rendered with sincerity to his pre-eminent abilities and inextinguishable zeal as a surgeon and physician. Long after his retirement from general practice, he was every day to be seen passing to and from the old Hospital on King Street, conveyed in his well-known cabriolet, and guiding with his own hand the reins conducted in through the front window of the vehicle. He had now attained a great age; but his slender form continued erect; the hat was worn jauntily, as in other days, and the dress was ever scrupulously exact; the expression of the face in repose was somewhat abstracted and sad, but a quick smile appeared at the recognition of friends. The ordinary engravings of Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, recall in some degree the countenance of Dr. Widmer. Within the General Hospital, a portrait of him is appropriately preserved. One of the earliest, and at the same time one of the most graceful lady-equestrians ever seen in York was this gentleman's accomplished wife. At a later[33] period a sister of Mr. Justice Willis was also conspicuous as a skilful and fearless horse-woman. The description in the Percy Anecdotes of the Princess Amelia, youngest daughter of George II., is curiously applicable to the last-named lady, who united to the amiable peculiarities indicated, talents and virtues of the highest order. "She," the brothers Sholto and Reuben say, "was of a masculine turn of mind, and evinced this strikingly enough in her dress and manners: she generally wore a riding-habit in the German fashion with a round hat; and delighted very much in attending her stables, particularly when any of the horses were out of order." At a phenomenon such as this, suddenly appearing in their midst, the staid and simple-minded society of York stood for a while aghast.

In the Loyalist of Nov. 15, 1828, we have the announcement of a Medical partnership entered into between Dr. Widmer and Dr. Diehl. It reads thus: "Doctor Widmer, finding his professional engagements much extended of late, and occasionally too arduous for one person, has been induced to enter into partnership with Doctor Diehl, a respectable practitioner, late of Montreal. It is expected that their united exertions will prevent in future any disappointment to Dr. Widmer's friends, both in Town and Country. Dr. Diehl's residence is at present at Mr. Hayes' Boarding-house. York, Oct. 28, 1828." Dr. Diehl died at Toronto, March 5, 1868.

At the south-west corner of Princes Street, near where we are now supposing ourselves to be, was a building popularly known as Russell Abbey. It was the house of the Hon. Peter Russell, and, after his decease, of his maiden sister, Miss Elizabeth Russell, a lady of great refinement, who survived her brother many years. The edifice, like most of the early homes of York, was of one storey only; but it exhibited in its design a degree of elegance and some peculiarities. To a central building were attached wings with gables to the south: the windows had each an architectural decoration or pediment over it. It was this feature, we believe, that was supposed to give to the place something of a monastic air; to entitle it even to the name of "Abbey." In front, a dwarf stone wall with a light wooden paling surrounded a lawn, on which grew tall acacias or locusts. Mr. Russell was a remote scion of the Bedford Russells. He apparently desired to lay the foundation of a solid landed estate in Upper Canada. His position as Administrator, on the departure of the first Governor of the Province,[34] gave him facilities for the selection and acquisition of wild lands. The duality necessarily assumed in the wording of the Patents by which the Administrator made grants to himself, seems to have been regarded by some as having a touch of the comic in it. Hence among the early people of these parts the name of Peter Russell was occasionally to be heard quoted good-humouredly, not malignantly, as an example of "the man who would do well unto himself." On the death of Mr. Russell, his property passed into the hands of his sister, who bequeathed the whole to Dr. William Warren Baldwin, into whose possession also came the valuable family plate, elaborately embossed with the armorial bearings of the Russells. Russell Hill, long the residence of Admiral Augustus Baldwin, had its name from Mr. Russell, and in one of the elder branches of the Baldwin family, Russell is continued as a baptismal name. In the same family is also preserved an interesting portrait of Mr. Peter Russell himself, from which we can see that he was a gentleman of portly presence, of strongly marked features, of the Thomas Jefferson type. We shall have occasion hereafter to speak frequently of Mr. Russell.

Russell Abbey became afterwards the residence of Bishop Macdonell, a universally-respected Scottish Roman Catholic ecclesiastic, whose episcopal title was at first derived from Rhesina in partibus, but afterwards from our Canadian Kingston, where his home usually was. His civil duties, as a member of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada, required his presence in York during the Parliamentary sessions. We have in our possession a fine mezzotint of Sir M. A. Shee's portrait of Bishop Macdonell. It used to be supposed by some that the occupancy of Russell Abbey by the Bishop caused the portion of Front Street which lies eastward of the Market-place, to be denominated Palace Street. But the name appears in plans of York of a date many years anterior to that occupancy.

In connection with this mention of Bishop Macdonell, it may be of some interest to add that, in 1826, Thomas Weld, of Lulworth Castle, Dorsetshire, was consecrated as his coadjutor, in England, under the title of Bishop of Amylæ. But it does not appear that he ever came out to Canada. (This was afterwards the well-known English Cardinal.) He had been a layman, and married, up to the year 1825; when, on the death of his wife, he took orders; and in one year he was, as just stated, made a Bishop.[35]

Russell Abbey may indeed have been styled the "Palace"; but it was probably from being the residence of one who for three years administered the Government; or the name "Palace Street" itself may have suggested the appellation. "Palace Street" was no doubt intended to indicate the fact that it led directly to the Government reservation at the end of the Town on which the Parliament houses were erected, and where it was supposed the "Palais du Gouvernement," the official residence of the representative of the Sovereign in the Province would eventually be. On an Official Plan of this region, of the year 1810, the Parliament Buildings themselves are styled "Government House."

At the laying out of York, however, we find, from the plans, that the name given in the first instance to the Front street of the town was, not Palace Street, but King Street. Modern King Street was then Duke Street, and modern Duke Street, Duchess Street. These street names were intended as loyal compliments to members of the reigning family; to George the Third; to his son the popular Duke of York, from whom, as we shall learn hereafter, the town itself was named; to the Duchess of York, the eldest daughter of the King of Prussia. In the cross streets the same chivalrous devotion to the Hanoverian dynasty was exhibited. George street, the boundary westward of the first nucleus of York, bore the name of the heir-apparent, George, Prince of Wales. The next street eastward was honoured with the name of his next brother, Frederick, the Duke of York himself. And the succeeding street eastward, Caroline Street, had imposed upon it that of the Princess of Wales, afterwards so unhappily famous as George the Fourth's Queen Caroline. Whilst in Princes Street (for such is the correct orthography, as the old plans show, and not Princess Street, as is generally seen now,) the rest of the male members of the royal family were collectively commemorated, namely, the Duke of Clarence, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Cumberland, the Duke of Sussex, and the Duke of Cambridge.

When the Canadian town of York was first projected, the marriage of the Duke of York with the daughter of the King of Prussia, Frederica Charlotta Ulrica, had only recently been celebrated at Berlin. It was considered at the time an event of importance, and the ceremonies on the occasion are given with some minuteness in the Annual Register for 1791. We are there informed that "the supper was served at six tables; that the first was placed[36] under a canopy of crimson velvet, and the victuals (as the record terms them) served on gold dishes and plates; that Lieutenant-General Bornstedt and Count Bruhl had the honour to carve, without being seated, that the other five tables, at which sat the generals, ministers, ambassadors, all the officers of the Court, and the high nobility, were served in other apartments; that supper being over, the assembly repaired to the White Hall, where the trumpet, timbrel, and other music, were playing; that the flambeau dance was then began, at which the ministers of state carried the torches; that the new couple were attended to their apartment by the reigning Queen and the Queen dowager; that the Duke of York wore on this day the English uniform, and the Princess Frederica a suit of drap d'argent, ornamented with diamonds." In Ashburton's "New and Complete History of England, from the first settlement of Brutus, upwards of one thousand years before Julius Cæsar, to the year 1793," now lying before us, two full-length portraits of the Duke and Duchess are given.—New York and Albany, in the adjoining State, had their names from titles of a Duke of York in 1664, afterwards James II. His brother, Charles II., made him a present, by Letters Patent, of all the territory, from the western side of the Connecticut river to the east side of Delaware Bay; that is, of the present States of Connecticut, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey.

On the green sward of the bank between Princes street and George Street, the annual military "Trainings" on the Fourth of June, "the old King's birthday," were wont to take place. At a later period the day of meeting was the 23rd of April, St. George's day, the fête of George IV. Military displays on a grand scale in and about Toronto have not been uncommon in modern times, exciting the enthusiasm of the multitude that usually assembles on such occasions. But in no way inferior in point of interest to the unsophisticated youthful eye, half a century ago, unaccustomed to anything more elaborate, were those motley musterings of the militia companies. The costume of the men may have been various, the fire-arms only partially distributed, and those that were to be had not of the brightest hue, nor of the most scientific make; the lines may not always have been perfectly straight, nor their constituents well matched in height; the obedience to the word of command may not have been rendered with the mechanical precision which we admire at reviews now, nor with that total sup[37]pression of dialogue in undertone in the ranks, nor with that absence of remark interchanged between the men and their officers that are customary now. Nevertheless, as a military spectacle, these gatherings and manoeuvres on the grassy bank here, were effective; they were always anticipated with pleasure and contemplated with satisfaction. The officers on these occasions,—some of them mounted—were arrayed in uniforms of antique cut; in red coats with wide black breast lappets and broad tail flaps; high collars, tight sleeves and large cuffs; on the head a black hat, the ordinary high-crowned civilian hat, with a cylindrical feather some eighteen inches high inserted at the top, not in front, but on the left side (whalebone surrounded with feathers from the barnyard, scarlet at the base, white above). Animation was added to the scene by a drum and a few fifes executing with liveliness "The York Quickstep," "The Reconciliation," and "The British Grenadiers." And then, in addition to the local cavalry corps, there were the clattering scabbards, the blue jackets, and bear-skin helmets of Captain Button's dragoons from Markham and Whitchurch.

Numerously, in the rank and file at these musterings—as well as among the officers, commissioned and non-commissioned—were to be seen men who had quite recently jeopardized their lives in the defence of the country. At the period we are speaking of, only some six or seven years had elapsed since an invasion of Canada from the south. "The late war," for a long while, very naturally, formed a fixed point in local chronology, from which times and seasons were calculated; a fixed point, however, which, to the indifferent new-comer, and even to the indigenous, who, when "the late war" was in progress, were not in bodily existence, seemed already to belong to a remote past. An impression of the miseries of war, derived from the talk of those who had actually felt them, was very strongly stamped in the minds of the rising generation; an impression accompanied also at the same time with the uncomfortable persuasion derived from the same source, that another conflict was inevitable in due time. The musterings on "Training-day" were thus invested with interest and importance in the minds of those who were summoned to appear on these occasions, as also in the minds of the boyish looker-on, who was aware that ere long he would himself be required by law to turn out and take his part in the annual militia evolutions, and perhaps afterwards, possibly[38] at no distant hour, to handle the musket or wield the sword in earnest.

A little further on, in a house at the north-west corner of Frederick Street, a building afterwards utterly destroyed by fire, was born, in 1804, the Hon. Robert Baldwin, son of Dr. William Warren Baldwin, already referred to, and Attorney-General in 1842 for Upper Canada. In the same building, at a later period, (and previously in an humble edifice, at the north-west corner of King Street and Caroline Street, now likewise wholly destroyed,) the foundation was laid, by well-directed and far-sighted ventures in commerce, of the great wealth (locally proverbial) of the Cawthra family, the Astors of Upper Canada, of whom more hereafter. It was also in the same house, prior to its occupation by Mr. Cawthra, senior, that the printing operations of Mr. William Lyon Mackenzie were carried on at the time of the destruction of his press by a party of young men, who considered it proper to take some spirited notice of the criticisms on the public acts of their fathers, uncles and superiors generally, that appeared every week in the columns of the Colonial Advocate; a violent act memorable in the annals of Western Canada, not simply as having been the means of establishing the fortunes of an indefatigable and powerful journalist, but more notably as presenting an unconscious illustration of a general law, observable in the early development of communities, whereby an element destined to elevate and regenerate is, on its first introduction, resisted, and sought to be crushed physically, not morally; somewhat as the white man's watch was dashed to pieces by the Indian, as though it had been a sentient thing, conspiring in some mysterious way with other things, to promote the ascendancy of the stranger.

The youthful perpetrators of the violence referred to were not long in learning practically the futility of such exploits. Good old Mr. James Baby, on handing to his son Raymond the amount which that youth was required to pay as his share of the heavy damages awarded, as a matter of course, by the jury on the occasion, is said to have added:—"There! go and make one great fool of yourself again!"—a sarcastic piece of advice that might have been offered to each of the parties concerned.

A few steps northward, on the east side of Frederick Street, was the first Post Office, on the premises of Mr. Allan, who was postmaster; and southward, where this street touches the water, was[39] the Merchants' Wharf, also the property of Mr. Allan; and the Custom House, where Mr. Allan was the Collector. We gather also from Calendars of the day that Mr. Allan was likewise Inspector of Flour, Pot and Pearl Ash; and Inspector of Shop, Still and Tavern Duties. In an early, limited condition of society, a man of more than the ordinary aptitude for affairs is required to act in many capacities.

The Merchants' Wharf was the earliest landing-place for the larger craft of the lake. At a later period other wharves or long wooden jetties, extending out into deep water, one of them named the Farmers' Wharf, were built westward. In the shoal water between the several wharves, for a long period, there was annually a dense crop of rushes or flags. The town or county authorities incurred considerable expense, year after year, in endeavouring to eradicate them—but, like the heads of the hydra, they were always re-appearing. In July, 1821, a "Mr. Coles' account for his assistants' labour in destroying rushes in front of the Market Square," was laid before the County magistrates, and audited, amounting to £13 6s. 3d. In August of the same year, the minutes of the County Court record that "Capt. Macaulay, Royal Engineers, offered to cut down the rushes in front of the town between the Merchants' Wharf and Cooper's Wharf, for a sum not to exceed ninety dollars, which would merely be the expense of the men and materials in executing the undertaking: his own time he would give to the public on this occasion, as encouragement to others to endeavour to destroy the rushes when they become a nuisance;" it was accordingly ordered "that ninety dollars be paid to Capt. Macaulay or his order, for the purpose of cutting down the rushes, according to his verbal undertaking to cut down the same, to be paid out of the Police or District funds in the hands of the Treasurer of the District."

We have understood that Capt. Macaulay's measures for the extinction of the rank vegetation in the shallow waters of the harbour, proved to be very efficient. The instrument used was a kind of screw grapnel, which, let down from the side of a large scow, laid hold of the rushes at their root and forcibly wrenched them out of the bed of mud below. The entire plant was thus lifted up, and drawn by a windlass into the scow. When a full load of the aquatic weed was collected, it was taken out into the open water of the Lake, and there disposed of.[40]

Passing on our way, we soon came to the Market Square. This was a large open space, with wooden shambles in the middle of it, thirty-six feet long and twenty-four wide, running north and south.

By a Proclamation in the Gazette of Nov. 3, 1803, Governor Hunter appointed a weekly market day for the Town of York, and also a place where the market should be held.

"Peter Hunter, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor, &c. Whereas great prejudice hath arisen to the inhabitants of the Town and Township of York, and of other adjoining Townships, from no place or day having been set apart or appointed for exposing publicly for sale, cattle, sheep, poultry, and other provisions, goods, and merchandize, brought by merchants, farmers, and others, for the necessary supply of the said Town of York; and, whereas, great benefit and advantage might be derived to the said inhabitants and others, by establishing a weekly market within that Town, at a place and on a day certain for the purpose aforesaid;

"Know all men, That I, Peter Hunter, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor of the said Province, taking the premises into consideration, and willing to promote the interest, and advantage, and accommodation of the inhabitants of the Town and Township aforesaid, and of others, His Majesty's subjects, within the said Province, by and with the advice of the Executive Council thereof, have ordained, erected, established and appointed, and do hereby ordain, erect, establish and appoint, a Public Open Market, to be held on Saturday in each and every week during the year, within the said Town of York:—(The first market to be held therein on Saturday, the 5th day of November next after the date of these presents), on a certain piece or plot of land within that Town, consisting of five acres and a half, commencing at the south-east angle of the said plot, at the corner of Market Street and New Street, then north sixteen degrees, west five chains seventeen links, more or less, to King Street; then along King Street south seventy-four degrees west nine chains fifty-one links, more or less, to Church Street; then south sixteen degrees east six chains thirty-four links, more or less, to Market Street; then along Market Street north seventy-four degrees east two chains; then north sixty-four degrees, east along Market Street seven chains sixty links, more or less, to the place of beginning, for the purpose of exposing for sale cattle, sheep, poultry, and other provisions, goods and merchandize, as aforesaid. Given under my hand and seal at arms, at York, this[41] twenty-sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three, and in the forty-fourth year of His Majesty's reign. P. Hunter, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor. By His Excellency's command, Wm. Jarvis, Secretary."

In 1824, the Market Square was, by the direction of the County magistrates, closed in on the east, west, and south sides, "with a picketting and oak ribbon, the pickets at ten feet distance from each other, with three openings or foot-paths on each side."

The digging of a public well here, in the direction of King Street, was an event of considerable interest in the town. Groups of school-boys every day scanned narrowly the progress of the undertaking; a cap of one or the other of them, mischievously precipitated to the depths where the labourers' mattocks were to be heard pecking at the shale below, may have impressed the execution of this public work all the more indelibly on the recollection of some of them. By referring to a volume of the Upper Canada Gazette, we find that this was in 1823. An unofficial advertisement in that periodical, dated June the 9th, 1823, calls for proposals to be sent in to the office of the Clerk of the Peace, "for the sinking a well, stoning and sinking a pump therein, in the most approved manner, at the Market Square of the said town (of York), for the convenience of the Public." It is added that persons desirous of contracting for the same, must give in their proposals on or before Tuesday, the first day of July next ensuing; and the signature, "by the order of the Court," is that of "S. Heward, Clerk of the Peace, H. D." (Home District).

The tender of John Hutchison and George Hetherington was accepted. They offered to do the work "for the sum of £25 currency on coming to the rock, with the addition of seven shillings and sixpence per foot for boring into the rock until a sufficient supply of water can be got, should it be required." The work was done and the account paid July 30th, 1823. The charge for boring eight feet two inches through the rock was £3 1s. 3d. The whole well and pump thus cost the County the modest sum of only £28 1s. 3d. The charge for flagging round the pump, for "logs, stone and workmanship," was £5 2s.d., paid to Mr. Hugh Carfrae, pathmaster.

Near the public pump, auctions in the open air occasionally took place. A humourous chapman in that line, Mr. Patrick Handy, used often here to be seen and heard, disposing of his miscella[42]neous wares. With Mr. Handy was associated for a time, in this business, Mr. Patrick McGann. And here we once witnessed the horrid exhibition of a public whipping, in the case of two culprits whose offence is forgotten. A discharged regimental drummer, a native African, administered the lash. The sheriff stood by, keeping count of the stripes. The senior of the two unfortunates bore his punishment with stoicism, encouraging the negro to strike with more force. The other, a young man, endeavoured for a little while to imitate his companion in this respect; but soon was obliged to evince by fearful cries the torture endured. Similar scenes were elsewhere to be witnessed in Canada. In the Montreal Herald of September 16th, 1815, we have the following item of city news, given without comment: "Yesterday, between the hours of 9 and 10, pursuant to their sentences, André Latulippe, Henry Leopard, and John Quin, received 39 lashes each, in the New Market Place." The practice of whipping and even branding of culprits in public had begun at York in 1798. In the Gazette and Oracle of Dec. 1st, 1798, printed at York, we have the note: "Last Monday William Hawkins was publicly whipped, and Joseph McCarthy burned in the hand, at the Market Place, pursuant to their sentence." The crimes are not named.

In the Market Square at York, the pillory and the stocks were also from time to time set up. The latter were seen in use for the last time in 1834. In 1804, a certain Elizabeth Ellis was, for "being a nuisance," sentenced by Chief Justice Allcock to be imprisoned for six months, and "to stand in the pillory twice during the said imprisonment, on two different market days, opposite the Market House in the town of York, for the space of two hours each time." In the same year, the same sentence was passed on one Campbell, for using "seditious words."

In 1831 the wooden shambles were removed, and replaced in 1833 by a collegiate-looking building of red brick, quadrangular in its arrangement, with arched gateway entrances on King Street and Front Street. This edifice filled the whole square, with the exception of roadways on the east and west sides. The public well was now concealed from view. It doubtless exists still, to be discovered and gloated over by the antiquarian of another century.

Round the four sides of the new brick Market ran a wooden gallery, which served to shade the Butchers' stalls below. It was here that a fearful casualty occurred in 1834. A concourse of[43] people were being addressed after the adjournment of a meeting on an electional question, when a portion of the overcrowded gallery fell, and several persons were caught on the sharp iron hooks of the stalls underneath, and so received fatal injuries. The killed and wounded on this memorable occasion were:—Son of Col. Fitz Gibbon, killed; Mr. Hutton, killed; Col. Fitz Gibbon, injured severely; Mr. Mountjoy, thigh broken; Mr. Cochrane, injured severely; Mr. Charles Daly, thigh broken; Mr. George Gurnett, wound in the head; Mr. Keating, injured internally; Mr. Fenton, injured; Master Gooderham, thigh broken; Dr. Lithgow, contused severely; Mr. Morrison, contused severely; Mr. Alderman Denison, cut on the head; Mr. Thornhill, thigh broken; Mr. Street, arm broken; Mr. Deese, thigh broken; another Mr. Deese, leg and arm broken; Mr. Sheppard, injured internally; Mr. Clieve, Mr. Mingle, Mr. Preston, Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Leslie (of the Garrison), Master Billings, Mr. Duggan, Mr. Thomas Ridout, Mr. Brock, Mr. Turner, Mr. Hood (since dead), severely injured, &c.

The damage done to the northern end of the quadrangle during the great fire of 1849 led to the demolition of the whole building, and the erection of the St. Lawrence Hall and Market. Over windows on the second storey at the south east corner of the red brick structure now removed, there appeared, for several years, two signs, united at the angle of the building, each indicating by its inscription the place of "The Huron and Ontario Railway" office.

This was while the Northern Railway of Canada was yet existing simply as a project.

In connection with our notice of the Market, we give some collection which may serve to illustrate—


During the war it was found expedient by the civil authorities to interfere, in some degree, with the law of supply and demand. The Magistrates, in Quarter Sessions assembled, agreed, in 1814, upon the following prices, as in their opinion fair and equitable to be paid by the military authorities for provisions:—Flour, per barrel, £3 10s. Wheat, per bushel, 10s. Pease, per bushel, 7s. 6d. Barley and Rye, the same. Oats, per bushel, 5s. Hay, per ton, £5. Straw, £3. Beef, on foot, per cwt. £2 5s.; slaughtered,[44] per lb., 7½d. Pork, salted, per barrel, £7 10s.; per carcass, 7½d. Mutton, per lb., 9d. Veal, 8d. Butter, 1s. 3d. Bread, per loaf of 4 lbs., 1s. 6d. In April, 1822, peace then reigning, York prices were:—Beef, per lb., 2d. a 4d. Mutton, 4d. a 5d. Veal, 4d. a 5d. Pork, 2d. ad. Fowls, per pair, 1s. 3d. Turkeys, each, 3s. 9d. Geese, 2s. 6d. Ducks, per pair, 1s. 10d. Cheese, per lb., 5d. Butter, 7½d. Eggs, per doz., 5d. Wheat, per bushel, 2s. 6d. Barley, 48 lbs., 2s. Oats, 1s. Pease, 1s.d. Potatoes, per bushel, 1s. 3d. Turnips, 1s. Cabbages, per head, 2d. Flour, per cwt., 6s. 3d. Flour, per barrel, 12s. 6d. Tallow, per lb., 5d. Lard, per lb., 5d. Hay, per ton, £2 10s. Pork, per barrel, £2 10s. Wood, per cord, 10s.

As allied to the subject of early prices at York, we add some excerpts from the day-book of Mr. Abner Miles, conductor of the chief hotel of the place, in 1798. It would appear that the resident gentry and others occasionally gave and partook of little dinners at Mr. Miles', for which the charges are roughly minuted on some long, narrow pages of folded foolscap now lying before us. It will be seen from the record that the local "table-traits," as Dr. Doran would speak, were, as nearly as practicable those of the rest of the Empire at the period. At the new capital, however, in 1798, hosts and guests must have laboured under serious difficulties.

In July, 1798, the following items appear against the names, conjointly of Messrs. Baby, Hamilton, and Commodore Grant:—Twenty-two dinners at Eight shillings, £8 16s. Sixteen to Coffee, £1 12s. Eight Suppers, 16s. Twenty-three quarts and one pint of wine, £10 11s. 6d. Eight bottles of porter, £2 8s. Two bottles of syrup-punch, £1 4s. One bottle of brandy and one bottle of rum, 18s. Altogether amounting to £26 5s. 6d. (The currency throughout Mr. Miles' books is that of New York, in which the shilling was seven pence half-penny. The total just given denoted between £16 and £17 of modern Canadian money. It is observable that in the entries of which we give specimens, whiskey, the deadly bane of later years, in not named.) On the 17th June, Thomas Ridout, Jonathan Scott, Col. Fortune, Surveyor Jones, Samuel Heron, Mr. Jarvis [the Secretary], Adjutant McGill, and Mr. Crawford are each charged 16s. as his quota of a "St. John's dinner." On the 4th of June, an entry against "the Chief Justice" [Elmsley], runs thus: Eighteen dinners at Eight shillings, £7 4s.[45] Three bottles Madeira, £1 7s. One bottle brandy, 10s. Five bottles of port wine, four bottles of porter and one pint of rum are charged, but the value is not given. The defect is supplied in a later entry against the Chief Justice, of seven dinners (42s.); where two pints of port wine are charged 9s.; one pint of brandy, 5s.; two bottles port wine, 18s.; one bottle white wine, 9s.; one bottle of porter, 6s. On this occasion "four took coffee," at a cost of 8s. Elsewhere, three dinners are charged to the Chief Justice, when three bottles of wine were required; one pint of brandy, and two bottles of porter, all at the rates already quoted. A "mess dinner" is mentioned, for which the Chief Justice, Mr. Hallowell, and Mr. Cartwright pay 6s. each. One bottle of port, one of Madeira, and one of brandy were ordered, and the "three took coffee," as before at 2s. a head. Again, at a "mess dinner," of four, the names not given, two bottles of port and one bottle of porter were taken. A "club" appears to have met here. In July, 1798, a charge against the names of "Esq. Weekes," "Esq. Rogers," and Col. Fortune, respectively, is "liquor in club the 11th at dinner, 1s. 6d." On July 6th "Judge Powell" is charged for supper, 2s.; for one quart of wine, 9s. On the same day "Judge Powell's servant" had a "gill brandy, 1s. 3d. and one glass do., 8d." A few days afterwards, a reverend wayfarer calls at the inn; baits his beast, and modestly refreshes himself. The entry runs:—"Priest from River La Tranche, 3 quarts corn and half-pint of wine. Breakfast, 2s 6d." On another day, Capt. Herrick has a "gill gin sling, 1s. 3d.; also immediately afterwards a "half-pint of gin sling, 3s." At the same time Capt. Demont has "gill rum sling, 1s. 3d.," and "gill rum, 1s." Capt. Fortune has "half-pint wine, 2s.," and "Esq. Weekes," "gill brandy, 1s. 3d." Col. Fortune has "gill sour punch, 2s." This sour punch is approved of by "Dunlap"—who at one place four times in immediate succession, and frequently elsewhere, is charged with "glass sour punch, 2s." Jacob Cozens takes "one bottle Madeira wine, 10s.;" Samuel Cozens, "one bottle Madeira wine, 10s., and bread and cheese, 1s.;" and Shivers Cozens, "bottle of wine, 10s., and bread and cheese, 1s. Conets Cozens has "dinner, 2s., a gill of brandy, 1s., and half a bushel of seed corn, 7s." On the 5th of July, Josiah Phelps has placed opposite his name, "one glass punch, 3s.; three bowls sour punch, 9s.; gill rum, 1s.; two gin slings, 2s. 6d.; bowl punch, 3s.; gill rum, 1s.; two gills syrup punch, 4s.; supper, 2s." About the same time Corporal Wilson[46] had "two mugs beer, 4s." On the 6th of July Commodore Grant had "half-pint rum, for medson, 2s.; and immediately after another half-pint rum, for do., 2s." One "Billy Whitney" figures often; his purchases one day were: "gill rum sling, 1s. 6d.; do., 1s. 6d.; half-pound butter, 1s. 3d." Capt. Hall takes "one gill punch, 2s.; glass rum, 6d., and half-gallon punch, 7s." He at the same time has two dollars in cash advanced to him by the obliging landlord, 16s.

Mr. Abner Miles supplied customers with general provisions as well as liquors. On one occasion he sells, "White, Attorney-General," three pounds of butter for 7s. 6d., and six eggs for 1s. 6d. He also sells "President Russell" forty-nine pounds and three-fourths, of beef at 1s. per pound; Mr. Attorney-General White took twenty-three pounds and a half at the same price. That sold to "Robert Gray, Esq.," is described as "a choice piece," and is charged two pence extra per pound. The piece, however, weighed only seven pounds, and the cost was just eight shillings and two pence. Other things are supplied by Mr. Miles. Gideon Badger buys of him "one yard red spotted cassimere, 20s.; one and a-half dozen buttons, 3s; and a pair shears, 3s." At the same time Mr. Badger is credited with "one dollar, 8s." Joseph Kendrick gets "sole leather for pair of shoes for self, by old Mr. Ketchum, 6s." Mr. Miles moreover furnishes Mr. Allan with "237 feet of inch-and-half plank at 12s., 33s.; two rod of garden fence at 10s., 20s." We suppose the moneys received were recorded elsewhere generally; but on the pages before us we have such entries as the following: "Messrs. Hamilton, Baby and Grant settled up to 4th of July, after breakfast." "Dr. Gamble, at Garrison," obtained ten bushels of oats and is to pay therefor £4. A mem. is entered of "Angus McDonell, dr., Dinner sent to his tent." and "Capt. Demont, cr. By note of hand for £26 5s. Halifax currency, £42 York." On the same day the Captain indulges in "a five dollar cap, 40s.," and "one gill rum, 1s." That some of Mr. Miles' customers required to be reminded of their indebtedness to him, we learn from an advertisement in the Gazette and Oracle of August 31, 1799. It says: "The Subscriber informs all those indebted to him by note or book, to make payment by the 20th September next, or he will be under the disagreeable necessity of putting them into the hands of an attorney. Abner Miles, York, August 28th, 1799." Mr. Miles' house was a rendezvous for various purposes. In a Gazette and Oracle of[47] Dec 8, 1798, we read—"The gentlemen of the Town and Garrison are requested to meet at one o'clock, on Monday next, the 10th instant, at Miles' Hotel, in order to arrange the place of the York Assemblies for the season. York, Dec 8, 1798." In another number of the same paper an auction is advertised to take place at Miles' Tavern.

In the Gazette and Oracle of July 13th, 1799, we read the following advertisement: "O. Pierce and Co. have for sale: Best spirits by the puncheon, barrel, or ten gallons, 20s. per gal. Do. by the single gallon, 22s. Rum by the puncheon, barrel, or ten gallons, 18s. per gal. Brandy by the barrel, 20s. per gal. Port wine by the barrel, 18s. per gal. Do. by single gallon, 20s. per gal. Gin, by the barrel, 18s. per gal. Teas—Hyson, 19s. per lb.; Souchong, 14s. do.; Bohea, 8s. do. Sugar, best loaf, 3s. 9d. per lb. Lump, 3s. 6d. Raisins, 3s. Figs, 3s. Salt six dollars per barrel or 12s. per bushel. Also, a few dry goods, shoes, leather, hats, tobacco, snuff, &c., &c. York, July 6, 1799." These prices appear to be in Halifax currency.




The corner we approach after passing the Market Square, was occupied by an inn with a sign-board sustained on a high post inserted at the outer edge of the foot-path, in country roadside fashion. This was Hamilton's, or the White Swan. It was here, we believe, or in an adjoining house, that a travelling citizen of the United States, in possession of a collection of stuffed birds and similar objects, endeavoured at an early period to establish a kind of Natural History Museum. To the collection here was once rashly added figures, in wax, of General Jackson and some other United States notabilities, all in grand costume. Several of these were one night abstracted from the Museum by some over-patriotic youths, and suspended by the neck from the limbs of one of the large trees that over-looked the harbour.

Just beyond was the Steamboat Hotel, long known as Ulick Howard's, remarkable for the spirited delineation of a steam-packet of vast dimensions, extending the whole length of the building, just over the upper verandah of the hotel. In 1828, Mr. Howard is offering to let his hotel, in the following terms:—"Steamboat Hotel, York, U. C.—The proprietor of this elegant establishment, now unrivalled in this part of the country, being desirous of retiring from Public Business, on account of ill-health in his family, will let the same for a term of years to be agreed on, either with or without the furniture. The Establishment is now too well-known to require comment. N. B. Security will be required for the payment of the Rent, and the fulfilment of the contract in every respect. Apply to the subscriber on the premises. U. Howard, York, Oct 8th, 1828."


A little further on was the Ontario House, a hotel built in a style common then at the Falls of Niagara and in the United States. A row of lofty pillars, well-grown pines in fact, stripped and smoothly planed, reached from the ground to the eaves, and supported two tiers of galleries, which, running behind the columns, did not interrupt their vertical lines.

Close by the Ontario House, Market Street from the west entered Front Street at an acute angle. In the gore between the two streets, a building sprang up, which, in conforming to its site, assumed the shape of a coffin. The foot of this ominous structure was the office where travellers booked themselves for various parts in the stages that from time to time started from York. It took four days to reach Niagara in 1816. We are informed by a contemporary advertisement now before us, that "on the 20th of September next [1816], a stage will commence running between York and Niagara: it will leave York every Monday, and arrive at Niagara on Thursday; and leave Queenston every Friday. The baggage is to be considered at the risk of the owner, and the fare to be paid in advance." In 1824, the mails were conveyed the same distance, via Ancaster, in three days. In a post-office advertisement for tenders, signed "William Allan, P. M.," we have the statement: "The mails are made up here [York] on the afternoon of Monday and Thursday, and must be delivered at Niagara on the Wednesday and Saturday following; and within the same period in returning." In 1835, Mr. William Weller was the proprietor of a line of stages between Toronto and Hamilton, known as the "Telegraph Line." In an advertisement before us, he engages to take passengers "through by daylight, on the Lake Road, during the winter season."

Communication with England was at this period a tedious process. So late as 1836, Mrs. Jameson thus writes in her Journal at Toronto (i. 182): "It is now seven weeks since the date of the last letters from my dear far-distant home. The Archdeacon," she adds, "told me, by way of comfort, that when he came to settle in this country, there was only one mail-post from England in the course of a whole year, and it was called, as if in mockery, the Express." To this "Express" we have a reference in a post-office advertisement to be seen in a Quebec Gazette of 1792: "A mail for the Upper Countries, comprehending Niagara and Detroit, will be closed," it says, "at this office, on Monday, the 30th inst., at 4 o'clock in the evening, to be forwarded from Montreal by the [50]annual winter Express, on Thursday, the 3rd of Feb. next." From the same paper we learn that on the 10th of November, the latest date from Philadelphia and New York was Oct. 8th: also, that a weekly conveyance had lately been established between Montreal and Burlington, Vermont. In the Gazette of Jan. 13, 1808, we have the following: "For the information of the Public.—York, 12th Jan., 1808.—The first mail from Lower Canada is arrived, and letters are ready to be delivered by W. Allan, Acting-Deputy-Postmaster."

Compare all this with advertisements in Toronto daily papers now, from agencies in the town, of "Through Lines" weekly, to California, Vancouver's, China and Japan, connecting with Lines to Australia and New Zealand.

On the beach below the Steamboat Hotel was, at a late period, a market for the sale of fish. It was from this spot that Bartlett, in his "Canadian Scenery," made one of the sketches intended to convey to the English eye an impression of the town. In the foreground are groups of conventional, and altogether too picturesque, fishwives and squaws: in the distance is the junction of Hospital Street and Front Street, with the tapering building between. On the right are the galleries of what had been the Steamboat Hotel; it here bears another name.

Bartlett's second sketch is from the end of a long wharf or jetty to the west. The large building in front, with a covered passage through it for vehicles, is the warehouse or freight depot of Mr. William Cooper, long the owner of this favourite landing place. Westwards, the pillared front of the Ontario house is to be seen. Both of these views already look quaint, and possess a value as preserving a shadow of much that no longer exists.

Where Mr. Cooper's Wharf joined the shore there was a ship-building yard. We have a recollection of a launch that strangely took place here on a Sunday. An attempt to get the ship into the water on the preceding day had failed. Delay would have occasioned an awkward settling of the ponderous mass. We shall have occasion hereafter to speak of the early shipping of the harbour.

The lot extending northward from the Ontario House corner to King street was the property of Attorney-General Macdonell, who, while in attendance on General Brock as Provincial aide-de-camp, was slain in the engagement on Queenston Heights. His death created the vacancy to which, at an unusually early age, succeeded [51]Mr. John Beverley Robinson, afterwards the distinguished Chief Justice of Upper Canada. Mr. Macdonell's remains are deposited with those of his military chief under the column on Queenston Heights. He bequeathed the property to which our attention has been directed, to a youthful nephew, Mr. James Macdonell, on certain conditions, one of which was that he should be educated in the tenets of the Anglican Church, notwithstanding the Roman Catholic persuasion of the rest of the family.

The track for wheels that here descended to the water's edge from the north, Church Street subsequently, was long considered a road remote from the business part of the town, like the road leading southward from Charing-cross, as shewn in Ralph Aggas' early map of London. A row of frame buildings on its eastern side, in the direction of King Street, perched high on cedar posts over excavations generally filled with water, remained in an unfinished state until the whole began to be out of the perpendicular and to become gray with the action of the weather. It was evidently a premature undertaking; the folly of an over-sanguine speculator. Yonge street beyond, where it approached the shore of the harbour, was unfrequented. In spring and autumn it was a notorious slough. In 1830, a small sum would have purchased any of the building lots on either side of Yonge Street, between Front Street and Market Street.

Between Church Street and Yonge Street, now, we pass a short street uniting Front Street with Wellington Street. Like Salisbury, Cecil, Craven and other short but famous streets off the Strand, it retains the name of the distinguished person whose property it traversed in the first instance. It is called Scott Street, from Chief Justice Thomas Scott, whose residence and grounds were here.

Mr. Scott was one of the venerable group of early personages of whom we shall have occasion to speak. He was a man of fine culture, and is spoken of affectionately by those who knew him. His stature was below the average. A heavy, overhanging forehead intensified the thoughtful expression of his countenance, which belonged to the class suggested by the current portraits of the United States jurist, Kent. We sometimes, to this day, fall in with books from his library, bearing his familiar autograph.

Mr. Scott was the first chairman and president of the "Loyal and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada," organized at York in 181[52]2. His name consequently appears often in the Report of that Association, printed by William Gray in Montreal in 1817. The objects of the Society were "to afford relief and aid to disabled militiamen and their families: to reward merit, excite emulation, and commemorate glorious exploits, by bestowing medals and other honorary marks of public approbation and distinction for extraordinary instances of personal courage and fidelity in defence of the Province." The preface to the Report mentions that "the sister-colony of Nova Scotia, excited by the barbarous conflagration of the town of Newark and the devastation on that frontier, had, by a legislative act, contributed largely to the relief of this Province."

In an appeal to the British public, signed by Chief Justice Scott, it is stated that "the subscription of the town of York amounted in a few days to eight hundred and seventy-five pounds five shillings, Provincial currency, dollars at five shillings each, to be paid annually during the war; and that at Kingston to upwards of four hundred pounds."

Medals were struck in London by order of the Loyal and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada; but they were never distributed. The difficulty of deciding who were to receive them was found to be too great. They were defaced and broken up in York, with such rigour that not a solitary specimen is known to exist. Rumours of one lurking somewhere, continue to this day, to tantalize local numismatists. What became of the bullion of which they were composed used to be one of the favourite vexed questions among the old people of York. Its value doubtless was added to the surplus that remained of the funds of the Society, which, after the year 1817, were devoted to benevolent objects. To the building fund of the York General Hospital, we believe, a considerable donation was made. The medal, we are told, was two and one-half inches in diameter. On the obverse, within a wreath of laurel, were the words "FOR MERIT." On this side was also the legend: "PRESENTED BY A GRATEFUL COUNTRY." On the reverse was the following elaborate device: A strait between two lakes: on the North side a beaver (emblem of peaceful industry), the ancient cognizance of Canada: in the background an English Lion slumbering. On the South side of the Strait, the American eagle planing in the air, as if checked from seizing the Beaver by the presence of the Lion. Legend on this side: "UPPER CANADA PRESERVED[53]."

Scott Street conducts to the site, on the north side of Hospital Street, westward of the home of Mr. James Baby, and, eastward, to that of Mr. Peter Macdougall, two notable citizens of York.

A notice of Mr. Baby occurs in Sibbald's Canadian Magazine for March, 1833. The following is an extract: "James Baby was born at Detroit in 1762. His family was one of the most ancient in the colony; and it was noble. His father had removed from Lower Canada to the neighbourhood of Detroit before the conquest of Quebec, where, in addition to the cultivation of lands, he was connected with the fur-trade, at that time, and for many years after, the great staple of the country. James was educated at the Roman Catholic Seminary of Quebec, and returned to the paternal roof soon after the peace of 1783. The family had ever been distinguished (and indeed all the higher French families) for their adherence to the British crown; and to this, more than to any other cause, are we to attribute the conduct of the Province of Quebec during the American War. Being a great favourite with his father, James was permitted to make an excursion to Europe, before engaging steadily in business; and after spending some time, especially in England, rejoined his family. * * * There was a primitive simplicity in Mr. Baby's character, which, added to his polished manners and benignity of disposition, threw a moral beauty around him which is very seldom beheld."

In the history of the Indian chief Pontiac, who, in 1763, aimed at extirpating the English, the name of Mr. Baby's father repeatedly occurs. The Canadian habitans of the neighbourhood of Detroit, being of French origin, were unmolested by the Indians; but a rumour had reached the great Ottawa chief, while the memorable siege of Detroit was in progress, that the Canadians had accepted a bribe from the English to induce them to attack the Indians. "Pontiac," we read in Parkman's History, p. 227, "had been an old friend of Baby; and one evening, at an early period of the siege, he entered his house, and, seating himself by the fire, looked for some time steadily at the embers. At length, raising his head, he said he had heard that the English had offered the Canadian a bushel of silver for the scalp of his friend. Baby declared that the story was false, and protested that he never would betray him. Pontiac for a moment keenly studied his features. 'My brother has spoken the truth,' he said, 'and I will show that[54] I believe him.' He remained in the house through the evening, and, at its close, wrapped himself in his blanket and lay down upon a bench, where he slept in full confidence till morning." Note that the name Baby is to be pronounced Baw-bee.

Mr. Macdougall was a gentleman of Scottish descent, but, like his compatriots in the neighbourhood of Murray Bay, so thoroughly Lower-Canadianized as to be imperfectly acquainted with the English language to the last. He was a successful merchant of the town of York, and filled a place in the old local conversational talk, in which he was sometimes spoken of as "Wholesale, Retail, Pete McDoug,"—an expression adopted by himself on some occasion. He is said once to have been much perplexed by the item "ditto" occurring in a bill of lading furnished of goods under way; he could not remember having given orders for any such article. He was a shrewd business man. An impression prevailed in certain quarters that his profits were now and then extravagant. While he was living at Niagara, some burglars from Youngstown broke into his warehouse; and after helping themselves to whatever they pleased, they left a written memorandum accounting for their not having taken with them certain other articles: it was "because they were marked too high."

That he was accustomed to affix a somewhat arbitrary value to his merchandise, seems to be shown by another story that was told of him. He was said, one day, when trade in general was very dull, to have boasted that he had that very morning made £400 by a single operation. On being questioned, it appeared that it had been simply a sudden enlargement of the figure marked on all his stock to the extent of £400.

One other story of him is this: On hearing a brother dealer lament that by a certain speculation he should, after all, make only 5 per cent., he expressed his surprise, adding that he himself would be satisfied with 3, or even 2, (taking the figures 2, 3, &c., to mean 2 hundred, 3 hundred, &c.)—We shall hear of Mr. Macdougall again in connection with the marine of the harbour.

Of Yonge Street itself, at which we now arrive, we propose to speak at large hereafter. Just westward from Yonge Street was the abode, surrounded by pleasant grounds and trees, of Mr. Macaulay, at a later period Sir James Macaulay, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, a man beloved and honoured for his sterling excellence in every relation. A full-length portrait of him is preser[55]ved in Osgoode Hall. His peculiar profile, not discernable in that painting, is recalled by the engraving of Capt. Starky, which some readers will remember in Hone's Every-Day Book.

Advancing a little further, we came in front of one of the earliest examples, in these parts, of an English-looking rustic cottage, with verandah and sloping lawn. This was occupied for a time by Major Hillier, of the 74th regiment, aide-de-camp and military secretary to Sir Peregrine Maitland. The well-developed native thorn-tree, to the north of the site of this cottage, on the property of Mr. Andrew Mercer, is a relic of the woods that once ornamented this locality.

Next came the residence of Mr. Justice Boulton, a spacious family domicile of wood, painted white, situated in an extensive area, and placed far back from the road. The Judge was an English gentleman of spare Wellington physique; like many of his descendants, a lover of horses and a spirited rider; a man of wit, too, and humour, fond of listening to and narrating anecdotes of the ben trovato class. The successor to this family home was Holland House, a structure of a baronial cast, round which one might expect to find the remains of a moat; a reproduction, in some points, as in name, of the building in the suburbs of London, in which was born the Judge's immediate heir, Mr. H. J. Boulton, successively Solicitor-General for Upper Canada, and Chief Justice of Newfoundland.

When Holland House passed out of the hands of its original possessor, it became the property of Mr. Alexander Manning, an Alderman of Toronto.

It was at Holland House that the Earl and Countess of Dufferin kept high festival during a brief sojourn in the capital of Ontario, in 1872. Suggested by public addresses received in infinite variety, within Holland House was written or thought out that remarkable cycle of rescripts and replies which rendered the vice-regal visit to Toronto so memorable,—a cycle of rescripts and replies exceedingly wide in its scope, but in which each requisite topic was touched with consummate skill, and in such a way as to show in each direction genuine human sympathy and heartiness of feeling, and a sincere desire to cheer and strengthen the endeavour after the Good, the Beautiful and the True, in every quarter.

Whilst making his visit to Quebec, before coming to Toronto, Lord Dufferin, acting doubtless on a chivalrous and poetical impu[56]lse, took up his abode in the Citadel, notwithstanding the absence of worthy arrangements for his accommodation there.

Will not this bold and original step on the part of Lord Dufferin lead hereafter to the conversion of the Fortress that crowns Cape Diamond into a Rheinstein for the St. Lawrence—into an appropriately designed castellated habitation, to be reserved as an occasional retreat, nobly-seated and grandly historic, for the Viceroys of Canada?

We now passed the grounds and house of Chief-Justice Powell. In this place we shall only record our recollection of the profound sensation created far and wide by the loss of the Chief-Justice's daughter in the packet ship Albion, wrecked off the Head of Kinsale, on the 22nd of April, 1822. A voyage to the mother country at that period was still a serious undertaking. We copy a contemporaneous extract from the Cork Southern Reporter:—"The Albion, whose loss at Garrettstown Bay we first mentioned in our paper of Tuesday, was one of the finest class of ships between Liverpool and New York, and was 500 tons burden. We have since learned some further particulars, by which it appears that her loss was attended with circumstances of a peculiarly afflicting nature. She had lived out the tremendous gale of the entire day on Sunday, and Captain Williams consoled the passengers, at eight o'clock in the evening, with the hope of being able to reach Liverpool on the day but one after, which cheering expectation induced almost all of the passengers, particularly the females, to retire to rest. In some short time, however, a violent squall came on, which in a moment carried away the masts, and, there being no possibility of disengaging them from the rigging, encumbered the hull so that she became unmanageable, and drifted at the mercy of the waves, till the light-house of the Old Head was discovered, the wreck still nearing in; when the Captain told the sad news to the passengers, that there was no longer any hope; and, soon after she struck. From thenceforward all was distress and confusion. The vessel soon went to pieces, and, of the crew and passengers, only six of the former and nine of the latter were saved." The names of the passengers are added, as follows: "Mr. Benyon, a London gentleman; Mr. N. Ross, of Troy, near New York; Mr. Conyers, and his brother-in-law, Major Gough, 68th regiment; Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, Americans; Madame Gardinier and son, a boy about eight years of age; Col. Prevost; Mr. Dwight, of Boston; Mrs. Mary Pye, of New York; Mis[57]s Powell, daughter of the Honourable William Dummer Powell, Chief-Justice of Upper Canada; Rev. Mr. Hill, Jamaica, coming home by the way of the United States; Professor Fisher, of New Haven, Connecticut; Mr. Gurnee, New York; Mr. Proctor, New York; Mr. Dupont, and five other Frenchmen; Mrs. Mary Brewster; Mr. Hirst, Mr. Morrison, and Stephen Chase."

The Weekly Register of York, of June 13, 1822, the number that contains the announcement of the wreck of the Albion packet, has also the following paragraph: "Our Attorney-General arrived in London about the 22nd of March, and up to the 11th of April had daily interviews of great length with ministers. It gives us real pleasure to announce,"—so continues the editorial of the Weekly Register—"that his mission is likely to be attended with the most complete success, and that our relations with the Lower Provinces will be put on a firm and advantageous footing. We have no doubt that Mr. Robinson will deserve the general thanks of the country." A family party from York had embarked in the packet of the preceding month, and were, as this paragraph intimates, safe in London on the 22nd of March. The disastrous fate of the lady above named was thus rendered the more distressing to friends and relatives, as she was present in New York when that packet sailed, but for some obscure reason, she did not desire to embark therein along with her more fortunate fellow townsfolk.

After the house and grounds of Chief-Justice Powell came the property of Dr. Strachan, of whom much hereafter. In view of the probable future requirements of his position in a growing town and growing country, Dr. Strachan built, in 1818, a residence here of capacious dimensions and good design, with extensive and very complete appurtenances. A brother of the Doctor's, Mr. James Strachan, an intelligent bookseller of Aberdeen, visited York in 1819, soon after the first occupation of the new house by its owners. The two brothers, John and James, had not seen each other since 1799, when John, a young man just twenty-one, was setting out for Canada, to undertake a tutorship in a family at Kingston; setting out with scant money outfit, but provided with what was of more value, a sound constitution, a clear head, and a good strong understanding trained in Scottish schools and colleges, and by familiar intercourse with shrewd Scottish folk.

As James entered the gates leading into the new mansion, and cast a comprehensive glance at the fine façade of the building befo[58]re him and over its pleasant and handsome surroundings, he suddenly paused; and indulging in a stroke of sly humour, addressed his brother with the words, spoken in grave confidential undertone,—"I hope it's a' come by honestly, John!"

On his return to Scotland, Mr. James Strachan published "A Visit to the Province of Upper Canada in 1819," an interesting book, now scarce and desired by Canadian collectors. The bulk of the information contained in this volume was confessedly derived from Dr. Strachan.

The bricks used in the construction of the house here in 1818 were manufactured on the spot. One or two earlier brick buildings at York were composed of materials brought from Kingston or Montreal; recalling the parallel fact that the first bricks used for building in New York were imported from Holland; just as in the present day, (though now, of course, for a different reason,) houses are occasionally constructed at Quebec with white brick manufactured in England.

We next arrived at a large open space, much broken up by a rivulet—"Russell's Creek,"—that meandered most recklessly through it. This piece of ground was long known as Simcoe Place, and was set apart in the later plan for the extension of York westward, as a Public Square. Overlooking this area from the north-west, at the present day, is one of the elms of the original forest—an unnoticeable sapling at the period referred to, but now a tree of stately dimensions and of very graceful form, resembling that of the Greek letter Psi. It will be a matter of regret when the necessities of the case shall render the removal of this relic indispensable.

At the corner to the south of this conspicuous tree, was an inn long known as the Greenland Fishery. Its sign bore on one side, quite passably done, an Arctic or Greenland scene; and on the other, vessels and boats engaged in the capture of the whale. A travelling sailor, familiar with whalers, and additionally a man of some artistic taste and skill, paid his reckoning in labour, by executing for the landlord, Mr. Wright, these spirited paintings, which proved an attraction to the house.

John Street, which passes north, by the Greenland Fishery, bears one of the Christian names of the first Governor of Upper Canada. Graves Street, on the east side of the adjoining Square, bore his second Christian name; but Graves Street has, in recent times, be[59]en transformed into Simcoe Street.

When the Houses of Parliament, now to be seen stretching across Simcoe Place, were first built, a part of the design was a central pediment supported by four stone columns. This would have relieved and given dignity to the long front. The stone platform before the principal entrance was constructed with a flight of steps leading thereto; but the rather graceful portico which it was intended to sustain, was never added. The monoliths for the pillars were duly cut out at a quarry near Hamilton. They long remained lying there, in an unfinished state. In the lithographic view of the Parliament Buildings, published by J. Young, their architect, in 1836, the pediment of the original design is given as though it existed.

Along the edge of the water, below the properties, spaces and objects which we have been engaged in noticing, once ran a shingly beach of a width sufficient to admit of the passage of vehicles. A succession of dry seasons must then have kept the waters low. In 1815, however, the waters of the Lake appear to have been unusually high. An almanac of that year, published by John Cameron, at York, offers, seriously as it would seem, the subjoined explanation of the phenomenon: "The comet which passed to the northward three years since," the writer suggests, "has sensibly affected our seasons: they have become colder; the snows fall deeper; and from lesser exhalation, and other causes, the Lakes rise much higher than usual."

The Commissariat store-houses were situated here, just beyond the broken ground of Simcoe Place; long white structures of wood, with the shutters of the windows always closed; built on a level with the bay, yet having an entrance in the rear by a narrow gangway from the cliff above, on which, close by, was the guard-house, a small building, painted of a dun colour, with a roof of one slope, inclining to the south, and an arched stoup or verandah open to the north. Here a sentry was ever to be seen, pacing up and down. A light bridge over a deep water-course led up to the guard-house.

Over other depressions or ravines, close by here, were long to be seen some platforms or floored areas of stout plank. These were said to be spaces occupied by different portions of the renowned canvas-house of the first Governor, a structure manufactured in London and imported. The convenience of its plan, and the ho[60]spitality for which it afforded room, were favourite topics among the early people of the country. We have it in Bouchette's British North America a reference to this famous canvas house. "In the spring (i. e. of 1793)," that writer says, "the Lieutenant-Governor moved to the site of the new capital (York), attended by the regiment of the Queen's Rangers, and commenced at once the realization of his favourite project. His Excellency inhabited, during the summer, and through the winter, a canvas-house, which he imported expressly for the occasion; but, frail as was its substance, it was rendered exceedingly comfortable, and soon became as distinguished for the social and urbane hospitality of its venerable and gracious host, as for the peculiarity of its structure," vol. i. 80. After this allusion to the home Canadian life of the first Governor, the following remarks of de Liancourt, on the same subject, will not appear out of place:—"In his private life," the Duke says, "Gov. Simcoe is simple, plain and obliging. He inhabits [the reference now is to Newark or Niagara] a small, miserable wooden house, which formerly was occupied by the Commissaries, who resided here on account of the navigation of the Lake. His guard consist of four soldiers, who every morning come from the fort [across the river], and return thither in the evening. He lives in a noble and hospitable manner, without pride; his mind is enlightened, his character mild and obliging; he discourses with much good sense on all subjects; but his favourite topics are his projects, and war, which seem to be the objects of his leading passions. He is acquainted with the military history of all countries: no hillock catches his eye without exciting in his mind the idea of a fort which might be constructed on the spot; and with the construction of this fort he associates the plan of operations for a campaign, especially of that which is to lead him to Philadelphia. [Gen. Simcoe appears to have been strongly of the opinion that the United States were not going to be a permanency.] On hearing his professions of an earnest desire of peace, you cannot but suppose, either that his reason must hold an absolute sway over his passion, or that he deceives himself." Travels, i. 241.

Other traits, which doubtless at this time gave a charm to the home-life of the accomplished Governor, may be gathered from a passage in the correspondence, at a later period, of Polwhele, the historian of Cornwall, who says, in a letter addressed to the General himself, dated Manaccan, Nov. 5th, 1803:—"I have been sorely disapp[61]ointed, once or twice, in missing you, whilst you were inspecting Cornwall. It was not long after your visit at my friend Mr. Hoblyn's, but I slept also at Nanswhydden. Had I met you there, the Noctes Atticæ, the Coenæ Deorum, would have been renewed, if peradventure the chess-board intervened not; for rooks and pawns, I think, would have frightened away the Muses, familiar as rooks and pawns might have been to the suitors of Penelope." Polwhele, 544.

The canvas-house above spoken of, had been the property of Capt. Cook the circumnavigator. On its being offered for sale in London, Gov. Simcoe, seeing its possible usefulness to himself as a moveable government-house purchased it.

Some way to the east of the Commissariat store-houses was the site of the Naval Building Yard, where an unfinished ship-of-war and the materials collected for the construction of others, were destroyed, when the United States forces took possession of York in 1813.

It appears that Col. Joseph Bouchette had just been pointing out to the Government the exposed condition of the public property here. In a note at p. 89 of his British North America that officer remarks: "The defenceless situation of York, the mode of its capture, and the destruction of the large ship then on the stocks, were but too prophetically demonstrated in my report to headquarters in Lower Canada, on my return from a responsible mission to the capital of the Upper Province, in the early part of April. Indeed the communication of the result of my reconnoitering operations, and the intelligence of the successful invasion of York, and the firing of the new ship by the enemy, were received almost simultaneously."

The Governor-in-Chief, Sir George Prevost, was blamed for having permitted a frigate to be laid down in an unprotected position. There was a "striking impropriety," as the Third Letter of Veritas, a celebrated correspondent of the Montreal Herald in 1815, points out, "in building at York, without providing the means of security there, as the works of defence, projected by General Brock, (when he contemplated, before the war, the removal of the naval depot from Kingston to York, by reason of the proximity of the former to the States in water by the ice), were discontinued by orders from below, [from Sir George Prevost, that is], and never resumed. The position intended to have been fortified[62] by General Brock, near York, was," Veritas continues, "capable of being made very strong, had his plan been executed; but as it was not, nor any other plan of defence adopted, a ship-yard without protection became an allurement to the enemy, as was felt to the cost of the inhabitants of York."

In the year 1832, the interior of the Commissariat-store, decorated with flags, was the scene of the first charitable bazaar held in these parts. It was for the relief of distress occasioned by a recent visitation of cholera. The enterprise appears to have been remarkably successful. We have a notice of it in Sibbald's Canadian Magazine of January, 1833, in the following terms: "All the fashionable and well-disposed attended; the band of the gallant 79th played, at each table stood a lady; and in a very short time all the articles were sold to gentlemen,—who will keep 'as the apple of their eye' the things made and presented by such hands." The sum collected on the occasion, it is added, was three hundred and eleven pounds.

Where Windsor Street now appears—with its grand iron gates at either end, inviting or forbidding the entrance of the stranger to the prim, quaint, self-contained little village of villas inside—formerly stood the abode of Mr. John Beikie, whose tall, upright, staidly-moving form, generally enveloped in a long snuff-coloured overcoat, was one of the dramatis personæ of York. He had been, at an early period, sheriff of the Home District; at a later time his signature was familiar to every eye, attached in the Gazette to notices put forth by the Executive Council of the day, of which rather aristocratic body he was the Clerk.

Passing westward, we had on the right the spacious home of Mr. Crookshank, a benevolent and excellent man, sometime Receiver-General of the Province, of whom we shall again have occasion to speak; and on the left, on a promontory suddenly jutting out into the harbour, "Captain Bonnycastle's cottage," with garden and picturesque grove attached; all Ordnance property in reality, and once occupied by Col. Coffin. The whole has now been literally eaten away by the ruthless tooth of the steam excavator. On the beach to the west of this promontory was a much frequented bathing-place. Captain Bonnycastle, just named, was afterwards Sir Richard, and the author of "Canada as it was, is, and may be," and "Canada and the Canadians in 1846."


The name "Peter," attached to the street which flanks on the west the ancient homestead and extensive outbuildings of Mr. Crookshank, is a memento of the president or administrator, Peter Russell. It led directly up to Petersfield, Mr. Russell's park lot on Queen Street.

We come here to the western boundary of the so-called New Town—the limit of the first important extension of York westward. The limit, eastward, of the New Town, was a thoroughfare known in the former day as Toronto Street, which was one street east of Yonge Street, represented now by Victoria Street. At the period when the plan was designed for this grand western and north-western suburb of York, Yonge Street was not opened southward farther than Lot [Queen] Street. The roadway there suddenly veered to the eastward, and then, after a short interval, passed down Toronto Street, a roadway a little to the west of the existing Victoria Street.

The tradition in Boston used to be, that some of the streets there followed the line of accidental cow-paths formed in the olden time in the uncleared bush; and no doubt other old American towns, like ancient European towns generally, exhibit, in the direction of their thoroughfares, occasionally, traces of casual circumstances in the history of the first settlers on their respective sites. The practice at later periods has been to make all ways run as nearly as possible in right lines. In one or two "jogs" or irregularities, observable in the streets of the Toronto of to-day, we have memorials of early waggon tracks which ran where they most conveniently could. The slight meandering of Front Street in its course from the garrison to the site of the first Parliament Buildings, and of Britain Street, (an obscure passage between George Street and Caroline Street), may be thus explained; as also the fact that the southern end of the present Victoria Street does not connect immediately with the present Toronto Street. This last-mentioned irregularity is a relic of the time when the great road from the north, namely, Yonge Street, on reaching Queen Street, slanted off to the eastward across vacant lots and open ground, making by the nearest and most convenient route for the market and the heart of the town.

After the laying-out in lots of the region comprehended in the first great expansion of York, of which we have spoken, inquiries were instituted by the authorities as to the improvements made by the holders of each. In the chart accompanying the report of Mr. Ste[64]gman, the surveyor appointed to make the examination, the lots are coloured according to the condition of each, and appended are the following curious particulars, which smack somewhat of the ever-memorable town-plot of Eden, to which Martin Chuzzlewit was induced to repair, and which offered a lively picture of an infant metropolis in the rough. (We must represent to ourselves a chequered diagram; some of the squares white or blank; some tinted blue; some shaded black; the whole entitled "Sketch of the Part of the Town of York west of Toronto Street.")—"Explanation: The blank lots are cleared, agreeable to the notice issued from His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, bearing date September the fourth, 1800. The lots shaded blue are chiefly cut, but the brush not burnt; and those marked with the letter A, the brush only cut. The lots shaded black, no work done. The survey made by order of the Surveyor-General's office, bearing date April the 23rd, 1801." A more precise examination appears to have been demanded. The explanations appended to the second plan, which has squares shaded brown, in addition to those coloured blue and black, are: "1st. The blank lots are cleared. 2nd. The lots shaded black, no work done. 3rd. The lots shaded brown, the brush cut and burnt. 4th. The lots shaded blue, the brush cut and not burnt. N.B. The lots 1 and 2 on the north side of Newgate Street [the site subsequently of the dwelling-house of Jesse Ketchum, of whom hereafter], are mostly clear of the large timber, and some brush cut also, but not burnt; therefore omitted in the first report. This second examination done by order of the Honourable John Elmsley, Esq."

The second extension of York westward included the Government Common. The staking out of streets here was a comparatively late event. Brock Street, to which we have now approached, had its name, of course, from the General officer slain at Queenston, and its extra width from the example set in the Avenue to the north, into which it merges after crossing Queen Street.

A little to the west of Brock Street was the old military burying-ground, a clearing in the thick brushwood of the locality: of an oblong shape, its four picketed sides directed exactly towards the four cardinal points. The setting off of the neighbouring streets and lots at a different angle, caused the boundary lines of this plot to run askew to every other straight line in the vicinity. Over how many a now forgotten and even obliterated grave have the customar[65]y farewell volleys here been fired!—those final honours to the soldier, always so touching; intended doubtless, in the old barbaric way, to be an incentive to endurance in the sound and well; and consolatory in anticipation to the sick and dying.

In the mould of this old cemetery, what a mingling from distant quarters! Hearts finally at rest here, fluttered in their last beats, far away, at times, to old familiar scenes "beloved in vain" long ago; to villages, hedgerows, lanes, fields, in green England and Ireland, in rugged Scotland and Wales. Many a widow, standing at an open grave here, holding the hand of orphan boy or girl, has "wept her soldier dead," not slain in the battle-field, indeed, but fallen, nevertheless, in the discharge of duty, before one or other of the subtle assailants that, even in times of peace, not unfrequently bring the career of the military man to a premature close. Among the remains deposited in this ancient burial-plot are those of a child of the first Governor of Upper Canada, a fact commemorated on the exterior of the mortuary chapel over his own grave in Devonshire, by a tablet on which are the words: "Katharine, born in Upper Canada, 16th Jan., 1793; died and was buried at York Town, in that Province, in 1794."

Close to the military burial-ground was once enacted a scene which might have occurred at the obsequies of a Tartar chief in the days of old. Capt. Battersby, sent out to take command of a Provincial corps, was the owner of several fine horses, to which he was greatly attached. On his being ordered home, after the war of 1812, friends and others began to make offers for the purchase of the animals; but no; he would enter into no treaty with any one on that score. What his decision was became apparent the day before his departure from York. He then had his poor dumb favourites led out by some soldiers to the vicinity of the burying-ground; and there he caused each of them to be deliberately shot dead. He did not care to entrust to the tender mercies of strangers, in the future, those faithful creatures that had served him so well, and had borne him whithersoever he listed, so willingly and bravely. The carcasses were interred on the spot where the shooting had taken place.

Returning now again to Brock Street, and placing ourselves at the middle point of its great width—immediately before us to the north, on the ridge which bounds the view in the distance, we discern a white object. This is Spadina House, from which the avenue into w[66]hich Brock Street passes, takes its name. The word Spadina itself is an Indian term tastefully modified, descriptive of a sudden rise of land like that on which the house in the distance stands. Spadina was the residence of Dr. W. W. Baldwin, to whom reference has already been made. A liberal in his political views, he nevertheless was strongly influenced by the feudal feeling which was a second nature with most persons in the British Islands some years ago. His purpose was to establish in Canada a family, whose head was to be maintained in opulence by the proceeds of an entailed estate. There was to be forever a Baldwin of Spadina.

It is singular that the first inheritor of the newly-established patrimony should have been the statesman whose lot it was to carry through the Legislature of Canada the abolition of the rights of primogeniture. The son grasped more readily than the father what the genius of the North American continent will endure, and what it will not.

Spadina Avenue was laid out by Dr. Baldwin on a scale that would have satisfied the designers of St. Petersburg or Washington. Its width is one hundred and twenty feet. Its length from the water's edge to the base of Spadina Hill would be nearly three miles. Garnished on both sides by a double row of full grown chestnut trees, it would vie in magnificence, when seen from an eminence, with the Long Walk at Windsor.

Eastward of Spadina House, on the same elevation of land, was Davenport, the picturesque and chateau-like home of Col. Wells, formerly of the 43rd regiment, built at an early period. Col. Wells was a fine example of the English officer, whom we so often see retiring from the camp gracefully and happily into domestic life. A faithful portrait of him exists, in which he wears the gold medal of Badajoz. His sons, natural artists, and arbiters of taste, inherited, along with their æsthetic gifts, also lithe and handsome persons. One of them, now, like his father, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the army, was highly distinguished in the Crimea; and on revisiting Toronto after the peace with Russia, was publicly presented with a sword of honour. The view of the Lake and intervening forest, as seen from Davenport and Spadina, before the cultivation of the alluvial plain below, was always fine. (On his retirement from the army, the second Col. Wells took up his abode at Davenport.)




Returning again to the front. The portion of the Common that lies immediately west of the foot of Brock Street was enclosed for the first time and ornamentally planted by Mr. Jameson. Before his removal to Canada, Mr. Jameson had filled a judicial position in the West Indies. In Canada, he was successively Attorney-General and Vice-Chancellor, the Chancellorship itself being vested in the Crown. The conversational powers of Mr. Jameson were admirable: and no slight interest attached to the pleasant talk of one who, in his younger days, had been the familiar associate of Southey, Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In a volume of poems by Hartley Coleridge, son of the philosopher, published in 1833, the three sonnets addressed "To a Friend," were addressed to Mr. Jameson, as we are informed in a note. We give the first of these little poems at length:

"When we were idlers with the loitering rills,  The need of human love we little noted:  Our love was nature; and the peace that floated  On the white mist, and dwelt upon the hills,  To sweet accord subdued our wayward wills:  One soul was ours, one mind, one heart devoted,  That, wisely doating, asked not why it doated,  And ours the unknown joy, which knowing kills.  But now I find how dear thou wert to me;  That man is more than half of nature's treasure,  Of that fair Beauty which no eye can see,  Of that sweet music which no ear can measure;  And now the streams may sing for others' pleasure,  The hills sleep on in their eternity."

The note appended, which appears only in the first edition, is as follows: "This sonnet, and the two following, my earliest attempts at that form of versification, were addressed to R. S. Jameson, Esq., on occasion of meeting him in London, after a separation of some years. He was the favourite companion of my boyhood, the active friend and sincere counsellor of my youth. 'Though seas between us broad ha' roll'd' since we 'travelled side by side' last, I trust the sight of this little volume will give rise to recollections that will make him ten years younger. He is now Judge Advocate at Dominica, and husband of Mrs. Jameson, authoress of the 'Diary of an Ennuyée,' 'Loves of the Poets,' and other agreeable productions."

Mr. Jameson was a man of high culture and fine literary tastes. He was, moreover, an amateur artist of no ordinary skill, as extant drawings of his in water-colours attest. His countenance, especially in his old age, was of the Jeremy Bentham stamp.

It was from the house on the west of Brock Street that Mrs. Jameson dated the letters which constitute her well-known "Winter Studies and Summer Rambles." That volume thus closes: "At three o'clock in the morning, just as the moon was setting on Lake Ontario, I arrived at the door of my own house in Toronto, having been absent on this wild expedition [to the Sault] just two months." York had then been two years Toronto. (For having ventured to pass down the rapids at the Sault, she had been formally named by the Otchipways of the locality, Was-sa-je-wun-e-qua, "Woman of the Bright Stream.")

The Preface to the American edition of Mrs. Jameson's "Characteristics of Women" was also written here. In that Introduction we can detect a touch due to the "wild expedition" just spoken of. "They say," she observes, "that as a savage proves his heroism by displaying in grim array the torn scalps of his enemies, so a woman thinks she proves her virtue by exhibiting the mangled reputations of her friends:" a censure, she adds, which is just, but the propensity, she explains, is wrongly attributed to ill-nature and jealousy. "Ignorance," she proceeds, "is the main cause; ignorance of ourselves and others; and when I have heard any female acquaintance commenting with a spiteful or a sprightly levity on the delinquencies and mistakes of their sex, I have only said to myself, 'They know not what they do.'" "Here, then," the Preface referred to concludes, "I present to women a little element[69]ary manual or introduction to that knowledge of woman, in which they may learn to understand better their own nature; to judge more justly, more gently, more truly of each other;

'And in the silent hour of inward thought To still suspect, yet still revere themselves In lowliness of heart.'"

Mrs. Jameson was unattractive in person at first sight, although, as could scarcely fail to be the case in one so highly endowed, her features, separately considered, were fine and boldly marked. Intellectually, she was an enchantress. Besides an originality and independence of judgment on most subjects, and a facility in generalizing and reducing thought to the form of a neat aphorism, she had a strong and capacious memory, richly furnished with choice things. Her conversation was consequently of the most fascinating kind.

She sang, too, in sweet taste, with a quiet softness, without display. She sketched from nature with great elegance, and designed cleverly. The seven or eight illustrations which appear in the American edition of the "Characteristics," dated at Toronto, are etched by herself, and bear her autograph, "Anna." The same is to be observed of the illustrations in the English edition of her "Commonplace Book of Thoughts, Memories, and Fancies;" and in her larger volumes on various Art-subjects. She had super-eminently beautiful hands, which she always scrupulously guarded from contract with the outer air.

Mrs. Jameson was a connoisseur in "hands," as we gather from her Commonplace Book, just mentioned. She there says: "There are hands of various character; the hand to catch, and the hand to hold; the hand to clasp, and the hand to grasp; the hand that has worked, or could work, and the hand that has never done anything but hold itself out to be kissed, like that of Joanna of Arragon, in Raphael's picture." Her own appeared to belong to the last-named class.

Though the merest trifles, we may record here one or two further personal recollections of Mrs. Jameson; of her appreciation, for example, of a very obvious quotation from Horace, to be appended to a little sketch of her own, representing a child asleep, but in danger from a serpent near; and of her glad acceptance of an out-of-the-way scrap from the "Vanity of Arts and Sciences" of Cornel[70]ius Agrippa, which proved the antiquity of charivaries. "Do you not know that the intervention of a lady's hand is requisite to the finish of a young man's education?" was a suggestive question drawn forth by some youthful maladroitness. Another characteristic dictum, "Society is one vast masquerade of manners," is remembered, as having been probably at the time a new idea to ourselves in particular. The irrational conventionalities of society she persistently sought to counteract, by her words on suitable occasions, and by her example, especially in point of dress, which did not conform to the customs in vogue.

Among the local characters relished by Mrs. Jameson in Canada was Mr. Justice Hagerman, who added some of the bluntness of Samuel Johnson to the physique of Charles James Fox. She set a high value on his talents, although we have heard her, at once playfully and graphically, speak of him as "that great mastiff, Hagerman." From Mrs. Jameson we learned that "Gaytay" was a sufficient approximation in English to the pronunciation of "Goethe." She had been intimately acquainted with the poet at Weimar.

In the Kensington Museum there is a bust, exceedingly fine, of Mrs. Jameson, by the celebrated sculptor Gibson, executed by him, as the inscription speaks, "in her honour." The head and countenance are of course somewhat idealized; but the likeness is well retained. In the small Boston edition of the "Legends of the Madonna" there is an interesting portrait of Mrs. Jameson, giving her appearance when far advanced in years.

Westward from the house and grounds whose associations have detained us so long, the space that was known as the Government Common is now traversed from south to north by two streets. Their names possess some interest, the first of them being that of the Duke of Portland, Viceroy of Ireland, Colonial Secretary, and three times Prime Minister in the reign of George the Third; the other that of Earl Bathurst, Secretary for the Colonies in George the Fourth's time.

Eastward of Bathurst Street, in the direction of the military burying-ground, there was long marked out by a furrow in the sward the ground-plan of a church. In 1830, the military chaplain, Mr. Hudson, addressed to the commander of the forces a complaint "of the very great inconvenience to which the troops are exposed in having to march so far to the place of worship, particularly when the weath[71]er and roads are so unfavourable during a greater part of the year in this country, the distance from the Barracks to the Church being two miles:" adding, "In June last, the roads were in such a state as to prevent the Troops from attending Church for four successive Sundays." He then suggested "the propriety of erecting a chapel on the Government reserve for the accommodation of the Troops." The Horse Guards refused to undertake the erection of a chapel here, but made a donation of one thousand pounds towards the re-edification of St. James' Church, "on condition that accommodation should be permanently provided for His Majesty's Troops." The outline in the turf was a relic of Mr. Hudson's suggestion.

The line that defined the limit of the Government Common to the north and east, (and west, of course, likewise), prior to its division into building lots, was a portion of the circumference of a great circle, "of a radius of a 1,000 yards, more or less," whose centre was the Fort. On the old plans of York, acres of this great circle are traced, with two interior concentric arcs, of radii respectively of eight and five hundred yards.

We now soon arrive at the ravine of the "Garrison Creek." In the rivulet below, for some distance up the valley, before the clearing away of the woods, salmon used to be taken at certain seasons of the year. Crossing the stream, and ascending to the arched gateway of the fort, (we are speaking of it as it used to be), we pass between the strong iron-studded portals, which are thrown back: we pass a sentry just within the gate, and the guard-house on the left. At present we do not tarry within the enclosure of the Fort. We simply glance at the loopholed block-house on the one side, and the quarters of the men, the officers, and the commandant on the other; and we hurry across the gravelled area, recalling rapidly a series of spirit-stirring ordinal numbers—40th, 41st, 68th, 79th, 42nd, 15th, 32nd, 1st—each suggestive of a gallant assemblage at some time here; of a vigorous, finely disciplined, ready-aye-ready group, that, like the successive generations on the stage of human life, came and went just once, as it were—as the years rolled on, and the eye saw them again no more.

We pass on through the western gate to the large open green space which lies on the farther side. This is the Garrison Reserve. It bears the same relation to the modern Toronto and the ancient York as the Plains of Abraham do to Quebec. It was here that the struggle [72]took place, in the olden time, that led to the capture of the town. In both cases the leader of the aggressive expedition "fell victorious." But the analogy holds no further; as, in the case of the inferior conquest, the successful power did not retain permanent possession.

The Wolfe's Cove—the landing-place of the invader—on the occasion referred to, was just within the curve of the Humber Bay, far to the west, where Queen Street now skirts the beach for a short distance and then emerges on it. The intention had been to land more to the eastward, but the vessels containing the hostile force were driven westward by the winds.

The debarkation was opposed by a handful of Indians, under Major Givins. The Glengary Fencibles had been despatched to aid in this service, but, attempting to approach the spot by a back road, they lost their way. A tradition exists that the name of the Grenadier's Pond, a lagoon a little to the west, one of the ancient outlets of the waters of the Humber, is connected with the disastrous bewilderment of a party of the regular troops at this critical period. It is at the same time asserted that the name "Grenadier's Pond" was familiar previously. At length companies of the Eighth Regiment, of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and of Incorporated Militia, made their appearance on the ground, and disputed the progress inland of the enemy. After suffering severely, they retired towards the Fort. This was the existing Fort. The result is now matter of history, and need not be detailed. As portions of the cliff have fallen away from time to time along the shore here, numerous skeletons have been exposed to view, relics of friend and foe slain on the adjacent common, where, also, military ornaments and fragments of fire-arms, used frequently to be dug up. Some of the bones referred to, however, may have been remains of early French and Indian traders.

The Loyalist newspaper of May 9, 1829, published at York, speaks of the re-interment on that day of the remains of an officer killed at the battle of York. The article runs as follows:—"The late Capt. McNeil.—It will be recollected by many of the inhabitants of York that this officer fell while gallantly fighting at the head of his Company of Grenadiers of the 8th Regiment, in defence of the place, on the morning of the 27th of April, 1813. His remains which so eminently deserved rites of honourable sepulture, were from unavoidable circumstances consigned to earth by the hands[73] of the enemy whom he was opposing, near the spot where he fell, without any of those marks of distinction which are paid to departed valour.

"The waters of the Lake," the Loyalist then proceeds to say, "having lately made great inroads upon the bank, and the grave being in danger of being washed away, it may be satisfactory to his friends to learn, that on these circumstances being made known to Major Winniett, commanding the 68th Regiment at this Post, he promptly authorized the necessary measures to be taken for removing the remains of Capt. McNeil, and placing them in the Garrison Burial Ground, which was done this day. A firing-party and the band attended on the occasion, and the remains were followed to the place of interment by the officers of the Garrison, and a procession of the inhabitants of the town and vicinity."

The site of the original French stockade, established here in the middle of the last century, was nearly at the middle point between the landing-place of the United States force in 1813, and the existing Fort. West of the white cut-stone Barracks, several earthworks and grass-grown excavations still mark the spot. These ruins, which we often visited when they were much more extensive and conspicuous than they are now, were popularly designated "The Old French Fort."

It is interesting to observe the probable process by which the appellation "Toronto" came to be attached to the Trading-post here. Its real name, as imposed by the French authorities, was Fort Rouillé, from a French colonial minister of that name, in 1749-54. This we learn from a despatch of M. de Longeuil, Governor-in-Chief of Canada in 1752. And "Toronto," at that period, according to contemporaneous maps, denoted Lake Simcoe and the surrounding region. Thus in Carver's Travels through North America in 1766-8, in p. 172, we read, "On the north-west part of this lake [Ontario], and to the south of Lake Huron, is a tribe of Indians called the Mississagués, whose town is denominated Toronto, from the lake [i. e. Lake Simcoe] on which it lies, but they are not very numerous." This agrees with Lahontan's statements and map, in 1687.

What Carver says of the fewness of the native inhabitants is applicable only to the state of things in his day. The fatal irruption of the Iroquois from the south had then taken place, and the whole of the Lake Simcoe or Toronto region had been made a desert. Before tha[74]t irruption, the peninsula included between Notawasaga Bay, Matchedash, or Sturgeon Bay, the River Severn, Lake Couchichin and Lake Simcoe was a locality largely frequented by native tribes. It was especially the head-quarters of the Wyandots or Hurons. Villages, burial-grounds, and cultivated lands abounded in it. Unusual numbers of the red men were congregated there.

It was in short the place of meeting, the place of concourse, the populous region, indicated by the Huron term Toronto.

In the form Toronton, the word Toronto is given by Gabriel Sagard in his "Dictionnaire de la Langue Huronne," published at Paris in 1636.

With Sagard it is a kind of exclamation, signifying "Il y en a beaucoup," and it is used in relation to men. He cites as an example—"He has killed a number of S. (the initial of some hostile tribe)." "Toronton S. ahouyo."

In the Vocabulary of Huron words at the end of Lahontan's second volume, the term likewise appears, but with a prefix,—A-toronton,—and is translated "Beaucoup." Sagard gives it with the prefix O, in the phrase "O-toronton dacheniquoy," "J'en mange beaucoup."

We are not indeed to suppose that the Hurons employed the term Toronto as a proper name. We know that the aborigines used for the most part no proper names of places, in our sense of the word, their local appellations being simply brief descriptions or allusion to incidents. But we are to suppose that the early white men took notice of the vocable Toronto, frequently and emphatically uttered by their red companions, when pointing towards the Lake Simcoe region, or when pressing on in canoe or on foot, to reach it.

Accordingly, at length, the vocable Toronto is caught up by the white voyageurs, and adopted as a local proper name in the European sense: just as had been the case already with the word Canada. ("Kanata" was a word continually heard on the lips of the red men in the Lower St. Lawrence, as they pointed to the shore; they simply meant to indicate—"Yonder are our wigwams;" but the French mariners and others took the expression to be a geographical name for the new region which they were penetrating. And such it has become.)

We can now also see how it came to pass that th[75]e term Toronto was attached to a particular spot on the shore of Lake Ontario. The mouth of the Humber, or rather a point on the eastern side of the indentation known as Humber Bay, was the landing place of hunting parties, trading parties, war-parties, on their way to the populous region in the vicinity of Lake Simcoe. Here they disembarked for the tramp to Toronto. This was a Toronto landing-place for wayfarers bound to the district in the interior where there were crowds. And gradually the starting-place took the name of the goal. The style and title of the terminus ad quem were usurped by the terminus à quo.

Thus likewise it happened that the stockaded trading-post established near the landing on the indentation of Humber Bay came to be popularly known as Fort Toronto, although its actual, official name was Fort Rouillé.

In regard to the signification which by some writers has been assigned to the word Toronto, of "trees rising out of the water"—we think the interpretation has arisen from a misunderstanding of language used by Indian canoe-men.

Indian canoe-men in coasting along the shore of Lake Ontario from the east or west, would, we may conceive, naturally point to "the trees rising out of the water," the pines and black poplars looming up from the Toronto island or peninsula, as a familiar land-mark by which they knew the spot where they were to disembark for the "populous region to the north." The white men mixing together in their heads the description of the landmark and the district where, as they were, emphatically told, there were crowds, made out of the expressions "trees rising out of the water," and "Toronto," convertible terms, which they were not.

As to the idea to which Capt. Bonnycastle gave currency, by recording it in one of his books on Canada, that Toronto, or Tarento, was possibly the name of an Italian engineer concerned in the construction of the fort,—it is sufficient to reply that we know what the official name of the Fort was: it was Fort Rouillé. Sorel, and Chambly, and it may be, other places in Canada, derived their names from officers in the French service. But nothing to be found in the early annals of the country gives any countenance to Capt. Bonnycastle's derivation. It was probably a mere after-dinner conversational conjecture, and it ought never to have been gravely propounded.

We meet with Toronto under se[76]veral different forms, in the French and English documents; but the variety has evidently arisen from the attempts of men of different degrees of literary capacity and qualification, to represent, each as he best could, a native vocable which had not been long reduced to writing. The same variety, and from the same cause, occurs in a multitude of other aboriginal terms.

The person who first chanced to write down Toronto as Tarento was probably influenced by some previous mental familiarity with the name of an old Italian town; just as he who first startled Europeans by the announcement that one of the Iroquois nations was composed of Senecas, was doubtless helped to the familiar-looking term which he adopted, by a thought of the Roman stoic. (Pownall says Seneca is properly Sen-aga, "the farther people," that is in relation to the New England Indians; while Mohawk is Mo-aga, "the hither people." Neither of the terms was the name borne by the tribe. According to the French rendering, the Mo-agas were Agniés; the Sen-agas Tsonnontouans.)

The chivalrous and daring La Salle must have rested for a moment at the Toronto Landing. In his second expedition to the West, in 1680, he made his way from Fort Frontenac to Michilimackinac by the portage from the mouth of what is now the Humber to Lake Huron, accompanied by a party of twenty-four men.

In the preceding year he had penetrated to the Mississippi by the Lake Erie route. But then also some of his company unexpectedly found themselves in close proximity to Toronto. The Franciscan Friar, Hennepin, sent forward by La Salle from Fort Frontenac with seventeen men, was compelled by stress of weather, while coasting along the north side of Lake Ontario, to take shelter in the Humber river. It was then the 26th of Nov. (1678); and here he was delayed until the 5th of December. Hennepin speaks of the place of his detention as Taiaiagon: a word erroneously taken to be a local proper name. It means as we are assured by one formerly familiar with the native Indians, simply a Portage or Landing-place. So that there were numerous Taiaiagons. One is noted in particular, situated, the Gazetteer of 1799 says, "half way between York and the head of the Bay of Quinté:" probably where Port Hope now stands. It is marked in the old French maps in that position. (On one of them a track is drawn from it to "Lac Taronthé;" that is to the chain of Lakes leading north-westerly to Lake Toronto, i. e. Lake Simcoe.) The Taiaiagon of Hennepin is stated by him to be "at the farther end of Lake Ontario," and "about [77]seventy leagues from Fort Frontenac:" too far, of course. Again: the distance from Taiaiagon to the mouth of the Niagara river, is made by him to be fifteen or sixteen leagues; also too far, if Toronto is the site of his Taiaiagon.




We now enter again the modern Fort; passing back through the western gate. On our right we have the site of the magazine which so fatally exploded in 1813; we learn from Gen. Sheaffe's despatch to Sir George Prevost, that it was "in the western battery."

In close proximity to the magazine was the Government House of the day, an extensive rambling cluster of one-storey buildings; all "riddled" or shattered to pieces by the concussion, when the explosion took place. The ruin that thus befel the Governor's residence led, on the restoration of peace, to the purchase of Chief Justice Elmsley's house on King street, and its conversion into "Government House."

From the main battery, which (including a small semi-circular bastion for the venerable flag-staff of the Fort) extends along the brow of the palisaded bank, south of the parade, the royal salutes, resounding down and across the lake, used to be fired on the arrival and departure of the Lieutenant-Governor, and at the opening and closing of the Legislature.

From the south-eastern bastion, overlooking the ravine below, a twelve-pounder was discharged every day at noon. "The twelve-o'clock gun," when discontinued, was long missed with regret.

At the time of the invasion of Canada in 1812, the garrison of York was manned by the 3rd regiment of York militia. We have before us a relic of the period, in the form of the contemporary regimental order-book of the Fort. An entry of the 29th of July, 1812, showing the approach of serious work, has an especial local interest. "In consequence of an order from Major-General Brock, commanding the forces, for a detachment of volunteers, under the command of Major Allan, to hold themselves in readiness to proceed in batteaux fr[79]om the Head of the Lake to-morrow at 2 o'clock, the following officers, non-commissioned officers and privates will hold themselves in readiness to proceed at 2 o'clock, for the purpose of being fitted with caps, blankets and haversacks, as well as to draw provisions. On their arrival at the Head of the Lake, regimental coats and canteens will be ready to be issued to them." The names are then given. "Capt. Heward, Lieut. Richardson, Lieut. Jarvis, Lieut. Robinson. Sergeants Knott, Humberstone, Bond, Bridgeford."

In view of the test to which the citizen-soldiers were about to be subjected, the General, like a good officer, sought by judicious praise, to inspire them with self-confidence. "Major-General Brock," the order-book proceeds, "has desired me (Captain Stephen Heward) to acquaint the detachment under my command, of his high approbation of their orderly conduct and good discipline while under arms: that their exercise and marching far exceeded any that he had seen in the Province. And in particular he directed me to acquaint the officers how much he is pleased with their appearance in uniform and their perfect knowledge of their duty."

On the 13th of August, we learn from other sources, Brock was on the Western Frontier with 700 soldiers, including the volunteers from York, and 600 Indians; and on the 16th the old flag was waving from the fortress of Detroit; but, on the 13th October, the brave General, though again a victor in the engagement, was himself a lifeless corpse on the slopes above Queenston; and, in April of the following year, York, as we have already seen, was in the hands of the enemy. Such are the ups and downs of war. It is mentioned that "Push on the York Volunteers!" was the order issuing from the lips of the General, at the moment of the fatal shot. From the order-book referred to, we learn that "Toronto" was the parole or countersign of the garrison on the 23rd July, 1812.

The knoll on the east side of the Garrison Creek was covered with a number of buildings for the accommodation of troops, in addition to the barracks within the fort. Here also stood a block-house. Eastward were the surgeon's quarters, overhanging the bay; and further eastward still, were the commandant's quarters, a structure popularly known, by some freak of military language, as Lambeth Palace. Here for a time resided Major-General Æneas Shaw, after[80]wards the owner and occupant of Oak Hill.

On the beach below the knoll, there continued to be, for a number of years, a row of cannon dismounted, duly spiked and otherwise disabled, memorials of the capture in 1813, when these guns were rendered useless by the regular troops before their retreat to Kingston. The pebbles on the shore about here were also plentifully mixed with loose canister shot, washed up by the waves, after their submersion in the bay on the same occasion.

From the little eminence just referred to, along the edge of the cliff, ran a gravel walk, which led first to the Guard House over the Commissariat Stores, in a direct line, with the exception of a slight divergence occasioned by "Capt. Bonnycastle's cottage;" and then eastward into the town. Where ravines occurred, cut in the drift by water-courses into the bay, the gulf was spanned by a bridge of hewn logs. This walk, kept in order for many years by the military authorities, was the representative of the path first worn bare by the soft tread of the Indian. From its agreeableness, overlooking as it did, through its whole length the Harbour and Lake, this walk gave birth to the idea, which became a fixed one in the minds of the early people of the place, that there was to be in perpetuity, in front of the whole town, a pleasant promenade, on which the burghers and their families should take the air and disport themselves generally.

The Royal Patent by which this sentimental walk is provided for and decreed, issued on the 14th day of July, in the year 1818, designates it by the interesting old name of Mall, and nominates "John Beverley Robinson, William Allan, George Crookshank, Duncan Cameron and Grant Powell, all of the town of York, Esqs., their heirs and assigns forever, as trustees to hold the same for the use and benefit of the inhabitants." Stretching from Peter Street in the west to the Reserve for Government Buildings in the east, of a breadth varying between four and five chains, following the line of Front Street on the one side, and the several turnings and windings of the bank on the other, the area of land contained in this Mall was "thirty acres, more or less, with allowance for the several cross streets leading from the said town to the water." The paucity of open squares in the early plans of York may be partly accounted for by this provision made for a spacious Public Walk.


While the archæologist must regret the many old landmarks which were ruthlessly shorn away in the construction of the modern Esplanade, he must, nevertheless, contemplate with never-ceasing admiration that great and laudable work. It has done for Toronto what the Thames embankment has effected for London. Besides vast sanitary advantages accruing, it has created space for the erection of a new front to the town. It has made room for a broad promenade some two or three miles in length, not, indeed, of the far niente type, but with double and treble railway tracks abreast of itself, all open to the deep water of the harbour on one side, and flanked almost throughout the whole length on the other, by a series of warehouses, mills, factories and depôts, destined to increase every year in importance. The sights and sounds every day, along this combination of roadways and its surroundings, are unlike anything dreamt of by the framers of the old Patent of 1818. But it cannot be said that the idea contained in that document has been wholly departed from: nay, it must be confessed that it has been grandly realized in a manner and on a scale adapted to the requirements of these latter days.

For some time, Front Street, above the Esplanade, continued to be a raised terrace, from which pleasant views and fresh lake air could be obtained; and attempts were made, at several points along its southern verge, to establish a double row of shade trees, which should recall in future ages the primitive oaks and elms which overlooked the margin of the harbour. But soon the erection of tall buildings on the newly-made land below, began to shut out the view and the breezes, and to discourage attempts at ornamentation by the planting of trees.

It is to regretted, however, that the title of Mall has not yet been applied to some public walk in the town. Old-world sounds like these—reeve, warden, provost, recorder, House of Commons, railway, (not road), dugway, mall—like the chimes in some of our towers, and the sung-service in some of our churches—help, in cases where the imagination is active, to reconcile the exile from the British Islands to his adopted home, and even to attach him to it. Incorporated into our common local speech, and so perpetuated, they may also be hereafter subsidiary mementoes of our descent as a people, when all connection, save that of history, with the ancient home of our forefathers, will have ceased.


In 1804, there were "Lieutenants of Counties" in Upper Canada. The following gentlemen were, in 1804, "Lieutenants of Counties" for the Counties attached to their respective names. We take the list from the Upper Canada Almanac for 1804, published at York by John Bennett. The office and title of County-Lieutenant do not appear to have been kept up: "John Macdonell, Esq., Glengary; William Fortune, Esq., Prescott; Archibald Macdonell, Esq., Stormont; Hon. Richard Duncan, Esq., Dundas; Peter Drummond, Esq., Grenville; James Breakenridge, Esq., Leeds; Hon. Richard Cartwright, Esq., Frontenac; Hazelton Spencer, Esq., Lenox; William Johnson, Esq., Addington; John Ferguson, Esq., Hastings; Archibald Macdonell, Esq., of Marysburg, Prince Edward; Alexander Chisholm, Esq., Northumberland; Robert Baldwin, Esq., Durham; Hon. David William Smith, Esq., York; Hon. Robert Hamilton, Esq., Lincoln; Samuel Ryerse, Esq., Norfolk; William Claus, Esq., Oxford; (Middlesex is vacant); Hon. Alexander Grant, Esq., Essex; Hon. James Baby, Esq., Kent."

Another old English term in use in the Crown Lands Office of Ontario, if not generally, is "Domesday Book." The record of grants of land from the beginning of the organization of Upper Canada is entitled "Domesday Book." It consists now of many folio volumes.

The gravelled path from the Fort to the Commissariat Stores, as described above, in conjunction with a parallel track for wheels along the cliff all the way to the site of the Parliament Buildings, suggested in 1822 the restoration of a carriage-drive to the Island, which had some years previously existed. This involved the erection or rather re-erection of bridges over the lesser and greater Don, to enable the inhabitants of York to reach the long lines of lake beach, extending eastward to Scarborough Heights and westward to Gibraltar Point.

All the old accounts of York in the topographical dictionaries of "sixty years since," spoke of the salubriousness of the peninsula which formed the harbour. Even the aborigines, it was stated, had recourse to that spot for sanative purposes. All this was derived from the article in D. W. Smith's Gazetteer, which sets forth that "the long beach or peninsula, which affords a most delightful ride, is considered so healthy by the Indians, that they resort to it whenever indisposed."

So early as 1806 a bridge or fl[83]oat had been built over the mouth of the Don. In the Gazette of June 18, in that year, we have the notice: "It is requested that no person will draw sand or pass with loaded waggons or carts over the new Bridge or Float at the opening of the Don River, as this source of communication was intended to accommodate the inhabitants of the town in a walk or ride to the Island. York, 13th June, 1806."

In a MS. map of this portion of the vicinity of York, dated 1811, the road over the float is marked "Road from York to the Lighthouse." In this map, the lesser Don does not appear. A pond or inlet represents it, stretching in from the bay to the river. A bridge spans the inlet. There is a bridge also over the ravine, through which flows the rivulet by the Parliament Buildings.

Health, however, was not the sole object of all these arrangements. A race-course had been laid out on the sandy neck of land connecting the central portion of the peninsula with the main shore. Here races were periodically held; and we have been assured, by an eye-witness, that twelve fine horses at a time had been seen by him engaged in the contest of speed. The hippodrome in question was not a ring, but a long straight level stadium, extending from the southern end of the second bridge to the outer margin of the lake.

When invasion was threatened in 1812, all the bridges in the direction of the Island were taken down. An earthwork was thrown up across the narrow ridge separating the last long reach of the Don from the Bay; and in addition, a trench was cut across the same ridge. This cut, at first insignificant, became ultimately by a natural process the lesser Don, a deep and wide outlet, a convenient short-cut for skiffs and canoes from the Bay to the Don proper, and from the Don proper to the Bay.

On the return of peace, the absence of bridges, and the existence, in addition, of a second formidable water-filled moat, speedily began to be matters of serious regret to the inhabitants of York, who found themselves uncomfortably cut off from easy access to the peninsula. From the Gazette of April 15, 1822, we learn that "a public subscription among the inhabitants had been entered into, to defray the expense of erecting two bridges on the River Don, leading from this town towards the south, to the Peninsula." And subjoined are the leading names of the place, guaranteeing various sums, in all amounting to £108 5s. The timber was presented by Peter Robinson, Esq., M.P.P. The estimated expense of the un[84]dertaking was £325. The following names appear for various sums—fifty, twenty, ten, five and two dollars—Major Hillier, Rev. Dr. Strachan, Hon. J. H. Dunn, Hon. James Baby, Mr. Justice Boulton, John Small, Henry Boulton, Col. Coffin, Thomas Ridout, sen., W. Allen, Grant Powell, Samuel Ridout, J. S. Baldwin, S. Heward, James E. Small, Chas. Small, S. Washburn, J. B. Macaulay, G. Crookshank, A. Mercer, George Boulton, Thomas Taylor, Joseph Spragge, George Hamilton, R. E. Prentice, A. Warffe, W. B. Jarvis, B. Turquand, John Denison, sen., George Denison, John and George Monro, Henry Drean, Peter McDougall, Geo. Duggan, James Nation, Thomas Bright, W. B. Robinson, J. W. Gamble, William Proudfoot, Jesse Ketchum, D. Brooke, jun., R. C. Henderson, David Stegman, L. Fairbairn, Geo. Playter, Joseph Rogers, John French, W. Roe, Thomas Sullivan, John Hay, J. Biglow, John Elliot.

On the strength of the sums thus promised, an engineer, Mr. E. Angell, began the erection of the bridge over the Greater Don. The Gazette before us reports that it was being constructed "with hewn timbers, on the most approved European principle." (There is point in the italicised word: it hints the impolicy of employing United States engineers for such works). The paper adds that "the one bridge over the Great Don, consisting of five arches, is in a forward state; and the other, of one arch, over the Little Don, will be completed in or before the month of July next, when this line of road will be opened." It is subjoined that "subscriptions will continue to be received by A. Mercer, Esq., J. Dennis, York, and also by the Committee, Thomas Bright, William Smith and E. Angell."

By the Weekly Register of June 19, in the following year, it appears that the engineer, in commencing the bridge before the amount of its cost was guaranteed, had calculated without his host; and, as is usually the case with those who draw in advance on the proceeds of a supposed public enthusiam, had been brought into difficulties. We accordingly find that "on Friday evening last, pursuant to public notice given in the Upper Canada Gazette, a meeting of the subscribers, and other inhabitants of the town of York, was held at the house of Mr. Phair, in the Market-place, for the purpose of taking into consideration the circumstances in which the engineer had been placed by constructing a bridge, the charge of which was to be defrayed by voluntary subscription, over th[85]e mouth of the river Don."

Resolutions were passed on the occasion, approving of Mr. Angell's proceedings, and calling for additional donations. A new committee was now appointed, consisting of H. J. Boulton, Esq., Dr. Widmer, S. Heward, Esq., Charles Small, Esq., and Allan McNab, Esq.—The editor of the Weekly Register (Fothergill) thus notices the meeting: "It is satisfactory to find that there is at length some probability of the bridge over the Don in this vicinity being completed. We are, ourselves," the writer of the article proceeds to say, "the more anxious on this account, from the hope there is reason to entertain that these and other improvements in the neighbourhood will eventually lead to a draining of the great marsh at the east end of this town; for until that is done, it is utterly impossible that the place can be healthy at all seasons of the year. The public are not sufficiently impressed with the alarming insalubrity of such situations. We beg to refer our readers," the editor of the Register then observes, "to a very interesting letter from Dr. Priestly to Sir John Pringle in the Philosophical Transactions for 1777; and another from Dr. Price to Dr. Horsley in the same work in 1774; both on this subject, which throw considerable light upon it." And it is added, "We have it in contemplation to republish these letters in this work, as being highly interesting to many persons, and applicable to various situations in this country, but particularly to the neighbourhood of York."

The desired additional subscriptions do not appear to have come in. The works at the mouth of the Don proper were brought to a stand-still. The bridge over the Lesser Don was not commenced. Thus matters remained for the long interval of ten years. Every inhabitant of York, able to indulge in the luxury of a carriage, or a saddle horse, or given to extensive pedestrian excursions, continued to regret the inaccessibleness of the peninsula. Especially among the families of the military, accustomed to the surroundings of sea-coast towns at home, did the desire exist, to be able, at will, to take a drive, or a canter, or a vigorous constitutional, on the sands of the peninsula, where, on the one hand, the bold escarpments in the distance to the eastward, on the other, the ocean-like horizon, and immediately in front the long rollers of surf tumbling in, all helped to stir recollections of (we will suppose) Dawlish or Torquay.

In 1834, through the int[86]ervention of Sir John Colborne, and by means of a subsidy from the military chest, the works on both outlets of the Don were re-commenced. In 1835 the bridges were completed. On the 22nd of August in that year they were handed over by the military authorities to the town, now no longer York, but Toronto.

Some old world formalities were observed on the occasion. The civic authorities approached the new structure in procession; a barricade at the first bridge arrested their progress. A guard stationed there also forbade further advance. The officer in command, Capt. Bonnycastle, appears, and the Mayor and Corporation are informed that the two bridges before them are, by the command of the Lieutenant-Governor, presented to them as a free gift, for the benefit of the inhabitants, that they may in all time to come be enabled to enjoy the salubrious air of the peninsula; the only stipulation being that the bridges should be free of toll forever to the troops, stores, and ordnance of the sovereign.

The mayor, who, as eye-witnesses report, was arrayed in an official robe of purple velvet lined with scarlet, read the following reply: "Sir—On the part of His Majesty's faithful and loyal city of Toronto, I receive at your hands the investiture of these bridges, erected by command of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, and now delivered to the Corporation for the benefit and accommodation of the citizens. In the name of the Common Council and the citizens of Toronto, I beg you to convey to His Excellency the grateful feelings with which this new instance of the bounty of our most gracious sovereign is received; and I take this occasion on behalf of the city to renew our assurances of loyalty and attachment to His Majesty's person and government, and to pray, through His Excellency, a continuance of royal favour towards this city. I have, on the part of the corporation and citizens, to request you to assure His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor that His Excellency's desire and generous exertions for the health and welfare of the inhabitants of this city are duly and gratefully appreciated; and I beg you to convey to His Excellency the best wishes of myself and my fellow-citizens for the health and happiness of His Excellency and family. Permit me, Sir, for myself and brethren, to thank you for the very handsome and complimentary manner in which you have carried His Excellency's commands into execution."

"Immediately," the narrative of the cerem[87]onial continues, "the band, who were stationed on the bridge, struck up the heart-stirring air, 'God save the King,' during the performance of which the gentlemen of the Corporation, followed by a large number of the inhabitants, passed uncovered over the bridge. Three cheers were then given respectively for the King, for His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, for the Mayor and Council of the City of Toronto, and for Capt. Bonnycastle. The gentlemanly and dignified manner in which both the addresses were read did credit to the gentlemen on whom these duties devolved; and the good order and good humour that prevailed among the spectators present were exceedingly gratifying."

We take this account from the Toronto Patriot of August 28th, 1835, wherein it is copied from the Christian Guardian. Mr. R. B. Sullivan, the official representative of the city on the occasion just described, was the second mayor of Toronto. He was afterwards one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas.

The bridges thus ceremoniously presented and received had a short-lived existence. They were a few years afterwards, seriously damaged during the breaking up of the ice, and then carried away bodily in one of the spring freshets to which the Don is subject.

The peninsula in front of York was once plentifully stocked with goats, the offspring of a small colony established by order of Governor Hunter, at Gibraltar Point, for the sake, for one thing, of the supposed salutary nature of the whey of goat's milk. These animals were dispersed during the war of 1812-13. Governor Hunter may have taken the idea of peopling the island at York with goats from what was to be seen, at an early day, on Goat Island, adjoining the Falls of Niagara. A multitude of goats ran at large there, the descendants of a few reared originally by one Stedman, an English soldier, who, on escaping a massacre of his comrades in the neighbourhood of what is now Lewiston, at the hands of the Iroquois, soon after the conquest of the country, fled thither, and led, to the end of his days, a Robinson-Crusoe-kind of life.




After our long stroll westward, we had purposed returning to the place of beginning by the route which constitutes the principal thoroughfare of the modern Toronto; but the associations connected with the primitive pathway on the cliff overlooking the harbour, led us insensibly back along the track by which we came.

In order that we may execute our original design, we now transport ourselves at once to the point where we had intended to begin our descent of King Street. That point was the site of a building now wholly taken out of the way—the old General Hospital. Farther west on this line of road there was no object possessing any archæological interest.

The old Hospital was a spacious, unadorned, matter-of-fact, two-storey structure, of red brick, one hundred and seven feet long, and sixty-six feet wide. It had, by the direction of Dr. Grant Powell, as we have heard, the peculiarity of standing with its sides precisely east and west, north and south. At a subsequent period, it consequently had the appearance of having being jerked round bodily, the streets in the neighbourhood not being laid out with the same precise regard to the cardinal points. The building exhibited recessed galleries on the north and south sides, and a flattish hipped roof. The interior was conveniently designed.

In the fever wards here, during the terrible season of 1847, frightful scenes of suffering and death were witnessed among the newly-arrived emigrants; here it was that, in ministering to them in their distress, so many were struck down, some all but fatally, others wholly so; amongst the latter several leading medical men, and the Roman Catholic Bishop, Power.

When the Houses of Parliament, at the east end [89]of the town, were destroyed by fire in 1824, the Legislature assembled for several sessions in the General Hospital.

The neighbourhood hereabout had an open, unoccupied look in 1822. In a Weekly Register of the 25th of April of that year, we have an account of the presentation of a set of colours to a militia battalion, mustered for the purpose on the road near the Hospital. "Tuesday, the 23rd instant," the Register reports, "being the anniversary of St. George, on which it has been appointed to celebrate His Majesty's birthday, George IV., [instead of the 4th of June, the fête of the late King,] the East and West Regiments, with Capt. Button's Troop of Cavalry, which are attached to the North York Regiment, on the right, were formed in line at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, on the road in front of the Government House, and a Guard of Honour, consisting of 100 rank and file from each regiment, with officers and sergeants in proportion, under the command of Lieut.-Col. FitzGibbon, were formed at a short distance in front of the centre, as the representatives of the militia of the Province, in order to receive the rich and beautiful Colours which His Majesty has been graciously pleased to command should be prepared for the late incorporated Battalion, as an honourable testimony of the high sense which His Majesty has been pleased to entertain of the zeal and gallantry of the militia of Upper Canada."

The Register then proceeds: "At 12 o'clock, a Royal Salute was fired from the Garrison, and the Lieutenant-Governor with his staff having arrived on the ground, proceeded to review the widely-extended line; after which, taking his station in front of the whole, the band struck up the nation anthem of 'God save the King.' His Excellency then dismounted, and accompanied by his staff, on foot, approached the Guard of Honour, so near as to be distinctly heard by the men; when, uncovering himself, and taking one of the Colours in his hand, in the most dignified and graceful manner, he presented them to the proper officer, with the following address:—"Soldiers! I have great satisfaction in presenting you, as the representatives of the late incorporated Battalion, with these Colours—a distinguished mark of His Majesty's approbation. They will be to you a proud memorial of the past, and a rallying-point around which you will gather with alacrity and confidence, should your active services be required hereafter by your King and Country.'—His Excellency having remounted, the Guard of Honour marched with band playing and Colours flying, from right to left, in front of the whole l[90]ine, and then proceeded to lodge their Colours at the Government House."

"The day was raw and cold," it is added, "and the ground being very wet and uneven, the men could neither form nor march with that precision they would otherwise have exhibited. We were very much pleased, however, with the soldier-like appearance of the Guard of Honour, and we were particularly struck by the new uniform of the officers of the West York, as being particularly well-adapted for the kind of warfare incident to a thickly-wooded country. Even at a short distance it would be difficult to distinguish the gray coat or jacket from the bole of a tree. There was a very full attendance on the field; and it was peculiarly gratifying to observe so much satisfaction on all sides. The Colours, which are very elegant, are inscribed with the word Niagara, to commemorate the services rendered by the Incorporated Battalion on that frontier; and we doubt not that the proud distinction which attends these banners will always serve to excite the most animating recollections, whenever it shall be necessary for them to wave over the heads of our Canadian Heroes, actually formed in battle-array against the invaders of our Country. At 2 o'clock His Excellency held a Levee, and in the evening a splendid Ball at the Government House concluded the ceremonies and rejoicings of the day." The Lieut. Governor on this occasion was Sir Peregrine Maitland, of whom fully hereafter.

The building on King Street known as "Government House" was originally the private residence of Chief Justice Elmsley. For many years after its purchase by the Government it was still styled "Elmsley House." As at Quebec, the correspondence of the Governor-in-Chief was dated from the "Château St. Louis," or the "Castle of St. Louis," so here, that of the Lieutenant-Governor of the Western Province was long dated from "Elmsley House." Mr. Elmsley was a brother of the celebrated classical critic and editor, Peter Elmsley, of Oxford. We shall have occasion frequently to speak of him.

On the left, opposite Government House, was a very broken piece of ground, denominated "Russell Square;" afterwards, through the instrumentality of Sir John Colborne, converted into a site for an educational Institution. Sir John Colborne, on his arrival in Upper Canada, was fresh from the Governorship of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. During his administration there he had revived a[91] decayed Public School, at present known as Elizabeth College. Being of opinion that the new country to which he had been transferred was not ripe for a University on the scale contemplated in a royal Charter which had been procured, he addressed himself to the establishment of an institution which should meet the immediate educational wants of the community.

Inasmuch as in the School which resulted—or "Minor College" as it was long popularly called—we have a transcript, more or less close, of the institution which Sir John Colborne had been so recently engaged in reviving, we add two or three particulars in regard to the latter, which may have, with some, a certain degree of interest, by virtue of the accidental but evident relation existing between the two institutions. From a paper in Brayley's Graphic and Historical Illustrator (1834), we gather that Elizabeth College, Guernsey, was originally called the "School of Queen Elizabeth," as having been founded under Letters Patent from that sovereign in 1563, to be a "Grammar-school in which the youth of the Island (juventus) may be better instructed in good learning and virtue." The temple or church of the suppressed Order of Gray Friars (Friars minors or Cordeliers), with its immediate precincts, was assigned for its "use," together with "eighty quarters of wheat rent," accruing from lands in different parts of the Island, which had been given to the friars for dispensations, masses, obits, &c. By the statutes of 1563 the school was divided into six classes; and books and exercises were appointed respectively for each, the scholars to be admitted being required "to read perfectly, and to recite an approved catechism of the Christian religion by heart."

In all the six classes the Latin and Greek languages were the primary objects of instruction; but the Statutes permitted the master, at his discretion, "to add something of his own;" and even "to concede something for writing, singing, arithmetic, and a little play." For more than two centuries the school proved of little public utility. In 1799 there was one pupil on the establishment. In 1816 there were no scholars. From that date to 1824 the number fluctuated from 15 to 29. In 1823, Sir John Colborne appointed a committee to investigate all the circumstances connected with the school, and to ascertain the best mode of assuring its future permanent efficiency and prosperity, without perverting the intention of the foundress. The end of all this was a new building (figured in Brayley) at a cost of £14,754 2s. 3d.; the foundation-stone [92]being laid by Sir John in 1826. On August the 20th, 1829, the revived institution was publicly opened, with one hundred and twenty pupils. "On that day," we are told, "the Bailiff and Jurats of the Island, with General Ross, the Lieutenant-Governor [Sir John Colborne was now in Canada], his staff, and the public authorities, headed by a procession consisting of the Principal, Vice-Principal, and other masters and tutors of the school (together with the scholars), repaired to St. Peter's Church, where prayers were read by the Dean, Dr. Durand, and Te Deum and other anthems were sung. They then returned to the College, where, in the spacious Examination Hall, a crowded assembly were addressed respectively by the Bailiff and President-director [Daniel de Lisle Brock, Esq.], Colonel de Havilland, the Vice-President, and the Rev. G. Proctor, B.D., the new Principal, on the antiquity, objects, apparent prospects, and future efficiency of the institution."

Under the new system the work of education was carried on by a Principal, Vice-Principal, a First and Second Classical Master, a Mathematical Master, a Master and Assistant of the Lower School, a Commercial Master, two French Masters and an Assistant, a Master of Drawing and Surveying, besides extra Masters for the German, Italian, and Spanish languages, and for Music, Dancing, and Fencing. The course of instruction for the day scholars, and those on the foundation, included Divinity, History, Geography, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French, English, Mathematics, Arithmetic, and Writing, at a charge in the Upper School of £3 per quarter; and in the Lower or Preparatory School, of £1 per quarter; for Drawing and Surveying, 15s. per quarter. The terms for private scholars (including all College dues and subscriptions for exhibitions and prizes of medals, &c.) varied from £60 annually with the Principal, to £46 annually with the First Classical Teacher.

The exhibitions in the revived institution were, first, one of £30 per annum for four years, founded by the Governor of Guernsey in 1826, to the best Classical scholar, a native of the Bailiwick, or son of a native; secondly, four for four years, of, at least, £20 per annum, founded by subscription in 1826, to the best scholars, severally, in Divinity, Classics, Mathematics, and Modern Languages; thirdly, one for four years, of £20 per annum, founded in 1827 by Admiral Sir James Saumarez, to the best Theological and Classical scholar; fourthly, one of £20 per annum, for four years, from 1830, to the be[93]st Classical scholar, given by Sir John Colborne in 1828. There were also two, from the Lower to the Upper School, of £6 per annum, for one year or more, founded by the Directors in 1829.

The foregoing details will, as we have said, be of some interest, especially to Canadians who have received from the institution founded by Sir John Colborne in Russell Square an important part of their early training. "Whatever makes the past, the distant and the future predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings." So moralized Dr. Johnson amidst the ruins of Iona. On this principle, the points of agreement and difference between the educational type and antitype is this instance, will be acknowledged to be curious.

Another link of association between Guernsey and Upper Canada exists in the now familiar name "Sarnia," which is the old classical name of Guernsey, given by Sir John Colborne to a township on the St. Clair river, in memory of his former government.

Those who desire to trace the career of Upper Canada College ab ovo, will be thankful for the following advertisements. The first is from the Loyalist of May 2, 1829. "Minor College. Sealed tenders for erecting a School House and four dwelling-houses will be received on the first Monday of June next. Plans, elevations and specifications may be seen after the 12th instant, on application to the Hon. Geo. Markland, from whom further information will be received. Editors throughout the Province are requested to insert this notice until the first Monday in June, and forward their accounts for the same to the office of the Loyalist, York. York, 1st May, 1829."

The second advertisement is from the Upper Canada Gazette of Dec. 17, 1829. "Upper Canada College, established at York. Visitor, the Lieutenant-Governor for the time being. This College will open after the approaching Christmas Vacation, on Monday the 8th of January, 1830, under the conduct of the Masters appointed at Oxford by the Vice Chancellor and other electors, in July last. Principal, the Rev, J. H. Harris, D.D., late Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge. Classical Department: Vice Principal, The Rev. T. Phillips, D.D., of Queen's College, Cambridge. First Classical Master: The Rev. Charles Mathews, M.A., of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. Second Classical Master: The Rev. W. Boulton, B.A., of Queen's College, Oxford. Mathematical Department: The Rev. Charles Dade, M.A., Fe[94]llow of Caius College, Cambridge, and late Mathematical Master at Elizabeth College. French, Mr. J. P. De la Haye. English, Writing and Arithmetic, Mr. G. A. Barber and Mr. J. Padfield. Drawing Master, Mr. Drury. (Then follow terms, &c.) Signed: G. H. Markland, Secretary to the Board of Education. York, Upper Canada, Dec. 2, 1829."

After Russell Square on the left, came an undulating green field; near the middle of it was a barn of rural aspect, cased-in with upright, unplaned boards. The field was at one time a kind of Campus Martius for a troop of amateur cavalry, who were instructed in their evolutions and in the use of the broadsword, by a veteran, Capt. Midford, the Goodwin of the day, at York.

Nothing of note presented itself until after we arrived at the roadway which is now known as Bay Street, with the exception, perhaps, of two small rectangular edifices of red brick with bright tin roofs, dropped, as it were, one at the south-west, the other at the north-west, angle of the intersection of King and York Streets. The former was the office of the Manager of the Clergy Reserve Lands; the latter, that of the Provincial Secretary and Registrar. They are noticeable simply as being specimens, in solid material, of a kind of minute cottage that for a certain period was in fashion in York and its neighbourhood; little square boxes, one storey in height, and without basement; looking as if, by the aid of a ring at the apex of the four sided roof, they might, with no great difficulty, be lifted up, like the hutch provided for Gulliver by his nurse Glumdalclitch, and carried bodily away.

As we pass eastward of Bay Street, the memory comes back of Franco Rossi, the earliest scientific confectioner of York, who had on the south side, near here, a depot, ever fragrant and ambrosial. In his specialities he was a superior workman. From him were procured the fashionable bridecakes of the day; as also the noyeau, parfait-amour, and other liqueurs, set out for visitors on New Year's Day. Rossi was the first to import hither good objects of art: fine copies of the Laocoon, the Apollo Belvidere, the Perseus of Canova, with other classical groups and figures sculptured in Florentine alabaster, were disseminated by him in the community.

Rossi is the Italian referred to by the author of "Cyril Thornton" in his "Men and Manners in America," where speaking of York, visited by him in 1832, he says: "In passing through[95] the streets I was rather surprised to observe an affiche intimating that ice-creams were to be had within. The weather being hot, I entered, and found the master of the establishment to be an Italian. I never ate better ice at Grange's"—some fashionable resort in London, we suppose. The outward signs of civilization at York must have been meagre when a chance visitor recorded his surprise at finding ice-creams procurable in such a place.

Great enthusiasm, we remember, was created, far and near, by certain panes of plate glass with brass divisions between them, which, at a period a little later than Cyril Thornton's (Captain Hamilton's) visit, suddenly ornamented the windows of Mr. Beckett's Chemical Laboratory, close by Rossi's. Even Mrs. Jameson, in her book of "Winter Studies and Summer Rambles," referring to the shop fronts of King Street, pronounces, in a naive English watering-place kind of tone, "that of the apothecary" to be "worthy of Regent Street in its appearance."

A little farther on, still on the southern side, was the first place of public worship of the Wesleyan Methodists. It was a long, low, wooden building, running north and south, and placed a little way back from the street. Its dimensions in the first instance, as we have been informed by Mr. Petch, who was engaged in its erection, were 40 by 40 feet. It was then enlarged to 40 by 60 feet. In the gable end towards the street were two doors, one for each sex. Within, the custom obtained of dividing the men from the women; the former sitting on the right hand of one entering the building; the latter on the left.

This separation of the sexes in places of public worship was an oriental custom, still retained among Jews. It also existed, down to a recent date, in some English Churches. Among articles of inquiry sent down from a Diocesan to churchwardens, we have seen the query: "Do men and women sit together indifferently and promiscuously? or, as the fashion was of old, do men sit together on one side of the church, and women upon the other?" In English Churches the usage was the opposite of that indicated above: the north side, that is, the left on entering, was the place of the women; and the south, that of the men.

In 1688, we have Sir George Wheler, in his "Account of the Churches of the Primitive Christians," speaking of this custom, which he says prevails also "in the Greek Church to this day:" he adds that it "seems not only very decent, but nowadays, since wickedness so much abounds, highly necessary; for the general mixture," he continues, [96]"of men and women in the Latin Church is notoriously scandalous; and little less," he says, "is their sitting together in the same pews in our London churches."

The Wesleyan chapel in King Street ceased to be used in 1833. It was converted afterwards for a time into a "Theatre Royal."

Jordan Street preserves one of the names of Mr. Jordan Post, owner of the whole frontage extending from Bay Street to Yonge Street. The name of his wife is preserved in "Melinda Street," which traverses his lot, or rather block, from east to west, south of King Street. Two of his daughters bore respectively the unusual names of Sophronia and Desdemona. Mr. Post was a tall New-Englander of grave address. He was, moreover, a clockmaker by trade, and always wore spectacles. From the formal cut of his apparel and hair, he was, quite erroneously, sometimes supposed to be of the Mennonist or Quaker persuasion.

So early as 1802, Mr. Post is advertising in the York paper. In the Oracle of Sept. 18, 1802, he announces a temporary absence from the town. "Jordan Post, watchmaker, requests all those who left watches with him to be repaired, to call at Mr. Beman's and receive them by paying for the repairs. He intends returning to York in a few months. Sept. 11, 1802." In the close of the same year, he puts forth the general notice: "Jordan Post, Clock and Watchmaker, informs the public that he now carries on the above business in all its branches, at the upper end of Duke Street. He has a complete assortment of watch furniture. Clocks and watches repaired on the shortest notice, and most reasonable terms, together with every article in the gold and silver line. N. B.—He will purchase old brass. Dec 11, 1802."

Besides the block described above, Mr. Post had acquired other valuable properties in York, as will appear by an advertisement in the Weekly Register of Jan. 19, 1826, from which also it will be seen that he at one time contemplated a gift to the town of one hundred feet frontage and two hundred feet of depth, for the purpose of a second Public Market. "Town Lots for Sale. To be sold by Auction on the Premises, on Wednesday the first day of February next, Four Town Lots on King Street, west of George Street. Also, to be leased at the same time to the highest bidder, for twenty-one years, subject to such conditions as will then be produced. Six Lots on the west side of Yonge Street, and Twenty on Market Street. The Subscriber has reserved a Lot of Ground of One Hundred Feet f[97]ront, by Two Hundred Feet in the rear, on George Street, for a Market Place, to be given for that purpose. He will likewise lease Ten Lots in front of said intended Market. A plan of the Lots may be seen and further particulars known, by application to the Subscriber. Jordan Post. York, Jan. 4, 1826."




Where Yonge Street crosses King Street, forming at the present day an unusually noble carrefour, as the French would say, or rectangular intersection of thoroughfares as we are obliged to word it, there was, for a considerable time, but one solitary house—at the north-east angle; a longish, one-storey, respectable wooden structure, painted white, with paling in front, and large willow trees: it was the home of Mr. Dermis, formerly superintendent of the Dock-yard at Kingston. He was one of the United Empire Loyalist refugees, and received a grant of land on the Humber, near the site of the modern village of Weston. His son, Mr. Joseph Dennis, owned and commanded a vessel on Lake Ontario in 1812. When the war with the United States broke out, he and his ship were attached to the Provincial Marine. His vessel was captured, and himself made a prisoner of war, in which condition he remained for fifteen months. He afterwards commanded the Princess Charlotte, an early steamboat on Lake Ontario.

To the eastward of Mr. Dennis' house, on the same side, at an early period, was an obscure frame building of the most ordinary kind, whose existence is recorded simply for having been temporarily the District Grammar School, before the erection of the spacious building on the Grammar School lot.

On the opposite side, still passing on towards the east, was the Jail. This was a squat unpainted wooden building, with hipped roof, concealed from persons passing in the street by a tall cedar stockade, such as those which we see surrounding a Hudson's Bay post or a military wood-yard. At the outer entrance hung a billet of wood suspended by a chain, communicating with a bell within; and occasionally Mr. Parker, the custodian of the place, was summoned, through its instrumentality, by persons not there on legitimate business. We ha[99]ve a recollection of a clever youth, an immediate descendant of the great commentator on British Law, and afterwards himself distinguished at the Upper Canadian bar, who was severely handled by Mr. Parker's son, on being caught in the act of pulling at this billet, with the secret intention of running away after the exploit.

The English Criminal Code, as it was at the beginning of the century, having been introduced with all its enormities, public hangings were frequent at an early period in the new Province. A shocking scene is described as taking place at an execution in front of the old Jail at York. The condemned refuses to mount the scaffold. On this, the moral-suasion efforts of the sheriff amount to the ridiculous, were not the occasion so seriously tragic. In aid of the sheriff, the officiating chaplain steps more than once up the plank set from the cart to the scaffold, to show the facility of the act, and to induce the man to mount in like manner; the condemned demurs, and openly remarks on the obvious difference in the two cases. At last the noose is adjusted to the neck of the wretched culprit, where he stands. The cart is withdrawn, and a deliberate strangling ensues.

In a certain existing account of steps taken in 1811 to remedy the dilapidated and comfortless condition of the Jail, we get a glimpse of York, commercially and otherwise, at that date. In April, 1811, the sheriff, Beikie, reports to the magistrates at Quarter Sessions "that the sills of the east cells of the Jail of the Home District are completely rotten; that the ceilings in the debtors' rooms are insufficient; and that he cannot think himself safe, should necessity oblige him to confine any persons in said cells or debtors' rooms."

An order is given in May to make the necessary repairs; but certain spike-nails are wanted of a kind not to be had at the local dealers in hardware. The chairman is consequently directed to "apply to His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, that he will be pleased to direct that the spike-nails be furnished from the King's stores, as there are not any of the description required to be purchased at York." A memorandum follows to the effect that on the communication of this necessity to His Excellency, "the Lieutenant-Governor ordered that the Clerk of the Peace do apply for the spike-nails officially in the name of the Court: which he did," the memorandum adds, "on the 8th of May, 1811, and received an answer on the da[100]y following, that an order had been issued that day for 1500 spike-nails, for the repair of the Home District Jail: the nails," it is subjoined, "were received by carpenter Leach in the month of July following."

Again: in December, 1811, Mr. Sheriff Beikie sets forth to the magistrates in Session, that "the prisoners in the cells of the Jail of the Home District suffer much from cold and damp, there being no method of communicating heat from the chimneys, nor any bedsteads to raise the straw from the floors, which lie nearly, if not altogether, on the ground." He accordingly suggests that "a small stove in the lobby of each range of cells, together with some rugs or blankets, will add much to the comfort of the unhappy persons confined." The magistrates authorize the supply of the required necessaries, and the order is marked "instant." (The month, we are to notice, was December.)

At a late period, there were placed about the town a set of posts having relation to the Jail. They were distinguished from the ordinary rough posts, customary then at regular intervals along the sidewalks, by being of turned wood, with spherical tops, the lower part painted a pale blue: the upper, white. These were the "limits"—the certi denique fines—beyond which, détenus for debt were not allowed to extend their walks.

Leaving the picketted enclosure of the Prison, we soon arrived at an open piece of ground on the opposite (north) side of the street,—afterwards known as the "Court House Square." One of the many rivulets or water-courses that traversed the site of York passed through it, flowing in a deep serpentine ravine, a spot to be remembered by the youth of the day as affording, in the winter, facilities for skating and sliding, and audacious exploits on "leather ice." In this open space, a Jail and Court House of a pretentious character, but of poor architectural style, were erected in 1824. The two buildings, which were of two storeys, and exactly alike, were placed side by side, a few yards back from the road. Their gables were to the south, in which direction were also the chief entrances. The material was red brick. Pilasters of cut stone ran up the principal fronts, and up the exposed or outer sides of each edifice. At these sides, as also on the inner and unornamented sides, were lesser gables, but marked by the portion of the wall that rose in front of them, not to a point, but finishing square in two diminishing stages, and sustaining chimneys.


It was intended originally that lanterns should have surmounted and given additional elevation to both buildings, but these were discarded, together with tin as the material of the roofing, with a view to cutting down the cost, and thereby enabling the builder to make the pilasters of cut stone instead of "Roman cement." John Hayden was the contractor. The cost, as reduced, was to be £3,800 for the two edifices.

We extract from the Canadian Review for July, 1824, published by H. H. Cunningham, Montreal, an account of the commencement of the new buildings: "On Saturday, the 24th instant, [April, 1824,] his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, attended by his staff, was met by the Honourable the Members of the Executive Council, the Judges of the Court of King's Bench, and the Gentlemen of the Bar, with the Magistrates and principal inhabitants of York, in procession, for the purpose of laying the foundation-stone of the new Jail and Court House about to be erected in this Town.—A sovereign and half-sovereign of gold, and several coins of silver and copper, of the present reign, together with some newspapers and other memorials of the present day, were deposited in a cavity of the stone, over which a plate of copper, bearing an appropriate inscription, was placed; and after his Excellency had given the first blow, with a hammer handed to him for the purpose, the ceremony concluded with several hearty cheers from all who were present.—If the question were of any real importance," the writer adds, "we might have the curiosity to inquire why the deposit was made in the south-east, rather than in the north-east corner of the building?"—a query that indicates, as we suppose, a deviation from orthodox masonic usage.

In one of the lithographic views published in 1836 by Mr. J. Young, the Jail and Court House, now spoken of, are shewn. Among the objects inserted to give life to the scene, the artist has placed in the foreground a country waggon with oxen yoked to it, in primitive fashion.—Near the front entrance of the Jail, stood, to the terror of evil-doers, down to modern times, a ponderous specimen of the "parish stocks" of the old country, in good condition.

After 1825, the open area in front of the Jail and Court House became the "Public Place" of the town. Crowds filled it at elections and other occasions of excitement. We have here witnessed several scenes characteristic of the times in which they occu[102]rred. We here once saw a public orator run away with, in the midst of his harangue. This was Mr. Jesse Ketchum, who was making use of a farmer's waggon as his rostrum or platform, when the vehicle was suddenly laid hold of, and wheeled rapidly down King Street, the speaker maintaining his equilibrium in the meanwhile with difficulty. Mr. Ketchum was one of the most benevolent and beneficent of men. We shall have occasion to refer to him hereafter.

It was on the same occasion, we believe, that we saw Mr. W. L. McKenzie assailed by the missiles which mobs usually adopt. From this spot we had previously seen the same personage, after one of his re-elections, borne aloft in triumph, on a kind of pyramidal car, and wearing round his neck and across his breast a massive gold chain and medal (both made of molten sovereigns), the gift of his admirers and constituents: in the procession, at the same time, was a printing-press, working as it was conveyed along in a low sleigh, and throwing off handbills, which were tossed, right and left, to the accompanying crowd in the street.

The existing generation of Canadians, with the lights which they now possess, see pretty clearly, that the agitator just named, and his party, were not, in the abstract, by any means so bad as they seemed: that, in fact, the ideas which they sought to propagate are the only ones practicable in the successful government of modern men.

Is there a reader nowadays that sees anything very startling in the enunciation of the following principles?—"The control of the whole revenue to be in the people's representatives; the Legislative Council to be elective; the representation in the House of Assembly to be as equally proportioned to the population as possible; the Executive Government to incur a real responsibility; the law of primogeniture to be abolished; impartiality in the selection of juries to be secured; the Judiciary to be independent; the military to be in strict subordination to the civil authorities; equal rights to the several members of the community; every vestige of Church-and-State union to be done away; the lands and all the revenues of the country to be under the control of the country; and education to be widely, carefully and impartially diffused; to these may be added the choice of our own Governor."

These were the political principles sought to be established in the Governments of Canada by the party referred to, as set forth in the terms ju[103]st given (almost verbatim) in Patrick Swift's Almanac, a well known popular, annual brochure of Mr. McKenzie's. It seems singular now, in the retrospect, that doctrines such as these should have created a ferment.

But there is this to be said: it does not appear that there were, at the time, in the ranks of the party in power, any persons of very superior intellectual gifts or of a wide range of culture or historical knowledge: so that it was not likely that, on that side, there would be a ready relinquishment of political traditions, of inherited ideas, which their possessors had never dreamt of rationally analyzing, and which they deemed it all but treason to call in question.

And moreover it is to be remembered that the chief propagandist of the doctrines of reform, although very intelligent and ready of speech, did not himself possess the dignity and repose of character which give weight to the utterances of public men. Hence, with the persons who really stood in need of instruction and enlightenment, his words had an irritating, rather than a conciliatory and convincing effect. This was a fault which it was not in his power to remedy. For his microscopic vision and restless temperament, while they fitted him to be a very clever local reformer, a very clever local editor, unfitted him for the grand role of a national statesman, or heroic conductor of a revolution.

Accordingly, although the principles advocated by him finally obtained the ascendancy, posterity only regards him as the Wilkes, the Cobbett, or the Hunt of his day, in the annals of his adopted country. In the interval between the outbreak or feint at outbreak in 1838, and 1850, the whole Canadian community made a great advance in general intelligence, and statesmen of a genuine quality began to appear in our Parliaments.

Prior to the period of which we have just been speaking, a name much in the mouths of our early settlers was that of Robert Gourlay. What we have to say in respect to him, in our retrospect of the past, will perhaps be in place here.

Nothing could be more laudable than Mr. Gourlay's intentions at the outset. He desired to publish a statistical account of Canada, with a view to the promotion of emigration. To inform himself of the actual condition of the young colony, he addressed a series of questions to persons of experience and intelligence in every township of Upper Canada. These questions are now lying before us; they extend to the number of thirty-one. There are none of them that a modern reader would pronounce ill-judged or irrelevant.[104]

But here again it is easy to see that personal character and temperament marred the usefulness of a clever man. His inordinate self-esteem and pugnaciousness, insufficiently controlled, speedily rendered him offensive, especially in a community constituted as that was in the midst of which he had suddenly lighted; and drove, naturally and of necessity, his opponents to extreme measures in self-defence, and himself to extreme doctrines by way of retaliation: thus he became overwhelmed with troubles from which the tact of a wiser man would have saved him. But for Gourlay, as the event proved, a latent insanity was an excuse.

It is curious to observe that, in 1818, Gourlay, in his heat against the official party, whose headquarters were at York, threatened that town with extinction; at all events, with the obliteration of its name, and the transmutation thereof into that of Toronto. In a letter to the Niagara Spectator, he says:—"The tumult excited stiffens every nerve and redoubles the proofs of necessity for action. If the higher classes are against me, I shall recruit among my brother farmers, seven in eight of whom will support the cause of truth. If one year does not make Little York surrender to us, then we'll batter it for two; and should it still hold out, we have ammunition for a much longer siege. We shall raise the wind against it from Amherstburgh and Quebec—from Edinburgh, Dublin and London. It must be levelled to the very earth, and even its name be forgotten in Toronto."

But to return for a moment to Mr. McKenzie. On the steps of the Court House, which we are to suppose ourselves now passing, we once saw him under circumstances that were deeply touching. Sentence of death had been pronounced on a young man once employed in his printing-office. He had been vigorously exerting himself to obtain from the Executive a mitigation of the extreme penalty. The day and even the hour for the execution had arrived; and no message of reprieve had been transmitted from the Lieutenant-Governor. As he came out of the Sheriff's room, after receiving the final announcement that there could be no further delay, the white collars on each side of his face were wet through and through with the tears that were gushing from his eyes and pouring down his cheeks! He was just realizing the fact that nothing further could be done; and in a few moments afterwards the execution actually took place.


We approach comparatively late times when we speak of the cavalcade which passed in grand state the spot now under review, when Messrs. Dunn and Buchanan were returned as members for the town. In the pageant on that occasion there was conspicuous a train of railway carriages, drawn of course, by horse power, with the inscription on the sides of the carriages—"Do you not wish you may get it?"—the allusion being to the Grand Trunk, which, was then only a thing in posse.

And still referring to processions associated in our memory with Court House Square, the recollection of another comes up, which once or twice a year used formerly to pass down King Street on a Sunday. The townspeople were familiar enough with the march of the troops of the garrison to and from Church, to the sound of military music, on Sundays. But on the occasions now referred to, the public eye was drawn to a spectacle professedly of an opposite character:—to the procession of the "Children of Peace," so-called.

These were a local off-shoot of the Society of Friends, the followers of Mr. David Willson, who had his headquarters at Sharon, in Whitchurch, where he had built a "Temple," a large wooden structure, painted white, and resembling a high-piled house of cards. Periodically he deemed it proper to make a demonstration in town. His disciples and friends, dressed in their best, mounted their waggons and solemnly passed down Yonge Street, and then on through some frequented thoroughfare of York to a place previously announced, where the prophet would preach. His topic was usually "Public Affairs: their Total Depravity."

The text of all of Willson's homilies might, in effect, be the following mystic sentence, extracted from the popular periodical, already quoted—Patrick Swift's Almanac: "The backwoodsman, while he lays the axe to the root of the oak in the forests of Canada, should never forget that a base basswood is growing in this his native land, which, if not speedily girdled, will throw its dark shadows over the country, and blast his best exertions. Look up, reader, and you will see the branches—the Robinson branch, the Powell branch, the Jones branch, the Strachan branch, the Boulton twig, &c. The farmer toils, the merchant toils, the labourer toils, and the Family Compact reap the fruit of their exertions." (Almanac for 1834.)

Into all the points here suggested Mr. Willson would enter with great zest. When waxing wa[106]rm in his discourse, he would sometimes, without interrupting the flow of his words, suddenly throw off his coat and suspend it on a nail or pin in the wall, waving about with freedom, during the residue of his oration, a pair of sturdy arms, arrayed, not indeed in the dainty lawn of a bishop, but in stout, well-bleached American Factory. His address was divided into sections, between which "hymns of his own composing" were sung by a company of females dressed in white, sitting on one side, accompanied by a band of musical instruments on the other.

Considerable crowds assembled on these occasions: and once a panic arose as preaching was going on in the public room of Lawrence's hotel: the joists of the floor were heard to crack; a rush was made to the door, and several leaped out of the windows.—A small brick school-house on Berkeley Street was also a place where Willson sometimes sought to get the ear of the general public.—Captain Bonnycastle, in "Canada as it Was, Is, and May Be," i. 285, thus discourses of David Willson, in a strain somewhat too severe and satirical; but his words serve to show opinions which widely prevailed at the time he wrote: "At a short distance from Newmarket," the Captain says, "which is about three miles to the right of Yonge Street, near its termination at the Holland Landing, on a river of that name running into Lake Simcoe, is a settlement of religious enthusiasts, who have chosen the most fertile part of Upper Canada, the country near and for miles round Newmarket, for the seat of their earthly tabernacle. Here numbers of deluded people have placed themselves under the temporal and spiritual charge of a high priest, who calls himself David. His real name is David Willson. The Temple (as the building appropriated to the celebration of their rites is called,) is served by this man, who affects a primitive dress, and has a train of virgin-ministrants clothed in white. He travels about occasionally to preach at towns and villages, in a waggon, followed by others, covered with white tilt-cloths; but what his peculiar tenets are beyond that of dancing and singing, and imitating David the King, I really cannot tell, for it is altogether too farcical to last long: but Mr. David seems to understand clearly, as far as the temporal concerns of his infatuated followers go, that the old-fashioned signification of meum and tuum are religiously centered in his own sanctum. It was natural that such a field should produce tares in abundance."


The following notice of the "Children of Peace" occurs in Patrick Swift's Almanac for 1834, penned, probably, with an eye to votes in the neighbourhood of Sharon, or Hope, as the place is here called. "This society," the Almanac reports, "numbers about 280 members in Hope, east of Newmarket. They have also stated places of preaching, at the Old Court House, York, on Yonge Street, and at Markham. Their principal speaker is David Willson, assisted by Murdoch McLeod, Samuel Hughes, and others. Their music, vocal and instrumental, is excellent, and their preachers seek no pay from the Governor out of the taxes."

On week-days, Willson was often to be seen, like any other industrious yeoman, driving into town his own waggon, loaded with the produce of his farm; dressed in home-spun, as the "borel folk" of Yonge Street generally were: in the axis of one eye there was a slight divergency.—The expression "Family Compact" occurring above, borrowed from French and Spanish History, appears also in the General Report of Grievances, in 1835, where this sentence is to be read: "The whole system [of conducting Government without a responsible Executive] has so long continued virtually in the same hands, that it is little better than a family compact." p. 43. (In our proposed perambulation of Yonge Street we shall have occasion to speak again of David Willson.)

After the Court House Square came the large area attached to St. James' Church, to the memories connected with which we shall presently devote some space; as also to those connected with the region to the north, formerly the play-ground of the District Grammar School, and afterwards transformed into March Street and its purlieus.

At the corner on the south side of King Street, just opposite the Court House, was the clock-and-watch-repairing establishment of Mr. Charles Clinkenbroomer. To our youthful fancy, the general click and tick usually to be heard in an old-fashioned watchmaker's place of business, was in some sort expressed by the name Clinkunbroomer. But in old local lists we observe the orthography of this name to have been Klinkenbrunner, which conveys another idea. Mr. Clinkenbroomer's father, we believe, was attached to the army of General Wolfe, at the taking of Quebec.

In the early annals of York numerous Teutonic names are observable. Among jurymen and others, at an early[108] period, we meet with Nicholas Klinkenbrunner, Gerhard Kuch, John Vanzantee, Barnabas Vanderburgh, Lodowick Weidemann, Francis Freder, Peter Hultz, Jacob Wintersteen, John Shunk, Leonard Klink, and so on.

So early as 1795 Liancourt speaks of a migration hither of German settlers from the other side of the Lake. He says a number of German settlers collected at Hamburg, an agent had brought out to settle on "Captain Williamson's Demesne" in the State of New York. After subsisting for some time there at the expense of Capt. Williamson, (who, it was stated, was really the representative of one of the Pulteneys in England), they decamped in a body to the north side of the Lake, and especially to York and its neighbourhood, at the instigation of one Berczy, and "gained over, if we may believe common fame," Liancourt says, "by the English;" gained over, rather, it is likely, by the prospect of acquiring freehold property for nothing, instead of holding under a patroon or American feudal lord.

Probably it was to the accounts of Capt. Williamson's proceedings, given by these refugees, that a message from Gov. Simcoe to that gentleman, in 1794, was due. Capt. Williamson, who appears to have acquired a supposed personal interest in a large portion of the State of New York, was opening settlements on the inlets on the south side of Lake Ontario, known as Ierondequat and Sodus Bay.

"Last year," Liancourt informs us, "General Simcoe, Governor of Upper Canada, who considered the Forts of Niagara and Oswego, . . . as English property, together with the banks of Lake Ontario, sent an English officer to the Captain, with an injunction, not to persist in his design of forming the settlements." To which message, "the Captain," we are then told, "returned a plain and spirited answer, yet nevertheless conducted himself with a prudence conformable to the circumstances. All these difficulties, however," it is added, "are now removed by the prospect of the continuance of peace, and still more so by the treaty newly concluded." (Of Mr. Berczy, and the German Settlement proper, we shall discourse at large in our section on Yonge Street.)




Across Church Street from Clinkunbroomer's were the wooden buildings already referred to, as having remained long in a partially finished state, being the result of a premature speculation. From this point we are induced to turn aside from our direct route for a few moments, attracted by a street which we see a short distance to the south, namely, Market Lane, or Colborne Street, as the modern phraseology is.

In this passage was, in the olden time, the Masonic Hall, a wooden building of two storeys. To the young imagination this edifice seemed to possess considerable dignity, from being surmounted by a cupola; the first structure in York that ever enjoyed such a distinction. This ornamental appendage supported above the western gable, by slender props, (intended in fact for the reception of a bell, which, so far as our recollection extends, was never supplied), would appear insignificant enough now; but it was the first budding of the architectural ambition of a young town, which leads at length to turrets, pinnacles, spires and domes.

A staircase on the outside led to the upper storey of the Masonic Hall. In this place were held the first meetings of the first Mechanics' Institute, organized under the auspices of Moses Fish, a builder of York, and other lovers of knowledge of the olden time. Here were attempted the first popular lectures. Here we remember hearing—certainly some forty years ago—Mr. John Fenton read a paper on the manufacture of steel, using diagrams in illustration: one of them showed the magnified edge of a well-set razor, the serrations all sloping in one direction, by which it might be seen, the lecturer remarked, that unless a man, in shaving, imparted to the instrument in his hand a carefully-studied movement, he was likely "to get into a scrape."—The lower part of the Masonic Hall was for a considerable while used as a school, kept successively by Mr. Stewart and Mr. Appleton, and afterwards by Mr. Caldicott.[110]

At the corner of Market Lane, on the north side, towards the Market, was Frank's Hotel, an ordinary white frame building. The first theatre of York was extemporized in the ball-room of this house. When fitted up for dramatic purposes, that apartment was approached by a stairway on the outside.

Here companies performed, under the management, at one time, of Mr. Archbold; at another, of Mr. Talbot; at another, of Mr. Vaughan. The last-named manager, while professionally at York, lost a son by drowning in the Bay. We well remember the poignant distress of the father at the grave, and that his head was bound round on the occasion with a white bandage or napkin. Mrs. Talbot was a great favourite. She performed the part of Cora in Pizarro, and that of Little Pickle, in a comedy of that name, if our memory serves us.

Pizarro, Barbarossa or the Siege of Algiers, Ali Baba or the Forty Thieves, the Lady of the Lake, the Miller and his Men, were among the pieces here represented. The body-guard of the Dey of Algiers, we remember, consisted of two men, who always came in with military precision just after the hero, and placed themselves in a formal manner at fixed distances behind him, like two sentries. They were in fact soldiers from the garrison, we think. All this appeared very effective.

The dramatic appliances and accessories at Frank's were of the humblest kind. The dimensions of the stage must have been very limited: the ceiling of the whole room, we know, was low. As for orchestra—in those days, the principal instrumental artist of the town was Mr. Maxwell, who, well-remembered for his quiet manner, for the shade over one eye, in which was some defect, and for his homely skill on the violin, was generally to be seen and heard, often alone, but sometimes with an associate or two, here, as at all other entertainments of importance, public or private. Nevertheless, at that period, to an unsophisticated yet active imagination, innocent of acquaintance with more respectable arrangements, everything seemed charming; each scene, as the bell rang and the baize drew up, was invested with a magical glamour, similar in kind, if not equal in degree, to that which, in the days of our grandfathers, ere yet the modern passion for real knowledge had been awakened, fascinated the young Londoner at Drury Lane.

And how curiously were the illusions of the mimic splendors sometimes in a momen[111]t broken, as if to admonish the inexperienced spectator of the facts of real life. In the performance of Pizarro, it will be remembered that an attempt is made to bribe a Spanish soldier at his post. He rejects and flings to the ground what is called "a wedge of massive gold:"—we recollect the sound produced on the boards of the stage in Frank's by the fall of this wedge of massive gold: it instantly betrayed itself by this, as well as by its nimble rebound, to be, of course, a gilded bit of wood.

And it is not alone at obscure village performances that such disclosures occur. At an opera in London, where all appearances were elaborately perfect, we recollect the accidental fall of a goblet which was supposed to be of heavy chased silver, and also filled with wine—a contretemps occasioned by the giddiness of the lad who personated a page: two things were at once clear: the goblet was not of metal, and nothing liquid was contained within it: which recalls a mishap associated in our memory with a visit to the Argentina at Rome some years ago: this was the coming off of a wheel from the chariot of a Roman general, at a critical moment: the descent on this occasion from the vehicle to the stage was a true step from the sublime to the ridiculous; for the audience observed the accident, and persisted in their laugh in spite of the heroics which the great commander proceeded to address, in operatic style, to his assembled army.

It was in the assembly-room at Frank's, dismantled of its theatrical furniture, that a celebrated fancy ball was given, on the last day of the year 1827, conjointly by Mr. Galt, Commissioner of the Canada Company, and Lady Mary Willis, wife of Mr. Justice Willis. On that occasion the general interests of the Company were to some extent studied in the ornamentation of the room, its floor being decorated with an immense representation, in chalks or water-colour, of the arms of the association. The supporters of the shield were of colossal dimensions: two lions, rampant, bearing flags turning opposite ways: below, on the riband, in characters proportionably large, was the motto of the Company, "Non mutat genus solum." The sides and ceiling of the room, with the passages leading from the front door to it, were covered throughout with branchlets of the hemlock-spruce: nestling in the greenery of this perfect bower were innumerable little coloured lamps, each containing a floating light.

Here, for once, the potent, grave and reverend signiors of York, along with their so[112]ns and daughters, indulged in a little insanity. Lady Mary Willis appeared as Mary, Queen of Scots; the Judge himself, during a part of the evening, was in the costume of a gay old lady, the Countess of Desmond, aged one hundred years; Miss Willis, the clever amateur equestrienne, was Folly, with cap and bells; Dr. W. W. Baldwin was a Roman senator; his two sons William and St. George, were the Dioscuri, "Fratres Helenæ, lucida Sidera;" his nephew, Augustus Sullivan, was Puss in Boots; Dr. Grant Powell was Dr. Pangloss; Mr. Kerr, a real Otchipway chief, at the time a member of the Legislature, made a magnificent Kentucky backwoodsman, named and entitled Captain Jedediah Skinner. Mr. Gregg, of the Commissariat, was Othello. The Kentuckian (Kerr), professing to be struck with the many fine points of the Moor, as regarded from his point of view, persisted, throughout the evening, in exhibiting an inclination to purchase—an idea naturally much resented by Othello. Col. Givins, his son Adolphus, Raymond Baby, and others, were Indian chiefs of different tribes, who more than once indulged in the war-dance. Mr. Buchanan, son of the British Consul at New York, was Darnley; Mr. Thomson, of the Canada Company's office, was Rizzio; Mr. G. A. Barber was a wounded sailor recently from Navarino (that untoward event had lately taken place); his arm was in a sling; he had suffered in reality a mutilation of the right hand by an explosion of gunpowder, on the preceding 5th of November.

Mr. Galt was only about three years in Canada, but this short space of time sufficed to enable him to lay the foundation of the Canada Company wisely and well, as is shewn by its duration and prosperity. The feat was not accomplished without some antagonism springing up between himself and the local governmental authorities, whom he was inclined to treat rather haughtily.

It is a study to observe how frequently, at an early stage of Upper Canadian society, a mutual antipathy manifested itself between visitors from the transatlantic world, tourists and settlers (intending and actual), and the first occupants of such places of trust and emolument as then existed. It was a feeling that grew partly out of personal considerations, and partly out of difference of opinion in regard to public policy. A gulf thus began at an early period to open between two sections of the community, which widened painfully for a time in after years;—a fissure, which, at its first appearance, a little philosophy on both sides would have closed up. Men of intelligence, who had risen to position and acquired all their experience in a[113] remote, diminutive settlement, might have been quite sure that their grasp of great imperial and human questions, when they arose, would be very imperfect; they might, therefore, rationally have rejoiced at the accession of new minds and additional light to help them in the day of necessity. And on the other hand, the fresh immigrant or casual visitor, trained to maturity amidst the combinations of an old society, and possessing a knowledge of its past, might have comprehended thoroughly the exact condition of thought and feeling in a community such as that which he was approaching, and so might have regarded its ideas with charity, and spoken of them in a tone conciliatory and delicate. On both sides, the maxim Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner would have had a salutary and composing effect, "for," as the author of Realmah well says, "in truth, one would never be angry with anybody, if one understood him or her thoroughly."

We regret that we cannot recover two small "paper pellets of the brain," of this period, arising out of the discussions connected with the appointment of an outsider (Mr. Justice Willis) to the Bench of Upper Canada. They would have been illustrative of the times. They were in the shape of two advertisements, one in reply to the other, in a local Paper: one was the elaborate title-page of a pamphlet "shortly to appear," on the existing system of Jurisprudence in Upper Canada; with the motto "Meliora sperans;" the other was an exact counterpart of the first, only in reversed terms, and bearing the motto "Deteriora timens."

In the early stages of all the colonies it is obviously inevitable that appointments ab extra to public office must occasionally, and even frequently, be made. Local aspirants are thus subject to disappointments; and men of considerable ability may now and then feel themselves overshadowed, and imagine themselves depressed, through the introduction of talent transcending their own. Some manifestations of discontent and impatience may thus always be expected to appear. But in a few years this state of things comes naturally to an end. In no public exigency is there any longer a necessity to look to external sources for help. A home supply of persons "duly qualified to serve God in Church and State" is legitimately developed, as we see in the United States, among ourselves, and in all the other larger settlements from the British Islands.

The dénouement of the Wil[114]lis-trouble may be gathered from the following notice in the Gazette of Thursday, July 17th, 1828, now lying before us: "His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor has been pleased to appoint, by Commission under the Great Seal, Christopher Alexander Hagerman, Esq., to be a Judge in the Court of King's Bench for this Province, in the room of the Hon. John Walpole Willis, amoved, until the King's pleasure shall be signified."

Lady Mary Willis, associated with Mr. Galt in the Fancy Ball just spoken of, was a daughter of the Earl of Strathmore. A trial of a painful nature known as Willis v. Bernard in the annals of the Common Pleas, arising out of circumstances connected with Judge Willis's brief residence in Canada, took place in 1832 before the Chief Justice of England and a special jury, at Westminster, Mr. Sergeant Wilde acting for the plaintiff; Mr. Sergeant Spankie, Mr. Sergeant Storks and Mr. Thesiger, for the defendant: when a thousand pounds were awarded as damages to the plaintiff. On this occasion Mr. Galt was examined as a witness. Judge Willis was afterwards appointed Chief Justice of Demerara.

In the Canadian Literary Magazine for April, 1833, there is a notice of Mr. Galt, with a full-length pen-and-ink portrait, similar to those which used formerly to appear in Fraser. In front of the figure is a bust of Lord Byron; behind, on a wall, is a Map shewing the Canadian Lakes, with York marked conspicuously. From the accompanying memoir we learn that "Mr. Galt always conducted himself as a man of the strictest probity and honour. He was warm in his friendships, and extremely hospitable in his Log Priory at Guelph, and thoroughly esteemed by those who had an opportunity of mingling with him in close and daily intimacy. He was the first to adopt the plan of opening roads before making a settlement, instead of leaving them to be cut, as heretofore, by the settlers themselves—a plan which, under the irregular and patchwork system of settling the country then prevailing, has retarded the improvement of the Province more, perhaps, than any other cause."

In his Autobiography Mr. Galt refers to this notice of himself in the Canadian Literary Magazine, especially in respect to an intimation given therein that contemporaries at York accused him of playing "Captain Grand" occasionally, and "looking down on the inhabitants of Upper Canada." He does not affect to say that it was not so; he even rather unamiably adds: "The fact is, I never thought about them [i. e., these inhabitants], unless to notice some ludicrous peculiarity of individuals."[115]

The same tone is assumed when recording the locally famous entertainment, given by himself and Lady Willis, as above described. Having received a hint that the colonelcy of a militia regiment might possibly be offered him, he says: "This information was unequivocally acceptable; and accordingly," he continues, "I resolved to change my recluseness into something more cordial towards the general inhabitants of York. I therefore directed one of the clerks [the gentleman who figured as Rizzio,] to whom I thought the task might be agreeable, to make arrangements for giving a general Fancy Ball to all my acquaintance, and the principal inhabitants. I could not be troubled," he observes, "with the details myself, but exhorted him to make the invitations as numerous as possible."

In extenuation of his evident moodiness of mind, it is to be observed that his quarters at York were very uncomfortable. "The reader is probably acquainted," he says in his Autobiography, "with the manner of living in the American hotels, but without experience he can have no right notion of what in those days (1827,) was the condition of the best tavern in York. It was a mean two-storey house; the landlord, however, [this was Mr. Frank,] did," he says, "all in his power to mitigate the afflictions with which such a domicile was quaking, to one accustomed to quiet."

Such an impression had his unfortunate accommodation at York made on him, that, in another place, when endeavouring to describe Dover, in Kent, as a dull place, we have him venturing to employ such extravagant language as this: "Everybody who has been at Dover knows that it is one of the vilest [hypochondriacal] haunts on the face of the earth, except Little York in Upper Canada." We notice in Leigh Hunt's London Journal for June, 1834, some verses entitled "Friends and Boyhood," written by Mr. Galt, in sickness. They will not sound out of place in a paper of early reminiscences:

"Talk not of years! 'twas yesterday We chased the hoop together, And for the plover's speckled egg We waded through the heather.   "The green is gay where gowans grow, 'Tis Saturday—oh! come, Hark! hear ye not our mother's voice, The earth?—she calls us home.   "Have we not found that fortune's chase For glory or for treasure, Unlike the rolling circle's race, Was pastime, without pleasure?   "But seize your glass—another time We'll think of clouded days— I'll give a toast—fill up my friend! Here's 'Boys and merry plays!'"

But Market Lane and its memories detain us too long from King Street. We now return to the point where Church Street intersects that thoroughfare.




The first Church of St. James, at York, was a plain structure of wood, placed some yards back from the road. Its gables faced east and west, and its solitary door was at its western end, and was approached from Church Street. Its dimensions were 50 by 40 feet. The sides of the building were pierced by two rows of ordinary windows, four above and four below. Altogether it was, in its outward appearance, simply, as a contemporary American "Geographical View of the Province of Upper Canada," now before us, describes it, a "meeting-house for Episcopalians."

The work just referred to, which was written by a Mr. M. Smith, before the war of 1812, thus depicts York: "This village," it says, "is laid out after the form of Philadelphia, the streets crossing each other at right angles; though the ground on which it stands is not suitable for building. This at present," the notice subjoins, "is the seat of Government, and the residence of a number of English gentlemen. It contains some fine buildings, though they stand scattering, among which are a Court-house, Council-house, a large brick building, in which the King's store for the place is kept, and a meeting-house for Episcopalians; one printing and other offices."

The reservation of land in which the primitive St. James' Church stood, long remained plentifully covered with the original forest. In a wood-cut from a sketch taken early in the present century, prefixed to the "Annals of the Diocese of Toronto," the building is represented as being in the midst of a great grove, and stumps of various sizes are visible in the foreground.

Up to 1803 the Anglican congregation had assembled for Divine Worship in the Parliament Building; and prior to the appointment of the Rev. Mr. Stuart, or in his absence, a layman, Mr. Cooper, afterwards the well-known wharfinger, used to read the service. In March, 1799, there was about to be a Day of General Thanksgiving. The mode proposed for its solemn observance at York was announced as follows in the Gazette and Oracle of March 9: "No[118]tice is hereby given that Prayers will be read in the North Government Building in this Town, on Tuesday, the 12th instant, being the day appointed for a General Thanksgiving throughout the Province to Almighty God for the late important victories over the enemies of Great Britain. Service to begin half after eleven o'clock."

We give a contemporary account of the proceedings at an important meeting of the subscribers to the fund for the erection of the first St. James' Church at York, in 1803. It is from the Oracle and Gazette of January 22, in that year.

"At a Meeting of the subscribers to a fund for erecting a Church in the Town of York, holden at the Government Buildings, on Saturday the 8th day of January instant, the Hon. Chief Justice [Elmsley] in the Chair. Resolved unanimously: That each subscriber shall pay the amount of his subscription by three instalments: the first being one moiety in one month from this day; the second being a moiety of the residue in two months; and the remainders in three months: That Mr. William Allan and Mr. Duncan Cameron shall be Treasurers, and shall receive the amount of the said subscriptions; and that they be jointly and severally answerable for all moneys paid into their hands upon the receipt of either of them: That His Honour the Chief Justice, the Honourable P. Russell, the Honourable Captain McGill, the Reverend Mr. Stuart, Dr. Macaulay, Mr. Chewett, and the two Treasurers, be a Committee of the subscribers, with full power and authority to apply the moneys arising from subscriptions, to the purpose contemplated: Provided, nevertheless, that if any material difference of opinion should arise among them, resort shall be had to a meeting of the subscribers to decide. That the Church be built of stone, brick, or framed timber, as the Committee may judge most expedient, due regard being had to the superior advantages of a stone or brick building, if not counterbalanced by the additional expense: That eight hundred pounds of lawful money, be the extent upon which the Committee shall calculate their plan; but in the first instance, they shall not expend beyond the sum of six hundred pounds (if the amount of the sums subscribed and paid into the hands of the Treasurers, together with the moneys which may be allowed by the British Government, amount to so much), leaving so much of the work as can most conveniently be dispensed with, to be completed by the remaining two hundred pounds: Provided, however, that the said six hundred pounds be laid out in such manner that Divine Worship can be performed with decency in the Church: That the Committee do re[119]quest the opinion of Mr. Berczy, respecting the probable expenses which will attend the undertaking, and respecting the materials to be preferred; due regard being had to the amount of the fund, as aforesaid; and that after obtaining his opinion, they do advertise their readiness to receive proposals conformable thereto. N.B. The propriety of receiving contributions in labour or materials is suggested to the Committee. A. MacDonell, Secretary to the Meeting."

In the Gazette and Oracle of June 4, 1803, D. Cameron and W. Allan are inviting tenders for the supply of certain materials required for "building a Church in this Town."

"Advertisement. Wanted. A quantity of Pine Boards and Scantling, Stones and Lime, for building a Church in this Town. Any person inclined to furnish any of these articles will please to give in their proposals at the lowest prices, to the subscribers, to be laid before the Committee. D. Cameron, W. Allan. York, 1st June, 1803."

It would seem that in July the determination was to build the Church of stone.

"On Wednesday last, the 6th instant," says the Oracle and Gazette, July 9th, 1803, "a meeting of the subscribers to the fund for erecting a Church in this Town was held at the Government Buildings, on which occasion it was unanimously resolved: That the said Church should be built of Stone. That one hundred toises of Stone should accordingly be contracted for without delay. That a quantity of two-inch pine plank, not exceeding 6,000 feet, should also be laid in; and a reasonable quantity of Oak studs, and Oak plank, for the window-frames and sashes.—A future meeting we understand," the Oracle adds, "will be held in the course of the season, at which, when the different Estimates and Proposals have been examined, and the extent which the fund will reach, has been ascertained, something decisive will be settled."

The idea of building in stone appears to have been subsequently relinquished; and a Church-edifice in wood was decided on. We are informed that the Commandant of the Garrison, Col. Sheaffe, ordered his men to assist in raising the frame.

In 1810, a portion of the church-plot was enclosed, at an expense of £1 5s. for rails, of which five hundred were required for the purpos[120]e. At the same time the ground in front of the west-end, where was the entrance, was cleared of stumps, at an expense of £3 15s. In that year the cost for heating the building, and charges connected with the Holy Communion, amounted to £1 7s. 6d., Halifax currency.

In 1813, Dr. Strachan succeeded Dr. Stuart as incumbent of the church; and in 1818 he induced the congregation to effect some alterations in the structure. From an advertisement in an early Gazette of the year 1818, it will be seen that the ecclesiastical ideas in the ascendant when the enlargement of the original building was first discussed, were much more in harmony with ancient English Church usages, than those which finally prevailed when the work was really done. With whomsoever originating, the design at first was to extend the building eastward, not southward; to have placed the Belfry at the west end, not at the south; the Pulpit was to have been placed on the north side of the Church; a South Porch was to have been erected. The advertisement referred to reads as follows:—"Advertisement. Plans and Estimates for enlarging and repairing the Church will be received by the subscribers before the 20th of March, on which day a decision will be made, and the Contractor whose proposals shall be approved of, must commence the work as the season will permit. The intention is: 1st. To lengthen the Church forty feet towards the east, with a circular end; thirty of which to form part of the body of the Church, and the remaining ten an Altar, with a small vestry-room on the one side, and a Government Pew on the other. 2nd. To remove the Pulpit to the north side, and to erect two Galleries, one opposite to it, and another on the west end. 3rd. To alter the Pews to suit the situation of the Pulpit, and to paint and number the same throughout the Church. 4th. To raise a Belfry on the west end, and make a handsome entrance on the south side of the Church, and to paint the whole building on the outside. Thomas Ridout, J. B. Robinson, Churchwardens. William Allan. Feb. 18, 1818."

The intentions here detailed were not carried into effect. On the north and south sides of the old building additional space was enclosed, which brought the axis of the Church and its roof into a north and south direction. An entrance was opened at the southern end, towards King Street, and over the gable in this direction was built a square tower bearing a circular bell-turret, surmounted by a small tin-covered spire. The whole edifice, as thus enlarged and improved, was p[121]ainted of a light blue colour, with the exception of the frames round the windows and doors, and the casings at the angles, imitating blocks of stone, alternately long and short, which were all painted white.

The original western door was not closed up. Its use, almost exclusively, was now, on Sundays and other occasions of Divine Worship, to admit the Troops, whose benches extended along by the wall on that side the whole length of the church.—The upper windows on all the four sides were now made circular-headed. On the east side there was a difference. The altar-window of the original building remained, only transformed into a kind of triplet, the central compartment rising above the other two, and made circular headed. On the north and south of this east window were two tiers of lights, as on the western side.

In the bell-turret was a bell of sufficient weight sensibly to jar the whole building at every one of its semi-revolutions.

In the interior, a central aisle, or open passage, led from the door to the southern end of the church, where, on the floor, was situated a pew of state for the Lieutenant-Governor: small square pillars at its four corners sustained a flat canopy over it, immediately under the ceiling of the gallery; and below this distinctive tester or covering, suspended against the wall, were the royal arms, emblazoned on a black tablet of board or canvas.

Half-way up the central aisle, on the right side, was an open space, in which were planted the pulpit, reading-desk and clerk's pew, in the old orthodox fashion, rising by gradations one above the other, the whole overshadowed by a rather handsome sounding-board, sustained partially by a rod from the roof. Behind this mountainous structure was the altar, lighted copiously by the original east window. Two narrow side-aisles, running parallel with the central one, gave access to corresponding rows of pews, each having a numeral painted on its door. Two passages, for the same purpose ran westward from the space in front of the pulpit. To the right and left of the Lieutenant-Governor's seat, and filling up (with the exception of two square corner pews) the rest of the northern end of the church, were two oblong pews; the one on the west appropriated to the officers of the garrison; the other, on the east, to the members of the Legislature.

Round the north, west, and south sides of the interior, ran a gallery, divided, like the area below, into pews. This structure was sustained b[122]y a row of pillars of turned wood, and from it to the roof above rose another row of similar supports. The ceiling over the parts exterior to the gallery was divided into four shallow semi-circular vaults, which met at a central point. The pews everywhere were painted of a buff or yellowish hue, with the exception of the rims at the top, which were black. The pulpit and its appurtenances were white. The rims just referred to, at the tops of the pews, throughout the whole church, exhibited, at regular intervals, small gimlet-holes: in these were inserted annually, at Christmas-tide, small sprigs of hemlock-spruce. The interior, when thus dressed, wore a cheerful, refreshing look, in keeping with the festival commemorated.

Within this interior used to assemble, periodically, the little world of York: occasionally, a goodly proportion of the little world of all Upper Canada.

To limit ourselves to our own recollections: here, with great regularity, every Sunday, was to be seen, passing to and from the place of honour assigned him, Sir Peregrine Maitland,—a tall, grave officer, always in military undress; his countenance ever wearing a mingled expression of sadness and benevolence, like that which one may observe on the face of the predecessor of Louis Philippe, Charles the Tenth, whose current portrait recalls, not badly, the whole head and figure of this early Governor of Upper Canada.

In an outline representation which we accidentally possessed, of a panorama of the battle of Waterloo, on exhibition in London, the 1st Foot Guards were conspicuously to be seen led on by "Major-General Sir Peregrine Maitland." It was a matter of no small curiosity to the boyish mind, and something that helped to rouse an interest in history generally, to be assured that the living personage here, every week, before the eye, was the commander represented in the panorama; one who had actually passed through the tremendous excitement of the real scene.

With persons of wider knowledge, Sir Peregrine was invested with further associations. Besides being the royal representative in these parts, he was the son-in-law of Charles Gordon Lennox, fourth Duke of Richmond, a name that stirred chivalrous feelings in early Canadians of both Provinces; for the Duke had come to Canada as Governor-in-Chief, with a grand reputation acquired as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland; and great benefits were expected, and probably would have been realized from his administration, had it been of long continuance. But he had been suddenly removed by an excruciating death. Whilst on a tour[123] of inspection in the Upper Province, he had been fatally attacked with hydrophobia, occasioned by the bite of a pet fox. The injury had been received at Sorel; its terrible effects were fatally experienced at a place near the Ottawa, since named Richmond.

Some of the prestige of the deceased Duke continued to adhere to Sir Peregrine Maitland, for he had married the Duke's daughter, a graceful and elegant woman, who was always at his side, here and at Stamford Cottage across the Lake. She bore a name not unfamiliar in the domestic annals of George the Third, who once, it is said, was enamoured of a beautiful Lady Sarah Lennox, grandmother, as we suppose, or some other near relative, of the Lady Sarah here before us at York. Moreover, conversationalists whispered about (in confidence) something supposed to be unknown to the general public—that the match between Sir Peregrine and Lady Sarah had been effected in spite of the Duke. The report was that there had been an elopement; and it was naturally supposed that the party of the sterner sex had been the most active agent in the affair.

To say the truth, however, in this instance, it was the lady who precipitated matters. The affair occurred at Paris, soon after the Waterloo campaign. The Duke's final determination against Sir Peregrine's proposals having been announced, the daughter suddenly withdrew from the father's roof, and fled to the lodgings of Sir Peregrine, who instantly retired to other quarters. The upshot of the whole thing, at once romantic and unromantic, included a marriage and a reconciliation; and eventually a Lieutenant-Governorship for the son-in-law under the Governorship-in-Chief of the father, both despatched together to undertake the discharge of vice-regal functions in a distant colony. At the time of his marriage with Lady Sarah Lennox, Sir Peregrine had been for some ten years a widower. On his staff here at York was a son by his first wife, also named Peregrine, a subaltern in the army.

After the death of the Duke of Richmond, Sir Peregrine became administrator, for a time, of the general government of British North America. The movements of the representative of the Crown were attended with some state in those days. Even a passage across from York to Stamford, or from Stamford to York, was announced by a royal salute at the garrison.


Of a visit to Lower Canada in 1824, when, in addition to the usual suite, there were in the party several young Englishmen of distinction, tourists at that early period, on this continent, we have the following notice in the Canadian Review for December of that year. After mentioning the arrival at the Mansion House Hotel in Montreal, the Review proceeds: "In the morning His Excellency breakfasted with Sir Francis Burton, at the Government House, whom he afterwards accompanied to Quebec in the Swiftsure steamboat. Sir Peregrine is accompanied," the Review reports, "by Lord Arthur Lennox, Mr. Maitland, Colonels Foster, Lightfoot, Coffin and Talbot; with the Hon. E. G. Stanley [from 1851 to 1869, Earl of Derby], grandson of Earl Derby, M.P. for Stockbridge, John E. Denison, Esq. [subsequently Speaker of the House of Commons], M.P. for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and James S. Wortley, Esq. [afterwards Lord Wharncliffe], M.P. for Bossiney in Cornwall. The three latter gentlemen," the magazine adds, "are now upon a tour in this country from England; and we are happy to learn that they have expressed themselves as being highly gratified with all that they have hitherto seen in Canada."

It will be of interest to know that the name of Sir Peregrine Maitland is pleasantly preserved by means of Maitland Scholarships in a Grammar School for natives at Madras; and by a Maitland Prize in the University of Cambridge. The circumstances of the institution of these memorials are these as originally announced: "The friends of Lieutenant-General Sir Peregrine Maitland, K.C.B., late Commander in Chief of the Forces in South India, being desirous of testifying their respect and esteem for his character and principles, and for his disinterested zeal in the cause of Christian Truth in the East, have raised a fund for the institution of a prize in one of the Universities, and for the establishment of two native scholarships at Bishop Corrie's Grammar School at Madras; such prize and scholarships to be associated with the name of Sir Peregrine Maitland. In pursuance of the foregoing scheme, the sum of £1,000 has been given to the University of Cambridge for the purpose of instituting a prize to be called "Sir Peregrine Maitland's Prize," for an English essay on some subject connected with the propagation of the Gospel, through missionary exertions in India and other parts of the heathen world." This Prize, which is kept up by the interest accruing every three years, has been awarded at Cambridge regularly since 1845.

The successor to Sir Peregrine Maitland in the Government of Upper[125] Canada was another distinguished military officer, Sir John Colborne. With ourselves, the first impression of his form and figure is especially associated with the interior in which we are supposing the reader to be now standing. We remember his first passing up the central aisle of St James's Church. He had arrived early, in an unostentatious way; and on coming within the building he quietly inquired of the first person whom he saw, sitting in a seat near the door: Which was the Governor's pew? The gentleman addressed happened to be Mr. Bernard Turquand, who, quickly recognizing the inquirer, stood up and extended his right arm and open hand in the direction of the canopied pew over which was suspended the tablet bearing the Royal Arms. Sir John, and some of his family after him, then passed on to the place indicated.

At school, in an edition of Goldsmith then in use, the name of "Major Colborne" in connection with the account of Sir John Moore's death at Corunna had already been observed; and it was with us lads a matter of intense interest to learn that the new Governor was the same person.

The scene which was epitomized in the school-book, is given at greater length in Gleig's Lives of Eminent British Military Commanders. The following are some particulars from Colonel Anderson's narrative in that work: "I met the General," Colonel Anderson says, "on the evening of the 16th, bringing in, in a blanket and sashes. He knew me immediately, though it was almost dark, squeezed me by the hand and said 'Anderson, don't leave me.' At intervals he added 'Anderson, you know that I have always wished to die in this way. I hope the people of England will be satisfied. I hope my country will do me justice. You will see my friends as soon as you can. Tell them everything. I have made my will, and have remembered my servants. Colborne has my will and all my papers.' Major Colborne now came into the room. He spoke most kindly to him; and then said to me, 'Anderson, remember you go to ——, and tell him it is my request, and that I expect, he will give Major Colborne a lieutenant-colonelcy.' He thanked the surgeons for their trouble. He pressed my hand close to his body, and in a few minutes died without a struggle."

He had been struck by a cannon ball. The shot, we are told, had completely crushed his shoulder; the arm was hanging by a piece of skin, and the rib[126]s over the heart, besides been broken, were literally stripped of flesh. Yet, the narrative adds, "he sat upon the field collected and unrepining, as if no ball had struck him, and as if he were placed where he was for the mere purpose of reposing for a brief space from the fatigue of hard riding."

Sir John Colborne himself afterwards at Ciudad Rodrigo came within a hair's-breadth of a similar fate. His right shoulder was shattered by a cannon shot. The escape of the right arm from amputation on the field at the hands of some prompt military surgeon on that occasion, was a marvel. The limb was saved, though greatly disabled. The want of symmetry in Sir John Colborne's tall and graceful form, permanently occasioned by this injury, was conspicuous to the eye. We happened to be present in the Council Chamber at Quebec, in 1838, at the moment when this noble-looking soldier literally vacated the vice-regal chair, and installed his successor Lord Durham in it, after administering to him the oaths. The exchange was not for the better, in a scenic point of view, although the features of Lord Durham, as his well-known portrait shews, were very fine, suggestive of the poet or artist.

Of late years a monument has been erected on Mount Wise at Plymouth, in honour of the illustrious military chief and pre-eminently excellent man, whose memory has just been recalled to us. It is a statue of bronze, by Adams, a little larger than life; and the likeness is admirably preserved. (When seen on horseback at parades or reviews soldiers always averred that he greatly resembled "the Duke." Dr. Henry, in "Trifles from my Portfolio" (ii. 111.) thus wrote of him in 1833: "When we first dined at Government House, we were struck by the strong resemblance he bore to the Duke of Wellington; and there is also," Dr. Henry continues, "a great similarity in mind and disposition, as well as in the lineaments of the face. In one particular they harmonize perfectly—namely, great simplicity of character, and an utter dislike to shew ostentation.")

On the four sides of the granite pedestal of the statue on Mount Wise, are to be read the following inscriptions: in front: John Colborne, Baron Seaton. Born MDCCLXXVIII. Died MDCCCLXIII. On the right side: Canada. Ionian Islands. On the left side: Peninsula. Waterloo. On the remaining side: In memory of the distinguished career and stainless character of Field Marshal Lord Seaton, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.H. This Monument is erected by[127] his friends and comrades.

Accompanying the family of Sir John Colborne to their place in the Church at York was to be seen every Sunday, for some time, a shy-mannered, black-eyed, Italian-featured Mr. Jeune, tutor to the Governor's sons. This was afterwards the eminent Dr. Jeune, Master of Pembroke College at Oxford, a great promoter of reform in that University, and Bishop of Lincoln. Sir John himself was a man of scholarly tastes; a great student of history, and a practical modern European linguist.

Through a casual circumstance, it is said that full praise was not publicly given, at the time, to the regiment commanded by Sir John Colborne, the 52nd, for the particular service rendered by it at the battle of Waterloo. By the independent direction of their leader, the 52nd made a sudden flank movement at the crisis of the fight and initiated the final discomfiture of which the Guards got the sole praise. At the close of the day, when the Duke of Wellington was rapidly constructing his despatch, Colonel Colborne was inquired for by him, and could not, for the moment, be found. The information, evidently desired, was thus not to be had; and the document was completed and sent off without a special mention of the 52nd's deed of "derring do."

During the life-time of the great Duke there was much reticence among the military authorities in regard to the Battle of Waterloo from the fact that the Duke himself did not encourage discussion on the subject. All was well that had ended well, appeared to have been his doctrine. He once checked an incipient dispute in regard to the great event of the 18th of June between two friends, in his presence, by the command, half-jocose, half-earnest: "You leave the Battle of Waterloo alone!" He gave £60 for a private letter written by himself to a friend on the eve of the battle, and was heard to say, as he threw the document into the fire, "What a fool was I, when I wrote that!"

Since the death of the Duke, an officer of the 52nd, subsequently in Holy Orders,—the Rev. William Leeke—has devoted two volumes to the history of "the 52nd or Lord Seaton's Regiment;" in which its movements on the field of Waterloo are fully detailed. And Colonel Chesney in his "Waterloo Lectures; a Study of the Campaign of 1815" has set the great battle in a new light, and has demolished several English and French traditions in relation to it, bringing out into great prominence the services rendered by Blucher and the Prussians.


The Duke's personal sensitiveness to criticism was shewn on another occasion: when Colonel Gurwood suddenly died, he, through the police, took possession of the Colonel's papers, and especially of a Manuscript of Table Talk and other ana, designed for publication, and which, had it not been on the instant ruthlessly destroyed, would have been as interesting probably as Boswell's.

On Lord Seaton's departure from Canada, he was successively Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, and Commander-in-Chief in Ireland. He then retired to his own estate in the West of England, where he had a beautiful seat, in the midst of the calm, rural, inland scenery of Devonshire, not far from Plympton, and on the slope descending southward from the summits of Dartmoor. The name of the house is Beechwood, from the numerous clean, bold, magnificent beech trees that adorn its grounds, and give character to the neighbourhood generally. In the adjoining village of Sparkwell he erected a handsome school-house and church.

On his decease at Torquay in 1863 his remains were deposited in the Church at Newton Ferrers, the ancient family burying-place of the Yonges.

Mrs. Jameson's words in her "Winter studies and Summer Rambles," express briefly but truly, the report which all that remember him, would give, of this distinguished and ever memorable Governor of Canada. "Sir John Colborne," she says incidentally, in the Introduction to the work just named, "whose mind appeared to me cast in the antique mould of chivalrous honour; and whom I never heard mentioned in either Province but with respect and veneration." Dr. Henry in "Trifles from my Portfolio," once before referred to, uses similar language. "I believe," he says, "there never was a soldier of more perfect moral character than Sir John Colborne—a Bayard without gasconade, as well as sans peur et sans reproche." The title "Seaton," we may add, was taken from the name of an ancient seaport town of Devon, the Moridunum of the Roman period.




At the southern end of the Church, in which we are supposing ourselves to be, opposite the Lieutenant-Governor's pew, but aloft in the gallery, immediately over the central entrance underneath, was the pew of Chief Justice Powell, a long narrow enclosure, with a high screen at its back to keep off the draughts from the door into the gallery, just behind. The whole of the inside of the pew, together with the screen by which it was backed, was lined with dark green baize or cloth. The Chief's own particular place in the pew was its central point. There, as in a focus, surrounded by the members of his family, he calmly sat, with his face to the north, his white head and intelligent features well brought out by the dark back-ground of the screen behind.

The spectator, on looking up and recognizing the presence of the Chief Justice thus seated, involuntarily imagined himself, for the moment, to be in court. In truth, in an absent moment, the Judge himself might experience some confusion as to his whereabouts. For below him, on his right and left, he would see many of the barristers, attorneys, jurors and witnesses (to go no farther), who on week days were to be seen or heard before him in different compartments of the Court-room.

Chief Justice Powell was of Welsh descent. The name is, of course, Ap Howell; of which "Caer Howell," "Howell's Place," the title given by the Chief Justice to his Park-lot at York, is a relic. His portrait exists in Toronto, in possession of members of his family. He was a man of rather less than the ordinary stature. His features were round in outline, unmarked by the painful lines which usually furrow the modern judicial visage, but wakefully intelligent. His hair was milky white. The head was inclined to be bald.

We have before us a contemporary brochure of the Chief's, from which we learn his view of the ecclesiastical land question, which for so long a period agitated Canada. After a full historical discussion, he recommends the re-investment of the property in the Crown, "which," he says, "in its bounty, will apply [130]the proceeds equally for the support of Christianity, without other distinction:" but he comes to this determination reluctantly, and considers the plan to be one of expediency only. We give the concluding paragraph of his pamphlet, for the sake of its ring—so characteristically that of a by-gone day and generation: "If the wise provision of Mr. Pitt," the writer says, "to preserve the Law of the Union [between England and Scotland], by preserving the Church of England predominant in the Colony, and touching upon her rights to tythes only for her own advantage, and by the same course as the Church itself desiderates in England (the exchange of tythes for the fee simple), must be abandoned to the sudden thought of a youthful speculator [i. e., Mr. Wilmot, Secretary for the Colonies, who had introduced a bill into the Imperial Parliament for the sale of the Lands to the Canada Company], let the provision of his bill cease, and the tythes to which the Church of England was at that time lawfully entitled be restored; she will enjoy these exclusively even of the Kirk of Scotland: but if all veneration for the wisdom of our Ancestors has ceased, and the time is come to prostrate the Church of England, bind her not up in the same wythe with her bitterest enemy; force her not to an exclusive association with any one of her rivals; leave the tythes abolished; abolish all the legal exchange for them; and restore the Reserves to the Crown, which, in its bounty, will apply the proceeds equally for the support of Christianity, without other distinction."

In the body of the Church, below, sat another Chief Justice, retired from public life, and infirm—Mr. Scott—the immediate predecessor of Chief Justice Powell; a white-haired, venerable form, assisted to his place, a little to the south of the Governor's pew, every Sunday. We have already once before referred to Mr. Scott.

And again: another judicial personage was here every week long to be seen, also crowned with the snowy honours of advanced age—Mr. Justice Campbell—afterwards, in succession to Chief Justice Powell, Chief Justice Sir William Campbell. His place was on the west side of the central aisle. Sir William Campbell was born so far back as 1758. He came out from Scotland as a soldier in a Highland regiment, and was taken prisoner at Yorktown when that place was surrendered by Cornwallis in 1781. In 1783 he settled in Nova Scotia and studied law. After practising as a barrister for nineteen years he was appointed Attorney-General for the Island of Cape Breton, from which post, after twelve years, he was promoted to a Judgeship in Upper[131] Canada. This was in 1811. Fourteen years afterwards (in 1825), he became Chief Justice.

The funeral of Sir William Campbell, in 1834, was one of unusual impressiveness. The Legislature was in session at the time, and attended in a body, with the Bar and the Judges. At the same hour, within the walls of the same Church, St. James', the obsequies of a member of the Lower House took place, namely, of Mr. Roswell Mount, representative of the County of Middlesex, who had chanced to die at York during the session.

A funeral oration on the two-fold occasion was pronounced by Archdeacon Strachan.—Dr. Henry, author of "Trifles from my Portfolio," attended Sir William Campbell in his last illness. In the work just named, his case is thus described: "My worthy patient became very weak towards the end of the year," the doctor says, "his nights were restless—his appetite began to fail, and he could only relish tit bits. Medicine was tried fruitlessly, so his doctor prescribed snipes. At the point of the sandy peninsula opposite the barracks," Dr. Henry continues, "are a number of little pools and marshes, frequented by these delectable little birds; and here I used to cross over in my skiff and pick up the Chief Justice's panacea. On this delicate food the poor old gentleman was supported for a couple of months; but the frost set in—the snipes flew away, and Sir William died." (ii. 112.)

Appended to the account of the funeral ceremonies, in the York Courier of the day, we notice one of those familiar paragraphs which sensational itemists like to construct, and which stimulate the self-complacency of small communities. It is headed Longevity, and then thus proceeds: "At the funeral of the late Sir W. Campbell, on Monday, there were twenty inhabitants of York, whose united ages exceed fourteen hundred and fifty years!"

It is certain that there were to be seen moving up the aisles of the old wooden St. James', at York, every Sunday, a striking number of venerable and dignified forms. For one thing their costume helped to render them picturesque and interesting. The person of our immediate ancestors was well set off by their dress. Recall their easy, partially cut-away black coats and upright collars; their so-called small-clothes and buckled shoes; the frilled shirt-bosoms and the white cravats, not apologies for cravats[132], but real envelopes for the neck. (The comfortable, well-to-do Quaker of the old school still exhibits in use some of their homely peculiarities of garb.) And then remember the cut and arrangement of their hair, generally milky white, either from age or by the aid of powder; their smoothly-shaven cheek and chin; and the peculiar expression superinduced in the eye and the whole countenance, by the governing ideas of the period, ideas which we are wont to style old-fashioned, but which furnished, nevertheless, for the time being, very useful and definite rules of conduct.

Two pictures, one, Trumbull's Signing of the Declaration of Independence; the other, Huntingdon's Republican Court of Washington (shewn in Paris in 1867), exhibit to the eye the outward and visible presentment of the prominent actors in the affairs of the central portion of the Northern Continent, a century ago. These paintings may help to do the same, in some degree, for us here in the north, also; any one of the more conspicuous figures in the congregation of the old St. James's, at York, might have stepped out from the canvas of one or other of the historic works of art just named. On occasions of state, even the silken bag (in the case of officials at least) was attached to the nape of the neck, as though, in accordance with a fashion of an earlier day still, the hair were yet worn long, and required gathering up in a receptacle provided for the purpose.

It seems to-day almost like a dream that we have seen in the flesh the honoured patriarchs and founders of our now great community—

"Zorah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot, The youthful world's gray fathers in one knot;"—

that our eyes really once beheld the traces on their countenances of their long and varied experiences, of their cares, and processes of thought; the traces left by the lapse of years, by times, rough and troublous, not merely heard of by the hearing of the ear, as existing across the Lakes or across the Seas, but encountered in their own persons, in their own land, at their own hearths; encountered and bravely struggled through:—that we were eye-witnesses of their cheerfulness and good courage after crisis upon crisis had thus passed over them; eye-witnesses again, too, of their earnest devotedness to the duties of calmer days, discharged ever honestly and well according to the beliefs and knowledge of the period, and without the realization, in many an instance, of the reach and vastness of the scheme of things[133] which was being wrought out:—that with our own eyes we saw them, again and again, engaged within consecrated walls, in solemn acts which expressed, in spite of the vicissitudes which their destiny had brought with it, their unaffected faith in the unseen, and their living hope in relation to futurity.

All this, we say, now seems like a dream of the night, or a mystic revelation of the scenes of a very distant period and in a very distant locality, rather than the recollections of a few short years spent on the spot where these pages are indited. The names, however, which we shall produce will have a sound of reality about them: they will be recognized as familiar, household words still perpetuated, or, at all events, still freshly remembered in the modern Toronto.

From amongst the venerable heads and ancestral forms which recur to us, as we gaze down in imagination from the galleries of the old wooden St. James', of York, we will single out, in addition to those already spoken of, that of Mr. Ridout, sometimes Surveyor-General of the Province, father of a numerous progeny, and tribal head, so to speak, of more than one family of connections settled here, bearing the same name. He was a fine typical representative of the group to which our attention is directed. He was a perfect picture of a cheerful, benevolent-minded Englishman; of portly form, well advanced in years, his hair snowy-white naturally; his usual costume, of the antique style above described.

Then there was Mr. Small, Clerk of the Crown, an Englishman of similar stamp. We might sketch the rest separately as they rise before the mind's eye; but we should probably, after all, convey an idea of each that would be too incomplete to be interesting or of much value. We therefore simply name other members of the remarkable group of reverend seniors that assembled habitually in the church at York. Mr. Justice Boulton, Colonel Smith, sometime President of the Province; Mr. Allan, Mr. M'Gill, Mr. Crookshank, Colonel Givins, Major Heward, Colonel Wells, Colonel Fitzgibbon, Mr. Dunn, Dr. Macaulay, Dr. Baldwin, Dr. Lee, Mr. Samuel Ridout, Mr. Chewett, Mr. McNab (Sir Allan's father); Mr. Stephen Jarvis, who retained to the last the ancient fashion of tying the hair in a queue.

We might go on with several others, also founders of families that still largely people York and its vicinity; we might mention old Captain Playter, Captain Denison, Mr[134]. Scarlett, Captain Brooke, sen., and others. Filial duty would urge us not to omit, in the enumeration, one who, though at a very early period removed by a sudden casualty, is vividly remembered, not only as a good and watchful father, but also as a venerable form harmonizing perfectly in expression and costume with the rest of the group which used to gather in the church at York.

Of course, mingled with the ancients of the congregation, there was a due proportion of a younger generation. There was for example Mr. Simon Washburn, a bulky and prosperous barrister, afterwards Clerk of the Peace, who was the first, perhaps, in these parts, to carry a glass adroitly in the eye. There was Dr. Grant Powell, a handsome reproduction, on a larger scale, of his father the Chief, as his portrait shews; there were the Messrs. Monro, George and John; the Messrs. Stanton; Mr. Billings; the Messrs. Gamble, John and William; Mr. J. S. Baldwin, Mr. Lyons, Mr. Beikie, and others, all men of note, distinguishable from each other by individual traits and characteristics that might readily be sketched.

And lastly in the interstices of the assemblage was to be seen a plentiful representation of generation number three; young men and lads of good looks, for the most part, well set-up limbs, and quick faculties; in some instances, of course, of fractious temperament and manners. As ecclesiastical associations are at the moment uppermost, we note an ill habit that prevailed among some of these younglings of the flock, of loitering long about the doors of the church for the purpose of watching the arrivals, and then, when the service was well advanced, the striplings would be seen sporadically coming in, each one imagining, as he passed his fingers through his hair and marched with a shew of manly spirit up the aisle, that he attracted a degree of attention; attracted, perhaps, a glance of admiration from some of the many pairs of eyes that rained influence from a large pew in the eastern portion of the north gallery, where the numerous school of Miss Purcell and Miss Rose held a commanding position.

It would have been a singular exception to a general law, had the interior into which we are now gazing, and whose habitués we are now recalling, not been largely frequented by the feminine portion of society at York. Seated in their places in various directions along the galleries and in the body of the old wooden chu[135]rch, were to be regularly seen specimens of the venerable great-grandmammas of the old English and Scottish type (in one or two instances to be thought of to this day with a degree of awe by reason of the vigour, almost masculine, of their character); specimens of kindly maiden aunts; specimens of matronly wives and mothers, keeping watch and ward over bevies of comely daughters and nieces.

Lady Sarah Maitland herself cannot be called a fixed member of society here, but having been for so long a time a resident, it seems now, in the retrospect, as if she had been really a development of the place. Her distinguished style, native to herself, had its effect on her contemporaries of the gentler sex in these parts. Mrs. Dunn, also, and Mrs. Wells, may likewise be named as special models of grace and elegance in person and manner. In this all-influential portion of the community, a tone and air that were good prevailed widely from the earliest period.

It soon became a practice with the military, and other temporary sojourners attached to the Government, to select partners for life from the families of York. Hence it has happened that, to this day, in England, Ireland and Scotland, and in the Dependencies of the Empire on the other side of the globe, many are the households that rise up and call a daughter of Canada blessed as their maternal head.

Local aspirants to the holy estate were thus unhappily, now and then, to their great disgust, baulked of their first choice. But a residue was always left, sufficient for the supply of the ordinary demand, and manifold were the interlacings of local connections; a fact in which there is nothing surprising and nothing to be condemned: it was from political considerations alone that such affinities came afterwards to be referred to, in some quarters, with bitterness.

Occasionally, indeed, a fastidious young man, or a disappointed widower, would make a selection in parts remote from the home circle, quite unnecessarily. We recall especially to mind the sensible emotion in the congregation on the first advent amongst them of a fair bride from Montreal, the then Paris of Canada; and several lesser excitements of the same class, on the appearance in their midst of aerial veils and orange blossoms from Lobo, from New York, from distant England. Once the selection of a "helpmeet" from a rival religious c[136]ommunion, in the town of York itself, led to the defection from the flock of a prominent member; an occurrence that led also to the publication of two polemical pamphlets, which made a momentary stir; one of them a declamation by a French bishop; the other, a review of the same, by the pastor of the abandoned flock.

The strictures on the intelligence and moral feeling of the feminine, as well as the masculine portion of society at York, delivered by such world-experienced writers as Mrs. Jameson, and such enlightened critics as were two or three of the later Governors' wives, may have been just in the abstract, to a certain extent, as from the point of view of old communities in England and Germany; but they were unfair as from the point of view of persons calmly reviewing all the circumstances of the case. Here again the maxim applies: Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner.

We have said that the long pew on the west side of the Governor's seat was allotted to the military. In this compartment we remember often scanning with interest the countenance and form of a youthful and delicate-looking ensign, simply because he bore, hereditarily, a name and title all complete, distinguished in the annals of science two centuries ago—the Hon. Robert Boyle: he was one of the aides-de-camp of Sir Peregrine Maitland. Here, also, was to be seen, for a time, a Major Browne, a brother of the formerly popular poetess, Mrs. Hemans. Here, too, sat a Zachary Mudge, another hereditary name complete, distinguished in the scientific annals of Devonshire. He was an officer of Artillery, and one of Sir John Colborne's aides-de-camp; for some unexplained reason he committed suicide at York, and his remains were deposited in the old military burying-ground. In this pew familiar forms were also—Major Powell, Capt. Grubbe, Major Hillier, Capt. Blois, Capt, Phillpotts, brother of the Bishop.

The compartment on the east side of the Governor's pew, was as we have said, appointed for the use of the members of the Legislature, when in session. Here at certain periods, generally in mid-winter, were to be observed all the political notabilities of the day; for at the period we are glancing at, non-conformists as well as conformists were to be seen assisting, now and again, at public worship in St. James' Church.

In their places here the outward presentments of Col. Nichol (killed by driving over the precipice at Queenston), of Mr. Homer (a Benjamin Franklin style of countenance), of Dr. Lefferty, of Hamnet Pin[137]hey, of Mahlon Burwell, of Absalom Shade, of other owners of old Canadian names, are well remembered. The spare, slender figure of Mr. Speaker Sherwood, afterwards a judge of the King's Bench, was noticeable. Mr. Chisholm, of Oakville, used facetiously to object to the clause in the Litany where "heresy and schism" are deprecated, it so happening that the last term was usually, by a Scotticism, read "Chisholm." Up to the Parliamentary pew we have seen Mr. William Lyon McKenzie himself hurriedly make his way, with an air of great animation, and take his seat, to the visible, but, of course, repressed disconcertment of several honourable members, and others.

Altogether, it was a very complete little world, this assemblage within the walls of the old wooden church at York. There were present, so to speak, king, lords, and commons; gentle and simple in due proportion, with their wives and little ones; judges, magistrates and gentry; representatives of governmental departments, with their employés; legislators, merchants, tradespeople, handicraftsmen; soldiers and sailors; a great variety of class and character.

All seemed to be in harmony, real or conventional, here; whatever feuds, family or political, actually subsisted, no very marked symptoms thereof could be discerned in this place. But the history of all was known, or supposed to be known, to each. The relationship of each to each was known, and how it was brought about. It was known to all how every little scar, every trivial mutilation or disfigurement, which chanced to be visible on the visage or limb of any one, was acquired, in the performance of what boyish freak, in the execution of what practical jest, in the excitement of what convivial or other occasion.

Here and there sat one who, in obedience to the social code of the day, had been "out," for the satisfaction, as the term was, of himself or another, perhaps a quondam friend—satisfaction obtained (let the age be responsible for the terms we use), in more than one instance, at the cost of human life.

(Pewholders in St. James' Church from its commencement to about 1818, were President Russell: Mr. Justice Cochrane: Mr. Justice Boulton: Solicitor General Gray: Receiver General Selby: Christopher Robinson: George Crookshank: William Chewett: J. B. Robinson: Alexander Wood: William Willcocks: John Beikie: Alexander Macdonell: Chie[138]f Justice Elmsley: Chief Justice Osgoode: Chief Justice Scott: Chief Justice Powell: Attorney General Firth: Secretary Jarvis: General Shaw: Col. Smith: D'Arcy Boulton: William Allan: Duncan Cameron: John Small: Thomas Ridout: William Stanton: Stephen Heward: Donald McLean: Stephen Jarvis: Capt. McGill: Col. Givins: Dr. Maccaulay: Dr. Gamble: Dr. Baldwin: Dr. Lee: Mr. St. George: Mr. Denison: Mr. Playter: Mr. Brooke: Mr. Cawthra: Mr. Scadding: Mr. Ketchum: Mr. Cooper: Mr. Ross: Mr. Jordan: Mr. Kendrick: Mr. Hunt: Mr. Higgins: Mr. Anderson: Mr. Murchison: Mr. Bright: Mr. O'Keefe: Mr. Caleb Humphrey.—The Churchwardens for 1807-8 were: D'Arcy Boulton and William Allan. For 1809: William Allan and Thomas Ridout. For 1810: William Allan and Stephen Jarvis. For 1812: Duncan Cameron and Alexander Legge.)




It is beginning, perhaps, to be thought preposterous that we have not as yet said anything of the occupants of the pulpit and desk, in our account of this church interior. We are just about to supply the deficiency.

Here was to be seen and heard, at his periodical visits, Charles James Stewart, the second Bishop of Quebec, a man of saintly character and presence; long a missionary in the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada, before his appointment to the Episcopate. The contour of his head and countenance, as well as something of his manner even, may be gathered from a remark of the late Dr. Primrose, of Toronto, who, while a stranger, had happened to drop in at the old wooden church when Bishop Stewart was preaching: "I just thought," the doctor said, "it was the old King in the pulpit!" i. e., George III.

Here Dr. Okill Stewart, formerly rector of this church, but subsequently of St. George's, Kingston, used occasionally, when visiting York, to officiate—a very tall, benevolent, and fine featured ecclesiastic, with a curious delivery, characterized by unexpected elevations and depressions of the voice irrespective of the matter, accompanied by long closings of the eyes, and then a sudden re-opening of the same. Whenever this preacher ascended the pulpit, one member of the congregation, Mr. George Duggan, who had had, it was understood, some trivial disagreement with the doctor during his incumbency in former years, was always expected, by on-lookers, to rise and walk out. And this he accordingly always did. The movement seemed a regular part of the programme of the day, and never occasioned any sensation.

Here the Rev. Joseph Hudson officiated now and then, a military chaplain, appointed at a comparatively late period to this post; a clergyman greatly beloved by the people of the town generally, both as a preacher and as a man. He was the first officiating minister we ever saw wearing the academical hood over the ordinary vestment.

Here, during the sittings of Parliament, of which he was chaplain[140], Mr. Addison, of Niagara, was sometimes to be heard. The Library of this scholarly divine of the old school was presented by him en bloc to St. Mark's Church, Niagara, of which he was incumbent. It remained for some years at "Lake View," the private residence of Mr. Addison; but during the incumbency of Dr. McMurray, it has been removed to the rectory-house at Niagara, where it is to continue, in accordance with the first rector's will, for the use of the incumbent for the time being.

It is a remarkable collection, as exhibiting the line of reading of a thoughtful and intelligent man of the last century: many treatises and tracts of contemporary, but now defunct interest, not elsewhere to be met with, probably, in Canada, are therein preserved. The volumes, for the most part, retain their serviceable bindings of old pane-sided calf; but some of them, unfortunately, bear marks of the havoc made by damp and vermin before their transfer to their present secure place of shelter. Mr. Addison used to walk to and from Church in his canonicals in the old-fashioned way, recalling the Johnsonian period, when clergy very generally wore the cassock and gown in the streets.

Another chaplain to the Legislative Assembly was Mr. William Macaulay, a preacher always listened to with a peculiar attention, whenever he was to be heard in the pulpit here. Mr. Macaulay was a member of the Macaulay family settled at Kingston. He had been sent to Oxford, where he pursued his studies without troubling himself about a degree. While there he acquired the friendship of several men afterwards famous, especially of Whately, sometime Archbishop of Dublin, with whom a correspondence was maintained.

Mr. Macaulay's striking and always deeply-thoughtful manner was set off to advantage by the fine intellectual contour of his face and head, which were not unlike those to be seen in the portrait of Maltby, Bishop of Durham, usually prefixed to Morell's Thesaurus.

One more chaplain of the House may be named, frequently heard and seen in this church—Dr. Thomas Phillips—another divine, well read, of a type that has now disappeared. His personal appearance was very clerical in the old-fashioned sense. His countenance was of the class represented by that of the late Sir Henry Ellis, as finely figured, not long since, in the Illustrated News. He was one of the last wearers of hair-powder in these parts. In reading the Creed he always endeavoured to conform to the old English custom of turning towards the east; bu[141]t to do this in the desk of the old church was difficult.

Dr. Phillips was formerly of Whitchurch, in Herefordshire. He died in 1849, aged 68, at Weston, on the Humber, where he founded and organized the parish of St. Philip. His body was borne to its last resting-place by old pupils. We once had in our possession a pamphlet entitled "The Canadian Remembrancer, a Loyal Sermon, preached on St. George's Day, April 23, 1826, at the Episcopal Church (York), by the Rev. T. Phillips, D.D., Head Master of the Grammar School. Printed at the Gazette Office."

There remains to be noticed the "pastor and master" of the whole assemblage customably gathered together in St. James' Church—Dr. John Strachan. On this spot, in successive edifices, each following the other in rapid succession, and each surpassing the other in dignity and propriety of architectural style, he, for more than half a century, was the principal figure.

The story of his career is well known, from his departure from Scotland, a poor but spirited youth, in 1799, to his decease in 1867, as first Bishop of Toronto, with its several intermediate stages of activity and promotion. His outward aspect and form are also familiar, from the numerous portraits of him that are everywhere to be seen. In stature slightly under the medium height, with countenance and head of the type of Milton's in middle age, without eloquence, without any extraordinary degree of originality of mind, he held together here a large congregation, consisting of heterogeneous elements, by the strength and moral force of his personal character. Qualities, innate to himself, decisiveness of intellect, firmness, a quick insight into things and men, with a certain fertility of resource, conspired to win for him the position which he filled, and enabled him to retain it with ease; to sustain, with a graceful and unassuming dignity, all the augmentations which naturally accumulated round it, as the community, of which he was so vital a part, grew and widened and rose to a higher and higher level, on the swelling tide of the general civilization of the continent.

In all his public ministrations he was to be seen officiating without affectation in manner or style. A stickler in ritual would have declared him indifferent to minutiæ. He wore the white vesture of his office with an air of negligence, and his doctor's robe without any special attention to its artistic adjustment upon his person. A technical precisia[142]n in modern popular theology would pronounce him out now and then in his doctrine. What he seemed especially to drive at was not dogmatic accuracy so much as a well-regulated life, in childhood, youth and manhood. The good sense of the matter delivered—and it was never destitute of that quality—was solely relied on for the results to be produced: the topics of modern controversy never came up in his discourse: at the period to which we refer they were in most quarters dormant, their re-awakening deferred until the close of a thirty years' peace, but then destined to set mankind by the ears when now relieved from the turmoil of physical and material war, but roused to great intellectual activity.

Many a man that dropped in during the time of public worship, inclined from prejudice to be captious, inclined even to be merry over certain national peculiarities of utterance and diction, which to a stranger, for a time, made the matter delivered not easy to be understood, went out with quite a different sentiment in regard to the preacher and his words.

In the early days of Canada, a man of capacity was called upon, as we have seen in other instances, to play many parts. It required tact to play them all satisfactorily. In the case of Dr. Strachan—the voice that to-day would be heard in the pulpit, offering counsel and advice as to the application of sacred principles to life and conduct, in the presence of all the civil functionaries of the country, from Sir Peregrine Maitland to Mr. Chief Constable Higgins; from Chief Justice Powell to the usher of his court, Mr. Thomas Phipps; from Mr. Speaker Sherwood or McLean to Peter Shaver, Peter Perry, and the other popular representatives of the Commons in Parliament;—the voice that to-day would be heard in the desk leading liturgically the devotions of the same mixed multitude—to-morrow was to be heard by portions, large or small, of the same audience, amidst very different surroundings, in other quarters; by some of them, for example, at the Executive Council Board, giving a lucid judgment on a point of governmental policy, or in the Chamber of the Legislative Assembly, delivering a studied oration on a matter touching the interests and well-being of the whole population of the country, or reading an elaborate original report on the same or some cognate question, to be put forth as the judgment of a committee: or elsewhere, the same voice might be heard at a meeting for patriotic purposes; at the meeting of a Hospital, Educational, or other important secular Tr[143]ust; at an emergency meeting, when sudden action was needed on the part of the charitable and benevolent.

Without fail, that voice would be heard by a large portion of the juniors of the flock on the following day, amidst the busy commotion of School, apportioning tasks, correcting errors, deciding appeals, regulating discipline; at one time formally instructing, at another jocosely chaffing, the sons and nephews of nearly all the well-to-do people, gentle and simple, of York and Upper Canada.

To have done all this without awkwardness shews the possession of much prudence and tact. To have had all this go on for some decades without any blame that was intended to be taken in very serious earnest; nay, winning in the process applause and gratitude on the right hand and on the left—this argues the existence of something very sterling in the man.

Nor let us local moderns, whose lot it is to be part and parcel of a society no longer rudimentary, venture to condemn one who while especially appointed to be a conspicuous minister of religion, did not decline the functions, diverse and multiform, which an infant society, discerning the qualities inherent in him, and lacking instruments for its uses, summoned him to undertake. Let no modern caviller, we say, do this, unless he is prepared to avow the opinion that to be a minister of religion, a man must, of necessity, be only partially-developed in mind and spirit, incapable, as a matter of course, of offering an opinion of value on subjects of general human interest.

The long possession of unchallenged authority within the immediate area of his ecclesiastical labours, rendered Dr. Strachan for some time opposed to the projects that began, as the years rolled on, to be mooted for additional churches in the town of York. He could not readily be induced to think otherwise than as the Duke of Wellington thought in regard to Reform in the representation, or as ex-Chancellor Eldon thought in regard to greater promptitude in Chancery decisions, that there was no positive need of change.

"Would you break up the congregation?" was the sharp rejoinder to the early propounders of schemes for Church-extension in York. But as years passed over, and the imperious pressure of events and circumstances was felt, this reluctance gave way. The beautiful cathedral mother-church, into which, under his own eye, and through his [144]own individual energy, the humble wooden edifice of 1803 at length, by various gradations, developed, forms now a fitting mausoleum for his mortal remains—a stately monument to one who was here in his day the human main-spring of so many vitally-important and far-reaching movements.

Other memorials in his honour have been projected and thought of. One of them we record for its boldness and originality and fitness, although we have no expectation that the æsthetic feeling of the community will soon lead to the practical adoption of the idea thrown out. The suggestion has been this: that in honour of the deceased Bishop, there should be erected, in some public place, in Toronto, an exact copy of Michael Angelo's Moses, to be executed at Rome for the purpose, and shipped hither. The conception of such a form of monument is due to the Rev. W. Macaulay, of Picton. We need not say what dignity would be given to the whole of Toronto by the possession of such a memorial object within its precincts as this, and how great, in all future time, would be the effect, morally and educationally, when the symbolism of the art-object was discovered and understood. Its huge bulk, its boldly-chiselled and only partially-finished limbs and drapery, raised aloft on a plain pedestal of some Laurentian rock, would represent, not ill, the man whom it would commemorate—the character, roughly-outlined and incomplete in parts, but, when taken as a whole, very impressive and even grand, which looms up before us, whichever way we look, in our local Past.

One of the things that ennoble the old cities of continental Europe and give them their own peculiar charm, is the existence of such objects in their streets and squares, at once works of art for the general eye, and memorials of departed worth and greatness. With what interest, for example, does the visitor gaze on the statue of Gutenberg at Mayence; and at Marseilles on that of the good Bishop Belzunce!—of whom we read, that he was at once "the founder of a college, and a magistrate, almoner, physician and priest to his people." The space in front of the west porch of the cathedral of St. James would be an appropriate site for such a noble memorial-object as that which Mr. Macaulay suggests—just at the spot where was the entrance, the one sole humble portal, of the structure of wood out of which the existing pile has grown.

Our notice of the assembly usually to be see[145]n within the walls of the primitive St. James', would not be complete, were we to omit all mention of Mr. John Fenton, who for some time officiated therein as parish clerk. During the palmy days of parish clerks in the British Islands, such functionaries, deemed at the time, locally, as indispensable as the parish minister himself, were a very peculiar class of men. He was a rarity amongst them, who could repeat in a rational tone and manner the responses delegated to him by the congregation. This arose from the circumstance that he was usually an all but illiterate village rustic, or narrow-minded small-townsman, brought into a prominence felt on all sides to be awkward.

Mr. Fenton's peculiarities, on the contrary, arose from his intelligence, his acquirements, and his independence of character. He was a rather small shrewd-featured person, at a glance not deficient in self-esteem. He was a proficient in modern popular science, a ready talker and lecturer. Being only a proxy, his rendering of the official responses in church was marked perhaps by a little too much individuality, but it could not be said that it was destitute of a certain rhetorical propriety of emphasis and intonation. Though not gifted, in his own person, with much melody of voice, his acquisitions included some knowledge of music. In those days congregational psalmody was at a low ebb, and the small choirs that offered themselves fluctuated, and now and then vanished wholly. Not unfrequently, Mr. Fenton, after giving out the portion of Brady and Tate, which it pleased him to select, would execute the whole of it as a solo, to some accustomed air, with graceful variations of his own. All this would be done with great coolness and apparent self-satisfaction.

While the discourse was going on in the Pulpit above him, it was his way, often, to lean himself resignedly back in a corner of his pew and throw a white cambric handkerchief over his head and face. It illustrates the spirit of the day to add, that Mr. Fenton's employment as official mouth-piece to the congregation of the English Church, did not stand in the way of his making himself useful, at the same time, as a class-leader among the Wesleyan Methodists.

The temperament and general style of this gentleman did not fail of course to produce irritation of mind in some quarters. The Colonial Advocate one morning averred its belief that Mr. Fenton had, on the preceding Sunday, glanced at itself and its patrons in giving out and singing (probably as a solo) the Twelfth Psalm: "Help, Lor[146]d, for good and godly men do perish and decay; and faith and truth from worldly men are parted clean away; whoso doth with his neighbour talk, his talk is all but vain; for every man bethinketh now to flatter, lie and feign!" Mr. Fenton afterwards removed to the United States, where he obtained Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church. His son was a clever and ingenious youth. We remember a capital model in wood of "Cæsar's Bridge over the Rhine," constructed by him from a copper-plate engraving in an old edition of the Commentaries used by him in the Grammar School at York.

The predecessor of Mr. Fenton in the clerk's desk was Mr. Hetherington—a functionary of the old-country village stamp. His habit was, after giving out a psalm, to play the air on a bassoon; and then to accompany with fantasias on the same instrument such vocalists as felt inclined to take part in the singing. This was the day of small things in respect of ecclesiastical music at York. A choir from time to time had been formed. Once, we have understood, two rival choirs were heard on trial in the Church; one of them strong in instrumental resources, having the aid of a bass-viol, clarionet and bassoon; the other more dependent on its vocal excellencies. The instrumental choir triumphantly prevailed, as we are assured: and in 1819 an allowance of £20 was made to Mr. Hetherington for giving instruction in church music. One of the principal encouragers of the vocalist-party was Dr. Burnside. But all expedients for doing what was, in reality, the work of the congregation itself were unreliable; and the clerk or choir-master too often found himself a solitary performer. Mr. Hetherington's bassoon, however, may be regarded as the harbinger and foreshadow of the magnificent organ presented in after-times to the congregation of the "Second Temple" of St. James', by Mr. Dunn—a costly and fine-toned instrument (presided over, for a short time, by the eminent Dr. Hodges, subsequently of Trinity Church, New York), but destined to be destroyed by fire, together with the whole church, after only two years of existence, in 1839.

In the conflagration of 1839 another loss occurred, not so much to be regretted; we refer to the destruction of a very large triplet window of stained glass over the altar of the church, containing three life-size figures by Mr. Craig, a local "historical and ornamental painter," not well skilled in the ecclesiastical style. As home-productions, however, these objects were tenderly ey[147]ed; but Mrs. Jameson in her work on Canada cruelly denounced them as being "in a vile tawdry taste."—Conceive, in the presence of these three Craigs, the critical authoress of the "History of Sacred and Legendary art," accustomed, in the sublime cathedrals of Europe, to

"See the great windows like the jewell'd gates  Of Paradise, burning with harmless fire."

Mr. Dunn, named above as donor of an organ to the second St. James', had provided the previous wooden church with Communion Plate. In the Loyalist of March 1, 1828, we read: "The undersigned acknowledges the receipt of £112 18 5 from the Hon. John Henry Dunn, being the price of a superb set of Communion Plate presented by him to St. James' Church at this place. J. B. Macaulay, Church Warden, York, 23rd Feb., 1828."

Before leaving St. James' Church and its precincts, it may be well to give some account of the steps taken in 1818, for the enlargement of the original building. This we are enabled to do, having before us an all but contemporary narrative. It will be seen that great adroitness was employed in making the scheme acceptable, and that pains were shrewdly taken to prevent a burdensome sense of self-sacrifice on the part of the congregation. At the same time a pleasant instance of voluntary liberality is recorded. "A very respectable church was built at York in the Home District, many years ago"—the narrative referred to, in the Christian Recorder for 1819, p. 214, proceeds to state—"which at that time accommodated the inhabitants; but for some years past, it has been found too small, and several attempts were made to enlarge and repair it. At length, in April 1818, in a meeting of the whole congregation, it was resolved to enlarge the church, and a committee was appointed to suggest the most expeditious and economical method of doing it. The committee reported that a subscription in the way of loan, to be repaid when the seats were sold, was the most promising method. No subscription to be taken under twenty-five pounds, payable in four instalments."

"Two gentlemen," the narrative continues, "were selected to carry the subscription paper round; and in three hours from twelve to thirteen hundred pounds were subscribed. Almost all the respectable gentlemen gave in loan Fifty Pounds; and the Hon. Justice Boulton, and George Crookshank, Esq., contributed £100 each, to accomplish so good an object. The church was enlarged, a steeple erected, and the whole building with its galleri[148]es, handsomely finished. In January last (1819)," our authority proceeds to say, "when everything was completed, the pews were sold at a year's credit, and brought more money than the repairs and enlargement cost. Therefore," it is triumphantly added, "the inhabitants at York erect a very handsome church at a very little expense to themselves, for every one may have his subscription money returned, or it may go towards payment of a pew; and, what is more, the persons who subscribed for the first church count the amount of their subscription as part of the price of their new pews. This fair arrangement has been eminently successful; and gave great satisfaction."

The special instance of graceful voluntary liberality above referred to is then subjoined in these terms: "George Crookshank, Esq., notwithstanding the greatness of his subscription, and the pains which he took in getting the church well finished, has presented the clergyman with cushions for the pulpit and reading desk, covered with the richest and finest damask; and likewise cloth for the communion-table." "This pious liberality," the writer remarks, "cannot be too much commended; it tells us that the benevolent zeal of ancient times is not entirely done away. The congregation were so much pleased," it is further recorded, "that a vote of thanks was unanimously offered to Mr. Crookshank for his munificent present." (The pulpit, sounding-board, and desk had been a gift of Governor Gore to the original church, and had cost the sum of one hundred dollars.)

When the necessity arose in 1830 for replacing the church thus enlarged and improved, by an entirely new edifice of more respectable dimensions, the same cool, secular ingenuity was again displayed in the scheme proposed; and it was resolved by the congregation (among other things) "that the pew-holders of the present church, if they demanded the same, be credited one-third of the price of the pews that they purchased in the new church, not exceeding in number those which they possessed in the old church; that no person be entitled to the privilege granted by the last resolution who shall not have paid up the whole purchase money of his pew in the old church; that the present church remain as it is, till the new one is finished; that after the new church is completed, the materials of the present one be sold to the highest bidder, and the proceeds of the same be applied to the liquidation of any debt that may be contracted in erecting the new church, or furnishing the same; that the upset price of pews in t[149]he new church be twenty-five pounds currency;" and so on.

The stone edifice then erected (measuring within about 100 by 75 feet), but never completed in so far as related to its tower, was destroyed by fire in 1839. Fire, in truth, may be said to be, sooner or later, the "natural death" of public buildings in our climate, where, for so many months in every year, the maintenance within them of a powerful artificial heat is indispensable.

Ten years after the re-edification of the St. James' burnt in 1839, its fate was again to be totally destroyed. But now fire was communicated to it from an external source—from a general conflagration raging at the time in the part of the town lying to the eastward. On this occasion was destroyed in the belfry of the tower, a Public Clock, presented to the inhabitants of Toronto, by Mr. Draper, on his ceasing to be one of their representatives in Parliament.

In the later annals of St. James' Church, the year 1873 is memorable.

Several very important details in Mr. Cumberland's noble design for the building had long remained unrealized. The tower and spire were absent: as also the fine porches on the east, west, and south sides, the turrets at the angles, and the pinnacles and finials of the buttresses. Meanwhile the several parts of the structure where these appendages were, in due time, to be added, were left in a condition to shew to the public the mind and intention of the architect.

In 1872, by the voluntary munificence of several members of the congregation, a fund for the completion of the edifice in accordance with Mr. Cumberland's plans was initiated, to which generous donations were immediately added; and in 1873 the edifice, of whose humble "protoplasm" in 1803 we have sought, in a preceding section, to preserve the memory, was finally brought to a state of perfection.

By the completion of St. James' Church, a noble aspect has been given to the general view of Toronto. Especially has King Street been enriched, the ranges of buildings on its northern side, as seen from east or west, culminating centrically now in an elevated architectural object of striking beauty and grandeur, worthy alike of the comely, cheerful, interesting thoroughfare which it overlooks, and of the era when the finial crowning its apex was at length [150]set in its place.

Worthy of special commemorative record are those whose thoughtful liberality originated the fund by means of which St. James' Church was completed. The Dean, the Very Rev. H. J. Grasett, gave the handsome sum of Five thousand dollars. Mr. John Worthington, Four thousand dollars. Mr. C. Gzowski, Two thousand dollars. Mr. J. Gillespie, One thousand dollars. Mr. E. H. Rutherford, One thousand dollars. Mr. W. Cawthra, One thousand dollars. Mr. Gooderham and Mr. Worts, conjointly, One thousand dollars. Miss Gordon, the daughter of a former ever-generous member of the congregation, the Hon. J. Gordon, One thousand dollars. Sums, in endless variety, from Eight Hundred dollars downwards, were in a like good spirit offered on the occasion by other members of the congregation, according to their means. An association of young men connected with the congregation undertook and effected the erection of the Southern Porch.

Let it be added, likewise, that in 1866, the sum of Fourteen thousand nine hundred and forty-five dollars was expended in the purchase of a peal of bells, and in providing a chamber for its reception in the tower—a free gift to the whole community greatly surpassing in money's worth the sum above named: for have not the chimes, with all old-countrymen at least, within the range of their sound, the effect of an instantaneous translation to the other side of the Atlantic? Close the eyes, and at once the spirit is far, far away, hearkening, now in the calm of a summer's evening, now between the fitful wind-gusts of a boisterous winter's morn, to music in exactly the same key, with exactly the same series of cadences, given out from tree-embosomed tower in some ancient market-town or village, familiar to the listener in every turn and nook, in days bygone.

And further, let it be added, that in 1870, to do honour to the memory of the then recently deceased Bishop Strachan, the congregation of St. James "beautified" the chancel of their church at a cost of Seven thousand five hundred dollars, surrounding the spacious apse with an arcade of finely carved oak, adding seats for the canons, a decanal stall, a bishop's throne, a pulpit and desk, all in the same style and material, elaborately carved, with a life-like bust in white marble of the departed prelate, by Fraser of Montreal, in a niche constructed for its reception in the west[151]ern wall of the chancel, with a slab of dark stone below bearing the following inscription in gilded letters:—





Immediately north of the church plot, and separated from it by an allowance for a street, was a large field, almost square, containing six acres. In a plan of the date 1819, and signed "T. Ridout, Surveyor-General," this piece of ground is entitled "College Square." (In the same plan the church reservation is marked "Church Square;" and the block to the west, "Square for Court House and Jail.") The fact that the Jail was to be erected there accounts for the name "Newgate Street," formerly borne by what is now Adelaide Street.

In the early days, when the destined future was but faintly realized, "College Square" was probably expected to become in time, and to continue for ever, an ornamental piece of ground round an educational institution. The situation, in the outskirts of York, would be deemed convenient and airy.

For many years this six-acre field was the play-ground of the District Grammar School. Through the middle of it, from north to south, passed a shallow "swale," where water collected after rains; and where in winter small frozen ponds afforded not bad sliding-places. In this moist region, numerous crayfish were to be found in summer. Their whereabouts was always indicated by small clay chimneys of a circular form, built by the curious little nipping creatures themselves, over holes for the admission of air.

In different places in this large area were remains of huge pine-stumps, underneath the long roots of which it was an amusement to dig and form cellars or imaginary treasure-vaults and powder-magazines. About these relics of the forest still grew remains of the ordinary vegetation of such situations in the woods; especially an abundance of the sorrel-plant, the taste of which will be remembered, as being quite relishable. In other places were wide depressions showing where large trees had once stood. Here were no bad places, when the whim so was, to lie flat on the back and note the clouds in the blue vault over head; watch the swallows and house-martins when they came in sp[153]ring; and listen to their quiet prattle with each other as they darted to and fro; sights and sounds still every year, at the proper season, to be seen and heard in the same neighbourhood, yielding to those who have an eye or ear for such matters a pleasure ever new; sights and sounds to this day annually resulting from the cheery movements and voices of the direct descendants, doubtless, of the identical specimens that flitted hither and thither over the play-ground of yore.

White clover, with other herbage that commonly appears spontaneously in clearings, carpeted the whole of the six acres, with the exception of the places worn bare, where favourable spots had been found for the different games of ball in vogue—amongst which, however, cricket was not then in these parts included—except, perhaps, under a form most infantile and rudimentary. After falls of moist snow in winter, gigantic balls used here to be formed, gathering as they were rolled along, until by reason of their size and weight they could be urged forward no further: and snow castles on a large scale were laboriously built; destined to be defended or captured with immense displays of gallantry. Preparatory to such contest, piles of ammunition would be stored away within these structures. It was prohibited, indeed, in the articles to be observed in operations of attack and defence, to construct missiles of very wet snow; to dip a missile in melted snow-water prior to use; to subject a missile after a saturation of this kind, to the action of a night's frost; to secrete within the substance of a missile any foreign matter; yet, nevertheless, occasionally such acts were not refrained from; and wounds and bruises of an extra serious character, inflicted by hands that could not always be identified, caused loud and just complaints. Portions of the solid and extensive walls of the extemporized snow-fortresses were often conspicuous in the play-ground long after a thaw had removed the wintry look from the rest of the scene.

The Building into which the usual denizens of the six-acre play-ground were constrained, during certain portions of each day, to withdraw themselves, was situated at a point 114 feet from its western, and 104 from its southern boundary. It was a large frame structure, about fifty-five long, and forty wide; of two storeys; each of a respectable altitude. The gables faced east and west. On each side of the edifice were t[154]wo rows of ordinary sash windows, five above, and five below. At the east end were four windows, two above, two below. At the west end were five windows and the entrance-door. The whole exterior of the building was painted of a bluish hue, with the exception of the window and door frames, which were white. Within, on the first floor, after the lobby, was a large square apartment. About three yards from each of its angles, a plain timber prop or post helped to sustain the ceiling. At about four feet from the floor, each of these quasi-pillars began to be chamfered off at its four angles. Filling up the south-east corner of the room was a small platform approached on three sides by a couple of steps. This sustained a solitary desk about eight feet long, its lower part cased over in front with thin deal boards, so as to shut off from view the nether extremities of whosoever might be sitting at it.

On the general level of the floor below, along the whole length of the southern and northern sides of the chamber, were narrow desks set close against the wall, with benches arranged at their outer side. At right angles to these, and consequently running out, on each side into the apartment, stood a series of shorter desks, with double slopes, and benches placed on either side. Through the whole length of the room from west to east, between the ends of the two sets of cross benches, a wide space remained vacant. Every object and surface within this interior, were of the tawny hue which unpainted pine gradually assumes. Many were the gashes that had furtively been made in the ledges of the desks and on the exterior angles of the benches; many the ducts cut in the slopes of the desks for spilt ink or other fluid; many the small cell with sliding lid, for the incarceration of fly or spider; many the initials and dates carved here, and on other convenient surfaces, on the wainscot and the four posts.

On the benches and at the desks enumerated and described, on either side, were ordinarily to be seen the figures and groups which usually fill up a school interior, all busily engaged in one or other of the many matters customary in the training and informing the minds of boys. Here, at one time, was to be heard, on every side, the mingled but subdued sound of voices conning or repeating tasks, answering and putting questions; at another time, the commotion arising out of a transposition of classes, or the breaking up of the whole assembly into a fresh set of classes; at another time, a hushed stillness preparatory to some expected allocution, or consequent on some rebuke or admonition. It was manifest, at a glance, that the whole scene was under [155]the spell of a skilled disciplinarian.

Here, again, the presiding genius of the place was Dr. Strachan. From a boy he had been in the successful discharge of the duties of a schoolmaster. At the early age of sixteen we find that he was in charge of a school at Carmyllie, with the grown-up sons of the neighbouring farmers, and of some of the neighbouring clergy, well under control. At that period he was still keeping his terms and attending lectures, during the winter months, at King's College, Aberdeen. Two years afterwards he obtained a slightly better appointment of the same kind at Denino, still pursuing his academical studies, gathering, as is evident from his own memoranda, a considerable knowledge of men and things, and forming friendships that proved life-long. Of his stay at Denino he says, in 1800: "The two years which I spent at Denino were, perhaps, as happy as any in my life; much more than any time since." "At Denino," the same early document states, "I learned to think for myself. Dr. Brown [the parish-minister of the place, afterwards professor at Glasgow,] corrected many of my false notions. Thomas Duncan [afterwards a professor at St. Andrew's] taught me to use my reason and to employ the small share of penetration I possess in distinguishing truth from error. I began to extend my thoughts to abstract and general ideas; and to summon the author to the bar of my reason. I learned to discriminate between hypotheses and facts, and to separate the ebullitions of fancy from the deductions of reason. It is not to be supposed that I could or can do these things perfectly; but I began to apply my powers: my skill is still increasing."

Then for two years more, and up to the moment of his bold determination to make trial of his fortunes in the new world beyond the seas, he is in charge of the parish-school of Kettle. We have before us a list of his school there, March the 22nd, 1798. The names amount to eighty-two. After each, certain initials are placed denoting disposition and capability, and the direction of any particular talent. Among these names are to be read that of D. Wilkie, afterwards the artist, and that of J. Barclay, afterwards the naval commander here on Lake Erie. We believe that Thomas Campbell, author of the Pleasures of Hope, was also for a time under his care.

In the history of Dr. Strachan's educat[156]ional labours in Canada, the school at York presents fewer points of interest than that at Cornwall, which is rendered illustrious by having had enrolled on its books so many names familiar in the annals of Upper Canada. Among the forty-two subscribers to an address accompanying a piece of Plate in 1833, there are Robinsons, and Macaulays, and McDonells, and McLeans, and Joneses, and Stantons, and Bethunes; a Jarvis, a Chewett, a Boulton, a Vankoughnet, a Smith of Kingston, an Anderson; with some others now less known.—So illustrative is that address of the skill and earnest care of the instructor on the one hand, and of the value set upon his efforts by his scholars, on the other, after the lapse of many years, that we are induced to give here a short extract from it.

"Our young minds," the signers of the address in 1833 say, referring to their school-days in Cornwall—"our young minds received there an impression which has scarcely become fainter from time, of the deep and sincere interest which you took, not only in our advancement in learning and science, but in all that concerned our happiness or could affect our future prospects in life." To which Dr. Strachan replies by saying, among many other excellent things—"It has ever been my conviction that our scholars should be considered for the time our children; and that as parents we should study their peculiar dispositions, if we really wish to improve them; for if we feel not something of the tender relation of parents towards them, we cannot expect to be successful in their education. It was on this principle I attempted to proceed: strict justice tempered with parental kindness; and the present joyful meeting evinces its triumph: it treats the sentiments and feelings of scholars with proper consideration; and while it gives the heart and affections full freedom to shew themselves in filial gratitude on the one side, and fatherly affection, on the other, it proves that unsparing labour accompanied with continual anxiety for the learner's progress never fails to ensure success and to produce a friendship between master and scholar which time can never dissolve."

Notwithstanding the greater glory of the school at Cornwall, (of which institution we may say, in passing, there is an engraving in the board-room of the Toronto Mechanics' Institute,) the lists of the school at York always presented a strong array of the old, well-known and even distinguished, Upper Canadian names. This will be seen by a perusal of the following document, which will als[157]o give an idea of the variety of matters to which attention was given in the school. The numerous family names which will at once be recognized, will require no comment.—The intervals between the calling up of each separate class for examination appear to have been very plentifully filled up with recitations and debates.

"Order of examination of the Home District Grammar School [at York]. Wednesday, 11th August, 1819. First Day. The Latin and Greek Classes. Euclid and Trigonometry. Thursday, 12th August. Second day. To commence at 10 o'clock. Prologue, by Robert Baldwin.—Reading Class.—George Strachan, The Excellence of the Bible. Thomas Ridout, The Man of Ross. James McDonell, Liberty and Slavery. St. George Baldwin, The Sword. William McMurray, Soliloquy on Sleep. Arithmetic Class—James Smith, The Sporting Clergyman. William Boulton, jun., The Poets New Year's Gift. Richard Oates, Ode to Apollo. Orville Cassell, The Rose. Book-keeping.—William Myers, My Mother. Francis Heward, My Father. George Dawson, Lapland.—First Grammar Class.—Second Grammar Class.—Debate on the Slave Trade. For the Abolition: Francis Ridout, John Fitzgerald, William Allan, George Boulton, Henry Heward, William Baldwin, John Ridout, John Doyle, James Strachan. Against the Abolition: Abraham Nelles, James Baby, James Doyle, Charles Heward, Allan McDonell, James Myers, Charles Ridout, William Boulton, Walker Smith.—First Geography Class.—Second Geography Class. James Dawson, The Boy that told Lies. James Bigelow, The Vagrant. Thomas Glassco, The Parish Workhouse. Edward Glennon, The Apothecary.—Natural History.—Debate by the Young Boys: Sir William Strickland, Charles Heward. Lord Morpeth, John Owens. Lord Hervey, John Ridout. Mr. Plomer, Raymond Baby. Sir William Yonge, John Fitzgerald. Sir William Windham, John Boulton. Mr. Henry Pelham, Henry Heward. Mr. Bernard, George Strachan. Mr. Noel, William Baldwin. Mr. Shippen, James Baby. Sir Robert Walpole, S. Givins and J. Doyle. Mr. Horace Walpole, James Myers. Mr. Pulteney, Charles Baby.—Civil History.—William Boulton, The Patriot. Francis Ridout, The Grave of Sir John Moore. Saltern Givins, Great Britain. John Boulton, Eulogy on Mr. Pitt. Warren Claus, The Indian Warrior. Charles Heward, The Soldier's Dream. William Boulton, The Heroes of Waterloo.—Catechism.—Debate on the College at Calcutta. Speakers: Mr. Canning, Robert Baldwin. Sir Francis Baring, John Doyle. Mr. Wainwright, Mark Bur[158]nham. Mr. Thornton, John Knott. Sir D. Scott, William Boulton. Lord Eldon, Warren Claus. Sir S. Lawrence, Allan Macaulay. Lord Hawkesbury, Abraham Nelles. Lord Bathurst, James McGill Strachan, Sir Thomas Metcalf, Walker Smith. Lord Teignmouth, Horace Ridout.—Religious Questions and Lectures.—James McGill Strachan, Anniversary of the York and Montreal Colleges anticipated for 1st January, 1822. Epilogue, by Horace Ridout."

In the prologue pronounced by "Robert Baldwin," the administration of Hastings in India is eulogized:

"Her powerful Viceroy, Hastings, leads the way For radiant Truth to gain imperial sway; The arts and sciences, for ages lost, Roused at his call, revisit Brahma's coast."

Sir William Jones is also thus apostrophized, in connection with his "Asiatic Researches":

"Thy comprehensive genius soon explored The learning vast which former times had stored."

The Marquis of Wellesley is alluded to, and the college founded by him at Calcutta:

"At his command the splendid structures rise: Around the Brahmins stand in vast surprise."

The founding of a Seat of Learning in Calcutta suggests the necessity of a similar institution in Canada. A good beginning, it is said, had been here made in the way of lesser institutions: the prologue then proceeds:

"Yet much remains for some aspiring son, Whose liberal soul from that, desires renown, Which gains for Wellesley a lasting crown; Some general structures in these wilds to rear, Where every art and science may appear."

Sir Peregrine Maitland, who probably was present, is told that he might in this manner immortalize his name:

"O Maitland blest! this proud distinction woos Thy quick acceptance, back'd by every muse; Those feelings, too, which joyful fancy knew When learning's gems first opened to thy view, Bid you to thousands smooth the thorny road, Which leads to glorious Science's bright abode."

"The Anniversary of York and Montreal Colleges anticipated" is a kind of Pindaric Ode to Gratitude: especially it is therein set forth that offerings of thankfulness are due to benevolent souls in Britain:

"For often there in pensive mood They ponder deeply on the good They may on Canada bestow— And College Halls appear, and streams of learning flow!"

The "Epilogue" to the day's performances is a humorous dissertation in doggrel verse on United States innovations in the English Language: a pupil of the school is supposed to complain of the conduct of the master:

"Between ourselves, and just to speak my mind, In English Grammar, Master's much behind: I speak the honest truth—I hate to dash— He bounds our task by Murray, Lowth and Ashe. I told him once that Abercrombie, moved By genius deep had Murray's plan improved. He frowned upon me, turning up his nose, And said the man had ta'en a maddening dose. Once in my theme I put the word progress He sentenced twenty lines, without redress; Again for 'measure' I transcribed 'endeavour'— And all the live-long day I lost his favour." &c., &c.

At the examination of the District School on August 7th, 1816, a similar programme was provided.

John Claus spoke the prologue on this occasion, and the following boys had parts assigned them in the proceedings. The names of some of them appear in the account for 1819, just given: John Skeldon, George Skeldon, Henry Mosley, John Doyle, Charles Heward, James Myers, John Ridout, Charles Ridout, John FitzGerald, John Mosley, Saltern Givins, James Sheehan, Henry Heward, Allan McDonell, William Allan, John Boulton, William Myers, James Bigelow, William Baldwin, St. George Baldwin, K. de Koven, John Knott, James Givins, Horace Ridout, William Lancaster, James Strachan, David McNab, John Harraway, Robert Baldwin, Henry Nelles, Warren Shaw, David Shaw, Daniel Murray.

In 1816, Governor Gore was at the head of affairs. He is advised, in the Prologue spoken by John Claus, to distinguish himself by attention to the educational interests of the country: (The collocation of names at the end will exc[160]ite a smile.)—

"O think what honour pure shall bless thy name Beyond the fleeting voice of vulgar fame! When kings and haughty victors cease to raise The secret murmur and the venal praise, Perhaps that name, when Europe's glories fade, Shall often charm this Academic shade, And bards exclaim on rough Ontario's shore, We found a Wellesley and Jones in Gore!"

We have ourselves a good personal recollection of the system of the school at York, and of the interest which it succeeded in awakening in the subjects taught. The custom of mutual questioning in classes, under the eye of the master, was well adapted to induce real research, and to impress facts on the mind when discovered.

In the higher classes each lad in turn was required to furnish a set of questions to be put by himself to his class-fellows, on a given subject, with the understanding that he should be ready to set the answerer right should he prove wrong. And again: any lad who should be deemed competent was permitted to challenge another, or several others, to read or recite select rhetorical pieces: a memorandum of the challenge was recorded: and, at the time appointed, the contest came off, the class or the school deciding the superiority in each case, subject to the criticism or disallowance of the master.

It will be seen from the matters embraced in the programme given above, that the object aimed at was a speedy and real preparation for actual life. The master, in this instance, was disembarrassed of the traditions which, at the period referred to, often rendered the education of a young man a cumbersome, unintelligent and tedious thing. The circumstances of his own youth had evidently led him to free himself from routine. He himself was an example, in addition to many another Scottish-trained man of eminence that might be named, of the early age at which a youth of good parts and sincere, enlightened purpose, may be prepared for the duties of actual life, when not caught in the constrictor-coils of custom, which, under the old English Public-School-system of sixty years since, used sometimes to torture parent and son for such a long series of years.

Dr. Strachan's methods of instr[161]uction were productive, for others, of the results realized in his own case. His distinguished Cornwall pupils, were all, we believe, usefully and successfully engaged in the real work of life in very early manhood. "The time allowed in a new country like this," he said to his pupils at Cornwall in 1807, "is scarcely sufficient to sow the most necessary seed; very great progress is not therefore to be expected: if the principles are properly engrafted we have done well."

In the same address his own mode of proceeding is thus dwelt upon: "In conducting your education, one of my principal objects has always been to fit you for discharging with credit the duties of any office to which you may hereafter be called. To accomplish this, it was necessary for you to be accustomed frequently to depend upon, and think for yourselves: accordingly I have always encouraged this disposition, which when preserved within due bounds, is one of the greatest benefits that can possibly be acquired. To enable you to think with advantage, I not only regulated your tasks in such a manner as to exercise your judgment, but extended your views beyond the meagre routine of study usually adopted in schools; for, in my opinion, several branches of science may be taught with advantage at a much earlier age than is generally supposed. We made a mystery of nothing: on the contrary, we entered minutely into every particular, and patiently explained by what progressive steps certain results were obtained. It has ever been my custom, before sending a class to their seats, to ask myself whether they had learned anything; and I was always exceedingly mortified if I had not the agreeable conviction that they had made some improvement. Let none of you, however, suppose that what you have learned here is sufficient; on the contrary, you are to remember that we have laid only the foundation. The superstructure must be laid by yourselves."

Here is an account of his method of teaching Arithmetic, taken from the introduction to a little work on the subject, published by himself in 1809: "I divide my pupils," he says, "into separate classes, according to their progress. Each class has one or more sums to produce every day, neatly wrought upon their slates: the work is carefully examined; after which I command every figure to be blotted out, and the sums to be wrought under my eye. The one whom I happen to pitch upon first, gives, with an audible voice, the rules and reasons for every step; and as he proceeds the rest silently work along with him, figure for figure, but ready to correct him if he blunder, that they may get his [162]place. As soon as this one is finished, the work is again blotted out, and another called upon to work the question aloud as before, while the rest again proceed along with him in silence, and so on round the whole class. By this method the principles are fixed in the mind; and he must be a very dull boy indeed who does not understand every question thoroughly before he leaves it. This method of teaching Arithmetic possesses this important advantage, that it may be pursued without interrupting the pupil's progress in any other useful study. The same method of teaching Algebra has been used with equal success. Such a plan is certainly very laborious, but it will be found successful; and he that is anxious to spare labour ought not to be a public Teacher. When boys remain long enough, it has been my custom to teach them the theory, and give them a number of curious questions in Geography, Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, a specimen of which may be seen in the questions placed before the Appendix."

The youths to be dealt with in early Canadian schools were not all of the meek, submissive species. With some of them occasionally a sharp regimen was necessary; and it was adopted without hesitation. On this point, the address just quoted, thus speaks: "One of the greatest advantages you have derived from your education here, arises from the strictness of our discipline. Those of you who have not already perceived how much your tranquillity depends upon the proper regulation of the temper, will soon be made sensible of it as you advance in years. You will find people who have never known what it is to be in habitual subjection to precept and just authority, breaking forth into violence and outrage on the most frivolous occasions. The passions of such persons, when once roused, soon become ungovernable; and that impatience of restraint, which they have been allowed to indulge, embitters the greatest portion of their lives. Accustomed to despise the barriers erected by reason, they rush forward to indulgence, without regarding the consequences. Hence arises much of that wretchedness and disorder to be met with in society. Now the discipline necessary to correct the impetuosity of the passions is often found nowhere but in well-regulated schools: for though it should be the first care of parents, they are too apt to be blinded by affection, and grant liberties to their children which reason disapproves. . . . . . That discipline therefore, which you have sometimes thought irksome will henceforth present itself in a [163]very different light. It will appear the teacher of a habit of the greatest consequence in the regulation of your future conduct; and you will value it as the promoter of that decent and steady command of temper so very essential to happiness, and so useful in our intercourse with mankind."

These remarks on discipline will be the more appreciated, when it is recollected that during the time of the early settlements in this country, the sons of even the most respectable families were brought into contact with semi-barbarous characters. A sporting ramble through the woods, a fishing excursion on the waters, could not be undertaken without communications with Indians and half-breeds and bad specimens of the French voyageur. It was from such sources that a certain idea was derived which, as we remember, was in great vogue among the more fractious of the lads at the school at York. The proposition circulated about, whenever anything went counter to their notions, alway was "to run away to the Nor'-west." What that process really involved, or where the "Nor'-west" precisely was, were things vaguely realized. A sort of savage "land of Cockaigne," a region of perfect freedom among the Indians, was imagined; and to reach it Lakes Huron and Superior were to be traversed.

At Cornwall the temptation was in another direction: there, the idea was to escape to the eastward: to reach Montreal or Quebec, and get on board of an ocean-going ship, either a man-of-war or merchantman. The flight of several lads with such intentions was on one occasion intercepted by the unlooked-for appearance of the head-master by the side of the stage-coach as it was just about to start for Montreal in the dusk of the early morning, with the young truants in or upon it.

As to the modes of discipline:—In the school at York—for minor indiscretions a variety of remedies prevailed. Now and then a lad would be seen standing at one of the posts above mentioned, with his jacket turned inside out: or he might be seen there in a kneeling posture for a certain number of minutes; or standing with the arm extended holding a book. An "ally" or apple brought out inopportunely into view, during the hours of work, might entail the exhibition, article by article, slowly and reluctantly, of all the contents of a pocket. Once we remember, the furtive but too audible twang of a jewsharp was followed by its owner's being obliged to mount on the top of a desk and perform the[164]re an air on the offending instrument for the benefit of the whole school.

Occasionally the censors (senior boys appointed to help in keeping order) were sent to cut rods on Mr. McGill's property adjoining the play-ground on the north; but the dire implements were not often called into requisition: it would only be when some case of unusual obstinacy presented itself, or when some wanton cruelty, or some act or word exhibiting an unmistakable taint of incipient immorality, was proven.

Once a year, before the breaking-up at midsummer, a "feast" was allowed in the school-room at York—a kind of pic-nic to which all that could, contributed in kind—pastry, and other dainties, as well as more substantial viands, of which all partook. It was sometimes a rather riotous affair.

At the south-east corner of the six-acre play-ground, about half-an-acre had been abstracted, as it were, and enclosed: here a public school had been built and put in operation: it was known as the Central School, and was what would now be called a Common School, conducted on the "Bell and Lancaster" principle. Large numbers frequented it.

Between the lads attending the Central School, and the boys of the Grammar School, difficulties of course arose: and on many occasions feats of arms, accompanied with considerable risk to life and limb, were performed on both sides, with sticks and stones. Youngsters, ambitious of a character of extra daring, had thus an opportunity of distinguishing themselves in the eyes of their less courageous companions. The same would-be heroes had many stories to tell of the perils to which they were exposed in their way to and from school. Those of them who came from the western part of the town, had, according to their own shewing, mortal enemies in the men of Ketchum's tannery, with whom it was necessary occasionally to have an encounter. While those who lived to the east of the school, narrated, in response, the attacks experienced or delivered by themselves, in passing Shaw's or Hugill's brewery.

Mr. Spragge, the master of the Central School, had enjoyed the superior advantage of a regular training in England as an instructor of the young. Though not in Holy Orders, his air and costume were those of the dignified clergyman. Of the Central School, the words of Shenstone,[165] spoken of a kindred establishment, became, in one point at all events, true to the letter:—

"E'en now sagacious foresight points to shew A little bench of bishops here,—  And there, a chancellor in embryo, Or bard sublime."

A son of Mr. Spragge's became, in 1870, the Chancellor of Ontario, or Western Canada, after rising with distinction through the several grades of the legal profession, and filling previously also the post of Vice-Chancellor. Mr. John Godfrey Spragge, who attained to this eminence, and his brothers, Joseph and William, were likewise pupils in their maturer years, in the adjoining more imposing Royal Grammar or Home District School.

Mr. Spragge's predecessor at the Central School was Mr. Appleton, mentioned in a preceding section; and Mr. Appleton's assistant for a time, was Mr. John Fenton.

Across the road from the play-ground at York, on the south side, eastward of the church-plot, there was a row of dilapidated wooden buildings, inhabited for the most part by a thriftless and noisy set of people. This group of houses was known in the school as "Irish-town;" and "to raise Irish-town," meant to direct a snowball or other light missive over the play-ground fence, in that direction. Such act was not unfrequently followed by an invasion of the Field from the insulted quarter. Some wide chinks, established in one place here between the boards, which ran lengthwise, enabled any one so inclined, to get over the fence readily. We once saw two men, who had quarrelled in one of the buildings of Irish-town, adjourn from over the road to the play-ground, accompanied by a few approving friends, and there, after stripping to the skin, have a regular fight with fists: after some rounds, a number of men and women interfered and induced the combatants to return to the house whence they had issued forth for the settlement of their dispute.

The Parliamentary Debates, of which mention has more than once been made in connection with the District School, took place, on ordinary occasions, in the central part of the school-room; where benches used to be set out opposite to each other, for the temporary accommodation of the speakers. These exercises consisted simply of a memoriter repetition, with some action, of speeches, slightly abridged, which had actually been delivered in a real debate on the floor of the House of[166] Commons. But they served to familiarize Canadian lads with the names and characters of the great statesmen of England, and with what was to be said on both sides of several important public questions; they also probably awakened in many a young spirit an ambition, afterwards gratified, of being distinguished as a legislator in earnest.

On public days the Debates were held up-stairs on a platform at the east end of a long room with a partially vaulted ceiling, on the south side of the building. On this platform the public recitations also took place; and here on some of the anniversaries a drama by Milman or Hannah Moore was enacted. Here we ourselves took part in one of the hymns or choruses of the "Martyr of Antioch."

(Other reminiscences of Dr. Strachan, the District Grammar School, and Toronto generally, are embodied in "The First Bishop of Toronto, a Review and a Study," a small work published by the writer in 1868.)

The immediate successor of Dr. Strachan in the school was Mr. Samuel Armour, a graduate of Glasgow, whose profile resembled that of Cicero, as shewn in some engravings. Being fond of sporting, his excitement was great when the flocks of wild pigeons were passing over the town, and the report of fire-arms in all directions was to be heard. During the hours of school his attention, on these occasions, would be much drawn off from the class-subjects.

In those days there was not a plentiful supply in the town of every book wanted in the school. The only copy that could be procured of a "Eutropius," which we ourselves on a particular occasion required, was one with an English translation at the end. The book was bought, Mr. Armour stipulating that the English portion of the volume should be sewn up; in fact, he himself stitched the leaves together.—In Mr. Armour's time there was, for some reason now forgotten, a barring-out. A pile of heavy wood (sticks of cordwood whole used then to be thrust into the great school-room stove) was built against the door within; and the master had to effect, and did effect, an entrance into his school through a window on the north side. Mr. Armour became afterwards a clergyman of the English Church, and officiated for many years in the township of Cavan.

The master who succeeded Mr. Armour was Dr. Phillips, who came out from England to take charge of the school. He had been previously master of a schoo[167]l at Whitchurch, in Herefordshire. His degree was from Cambridge, where he graduated as a B. A. of Queen's in the year 1805. He was a venerable-looking man—the very ideal, outwardly, of an English country parson of an old type—a figure in the general scene, that would have been taken note of congenially by Fuller or Antony à Wood. The costume in which he always appeared (shovel-hat included), was that usually assumed by the senior clergy some years ago. He also wore powder in the hair except when in mourning. According to the standards of the day, Dr. Phillips was an accomplished scholar, and a good reader and writer of English. He introduced into the school at York the English public-school traditions of the strictest type. His text books were those published and used at Eton, as Eton then was. The Eton Latin Grammar, without note or comment, displaced" Ruddiman's Rudiments"—the book to which we had previously been accustomed, and which really did give hints of something rational underlying what we learnt out of it. Even the Eton Greek Grammar, in its purely mediæval untranslated state, made its appearance: it was through the medium of that very uninviting manual that we obtained our earliest acquaintance with the first elements of the Greek tongue. Our "Palæphatus" and other Extracts in the Græca Minora were translated by us, not into English, but into Latin, in which language all the notes and elucidations of difficulties in that book were given. Very many of the Greek "genitives absolute," we remember, were to be rendered by quum, with a subjunctive pluperfect—an enormous mystery to us at the time. Our Lexicon was Schrevelius, as yet un-Englished. For the Greek Testament we had "Dawson," a vocabulary couched in the Latin tongue, notwithstanding the author's name. The chevaux-de-frise set up across the pathways to knowledge were numerous and most forbidding. The Latin translation, line for line, at the end of Clarke's Homer, as also the Ordo in the Delphin classics, were held to be mischievous aids, but the help was slight that could be derived from them, as the Latin language itself was not yet grasped.

For whatever of the anomalous we moderns may observe in all this, let the good old traditional school-system of England be responsible—not the accomplished and benevolent man who transplanted the system, pure and simple, to Canadian ground. For ourselves: in one point of view, we deem it a piece of singular good fortune to have been subjected for a[168] time to this sort of drill; for it has enabled us to enter with more intelligence into the discussions on English education that have marked the era in which we live. Without this morsel of experience we should have known only by vague report what it was the reviewers and essayists of England were aiming their fulminations against.

Our early recollections in this regard, we treasure up now among our mental curiosities, with thankfulness: just as we treasure up our memories of the few years which, in the days of our youth, we had an opportunity of passing in the old father-land, while yet mail coaches and guards and genuine coachmen were extant there; while yet the time-honoured watchman was to be heard patrolling the streets at night and calling the hours. Deprived of this personal experience, how tamely would have read "School-days at Rugby," for example, or "The Scouring of the White Horse," and many another healthy classic in recent English literature—to say nothing of "The Sketch Book," and earlier pieces, which involve numerous allusions to these now vanished entities!

Moreover, we found that our boyish initiation in the Eton formularies, however little they may have contributed to the intellectual furniture of the mind at an early period, had the effect of putting us en rapport, in one relation at all events, with a large class in the old country. We found that the stock quotations and scraps of Latin employed to give an air of learning to discourse, "to point a moral and adorn a tale," among the country-clergy of England and among members of Parliament of the ante-Reform-bill period, were mostly relics of school-boy lore derived from Eton books. Fragments of the As in præsenti, of the Propria quæ maribus; shreds from the Syntax, as Vir bonus est quis, Ingenuas didicisse, and a score more, were instantly recognized, and constituted a kind of talismanic mode of communication, making the quoter and the hearer, to some extent, akin.

Furthermore; in regard to our honoured and beloved master, Dr. Phillips himself; there is this advantage to be named as enjoyed by those whose lot it was, in this new region, to pass a portion of their impressible youth in the society of such a character: it furnished them with a visible concrete illustration of much that otherwise would have been a vague abstraction in the pictures of English society set before the fancy in the Spectator, for instance, or Boswell's Johnson, and other standard literary productions of a century ago. As it is, we doubt not that the experience of many of our Canadian coevals co[169]rresponds with our own. Whenever we read of the good Vicar of Wakefield, or of any similar personage; when in the biography of some distinguished man, a kind-hearted old clerical tutor comes upon the scene, or one moulded to be a college-fellow, or one that had actually been a college-fellow, carrying about with him, when down in the country the tastes and ideas of the academic cloister—it is the figure of Dr. Phillips that rises before the mental vision. And without doubt he was no bad embodiment of the class of English character just alluded to.—He was thoroughly English in his predilections and tone; and he unconsciously left on our plastic selves traces of his own temperament and style.

It was from Dr. Phillips we received our first impressions of Cambridge life; of its outer form, at all events; of its traditions and customs; of the Acts and Opponencies in its Schools, and other quaint formalities, still in use in our own undergraduate day, but now abolished: from him we first heard of Trumpington, and St. Mary's, and the Gogmagogs; of Lady Margaret and the cloisters at Queen's; of the wooden bridge and Erasmus' walk in the gardens of that college; and of many another storied object and spot, afterwards very familiar.

A manuscript Journal of a Johnsonian cast kept by Dr. Phillips, when a youth, during a tour of his on foot in Wales, lent to us for perusal, marks an era in our early experience, awakening in us, as it did, our first inklings of travel. The excursion described was a trifling one in itself—only from Whitchurch, in Herefordshire, across the Severn into Wales—but to the unsophisticated fancy of a boy it was invested with a peculiar charm; and it led, we think, in our own case, to many an ambitious ramble, in after years, among cities and men.—In the time of Dr. Phillips there was put up, by subscription, across the whole of the western end of the school-house, over the door, a rough lean-to, of considerable dimensions. A large covered space was thus provided for purposes of recreation in bad weather. This room is memorable as being associated with our first acquaintance with the term "Gymnasium:" that was the title which we were directed to give it.—There is extant, we believe, a good portrait in oil of Dr. Phillips.

It was stated above that Cricket was not known in the playground of the District Grammar School, except possibly under the mildest of forms. Nevertheless, o[170]ne, afterwards greatly distinguished in the local annals of Cricket, was long a master in the School.

Mr. George Antony Barber accompanied Dr. Phillips to York in 1825, as his principal assistant, and continued to be associated with him in that capacity. Nearly half a century later than 1826, when Cricket had now become a social institution throughout Western Canada, Mr. Barber, who had been among the first to give enthusiastic encouragement to the manly English game, was the highest living local authority on the subject, and still an occasional participator in the sport.

We here close our notice of the Old Blue School at York. In many a brain, from time to time, the mention of its name has exercised a spell like that of Wendell Holmes's Mare Rubrum; as potent as that was, to summon up memories and shapes from the Red Sea of the Past—

"Where clad in burning robes are laid Life's blossomed joys untimely shed, And where those cherish'd forms are laid We miss awhile, and call them dead."

The building itself has been shifted bodily from its original position to the south-east corner of Stanley and Jarvis Street. It, the centre of so many associations, is degraded now into being a depot for "General Stock;" in other words, a receptacle for Rags and Old Iron.

The six acres of play-ground are thickly built over. A thoroughfare of ill-repute traverses it from west to east. This street was at first called March Street; and under that appellation acquired an evil report. It was hoped that a nobler designation would perhaps elevate the character of the place, as the name "Milton Street" had helped to do for the ignoble Grub Street in London. But the purlieus of the neighbourhood continue, unhappily, to be the Alsatia of the town. The filling up of the old breezy field with dwellings, for the most part of a wretched class, has driven "the schoolmaster" away from the region. His return to the locality, in some good missionary sense, is much to be wished; and after a time, will probably be an accomplished fact.

[Since these lines were written, the old District Grammar School building has wholly vanished. It will be consolatory to know that, escaping destruction by fire, it was deliberately dismantled and taken to pieces; and, at once, walls of substantial brick overspread the whole of the space which it had occupied.][171]




We were arrested in our progress on King Street by St. James' Church. Its associations, and those of the District Grammar School and its play-ground to the north, have detained us long. We now return to the point reached when our recollections compelled us to digress.

Before proceeding, however, we must record the fact that the break in the line of building on the north side of the street here, was the means of checking the tide of fire which was rolling irresistibly westward, in the great conflagration of 1849. The energies of the local fire-brigade of the day had never been so taxed as they were on that memorable occasion, Aid from steam-power was then undreamt-of. Simultaneous outbursts of flame from numerous widely-separated spots had utterly disheartened every one, and had caused a general abandonment of effort to quell the conflagration. Then it was that the open space about St. James' Church saved much of the town from destruction.

To the west, the whole sky was, as it were, a vast canopy of meteors streaming from the east. The church itself was consumed, but the flames advanced no further. A burning shingle was seen to become entangled in the luffer-boards of the belfry, and slowly to ignite the woodwork there: from a very minute start at that point, a stream of fire soon began to rise—soon began to twine itself about the upper stages of the tower, and to climb nimbly up the steep slope of the spire, from the summit of which it then shot aloft into the air, speedily enveloping and overtopping the golden cross that was there.

At the same time the flames made their way downwards within the tower, till the internal timbers of the roofing over the main body of the building were reached. There, in the natural order of things, the fire readily spread; and the whole interior of the church, in the course of an hour, was transformed, before the eyes of a bewildered multitude looking powerlessly on, first into a vast "burning fiery furnace," and then, as the roof collapsed and fell, into a confused chaos of raging flame.[173]

The heavy gilt cross at the apex of the spire came down with a crash, and planted itself in the pavement of the principal entrance below, where the steps, as well as the inner-walls of the base of the tower, were bespattered far and wide with the molten metal of the great bell.

While the work of destruction was going fiercely and irrepressibly on, the Public Clock in the belfry, Mr. Draper's gift to the town, was heard to strike the hour as usual, and the quarters thrice—exercising its functions and having its appointed say, amidst the sympathies, not loud but deep, of those who watched its doom; bearing its testimony, like a martyr at the stake, in calm and unimpassioned strain, up to the very moment of time when the deadly element touched its vitals.

Opposite the southern portal of St. James' Church was to be seen, at a very early period, the conspicuous trade-sign of a well-known furrier of York, Mr. Joseph Rogers. It was the figure of an Indian Trapper holding a gun, and accompanied by a dog, all depicted in their proper colours on a high, upright tablet set over the doorway of the store below. Besides being an appropriate symbol of the business carried on, it was always an interesting reminder of the time, then not so very remote, when all of York, or Toronto, and its commerce that existed, was the old French trading-post on the common to the west, and a few native hunters of the woods congregating with their packs of "beaver" once or twice a-year about the entrance to its picketted enclosure. Other rather early dealers in furs in York were Mr. Jared Stocking and Mr. John Bastedo.

In the Gazette for April 25, 1822, we notice a somewhat pretentious advertisement, headed "Muskrats," which announces that the highest market price will be given in cash for "good seasonable muskrat skins and other furs at the store of Robert Coleman, Esquire, Market Place, York."

Mr. Rogers' descendants continue to occupy the identical site on King Street indicated above, and the Indian Trapper, renovated, is still to be seen—a pleasant instance of Canadian persistence and stability.

In Great Britain and Europe generally, the thoroughfares of ancient towns had, as we know, character and variety given them by the trade-symbols displayed up and down their misty vistas. Charles the First [174]gave, by letters patent, express permission to the citizens of London "to expose and hang in and over the streets, and ways, and alleys of the said city and suburbs of the same, signs and posts of signs, affixed to their houses and shops, for the better finding out such citizens' dwellings, shops, arts, and occupations, without impediment, molestation or interruption of his heirs or successors." And the practice was in vogue long before the time of Charles. It preceded the custom of distinguishing houses by numbers. At periods when the population generally were unable to read, such rude appeals to the eye had, of course, their use. But as education spread, and architecture of a modern style came to be preferred, this mode of indicating "arts and occupations" grew out of fashion.

Of late, however, the pressure of competition in business has been driving men back again upon the customs of by-gone illiterate generations. For the purpose of establishing a distinct individuality in the public mind the most capricious freaks are played. The streets of the modern Toronto exhibit, we believe, two leonine specimens of auro-ligneous zoology, between which the sex is announced to constitute the difference. The lack of such clear distinction between a pair of glittering symbols of this genus and species, in our Canadian London, was the occasion of much grave consideration in 1867, on the part of the highest authority in our Court of Chancery. Although in that cause célèbre, after a careful physiognomical study by means of photographs transmitted, it was allowed that there were points of difference between the two specimens in question, as, for example, that "one looked older than the other;" that "one, from the sorrowful expression of its countenance, seemed more resigned to its position than the other"—still the decree was issued for the removal of one of them from the scene—very properly the later-carved of the two.

Of the ordinary trade-signs that were to be seen along the thoroughfare of King Street no particular notice need be taken. The Pestle and Mortar, the Pole twined round with the black strap, the Crowned Boot, the Tea-chest, the Axe, the Broad-axe, the Saw, (mill, cross-cut and circular), the colossal Fowling-piece, the Cooking-stove, the Plough, the Golden Fleece, the Anvil and Sledge-Hammer, the magnified Horse-Shoe, each told its own story, as indicating indispensable wares or occupations.

Passing eastward from the painted effigy of the Indian Trapper, we soon came in front of the Market Place, which, so long as o[175]nly a low wooden building occupied its centre, had an open, airy appearance. We have already dwelt upon some of the occurrences, and associations connected with this spot.

On King street, about here, the ordinary trade and traffic of the place came, after a few years, to be concentrated. Here business and bustle were every day, more or less, created by the usual wants of the inhabitants, and by the wants of the country farmers whose waggons in summer, and sleighs in winter, thronged in from the north, east and west. And hereabout at one moment or another, every lawful day, would be surely seen, coming and going, the oddities and street-characters of the town and neighbourhood. Having devoted some space to the leading and prominent personages of our drama, it will be only proper to bestow a few words on the subordinates, the Calibans and Gobbos, the Nyms and Touchstones, of the piece.

From the various nationalities and races of which the community was a mixture, these were drawn. There was James O'Hara, for example, a poor humourous Irishman, a perfect representative of his class in costume, style and manner, employed as bellman at auctions, and so on. When the town was visited by the Papyrotomia—travelling cutters-out of likenesses in black paper (some years ago such things created a sensation),—a full-length of O'Hara was suspended at the entrance to the rooms, recognized at once by every eye, even without the aid of the "Shoot easy" inscribed on a label issuing from the mouth. (In the Loyalist of Nov. 24, 1827, we have O'Hara's death noted. "Died on Friday the 16th instant, James O'Hara, long an inhabitant of this Town, and formerly a soldier in His Majesty's service.")—There was Jock Murray, the Scotch carter; and after him, William Pettit, the English one; and the carter who drove the horse with the "spring-halt;" (every school-lad in the place was familiar with the peculiar twitch upwards of the near hind leg in the gait of this nag.)

The negro population was small. Every individual of colour was recognizable at sight. Black Joe and Whistling Jack were two notabilities; both of them negroes of African birth. In military bands a negro drummer or cymbal-player was formerly often to be seen. The two men just named, after obtaining discharge from a regiment here, gained an honest livelihood by chance employment about the town. Joe, a well-formed, well-trained figure, was to be seen, still arrayed in some old cast-off shell-jacket, acting as porter[176], or engaged about horses; once already we have had a glimpse of him in the capacity of sheriff's assistant, administering the lash to wretched culprits in the Market Place. The other, besides playing other parts, officiated occasionally as a sweep; but his most memorable accomplishment was a melodious and powerful style of whistling musical airs, and a faculty for imitating the bag-pipes to perfection.—For the romantic sound of the name, the tall, comely negress, Amy Pompadour, should also be mentioned in the record. But she was of servile descent: at the time at which we write slavery was only just dying out in Upper Canada, as we shall have occasion to note hereafter more at large.

Then came the "Jack of Clubs." Lord Thurlow, we are told, once enabled a stranger to single out in a crowd Dunning, afterwards Lord Ashburton, by telling him to take notice of the first man he saw bearing a strong resemblance to the "Jack of Clubs." In the present case it was a worthy trader in provisions who had acquired among his fellow-townsmen a sobriquet from a supposed likeness to that sturdy court-card figure. He was a short, burly Englishman, whose place of business was just opposite the entrance to the Market. So absolutely did the epithet attach itself to him, that late-comers to the place failed to learn his real name: all which was good-humouredly borne for a time; but at last the distinction became burdensome and irritating, and Mr. Stafford removed in disgust to New York.

A well-known character often to be seen about here, too, was an unfortunate English farmer of the name of Cowper, of disordered intellect, whose peculiarity was a desire to station himself in the middle of the roadway, and from that vantage-ground to harangue any crowd that might gather, incoherently, but always with a great show of sly drollery and mirthfulness.

On occasions of militia funeral processions, observant lads and others were always on the look-out for a certain prosperous cordwainer of the town of York, Mr. Wilson, who was sure then to be seen marching in the ranks, with musket reversed, and displaying with great precision and solemnity the extra-upright carriage and genuine toe-pointed step of the soldier of the days of George the Second. He had been for sixteen years in the 41st regiment, and ten years and forty-four days in the 103rd; and it was with pride and gusto that he exhibited the high proficiency to which he had in other days attained. The slow pace required by the Dead March gave the on-looker time to study the antique style of military movement thus exemplified.[177]

It was at a comparatively late period that Sir John Smythe and Spencer Lydstone, poets, were notabilities in the streets; the latter, Mr. Lydstone, recognizable from afar by a scarlet vest, brought out, ever and anon, a printed broadside, filled with eulogiums or satires on the inhabitants of the town, regulated by fees or refusals received. The former, Sir John Smythe, found in the public papers a place for his productions, which by their syntactical irregularities and freedom from marks of punctuation, proved their author (as a reviewer of the day once observed) to be a man supra grammaticam, and one possessed of a genius above commas. But his great hobby was a railway to the Pacific, in connection with which he brought out a lithographed map: its peculiarity was a straight black line conspicuously drawn across the continent from Fort William to the mouth of the Columbia river.

In a tract of his on the subject of this railway he provides, in the case of war with the United States, for steam communication between London in England and China and the East Indies, by "a branch to run on the north side of the township of Cavan and on the south side of Balsam Lake." "I propose this," he says, "to run in the rear of Lake Huron and in the rear of Lake Superior, twenty miles in the interior of the country of the Lake aforesaid; to unite with the railroad from Lake Superior to Winnipeg, at the south-west main trading-post of the North-West Company." The document is signed "Sir John Smythe, Baronet and Royal Engineer, Canadian Poet, LL.D., and Moral Philosopher."

The concourse of traffickers and idlers in the open space before the old Market Place were free of tongue; they sometimes talked, in no subdued tone, of their fellow-townsfolk of all ranks. In a small community every one was more or less acquainted with every one, with his dealings and appurtenances, with his man-servant and maid-servant, his horse, his dog, his waggon, cart or barrow.

Those of the primitive residentiaries, to whom the commonalty had taken kindly, were honoured in ordinary speech with their militia-titles of Colonel, Major, Captain, or the civilian prefix of Mister, Honourable Mister, Squire or Judge, as the case might be; whilst others, not held to have achieved any special claims to deference, were named, even in mature years, by their plain, baptismal na[178]mes, John, Andrew, Duncan, George, and so on.

And then, there was a third marking-off of a few, against whom, for some vague reason or another, there had grown up in the popular mind a certain degree of prejudice. These, by a curtailment or national corruption of their proper prenomen, would be ordinarily styled Sandy this, Jock that. In some instances the epithet "old" would irreverently precede, and persons of considerable eminence might be heard spoken of as old Tom so-and-so, old Sam such-a-one.

And similarly in respect to the sons and nephews of these worthy gentlemen. Had the community never been replenished from outside sources, few of them would, to the latest moment of their lives, have ever been distinguished except by the plain John, Stephen, Allan, Christopher, and so on, of their infancy, or by the Bill, Harry, Alec, Mac, Dolph, Dick, or Bob, acquired in the nursery or school.

But enough has been said, for the present at least, on the humors and ways of our secondary characters, as exemplified in the crowd customarily gathered in front of the old Market at York. We shall now proceed on our prescribed route.

The lane leading northward from the north-west corner of Market Square used to be known as Stuart's Lane, from the Rev. George Okill Stuart, once owner of property here. On its west side was a well-known inn, the Farmers' Arms, kept by Mr. Bloor, who, on retiring from business, took up his abode at Yorkville, where it has curiously happened that his name has been attached to a fashionable street, the thoroughfare formerly known as the Concession Line.

The street running north from the north-east angle of Market Square, now known as Nelson Street, was originally New Street, a name which was commemorative of the growth of York westward. The terminal street of the town on the west, prior to the opening of this New Street, had been George Street. The name of "New Street" should never have been changed, even for the heroic one of Nelson. As the years rolled on, it would have become a quaint misnomer, involving a tale, like the name of "New College" at Oxford—a College about five hundred years old.

At a point about half-way between New Street and George Street, King Street was, in 1849, the scene of an election fracas which, in distant quarters, damaged for a time the good name of the town. While passing in front of the Coleraine House, an inn o[179]n the north side of the street, and a rendezvous of the unsuccessful party, some persons walking in procession, in addition to indulging in the usual harmless groans, flung a missile into the house, when a shot, fired from one of the windows, killed a man in the concourse below.

Owing to the happy settlement of numerous irritating public questions, elections are conducted now, in our towns and throughout our Provinces, in a calm and rational temper for the most part. Only two relics of evil and ignorant days remain amongst us, stirring bad blood twice a year, on anniversaries consecrated, or otherwise, to the object. A generous-hearted nation, transplanted as they have been almost en masse to a new continent, where prosperity, wealth and honours have everywhere been their portion, would shew more wisdom in the repudiation than they do in the recognition and studied conservation, of these hateful heirlooms of their race.




On passing George Street, as we intimated a moment ago, we enter the parallelogram which constituted the original town-plot. Its boundaries were George Street, Duchess Street, Ontario Street (with the lane south of it), and Palace Street. From this, its old core, York spread westward and northward, extending at length in those directions respectively (under the name of Toronto) to the Asylum and Yorkville; while eastward its developments—though here less solid and less shapely—were finally bounded by the windings of the Don. Were Toronto an old town on the European Continent, George Street, Duchess Street, Ontario Street and Palace Street, would probably now be boulevards, showing the space once occupied by stout stone walls. The parallelogram just defined represents "the City" in modern London, or "la Cité" in modern Paris—the original nucleus round which gradually clustered the dwellings of later generations.

Before, however, we enter upon what may be styled King Street proper, it will be convenient to make a momentary digression northwards into Duke Street, anciently a quiet, retired thoroughfare, skirted on the right and left by the premises and grounds and houses of several most respectable inhabitants. At the north-west angle of the intersection of this street with George Street was the home of Mr. Washburn; but this was comparatively a recent erection. Its site previously had been the brickyard of Henry Hale, a builder and contractor, who put up the wooden structure, possessing some architectural pretensions, on the south-east angle of the same intersection, diagonally across; occupied in the second instance by Mr. Moore, of the Commissariat; then by Dr. Lee, and afterwards by Mr. J. Murchison.

(The last named was for a long time the Stultz of York, supplying all those of its citizens, young and old, who desired to make an attractive or intensely respectable appearance, with vestments in fine broadcloth.)

A little to the north, on the left side of George Street, was the famous Ladies' School of Mrs. Goodman, presided over subsequently by Miss Purcell and [181]Miss Rose. This had been previously the homestead of Mr. Stephen Jarvis, of whom again immediately.—Two or three of these familiar names appear in an advertisement relating to land in this neighbourhood, in the Gazette of March 23rd, 1826.—"For Sale: Three lots or parcels of land in the town of York, the property of Mrs. Goodman, being part of the premises on which Miss Purcell now resides, and formerly owned by Col. Jarvis. The lots are each fifty feet in width and one hundred and thirty in depth, and front on the street running from King Street to Mr. Jarvis's Park lot. If not disposed of by private sale, they will be put up at auction on the first day of May next. Application to be made to Miss Purcell, or at the Office of the U. C. Gazette. York, March 10, 1826."

Advancing on Duke Street eastward a little way, we came, on the left, to the abode of Chief Justice Sir William Campbell, of whom before Sir William erected here in 1822 a mansion of brick, in good style. It was subsequently, for many years, the hospitable home of the Hon. James Gordon, formerly of Amherstburgh.

Then on the right, one square beyond, at the south-easterly corner where Caroline Street intersects, we reached the house of Mr. Secretary Jarvis, a man of great note in his day, whose name is familiar to all who have occasion to examine the archives of Upper Canada in the administrations of Governors Simcoe, Hunter and Gore. A fine portrait of him exists, but, as we have been informed, it has been transmitted to relatives in England. Mr. Stephen Jarvis, above named, was long the Registrar of Upper Canada. His hand-writing is well-known to all holders of early deeds. He and the Secretary were first cousins; of the same stock as the well-known Bishop Jarvis of Connecticut, and the Church Historian, Dr. Samuel Farmer Jarvis. Both were officers in incorporated Colonial regiments before the independence of the United States; and both came to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Mr. Stephen Jarvis was the founder of the leading Canadian family to which the first Sheriff Jarvis belonged. Mr. Samuel Peters Jarvis, from whom "Jarvis Street" has its name, was the son of Mr. Secretary Jarvis.

On the left, one square beyond the abode of Mr. Secretary Jarvis, came the premises and home of Mr. Surveyor General Ridout, the latter a structure still to be seen in its primitive outlines, a good specimen of the old type of early Upper Canadian family residence of a superior class; combining the qualities of solidity and durability with t[182]hose of snugness and comfort in the rigours of winter and the heats of summer. In the rear of Mr. Ridout's house was for some time a family burial-plot; but, like several similar private enclosures in the neighbourhood of the town, it became disused after the establishment of regular cemeteries.

Nearly opposite Mr. Ridout's, in one of the usual long, low Upper Canadian one-storey dwellings, shaded by lofty Lombardy poplars, was the home of the McIntoshes, who are to be commemorated hereafter in connection with the Marine of York: and here, at a later period, lived for a long time Mr. Andrew Warffe and his brother John. Mr. Andrew Warffe was a well-known employé in the office of the Inspector General, Mr. Baby, and a lieutenant in the Incorporated Militia.

By one of the vicissitudes common in the history of family residences everywhere, Mr. Secretary Jarvis's house, which we just now passed, became afterwards the place of business of a memorable cutler and gunsmith, named Isaac Columbus. During the war of 1812, Mr. Columbus was employed as armourer to the Militia, and had a forge near the garrison. Many of the swords used by the Militia officers were actually manufactured by him. He was a native of France; a liberal-hearted man, ever ready to contribute to charitable objects; and a clever artizan. Whether required to "jump" the worn and battered axe of a backwoodsman, to manufacture the skate-irons and rudder of an ice-boat, to put in order a surveyor's theodolite, or to replace for the young geometrician or draughtsman an instrument lost out of his case, he was equally au fait. On occasion he could even supply an elderly lady or gentleman with a set of false teeth, and insert them.

In our boyhood we had occasion to get many little matters attended to at Mr. Columbus's. Once on leaving word that a certain article must be ready by a particular hour, we remember being informed that "must" was only for the King of France. His political absolutism would have satisfied Louis XIV. himself. He positively refused to have anything to do with the "liberals" of York, expressly on the ground that, in his opinion, the modern ideas of government "hindered the King from acting as a good father to the people."

An expression of his, "first quality, blue!" used on a particular occasion in reference to an extra finish to be given to some steel-work for an extra price, passed into a proverb among us [183]boys at school, and was extensively applied by us to persons and things of which we desired to predicate a high degree of excellence.

Over Columbus's workshop, at the corner of Caroline Street, we are pretty sure his name appeared as here given; and so it was always called. But we observe in some lists of early names in York, that it is given as "Isaac Collumbes." It is curious to note that the great discoverer's name is a latinization of Colon, Coulon, Colombe, descendant each of columba, dove, of which columbus is the masculine form.




We now retrace our steps to King Street, at its intersection with George Street; and here our eye immediately lights on an object connected with the early history of Education in York.

Attached to the east side of the house at the south-east angle of the intersection is a low building, wholly of stone, resembling a small root-house. Its structure is concealed from view now by a coating of clapboards. This was the first school-house possessing a public character in York.

It was where Dr. Stuart taught, afterwards Archdeacon of Kingston. The building was on his property, which became afterwards that of Mr. George Duggan, once before referred to. (In connection with St. James' Church, it should have been recorded that Mr. Duggan was the donor and planter of the row of Lombardy poplars which formerly stood in front of that edifice, and which figured conspicuously in the old engravings of King Street. He was an Irishman of strong opinions. He once stood for the town against Mr. Attorney-General Robinson, but without success. When the exigencies of later times required the uprooting of the poplar trees, now become overgrown, he warmly resented the removal and it was at the risk of grievous bodily harm that the Church-warden of the day, Mr. T. D. Harris, carried into effect the resolution of the Vestry.)

Dr. Stuart's was the Home District School. From a contemporary record, now before us, we learn that it opened on June the first, 1807, and that the first names entered on its books were those of John Ridout, William A. Hamilton, Thomas G. Hamilton, George H. Detlor, George S. Boulton, Robert Stanton, William Stanton, Angus McDonell, Alexander Hamilton, Wilson Hamilton, Robert Ross, Allan McNab. To this list, from time to time, were added many other old Toronto or Upper Canadian names: as, for example, the following: John Moore, Charles Ruggles, Edward Hartney, Charles Boulton, Alexander Chewett, Donald McDonell, James Edward Small, Charles Small, John Hayes, George and William Jarvis, William Bowkett, Peter McDonell, Philemon Squires, James McIntosh, Bernard, Henry and Marshall Glennon, Richard Brooke, Daniel Brooke, Charles Reade, William Robinson, Gilbert Hamilton, Henry Ernst, John Gray, Robert Gray, William Cawthra, William Smith, Harvey Woodruff, [185]Robert Anderson, Benjamin Anderson, James Givins, Thomas Playter, William Pilkington. The French names Belcour, Hammeil and Marian occur. (There were bakers or confectioners of these names in York at an early period.)

From the same record it appears that female pupils were not excluded from the primitive Home District School. On the roll are names which surviving contemporaries would recognize as belonging to the beau monde of Upper Canada, distinguished and admired in later years.

A building-lot, eighty-six feet in front and one hundred and seventeen in depth, next to the site of the school, is offered for sale in the Gazette of the 18th of March, 1822; and in the advertisement it is stated to be "one of the most eligible lots in the Town of York, and situated in King Street, in the centre of the Town."

To the left, just across from this choice position, was, in 1833, Wragg & Co.'s establishment, where such matter-of-fact articles as the following could be procured: "Bending and unbending nails, as usual; wrought nails and spikes of all sizes [a change since 1810]: ox-traces and cable chains; tin; double and single sheet iron: sheet brass and copper; bar, hoop, bolt and rod iron of all sizes; shear, blister and cast steel; with every other article in the heavy line, together with a very complete assortment of shelf goods, cordage, oakum, tar, pitch, and rosin: also a few patent machines for shelling corn." (A much earlier resort for such merchandize was Mr. Peter Paterson's, on the west side of the Market Square.)

Of a date somewhat subsequent to that of Messrs. Wragg's advertisement, was the depôt of Mr. Harris for similar substantial wares. This was situated on the north side of King Street, westward of the point at which we are now pausing. It long resisted the great conflagration of 1849, towering up amidst the flames like a black, isolated crag in a tempestuous sea; but at length it succumbed. Having been rendered, as it was supposed, fire-proof externally, no attempt was made to remove the contents of the building.

To the east of Messrs.[186] Wragg's place of business, on the same side, and dating back to an early period, was the dwelling house and mart of Mr. Mosley, the principal auctioneer and appraiser of York, a well-known and excellent man. He had suffered the severe calamity of a partial deprivation of the lower limbs by frost-bite; but he contrived to move about with great activity in a room or on the side-walk by means of two light chairs, shifting himself adroitly from the one to the other. When required to go to a distance or to church, (where he was ever punctually to be seen in his place), he was lifted by his son or sons into and out of a wagonette, together with the chairs.

On the same (north) side was the place where the Messrs. Lesslie, enterprising and successful merchants from Dundee, dealt at once in two remunerative articles—books and drugs. The left side of the store was devoted to the latter; the right to the former. Their first head-quarters in York had been further up the street; but a move had been made to the eastward, to be, as things were then, nearer the heart of the town.

This firm had houses carrying on the same combined businesses in Kingston and Dundas. There exists a bronze medal or token, of good design, sought after by collectors, bearing the legend, "E. Lesslie and Sons, Toronto and Dundas, 1822." The date has been perplexing, as the town was not named Toronto in 1822. The intention simply was to indicate the year of the founding of the firm in the two towns; the first of which assumed the name of Toronto at the period the medal was really struck, viz., 1834. On the obverse it bears a figure of Justice with scales and sword: on the reverse, a plough with the mottoes, "Prosperity to Canada," "La Prudence et la Candeur."—A smaller Token of the same firm is extant, on which "Kingston" is inserted between "Toronto" and "Dundas."

Nearly opposite was the store of Mr. Monro. Regarding our King Street as the Broadway of York, Mr. Monro was for a long time its Stewart. But the points about his premises that linger now in our recollection the most, are a tasteful flower-garden on its west side, and a trellised verandah in that direction, with canaries in a cage, usually singing therein. Mr. Monro was Mayor of Toronto in 1840. He also represented in Parliament the South Riding of York, in the Session of 1844-5.

At the north-west corner, a little further on, resided Mr. Alexander Wood, who[187]se name appears often in the Report of the Loyal and Patriotic Society of 1812, to which reference before has been made, and of which he was the Secretary. A brother of his, at first in copartnership with Mr. Allan, and at a later period, independently, had made money, at York, by business. On the decease of his brother, Mr. Alexander Wood came out to attend to the property left. He continued on the same spot, until after the war of 1812, the commercial operations which had been so prosperously begun, and then retired.

At the time to which our recollections are just now transporting us, the windows of the part of the house that had been the store were always seen with the shutters closed. Mr. Wood was a bachelor; and it was no uncosy sight, towards the close of the shortening autumnal days, before the remaining front shutters of the house were drawn in for the evening, to catch a glimpse, in passing, of the interior of his comfortable quarters, lighted up by the blazing logs on the hearth, the table standing duly spread close by, and the solitary himself ruminating in his chair before the fire, waiting for candles and dinner to be brought in.

On sunny mornings in winter he was often to be seen pacing the sidewalk in front of his premises for exercise, arrayed in a long blue over-coat, with his right hand thrust for warmth into the cuff of his left sleeve, and his left hand into that of his right. He afterwards returned to Scotland, where, at Stonehaven, not far from Aberdeen, he had family estates known as Woodcot and Woodburnden. He died without executing a will; and it was some time before the rightful heir to his property in Scotland and here was determined. It had been his intention, we believe, to return to Canada.—The streets which run eastward from Yonge Street, north of Carleton Street, named respectively "Wood" and "Alexander," pass across land that belonged to Mr. Wood.

Many are the shadowy forms that rise before us, as we proceed on our way; phantom-revisitings from the misty Past; the shapes and faces of enterprising and painstaking men, of whose fortunes King Street hereabout was the cradle. But it is not necessary in these reminiscences to enumerate all who, on the right hand and on the left, along the now comparatively deserted portions of the great thoroughfare, amassed wealth in the olden time by commerce and other honourable pursuits,—laying the foundation, in several instances, of opulent families.


Quetton St. George, however, must not be omitted, builder of the solid and enduring house on the corner opposite to Mr. Wood's; a structure that, for its size and air of respectability; for its material, brick, when as yet all the surrounding habitations were of wood; for its tinned roof, its graceful porch, its careful and neat finish generally, was, for a long time, one of the York lions.

Mr. Quetton St. George was a French royalist officer, and a chevalier of the order of St. Louis. With many other French gentlemen, he emigrated to Canada at the era of the Revolution. He was of the class of the noblesse, as all officers were required to be; which class, just before the Revolution, included, it is said, 90,000 persons, all exempt from the ordinary taxes of the country.

The surname of St. George was assumed by M. Quetton to commemorate the fact that he had first set foot on English ground on St. George's day. On proceeding to Canada, he, in conjunction with Jean Louis, Vicomte de Chalûs, and other distinguished émigrés, acquired a large estate in wild lands in the rough region north of York, known as the "Oak Ridges."

Finding it difficult, however, to turn such property speedily to account, he had recourse to trade with the Indians and remote inhabitants. Numerous stations, with this object in view, were established by him in different parts of the country, before his final settlement in York. One of these posts was at Orillia, on Lake Couchiching; and in the Niagara Herald of August the 7th, 1802, we meet with the following advertisement:—"New Store at the House of the French General, between Niagara and Queenston. Messrs. Quetton St. George and Co., acquaint the public that they have lately arrived from New York with a general assortment of Dry Goods and Groceries, which will be sold at the lowest price for ready money, for from the uncertainty of their residing any time in these parts they cannot open accounts with any person. Will also be found at the same store a general assortment of tools for all mechanics. They have likewise well-made Trunks; also empty Barrels. Niagara, July 23."

The copartnership implied was with M. de Farcy. The French General referred to was the Comte de Puisaye, of whom in full hereafter. The house spoken of still exists, beautifully situated at a point on the Niagara River, where the carriage-road between Queenston and the town of Niagara approaches the very brink of the lofty bank, whose precipitous side is even yet richly clothed with fine forest trees, and where the noble stream below, closed in towards the south by the heights above Lewiston and Queenston, posses[189]ses all the features of a picturesque inland lake.

Attached to the house in question is a curious old fire-proof structure of brick, quaintly buttressed with stone: the walls are of a thickness of three or four feet; and the interior is beautifully vaulted and divided into two compartments, having no communication with each other: and above the whole is a long loft of wood, approached by steps on the outside. The property here belonged for a time in later years to Shickluna, the shipbuilder of St. Catharines, who happily did not disturb the interesting relic just described. The house itself was in some respects modernized by him; but, with its steep roof and three dormer windows, it still retains much of its primitive character.

In 1805 we find Mr. St. George removed to York. The copartnership with M. de Farcy is now dissolved. In successive numbers of the Gazette and Oracle, issued in that and the following year, he advertises at great length. But on the 20th of September, 1806, he abruptly announces that he is not going to advertise any more: he now once for all, begs the public to examine his former advertisements, where they will find, he says, an account of the supply which he brings from New York every spring, a similar assortment to which he intends always to have on hand: and N. B., he adds: Nearly the same assortment may be found at Mr. Boiton's, at Kingston, and at Mr. Boucherville's, at Amherstburgh, "who transact business for Mr. St. George."


As we have, in the advertisements referred to, a rather minute record of articles and things procurable and held likely to be wanted by the founders of society in these parts, we will give, for the reader's entertainment, a selection from several of them, adhering for the most part to the order in which the goods are therein named.

From time to time it is announced by Mr. St. George that there have "just arrived from New York":—Ribbons, cotton goods, silk tassels, gown-trimmings, cotton binding, wire trimmings, silk belting, fans, beaded buttons, block tin, glove ties, cotton bed-line, bed-lace, rollo-bands, ostrich feathers, silk lace, black veil lace, thread do., laces and edging, fine black veils, white do., fine silk mitts, love-handkerchiefs, Barcelona do., silk do., black crape,[190] black mode, black Belong, blue, white and yellow do., striped silk for gowns, Chambray muslins, printed dimity, split-straw bonnets, Leghorn do., imperial chip do., best London Ladies' beaver bonnets, cotton wire, Rutland gauze, band boxes, cambrics, calicoes, Irish linens, callimancoes, plain muslins, laced muslins, blue, black and yellow nankeens, jeans, fustians, long silk gloves, velvet ribbons, Russia sheetings, India satins, silk and cotton umbrellas, parasols, white cottons, bombazetts, black and white silk stockings, damask table cloths, napkins, cotton, striped nankeens, bandana handkerchiefs, catgut, Ticklenburg, brown holland, Creas à la Morlaix, Italian lutestring, beaver caps for children.

Then we have: Hyson tea, Hyson Chaulon in small chests, young Hyson, green, Souchong and Bohea, loaf, East India and Muscovado sugars, mustard, essence of mustard, pills of mustard, capers, lemon-juice, soap, Windsor do., indigo, mace, nutmegs, cinnamon, cassia, cloves, pimento, pepper, best box raisins, prunes, coffee, Spanish and American "segars," Cayenne pepper in bottles, pearl barley, castor oil, British oil, pickled oysters.

Furthermore, china-ware is to be had in small boxes and in sets; also, Suwarrow boots, bootees, and an assortment of men's, women's and children's shoes, japanned quart mugs, do. tumblers, tipped flutes, violin bows, brass wire, sickles, iron candlesticks, shoe-makers' hammers, knives, pincers, pegging awls and tacks, awl-blades, shoe-brushes, copper tea-kettles, snaffle-bits, leather shot belts, horn powder flasks, ivory, horn and crooked combs, mathematical instruments, knives and forks, suspenders, fish-hooks, sleeve-links, sportsmen's knives, lockets, earrings, gold topaz, do., gold watch-chains, gold seals, gold brooches, cut gold rings, plain do., pearl do., silver thimbles, do. teaspoons, shell sleeve buttons, silver watches, beads. In stationery there was to be had paste-board, foolscap paper, second do., letter paper, black and red ink powder and wafers.

There was also the following supply of Literature:—Telemachus, Volney's Views, Public Characters, Dr. Whitman's Egypt, Evelina, Cecilia, Lady's Library, Ready Reckoner, Looking Glass, Franklin's Fair Sex, Camilla, Don Raphael, Night Thoughts, Winter Evenings, Voltaire's Life, Joseph Andrews, Walker's Geography, Bonaparte and the French People, Voltaire's Tales, Fisher's Companion, Modern Literature, Eccentric Biography, Naval do., Martial do., Fun, Criminal Records, Entick's Dictionary, Gordon's America, Thompson's Family Physician, Sheri[191]dan's Dictionary, Johnson's do., Wilson's Egypt, Denon's Travels, Travels of Cyrus, Stephani de Bourbon, Alexis, Pocket Library, Every Man's Physician, Citizen of the World, Taplin's Farriery, Farmer's Boy, Romance of the Forest, Grandison, Campbell's Narrative, Paul and Virginia, Adelaide de Sincere, Emelini, Monk, Abbess, Evening Amusement, Children of the Abbey, Tom Jones, Vicar of Wakefield, Sterne's Journey, Abelard and Eloisa, Ormond, Caroline, Mercutio, Julia and Baron, Minstrel, H. Villars, De Valcourt, J. Smith, Charlotte Temple, Theodore Chypon, What has Been, Elegant Extracts in Prose and Verse, J. and J. Jessamy, Chinese Tales, New Gazetteer, Smollett's Works, Cabinet of Knowledge, Devil on Sticks, Arabian Tales, Goldsmith's Essays, Bragg's Cookery, Tooke's Pantheon, Boyle's Voyage, Roderick Random, Jonathan Wild, Louisa Solomon's Guide to Health, Spelling-books, Bibles and Primers.

Our extracts have extended to a great length: but the animated picture of Upper Canadian life at a primitive era, which such an enumeration of items, in some sort affords, must be our apology.

In the Gazette of July 4, 1807, Mr. St. George complains of a protested bill; but consoles himself with a quotation—

Celui qui met un frein à la fureur des flots, Sait aussi des méchants arrêter des complots.

Rendered rich in money and lands by his extemporized mercantile operations, Mr. St. George returned to his native France soon after the restoration of Louis XVIII., and passed the rest of his days partly in Paris and partly on estates in the neighbourhood of Montpellier. During his stay in Canada he formed a close friendship with the Baldwins of York; and on his departure, the house on King Street, which has given rise to these reminiscences of him, together with the valuable commercial interests connected with it, passed into the hands of a junior member of that family, Mr. John Spread Baldwin, who himself, on the same spot, subsequently laid the foundation of an ample fortune.

(It is a phenomenon not uninteresting to the retrospective mind, to observe, in 1869, after the lapse of half a century, the name of Quetton St. George reappearing in the field of Canadian Commerce.)

Advancing now on our way eastward, we soon came in front of the abode of Dr. Burnside, a New-England[192] medical man of tall figure, upright carriage, and bluff, benevolent countenance, an early promoter of the Mechanics'-Institute movement, and an encourager of church-music, vocal and instrumental. Dying without a family dependent on him, he bequeathed his property partly to Charities in the town, and partly to the University of Trinity College, where two scholarships perpetuate his memory.

Just opposite was the residence of the venerable Mrs. Gamble, widow of Dr. Gamble, formerly a surgeon attached to the Queen's Rangers. This lady died in 1859, in her 92nd year, leaving living descendants to the number of two hundred and four. To the west of this house was a well-remembered little parterre, always at the proper season gay with flowers.

At the next corner, on the north side, a house now totally demolished, was the original home of the millionaire Cawthra family, already once alluded to. In the Gazette and Oracle of June 21, 1806, Mr. Cawthra, senior, thus advertises:—"J. Cawthra wishes to inform the inhabitants of York and the adjacent country, that he has opened an Apothecary Store in the house of A. Cameron, opposite Stoyell's Tavern in York, where the Public can be supplied with most articles in that line. He has on hand also, a quantity of Men's, Women's, and Children's shoes and Men's hats. Also for a few days will be sold the following articles, Table Knives and Forks, Scissors, Silver Watches, Maps and Prints, Profiles, some Linen, and a few Bed-Ticks, Teas, Tobacco, a few casks of fourth proof Cognac Brandy, and a small quantity of Lime Juice, and about twenty thousand Whitechapel Needles. York, June 14, 1806." And again, on the 27th of the following November, he informs the inhabitants of York and the neighbouring country that he had just arrived from New York with a general assortment of "apothecary articles;" and that the public can be supplied with everything in that line genuine: also patent medicines: he likewise intimates that he has brought a general assortment of Dry Goods, consisting of "broad cloths, duffils, flannels, swansdown, corduroys, printed calicoes, ginghams, cambrick muslins, shirting, muslin, men and women's stockings, silk handkerchiefs, bandana shawls, pulicat and pocket handkerchiefs, calimancoes, dimity and check; also a large assortment of men's, women's, and children's shoes, hardware, coffee, tea and chocolate, lump and loaf sugar, tobacco, &c., with many other articles: which he is determined to sell on very low terms at his store opposite Stoyell's tavern." York, Nov. 27, 1806. (The Stoyell's Tavern here named, had prev[193]iously been the Inn of Mr. Abner Miles.)

Immediately across, at the corner on the south side, was a depôt, insignificant enough, no doubt, to the indifferent passer-by, but invested with much importance in the eyes of many of the early infantiles of York. Its windows exhibited, in addition to a scattering of white clay pipes, and papers of pins suspended open against the panes for the public inspection, a display of circular discs of gingerbread, some with plain, some with scalloped edge; also hearts, fishes, little prancing ponies, parrots and dogs of the same tawny-hued material; also endwise in tumblers and other glass vessels, numerous lengths or stems of prepared saccharine matter, brittle in substance, white-looking, but streaked and slightly penetrated with some rich crimson pigment; likewise on plates and oval dishes, a collection of quadrangular viscous lumps, buff-coloured and clammy, each showing at its ends the bold gashing cut of a stout knife which must have been used in dividing a rope, as it were, of the tenacious substance into inch-sections or parts.

In the wrapping paper about all articles purchased here, there was always a soupçon of the homely odors of boiled sugar and peppermint. The tariff of the various comestibles just enumerated was well known; it was precisely for each severally, one half-penny. The mistress of this establishment bore the Scottish name of Lumsden—a name familiar to us lads in another way also, being constantly seen by us on the title-pages of school-books, many of which, at the time referred to, were imported from Glasgow, from the publishing-house of Lumsden and Son.

A little way down the street which crosses here, was Major Heward's house, long Clerk of the Peace for the Home District, of whom we had occasion to speak before. Several of his sons, while pursuing their legal and other studies, became also "mighty hunters;" distinguished, we mean, as enthusiastic sportsmen. Many were the exploits reported of them, in this line.

We give here an extract from Mr. McGrath's lively work, published in 1833, entitled "Authentic letters from Upper Canada, with an Account of Canadian Field Sports." "Ireland," he says, "is, in many places, remarkable for excellent cock-shooting, which I have myself experienced in the most favourable situations: not, however, to be compared with this country, where the numbers are truly wond[194]erful. Were I to mention," Mr. McGrath continues, "what I have seen in this respect, or heard from others, it might bring my graver statements into disrepute."

"As a specimen of the sport," he says, "I will merely give a fact or two of, not unusual success; bearing, however, no proportion to the quantity of game. I have known Mr. Charles Heward, of York," he proceeds to state, "to have shot in one day thirty brace at Chippewa, close to the Falls of Niagara—and I myself," Mr. McGrath continues, "who am far from being a first-rate shot, have frequently brought home from twelve to fourteen brace, my brothers performing their part with equal success."

But the younger Messrs. Heward had a field for the exercise of their sportsman skill nearer home than Chippewa. The Island, just across the Bay, where the black-heart plover were said always to arrive on a particular day, the 23rd of May, every year, and the marshes about Ashbridge's bay and York harbour itself, all abounded with wild fowl. Here, loons of a magnificent size used to be seen and heard; and vast flocks of wild geese, passing and re-passing, high in air, in their periodical migrations. The wild swan, too, was an occasional frequenter of the ponds of the Island.




Returning again to King Street: At the corner of Caroline Street, diagonally across from the Cawthra homestead, was the abode, when ashore, of Captain Oates, commander of the Duke of Richmond sloop, the fashionable packet plying between Niagara and York.

Mr. Oates was nearly connected with the family of President Russell, but curiously obtained no share in the broad acres which were, in the early day, so plentifully distributed to all comers. By being unluckily out of the way, too, at a critical moment, subsequently, he missed a bequest at the hands of the sole inheritor of the possessions of his relative.

Capt. Oates was a man of dignified bearing, of more than the ordinary height. He had seen service on the ocean as master and owner of a merchantman. His portrait, which is still preserved in Toronto, somewhat resembles that of George IV.

A spot passed, a few moments since, on King Street, is associated with a story in which the Richmond sloop comes up. It happened that the nuptials of a neighbouring merchant had lately taken place. Some youths, employed in an adjoining warehouse or law-office, took it into their heads that a feu de joie should be fired on the occasion. To carry out the idea they proceeded, under cover of the night, to the Richmond sloop, where she lay frozen in by the Frederick Street wharf, and removed from her deck, without asking leave, a small piece of ordnance with which she was provided. They convey it with some difficulty, carriage and all, up into King Street, and place it in front of the bridegroom's house; run it back, as we have understood, even into the recess underneath the double steps of the porch: when duly ensconced there, as within the port of a man-of-war, they contrived to fire it off, decamping, however, immediately after the exploit, and leaving behind them the source of the deafening explosion.

On the morrow the cannon is missed from the sloop (she was being prepared for the spring navigation): on instituting an inquiry, Capt. Oates is mysteriously informed the lost article is, by some means, up somewhere on the premises of Mr. J. S. Baldwin, the gentleman who had been honoured with the salute, and that if he desired to recover his property he must de[196]spatch some men thither to fetch it. (We shall have occasion to refer hereafter to the Richmond, when we come to speak of the early Marine of York Harbour.)

Passing on our way eastward we came immediately, on the north side, to one of the principal hotels of York, a long, white, two-storey wooden building. It was called the Mansion House—an appropriate name for an inn, when we understand "Mansion" in its proper, but somewhat forgotten sense, as indicating a temporary abode, a place which a man occupies and then relinquishes to a successor. The landlord here for a considerable time was Mr. De Forest, an American who, in some way or other, had been deprived of his ears. The defect, however, was hardly perceptible, so nicely managed was the hair. On the ridge of the Mansion House roof was to be seen for a number of years a large and beautiful model of a completely-equipped sailing vessel.

We then arrived at the north-west angle of King and Princes streets, where a second public well (we have already commemorated the first,) was sunk, and provided with a pump in 1824—for all which the sum of £36 17s. 6d. was paid to John James on the 19th of August in that year. In the advertisements and contracts connected with this now obliterated public convenience, Princes Street is correctly printed and written as it here meets the eye, and not "Princess Street," as the recent corruption is.

Let not the record of our early water-works be disdained. Those of the metropolis of the Empire were once on a humble scale. Thus Master John Stow, in his Survey of London, Anno 1598, recordeth that "at the meeting of the corners of the Old Jurie, Milke Street, Lad Lane, Aldermanburie, there was of old time a fair well with two buckets; of late years," he somewhat pathetically adds, "converted to a pump."

Just across eastward from the pump was one of the first buildings put up on King Street: it was erected by Mr. Smith, who was the first to take up a building lot, after the laying-out of the town-plot.

On the opposite side, a few steps further on, was Jordan's—the far-famed "York Hotel"—at a certain period, the hotel par excellence of the place, than which no better could be found at the time in all Upper Canada. The whole edifice has now utterly disappeared. Its foundations giving way, it for a while seemed to be sinking into the earth, and then it partially threatened to topple over into the st[197]reet. It was of antique style when compared with the Mansion House. It was only a storey-and-a-half high. Along its roof was a row of dormer windows. (Specimens of this style of hotel may still be seen in the country-towns of Lower Canada.)

When looking in later times at the doorways and windows of the older buildings intended for public and domestic purposes, as also at the dimensions of rooms and the proximity of the ceilings to the floors, we might be led for a moment to imagine that the generation of settlers passed away must have been of smaller bulk and stature than their descendants. But points especially studied in the construction of early Canadian houses, in both Provinces, were warmth and comfort in the long winters. Sanitary principles were not much thought of, and happily did not require to be much thought of, when most persons passed more of their time in the pure outer air than they do now.

Jordan's York Hotel answered every purpose very well. Members of Parliament and other visitors considered themselves in luxurious quarters when housed there. Probably in no instance have the public dinners or fashionable assemblies of a later era gone off with more eclat, or given more satisfaction to the persons concerned in them, than did those which from time to time, in every season, took place in what would now be considered the very diminutive ball-room and dining-hall of Jordan's.

In the ball-room here, before the completion of the brick building which replaced the Legislative Halls destroyed by the Americans in 1813, the Parliament of Upper Canada sat for one session.

In the rear of Jordan's, detached from the rest of the buildings, there long stood a solid circular structure of brick, of considerable height and diameter, dome-shaped without and vaulted within, somewhat resembling the furnace into which Robert, the huntsman, is being thrust, in Retzsch's illustration of Fridolin. This was the public oven of Paul Marian, a native Frenchman who had a bakery here before the surrounding premises were converted into a hotel by Mr. Jordan. In the Gazette of May 19, 1804, Paul Marian informs his friends and the public "that he will supply them with bread at their dwellings, at the rate of nine loaves for a dollar, on paying ready money."

About the same period, another Frenchman, François Belcour, is exercising the same craft in York. In Gazettes of 1803, he announces that he is prepared "to supply the ladies and gentlemen who may be pleased to favor him with their custom, with bread, cak[198]es, buns, etc. And that for the convenience of small families, he will make his bread of different sizes, viz., loaves of two, three, and four pounds' weight, and will deliver the same at the houses, if required." He adds that "families who may wish to have beef, etc., baked, will please send it to the bake-house." In 1804, he offers to bake "at the rate of pound for pound; that is to say he will return one pound of Bread for every pound of Flour which may be sent to him for the purpose of being baked into bread."

After the abandonment of Jordan's as a hotel, Paul Marian's oven, repaired and somewhat extended, again did good service. In it was baked a goodly proportion of the supplies of bread furnished in 1838-9, to the troops, and incorporated militia at Toronto, by Mr. Jackes and Mr. Reynolds.

As the sidewalks of King Street were apt to partake, in bad weather, of the impassableness of the streets generally at such a time, an early effort was made to have some of them paved. Some yards of foot-path, accordingly, about Jordan's, and here and there elsewhere, were covered with flat flagstones from the lake-beach, of very irregular shapes and of no great size: the effect produced was that of a very coarse, and soon a very uneven mosaic.

At Quebec, in the neighborhood of the Court House, there is retained some pavement of the kind now described: and in the early lithograph of Court House Square, at York, a long stretch of sidewalk is given in the foreground, seamed over curiously, like the surface of an old Cyclopean or Pelasgic wall.

On April the 26th, 1823, it was ordered by the magistrates at Quarter Sessions that "£100 from the Town and Police Fund, together with one-fourth of the Statute Labour within the Town, be appropriated to flagging the sidewalks of King Street, commencing from the corner of Church Street and proceeding east to the limits of the Town, and that both sides of the street do proceed at the same time." One hundred pounds would not go very far in such an undertaking. We do not think the sidewalks of the primitive King Street were ever paved throughout their whole length with stone.

After Jordan's came Dr. Widmer's surgery, associated with many a pain and ache in the minds of the early people of York, and scene of the performance upon their persons of many a delicate, and daring, and successful remedial experiment. Nearly opposite was property appertaining to Dr. Stoyell, an immigrant, non-pr[199]actising medical man from the United States, with Republican proclivities as it used to be thought, who, previous to his purchasing here, conducted, as has been already implied, an inn at Mrs. Lumsden's corner. (The house on the other side of Ontario Street, westward, was Hayes' Boarding House, noticeable simply as being in session-time, like Jordan's, the temporary abode of many Members of Parliament.)

After Dr. Widmer's, towards the termination of King Street, on the south side, was Mr. Small's, originally one of the usual low-looking domiciles of the country, with central portion and two gable wings, somewhat after the fashion of many an old country manor-house in England.

The material of Mr. Small's dwelling was hewn timber. It was one of the earliest domestic erections in York. When re-constructed at a subsequent period, Mr. Charles Small preserved, in the enlarged and elevated building, now known as Berkeley House, the shape and even a portion of the inner substance of the original structure.

We have before us a curious plan (undated but old) of the piece of ground originally occupied and enclosed by Mr. Small, as a yard and garden round his primitive homestead: occupied and enclosed, as it would seem, before any building lots were set off by authority on the Government reserve or common here. The plan referred to is entitled "A sketch showing the land occupied by John Small, Esq., upon the Reserve appropriated for the Government House at York by His Excellency Lt. Gov. Simcoe." An irregular oblong, coloured red, is bounded on the north side by King Street, and is lettered within—"Mr. Small's Improvements." Round the irregular piece thus shewn, lines are drawn enclosing additional space, and bringing the whole into the shape of a parallelogram: the parts outside the irregularly shaped red portion, are colored yellow: and on the yellow, the memorandum appears—"This added would make an Acre." The block thus brought into shapely form is about one-half of the piece of ground that at present appertains to Berkeley House.

The plan before us also incidentally shows where the Town of York was supposed to terminate:—an inscription—"Front Line of the Town"—runs along the following route: up what is now the lane through Dr. Widmer's property: and then, at a [200]right angle eastward along what is now the north boundary of King Street opposite the block which it was necessary to get into shape round Mr. Small's first "Improvements." King Street proper, in this plan, terminates at "Ontario Street:" from the eastern limit of Ontario Street, the continuation of the highway is marked "Road to Quebec,"—with an arrow shewing the direction in which the traveller must keep his horse's head, if he would reach that ancient city.—The arrow at the end of the inscription just given points slightly upwards, indicating the fact that the said "Road to Quebec" trends slightly to the north after leaving Mr. Small's clearing.




We now propose to pass rapidly down "the road to Quebec" as far as the Bridge. First we cross, in the hollow, Goodwin's creek, the stream which enters the Bay by the cut-stone Jail. Lieutenant Givins (afterwards Colonel Givins), on the occasion of his first visit to Toronto in 1793, forced his way in a canoe with a friend up several of the meanderings of this stream, under the impression that he was exploring the Don. He had heard that a river leading to the North-West entered the Bay of Toronto, somewhere near its head; and he mistook the lesser for the greater stream: thus on a small scale performing the exploit accomplished by several of the explorers of the North American coast, who, under the firm persuasion that a water highway to Japan and China existed somewhere across this continent, lighted upon Baffin's Bay, Davis Strait, the Hudson River, and the St. Lawrence itself, in the course of their investigations.

On the knoll to the right, after crossing Goodwin's creek, was Isaac Pilkington's lowly abode, a little group of white buildings in a grove of pines and acacias.

Parliament Street, which enters near here from the north, is a memorial of the olden time, when, as we have seen, the Parliament Buildings of Upper Canada were situated in this neighbourhood. In an early section of these Recollections we observed that what is now called Berkeley Street was originally Parliament Street, a name which, like that borne by a well-known thoroughfare in Westminster, for a similar reason, indicated the fact that it led down to the Houses of Parliament.

The road that at present bears the name of Parliament Street shews the direction of the track through the primitive woods opened by Governor Simcoe to his summer house on the Don, called Castle-Frank, of which fully, in its place hereafter.

Looking up Parliament Street we are reminded that a few yards westward from where Duke Street enters it, lived at an early period Mr. Richard Coates, an estimable and ingenious man, whose name is associated in our memory with the early dawn of the fine arts in York. Mr. Coates, in a self-taught way, executed, not unsuccessfully, portraits in oil of some of our ancient worthies. Among things of a general or [202]historical character, he painted also for David Willson, the founder of the "Children of Peace," the symbolical decorations of the interior of the Temple at Sharon. He cultivated music likewise, vocal and instrumental; he built an organ of some pretensions, in his own house, on which he performed; he built another for David Willson at Sharon. Mr. Coates constructed, besides, in the yard of his house, an elegantly-finished little pleasure yacht, of about nine tons burden.

This passing reference to infant Art in York recalls again the name of Mr. John Craig, who has before been mentioned in our account of the interior of one of the many successive St. Jameses. Although Mr. Craig did not himself profess to go beyond his sphere as a decorative and heraldic painter, the spirit that animated him really tended to foster in the community a taste for art in a wider sense.

Mr. Charles Daly, also, as a skilful teacher of drawing in water-colours and introducer of superior specimens, did much to encourage art at an early date. In 1834 we find Mr. Daly promoting an exhibition of Paintings by the "York Artists and Amateur Association," and acting as "Honorary Secretary," when the Exhibition for the year took place. Mr. James Hamilton, a teller in the bank, produced, too, some noticeable landscapes in oil.

As an auxiliary in the cause, and one regardful of the wants of artists at an early period, we name, likewise, Mr. Alexander Hamilton; who, in addition to supplying materials in the form of pigments and prepared colours, contributed to the tasteful setting off of the productions of pencil and brush, by furnishing them with frames artistically carved and gilt.

Out of the small beginnings and rudiments of Art at York, one artist of a genuine stamp was, in the lapse of a few years, developed—Mr. Paul Kane; who, after studying in the schools of Europe, returned to Canada and made the illustration of Indian character and life his specialty. By talent exhibited in this class of pictorial delineation, he acquired a distinguished reputation throughout the North American continent; and by his volume of beautifully illustrated travels, published in London, and entitled "Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America," he obtained for himself a recognized place in the literature of British Art.

In the hollow, a short distance westward of Mr. Coates's, was one of the first buildings of any size ever erected in these parts wholly of stone. It was put up by Mr. Hutchinson. It was a large square family ho[203]use of three storeys. It still exists, but its material is hidden under a coating of stucco. Another building, wholly of stone, was Mr. Hunter's house, on the west side of Church Street. A portion of Hugill's Brewery likewise exhibited walls of the same solid, English-looking substance. We now resume our route.

We immediately approach another road entering from the north, which again draws us aside. This opening led up to the only Roman Catholic church in York, an edifice of red-brick, substantially built. Mr. Ewart was the contractor. The material of the north and south walls was worked into a kind of tesselated pattern, which was considered something very extraordinary. The spire was originally surmounted by a large and spirited effigy of the bird that admonished St. Peter, and not by a cross. It was not a flat, moveable weathercock, but a fixed, solid figure, covered with tin.

In this building officiated for some time an ecclesiastic named O'Grady. Mingling with a crowd, in the over-curious spirit of boyhood, we here, at funerals and on other occasions, first witnessed the ceremonial forms observed by Roman Catholics in their worship; and once we remember being startled at receiving, by design or accident, from an overcharged aspergillum in the hands of a zealous ministrant of some grade passing down the aisle, a copious splash of holy water in the eye.

Functionaries of this denomination are generally remarkable for their quiet discharge of duty and for their apparent submissiveness to authority. They sometimes pass and repass for years before the indifferent gaze of multitudes holding another creed, without exciting any curiosity even as to their personal names. But Mr. O'Grady was an exception to the general run of his order. He acquired a distinctive reputation among outsiders. He was understood to be an unruly presbyter; and through his instrumentality, letters of his bishop, evidently never intended to meet the public eye, got into general circulation. He was required to give an account of himself, subsequently, at the feet of the "Supreme Pontiff."

Power Street, the name now applied to the road which led up to the Roman Catholic church, preserves the name of the Bishop of this communion, who sacrificed his life in attending to the sick emigrants in 1847.

The road to the south, a few steps further on, led to [204]the wind-mill built by Mr. Worts, senior, in 1832. In the possession of Messrs. Gooderham & Worts are three interesting pictures, in oil, which from time to time have been exhibited. They are intended to illustrate the gradual progress in extent and importance of the mills and manufactures at the site of the wind-mill. The first shows the original structure—a circular tower of red brick, with the usual sweeps attached to a hemispherical revolving top; in the distance town and harbour are seen. The second shows the wind-mill dismantled, but surrounded by extensive buildings of brick and wood, sheltering now elaborate machinery driven by steam power. The third represents a third stage in the march of enterprise and prosperity. In this picture gigantic structures of massive, dark-coloured stone tower up before the eye, vying in colossal proportions and ponderous strength with the works of the castle-builders of the feudal times. Accompanying these interesting landscape views, all of them by Forbes, a local artist of note, a group of life-size portraits in oil, has occasionally been seen at Art Exhibitions in Toronto—Mr. Gooderham, senior, and his Seven Sons—all of them well-developed, sensible-looking, substantial men, manifestly capable of undertaking and executing whatever practical work the exigencies of a young and vigorous community may require to be done.

Whenever we have chanced to obtain a glimpse of this striking group (especially the miniature photographic reproduction of it on one card), a picture of Tancred of Hauteville and his Twelve Sons, "all of them brave and fair," once familiar as an illustration appended to that hero's story, has always recurred to us; and we have thought how thankfully should we regard the grounds on which the modern Colonial patriarch comforts himself in view of a numerous family springing up [205] around him, as contrasted with the reasons on account of which the enterprising Chieftain of old congratulated himself on the same spectacle. The latter beheld in his ring of stalwart sons so many warriors; so much good solid stuff to be freely offered at the shrine of his own glory, or the glory of his feudal lord, whenever the occasion should arise. The former, in the young men and maidens, peopling his house, sees so many additional hands adapted to aid in a bloodless conquest of a huge continent; so much more power evolved, and all of it in due time sure to be wanted, exactly suited to assist in pushing forward one stage further the civilizing, humanizing, beautifying, processes already, in a variety of directions, initiated.

"Peace hath her victories,  No less renowned than war;"

and it is to the victories of peace chiefly that the colonial father expects his children to contribute.

When the families of Mr. Gooderham and Mr. Worts crossed the Atlantic, on the occasion of their emigration from England, the party, all in one vessel, comprised, as we are informed, so many as fifty-four persons more or less connected by blood or marriage.

We have been told by Mr. James Beaty that when out duck shooting, now nearly forty years since, he was surprised by falling in with Mr. Worts, senior, rambling apparently without purpose in the bush at the mouth of the Little Don: all the surrounding locality was then in a state of nature, and frequented only by the sportsman or trapper. On entering into conversation with Mr. Worts, Mr. Beaty found that he was there prospecting for an object; that, in fact, somewhere near the spot where they were standing, he thought of putting up a wind-mill! The project at the time seemed sufficiently Quixotic. But posterity beholds the large practical outcome of the idea then brooding in Mr. Worts's brain. In their day of small things the pioneers of new settlements may take courage from this instance of progress in one generation, from the rough to the most advanced condition. For a century to come, there will be bits of this continent as unpromising, at the first glance, as the mouth of the Little Don, forty years ago, yet as capable of being reclaimed by the energy and ingenuity of man, and being put to divinely-intended and legitimate uses.—Returning now from the wind-mill, once more to the "road to Quebec," in common language, the Kingston road, we passed, at the corner, the abode of one of the many early settlers in these parts who bore German names—the tenement of Peter Ernst, or Ernest as the appellation afterwards became.

From these Collections and Recollections matters of comparatively so recent a date as 1849 have for the most part been excluded. We make an exception in passing the Church which gives name to Trinity Street, for the sake of recording an inscription on one of its interior walls. It reads as follows:—"To the Memory of the Reverend William Honywood Ripley, B.A., of University College, Oxford, First Incumbent of this Church, son of the Rev. Thomas Hyde Ripley, Rector of Tockenham, and Vicar of[206] Wootton Bassett in the County of Wilts, England. After devoting himself during the six years of his ministry, freely, without money and without price, to the advancement of the spiritual and temporal welfare of this congregation and neighbourhood, and to the great increase amongst them of the knowledge of Christ and His Church, he fell asleep in Jesus on Monday the 22nd of October, 1849, aged 34 years. He filled at the same time the office of Honorary Secretary to the Church Society of the Diocese of Toronto, and was Second Classical Master of Upper Canada College. This Tablet is erected by the Parishioners of this Church as a tribute of heartfelt respect and affection. Remember them that have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."

Canadian society in all its strata has been more or less leavened from England. One of the modes by which the process has been carried on is revealed in the inscription just given. In 1849, while this quarter of Toronto was being taken up and built over, the influence of the clergyman commemorated was singularly marked within it. Mr. Ripley, in his boyhood, had been trained under Dr. Arnold, at Rugby; and his father had been at an early period, a private tutor to the Earl of Durham who came out to Canada in 1838 as High Commissioner. As to the material fabric of Trinity Church—its erection was chiefly due to the exertions of Mr. Alexander Dixon, an alderman of Toronto.

The brick School-house attached to Trinity Church bears the inscription: "Erected by Enoch Turner, 1848." Mr. Turner was a benevolent Englishman who prospered in this immediate locality as a brewer, and died in 1866. Besides handsome bequests to near relations, Mr. Turner left by will, to Trinity College, Toronto, £2,000; to Trinity Church, £500; to St. Paul's £250; to St. Peter's £250.

Just opposite on the left was where Angell lived, the architect of the abortive bridges over the mouths of the Don. We obtain from the York Observer of December 11, 1820, some earlier information in regard to Mr. Angell. It is in the form of a "Card" thus headed: "York Land Price Current Office, King Street." It then proceeds—"In consequence of the Increase of the population of the Town of York, and many applications for family accommodation upon the arrival of strangers desirous of becoming settlers, the Subscriber intends to add to the practice of his Office the business of a [207]House Surveyor and Architect, to lay out Building Estate, draw Ground plans, Sections and Elevations, to order, and upon the most approved European and English customs. Also to make estimates and provide contracts with proper securities to prevent impostures, for the performance of the same. E. Angell. N.B.—Land proprietors having estate to dispose of, and persons requiring any branch of the above profession to be done, will meet with the most respectful attention on application by letter, or at this office. York, Oct. 2, [1820]."

The expression, "York Land Price Current Office," above used is explained by the fact that Mr. Angell commenced at this early date the publication of a monthly "Land Price Current List of Estates on Sale in Upper Canada, to be circulated in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales."

Near Mr. Angell, on the same side, lived also Mr. Cummins, the manager of the Upper Canada Gazette printing office; and, at a later period, Mr. Watson, another well-known master-printer of York, who lost his life during the great fire of 1849, in endeavouring to save a favourite press from destruction, in the third storey of a building at the corner of King and Nelson streets, a position occupied subsequently by the Caxton-press of Mr. Hill.

On some of the fences along here, we remember seeing in 1827-8, an inscription written up in chalk or white paint, memorable to ourselves personally, as being the occasion of our first taking serious notice of one of the political questions that were locally stirring the people of Upper Canada. The words inscribed were—No Aliens! Like the Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, which we ourselves also subsequently saw painted on the walls of Paris; these words were intended at once to express and to rouse public feeling; only in the present instance, as we suppose now, the inscription emanated from the oligarchical rather than the popular side. The spirit of it probably was "Down with Aliens,"—and not "Away with the odious distinction of Aliens!"

A dispute had arisen between the Upper and the Lower House as to the legal terms in which full civil rights should be conferred on a considerable portion of the inhabitants of the country. After the acknowledgment of independence in 1783, emigrants from the United States to the British Provinces came in no longer as British subjects, but as foreigners. Many such emigrants had acquired property and exercised the franchise without taki[208]ng upon themselves, formally, the obligations of British subjects. After the war of 1812, the law in regard to this matter began to be distinctly remembered. The desire then was to check an undue immigration from the southern side of the great lakes; but the effect of the revival of the law was to throw doubt on the land titles of many inhabitants of long standing; doubt on their claim to vote and to fill any civil office.

The consent of the Crown was freely given to legislate on the subject: and in 1825-6 the Parliament resolved to settle the question. But a dispute arose between the Lower and Upper House. The Legislative Council sent down a Bill which was so amended in terms by the House of Assembly that the former body declared it then to be "at variance with the laws and established policy of Great Britain, as well as of the United States; and therefore if passed into a law by this Legislature, would afford no relief to many of those persons who were born in the United States, and who have come into and settled in this Province." The Upper House party set down as disloyal all that expressed themselves satisfied with the Lower House amendments. It was from the Upper House party, we think, that the cry of "No Aliens!" had proceeded.

The Alien measure had been precipitated by the cases of Barnabas Bidwell and of his son Marshall, of whom the former, after being elected, and taking his seat as member for Lennox and Addington, had been expelled the House, on the ground of his being an alien; and the latter had met with difficulties at the outset of his political career, from the same objection against him. In the case of the former, however, his alien character was not the only thing to his disadvantage.

It was in connection with the expulsion of Barnabas Bidwell that Dr. Strachan gave to a member of the Lower House, when hesitating as to the legality of such a step, the remarkable piece of advice, "Turn him out, turn him out! Never mind the law!"—a dictum that passed into an adage locally, quoted usually in the Aberdeen dialect.

Barnabas Bidwell is thus commemorated in Mackenzie's Almanac for 1834: "July 27, 1833: Barnabas Bidwell, Esq., Kingston, died, aged 69 years and 11 months. He was a sincere friend of the rights of the people; possessed of extraordinary powers of mind and memory, and spent many years of his life in doing all the good he could to h[209]is fellow-creatures, and promoting the interests of society."

Irritating political questions have now, for the most part, been disposed of in Canada. We have entered into the rest, in this respect, secured for us by our predecessors. The very fences which, some forty years ago, were muttering "No Aliens!" we saw, during the time of a late general election, exhibiting in conspicuous painted characters, the following exhortation: "To the Electors of the Dominion—Put in Powell's Pump"—a humorous advertisement, of course, of a particular contrivance for raising water from the depths. We think it a sign of general peace and content, when the populace are expected to enjoy a little jest of this sort.

A small compact house, with a pleasant flower garden in front, on the left, a little way on, was occupied for a while by Mr. Joshua Beard, at the time Deputy Sheriff, but afterwards well known as owner of extensive iron works in the town.

We then came opposite to the abode, on the same side, of Mr. Charles Fothergill, some time King's Printer for Upper Canada. He was a man of wide views and great intelligence, fond of science, and an experienced naturalist. Several folio volumes of closely written manuscript, on the birds and animals generally of this continent, by him, must exist somewhere at this moment. They were transmitted to friends in England, as we have understood.

We remember seeing in a work by Bewick a horned owl of this country, beautifully figured, which, as stated in the context, had been drawn from a stuffed specimen supplied by Mr. Fothergill. He himself was a skilful delineator of the living creatures that so much interested him.

In 1832 Mr. Fothergill sat in Parliament as member for Northumberland, and for expressing some independent opinions in that capacity, he was deprived of the office of King's Printer. He originated the law which established Agricultural Societies in Upper Canada.

In 1836, he appears to have been visited in Pickering by Dr. Thomas Rolph, when making notes for his "Statistical Account of Upper Canada." "The Township of Pickering," Dr. Rolph says, "is well settled and contains some fine land, and well watered. Mr. Fothergill," he continues, "has an extensive and most valuable museum of natural curiosities at his residence in this township, which he has collected[210] with great industry and the most refined taste. He is a person of superior acquirements, and ardently devoted to the pursuit of natural philosophy." P. 189.

It was Mr. Fothergill's misfortune to have lived too early in Upper Canada. Many plans of his in the interests of literature and science came to nothing for the want of a sufficient body of seconders. In conjunction with Dr. Dunlop and Dr. Rees, it was the intention of Mr. Fothergill to establish at York a Museum of Natural and Civil History, with a Botanical and Zoological Garden attached; and a grant of land on the Government Reserve between the Garrison and Farr's Brewery was actually secured as a site for the buildings and grounds of the proposed institution.

A prospectus now before us sets forth in detail a very comprehensive scheme for this Museum or Lyceum, which embraced also a picture gallery, "for subjects connected with Science and Portraits of individuals," and did not omit "Indian antiquities, arms, dresses, utensils, and whatever might illustrate and make permanent all that we can know of the Aborigines of this great Continent, a people who are rapidly passing away and becoming as though they had never been."

For several years Mr. Fothergill published "The York Almanac and Royal Calendar," which gradually became a volume of between four and five hundred duodecimo pages, filled with practical and official information on the subject of Canada and the other British American Colonies. This work is still often resorted to for information.

Hanging in his study we remember noticing a large engraved map of "Cabotia." It was a delineation of the British Possessions in North America—the present Dominion of Canada in fact. It had been his purpose in 1823 to publish a "Canadian Annual Register;" but this he never accomplished. While printing the Upper Canada Gazette, he edited in conjunction with that periodical and on the same sheet, the "Weekly Register," bearing the motto, "Our endeavour will be to stamp the very body of the time—its form and pressure: we shall extenuate nothing, nor shall we set down aught in malice." From this publication may be gathered much of the current history of the period. In it are given many curious scientific excerpts from his Common Place Book. At a later period, he published, at Toronto, a weekly paper in quarto shape, named the "Palladium."

Among the non-official advertisements in the [211]Upper Canada Gazette, in the year 1823, we observe one signed "Charles Fothergill," offering a reward "even to the full value of the volumes," for the recovery of missing portions of several English standard works which had belonged formerly, the advertisement stated, to the "Toronto Library," broken up "by the Americans at the taking of York." It was suggested that probably the missing books were still scattered about, up and down, in the town. It is odd to see the name of "Toronto" cropping out in 1823, in connection with a library. (In a much earlier York paper we notice the "Toronto Coffee House" advertised.)

Mr. Fothergill belonged to the distinguished Quaker family of that name in Yorkshire. A rather good idea of his character of countenance may be derived from the portrait of Dr. Arnold, prefixed to Stanley's Memoir. An oil painting of him exists in the possession of some of his descendants.

We observe in Leigh Hunt's London Journal, i. 172, a reference to "Fothergill's Essay on the Philosophy, Study and Use of Natural History;" and we have been assured that it is our Canadian Fothergill who was its author. We give a pathetic extract from a specimen of the production, in the work just referred to: "Never shall I forget," says the essayist, "the remembrance of a little incident which many will deem trifling and unimportant, but which has been peculiarly interesting to my heart, as giving origin to sentiments and rules of action which have since been very dear to me."

"Besides a singular elegance of form and beauty of plumage," continues the enthusiastic naturalist, "the eye of the common lapwing is peculiarly soft and expressive; it is large, black, and full of lustre, rolling, as it seems to do, in liquid gems of dew. I had shot a bird of this beautiful species; but, on taking it up, I found it was not dead. I had wounded its breast; and some big drops of blood stained the pure whiteness of its feathers. As I held the hapless bird in my hand, hundreds of its companions hovered round my head, uttering continued shrieks of distress, and, by their plaintive cries, appeared to bemoan the fate of one to whom they were connected by ties of the most tender and interesting nature; whilst the poor wounded bird continually moaned, with a kind of inward wailing note, expressive of the keenest anguish; and, ever and anon, it raised its drooping head, and turning towards the wound in its breast, touched it with its bill, and then looked up in my face, with an expression that I have no wish to forget, for it had power to touch my heart whilst yet a boy, when a thousand [212]dry precepts in the academical closet would have been of no avail."

The length of this extract will be pardoned for the sake of its deterrent drift in respect to the wanton maiming and massacre of our feathered fellow-creatures by the firearms of sportsmen and missiles of thoughtless children.

Eastward from the house where we have been pausing, the road took a slight sweep to the south and then came back to its former course towards the Don bridge, descending in the meantime into the valley of a creek or watercourse, and ascending again from it on the other side. Hereabout, to the left, standing on a picturesque knoll and surrounded by the natural woods of the region, was a good sized two-storey dwelling; this was the abode of Mr. David MacNab, sergeant-at-arms to the House of Assembly, as his father had been before him. With him resided several accomplished, kind-hearted sisters, all of handsome and even stately presence; one of them the belle of the day in society at York.

Here were the quarters of the Chief MacNab, whenever he came up to York from his Canadian home on the Ottawa. It was not alone when present at church that this remarkable gentleman attracted the public gaze; but also, when surrounded or followed by a group of his fair kinsfolk of York, he marched with dignified steps along through the whole length of King Street, and down or up the Kingston road to and from the MacNab homestead here in the woods near the Don.

In his visits to the capital, the Chief always wore a modified highland costume, which well set off his stalwart, upright form: the blue bonnet and feather, and richly embossed dirk, always rendered him conspicuous, as well as the tartan of brilliant hues depending from his shoulder after obliquely swathing his capacious chest; a bright scarlet vest with massive silver buttons, and dress coat always jauntily thrown back, added to the picturesqueness of the figure.

It was always evident at a glance that the Chief set a high value on himself.—"May the MacNab of MacNabs have the pleasure of taking wine with Lady Sarah Maitland?" suddenly heard above the buzz of conversation, pronounced in a very deep and measured tone, by his manly voice, made mute for a time, on one occasion, the dinner-table at Government House. So the gossip ran. Another story of t[213]he same class, but less likely, we should think, to be true, was, that seating himself, without uncovering, in the Court-room one day, a messenger was sent to him by the Chief Justice, Sir William Campbell, on the Bench, requiring the removal of his cap; when the answer returned, as he instantly rose and left the building, was, that "the MacNab of MacNabs doffs his bonnet to no man!"

At his home on the Chats the Emigrant Laird did his best to transplant the traditions and customs of by-gone days in the Highlands, but he found practical Canada an unfriendly soil for romance and sentiment. Bouchette, in his British Dominions, i. 82, thus refers to the Canadian abode of the Chief and to the settlement formed by the clan MacNab. "High up [the Ottawa]," he says, "on the bold and abrupt shore of the broad and picturesque Lake of the Chats, the Highland Chief MacNab has selected a romantic residence, Kinnell Lodge, which he has succeeded, through the most unshaken perseverance, in rendering exceedingly comfortable. His unexampled exertions in forming and fostering the settlement of the township, of which he may be considered the founder and the leader, have not been attended with all the success that was desirable, or which he anticipated."

Bouchette then appends a note wherein we can see how readily his own demonstrative Gallic nature sympathized with the kindred Celtic spirit of the Highlander. "The characteristic hospitality that distinguished our reception by the gallant Chief," he says, "when, in 1828, we were returning down the Ottawa, after having explored its rapids and lakes, as far up as Grand Calumet, we cannot pass over in silence. To voyageurs in the remote wilds of Canada," he continues, "necessarily strangers for the time to the sweets of civilization, the unexpected comforts of a well-furnished board, and the cordiality of a Highland welcome, are blessings that fall upon the soul like dew upon the flower. 'The sun was just resigning to the moon the empire of the skies,' when we took our leave of the noble chieftain," he adds, "to descend the formidable rapids of the Chats. As we glided from the foot of the bold bank, the gay plaid and cap of the noble Gaël were seen waving on the proud eminence, and the shrill notes of the piper filled the air with their wild cadences. They died away as we approached the head of the rapids. Our caps were flourished, and the flags (for our canoe was gaily decorated with them) waved in adieu, and we entered the vortex of the swift and whirling str[214]eam."

In 1836, Rolph, in his "Statistical Account of Upper Canada," p. 146, also speaks of the site of Kinnell Lodge as "greatly resembling in its bold, sombre and majestic aspect, the wildest and most romantic scenery" of Scotland. "This distinguished Chieftain," the writer then informs us, "has received permission to raise a militia corps of 800 Highlanders, a class of British subjects always distinguished for their devoted and chivalrous attachment to the laws and institutions of their noble progenitors, and who would prove a rampart of living bodies in defence of British supremacy whenever and wherever assailed."

The reference in Dean Ramsay's interesting "Reminiscences of Scottish life and Character," to "the last Laird of MacNab," is perhaps to the father of the gentleman familiar to us here in York, and who filled so large a space in the recollections of visitors to the Upper Ottawa. "The last Laird of MacNab before the clan finally broke up and emigrated to Canada was," says the Dean in the work just named, "a well-known character in the country; and, being poor, used to ride about on a most wretched horse, which gave occasion to many jibes at his expense. The Laird," this writer continues, "was in the constant habit of riding up from the country to attend the Musselburgh races [near Edinburgh]." A young wit, by way of playing him off on the race course, asked him in a contemptuous tone, "Is that the same horse you had last year, Laird?"—"Na," said the Laird, brandishing his whip in the interrogator's face in so emphatic a manner as to preclude further questioning, "Na! but it's the same whup!" (p. 216, 9th ed.)

We do not doubt but that the MacNabs have ever been a spirited race. Their representatives here have always been such; and like their kinsmen in the old home, too, they have had, during their brief history in Canada, their share of the hereditary vicissitudes. We owe to a Sheriff's advertisement in the Upper Canada Gazette or American Oracle of the 14th of April, 1798, published at Niagara, some biographical particulars and a minute description of the person of the Mr. MacNab who was afterwards, as we have already stated, Usher of the Black Rod to the House of Assembly and father of his successor, Mr. David MacNab, in the same post; father also of the Allan MacNab, whose history forms part of that of Upper Canada.

In 1798, imprisonment for debt was the rigorously enf[215]orced law of the land. The prominent MacNab of that date had, it would appear, become obnoxious to the law on the score of indebtedness: but finding the restraint imposed irksome, he had relieved himself of it without asking leave. The hue and cry for his re-capture proceeded as follows: "Two hundred dollars reward! Home District, Upper Canada, Newark, April 2, 1798. Broke the gaol of this District on the night of the 1st instant, [the 1st of April, be it observed,] Allan MacNab, a confined debtor. He is a reduced lieutenant of horse," proceeds the Sheriff, "on the half-pay list of the late corps of Queen's Rangers; aged 38 years or thereabouts; five feet three inches high; fair complexion; light hair; red beard; much marked with the small-pox; the middle finger of one of his hands remarkable for an overgrown nail; round shouldered; stoops a little in walking; and although a native of the Highlands of Scotland, affects much in speaking the Irish dialect. Whoever will apprehend, &c., &c., shall receive the above reward, with all reasonable expenses."

The escape of the prisoner on the first of April was probably felt by the Sheriff to be a practical joke played off on himself personally. We think we detect personal spleen in the terms of the advertisement: in the minuteness of the description of Mr. MacNab's physique, which never claimed to be that of an Adonis; in the biographical particulars, which, however interesting they chance to prove to later generations, were somewhat out of place on such an occasion: as also in a postscript calling on "the printers within His Majesty's Governments in America, and those of the United States to give circulation in their respective papers to the above advertisement," &c.

It was a limited exchequer that created embarrassment in the early history—and, for that matter, in much of the later history as well—of Mr. MacNab's distinguished son, afterwards the baronet Sir Allan; and no one could relate with more graphic and humorous effect his troubles from this source, than he was occasionally in the habit of doing.

When observing his well-known handsome form and ever-benignant countenance, about the streets of York, we lads at school were wont, we remember, generally to conjecture that his ramblings were limited to certain bounds. He himself used to dwell with an amount of complacency on the skill acquired in carpentry duri[216]ng these intervals of involuntary leisure, and on the practical results to himself from that skill, not only in the way of pastime, but in the form of hard cash for personal necessities. Many were the panelled doors and Venetian shutters in York which, by his account, were the work of his hands.

Once he was on the point of becoming a professional actor. Giving assistance now and then as an anonymous performer to Mr. Archbold, a respectable Manager here, he evinced such marked talent on the boards, that he was seriously advised to adopt the stage as his avocation and employment. The Theatre of Canadian public affairs, however, was to be the real scene of his achievements. Particulars are here unnecessary. Successively sailor and soldier (and in both capacities engaged in perilous service); a lawyer, a legislator in both Houses; Speaker twice in the Popular Assembly; once Prime Minister; knighted for gallantry, and appointed an Aide-de-camp to the Queen; dignified with a baronetcy; by the marriage of a daughter with the son of a nobleman, made the possible progenitor of English peers—the career of Allan MacNab cannot fail to arrest the attention of the future investigator of Canadian history.

With our local traditions in relation to the grandiose chieftain above described, one or two stories are in circulation, in which his young kinsman Allan amusingly figures. Alive to pleasantry—as so many of our early worthies in these parts were—he undertook, it is said, for a small wager, to prove the absolute nudity of the knees, &c., of his feudal lord when at a ball in full costume: (the allegation, mischievously made, had been that the Chief was protected from the weather by invisible drawers.) The mode of demonstration adopted was a sudden cry from the ingenuous youth addressed to the Chief, to the effect that he observed a spider, or some such object running up his leg!—a cry instantly followed by a smart slap with the hand, with the presumed intention of checking the onward course of the noxious thing. The loud crack occasioned by the blow left no room for doubt as to the fact of nudity; but the dignified Laird was somewhat disconcerted by the over zeal of his young retainer.

Again, at Kingston, the ever-conscious Chief having written himself down in the visitors' book at the hotel as The MacNab, his juvenile relative, coming in immediately after and seeing the curt inscription, instantly entered his protest against the monopoly apparently implied, by writing himself down, just underneat[217]h, in conspicuous characters, as The Other MacNab—the genius of his coming fortunes doubtless inspiring the merry deed.—He held for a time a commission in the 68th, and accompanied that regiment to York in 1827. Riding along King Street one day soon after his arrival in the town, he observed Mr. Washburn, the lawyer, taking a furtive survey of him through his eyeglass. The proceeding is at once reciprocated by the conversion of a stirrup into an imaginary lens of large diameter, lifted by the strap and waggishly applied to the eye. Mr. Washburn had, we believe, pressed matters against the young officer rather sharply in the courts, a year or two previously. A few years later, when member for Wentworth, he contrived, while conversing with the Speaker, Mr. McLean, in the refreshment-room of the Parliament House, to slip into one of that gentleman's coat pockets the leg-bone of a turkey. After the lapse of a few minutes, Mr. MacNab, as chairman of a committee of the whole House, is solemnly seated at the Table, and Mr. Speaker, in his capacity as a member, is being interrogated by him on some point connected with the special business of the committee. At this particular moment, it happens that Mr. Speaker, feeling for his handkerchief, discovers in his pocket the extraordinary foreign object which had been lodged there. Guessing in an instant the author of the trick, he extricates the bone and quick as thought, shies it at the head of the occupant of the Chair. The House is, of course, amazed; and Mr. MacNab, in the gravest manner, directs the Clerk to make a note of the act.—We have understood that the house occupied by Mr. Fothergill (where we paused a short time since) was originally built by Allan MacNab, junior, but never dwelt in by him.

We now arrived at the Don bridge. The valley of the Don, at the place where the Kingston Road crosses it, was spanned in 1824 by a long wooden viaduct raised about twenty-five feet above the marsh below. This structure consisted of a series of ten trestles, or frames of hewn timber supporting a roadway of plank, which had lasted since 1809. A similar structure spanned the Humber and its marshes on the west side of York. Both of these bridges about the year 1824 had become very much decayed; and occasionally both were rendered impassable at the same time, by the falling in of worn-out and broken planks. The York papers would then make themselves merry on the well-defended condition of the town in a military point of view, approach[218] to it from the east and west being effectually barred.

Prior to the erection of the bridge on the Kingston Road, the Don was crossed near the same spot by means of a scow, worked by the assistance of a rope stretched across the stream. In 1810, we observe that the Humber was also crossed by means of a ferry. In that year the inhabitants of Etobicoke complained to the magistrates in session at York of the excessive toll demanded there; and it was agreed that for the future the following should be the charges:—For each foot passenger, 2½d.; for every hog, 1d.; for every sheep, the same; for horned cattle, 2½d. each, for every horse and rider, 5d.; for every carriage drawn by two horses, 1s. 3d. (which included the driver); for every carriage with one horse, 1s. It is presumed that the same tolls were exacted at the ferry over the Don, while in operation.

In 1824 not only was the Don bridge in bad repair, but, as we learn from a petition addressed by the magistrates to Sir Peregrine Maitland in that year, the bridge over the Rouge in Pickering, also, is said to be, "from its decayed state, almost impassable, and if not remedied," the document goes on to state, "the communication between this town (York) and the eastern parts of the Province, as well as with Lower Canada by land, will be entirely obstructed."

At length the present earthwork across the marsh at the Don was thrown up, and the river itself spanned by a long wooden tube, put together on a suspension principle, roofed over and closed in on the sides, with the exception of oblong apertures for light. It resembled in some degree the bridges to be seen over the Reuss at Lucerne and elsewhere in Switzerland, though not decorated with paintings in the interior, as they are. Stone piers built on piles sustained it at either end. All was done under the superintendence of a United States contractor, named Lewis. It was at him that the italics in Mr. Angell's advertisement glanced. The inuendo was that, for engineering purposes, there was no necessity for calling in the aid of outsiders.

From a kind of small Friar-Bacon's study, occupied in former years by ourselves, situated on a bold point some distance northwards, up the valley, we remember watching the pile-driver at work in preparing the foundation of the two stone piers of the Don bridge: from where we sat at our books we could see the heavy mallet descend; and then, after a considerable interval, we would h[219]ear the sharp stroke on the end of the piece of timber which was being driven down. From the same elevated position also, previously, we used to see the teams crossing the high frame-work over the marsh on their way to and from Town, and hear the distant clatter of the horses' feet on the loosely-laid planks.

The tubular structure which succeeded the trestle-work bridge did not retain its position very long. The pier at its western extremity was undermined by the water during a spring freshet, and gave way. The bridge, of course, fell down into the swirling tide below, and was carried bodily away, looking like a second Ark as it floated along towards the mouth of the river, where at length it stranded and became a wreck.

On the breaking up of the ice every spring the Don, as is well known, becomes a mighty rushing river, stretching across from hill to hill. Ordinarily, it occupies but a small portion of its proper valley, meandering along, like an English tide-stream when the tide is out. The bridge carried away on this occasion was notable so long as it stood, for retaining visible marks of an attempt to set fire to it during the troubles of 1837.

The next appliance for crossing the river was another tubular frame of timber, longer than the former one; but it was never provided with a roof, and never closed in at the sides. Up to the time that it began to show signs of decay, and to require cribs to be built underneath it in the middle of the stream, it had an unfinished, disreputable look. It acquired a tragic interest in 1859, from being the scene of the murder, by drowning, of a young Irishman named Hogan, a barrister, and, at the same time, a member of the Parliament of Canada.

When crossing the high trestlework which preceded the present earth-bank, the traveller, on looking down into the marsh below, on the south side, could see the remains of a still earlier structure, a causeway formed of unhewn logs laid side by side in the usual manner, but decayed, and for the most part submerged in water, resembling, as seen from above, some of the lately-discovered substructions in the lakes of Switzerland. This was probably the first road by which wheeled vehicles ever crossed the valley of the Don here. On the protruding ends of some of the logs of this causeway would be always seen basking, on a warm summer's day, many fresh-water turtles; amongst which, as also amongst the black snakes, which were likewise al[220]ways to be seen coiled up in numbers here, and among the shoals of sunfish in the surrounding pools, a great commotion would take place when the jar was felt of a waggon passing over on the framework above.

The rest of the marsh, with the exception of the space occupied by the ancient corduroy causeway, was one thicket of wild willow, alder, and other aquatic shrubbery, among which was conspicuous the spiræa, known among boys as "seven-bark" or "nine-bark" and prized by them for the beautiful hue of its rind, which, when rubbed, becomes a bright scarlet.

Here also the blue iris grew plentifully, and reeds, frequented by the marsh hen; and the bulrush, with its long cat-tails, sheathed in chestnut-coloured felt, and pointing upwards like toy sky-rockets ready to be shot off. (These cat-tails, when dry and stripped, expand into large, white, downy spheres of fluff, and actually are as inflammable as gunpowder, going off with a mighty flash at the least touch of fire.)

The view from the old trestlework bridge, both up and down the stream, was very picturesque, especially when the forest, which clothed the banks of the ravine on the right and left, wore the tints of autumn. Northward, while many fine elms would be seen towering up from the land on a level with the river, the bold hills above them and beyond were covered with lofty pines. Southward, in the distance, was a great stretch of marsh, with the blue lake along the horizon. In the summer this marsh was one vast jungle of tall flags and reeds, where would be found the conical huts of the muskrat, and where would be heard at certain seasons the peculiar gulp of the bittern; in winter, when crisp and dry, here was material for a magnificent pyrotechnical display, which usually, once a year, came off, affording at night to the people of the town a spectacle not to be contemned.

Through a portion of this marsh on the eastern side of the river, Mr. Justice Boulton, at a very early period, cut, at a great expense, an open channel in front of some property of his: it was expected, we believe, that the matted vegetation on the outer side of this cutting would float away and leave clear water, when thus disengaged; but no such result ensued: the channel, however, has continued open, and is known as the "Boulton ditch." It forms a communication for skiffs between the Don and Ashbridge's Bay.

At the west en[221]d of the bridge, just across what is now the gore between Queen Street and King Street, there used to be the remains of a military breastwork thrown up in the war of 1812. At the east end of the bridge, on the south side of the road, there still stands a lowly edifice of hewn logs, erected before the close of the last century, by the writer's father, who was the first owner and occupant of the land on both sides of the Kingston road at this point. The roadway down to the original crossing-place over the river in the days of the Ferry, and the time of the first corduroy bridge, swerving as it did considerably to the south from the direct line of the Kingston road, must have been in fact a trespass on his lot on the south side of the road: and we find that so noteworthy an object was the solitary house, just above the bridge, in 1799, that the bridge itself, in popular parlance, was designated by its owner's name. Thus in the Upper Canada Gazette for March 9, 1799, we read that at a Town Meeting Benjamin Morley was appointed overseer of highways and fence-viewer for the section of road "from Scadding's bridge to Scarborough." In 1800 Mr. Ashbridge is appointed to the same office, and the section of highway placed under his charge is on this occasion named "the Bay Road from Scadding's bridge to Scarborough."

This Mr. Ashbridge is the early settler from whom Ashbridge's Bay was so called. His farm lay along the lower portion of that sheet of water. Next to him, westward, was the property of Mr. Hastings, whose Christian name was Warren. Years ago, when first beginning to read Burke, we remember wondering why the name of "the great proconsul" of Hindustan looked so familiar to the eye: when we recollected that in our childhood we used frequently to see here along the old Kingston road the name Warren Hastings appended in conspicuous characters, to placards posted up, advertising a "Lost Cow," or some other homely animal, gone astray.—Adjoining Mr. Hasting's farm, still moving west, was that of Mr. Mills, with whose name in our mind is associated the name of "Hannah Mills," an unmarried member of his household, who was the Sister of Charity of the neighbourhood, ever ready in times of sickness and bereavement to render, for days and nights together, kindly, sympathetic and consolatory aid.

We transcribe the full list of the appointments at the Town Meeting of 1799, for the sake of the old locally familiar names therein embodied; and also as showing the curious and almost incredible fact that in the language of the people, York at that early period, 1799, was beginning to be ent[222]itled "the City of York!"

"Persons elected at the Town Meeting held at the City of York on the 4th day of March, 1799, pursuant to an Act of Parliament of the Province, entitled an Act to provide for the nomination and appointment of Parish and Town Officers within this Province. Clerk of the Town and Township,—Mr. Edward Hayward. Assessors,—(including also the Townships of Markham and Vaughan) Mr. George Playter and Mr. Thomas Stoyles. Collector,—Mr. Archibald Cameron. Overseers of the Highways and Roads, and Fence-viewers,—Benjamin Morley, from Scadding's Bridge to Scarborough; James Playter, from the Bay Road to the Mills; Abraham Devans, circle of the Humber; Paul Wilcot, from Big-Creek to No. 25, inclusive, on Yonge Street, and half Big-Creek Bridge; Daniel Dehart, from Big-Creek to No. 1 inclusive, on Yonge Street, and half Big-Creek Bridge. Mr. McDougal and Mr. Clarke for the district of the city of York. Pound Keepers: Circle of the Don, Parshall Terry, junr.; Circle of the Humber, Benjamin Davis; Circle of Yonge Street, No. 1 to 25, James Everson; Circle of the City, etc., James Nash. Townwardens, Mr. Archibald Thompson and Mr. Samuel Heron. Other officers, elected pursuant to the 12th clause of the said Act: Pathmasters and Fence-viewers, Yonge Street, in Markham and Vaughan, Mr. Stilwell Wilson, lots 26 to 40, Yonge Street; Mr. John H. Hudrux, 41 to 51, Yonge Street, John Lyons, lots 26 to 35. John Stulz, Pathmaster and Fence-viewer in the German Settlement of Markham. David Thompson, do. for Scarborough."

It is then added:—"N. B.—Conformably to the resolutions of the inhabitants, no hogs to run at large above three months old, and lawful fences to be five feet and a half high. Nicholas Klingenbrumer, constable, presiding." Furthermore, the information is given that "the following are Constables appointed by the Justices: John Rock, Daniel Tiers and John Matchefosky, for the city, etc. Levi Devans for the District of the Humber, Thomas Hill from No. 1 to 25, Yonge Street; Balser Munshaw, for Vaughan and first Concession of Markham; —— Squantz for the German settlement of Markham. By order of the Magistrates: D. W. Smith." Also notice is given that "Such of the above officers as have not yet taken the oath, are warned hereby to do so without loss of time. The constables are to take notice that although for their own ease they are selected from particular districts, they are liable to serve process generally in the county."


When, in 1799, staid inhabitants were found seriously dignifying the group of buildings then to be seen on the borders of the bay, with the magnificent appellation of the "City of York," it is no wonder that at a later period indignation is frequently expressed at the ignominious epithet of "Little," which persons in the United States were fond of prefixing to the name of the place. Thus for example, in the Weekly Register so late as June, 1822, we have the editor speaking thus in a notice to a correspondent: "Our friends on the banks of the Ohio, 45 miles below Pittsburg, will perceive," the editor remarks, "that notwithstanding he has made us pay postage [and postage in those days was heavy], we have not been unmindful of his request. We shall always be ready at the call of charity when not misapplied; and we hope the family in question will be successful in their object.—There is one hint, however," the editor goes on to say, "we wish to give Mr. W. Patton, P. M.; which is, although there may be many "Little" Yorks in the United States, we know of no place called "Little York" in Canada; and beg that he will bear this little circumstance in his recollection when he again addresses us."

Gourlay also, as we have seen, when he wished to speak cuttingly of the authorities at York, used the same epithet. In gubernatorial proclamations, the phrase modestly employed is—"Our Town of York."

A short distance east from the bridge a road turned northward, known as the "Mill road." This communication was open in 1799. It led originally to the Mills of Parshall Terry, of whose accidental drowning in the Don there is a notice in the Gazette of July 23, 1808. In 1800, Parshall Terry is "Overseer of Ways from the Bay Road to the Mills." In 1802 the language is "from the Bay Road to the Don Mills," and in that year, Mr. John Playter is elected to the office held in the preceding year by Parshall Terry. (In regard to Mr. John Playter:—The solitary house which overlooked the original Don Bridge and Ferry was occupied by him during the absence of its builder and owner in England; and here, Mr. Emanuel Playter, his eldest son, was born.)

In 1821, and down to 1849, the Mill road was regarded chiefly as an approach to the multifarious works, flour-mills, saw-mills, fulling-mills, carding-mills, paper-mills and breweries, founded near the site of Parshall Terry's Mills, by the Helliwells, a vigorous and substantial Yorkshire fami[224]ly, whose heads first settled and commenced operations on the brink of Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side, in 1818, but then in 1821 transferred themselves to the upper valley of the Don, where that river becomes a shallow, rapid stream, and where the surroundings are, on a small scale, quite Alpine in character—a secluded spot at the time, in the rudest state of nature, a favourite haunt of wolves, bears and deer; a spot presenting difficulties peculiarly formidable for the new settler to grapple with, from the loftiness and steepness of the hills and the kind of timber growing thereabout, massive pines for the most part. Associated with the Helliwells in their various enterprises, and allied to them by copartnerships and intermarriage, were the Skinners and Eastwoods, all shrewd and persevering folk of the Midland and North-country English stock.—It was Mr. Eastwood who gave the name of Todmorden to the village overlooking the mills. Todmorden, partly in Yorkshire, and partly in Lancashire, was the old home of the Helliwells.

Farther up the river, on the hills to the right, were the Sinclairs, very early settlers from New England; and beyond, descending again into the vale, the Taylors and Leas, substantial and enterprising emigrants from England.

Hereabout were the "Forks of the Don," where the west branch of that stream, seen at York Mills, enters. The hills in this neighbourhood are lofty and precipitous, and the pines that clothed them were of a remarkably fine growth. The tedious circuit which teams were obliged to make in order to get into the town from these regions by the Don bridge has since been, to some extent, obviated by the erection of two additional bridges at points higher up the stream, north of the Kingston road.




I.—From the Bridge on the Kingston Road to Tyler's.

Retracing our steps; placing ourselves again on the bridge, and, turning northwards, we see on the right, near by, a field or rough space, which has undergone excavation, looking as though the brick-maker or potter had been at work on it: and we may observe that large quantity of the displaced material has been spread out over a portion of the marshy tract enclosed here by a bend of the river westward. What we see is a relic of an effort made long ago, by Mr. Washburn, a barrister of York, to whom reference has been made before, to bring this piece of land into cultivation. In its natural state the property was all but useless, from the steepness of the hill-side on the one hand, and from the ever wet condition of the central portion of the flat below on the other. By grading down the hill and filling in the marsh, and establishing a gentle slope from the margin of the stream to the level of the top of the bank on the right, it was easy to see that a large piece of solid land in an eligible position might be secured. The undertaking, however, was abandoned before the work was finished, the expense probably being found heavy, and the prospect of a return for the outlay remote.

At a later period Mr. O'Neill, with greater success and completeness, cut down the steep ridges of the bank at Don Mount, a short distance up, and filled in the marsh below. These experiments show how the valley of the Don, along the eastern outskirts of the town, will ultimately be turned to account, when the necessities of the population demand the outlay. At present such improvements are discouraged by the length of time required to cover large surfaces of new clay with vegetable mould. But in future years it will be for mills and factories, and not for suburban and villa purposes, that the parts referred to will be held valuable.

These marshes along the sides of the Don, from the point where its current ceases to be perceptible, appear to be remains of the river as it was at an epoch long ago. The rim or levee that now, on the right and left, confines and defines the meanderings of the stream in the midst of the marshes, has been formed by the alluvial matter deposited in the annual overflowings. The bed of the [226]stream has probably in the same manner been by degrees slightly raised. The solid tow-path, as it were, thus created on each side of the river-channel, affords at present a great convenience to the angler and fowler. It forms, moreover, as shown by the experiments above alluded to, a capital breastwork, towards which the engineer may advance, when cutting down the adjoining hills, and disposing of their material on the drowned land below.

Once more imagining ourselves on the bridge, and looking obliquely to the north-west, we may still discern close by some remains of the short, shallow, winding ravine, by which in winter the sleighs used to ascend from the level of the river, and regain, through a grove of pines and hemlocks, the high road into the town. As soon as the steady cold set in, every year, the long reaches and grand sweeps of the river Don became peculiarly interesting. Firmly frozen over everywhere, and coated with a good depth of snow, bordered on each side by a high shrubbery of wild willow, alder, wych-hazel, dog-wood, tree-cranberry and other specimens of the lesser brushwood of the forest, plentifully overspread and interwoven in numerous places with the vine of wild grape, the whole had the appearance of a fine, clear, level English coach-road or highway, bounded throughout its winding course by a luxuriant hedge, seen as such English roads and their surroundings were wont to be, all snow-clad, at Christmas-tide, from the top of the fast mail to Exeter, for example, in the old coaching days.

Down the river, thus conveniently paved over, every day came a cavalcade of strong sleighs, heavily laden, some with cordwood, some with sawn lumber, some with hay, a whole stack of which at once, sometimes, would seem to be on the move.

After a light fall of snow in the night, the surface of the frozen stream would be marked all over with foot-prints innumerable of animals, small and great, that had been early out a-foraging: tracks of field-mice, minks and martens, of land-rats, water-rats and muskrats; of the wild-cat sometimes, and of the fox; and sometimes of the wolf. Up this valley we have heard at night the howling of the wolf; and in the snow of the meadows that skirt the stream, we have seen the blood-stained spots where sheep had been worried and killed by that ravenous animal.

In one or two places where the bends of the river touched the inner high bank, and where digging[227]s had abortively been made with a view to the erection of a factory of some kind, beautiful frozen gushes of water from springs in the hill-side were every winter to be seen, looking, at a distance, like small motionless Niagaras. At one sheltered spot, we remember, where a tannery was begun but never finished, solid ice was sometimes to be found far on in the summer.

In the spring and summer, a pull up the Don, while yet its banks were in their primeval state was something to be enjoyed. After passing certain potasheries and distilleries that at an early period were erected a short distance northward of the bridge, the meadow land at the base of the hills began to widen out; and numerous elm trees, very lofty, with gracefully-drooping branches, made their appearance, with other very handsome trees, as the lime or basswood, and the sycamore or button-wood.—At a very early period, we have been assured that brigades of North-west Company boats, en route to Lake Huron, used to make their way up the Don as far as the "Forks," by one of which they then passed westward towards the track now known as Yonge-street: they there were taken ashore and carried on trucks to the Holland river. The help gained by utilizing this piece of water-way must have been slight, when the difficulties to be overcome high up the stream were taken into account. We have conversed with an early inhabitant who, at a more recent period, had seen the North-west Company's boats drawn on trucks by oxen up the line of modern Yonge-street, but, in his day, starting, mounted in this manner, from the edge of the bay. In both cases they were shifted across from the Lake into the harbour at the "Carrying-place"—the narrow neck or isthmus a little to the west of the mouth of the Don proper, where the lake has now made a passage.

We add one more of the spectacles which, in the olden time, gave animation to the scene before us. Along the winding stream, where in winter the sleighs were to be seen coming down, every summer at night would be observed a succession of moving lights, each repeated in the dark water below. These were the iron cressets, filled with unctuous pine knots all ablaze, suspended from short poles at the bows of the fishermen's skiffs, out in quest of salmon and such other large fish as might be deemed worth a thrust of the long-handled, sharply-barbed trident used in such operations. Before the establishment of mills and factories, many hundreds of salmon were annually taken in the Don, as in all the other streams emptying into Lake Ontario. We have ourselves been out on a night-fishing excursion on the Don, when in the course[228] of an hour some twenty heavy salmon were speared; and we have a distinct recollection of the conspicuous appearance of the great fish, as seen by the aid of the blazing "jack" at the bow, nozzling about at the bottom of the stream.

2.—From Tyler's to the Big Bend.

Not far from the spot where, at present, the Don-street bridge crosses the river, on the west side and to the north, lived for a long time a hermit-squatter, named Joseph Tyler, an old New Jersey man, of picturesque aspect. With his rather fine, sharp, shrewd features, set off by an abundance of white hair and beard, he was the counterpart of an Italian artist's stock-model. The mystery attendant on his choice of a life of complete solitude, his careful reserve, his perfect self-reliance in regard to domestic matters, and, at the same time, the evident wisdom of his contrivances and ways, and the propriety and sagacity of his few words, all helped to render him a good specimen in actual life of a secular anchorite. He had been in fact a soldier in the United States army, in the war of Independence, and was in the receipt of a pension from the other side of the lakes. He was familiar, he alleged, with the personal appearance of Washington.

His abode on the Don was an excavation in the side of the steep hill, a little way above the level of the river-bank. The flue of his winter fire-place was a tubular channel, bored up through the clay of the hill-side. His sleeping-place or berth was exactly like one of the receptacles for human remains in the Roman catacombs, an oblong recess, likewise carved in the dry material of the hill. To the south of his cave he cultivated a large garden, and raised among other things, the white sweet edible Indian corn, a novelty here at the time; and very excellent tobacco. He moreover manufactured pitch and tar, in a little kiln or pit dug for the purpose close by his house.

He built for himself a magnificent canoe, locally famous. It consisted of two large pine logs, each about forty feet long, well shaped and deftly hollowed out, fastened together by cross dove-tail pieces let in at regular distances along the interior of its bottom. While in process of construction in the pine woods through which the "Mill road" passes, on the high bank eastward of the river, it was a wonderm[229]ent to all the inquisitive youth of the neighbourhood, and was accordingly often visited and inspected by them.

In this craft he used to pole himself down the windings of the stream, all the way round into the bay, and on to the landing-place at the foot of Caroline-street, bringing with him the produce of his garden, and neat stacks of pine knots, ready split for the fishermen's lightjacks. He would also on occasion undertake the office of ferryman. On being hailed for the purpose, he would put across the river persons anxious to make a short cut into the town from the eastward. Just opposite his den there was for a time a rude causeway over the marsh.

At the season of the year when the roads through the woods were impracticable, Tyler's famous canoe was employed by the Messrs. Helliwell for conveying into town, from a point high up the stream, the beer manufactured at their Breweries on the Don. We are informed by Mr. William Helliwell, of the Highland Creek, that twenty-two barrels at a time could be placed in it, in two rows of eleven each, laid lengthwise side by side, still leaving room for Tyler and an assistant to navigate the boat.

The large piece of meadow land on the east side of the river, above Tyler's abode, enclosed by a curve which the stream makes towards the west, has a certain interest attached to it from the fact that therein was reproduced, for the first time in these parts, that peculiarly pleasant English scene, a hop-garden. Under the care of Mr. James Case, familiar with the hop in Sussex, this graceful and useful plant was here for several seasons to be seen passing through the successive stages of its scientific cultivation; in early spring sprouting from the surface of the rich black vegetable mould; then trained gradually over, and at length clothing richly the poles or groups of poles set at regular distances throughout the enclosure; overtopping these supports; by and by loading them heavily with a plentiful crop of swaying clusters; and then finally, when in a sufficiently mature state, prostrated, props and all, upon the ground, and stripped of their fragrant burden, the real object of all the pains taken.—From this field many valuable pockets of hops were gathered; and the quality of the plant was pronounced to be good. Mr. Case afterwards engaged extensively in the same occupation in the neighbourhood of Newmarket.

About the dry, sandy table-land that overlooked the river on each side in this neighbourhood, the burrows of t[230]he fox, often with little families within, were plentifully to be met with. The marmot too, popularly known as the woodchuck, was to be seen on sunny days sitting up upon its haunches at holes in the hill-side. We could at this moment point out the ancient home of a particular animal of this species, whose ways we used to note with some curiosity.—Here were to be found racoons also; but these, like the numerous squirrels, black, red, flying and striped, were visible only towards the decline of summer, when the maize and the nuts began to ripen. At that period also, bears, he-bears and she-bears, accompanied by their cubs, were not unfamiliar objects, wherever the blackberry and raspberry grew. In the forest, moreover, hereabout, a rustle in the underbrush, and something white seen dancing up and down in the distance like the plume of a mounted knight, might at any moment indicate that a group of deer had caught sight of one of the dreaded human race, and, with tails uplifted, had bounded incontinently away.

Pines of a great height and thickness crowded the tops of these hills. The paths of hurricanes could be traced over extensive tracts by the fallen trunks of trees of this species, their huge bulks lying one over the other in a titanic confusion worthy of a sketch by Doré in illustration of Dante; their heads all in one direction, their upturned roots, vast mats of woody ramifications and earth, presented sometimes a perpendicular wall of a great height. Occasionally one of these upright masses, originating in the habit of the pine to send out a wide-spread but shallow rootage, would unexpectedly fall back into its original place, when, in the clearing of the land, the bole of the tree to which it appertained came to be gashed through. In this case it would sometimes happen that a considerable portion of the trunk would appear again in a perpendicular position. As its top would of course show that human hands had been at work there, the question would be propounded to the new comer as to how the axe could have reached to such a height. The suppositions usually encouraged in him were, either that the snow must have been wonderfully deep when that particular tree was felled, or else that some one of the very early settlers must have been a man of exceptional stature.

Among the lofty pines, here and there, one more exposed than the rest would be seen, with a piece of the thickness of a strong fence-rail stripped out of its side, from its extreme apex to its very root, spirally, like the groo[231]ve of a rifle-bore. It in this manner showed that at some moment it had been the swift conductor down into the earth of the contents of a passing electric cloud. One tree of the pine species, we remember, that had been severed in the midst by lightning, so suddenly, that the upper half had descended with perfect perpendicularity and such force that it planted itself upright in the earth by the side of the trunk from which it had been smitten.

Nor may we omit from our remembered phenomena of the pine forests hereabout, the bee-trees. Now and then a huge pine would fall, or be intentionally cut down, which would exhibit in cavernous recesses at a great distance from what had been its root end, the accumulated combs of, it might be, a half century; those of them that were of recent construction, filled with honey.

A solitary survivor of the forest of towering pines which, at the period to which we are adverting, covered the hills on both sides of the Don was long to be seen towards the northern limit of the Moss Park property. In the columns of a local paper this particular tree was thus gracefully commemorated:—

Oh! tell to me, thou old pine tree, Oh! tell to me thy tale, For long hast thou the thunder braved, And long withstood the gale; The last of all thy hardy race, Thy tale now tell to me, For sure I am, it must be strange, Thou lonely forest tree.   Yes, strange it is, this bending trunk, So withered now and grey, Stood once among the forest trees Which long have passed away: They fell in strength and beauty, Nor have they left a trace, Save my old trunk and withered limbs To show their former place.   Countless and lofty once we stood; Beneath our ample shade His forest home of boughs and bark The hardy red man made. Child of the forest, here he roamed, Nor spoke nor thought of fear, As he trapped the beaver in his dam, And chased the bounding deer.   No gallant ship with spreading sail Then ploughed those waters blue, Nor craft had old Ontario then, But the Indians' birch canoe; No path was through the forest, Save that the red man trod; Here, by your home, was his dwelling place, And the temple of his God.   Now where the busy city stands, Hard by that graceful spire, The proud Ojibeway smoked his pipe Beside his camping fire. And there, where those marts of commerce are Extending east and west, Amid the rushes in the marsh The wild fowl had its nest.   But the pale face came, our ranks were thinn'd, And the loftiest were brought low, And the forest faded far and wide, Beneath his sturdy blow; And the steamer on the quiet lake, Then ploughed its way of foam, And the red man fled from the scene of strife To find a wilder home.
  And many who in childhood's days Around my trunk have played, Are resting like the Indian now Beneath the cedar's shade; And I, like one bereft of friends, With winter whitened o'er, But wait the hour that I must fall, As others fell before.   And still what changes wait thee, When at no distant day, The ships of far off nations, Shall anchor in your bay; When one vast chain of railroad, Stretching from shore to shore, Shall bear the wealth of India, And land it at your door.

A short distance above the hop ground of which we have spoken, the Don passed immediately underneath a high sandy bluff. Where, after a long reach in its downward course, it first impinged against the steep cliff, it was very deep. Here was the only point in its route, so far as we recall, where the epithet was applicable which Milton gives to its English namesake, when he speaks of—

"Utmost Tweed, or Ouse, or gulphy Don."

This very noticeable portion of the river was known as the "Big Bend." (We may observe here that in retaining its English name, the Don has lost the appellation assigned to it by the French, if they ever distinguished it by a name. The Grand River, on the contrary, has retained its French name, notwithstanding its English official designation, which was the Ouse. The Rouge, too, has kept its French name. It was the Nen. The Indians styled this, or a neighbouring stream, Katabokokonk, "The River of Easy Entrance." The Thames, however, has wholly dropped its French title, LaTranche. We may subjoin that the Humber was anciently called by some, St John's River, from a trader named St. John; and by some, as we have already learnt, Toronto River. In Lahontan's map it is marked Tanaouaté. No interpretation is given.—Augustus Jones, the early surveyor of whom we shall have occasion frequently to speak, notes in one of his letters that the Indian name for the Don was Wonscoteonach, "Back burnt grounds;" that is, the river coming down from the back burnt country, meaning probably the so-called Poplar Plains to the north, liable to be swept by casual fires in the woods. The term is simply descriptive, and not, in the modern sense, a proper name.)


Towards the summit of the high bluff just mentioned, the holes made by the sand-martins were numerous. Hereabout we have met with the snapping turtle. This creature has not the power of withdrawing itself wholly within a shell. A part of its protection consists in the loud threatening snap of its strong horny jaws, armed in front with a beak-like hook bent downwards. What the creature lays hold of, it will not let go. Let it grasp the end of a stout stick, and the sportsman may sling it over his shoulder, and so carry it home with him. When allowed to reach its natural term of life, it probably attains a very great age. We remember a specimen captured near the spot at which we are pausing, which, from its vast size, and the rough, lichen-covered condition of its shell, must have been extremely old. We also once found near here a numerous deposit of this animal's eggs; all white and spherical, of the diameter of about an inch, and covered with a tough parchment-like skin.

The ordinary lesser tortoises of the marsh were of course plentiful along the Don: their young frequently to be met with creeping about, were curious and ever-interesting little objects. Snakes too there were about here, of several kinds: one, often very large and dangerous-looking, the copper-head, of a greenish brown colour, and covered with oblong and rather loose scales. The striped garter-snake of all sizes, was very common. Though reported to be harmless, it always indulged, when interfered with, in the menacing action and savage attempts to strike, of the most venomous of its genus.—Then there was the beautiful grass-green snake; and in large numbers, the black water-snake. In the rank herbage along the river's edge, the terrified piping of a pursued frog was often heard.

It recurs to us, as we write, that once, on the banks of the Humber, we saw a bird actually in the grasp of a large garter-snake—just held by the foot. As the little creature fluttered violently in the air, the head of the reptile was swayed rapidly to and fro. All the small birds in the vicinity had gathered together in a state of noisy excitement; and many spirited dashes were make by several of them at the common foe. No great injury having been as yet inflicted, we were enabled to effect a happy rescue.

From the high sandy cliff, to which our attention has been drawn, it was possible to look down into the waters of [234]the river; and on a sunny day, it afforded no small amusement to watch the habits, not only of the creatures just named, but of the fish also, visible below in the stream; the simple sunfish, for example, swimming about in shoals (or schools, as the term used to be); and the pike, crafty as a fox, lurking in solitude, ready to dart on his unwary prey with the swiftness and precision of an arrow shot from the bow.

3.—From the Big Bend to Castle Frank Brook.

Above the "Big Bend," on the west side, was "Rock Point." At the water's edge hereabout was a slight outcrop of shaly rock, where crayfish were numerous, and black bass. The adjoining marshy land was covered with a dense thicket, in which wild gooseberry bushes and wild black-currant bushes were noticeable. The flats along here were a favourite haunt of woodcock at the proper season of the year: the peculiar succession of little twitters uttered by them when descending from their flight, and the very different deep-toned note, the signal of their having alighted, were both very familiar sounds in the dusk of the evening.

A little further on was "the Island." The channel between it and the "mainland" on the north side, was completely choked up with logs and large branches, brought down by the freshets. It was itself surrounded by a high fringe or hedge of the usual brush that lined the river-side all along, matted together and clambered over, almost everywhere by the wild grape-vine. In the waters at its northern end, wild rice grew plentifully, and the beautiful sweet-scented white water-lily or lotus.

This minute bit of insulated land possessed, to the boyish fancy, great capabilities. Within its convenient circuit, what phantasies and dreams might not be realized? A Juan Fernandez, a Barataria, a New Atlantis.—At the present moment we find that what was once our charmed isle has now become terra firma, wholly amalgamated with the mainland. Silt has hidden from view the tangled lodgments of the floods. A carpet of pleasant herbage has overspread the silt. The border-strip of shrubbery and grape-vine, which so delightfully walled it round, has been improved, root and branch, out of being.

Near the Island, on the left side, a rivulet, of which more immediately, pouring down through a deep, narrow ravine, entered the Don. On the right, just at this point, the objectionable marshes began to disappear, and the whole bottom of the vale was early conv[235]erted into handsome meadows. Scattered about were grand elm and butternut, fine basswood and buttonwood trees, with small groves of the Canadian willow, which pleasantly resembles, in habit, the olive tree of the south of Europe. Along the flats, remains of Indian encampments were often met with; tusks of bears and other animals; with fragments of coarse pottery, streaked or furrowed rudely over, for ornament. And all along the valley, calcareous masses, richly impregnated with iron, were found, detached, from time to time, as was supposed, from certain places in the hill-sides.

At the long-ago epoch when the land went up, the waters came down with a concentrated rush from several directions into the valley just here, from some accidental cause, carving out in their course, in the enormous deposit of the drift, a number of deep and rapidly descending channels, converging all upon this point. The drainage of a large extent of acreage to the eastward, also at that period, found here for a time its way into the Don, as may be seen by a neighbouring gorge, and the deep and wide, but now dry water-course leading to it, known, where the "Mill road" crosses it, as the "Big Hollow."

Bare and desolate, at that remote era, must have been the appearance of these earth-banks and ridges and flats, as also those in the vicinity of all our rivers: for many a long year they must have resembled the surroundings of some great tidal river, to which the sea, after ebbing, had failed to return.

One result of the ancient down-rush of waters, just about here, was that on both sides of the river there were to be observed several striking specimens of that long, thin, narrow kind of hill which is popularly known as a "hog's back." One on the east side afforded, along its ridge, a convenient ascent from the meadows to the table-land above, where fine views up and down the vale were obtainable, somewhat Swiss in character, including in the distance the lake, to the south. Overhanging the pathway, about half-way up, a group of white-birch trees is remembered by the token that, on their stems, a number of young men and maidens of the neighbourhood had, in sentimental mood, after the manner of the Corydons and Amaryllises of classic times, incised their names.

The west side of the river, as well as the east, of which we have been more especially speaking, presented here also a collection of convergent "hog's backs" and deeply channelled water-courses. One of the latter still conducted down a living stream to[236] the Don. This was the rivulet already noticed as entering just above the Island. It bore the graceful name of "Castle Frank Brook."

4.—Castle Frank.

Castle Frank was a rustic château or summer-house, built by Governor Simcoe in the midst of the woods, on the brow of a steep and lofty bank, which overlooks the vale of the Don, a short distance to the north of where we have been lingering. The construction of this edifice was a mere divertissement while engaged in the grand work of planting in a field literally and entirely new, the institutions of civilization.

All the way from the site of the town of York to the front of this building, a narrow carriage-road and convenient bridle-path had been cut out by the soldiers, and carefully graded. Remains of this ancient engineering achievement are still to be traced along the base of the hill below the Necropolis and elsewhere. The brook—Castle Frank Brook—a little way from where it enters the Don, was spanned by a wooden bridge. Advantage being taken of a narrow ridge, that opportunely had its commencing point close by on the north side, the roadway here began the ascent of the adjoining height. It then ran slantingly up the hill-side, along a cutting which is still to be seen. The table-land at the summit was finally gained by utilizing another narrow ridge. It then proceeded along the level at the top for some distance through a forest of lofty pines, until the château itself was reached.

The cleared space where the building stood was not many yards across. On each side of it, the ground precipitously descended, on the one hand to the Don, on the other to the bottom of the ravine where flowed the brook. Notwithstanding the elevation of the position, the view was circumscribed, hill-side and table-land being alike covered with trees of the finest growth.

Castle Frank itself was an edifice of considerable dimensions, of an oblong shape; its walls were composed of a number of rather small, carefully hewn logs, of short lengths. The whole wore the hue which unpainted timber, exposed to the weather, speedily assumes. At the gable end, in the direction of the roadway from the nascent capital, was the principal entrance, over which a rather imposing portico was formed by the projection of the whole roof, suppo[237]rted by four upright columns, reaching the whole height of the building, and consisting of the stems of four good-sized, well-matched pines, with their deeply-chapped, corrugated bark unremoved. The doors and shutters to the windows were all of double thickness, made of stout plank, running up and down on one side, and crosswise on the other, and thickly studded over with the heads of stout nails. From the middle of the building rose a solitary, massive chimney-stack.

We can picture to ourselves the cavalcade that was wont, from time to time, to be seen in the summers and autumns of 1794-'5-'6, wending its way leisurely to the romantically situated château of Castle Frank, along the reaches and windings, the descents and ascents of the forest road, expressly cut out through the primitive woods as a means of access to it.

First, mounted on a willing and well-favoured horse, as we will suppose, there would be General Simcoe himself—a soldierly personage, in the full vigour of life, advanced but little beyond his fortieth year, of thoughtful and stern, yet benevolent aspect—as shewn by the medallion in marble on his monument in the cathedral at Exeter—revolving ever in his mind schemes for the development and defence of the new Society which he was engaged in founding; a man "just, active, enlightened, brave, frank," as the French Duke de Liancourt described him in 1795; "possessing the confidence of the country, of the troops, and of all those who were joined with him in the administration of public affairs." "No hillock catches his eye," the same observant writer remarks, "without exciting in his mind the idea of a fort which might be constructed on the spot, associating with the construction of this fort the plan of operations for a campaign; especially of that which should lead him to Philadelphia, i. e., to recover, by force of arms, to the allegiance of England, the Colonies recently revolted."

By the side of the soldier and statesman Governor, also on horseback, would be his gifted consort, small in person, "handsome and amiable," as the French Duke again speaks, "fulfilling," as he continues to say, "all the duties of the mother and wife with the most scrupulous exactness; carrying the latter so far," DeLiancourt observes, "as to be of great assistance to her husband by her talent for drawing, the practice of which, in relation to maps and plans, enabled her to be extremely useful to the Governor," while her skill and facility and taste in a wider application of that talent were attested, the French t[238]raveller might have added, by numerous sketch-books and portfolios of views of Canadian scenery in its primitive condition, taken by her hand, to be treasured up carefully and reverently by her immediate descendants, but unfortunately not accessible generally to Canadian students.

This memorable lady—memorable for her eminent Christian goodness, as well as for her artistic skill and taste, and superior intellectual endowments—survived to the late period of 1850. Her maiden name is preserved among us by the designation borne by two of our townships, East and West "Gwillim"-bury. Her father, at the time one of the aides-de-camp to General Wolfe, was killed at the taking of Quebec.

Conspicuous in the group would likewise be a young daughter and son, the latter about five years of age and bearing the name of Francis. The château of which we have just given an account was theoretically the private property of this child, and took its name from him, although the appellation, by accident as we suppose, is identical, in sound at all events, with that of a certain "Castel-franc" near Rochelle, which figures in the history of the Huguenots.

The Iroquois at Niagara had given the Governor a title, expressive of hospitality—Deyonynhokrawen, "One whose door is always open." They had, moreover, in Council declared his son a chief, and had named him Tioga; or Deyoken, "Between the Two Objects;" and to humour them in return, as Liancourt informs us, the child was occasionally attired in Indian costume. For most men it is well that the future is veiled from them. It happened eventually that a warrior's fate befell the young chieftain Tioga. The little spirited lad who had been seen at one time moving about before the assembled Iroquois at Niagara, under a certain restraint probably, from the unwonted garb of embroidered deerskin, in which, on such occasions, he would be arrayed; and at another time clambering up and down the steep hill-sides at Castle Frank, with the restless energy of a free English boy, was at last, after the lapse of some seventeen years, seen a mangled corpse, one in that ghastly pile of "English dead," which, in 1812, closed up the breach at Badajoz.

Riding with the Governor, out to his rustic lodge, would be seen also his attached secretary, Major Littlehales, and one or other of his faithful aides-de-camp, Lieutenant Talbot or Lieutenant[239] Givins; with men in attendance in the dark green undress of the famous Queen's Rangers, with a sumpter pony or two, bearing packages and baskets filled with a day's provender for the whole party. A few dogs also, a black Newfoundland, a pointer, a setter, white and tan, hieing buoyantly about on the right and left, would give animation to the cavalcade as it passed sedately on its way—

"Through the green-glooming twilight of the grove."

It will be of interest to add here, the inscription on General Simcoe's monument in Exeter Cathedral:—"Sacred to the memory of John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-General in the army, and Colonel of the 22nd Regiment of Foot, who died on the 25th day of October, 1806, aged 54. In whose life and character the virtues of the hero, the patriot and the Christian were so eminently conspicuous, that it may justly be said, he served his king and his country with a zeal exceeded only by his piety towards God." Above this inscription is a medallion portrait. On the right and left are figures of an Indian and a soldier of the Queen's Rangers. The remains of the General are not deposited in Exeter Cathedral, but under a mortuary chapel on the estate of his family elsewhere.

Our cavalcade to Castle Frank, as sketched above, was once challenged on the supposed ground that in 1794 there were no horses in Western Canada.—Horses were no doubt at that date scarce in the region named; but some were procurable for the use of the Governor and his suite. In a "Journal to Detroit from Niagara, in 1793, by Major Littlehales," printed for the first time in the Canadian Literary Magazine, for May, 1833, we have it mentioned that, on the return of an exploring party, they were met at the end of the plains, near the Salt Lake Creek, by Indians, "bringing horses for the Governor and his suite." The French habitans about Sandwich and Detroit were in possession of horses in 1793, as well as their fellow countrymen in Lower Canada.

After the departure of General Simcoe from Canada, Castle Frank was occasionally made the scene of an excursion or pic-nic by President Russell and his family; and a ball was now and then given there, for which the appliances as well as the guests were conveyed in boats up the Don. At one time it was temporarily occupied by Captain John Denison, of whom hereafter. About the year 1829, the building, shut up and tenantle[240]ss at the time, was destroyed by fire, the mischievous handiwork of persons engaged in salmon-fishing in the Don. A depression in the dry sand just beyond the fence which bounds the Cemetery of St. James, northward, shews to this day the exact site of Castle Frank. The quantity of iron that was gathered out from this depression after the fire, was, as we remember, something extraordinary, all the window shutters and doors having been, as we have said, made of double planks, fastened together with an immense number of stout nails, whose heads thickly studded the surface of each in regular order.

The immediate surroundings of the spot where Castle Frank stood, fortunately continue almost in their original natural state. Although the site of the building itself is outside the bounds of the Cemetery of St. James, a large portion of the lot which at first formed the domain of the château, now forms a part of that spacious and picturesque enclosure. The deep glen on the west, immediately below where the house was built, and through which flows (and by the listener may be pleasantly heard to flow) the brook that bears its name, is to this day a scene of rare sylvan beauty. The pedestrian from the town, by a half-hour's easy walk, can here place himself in the midst of a forest solitude; and from what he sees he can form an idea of the whole surrounding region, as it was when York was first laid out. Here he can find in abundance, to this day, specimens, gigantic and minute, of the vegetation of the ancient woods. Here at the proper seasons he can still hear the blue jay; the flute notes of the solitary wood-thrush, and at night, specially when the moon is shining bright, the whip-poor-will, hurriedly and in a high key, syllabling forth its own name.

5.—On to the Ford and the Mills.

We now resume our ramble up the valley of the Don. Northward of the gorge, where Castle Frank Brook entered, and where so many other deep-cut ravines converge upon the present channel of the stream, the scenery becomes really good.


We pass along through natural meadows, bordered on both sides by fine hills, which recede by a succession of slight plateaux, the uppermost of them clothed with lofty pines and oaks: on the slope nearest to "the flats" on the east, grew, along with the choke-cherry and may-flower, numbers of the wild apple or crab, beautiful objects when in full bloom. Hereabout also was to be found the prickly ash, a rather uncommon and graceful shrub. (The long-continued precipitous bank on the west side of the Don completely covered with forest, with, at last, the roof of the rustic château appearing above, must have recalled, in some slight degree, the Sharpham woods and Sharpham to the mind of anyone who had ever chanced to sail up the Dart so far as that most beautiful spot.)

Immediately beyond the Castle Frank woods, where now is the property known as Drumsnab, came the estate of Captain George Playter, and directly across on the opposite side of the river, that of his son Captain John Playter, both immigrants from Pennsylvania. When the town of York was in the occupancy of the Americans in 1813, many of the archives of the young province of Upper Canada were conveyed for safe keeping to the houses of these gentlemen. But boats, with men and officers from the invading force, found their way up the windings of the Don; and such papers and documents as could be found were carried away.

Just below Drumsnab, on the west side of the stream, and set down, as it were, in the midst of the valley, was, and is, a singular isolated mound of the shape of a glass shade over a French clock, known in the neighbourhood as the "Sugar Loaf." It was completely clothed over with moderate sized trees. When the whole valley of the Don was filled with a brimming river reaching to the summit of its now secondary banks, the top of the "Sugar Loaf," which is nearly on a level with the summit of the adjacent hills, must have appeared above the face of the water as an island speck.

This picturesque and curious mound is noticed by Sir James Alexander, in the account which he gives of the neighbourhood of Toronto in his "L'Acadie, or Seven Years' Explorations in British America":—"The most picturesque spot near Toronto," says Sir James, "and within four miles of it, is Drumsnab, the residence of Mr. Cayley. The mansion is roomy and of one storey, with a broad verandah. It is seated among fields and woods, on the[242] edge of a slope; at the bottom winds a river; opposite is a most singular conical hill, like an immense Indian tumulus for the dead; in the distance, through a vista cut judiciously through the forest, are seen the dark blue waters of Lake Ontario. The walls of the principal room are covered with scenes from Faust, drawn in fresco, with a bold and masterly hand, by the proprietor."—(Vol. 1. p. 230.)

In the shadow thrown eastward by the "Sugar Loaf," there was a "Ford" in the Don, a favourite bathing-place for boys, with a clean gravelly bottom, and a current somewhat swift. That Ford was just in the line of an allowance for a concession road; which from the precipitous character of the hills on both sides, has been of late years closed by Act of Parliament, on the ground of its supposed impracticability for ever,—a proceeding to be regretted; as the highway which would traverse the Don valley at the Ford would be a continuation of Bloor street in a right line; and would form a convenient means of communication between Chester and Yorkville.

In the meadow on the left, just above the Ford, a little meandering brook, abounding in trout, entered the Don. Hereabouts also was, for a long while, a rustic bridge over the main river, formed by trees felled across the stream.

Proceeding on our way we now in a short time approached the great colony of the Helliwells, which has already been described. The mills and manufactories established here by that enterprising family constituted quite a conspicuous village. A visit to this cluster of buildings, in 1827, is described by Mr. W. L. Mackenzie, in his "Sketches of Canada," published in London, by Effingham Wilson, in 1833. At page 270 of that work, the writer says: "About three miles out of town, in the bottom of a deep ravine, watered by the river Don, and bounded also by beautiful and verdant flats, are situated the York Paper Mills, distillery and grist-mill of Messrs. Eastwood & Co.; also Mr. Shepard's axe-grinding machinery; and Messrs. Helliwell's large and extensive Brewery. I went [243] out to view these improvements a few days ago, and returned much gratified with witnessing the paper-manufacture in active operation—as also the bold and pleasant scenery on the banks of the Don. The river might be made navigable with small expense up to the brewery; and if the surrounding lands were laid out in five-acre lots all the way to town, they would sell to great advantage."




We return once more to the Don Bridge; and from that point commence a journey westward along the thoroughfare now known as Queen Street, but which at the period at present occupying our attention, was non-existent. The region through which we at first pass was long known as the Park. It was a portion of Government property not divided into lots and sold, until recent times.

Originally a great space extending from the first Parliament houses, bounded southward and eastward by the water of the Bay and Don, and northward by the Castle Frank lot, was set apart as a "Reserve for Government Buildings," to be, it may be, according to the idea of the day, a small domain of woods and forest in connection with them; or else to be converted in the course of time into a source of ways and means for their erection and maintenance. The latter appears to have been the view taken of this property in 1811. We have seen a plan of that date, signed "T. Ridout, S. G.," shewing this reserve divided into a number of moderate sized lots, each marked with "the estimated yearly rent, in dollars, as reported by the Deputy Surveyor [Samuel S. Wilmot]." The survey is therein stated to have been made "by order of His Excellency Francis Gore, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor."

The number of the lots is eighty-three. None of them bear a larger amount than twenty dollars. Some of them consisting of minute bits of marsh, were expected to yield not more than one dollar. The revenue from the whole if realised would have been eleven hundred and thirty-three dollars. In this plan, what is now Queen street is duly laid down, in direct continuation of the Kingston Road westward, without regard to the engineering difficulties presented by ravines; but it is entitled in large letters, "Dundas Street." On its north side lie forty-six, and on its south, thirty-seven of the small lots into which the whole reserve is divided The scheme was never carried into effect.

The Park, as we remember it, was a tract of land in a state of nature, densely covered, towards the north, w[245]ith massive pines; and towards the south, with a thick secondary growth of the same forest tree. Through these woods ran a devious and rather obscure track, originating in the bridle-road cut out, before the close of the preceding century, to Castle Frank; one branch led off from it to the Playter-estate, passing down and up two very steep and difficult precipices; and another, trending to the west and north, conducted the wayfarer to a point on Yonge Street about where Yorkville is now to be seen.

To the youthful imagination, the Park, thus clothed with veritable forest—

The nodding horror of whose shady brows Awed the forlorn and wandering passenger—

and traversed by irregular, ill-defined and very solitary paths, leading to widely-separated localities, seemed a vast and rather mysterious region, the place which immediately flashed on the mind, whenever in poem or fairy tale, a wild or wold or wilderness was named. As time rolled on, too, it actually became the haunt and hiding-place of lawless characters.

After passing, on our left, the burial-plot attached to the first Roman Catholic Church of York, and arriving where Parliament Street, at the present day, intersects, we reached the limit, in that direction, of the "Reserve for Government Buildings." Stretching from the point indicated, there was on the right side of the way, a range of "park lots," extending some two miles to the west, all bounded on the south by what at the present time is Queen Street, but which, from being the great thoroughfare along the front of this very range, was long known as "Lot Street." (In the plan above spoken of, it is marked, as already stated, "Dundas Street," it being a section of the great military way, bearing that name, projected by the first Governor of Upper Canada to traverse the whole province from west to east, as we shall have occasion hereafter to narrate.)

In the early plan of this part of York, the names of the first locatees of the range of park-lots are given. On the first or easternmost lot we read that of John Small. On the next, that of J. White.

In this collocation of names there is something touching, when we recall an event in which the first owners of these two contiguous lots were tragicall[246]y concerned. Friends, and associates in the Public Service, the one as Clerk of the Crown, the other as Attorney-General for Upper Canada, from 1792-1800, their dream, doubtless, was to pass the evening of their days in pleasant suburban villas placed here side by side in the outskirts of the young capital. But there arose between them a difficulty, trivial enough probably at the beginning, but which, according to the barbaric conventionality of the hour, could only be finally settled by a "meeting," as the phrase was, in the field, where chance was to decide between them, for life or death, as between two armies—two armies reduced to the absurdity of each consisting of one man. The encounter took place in a pleasant grove at the back of the Parliament Building, immediately to the east of it, between what is now King Street and the water's edge. Mr. White was mortally wounded and soon expired. At his own request his remains were deposited in his garden on the park-lot, beneath a summer-house to which he had been accustomed to retire for purposes of study.

The Oracle of Saturday, January 4, 1800, records the duel in the following words:—"Yesterday morning a duel was fought back of the Government Buildings by John White, Esq., his Majesty's Attorney-General, and John Small, Esq., Clerk of the Executive Council, wherein the former received a wound above the right hip, which it is feared will prove mortal." In the issue of the following Saturday, January 11th, the announcement appears:—"It is with much regret that we express to the public, the death of John White, Esq." It is added: "His remains were on Tuesday evening interred in a small octagon building, erected on the rear of his Park lot." "The procession," the Oracle observes, "was solemn and pensive; and shewed that though death, 'all eloquent,' had seized upon him as his victim, yet it could not take from the public mind the lively sense of his virtues. Vivit post funera virtus."

The Constellation at Niagara, of the date January 11th, 1800, also records the event, and enjoying a greater liberty of expression than the Government organ at York, indulges in some just and sensible remarks on the irrational practice of duelling in general, and on the sadness of the special case which had just occurred. We give the Constellation article:

"Died at Yor[247]k, on the 3rd instant, John White, Esq., Attorney-General of this Province. His death was occasioned by a wound he received in a duel fought the day before with John Small, Esq., Clerk of the Executive Council, by whom he was challenged. We have not been able to obtain the particulars of the cause of the dispute; but be the origin what it may, we have to lament the toleration and prevalency of a custom falsely deemed honourable, or the criterion of true courage, innocency or guilt, a custom to gratify the passion of revenge in a single person, to the privation of the country and a family, of an ornament of society, and support: an outrage on humanity that is too often procured by the meanly malicious, who have preferment in office or friendship in view, without merit to gain it, and stupidly lacquey from family to family, or from person to person, some wonderful suspicion, the suggestions of a soft head and evil heart; and it is truly unfortunate for Society that the evil they bring on others should pass by their heads to light on those the world could illy spare. We are unwilling to attribute to either the Attorney-General or Mr. Small any improprieties of their own, or to say on whom the blame lies; but of this we feel assured, that an explanation might easily have been brought about by persons near to them, and a valuable life preserved to us. The loss is great; as a professional gentleman, the Attorney-General was eminent, as a friend, sincere; and in whatever relation he stood was highly esteemed; an honest and upright man, a friend to the poor; and dies universally lamented and we here cannot refuse to mention, at the particular request of some who have experienced his goodness, that he has refused taking fees, and discharged suits at law, by recommending to the parties, and assisting them with friendly advice, to an amicable adjustment of their differences: and this is the man whom we have lost!"

For his share in the duel Mr. Small was, on the 20th January, 1800, indicted and tried before Judge Allcock and a jury, of which Mr. Wm. Jarvis was the foreman. The verdict rendered was "Not Guilty." The seconds were—Mr. Sheriff Macdonell for Mr. Small, and the Baron DeHoen for Mr. White.

(In 1871, as some labourers were digging out sand, for building purposes, they came upon the grave of Attorney-General White. The remains were carefully removed under the inspection of Mr. Clarke Gamble, and deposited in St. James' Cemetery.)

Mr. White's park-lot became afterwards the property o[248]f Mr. Samuel Ridout, sometime Sheriff of the County, of whom we have had occasion to speak already. A portion of it was subsequently owned and built on by Mr. Edward McMahon, an Irish gentleman, long well known and greatly respected as Chief Clerk in the Attorney General's office. Mr. McMahon's name was, for a time, preserved in that of a street which here enters Queen Street from the North.

Sherborne Street, which at present divides the White park-lot from Moss Park commemorates happily the name of the old Dorsetshire home of the main stem of the Canadian Ridouts. The original stock of this family still flourishes in the very ancient and most interesting town of Sherborne, famous as having been in the Saxon days the see of a bishop; and possessing still a spacious and beautiful minster, familiarly known to architects as a fine study.

Like some other English names, transplanted to the American continent, that of this Dorsetshire family has assumed here a pronunciation slightly different from that given to it by its ancient owners. What in Canada is Ri-dout, at Sherborne and its neighbourhood, is Rid-out.

On the park-lot which constituted the Moss-Park Estate, the name of D. W. Smith appears in the original plan. Mr. D. W. Smith was acting Surveyor-General in 1794. He was the author of "A Short Topographical Description of His Majesty's Province of Upper Canada in North America, to which is annexed a Provincial Gazetteer:"—a work of considerable antiquarian interest now, preserving as it does, the early names, native, French and English, of many places now known by different appellations. A second edition was published in London in 1813, and was designed to accompany the new map published in that year by W. Faden, Geographer to the King and Prince Regent. The original work was compiled at the desire of Governor Simcoe, to illustrate an earlier map of Upper Canada.

We have spoken already in our progress through Front Street, of the subsequent possessor of Mr. Smith's lot, Col. Allan. The residence at Moss Park was built by him in comparatively recent times. The homestead previously had been, as we have already seen, at the foot of Frederick Street, on the south-east corner. To the articles of capitulation on the 27th April, 1813, surrendering the town of York to Dearborn and Chauncey, the commanders of the United States force, the name of Col. Allan, at the time Major Allan, is appended, following that of Lieut.-Col. Chewett.


Besides the many capacities in which Col. Allan did good service to the community, as detailed during our survey of Front Street, he was also, in 1801, Returning Officer on the occasion of a public election. In the Oracle of the 20th of June, 1801, we have an advertisement signed by him as Returning Officer for the "County of Durham, the East Riding of the County of York, and the County of Simcoe"—which territories conjointly are to elect one member. Mr. Allan announces that he will be in attendance "on Thursday, the 2nd day of July next, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, at the Hustings under the Colonnade of the Government Buildings in the Town of York—and proceed to the election of one Knight to represent the said county, riding and county in the House of Assembly, whereof all freeholders of the said county, riding and county, are to take notice and attend accordingly."

The writ, issuing from "His Excellency, Peter Hunter, Esq.," directs the returning officer "to cause one Knight, girt with a sword, the most fit and discreet, to be freely and indifferently chosen to represent the aforesaid county, riding and county, in Assembly, by those who shall be present on the day of election."

Two candidates presented themselves, Mr. A. Macdonell and Mr. J. Small. Mr. Macdonell was duly elected, "there appearing for him," we are briefly informed in a subsequent number of the Oracle, "112 unquestionable votes; and for J. Small, Esq. 32: majority, 80."

In 1804 there was another election, when the candidates were Mr. A. Macdonell again, Mr. D. W. Smith, of whom above, and Mr. Weekes. The address of the last-named gentleman is in the Oracle of May 24th. It is addressed to the Free and Independent Electors of the East Riding of York. He says: "I stand unconnected with any party, unsupported by any influence, and unambitious of any patronage, other than the suffrages of those who consider the impartial enjoyment of their rights, and the free exercise of their privileges as objects not only worthy of the vigilance of the legislator, but also essential to their political security and to their local prosperity. The opportunity of addressing myself to men who may be inclined to think with freedom, and to act with independency, is to me truly desirable; and the receiving of the countenance and support of those characters, must ever bear in my mind impressions more than gratifying."

"It will [250]not accord with my sentiments," the address proceeds to say, "to express myself in the usual terms of zeal and fidelity of an election candidate; inasmuch as that the principle of previous assurances has frequently, in the exercise of the functions of a representative, have been either forgotten or occasionally abandoned; but I hope it will not be considered vaunting in me to assert that that zeal and the fidelity which have manifested themselves in the discharge of my duty to my clients, will not be abated in supporting a more important trust—the cause of the public!"

In the Oracle of April 7th is an address put forth by friends on the part of Mr. D. W. Smith, who is at the moment absent. It is "to the free and independent electors of the County of Durham, the East Riding of the County of York, and the County of Simcoe." It runs as follows: "The friends of the Hon. D. W. Smith beg leave to offer that gentleman to represent you in the ensuing Parliament. His honour, integrity and ability, and the essential services which, in different capacities, he hath rendered to the Province, are so well known and felt that his friends consider the mentioning of his name only to be the most powerful solicitation which they can use on the present occasion, to obtain for him your favour and suffrage." To this address the following paragraph is added on May the 5th: "The friends of Mr. Smith consider it as their duty further to intimate, that from late accounts received from him in England, it was his determination to set out from that country so as to arrive here early in the summer of this present year."

On the 2nd of May Mr. Macdonell's address came out. He speaks like a practised orator, accustomed to the outside as well as the interior of the House. He delivers himself in the following vigorous style:—

"To the Worthy Inhabitants of the East Riding of the County of York, and Counties of Durham and Simcoe: Friends and Fellow Subjects. In addressing you by appellations unusual, I believe, on similar occasions, no affectation of singularity has dictated the innovation: my terms flow from a more dignified principle, a purer source of ideas, from a sentiment of liberal and extensive affection, which embraces and contemplates not only such of you as by law are qualified to vote, but also such as a contracted and short-sighted policy has restrained from the immediate enjoyment of that privilege. Your interests, inseparably the same, and alike dear and interesting to me, have always been equally my care; and your good-will shall indiscriminately be gratifying, whether accompanied with the ability of advancing [251]my present pursuit, or confined to the wishes of my succeeding in it.

"The anxious anticipation of events, which has engaged so many persons unto such early struggles to supplant me, forces me also to anticipate the dissolution of parliament, in declaring my disposition to continue (if supported by my friends at the next general election) in that situation which I have now the honour of filling in parliament; a situation, which the majority of suffrages which placed me in it, justifies the honest pride of supposing, was not obtained without merit, and inspires the natural confidence of presuming, will not be lost without a fault.

"I stoop with reluctance, gentlemen, to animadvert upon some puny fabrications calculated to mislead your judgment, and alienate your favour. It has been said that I am canvassing for a seat elsewhere. No! gentlemen: the satisfaction, the pride, of representing that division of this Province, which, comprehending the capital, is consequently the political head, is to me, too captivating an object of political ambition to suffer the view of it to be intercepted in my imagination for a moment, by the prospect of any inferior representation. Be assured, therefore, gentlemen, that I shall not forsake my present post, until you or life shall have forsaken me.

"Another calumny of a darker hue has been fabricated. I have been represented as inimical to the provincial statute which restrains many worthy persons migrating into this Province from voting at elections, under a residence of seven years. A more insidious, a more bare-faced falsehood, never issued from the lips of malice; for during every session of my sitting in parliament, I have been the warmest, and loudest advocate for repealing that statute and for rendering taxation and representation reciprocal.

"I shall notice a third expedient, in attempting which, detraction (by resorting to an imposture so gross as to carry its own refutation upon the very face of it) has effectually avowed its own impotency:—It has been whispered that I have endeavoured to increase the general rate of assessments within the Home District. Wretched misrepresentation! I should have been my own enemy indeed, if I had lent myself to such a measure. On the contrary; my maxim has been, and shall ever continue to be, that so much of the public burden as possible should be shifted from the shoulders of the industrious farmers and mechanics, upon those of the more opulent classes of the community; persons with large [252]salaries and lucrative employments: the shallow artifice of these exploded lies suggests this natural reflection, that slander could find no real foundation to build upon, when reduced to the necessity of rearing its fabrics upon visions.

"To conclude, gentlemen, I have no interests separate from yours, no country but that which we inhabit in common. In all situations, under all circumstances, I have been the friend of the people and the votary of their rights. I have never changed with the times, nor shifted sides with the occasion; and you may therefore reasonably confide that I shall always be, gentlemen, your most devoted and most attached servant, A. Macdonell, York, 2nd May, 1804."

An attempt had also been made to induce Mr. R. Henderson to become a candidate at this election. He explained the reason why he declined to come forward, in the following card:—"The subscriber thinks it a duty incumbent on him thus publicly to notify his friends who wished him to stand as a candidate at the ensuing election for York and its adjacent counties; that he declines standing, having special business that causes his absence at the time of the election. He hopes that his friends will be pleased to accept of his grateful acknowledgments for the honour they wished to confer on him. But as there are several candidates who solicit the suffrages of the Public, they cannot be at a loss. He leaves you, gentlemen, to the freedom of your own will. He has only to observe that were he present on the day of election, he would give his vote to the Honourable David William Smith. I am, Gentlemen, your obedient and obliged servant, R. Henderson, York, 26th May, 1804."

Mr. Henderson's occupation was afterwards that of a local army contractor, &c., as may be gathered from an advertisement which is to be observed in the Oracle of September 6, 1806:—"Notice. The subscriber having got the contract for supplying His Majesty's troops at the garrison with fresh beef, takes the liberty of informing the public that he has engaged a person to superintend the butchering business, and that good fresh beef may be had three times a week. Fresh pork and mutton will be always ready on a day's notice; poultry, &c. Those gentlemen who may be pleased to become customers, may rely on being well served, and regularly supplied. If constant customers, &c., a note of the weight will be sent along with the article. Families becomi[253]ng constant customers, will please to send a book by their servant, to have it entered, to prevent any mistakes. The business will commence on Monday, the 1st of September next. R. Henderson, York, Aug. 28, 1806."

The grazing ground of Mr. Henderson's fat cattle was extensive. In the same paper we have a notice bearing his signature, announcing that "the subscriber has a considerable number of fat cattle running at large between the town and the Humber. They are all branded on the horns with R. H." The notice continues: "If any of said cattle should be offered for sale to butchers or others, it is hoped no one will purchase them, as they may suppose them to be stolen. A number of fat cattle is still wanted, for which cash will be paid."

The result of the election at York in 1804 is announced in the Oracle of June 16. As was probably to be expected, Mr. Macdonell was the man returned. Thus runs the paragraph: "On Monday last the 11th instant, the election of a Knight to represent the counties of Durham and Simcoe and the East Riding of the County of York, took place at the Government Buildings in this town. At the close of the poll, Angus Macdonell was declared to be duly elected to represent the said counties and riding. We have not yet been able to collect any further returns," the Editor adds, "but as soon as practicable they will be laid before the public."

On the 4th of the following August, accordingly, the following complete list was given of members returned at the election of 1804. Alexander Macdonell and W. B. Wilkinson, Esqrs., Glengarry and Prescott. Robert Isaac D. Grey, Esq., Stormont and Russell. John Chrysler, Dundas. Samuel Sherwood, Esq., Grenville. Peter Howard, Esq., Leeds. Allan McLean, Esq., Frontenac. Thomas Dorland, Esq., Lennox and Addington. Ebenezer Washburn, Esq., Prince Edward. David McGregor Rogers, Esq., Hastings and Northumberland. Angus Macdonell, Esq., Durham, Simcoe and East Riding of York. Solomon Hill and Robert Nelles, Esqrs., West Riding of York, First Lincoln, and Haldimand. Isaac Swayzey and Ralph Clench, Esqs., 2nd, 3rd and 4th Ridings of Lincoln. Benaiah Mallory, Esq., Norfolk, Oxford and Middlesex. John McGregor, Esq., Kent. Matthew Elliott and David Cowan, Esqrs., Essex.

The Mr. We[254]ekes who, as we have seen, was an unsuccessful candidate for a seat in parliament in 1804 was nevertheless a member of the House in 1806, representing the constituencies to which he had previously offered himself. In 1806 he was killed in a duel with Mr. Dickson at Niagara, another victim to the peculiar social code of the day, which obliged gentlemen on certain occasions of difference to fire pistols at each other. In the Oracle of the 11th of October, 1806, we read the announcement: "Died on Friday, the 10th instant, at night, in consequence of a wound received that morning in a duel, William Weekes, Esq., Barrister-at-law, and a Member of the House of Assembly for the counties of York, Durham and Simcoe." In the next issue of the paper, dated October 25, 1806, we have a second record of the event in the following terms, with a eulogy on Mr. Weekes' character: "It is with sentiments of the deepest regret that we announce to the public the death of William Weekes, Esq., Barrister-at-law in this Province; not only from the melancholy circumstances attendant on his untimely death, but also from a view of the many virtues this Province is deprived of by that death. In him the orphan has lost a father, the widow a friend, the injured a protector, society a pleasing and safe companion, and the Bar one of its ablest advocates. Mr. Weekes was honest without the show of ostentation. Wealth and splendour held no lure for him; nor could any pecuniary motives induce him to swerve in the smallest degree from that which he conceived to be strictly honourable. His last moments were marked with that fortitude which was the characteristic of his life, convinced of the purity of which, he met death with pleasure.

"His funeral was delayed longer than could have been wished, a form of law being necessary previous to that ceremony. He was interred on Tuesday, the fourteenth. His funeral," it is added, "was attended by a respectable assemblage of people, from the house of John MacKay, Esq., in the following order:—mourners, John MacKay, Esq.; three Members of the House of Assembly, of which he was a member: viz., Ralph Clench, J. Swayzey, Robert Nelles; Dr. West, Surgeon of the American Garrison, Dr. Thomas, 41st Regt., Dr. Muirhead, Niagara; the Gentlemen of the Bar; the Magistrates of the place; and a numerous concourse of people from town and country."

This duel, as we have been informed, was fought[255] on the United States side of the river, near the French Fort.

Mr. Weekes, we believe, was an unmarried man. He was fond of solitary rambles in the woods in search of game. Once he was so long missing that foul play was suspected; and some human remains having been found under a heap of logs on the property of Peter Ernest, Peter Ernest was arrested; and just as the evidence was all going strongly against him, Mr. Weekes appeared on the scene alive and well.

One more of these inhuman and unchristian encounters, with fatal result, memorable in the early annals of York, we shall have occasion to speak of hereafter when, in our intended progress up Yonge Street, we pass the spot where the tragedy was enacted.

Mr. Weekes was greatly regretted by his constituents. "Overwhelmed with grief," they say in their address dated the 20th September, 1806, to the gentleman whom they desire to succeed him, "at the unexpected death of our late able and upright Representative; we, freeholders of these Counties of York, Durham and Simcoe, feel that we have neglected our interests in the season of sorrow. Now awake, it is to you we turn; notwithstanding the great portion of consolation which we draw from the dawning of our impartial and energetic administration. (The allusion is to Gov. Gore.)

"Fully persuaded that the great object of your heart is the advancement of public prosperity, the observance of the laws, and the practice of religion and morality, we hasten with assurances of our warmest support, to invite you from your retreat to represent us in Parliament. Permit us, however, to impress upon you, that as subjects of a generous and beloved King; as a part of that great nation which has for so long a time stood the bulwark of Europe, and is now the solitary and inaccessible asylum of liberty; as the children of Englishmen, guarded, protected and restrained by English laws; in fine, as members of their community, as fathers and sons, we are induced to place this confidence in your virtue, from the firm hope that, equally insensible to the impulse of popular feeling and the impulse of power, you will pursue what is right. This has been the body of your decisions; may it be the spirit of your counsels! (Signed by fifty-two persons, residing in the Town and Township of York.)" The names not given.

These words were addressed to Mr. Justice Thorpe. His reply was couched in the following terms: [256]"Gentlemen: With pleasure I accede to your desire. If you make me your representative I will faithfully discharge my duty. Your confidence is not misplaced. May the first moment of dereliction be the last of my existence. Your late worthy representative I lament from my heart. In private he was a warm friend; at the Bar an able advocate, and in Parliament a firm patriot. It is but just to draw consolation from our Governor, when the first act of his administration granted to those in the U. E. list and their children, what your late most valuable member so strenuously laboured to obtain. Surely from this we have every reason to expect that the liberal interests of our beloved sovereign, whose chief glory is to reign triumphantly enthroned on the hearts of a free people, will be fulfilled, honouring those who give and those who receive, enriching the Province and strengthening the Empire. Let us cherish this hope in the blossom; may it not be blasted in the ripening." A postscript is subjoined: "P. S. If influence, threat, coercion or oppression should be attempted to be exercised over any individual, for the purpose of controlling the freedom of election, let me be informed.—R. T."

In 1806 Judges were not ineligible to the Upper Canadian Parliament. Mr. Justice Thorpe and Governor Gore did not agree. He was consequently removed from office. Some years later, when both gentlemen were living in England as private persons, Mr. Thorpe brought an action for libel against Mr. Gore, and obtained a favourable verdict.

We now proceed on our prescribed course. So late as 1833, Walton, in his "York Commercial Directory, Street Guide, and Register," when naming the residents on Lot Street, as he still designates Queen Street, makes a note on arriving at two park lots to the westward of the spot where we have been pausing, to the effect, that "here this street is intercepted by the grounds of Capt. McGill, S. P. Jarvis, Esq., and Hon. W. Allan; past here it is open to the Roman Catholic Church, and intended to be carried through to the Don Bridge."

The process of levelling up, now become so common in Toronto, has effectually disposed of the difficulty temporarily presented by the ravine or ancient water-course, yet partially to be seen either in front of or upon the park lots occupied by the old inhabitants just named; and Queen Street, at the present hour, is an uninterrupted thoroughfare in a right line, and a[257]lmost on a level the whole way, from the Don in the east to the Lunatic Asylum in the west, and beyond, on to the gracefully curving margin of Humber Bay.—(The unfrequented and rather tortuous Britain Street is a relic of the deviation occasioned by the ravine, although the actual route followed in making the detour of old was Duchess Street.)




A little to the south of Britain Street, between it and Duchess Street, near the spot where Caroline Street, slightly diverging from the right line, passes northward to Queen Street, there stood in the early day a long, low wooden structure, memorable to ourselves, as being, in our school-boy days, the Government Printing Office. Here the Upper Canada Gazette was issued, by "R. C. Horne, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty."

We shall have occasion hereafter to notice among our early inhabitants some curious instances of change of profession. In the present case, His Majesty's Printer was in reality an Army Surgeon, once attached to the Glengary Light Infantry. And again, afterwards, the same gentleman was for many years the Chief Teller in the Bank of Upper Canada. An incident in the troubles of 1837 was "the burning of Dr. Horne's house," by a party of the malcontents who were making a show of assault upon the town. The site of this building, a conspicuous square two-storey frame family residence, was close to the toll-bar on Yonge Street, in what is now Yorkville. On that occasion, we are informed, Dr. Horne "berated the Lieutenant-Governor for treating with avowed rebels, and insisted that they were not in sufficient force to give any ground of alarm."

The Upper Canada Gazette was the first newspaper published in Upper Canada. Its first number appeared at Newark or Niagara, on Thursday, the 18th of April, 1793. As it was apparently expected to combine with a record of the acts of the new government some account of events happening on the continent at large, it was made to bear the double title of Upper Canada Gazette, or American Oracle. Louis Roy was its first printer, a skilled artizan engaged probably from Lower Canada, where printing had been introduced about thirty years previously, soon after the English occupation of the country.

Louis Roy's name appears on the face of No. 1, Vol. I. The type is of the shape used in contemporaneous printing, and the execution is very good. The size of the sheet, which retained the folio f[259]orm, was 15 by 9½ inches. The quality of the paper was rather coarse, but stout and durable.

The address to the public in the first number is as follows:—"The Editor of this paper respectfully informs the public that the flattering prospect which he has of an extensive sale for his new undertaking has enabled him to augment the size originally proposed from a Demy Quarto to a Folio.

"The encouragement he has met will call forth every exertion he is master of, so as to render the paper useful, entertaining and instructive. He will be very happy in being favoured with such communications as may contribute to the information of the public, from those who shall be disposed to assist him, and in particular shall be highly flattered in becoming the vehicle of intelligence in this growing Province of whatever may tend to its internal benefit and common advantage. In order to preserve the veracity of his paper, which will be the first object of his attention, it will be requisite that all transactions of a domestic nature, such as deaths, marriages, &c., be communicated under real signatures.

"The price of this Gazette will be three dollars per annum. All advertisements inserted in it, and not exceeding twelve lines, will pay 4s. Quebec currency; and for every additional line a proportionable price. Orders for letter-press printing will be executed with neatness, despatch and attention, and on the most reasonable terms."

An advertisement in the first number informs the public that a Brewery is about to be established under the sanction of the Lieutenant-Governor. "Notice is hereby given, that there will be a Brewery erected here this summer under the sanction of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, and encouraged by some of the principal gentlemen of this place; and whosoever will sow barley and cultivate their land so that it will produce grain of a good quality, they may be certain of a market in the fall at one dollar a bushel on delivery. W. Huet, Niagara, 18th April, 1793."

The number dated Niagara, May 2, 1793, "hath" the following advertisement:—"Sampson Jutes begs leave to inform all persons who propose to build houses, &c., in the course of this summer, that he hath laths, planks and scantlings of all kinds to sell on reasonable terms. Any person may be supplied with any of the above articles on the shortest notice. Applications to be made to him at his[260] mill near Mr. Peter Secord's."

In the Number for May 30, 1793, we have ten guineas reward offered for the recovery of a Government grindstone:—"Ten Guineas Reward is offered to any person that will make discovery and prosecute to conviction, the Thief or Thieves that have stolen a Grindstone from the King's Wharf at Navy Hall, between the 30th of April and the 6th instant. John McGill, Com. of Stores, &c., &c., for the Province of Upper Canada. Queenstown, 16th May, 1793."

The Anniversary of the King's Birth-day was celebrated at Niagara in 1793, in the following manner:—"Niagara, June 6. On Tuesday last, being the Anniversary of His Majesty's birthday, His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor had a Levee at Navy Hall. At one o'clock the troops in garrison and at Queenston fired three volleys; the field-pieces above Navy Hall, under the direction of the Royal Artillery, and the guns of the Garrison, fired a Royal Salute. His Majesty's schooner, the Onondago, at anchor in the river, likewise fired a Royal Salute. In the evening His Excellency gave a Ball and elegant Supper at the Council Chamber, which was most numerously attended."

In the second volume (1794) of the Gazette and Oracle, Louis Roy's name disappears. G. Tiffany becomes the printer. In 1798 it has assumed the Quarto form, and is dated "West Niagara," a name Newark was beginning to acquire.

No Gazette is issued April 29th, 1798. An apology for the omission constitutes the whole of the editorial of the Number for May 5. It says: "The Printer having been called to York last week upon business, is humbly tendered to his readers as an apology for the Gazette's not appearing."

In 1799, the Gazette being about to be removed across permanently to York, the new capital, whither also all the government offices were departing, Messrs. S. and G. Tiffany decide on starting a newspaper on their own account for Niagara. It is called the "Canada Constellation," and its terms are four dollars per annum. It is announced to appear weekly "opposite the Lion tavern." The date of the first number is July 20. In the introductory address to the public, the Messrs. Tiffany make use of the following rather involved language:—"It is a truth long acknowledged that no men hold situations more influential of the minds and conduct of men than do printers: political printers are sucked from, nursed and directed by the press: and when they are just, the community is in unity and prosperity; but whe[261]n vicious, every evil ensues; and it is lamentable that many printers, either vile remiss in, or ignorant of, their duty, produce the latter or no effect; and to which of these classes we belong, time will unfold."

The public means of maintaining a regular correspondence with the outer world being insufficient, the enterprising spirit of the Messrs. Tiffany led them to think of establishing a postal system of their own. In the Constellation for August 23, we have the announcement: "The printers of the Constellation are desirous of establishing a post on the road from their office to Ancaster and the Grand River, as well as another to Fort Erie; and for this purpose they propose to hire men to perform the routes as soon as the subscriptions will allow of the expense. In order to establish the business, the printers on their part will subscribe generously, and to put the design into execution, but little remains for the people to do."

We can detect in the Constellation a natural local feeling against the upstart town of York, which had now drawn away almost every thing from the old Newark. Thus in the number for November the 14th, 1799, a communication from York, signed Amicus, is admitted, written plainly by one who was no great lover of the place. It affords a glimpse of the state of its thoroughfares, and of the habits of some of its inhabitants. Amicus proposes a "Stump Act" for York; i. e., a compulsory eradication of the stumps in the streets: so that "the people of York in the space of a few months may" as he speaks. "relapse into intoxication with impunity; and stagger home at any hour of the night without encountering the dreadful apprehension of broken necks."

The same animus gives colour to remarks on some legal verbiage recently employed at York. Under the heading "Interesting Discovery" we read: "It has been lately found at York that in England laws are made; and that a law made in England is the law of England, and is enforced by another law; that many laws are made in Lower Canada and follow up, that is, follow after, or in other words are made since, other laws; and that these laws may be repealed. It is seldom," continues the writer in the Constellation, "that so few as one discovery slips into existence at one birth. Genius is sterile, and justly said to be like a breeding cat, as is verified in York, where by some unaccountable fortuity of events all genius centres; at the same time with the above, its twin kitten came forth, that an atheist does not believe as a Christian[262]."

In another number we have some chaffing about the use of the word capital. In an address on the arrival of Governor Hunter, the expression, "We, the inhabitants of the Capital," had occurred. "This fretted my pate," the critic pretends to complain. "What can this be? Surely it is some great place in a great country was my conclusion; but where the capital is, was a little beyond my geographical acquaintance. I had recourse to the books" he continues: "all the gazettes and magazines from the year One I carefully turned over, and not one case among all the addresses they contained afforded me any instruction: 'We, the inhabitants of the cities of London and Westminster, of Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, &c.,' only proved to me that neither of these is the Capital. But as these are only little towns in young countries, and cannot be so forward as to take upon themselves the pompous title of capital, it must be in America." He then professes to have consulted the Encyclopædia Eboretica, or, "A Vindication in support of the great Utility of New Words," lately printed in Upper Canada, and to have discovered therein that the Capital in question "was, in plain English, York." He concludes, therefore, that whenever in future the expression "We, the inhabitants of the Capital" is met with, it is to be translated into the vernacular tongue, "We, the inhabitants of York, assembled at McDougall's, &c."

There is mention made above of a Stump Act. We have been assured that such a regulation was, at an early day, in force at York, as a deterrent from drunkenness. Capt. Peeke, who burnt lime at Duffin's Creek, and shipped it to York in his own vessel, before the close of the last century, was occasionally inconvenienced by the working of the Stump Act. His men whom he had brought up with him to assist in navigating his boat would be found, just when especially wanted by himself, laboriously engaged in the extraction of a great pine-root in one or other of the public thoroughfares of the town, under sentence of the magistrate, for having been found, on the preceding day, intoxicated in the streets.

The Constellation newspaper does not appear to have succeeded. Early in 1801 a new paper comes out, entitled the Herald. In it, it is announced that the Constellation, "after existing one year, expired some months since of starvation, its [263]publishers departing too much from its constitution (advance pay)." The printer is now Silvester Tiffany, the senior proprietor of the Constellation. It is very well printed with good type; but on blue wrapping paper. In little more than two years, viz., on the 4th June, 1802, it announced that the publication of the Herald is suspended; that it will appear only "on particular occasions;" but Mr. Tiffany hopes it "will by and by receive a revival." Other early papers published at the town of Niagara were the Gleaner, by Mr. Heron; the Reporter; the Spectator. The Mail was established so late as 1845. Its publication ceased in 1870, when its editor, Mr. Kirby, was appointed to the collectorship of the Port of Niagara. Down to 1870 Mr. Tiffany's "imposing stone," used in the printing of the Constellation, did duty in the office of the Mail.

In 1800, the Upper Canada Gazette or American Oracle is issued at York, weekly, from the office of William Waters and T. G. Simons. In the number for Saturday, May the 17th, in that year, we read that on the Thursday evening previous, "His Excellency Peter Hunter, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Province, arrived in our harbour on board the Toronto; and on Friday morning, about nine o'clock, landed at the Garrison, where he is at present to reside."

We are thus enabled to add two items to the table of dates usually given, shewing the introduction of Printing at different points on this Continent: viz., the dates 1793 and 1800 for Niagara and York respectively. The table will now stand as follows:—

1639, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Stephen Day and Samuel Green; 1674, Boston, John Foster; 1684, Philadelphia, Wm. Bradford; 1693, New York, Wm. Bradford (removed from Philadelphia); 1730, Charleston, Eleazer Phillips; 1730, Bridgetown, Barbadoes, David Harry and Samuel Keimer; 1751, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bartholomew Green, jun., and John Bushell; 1764, Quebec, Wm. Brown and Thos. H. Gilmore; 1771, Albany, Alex. and Jas. Robertson; 1775, Montreal, Chas. Berger and Fleury Mesplet; 1784, St. George's, Bermuda, J. Stockdale; 1793, Newark (Niagara), Louis Roy; 1795, Cincinnati, S. Freeman; 1800, York (Toronto), Wm. Waters and T. G. Simons.

As at York and Niagara, the first printers in most of the places named were publishers of newspapers.


It may be added that a press was in operation in the City of Mexico in 1569; and in the City of Lima in 1621. The original of all the many Colonial Government Gazettes was the famous royal or exclusively court news sheet, published first at Oxford, in November, 1665, entitled the Oxford Gazette, and in the following year, at London, and entitled then and ever afterwards to this day, the London Gazette.

In 1801, J. Bennett succeeds Messrs. Waters and Simons, and becomes the printer and publisher of the Gazette or Oracle. In that year the printing-office is removed to "the house of Mr. A. Cameron, King Street," and it is added, "subscriptions will be received there and at the Toronto Coffee House, York." From March 21st in this year, and onward for six weeks, the paper appears printed on blue sheets of the kind of material that used formerly to be seen on the outsides of pamphlets and magazines and Government "Blue-books." The stock of white paper has plainly run out, and no fresh supply can be had before the opening of the navigation. The Herald, at Niagara, of the same period, appeared, as we have already noticed, in the like guise.

On Saturday, December 20th, 1801, is this statement, the whole of the editorial matter: "It is much to be lamented that communication between Niagara and this town is so irregular and unfrequent: opportunities now do not often occur of receiving the American papers from our correspondents; and thereby prevents us for the present from laying before our readers the state of politics in Europe." In the number for June 13th, the editorial "leader" reads as follows:—"The Oracle, York, Saturday, June 13th. Last Monday was a day of universal rejoicing in this town, occasioned by the arrival of the news of the splendid victory gained by Lord Nelson over the Danes in Copenhagen Roads on the 2nd of April last: in the morning the great guns at the Garrison were fired: at night there was a general illumination, and bonfires blazed in almost every direction." The writer indulges in no further comments.

It would have been gratifying to posterity had the printers of the Gazette and Oracle endeavoured to furnish a connected record of "the short and simple annals" of their own immediate neighbourhood. But these unfortunately were deemed undeserving of much notice. We have announcements of meetings, and projects, and subscriptions for particular purposes, unfollowed by any account of what was subsequently said, done and effected; and when a local incident is mentioned, the det[265]ail is generally very meagre.

An advertisement in the number for the 27th August, 1801, reminds us that in the early history of Canada it was imagined that a great source of wealth to the inhabitants of the country in all future time would be the ginseng that was found growing naturally in the swamps. The market for ginseng was principally China, where it was worth its weight in silver. The word is said to be Chinese for "all-heal." In 1801 we find that Mr. Jacob Herchmer, of York, was speculating in ginseng. In his advertisement in the Gazette and Oracle he "begs leave to inform the inhabitants of York and its vicinity that he will purchase any quantity of ginseng between this and the first of November next, and that he will give two shillings, New York currency, per pound well dried, and one shilling for green."

At one period, it will be remembered, the cultivation of hemp was expected to be the mainstay of the country's prosperity. In the Upper Canada Almanac for 1804, among the public officers we have set down as "Commissioners appointed for the distribution of Hemp Seed (gratis) to the Farmers of the Provinces, the Hon. John McGill, the Hon. David W. Smith, and Thomas Scott, Esquires."

The whole of the editorial matter of the Gazette and Oracle on the 2nd of January, 1802, is the following: "The Oracle, York, Saturday, January 2, 1802. The Printer presents his congratulary compliments to his customers on the New Year." Note that the dignified title of Editor was yet but sparingly assumed. That term is used once by Tiffany at Newark, in the second volume. After the death of Governor Hunter, in September, 1805, J. Bennett writes himself down "Printer to the King's [266] Most Excellent Majesty." Previously the colophon of the publication had been: "York, printed by John Bennett, by the authority of His Excellency Peter Hunter, Esq., Lieut.-Governor."

Happening to have at hand a bill of Bennett's against the Government we give it here. The modern reader will be able to form from this specimen an idea of the extent of the Government requirements in 1805 in regard to printing and the cost thereof. We give also the various attestations appended to the account:—

York, Upper Canada, 24th June, 1805.

The Government of Upper Canada,

To John Bennett, Government Printer.

Jan.     11. 300 copies Still Licenses, ½ sheet foolscap, pica type 0 16 6
March 30. Printing 20 copies of an Act for altering the time of issuing Licenses for keeping of a House of Public Entertainment, ¼ sheet demy, pica type 0  3 4
April     5. Inserting a Notice to persons taking out Shop, Still or Tavern Licenses, 6 weeks in the Gazette, equal to 4½ advertisements 1 16 0
April   16. 1,000 copies of Proclamation, warning persons that possess and occupy Lands in this Province, without due titles having been obtained for such Lands, forthwith to quit and remove from the same, ½ sheet demy, double pica type 4 18 4
April   22. 100 copies of an Act to afford relief to persons entitled to claim Land in this Province as heirs or devisees of the nominees of the Crown, one sheet demy, pica type 3  6 3
  Printing Marginal notes to do 0  5 0
May   14. Printing 1,500 copies of the Acts of the First Session of the Fourth Parliament, three sheets demy, pica type 45  0 0
  Printing Marginal notes to do., at 5s. per sheet 0 15 0
  Folding, Stitching and Covering in Blue Paper, at 1d. 6  5 0
                  Halifax currency £63  5 9

Amounting to sixty-three pounds five shillings and nine-pence Halifax currency. Errors excepted.

(Signed)    John Bennett.

John Bennett, of the Town of York, in the Home District, maketh oath and saith, that the foregoing account amounting to sixty-three pounds five shillings and ninepence Halifax currency, is just and true in all its particulars to the best of his knowledge and belief.

(Signed)    John Bennett.

Sworn before me at York, this 20th day of July, 1805.

(Signed)    Wm. Dummer Powell, J.


Audited and approved in Council 6th August 1805.

(Signed)    Peter Russell,

Presiding Councillor.


(Signed)    John McGill,

Inspector Genl. P. P. Accts.

[A true copy.]

John McGill,

Inspector Gen. P. P. Accts.

Bennett published "The Upper Canada Almanac," containing with the matter usually found in such productions the Civil and Military Lists and the Duties, Imperial and Provincial. This work was admirably printed in fine Elzevir type, and in aspect, as well as arrangement, was an exact copy of the almanacs of the day published in London.

A rival Calendar continued to be issued at Niagara entitled "Tiffany's Upper Canada Almanac." This was a roughly-printed little tract, and contained popular matter in addition to the official lists. It gave in a separate and very conspicuous column in each month "the moon's place" on each day in respect to a distinct portion of the human body with prognostications accordingly. And in the "Advertisement to the reader" it was set forth, that "in the calculation of the weather the most unwearied pains have been taken; and the calculator prays, for his honour's sake, that he may have not failed in the least point; but as all calculation may sometimes fail in small matters," the writer continues, "no wonder is it that in this, the most important, should be at times erroneous. And when this shall unfortunately have been the case with the Upper Canada Almanac, let careful observers throw over the error the excess of that charity of which their generous souls are composed, and the all-importance of the subject requires; let them remember that the task, in all the variety and changes of climates and seasons, is arduous beyond that of reforming a vicious world, and not less than that of making a middle-sized new one."

In the number of the Oracle for September 28th, 1805, which is in mourning, we have the following notice of the character of Governor Hunter, who had deceased on the 23rd of the preceding August at Quebec:—"As an officer his character was high and unsullied; and at this present moment his death may be considered a great public loss. As Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, his loss will be severely felt; for by his unremitting attention and exertions he has, in the course of a very few years, brought that infant colony to an unparalleled state of prosperity." An account is then given of the procession at the funeral. The 49th and 6th Regiments were present; also Lieut.-Col. Brock, Commanding. At the grave one round was fired slowly and distinctly by eleven field pieces, followed by one round of small arms, by regiments; then a second round of artillery, followed in like manner by the small arms; and, lastly, a third round of artillery, and a third round of small arms. The mourners were, the Hon. Thomas Dunn, President of the Province (Lower Canada). Col. Bowes, Major Curry, Hon. Mr. Craigie, Col. Green, Major Robe, Capt. Gomm and Mr. William Green.


In 1813, during the war with the United States, Cameron is the printer of the official paper, which now for a time assumed the title of The York Gazette. Mr. John Cameron also published "The Upper Canada Almanac," from which we have already had occasion to quote, but it put in no claim to an official character. It did not contain the Civil Lists, but, as stated in the title page, "some Chinese sayings and Elegant Aphorisms." It bore as a motto the following lines:—

"Ye who would mend these wicked times And morals of the age,  Come buy a book half full of rhymes, At three-pence York per page.  It would be money well outlaid, So plenty money is;  Paper for paper is fair trade: So said "Poor Richard Quiz."

Among the aphorisms given is this one: "Issuers of paper-change, are entitled to thanks from the public for the great accommodation such change affords. They might render the accommodation more extensive were they to emit a proportionate number of half-penny bills." At one place the query is put, "When will the beard be worn, and man allowed to appear with it in native dignity? And if so, how long before it will become fashionable to have it greased and powdered?" In the almanac for 1815, towards the end, the following paragraph appears:—"York supernatural prices current: Turnips 1 dollar per bushel; Potatoes, long, at 2 ditto; Salt 20 ditto; Butter per lb. 1 ditto; Indifferent bread 1 shilling N. Y. cy. per lb.; Conscience, a contraband article."

In Bennett's time the Government press was, as we have seen, set up in Mr. Cameron's house on King Street. But at the period of the war in 1812 Mr. Cameron's printing office was in a building which still exists, viz., the house on Bay Street associated with the name of Mr. Andrew Mercer. During the occupation of York by the United States force, the press was broken up and the type dispersed. Mr. Mercer once exhibited to ourselves a portion of the press which on that occasion was made useless. For a short period Mr. Mercer himself had charge of the publication of the York Gazette.


In 1817 Dr. Horne became the editor and publisher. On coming into his hands the paper resumed the name of Upper Canada Gazette, but the old secondary title of American Oracle was dropped. To the official portion of the paper there was, nevertheless, still appended abstracts of news from the United States and Europe, summaries of the proceedings in the Parliaments of Upper and Lower Canada, and much well-selected miscellaneous matter. The shape continued to be that of a small folio, and the terms were four dollars per annum in advance; and if sent by mail, four dollars and a half.

In 1821 Mr. Charles Fothergill (of whom we have already spoken) became the Editor and Publisher of the Gazette. Mr. Fothergill revived the practice of having a secondary title, which was now The Weekly Register; a singular choice, by the way, that being very nearly the name of Cobbett's celebrated democratic publication in London. After Mr. Fothergill came Mr. Robert Stanton, who changed the name of the private portion of the Gazette sheet, styling it "The U. E. Loyalist."

In 1820 Mr. John Carey had established the Observer at York. The Gazette of May 11, 1820, contains the announcement of his design; and he therein speaks of himself as "the person who gave the Debates" recently in another paper. To have the debates in Parliament reported with any fulness was then a novelty. The Observer was a folio of rustic, unkempt aspect, the paper and typography and matter being all somewhat inferior. It gave in its adherence to the government of the day, generally: at a later period it wavered. Mr. Carey was a tall, portly personage who, from his bearing and costume might readily have been mistaken for a non-conformist minister of local importance. The Observer existed down to about the year 1830. Between the Weekly Register and the Observer the usual journalistic feud sprung up, which so often renders rival village newspapers ridiculous. With the Register a favourite sobriquet for the Observer is "Mother C——y." Once a correspondent is permitted to style it "The Political Weathercock and Slang Gazetteer." Mr. Carey ended his days in Springfield on the River Credit, where he possessed property.

The Canadian Freeman, established in 1825 by Mr. Francis Collins was a sheet remarkable for the neatness of its arrangement and execution, and also for the talent exhibited in its editorials. The type was evidently new and carefully handled. Mr. Collins was his own principal compositor. He is said to ha[270]ve transferred to type many of his editorials without the intervention of pen and paper, composing directly from copy mentally furnished. Mr. Collins was a man of pronounced Celtic features, roughish in outline, and plentifully garnished with hair of a sandy or reddish hue.

Notwithstanding the colourless character of the motto at the head of its columns "Est natura hominum novitatis avida"—"Human nature is fond of news," the Freeman was a strong party paper. The hard measure dealt out to him in 1828 at the hands of the legal authorities, according to the prevailing spirit of the day, with the revenge that he was moved to take—and to take successfully—we shall not here detail. Mr. Collins died of cholera in the year 1834. We have understood that he was once employed in the office of the Gazette; and that when Dr. Horne resigned, he was an applicant for the position of Government Printer.

The Canadian Freeman joined for a time in the general opposition clamour against Dr. Strachan,—against the influence, real or supposed, exercised by him over successive lieutenant-governors. But on discovering the good-humoured way in which its fulminations were received by their object, the Freeman dropped its strictures. It happened that Mr. Collins had a brother in business in the town with whom Dr. Strachan had dealings. This brother on some occasion thought it becoming to make some faint apology for the Freeman's diatribes. "O don't let them trouble you," the Doctor replied, "they do not trouble me; but by the way, tell your brother," he laughingly continued, "I shall claim a share in the proceeds." This, when reported to the Editor, was considered a good joke, and the diatribes ceased; a proceeding that was tantamount to Peter Pindar's confession, when some one charged him with being too hard on the King: "I confess there exists a difference [271] between the King and me," said Peter; "the King has been a good subject to me; and I have been a bad subject to his Majesty."—During Mr. Collins' imprisonment in 1828 for the application of the afterwards famous expression "native malignity" to the Attorney-General of the day, the Freeman still continued to appear weekly, the editorials, set up in type in the manner spoken of above, being supplied to the office from his room in the jail.

In the early stages of society in Upper Canada the Government authorities appear not only to have possessed but to have exercised the power of handling political writers pretty sharply. In the Kingston Chronicle of December 10th, 1820, we have recorded the sentence pronounced on Barnabas Ferguson, Editor of the Niagara Spectator, for "a libel on the Government." Mr. Ferguson was condemned to be imprisoned eighteen months; to stand in the pillory once during his confinement; to pay a fine of £50, and remain in prison till paid; and on his liberation to find security for seven years, himself in £500, and two sureties in £250 each. No comment is made by the Chronicle on the sentence, and the libel is not described.

The local government took its cue in this matter from its superiors of the day in the old country. What Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer says in his sketch of the life of Cobbett helps to explain the action of the early Upper Canada authorities in respect to the press. "Let us not forget," says the writer just named, "the blind and uncalculating intolerance with which the law struggled against opinion from 1809 to 1822. Writers during this period were transported, imprisoned, and fined, without limit or conscience; and just when government became more gentle to legitimate newspapers, it engaged in a new conflict with unstamped ones. No less than 500 venders of these were imprisoned within six years. The contest was one of life and death."

So early as 1807 there was an "opposition" paper—the Upper Canada Guardian. Willcocks, the editor, had been Sheriff of the Home District, and had lost his office for giving a vote contrary to the policy of the lieutenant-governor for the time being. He was returned as a member of parliament; and after having been imprisoned for breach of privilege, he was returned again, and continued to lead the reforming party. The name of Mr. Cameron, the publisher of the Gazette at York was, by some means, mixed up with that of Mr. Willcocks, in connection with the Upper Canada Guardian in 1807, and he found it expedient to publish in the Gazette of June 20, the following notice: "To the Public—Having seen the Prospectus of a paper generally circulated at Niagara, intended to be printed in Upper Canada, entitled the Upper Canada Guardian or Freeman's Journal, executed in the United States of America, without my knowledge or consent, wherein my name appears as being a party concerned; I therefore think it necessary to undeceive my friends and the inhabitants of Upper Canada, and to assure them that I have no connection with, nor is it my most distant wish or intention in any wise to be connected with the printing or publication of said paper. John Bennett."—When the war of 1812 broke out the Guardian came to an end; its editor[272] at first loyally bore arms on the Canadian side, but at length deserted to the enemy, taking with him some of the Canadian Militia. He was afterwards killed at the siege of Fort Erie.

The newspaper which occupies the largest space in the early annals of the press at York is the Colonial Advocate. Issuing first at Queenston in May, 1824, it was removed in the following November to York. Its shape varied from time to time: now it was a folio: now a quarto. On all its pages the matter was densely packed; but printed in a very mixed manner: it abounded with sentences in italics, in small capitals, in large capitals; with names distinguished in like decided manner: with paragraphs made conspicuous by rows of index hands, and other typographical symbols at top, bottom and sides. It was editorial, not in any one particular column, but throughout; and the opinions delivered were expressed for the most part in the first person.

The Weekly Register fell foul of the Advocate at once. It appears that the new audacious nondescript periodical, though at the time it bore on its face the name of Queenston, was nevertheless for convenience sake printed at Lewiston on the New York side of the river. Hence it was denounced by the Weekly Register in language that now astonishes us, as a United States production; and as in the United States interest. "This paper of motley, unconnected, shake-bag periods" cried the Editor of the Weekly Register, "this unblushing, brazen-faced Advocate, affects to be a Queenston and Upper Canadian paper; whereas it is to all intents and purposes, and radically, a Lewiston and genu-wine Yankee paper. How can this man of truth, this pure and holy reformer and regenerator of the unhappy and prostrate Canada reconcile such barefaced and impudent deception?"

Nothing could more promote the success of the Colonial Advocate than a welcome like this. To account for the Register's extraordinary warmth, it is to be said that the Advocate in its first number had happened to quote a passage from an address of its Editor to the electors of the County of Durham, which seemed in some degree to compromise him as a servant of the Government. Mr. Fothergill had ventured to say "I know some of the deep and latent causes why this fine country has so long languished in a state of comparative stupor and inactivity, w[273]hile our more enterprising neighbours are laughing us to scorn. All I desire is an opportunity of attempting the cure of some of the evils we labour under." This was interpreted in the Advocate to mean a censure upon the Executive. But the Register replied that these words simply expressed the belief that the evils complained of were remediable only by the action of the House of Assembly, on the well-known axiom "that all law is for the people, and from the people; and when efficient, must be remedied or rectified by the people; and that therefore Mr. Fothergill was desirous of assisting in the great work."

The end in fact was that the Editor of the Register, after his return to parliament for the County of Durham, did not long retain the post of King's Printer. After several independent votes in the House he was dismissed by Sir Peregrine Maitland in 1826, after which date the awkwardness of uniting with a Government Gazette a general newspaper whose editor, as a member of the House of Assembly, might claim the privilege of acting with His Majesty's opposition, came to an end. In 1826 we have Mr. Fothergill in his place in the House supporting a motion for remuneration to the publisher of the Advocate, on the ground that the wide and even gratuitous circulation of that paper throughout Canada and among members of the British House of Commons, "would help to draw attention in the proper quarter to the country."

Here is an account of McKenzie's method in the collection of matter for his various publications, the curious multifariousness of which matter used to astonish while it amused. The description is by Mr. Kent, editor of a religious journal, entitled The Church, published at Cobourg in 1838. Lord Clarendon's style has been exactly caught, it will be observed: "Possessed of a taste for general and discursive reading," says Mr. Kent, "he (McK.) made even his very pleasures contribute to the serious business of his life, and, year after year, accumulated a mass of materials, which he pressed into his service at some fitting opportunity. Whenever anything transpired that at all reflected on a political opponent, or whenever, in his reading, he met with a passage that favoured his views, he not only turned it to a present purpose, but laid it by, to bring it forward at some future period, long after it might have been supposed to be buried in oblivion."

The Editor of the Advocate, af[274]ter his flight from Canada in 1837, published for a short time at New York a paper named McKenzie's Gazette, which afterwards was removed to Rochester: its term of existence there was also brief. In the number for June, 1839, we have the following intelligence contributed by a correspondent at Toronto: a certain animus in relation to the military in Canada, and in relation to the existing Banks of the country, is apparent. "Toronto, May 24th: The 93rd Regiment is still in quarters here. The men 660 strong, all Scotchmen, enlisted in the range of country from Aberdeen to Ayrshire: a highland regiment without highlanders: few or none of Englishmen or Irishmen among them. They are a fine-looking body of men: I never saw a finer. I wished to go into the garrison, but was not permitted to do so. Few of the townspeople have that privilege. —— has made the fullest enquiries, and tells me that a majority of the men would be glad to get away if they could: they would willingly leave the service and the country. He says they are well-informed, civil and well-behaved, and that for such time as England may be compelled to retain possession of the Canadas by military force, against the wishes of the settled population he would like to have this regiment remain in Toronto. —— tells me that a few soups have been kept at Queenston during the winter, because if they desert it is no matter: the regulars are all at Drummondville, near the Falls, and a couple of hundred blacks at Chippewa watching them. The Ferry below the Falls is guarded by old men whose term of service is nearly out, and who look for a pension. It is the same at Malden, and in Lower Canada. The regiments Lord Durham brought were fine fellows, the flower of the English army.

"The Banks here tax the people heavily, but they are so stupid they don't see it. All the specie goes into the Banks. I am told that the Upper Canada Bank had at one time £300,000 in England in Commissariat bills of Exchange: their notes in circulation are a million and a quarter of paper dollars, for all of which they draw interest from the people, although not obliged to keep six cents in their money-till to redeem them. All the troops were paid in the depreciated paper of these fraudulent bankrupt concerns, the directors of which deserve the Penitentiary: the contracts of the Commissariat are paid in the same paper as a 10 per cent. shave: and the troops up at Brantford were also paid in Bank notes which the Bank did not pretend to redeem; and it would have offended Sir George [Arthur], who has a share in such speculations (as he had when in VanDieman's Land), had any [275]one asked the dollars. Sir Allan McNab, who has risen from poverty to be president de facto, solicitor, directors and company of the Gore Bank, ever since its creation, is said to be terribly embarrassed for want of money. He is not the alpha and omega of the Bank now. He has quarrelled with his brother villains. The money paid to Canada from England to uphold troops to coerce the people helps the Banks."

In the same number of the Gazette published at Rochester we have an extract from a production by Robert Gourlay himself, who in his old age paid a final visit of inspection to Canada. In allusion to a portion of Gourlay's famous work published in 1822, the extract is headed in McKenzie's Gazette "Robert Gourlay's 'Last Sketch' of Upper Canada." It is dated at Toronto, May 25th. Having just presented one gloomy view, we will venture to lower the reader's spirits a particle more, by giving another. Let allowance be made for the morbid mental condition of the writer: the contrast offered by the Canada of to-day will afterwards proportionably exhilarate.

"What did Upper Canada gain," Gourlay asks, "by my banishment; and what good is now to be seen in it? Cast an eye over the length and breadth of the land" he cries, "from Malden to Point Fortune, and from the Falls to Lake Simcoe: then say if a single public work is creditable, or a single institution as it should be. The Rideau Canal!—what is it but a monument of England's folly and waste; which can never return a farthing of interest; or for a single day stay the conquest of the province. The Welland Canal!—Has it not been from beginning till now a mere struggle of misery and mismanagement; and from now onward, promising to become a putrid ditch. The only railway, of ten miles; with half completed; and half which cannot be completed for want of funds! The macadamised roads, all in mud; only causing an increase of wear and tear. The province deeply in debt; confidence uprooted; and banks beleaguered!

"Schools and Colleges, what are they?—Few yet painted, though lectures on natural philosophy are now abundant. The Cobourg seminary outstaring all that is sanctimonious: so airy and lank that learning cannot take root in it. A college at Sandwich built before the war, but now a pig stye; and one at Toronto indicated only by an approach. The edifices of the Church!—how few worthy of the Divine prese[276]nce—how many unfinished—how many fallen to decay. The Church itself, wholly militant: Episcopalians maintaining what can never be established; Presbyterians more sour than ever, contending for rights where they have none whatever: Methodists so disunited that they cannot even join in a respectable groan; and Catholic priests wandering about in poverty because their scattered and starving flocks yield not sufficient wool for the shears. One institution only have I seen praiseworthy and progressing—The Penitentiary; but that is a concentrated essence, seeing the whole province is one: and which of you, resident land-holders, having sense or regard for your family would remain in it a day, could you sell your property and be off?"

Some popular Almanacs of a remarkable character also emanated from McKenzie's press. Whilst in the United States he put forth the Caroline Almanac, a designation intended to keep alive the memory of the cutting out of the Caroline steamer from Fort Schlosser in 1837, and her precipitation over the Falls of Niagara, an act sought to be held up as a great outrage on the part of the Canadian authorities. In the Canadian Almanacs, published by him, intended for circulation especially among the country population, the object kept in view was the same as that so industriously aimed at by the Advocate itself, viz., the exposure of the shortcomings and vices of the government of the day. At the same time a large amount of practically useful matter and information was supplied.

The earlier almanac was entitled "Poor Richard, or the Yorkshire Almanac," and the compiler professed to be one "Patrick Swift, late of Belfast, in the Kingdom of Ireland, Esq., F.R.I., Grand-nephew of the celebrated Doctor Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, Dublin, etc., etc., etc." This same personage was a contributor also of many pungent and humorous things in prose and verse in the columns of the Advocate itself. In 1834 the Almanac assumed the following title: "A new Almanac for the Canadian True Blues; with which is incorporated The Constitutional Reformer's Text Book, for the Millenial and Prophetic Year of the Grand General Election for Upper Canada, and total and everlasting Downfall of Toryism in the British Empire, 1834." It was still supposed to be edited by Patrick Swift, Esq., who is now dubbed M.P.P., and Professor of Astrology, York.

In the extract given above from what was [277]styled Gourlay's "Last Sketch" of Upper Canada, the query and rejoinder, "Schools and Colleges, where are they? Few yet painted, though lectures on Natural Philosophy are now abundant"—will not be understood, without remark. The allusion is to an advertisement in the Upper Canada Gazette of Feb. 5, 1818, which Gourlay at the time of its appearance thought proper to animadvert upon and satirize in the Niagara Spectator. It ran as follows: "Natural Philosophy.—The subscriber intends to deliver a course of Popular Lectures on Natural Philosophy, to commence on Tuesday, the 17th inst., at 7 o'clock p.m., should a number of auditors come forward to form a class. Tickets of admission for the Course (price Two Guineas) may be had of William Allan, Esq., Dr. Horne, or at the School House. The surplus, if any, after defraying the current expenses, to be laid out in painting the District School. John Strachan, York, 3rd Feb., 1818."

As was to be expected, Dr. Strachan was a standing subject of invective in all the publications of Gourlay, as well as subsequently in all those of McKenzie. Collins, Editor of the Freeman, became, as we have seen, reticent in relation to him; but, more or less, a fusilade was maintained upon him in McKenzie's periodicals, as long as they issued.

In McKenzie's opposition to Dr. Strachan there was possibly a certain degree of national animus springing from the contemplation of a Scottish compatriot who, after rising to position in the young colony, was disposed, from temperament, to bear himself cavalierly towards all who did not agree with him in opinion. In addition, we have been told that at an early period in an interview between the two parties, Dr. Strachan once chanced to express himself with considerable heat to McKenzie, and proceeded to the length of showing him the door. The latter had called, as our information runs, to deprecate prejudice in regard to a brother-in-law of his, Mr. Baxter, who was a candidate for some post under the Educational Board, of which Dr. S. was chairman; when great offence was taken at the idea being for a moment entertained that a personal motive would in the slightest degree bias him when in the execution of public duty.

At a late period in the history of both the now memorable Scoto-Canadians, we happened ourselves to be present at a scene in the course of which the two were brought curiously face to face with each other, once more[278], for a few moments. It will be remembered that after the subsidence of the political troubles and the union of Upper and Lower Canada, McKenzie came back and was returned member of Parliament for Haldimand. While he was in the occupancy of this post, it came to pass that Dr. Strachan, now Bishop of Toronto, had occasion to present a petition to the united House on the subject of the Clergy Reserves. To give greater weight and solemnity to the act he decided to attend in person at the bar of the House, at the head of his clergy, all in canonicals. McKenzie seeing the procession approaching, hurried into the House and took his seat; and contrived at the moment the Bishop and his retinue reached the bar to have possession of the floor. Affecting to put a question to the Speaker, before the Order of the Day was proceeded with, he launched out with great volubility and in excited strain on the interruptions to which the House was exposed in its deliberations; he then quickly came round to an attack in particular on prelates and clergy for their meddling and turbulence, infesting, as he averred, the lobbies of the Legislature when they should be employed on higher matters, filling with tumultuous mobs the halls and passages of the House, thronging (with an indignant glance in that direction) the very space below the bar set apart for the accommodation of peaceably disposed spectators.

The House had only just assembled, and had not had time to settle down into perfect quiet: members were still dropping in, and it was a mystery to many, for a time, what could, at such an early stage of the day's proceedings, have excited the ire of the member for Haldimand. The courteous speaker, Mr. Sicotte, was plainly taken aback at the sudden outburst of patriotic fervour; and, not being as familiar with the Upper Canadian past as many old Upper Canadians present were, he could not enter into the pleasantry of the thing; for, after all, it was humourously and not maliciously intended; the orator in possession of the floor had his old antagonist at a momentary disadvantage, and he chose to compel him while standing there conspicuously at the bar to listen for a while to a stream of Colonial Advocate in the purest vein.

After speaking against time, with an immense show of heat for a considerable while—a thing at which he was an adept—the scene was brought to a close by a general hubbub of impatience at the outrageous irrelevancy of t[279]he harangue, arising throughout the House, and obliging the orator to take his seat. The petition of the Bishop was then in due form received, and he, with his numerous retinue of robed clergy, withdrew.

We now proceed with our memoranda of the early press. When Fothergill was deprived of his office of King's Printer in 1825, he published for a time a quarto paper of his own, entitled the Palladium, composed of scientific, literary and general matter. Mr. Robert Stanton, King's Printer after Fothergill, issued on his own account for a few years, a newspaper called The U. E. Loyalist, the name, as we have seen, borne by the portion of the Gazette devoted to general intelligence while Mr. Stanton was King's Printer. The U. E. Loyalist was a quarto sheet, well printed, with an engraved ornamental heading resembling that which surmounted the New York Albion. The Loyalist was conservative, as also was a local contemporary after 1831, the Courier, edited and printed by Mr. George Gurnett, subsequently Clerk of the Peace, and Police Magistrate for the City of Toronto. The Christian Guardian, a local religious paper which still survives, began in 1828. The Patriot appeared at York in 1833: it had previously been issued at Kingston; its whole title was "The Patriot and Farmer's Monitor," with the motto, "Common Sense," below. It was of the folio form, and its Editor, Mr. Thos. Dalton, was a writer of much force, liveliness and originality. The Loyalist, Courier and Patriot were antagonists politically of the Advocate while the latter flourished; but all three laboured under the disadvantage of fighting on the side whose star was everywhere on the decline.

Notwithstanding its conservatism, however, it was in the Courier that the memorable revolutionary sentiments appeared, so frequently quoted afterwards in the Advocate publications: "the minds of the well-affected begin to be unhinged; they already begin to cast about in their mind's eye for some new state of political existence, which shall effectually put the colony without the pale of British connection;" words written under the irritation occasioned by the dismissal of the Attorney and Solicitor-General for Upper Canada in 1833.

For a short time prior to 1837, McKenzie's paper assumed the name of The Constitution. A faithful portrait of McKenzie will be seen at the beginning of the first volume of his "Life and Times," by Mr. Charles Lindsey, a work which will be carefully and profitably studied by future investigators in the field of Upper Canadian history. Excellent[280] portraits of Mr. Gurnett and of Mr. Dalton are likewise extant in Toronto.

Soon after 1838, the Examiner newspaper acquired great influence at York. It was established and edited by Mr. Hincks. Mr. Hincks had emigrated to Canada with the intention of engaging in commerce; and in Walton's York Directory, 1833-34, we read for No. 21, west side of Yonge Street, "Hincks, Francis, Wholesale Warehouse." But Mr. Hincks' attention was drawn to the political condition of Canada, especially to its Finance. The accident of living in immediate proximity to a family that had already for a number of years been taking a warm and active interest in public affairs, may have contributed to this. In the Directory, just named, the Number after 21 on the west side of Yonge Street, is 23, and the occupants are "Baldwin, Doctor W. Warren; Baldwin, Robert, Esq., Attorney, &c., Baldwin and Sullivan's Attorney's Office, and Dr. Baldwin's Surrogate Office round the corner, in King Street, 195½." It was not unnatural that the next door neighbour of Dr. Baldwin's family, their tenant, moreover, and attached friend, should catch a degree of inspiration from them. The subsequent remarkable career of Mr. Hincks, afterwards so widely known as Sir Francis Hincks, has become a part of the general history of the country.

About the period of the Union of Upper and Lower Canada, a local tri-weekly named The Morning Star and Transcript was printed and published by Mr. W. J. Coates, who also issued occasionally, at a later date, the Canadian Punch, containing clever political cartoons in the style of the London Punch.

We have spoken once, we believe, of the Canadian Freeman's motto, "Est natura hominum novitatis avida;" and of the Patriot's, just above, "Common Sense." Fothergill's "Weekly Register" was headed by a brief cento from Shakespeare: "Our endeavour will be to stamp the very body of the time—its form and pressure—: we shall extenuate nothing, nor shall we set down aught in malice."

Other early Canadian newspaper mottoes which pleased the boyish fancy years ago, and which may still be pleasantly read on the face of the same long-lived and yet flourishing publications, were the "Mores et studia et populos et prælia dicam," of the Quebec Mercury, and the "Animos novitate tenebo" of the Montreal Herald. The Mercury and Herald likewise retain to this day their respective early devices:[281] the former, Hermes, all proper, as the Heralds would say, descending from the sky, with the motto from Virgil, Mores et studia et populos et prælia dicam: the latter the Genius of Fame, bearing in one hand the British crown, and sounding as she speeds through the air her trump, from which issues the above-cited motto. Over the editorial column the device is repeated, with the difference that the floating Genius here adds the authority for her quotation—Ovid, a la Dr. Pangloss. Underneath the floating figure are many minute roses and shamrocks; but towering up to the right and left with a significant predominance, for the special gratification of Montrealers of the olden time, the thistle of Scotland.

Besides these primitive mottoes and emblematic headings, the Mercury and Herald likewise retain, each of them, to this day a certain pleasant individuality of aspect in regard to type, form and arrangement, by which they are each instantly to be recognized. This adherence of periodicals to their original physiognomy is very interesting, and in fact advantageous, inspiring in readers a certain tenderness of regard. Does not the cover of Blackwood, for example, even the poor United States copy of it, sometimes awaken in the chaos of a public reading-room table, a sense of affection, like a friend seen in the midst of a promiscuous crowd? The English Reviews too, as circulated among us from the United States, are conveniently recognized by their respective colours, although the English form of each has been, for cheapness' sake, departed from. The Montreal Gazette likewise survives, preserving its ancient look in many respects, and its high character for dignity of style and ability.

In glancing back at the supply of intelligence and literature provided at an early day for the Canadian community, it repeatedly occurs to us to name, as we have done, the Albion newspaper of New York. From this journal it was that almost every one in our Upper Canadian York who had the least taste for reading, derived the principal portion of his or her acquaintance with the outside world of letters, as well as the minuter details of prominent political events. As its name implies, the Albion was intended to meet the requirements of a large number of persons of English birth and of English descent, whose lot is cast on this continent, but who nevertheless cannot discharge from their hearts their natural love for England, their natural pride in her unequalled civilization. "Cælum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt," was its gracefully-chosen and appropriate motto.[282]

Half a century ago, the boon of a judicious literary journal like the Albion was to dwellers in Canada a very precious one. The Quarterlies were not then reprinted as now; nor were periodicals like the Philadelphia Eclectic or the Boston Living Age readily procurable. Without the weekly visit of the Albion, months upon months would have passed without any adequate knowledge being enjoyed of the current products of the literary world. For the sake of its extracted reviews, tales and poetry the New York Albion was in some cases, as we well remember, loaned about to friends and read like a much sought after book in a modern circulating library. And happily its contents were always sterling, and worth the perusal. It was a part of our own boyish experience to become acquainted for the first time with a portion of Keble's Christian Year, in the columns of that paper.

The Albion was founded in 1822 by Dr. John Charlton Fisher, who afterwards became a distinguished Editor at Quebec. To him Dr. Bartlett succeeded. The New York Albion still flourishes under Mr. Cornwallis, retaining its high character for the superior excellence of its matter, retaining also many traits of its ancient outward aspect, in the style of its type, in the distribution of its matter. It has also retained its old motto. Its familiar vignette heading of oak branches round the English rose, the thistle of Scotland, and the shamrock, has been thinned out, and otherwise slightly modified; but it remains a fine artistic composition, well executed.

There was another journal from New York much esteemed at York for the real respectability of its character, the New York Spectator. It was read for the sake of its commercial and general information, rather than for its literary news. To the minds of the young the Greek revolution had a singular fascination. We remember once entertaining the audacious idea of constructing a history of the struggle in Greece, of which the authorities would, in great measure, have been copious cuttings from the New York Spectator columns. One advantage of the embryo design certainly was a familiarity acquired with the map of Hellas within and without the Peloponnesus. Navarino, Modon, Coron, Tripolitza, Mistra, Missolonghi, with the incidents that had made each temporarily famous, were rendered as familiar to the mind's eye as Sparta, Athens, Thebes, Thermopylæ, and the events connected with each respectively, of an era two thousand years previou[283]sly, afterwards from other circumstances became. Colocotroni, Mavrocordato, Miaulis, Bozzaris, were heroes to the imagination as fully as Miltiades, Alcibiades, Pericles, and Nicias, afterwards became.

Partly in consequence of the eagerness with which the columns of the New York Spectator used to be ransacked with a view to the composition of the proposed historical work, we remember the peculiar interest with which we regarded the editor of that periodical at a later period, on falling in with him, casually, at the Falls of Niagara. Mr. Hall was then well advanced in years; and from a very brief interview, the impression received was, that he was the beau ideal of a veteran editor of the highest type; for a man, almost omniscient; unslumberingly observant; sympathetic, in some way, with every passing occurrence and every remark; tenacious of the past; grasping the present on all sides, with readiness, genial interest and completeness. In aspect, and even to some extent in costume, Mr. Hall might have been taken for an English bishop of the early part of the Victorian era.




When we pass George Street we are in front of the park-lot originally selected by Mr. Secretary Jarvis. It is now divided from south to north by Jarvis street, a thoroughfare opened up through the property in the time of Mr. Samuel Peters Jarvis, the Secretary's son. Among the pleasant villas that now line this street on both sides, there is one which still is the home of a Jarvis, the Sheriff of the County.

Besides filling the conspicuous post indicated by his title, Mr. Secretary Jarvis was also the first Grand Master of the Masons in Upper Canada. The archives of the first Masonic Lodges of York possess much interest. Through the permission of Mr. Alfio de Grassi who has now the custody of them, we are enabled to give the following extracts from a letter of Mr. Secretary Jarvis, bearing the early date of March 28th, 1792:—"I am in possession of my sign manual from his Majesty," Mr. Jarvis writes on the day just named, from Pimlico, to his relative Munson Jarvis, at St. John, New Brunswick, "constituting me Secretary and Registrar of the Province of Upper Canada, with power of appointing my Deputies, and in every other respect a very full warrant. I am also" he continues, "very much flattered to be enabled to inform you that the Grand Lodge of England have within these very few days appointed Prince Edward, who is now in Canada, Grand Master of Ancient Masons in Lower Canada; and William Jarvis, Secretary and Registrar of Upper Canada, Grand Master of Ancient Masons in that Province. However trivial it may appear to you who are not a Mason, yet I assure you that it is one of the most honourable appointments that they could have conferred. The Duke of Athol is the Grand Master of Ancient Masons in England. Lord Dorchester with his private Secretary, and the Secretary of the Province, called on us yesterday," Mr. Jarvis proceeds to say, "and found us in the utmost confusion, with half a dozen porters in the house packing up. However his Lordship would come in, and sat down in a small room which was reserved from the general bustle. He then took Mr. Peters home with him to dine: hence we conclude a favourable omen in regard to his consecration, which we hope is not far distant. Mrs. Jarvis," the Secretary informs his relative, "leaves England in great spirits. I am ordered my passage on board the transport with the Regiment, and to do duty without [285]pay for the passage only. This letter," he adds, "gets to Halifax by favour of an intimate friend of Mr. Peters, Governor Wentworth, who goes out to take possession of his Government. The ship that I am allotted to is the Henneker, Captain Winter, a transport with the Queen's Rangers on board."

The Prince Edward spoken of was afterwards Duke of Kent and father of the present Queen. Lord Dorchester was the Governor-General of the Province of Quebec before its division into Upper and Lower Canada. Mr. Peters was in posse the Bishop of the new Province about to be organized. It was a part of the original scheme, as shewn by the papers of the first Governor of Upper Canada, that there should be an episcopal see in Upper Canada, as there already was at Quebec in the lower province. But this was not carried into effect until 1839, nearly half a century later.

When Jarvis Street was opened up through the Secretary's park-lot, the family residence of his son Mr. Samuel Peters Jarvis, a handsome structure of the early brick era of York, in the line of the proposed thoroughfare, was taken down. Its interior fittings of solid black walnut were bought by Captain Carthew and transferred by him without much alteration to a house which he put up on part of the Deer-park property on Yonge Street.

A large fragment of the offices attached to Mr. Jarvis's house was utilized and absorbed in a private residence on the west side of Jarvis Street, and the gravel drive to the door is yet to be traced in the less luxuriant vegetation of certain portions of the adjoining flower gardens. Mr. Secretary Jarvis died in 1818. He is described by those who remember him, as possessing a handsome, portly presence. Col. Jarvis, the first military commandant in Manitoba, is a grandson of the Secretary.

Of Mr. McGill, first owner of the next park-lot, and of his personal aspect, we have had occasion to speak in connection with the interior of St. James' Church. Situated in fields at the southern extremity of a stretch of forest, the comfortable and pleasantly-situated residence erected by him for many years seemed a place of abode quite remote from the town. It was still to be seen in 1870 in the heart of McGill Square, and was long occupied by Mr. McCutcheon, a brother of the inheritor of the bulk of Mr. McGill's property, who in accordance with his uncle's will, and by authority of an Act of Parliament[286], assumed the name of McGill, and became subsequently well known throughout Canada as the Hon. Peter McGill.

(The founder of McGill College in Montreal was of a different family. The late Capt. James McGill Strachan derived his name from the marriage-connection of his father with the latter.)

In the Gazette and Oracle of Nov. 13th, 1803, we observe Mr. McGill, of York, advertising as "agent for purchases" for pork and beef to be supplied to the troops stationed "at Kingston, York, Fort George, Fort Chippewa, Fort Erie, and Amherstburg." In 1818 he is Receiver-General, and Auditor-General of land patents. He had formerly been an officer in the Queen's Rangers, and his name repeatedly occurs in "Simcoe's History" of the operations of that corps during the war of the American Revolution.

From that work we learn that in 1779 he, with the commander himself of the corps, then Lieut.-Col. Simcoe, fell into the hands of the revolutionary authorities, and was treated with great harshness in the common jail of Burlington, New Jersey; and when a plan was devised for the Colonel's escape, Mr. McGill volunteered, in order to further its success, to personate his commanding officer in bed, and to take the consequences, while the latter was to make his way out.

The whole project was frustrated by the breaking of a false key in the lock of a door which would have admitted the confined soldiers to a room where "carbines and ammunition" were stored away. Lieut.-Col. Simcoe, it is added in the history just named, afterwards offered Mr. McGill an annuity, or to make him Quartermaster of Cavalry; the latter, we are told, he accepted of, as his grandfather had been an officer in King William's army; and "no man," Col. Simcoe himself notes, "ever executed the office with greater integrity, courage and conduct."

The southern portion of Mr. McGill's park-lot has, in the course of modern events, come to be assigned to religious uses. McGill Square, which contained the old homestead and its surroundings, and which was at one period intended, as its name indicates, to be an open public square, was secured in 1870 by the Wesleyan Methodist body and made the site of its principal place of worship and of various establishments connected therewith.

Immediately north, on the sa[287]me property, the Roman Catholics had previously built their principal place of worship and numerous appurtenances, attracted possibly to the spot by the expectation that McGill Square would continue for ever an open ornamental piece of ground.

A little farther to the north a cross-street, leading from Yonge Street eastward, bears the name of McGill. An intervening cross-street preserves the name of Mr. Crookshank, who was Mr. McGill's brother-in-law.

The name that appears on the original survey of York and its suburbs as first occupant of the park-lot westward of Mr. McGill's, is that of Mr. George Playter. This is the Captain Playter, senior, of whom we have already spoken in our excursion up the valley of the Don. We have named him also among the forms of a past age whom we ourselves remember often seeing in the congregation assembled of old in the wooden St. James'.

Mr. Playter was an Englishman by birth, but had passed many of his early years in Philadelphia, where for a time he attached himself to the Society of Friends, having selected as a wife a member of that body. But on the breaking out of the troubles that led to the independence of the United States, his patriotic attachment to old far-off England compelled him, in spite of the peaceful theories of the denomination to which he had united himself, promptly to join the Royalist forces.

He used to give a somewhat humorous account of his sudden return to the military creed of ordinary mundane men. "Lie there, Quaker!" cried he to his cutaway, buttonless, formal coat, as he stripped it off and flung it down, for the purpose of donning the soldier's habiliments. But some of the Quaker observances were never relinquished in his family. We well remember, in the old homestead on the Don, and afterwards at his residence on Caroline Street, a silent mental thanksgiving before meals, that always took place after every one had taken his seat at the table; a brief pause was made, and all bent for a moment slightly forwards. The act was solemn and impressive.

Old Mr. Playter was a man of sprightly and humorous temperament, and his society was accordingly much enjoyed by those who knew him. A precise attention to his dress and person rendered him an excellent type in which to study the costume and style of the ordinary unofficial citizen of a past generation. Colonel M. F. Whitehead, of Port Hope, in a letter kindly expressive of his interest in these reminiscences of York, incidentally furnish[288]ed a little sketch that will not be out of place here. "My visits to York, after I was articled to Mr. Ward, in 1819," Colonel Whitehead says, "were frequent. I usually lodged at old Mr. Playter's, Mrs. Ward's father. [This was when he was still living at the homestead on the Don.] The old gentleman often walked into town with me, by Castle Frank; his three-cornered hat, silver knee-buckles, broad-toed shoes and large buckles, were always carefully arranged."—To the equipments, so well described by Colonel Whitehead, we add from our own boyish recollection of Sunday sights, white stockings and a gold-headed cane of a length unusual now.

According to a common custom prevalent at an early time, Mr. Playter set apart on his estate on the Don a family burial-plot, where his own remains and those of several members of his family and their descendants were deposited. Mr. George Playter, son of Captain George Playter, was some time Deputy Sheriff of the Home District; and Mr. Eli Playter, another son, represented for some sessions in the Provincial Parliament the North Riding of York. A daughter, who died unmarried in 1832, Miss Hannah Playter, "Aunt Hannah," as she was styled in the family, is pleasantly remembered as well for the genuine kindness of her character, as also for the persistency with which, like her father, she carried forward into a new and changed generation, and retained to the last, the costume and manners of the reign of King George the Third.

Immediately in front of the extreme westerly portion of the park lot which we are now passing, and on the south side of the present Queen Street in that direction, was situated an early Court House of York, associated in the memories of most of the early people with their first acquaintance with forensic pleadings and law proceedings.

This building was a notable object in its day. In an old plan of the town we observe it conspicuously delineated in the locality mentioned—the other public buildings of the place, viz., the Commissariat Stores, the Government House, the Council Chamber (at the present north-west corner of York and Wellington Streets), the District School, St. James's Church, and the Parliament House (by the Little Don), being marked in the same distinguished manner. It was a plain two-storey frame building, erected in the first instance as an ordinary place of abode by Mr. Montgomery, father of the Montgomerys[289], once of the neighbourhood of Eglinton, on Yonge Street. It stood in a space defined by the present line of Yonge Street on the west, by nearly the present line of Victoria Street on the east, by Queen Street on the north and by Richmond Street on the south. Though situated nearer Queen Street than Richmond Street, it faced the latter, and was approached from the latter.—It was Mr. Montgomery who obtained by legal process the opening of Queen Street in the rear of his property. In consequence of the ravine of which we have had occasion so often to speak, the allowance for this street as laid down in the first plans of York had been closed up by authority from Yonge Street to Caroline Street.

It was seriously proposed in 1800 to close up Queen Street to the westward also from Yonge Street "so far as the Common," that is, the Garrison Reserve, on the ground that such street was wholly unnecessary, there being in that direction already one highway into the town, namely, Richmond Street, situated only ten rods to the south. In 1800 the southern termination of Yonge Street was where we are now passing, at the corner of Montgomery's lot. At this point the farmers' waggons from the north turned off to the eastward, proceeding as far as Toronto Street, down which they wended their way to Richmond Street, and so on to Church Street and King Street, finally reaching the Market Place.

Of the opening of Yonge Street through a range of building lots which in 1800 blocked the way from Queen Street southwards, we shall speak hereafter in the excursion which we propose to make through Yonge Street from south to north, the moment we have finished recording our collections and recollections in relation to Queen Street.

Memories of the Old Court House.

In the old Court House, situated as we have described, we received our first boyish impressions of the solemnities and forms observed in Courts of Law. In paying a visit of curiosity subsequently to the singular series of Law Courts which are to be found ranged along one side of Westminster Hall in London—each one of them in succession entered through the heavy folds of lofty mysterious-looking curtains, each one of them crowded with earnest pleaders and anxious suitors,[290] each one of them provided with a judge elevated in solitary majesty on high, each one of them seeming to the passing stranger more like a scene in a drama than a prosaic reality—we could not but revert in memory to the old upper chamber at York where the remote shadows of such things were for the first time encountered.

It was startling to remember of a sudden that our early Upper Canadian Judges, our early Upper Canadian Barristers, came fresh from these Westminster Hall Courts! What a contrast must have been presented to these men in the rude wilds to which they found themselves transported. Riding the Circuit in the Home, Midland, Eastern and Western Districts at the beginning of the present century was no trivial undertaking. Accommodation for man and horse was for the most part scant and comfortless. Locomotion by land and water was perilous and slow, and racking to the frame. The apartments procurable for the purposes of the Court were of the humblest kind.

Our pioneer jurisconsults in their several degrees, however, like our pioneers generally, unofficial as well as official, did their duty. They quietly initiated in the country, customs of gravity and order which have now become traditional; and we see the result in the decent dignity which surrounds, at the present day, the administration of justice in Canada in the Courts of every grade.

Prior to the occupation of Mr. Montgomery's house as the Court House at York, the Court of King's Bench held its sessions in a portion of the Government Buildings at the east end of the town, destroyed in the war of 1813. On June 25, 1812, the Sheriff, John Beikie, advertises in the Gazette that "a Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the Home District will be holden at the Government Buildings in the town of York on Tuesday, the fourteenth day of July now next ensuing, at the hour of ten o'clock in the forenoon, of which all Justices of the Peace, Coroners, Gaolers, High Constables, Constables and Bailiffs are desired to take notice, and that they be then and there present with their Rolls, Records, and other Memoranda to do and perform those things which by reason of their respective offices shall be to be done."

It is with the Court Room in the Government Buildings that the Judge, Sheriff and Crown Counsel were familiar, who were engulfed in Lake Ontario in 1805. The story of the total loss of the government schooner Speedy, Captain Thomas Paxton, is widely known. In that ill-fated vessel suddenly went down in [291]a gale in the dead of night, along with its commander and crew, Judge Cochrane, Solicitor-General Gray, Mr. Angus McDonell, Sheriff of York, Mr. Fishe, the High Bailiff, an Indian prisoner about to be tried at Presqu'Isle for murder, two interpreters, Cowan and Ruggles, several witnesses, and Mr. Herchmer, a merchant of York; in all thirty-nine persons, of whom no trace was ever afterwards discovered.

The weather was threatening, the season of the year stormy (7th October), and the schooner was suspected not to be sea-worthy. But the orders of the Governor, General Peter Hunter, were peremptory. Mr. Weekes, of whom we have heard before, escaped the fate that befel so many connected with his profession, by deciding to make the journey to Presqu'Isle on horseback. (For the seat in the House rendered vacant by the sudden removal of Mr. McDonell, Mr. Weekes was the successful candidate.)

The name of the Indian who was on his way to be tried was Ogetonicut. His brother, Whistling Duck, had been killed by a white man, and he took his revenge on John Sharp, another white man. The deed was done at Ball Point on Lake Scugog, where John Sharp was in charge of a trading-post for furs belonging to the Messrs. Farewell. The Governor had promised, so it was alleged, that the slayer of Whistling Duck should be punished. But a twelvemonth had elapsed and nothing had been done. The whole tribe, the Muskrat branch of the Chippewas, with their Chief Wabbekisheco at their head, came up in canoes to York on this occasion, starting from the mouth of Annis's creek, near Port Oshawa, and encamping at Gibraltar Point on the peninsula in front of York. A guard of soldiers went over to assist in the arrest of Ogetonicut, who, it appears, had arrived with the rest. The Chief Wabbekisheco, took the culprit by the shoulder and delivered him up. He was lodged in the jail at York.

During the summer it was proved by means of a survey that the spot where Sharp had been killed was within the District of Newcastle. It was held necessary, therefore, that the trial should take place in that District. Sellick's, at the Carrying Place, was to have been the scene of the investigation, and thither the Speedy was bound when she foundered. Mr. Justice Cochrane was a most estimable character personally, and a man of distinguished ability. He was only in [292]his 28th year, and had been Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island before his arrival in Upper Canada. He was a native of Halifax, in Nova Scotia, but had studied law in Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the Bar in England.

In the old Court House, near which we are now passing, were assigned to convicted culprits, with unflinching severity and in a no inconsiderable number of instances, all the penalties enjoined in the criminal code of the day—the lash, the pillory, the stocks, the gallows. We have conversed with an old inhabitant of Toronto, who had not only here heard the penalty of branding ordered by the Judge, but had actually seen it in open court inflicted, the iron being heated in the great wood-stove that warmed the room, and the culprit made to stretch out his hand and have burnt thereon the initial letter of the offence committed.

Here cases came up repeatedly, arising out of the system of slavery which at the beginning was received in Canada, apparently as an inevitable part and parcel of the social arrangements of a colony on this continent.

On the first of March, 1811, we have it on the record, "William Jarvis, of the Town of York, Esq. (this is the Secretary again), informed the Court that a negro boy and girl, his slaves, had the evening before been committed to prison for having stolen gold and silver out of his desk in his dwelling-house, and escaped from their said master; and prayed that the Court would order that the said prisoners, with one Coachly, a free negro, also committed to prison on suspicion of having advised and aided the said boy and girl in eloping with their master's property." Thereupon it was "Ordered,—That the said negro boy, named Henry, commonly called Prince, be re-committed to prison, and there safely kept till delivered according to law, and that the girl do return to her said master; and Coachly be discharged."

At the date just mentioned Slavery was being gradually extinguished by an Act of the Provincial Legislature of Upper Canada, passed at Newark in 1793, which forbade the further introduction of slaves, and ordered that all slave children born after the 9th of July in that year should be free on attaining the age of twenty-five.

Most gentlemen, from the Administrator of the Government downwards, possessed some slaves. Peter Russell, in 1806, was anxious to dispose of two of his, and thus advertised in [293]the Gazette and Oracle, mentioning his prices:—"To be sold: a Black Woman named Peggy, aged forty years, and a Black Boy, her son, named Jupiter, aged about fifteen years, both of them the property of the subscriber. The woman is a tolerable cook and washerwoman, and perfectly understands making soap and candles. The boy is tall and strong for his age, and has been employed in the country business, but brought up principally as a house servant. They are each of them servants for life. The price of the woman is one hundred and fifty dollars. For the boy two hundred dollars, payable in three years, with interest from the day of sale, and to be secured by bond, &c. But one-fourth less will be taken for ready money. York, Feb. 19th, 1806. Peter Russell."

According to our ideas at the present moment, such an advertisement as this is shocking enough. But we must judge the words and deeds of men by the spirit of the age in which they lived and moved.

Similar notices were common a century since in the English newspapers. It is in fact asserted that at that period there were probably more slaves in England than in Virginia. In the London Public Advertiser, of March 28th, 1769, we have, for example, the following: "To be sold, a Black Girl, the property of J. B——, eleven years of age, who is extremely handy, works at her needle tolerably, and speaks English perfectly well; is of an excellent temper, and willing disposition. Enquire of Mr. Owen, at the Angel Inn, behind St. Clement's Church, in the Strand." And again, in the Edinburgh Evening Courant of April 18th, 1768, we have, "A Black Boy to sell. To be sold a Black Boy with long hair, stout made and well limbed; is good tempered; can dress hair, and take care of a horse indifferently. He has been in Britain near three years. Any person that inclines to purchase him may have him for [294] £40. He belongs to Captain Abercrombie, at Brighton. This advertisement not to be repeated."

The poet sings—

"Slaves cannot breathe in England: if their lungs  Receive our air, that moment they are free;  They touch our country and their shackles fall."

But this was not true until Lord Mansfield, in 1772, uttered his famous judgment in the case of James Somerset, a slave brought over by a Mr. Stewart from Jamaica. Cowper's lines are in reality a versification of a portion of Lord Mansfield's words. A plea had been set up that villeinage had never been abolished by law in England; ergo, the possession of slaves was not illegal. But Lord Mansfield ruled: "Villeinage has ceased in England, and it cannot be revived. The air of England," he said, " has long been too pure for a slave, and every man is free who breathes it. Every man who comes into England," Lord Mansfield continued, "is entitled to the protection of English law, whatever oppression he may heretofore have suffered, and whatever may be the colour of his skin: Quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu candidus esses. Let the negro be discharged." But this is a digression.

Peter Russell's Peggy had been giving him uneasiness a few years previous to the advertisement copied above. She had been absenting herself without leave. Of this we are apprised in an advertisement dated York, September 2nd, 1803. It runs as follows: "The subscriber's black servant Peggy, not having his permission to absent herself from his service, the public are hereby cautioned from employing or harbouring her without the owner's leave. Whoever will do so after this notice may expect to be treated as the law directs. Peter Russell."

In the papers published at Niagara advertisements similar to those just given are to be seen. In the Niagara Herald of January 2nd, 1802, we have, "For sale: A negro man slave, 18 years of age, stout and healthy; has had the small pox and is capable of service either in the house or out-doors. The terms will be made easy to the purchaser, and cash or new lands received in payment. Enquire of the printer." And again in the Herald of January 18th: "For sale: the negro man and woman, the property of Mrs. Widow Clement. They have been bred to the business of a farm; will be sold on highly advantageous terms for cash or lands. Apply to Mrs. Clement."

Cash and lands were plainly beginning to be regarded as less precarious property than human chattels. In 1797 purchasers, however, were still advertising. In the Gazette and Oracle of October 11th, in that year, we read; "Wanted to purchase, a negro girl from seven to twelve years of age, of good disposition. For fuller particulars apply to the subscribers, W. and J. Crooks, West Niagara, Oct. 4th." At York, in 1800, the Gazette announces as "to be sold"—"A healthy strong negro woman, about thirty years of age; understands cooking, laundry and the taking care of po[295]ultry. N.B.—She can dress ladies' hair. Enquire of the Printers. York, Dec 20, 1800."

In respect to the following notice some explanation is needed. We presume the "Indian slave" spoken of must have been only part Indian. The detention of a native as a slave, if legal, would have been difficult. Mr. Charles Field, of Niagara, on the 28th of August, 1802, gave notice in the Herald: "All persons are forbidden harbouring, employing, or concealing my Indian slave Sal, as I am determined to prosecute any offender to the extremity of the law; and persons who may suffer her to remain in or upon their premises for the space of half-an-hour, without my written consent, will be taken as offending, and dealt with accordingly."

In the early volumes of the Quebec Gazette these slave advertisements are common. A rough wood-cut of a black figure running frequently precedes them. It appropriately illustrates the following one: "Run away from the subscriber on Tuesday, the 25th ult., a negro man, named Drummond, near six feet high, walks heavily; had on when he went away a dark coloured cloth coat and leather breeches. Whoever takes up and secures the said negro, so that his master may have him again, shall have Four Dollars reward, and all reasonable charges paid by John McCord. Speaks very bad English and next to no French." Another reads thus: "To be sold, a healthy Negro Boy, about fifteen years of age, well qualified to wait on a gentleman as a Body Servant. For further particulars inquire of the Printers."

Mr. Sol.-General Gray, lost in the Speedy, manumitted by his will, dated August 27th, 1803, and discharged from the state of slavery in which, as that document speaks, "she now is," his "faithful black woman servant, Dorinda," and gave her and her children their freedom; and that they might not want, directed that £1200 should be invested and the interest applied to their maintenance. To his black servants, Simon and John Baker, he gave, besides their freedom, 200 acres of land each, and pecuniary legacies. The Simon here named went down with his master in the Speedy; but John long survived. He used to state that his mother Dorinda, was a native of Guinea, and to describe Governor Hunter as a rough old warrior, who carried snuff in an outside pocket, whence he took it in handfuls, to the great disfigurement of his ruffled shirt-bosoms. His death was announced in the public papers by telegram from Cornwall, Ontario, bearing date January 17, 1871. "A coloured man," it said, "named John Baker, who attained his 105th year on the 25th ult., died here to-day. H[296]e came here as a chattel of the late Colonel Gray, in 1792, having seen service in the Revolutionary war. Subsequently he served throughout the war of 1812. He was wounded at Lundy's Lane, and has drawn a pension for fifty-seven years." Mr. Gray, it may be added, was a native of our Canadian town of Cornwall. His place of abode in York was in what is now Wellington Street, on the lot immediately to the west of the old "Council Chamber" (subsequently the residence of Chief Justice Draper.)

We ourselves, we remember, used to gaze, in former days, with some curiosity at the pure negress, Amy Pompadour, here in York, knowing that she had once been legally made a present of by Miss Elizabeth Russell to Mrs. Captain Denison.

But enough of the subject of Canadian slavery, to which we have been inadvertently led.

The old Court House, when abandoned by the law authorities for the new buildings on King Street, was afterwards occasionally employed for religious purposes. By an advertisement in the Advocate, in March, 1834, we learn that the adherents of David Willson, of Whitchurch, sometimes made use of it. It is there announced that "the Children of Peace will hold Worship in the Old Court House of York, on Sunday, the 16th instant, at Eleven and Three." Subsequently it became for a time the House of Industry or Poor House of the town.

Besides the legal cases tried and the judgments pronounced within the homely walls of the Old Court House, interest would attach to the curious scenes—could they be recovered and described—which there occurred, arising sometimes from the primitive rusticity of juries, and sometimes from their imperfect mastery of the English language, many of them being, as the German settlers of Markham and Vaughan were indiscriminately called, Dutchmen. Peter Ernest, appearing in court with the verdict of a jury of which he was foreman, began to preface the same with a number of peculiar German-English expressions which moved Chief Justice Powell to cut him short by the remark that he would have to commit him if he swore:—when Ernest observed that the perplexities through which he and the jury had been endeavouring to find their way, were enough to make better men than they were express themselves in an unusual way.—The verdict, pure and simple, was demanded. Ernest then announced that the verdict which he had to deliver was, that half of the jury were for "guilty" and half for "[297]not guilty." That is, the Judge observed, you would have the prisoner half-hanged, or the half of him hanged. To which Peter replied, that would be as his Lordship pleased.—It was a case of homicide. Being sent back, they agreed to acquit.

Odd passages, too, between pertinacious counsel and nettled judges sometimes occurred, as when Mr. H. J. Boulton, fresh from the Inner Temple, sat down at the peremptory order of the Chief Justice, but added, "I will sit down, my Lord, but I shall instantly stand up again."

Chief Justice Powell, when on the Bench, had a humorous way occasionally, of indicating by a kind of quiet by-play, by a gentle shake of the head, a series of little nods, or movements of the eye or eyebrow, his estimate of an outré hypothesis or an ad captandum argument. This was now and then disconcerting to advocates anxious to figure, for the moment, in the eyes of a simple-minded jury, as oracles of extra authority.

Nights, likewise, there would be to be described, passed by juries in the diminutive jury-room, either through perplexity fairly arising out of the evidence, or through the dogged obstinacy of an individual.

Once, as we have heard from a sufferer on the occasion, Colonel Duggan was the means of keeping a jury locked up for a night here, he being the sole dissentient on a particular point. That night, however, was converted into one of memorable festivity, our informant said, a tolerable supply of provisions and comforts having been conveyed in through the window, sent for from the homes of those of the jury who were residents of York. The recusant Colonel was refused a moment's rest throughout the live-long night. During twelve long hours pranks and sounds were indulged in that would have puzzled a foreigner taking notes of Canadian Court House usages.

When 10 o'clock a.m. of the next day arrived, and the Court re-assembled, Colonel Duggan suddenly and obligingly effected the release of himself and his tormentors by consenting to make the necessary modification in his opinion.

Of one characteristic scene we have a record in the books of the Court itself. On the 12th of January, 1813, as a duly impanelled jury were retiring to[298] their room to consider of their verdict, a remark was addressed to one of their number, namely, Samuel Jackson, by a certain Simeon Morton, who had been a witness for the defence: the remark, as the record notes, was in these words, to wit, "Mind your eye!" to which the said Jackson replied "Never fear!" The Crier of the Court, John Bazell, duly made affidavit of this illicit transaction. Accordingly, on the appearance in court of the jury, for the purpose of rendering their verdict, Mr. Baldwin, attorney for the prosecution, moved that the said Jackson be taken into custody: and the Judge gave order "that Samuel Jackson do immediately enter into recognizances, himself in £50, and two sureties in £25 each, for his appearance on the Saturday following at the Office of the Clerk of the Peace, which," as the record somewhat inelegantly adds, "he done." He duly appeared on the Saturday indicated, and, pleading ignorance, was discharged.

In the Court House in 1822 was tried a curious case in respect of a horse claimed by two parties, Major Heward, of York, and General Wadsworth, commandant of the United States Garrison at Fort Niagara. Major Heward had reared a sorrel colt on his farm east of the Don; and when it was three years old it was stolen. Nothing came of the offer of reward for its recovery until a twelvemonth after the theft, when a young horse was brought by a stranger to Major Heward, at York, and instantly recognized by him as his lost property. Some of the major's neighbours likewise had no doubt of the identity of the animal, which, moreover, when taken to the farm entered of his own accord the stable, and the stall, the missing colt used to occupy, and, when let out into the adjoining pasture, greeted in a friendly way a former mate, and ran to drink at the customary watering place. Shortly after, two citizens of the United States, Kelsey and Bond, make their appearance at York and claim the horse which they find on Major Heward's farm, as the property of General Wadsworth, commandant at Fort Niagara. Kelsey swore that he had reared the animal; that he had docked him with his own hands when only a few hours old; and that he had sold him about a year ago to General Wadsworth. Bond also swore positively that this was the horse which Kelsey had reared, and that he himself had broken him in, prior to the sale to General Wadsworth. It was alleged by these persons that a man named Docksteader had stolen the horse from General Wadsworth at Fort Niagara and had conveyed him across to the Canadian side.

In consequence of the positive evidence of these two men the jury gave their verdict in favour of General Wadsworth's cl[299]aim, with damages to the amount of £50. It was nevertheless generally held that Kelsey and Bond's minute narrative of the colt's early history was a fiction; and that Docksteader, the man who transferred the animal from the United States side of the river to Canadian soil, had also had something to do with the transfer of the same animal from Canada to the United States a twelvemonth previously.

The subject of this story survived to the year 1851, and was recognized and known among all old inhabitants as "Major Heward's famous horse Toby."

Within the Court House on Richmond Street took place in 1818 the celebrated trial of a number of prisoners brought down from the Red River Settlement on charges of "high treason, murder, robbery, and conspiracy," as preferred against them by Lord Selkirk, the founder of the Settlement. When our neighbourhood was itself in fact nothing more than a collection of small isolated clearings, rough-hewn out of the wild, "the Selkirk Settlement" and the "North West" were household terms among us for remote regions in a condition of infinite savagery, in comparison with which we, as we prided ourselves, were denizens of a paradise of high refinement and civilization. Now that the Red River district has attained the dignity of a province and become a member of our Canadian Confederation, the trial referred to, arising out of the very birth-throes of Manitoba, has acquired a fresh interest.

The Earl of Selkirk, the fifth of that title, was a nobleman of enlightened and cultivated mind. He was the author of several literary productions esteemed in their day; amongst them, of a treatise on Emigration, which is spoken of by contemporaries as an exhaustive, standard work on the subject. For practically testing his theories, however, Lord Selkirk appears to have desired a field exclusively his own. Instead of directing his fellow-countrymen to one or other of the numerous prosperous settlements already in process of formation at easily accessible and very eligible spots along the St. Lawrence and the Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron, he induced a considerable body of them to find their way to a point in the far interior of our northern continent, where civilization had as yet made no sensible inroad; to a locality so situated that if a colony could contrive to subsist there, it must apparently of necessity remain for a very long period dismally isolated. In 1803, Bishop Macdonell asked him, what could have induced a man of his high rank and great fortune, possessing the estee[300]m and confidence of the Government and of every public man in Britain, to embark in an enterprise so romantic; and the reply given was, that, in his opinion, the situation of Great Britain, and indeed of all Europe, was at that moment so very critical and eventful, that a man would like to have a more solid footing to stand upon, than anything that Europe could offer. The tract of land secured by Lord Selkirk for emigration purposes was a part of the territory held by the Hudson's Bay Company, and was approached from Europe not so readily by the St. Lawrence route as by Hudson's Strait and Hudson's Bay. The site of the actual settlement was half-a-mile north of the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, streams that unitedly flow northward into Lake Winnipeg, which communicates directly at its northern extremity with Nelson River, whose outlet is at Port Nelson or Fort York on Hudson's Bay. The population of the Settlement in the beginning of 1813 was 100. Mr. Miles Macdonell, formerly a captain in the Queen's Rangers, appointed by the Hudson's Bay Company first Governor of the District of Assiniboia, was made by the Earl of Selkirk superintendent of affairs at Kildonan. The rising village was called Kildonan, from the name of the parish in the county of Sutherland whence the majority of the settlers had emigrated.

The Montreal North West Company of Fur Traders was a rival of the Hudson's Bay Company. Whilst the latter traded for the most part in the regions watered by the rivers flowing into Hudson's Bay, the former claimed for their operations the area drained by the streams running into Lake Superior.

The North West Company of Montreal looked with no kindly eye on the settlement of Kildonan. An agricultural colony, in close proximity to their hunting grounds, seemed a dangerous innovation, tending to injure the local fur trade. Accordingly it was resolved to break up the infant colony. The Indians were told that they would assuredly be made "poor and miserable" by the new-comers if they were allowed to proceed with their improvements; because these would cause the buffalo to disappear. The colonists themselves were informed of the better prospects open to them in the Canadian settlements and were promised pecuniary help if they would decide to move. At the same time, the peril to which they were exposed from the alleged ill-will of the Indians was enlarged upon. Moreover, attacks with fire-arms were made on the houses of the colonists, and acts of pillage committed.[301] The result was that in 1815, the inhabitants of Kildonan dispersed, proceeding, some of them, in the direction of Canada, and some of them northwards, purposing to make their way to Port Nelson, and to find, if possible, a conveyance thence back to the shores of old Scotland. Those, however, who took the northern route proceeded only as far as the northern end of Lake Winnipeg, establishing themselves for a time at Jack River House. They were then induced to return to their former settlement, by Mr. Colin Robertson, an agent of the Hudson's Bay Company, who assured them that a number of Highlanders were coming, via Hudson's Bay, to take up land at Kildonan. This proved to be the fact; and, in 1816, the revived colony consisted of more than 200 persons. On annoyance being offered to the settlement by the North West Company's agent, Mr. Duncan Cameron, who occupied a post called Fort Gibraltar, about half a mile off, Mr. Colin Robertson, with the aid of his Highlandmen, seized that establishment, and recovered two field-pieces and thirty stand of arms that had been taken from Kildonan the preceding year. Cameron himself was also made a prisoner. (Miles Macdonell, Governor of Assiniboia, had been captured by the said Cameron in the preceding year, and sent to Montreal.) A strong feeling was aroused among the half-breeds, far and near, who were in the interest of the North West Company. In the spring of 1816, Mr. Semple, the Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, appeared in person at the Red River, having been apprized of the growing troubles. During an angry conference on the 18th of June, with a band of seventy men, headed by Cuthbert, Grant, Lacerte, Fraser, Hoole, and Thomas McKay, half-breed employés of the North West Company, he was violently assaulted; and in the melée he was killed, together with five of his officers and sixteen of his people. Out of these events sprang the memorable trials that took place in the York Court House in 1818.

The Earl of Selkirk being desirous of witnessing the progress made by his emigrants at Red River, paid a visit to this continent in the autumn of 1815. On arriving at New York he heard of the dispersion at Kildonan, and the destruction of property there. He proceeded at once to Montreal and York to consult with the authorities. The news next reached him that his colony had been re-established, at least partially. He immediately despatched a trusty messenger, one Lag[302]imonière, with assurances that he himself would speedily be with them, bringing proper means of protection. But Lagimonière was waylaid and never reached his destination.

It happened, about this time, in consequence of the peace just established with the United States, that the De Meuron, Watteville and Glengarry Fencible Regiments were disbanded in the country. About eighty men of the De Meuron, with four of the late officers, twenty of the Watteville, and a few of the Glengarry, with one of their officers, agreed to accompany Lord Selkirk to the Red River. On reaching the Sault, the tidings met the party of the second dispersion of the colony, and of the slaughter of Governor Semple and his officers. The whole band at once pushed on to Fort William, where were assembled many of the partners of the North West Company, with Mr. McGillivray, their principal Agent. Here were also some of the persons who had been made prisoners at Kildonan.

Armed simply with a commission of a Justice of the Peace, Lord Selkirk then and there, at his encampment opposite Fort William across the Kaministigoia, issued his warrant for the arrest of Mr. McGillivray.

It is duly served and Mr. McGillivray submits. Two partners who came over with him as bail are also instantly arrested. The prisoners had been previously liberated and information was procured from them.

Warrants were then issued for the arrest of the remainder of the partners, who were found in the Fort. Some resistance was now offered. The gate of the Fort was partially closed by force; but a party of twenty-five men instantly rushed up from the boats and cleared the way into the Fort. At the signal of a bugle-call more men came over from the encampment, and their approach put an end to the struggle. The arrests were then completed, and the remaining partners were marched down to the boats. "At the time this resistance to the warrant was attempted there were," our authority informs us, "about 200 Canadians, i. e., French, in the employment of the Company, in and about the Fort, together with 60 or 70 Iroquois Indians, also in the Company's service."

The Earl of Selkirk was plainly a man not to be trifled with; a chief who, in the olden time, would have been equal to [303]the roughest emergency.

The prisoners brought down from Fort William, and after the lapse of nearly two years placed at the Bar in the Old Court House of York, were arraigned as follows: "Paul Brown and F. F. Boucher, for the murder of Robert Semple, Esq., on the 18th of June, 1816; John Siveright, Alexander McKenzie, Hugh McGillis, John McDonald, John McLaughlin and Simon Fraser, as accessories to the same crime; Cooper and Bennerman, for taking, on the third of April, 1815, with force and arms, eight pieces of cannon and one howitzer, the property of the Right Hon. Thomas, Earl of Selkirk, from his dwelling house, and putting in bodily fear of their lives certain persons found therein." The cannons were further described as being two of them brass field-pieces, two of them brass swivels, four of them iron swivels.—In each case the verdict was "not guilty."

The Judges were Chief Justice Powell, Mr. Justice Campbell, Mr. Justice Boulton, and Associate Justice W. Allan, Esq. The counsel for the Crown were Mr. Attorney-General Robinson and Mr. Solicitor-General Boulton. The counsel for the prisoners were Samuel Sherwood, Livius P. Sherwood, and W. W. Baldwin, Esq.

The juries in the three trials were not quite identical. Those that served on one or other of them are as follows:—George Bond, Joseph Harrison, Wm. Harrison, Joseph Shepperd, Peter Lawrence, Joshua Leach, John McDougall, jun., Wm. Moore, Alexander Montgomery, Peter Whitney, Jonathan Hale, Michael Whitmore, Harbour Stimpson, John Wilson, John Hough, Richard Herring.

The Earl of Selkirk was not present at the trials. He had proceeded to New York, on his way to Great Britain. He probably anticipated the verdicts that were rendered. The North-West Company influence in Upper and Lower Canada was very strong.

At a subsequent Court of Oyer and Terminer held at York, a true bill against the Earl and nineteen others was found by the Grand Jury, for "conspiracy to ruin the trade of the North-West Company." Mr. Wm. Smith, Under-Sheriff of the Western District, obtained a verdict of £500 damages for having been seized and confined by the said Earl when endeavouring to serve a warrant on him in Fort William; and Daniel McKenzie, a retired partner of the North-West Company, obtained a verdict of £1,500 damages for alleged false imprisonment by the Earl in the same Fort.—Two years later, [304]namely, in 1820, Lord Selkirk died at Pau, in the South of France.




Leaving now the site of our ancient Court House, the spot at which we arrive in our tour is one of very peculiar interest. It is the intersection at right angles of the two great military ways carved out through the primitive forest of Western Canada by order of its first Governor. Dundas Street and Yonge Street were laid down in the first MS. maps of the country as highways destined to traverse the land in all future time, as nearly as practicable in right lines, the one from east to west, the other from south to north. They were denominated "streets," because their idea was taken from the famous ancient ways, still in several instances called "streets," which the Romans, when masters of primitive Britain, constructed for military purposes. To this day it is no unpleasant occupation for the visitor who has leisure, to track out the lines of these ancient roads across England. We ourselves once made a pilgrimage expressly for the purpose of viewing the intersection of Iknield Street and Watling Street, in the centre of Dunstable, and from our actual knowledge of what Canada was when its Yonge Street and Dundas Street were first hewn out, we realized all the more vividly the condition of central England when the Roman road-makers first began their work there.

Dundas Street has its name from the Right Hon. Henry Dundas, Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1794. In that year Governor Simcoe wrote as follows to Mr. Dundas:—"Dundas Street, the road proposed from Burlington Bay to the River Thames, half of which is completed, will connect by an internal communication the Detroit and settlements at Niagara. It is intended," he says, "to be extended northerly to York by the troops, and in process of time by the respective settlers to Kingston and Montreal." In another despatch to the same statesman he says:—"I have directed the surveyor, early in the next spring to ascertain the precise distance of the several routes which I have done myself the honour of detailing to you, and hope to complete the Military Street or Road the ensuing autumn." In a MS. map of about the same date Dundas Street is laid down from Detroit to the Pointe au Bodêt, the terminus on the St. Lawrence of[306] the old boundary line between Upper and Lower Canada. From the Rouge River it is sketched as running somewhat further back than the line of the present Kingston Road; and after leaving Kingston it is drawn as though it was expected to follow the water-shed between the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence. A road is sketched, running from the Pointe au Bodêt to the Ottawa, and this Road is struck at an acute angle by Dundas Street.

A manuscript note appears on the map, "The Dundas Street is laid out from Oxford to the Bay of Quinté; it is nearly finished from Oxford to Burlington Bay."

In 1799 the Constellation, a paper published at Niagara, informs its readers, under the date of Friday, August 2nd, in that year, that "the wilderness from York to the Bay of Quinté is 120 miles; a road of this distance through it," it then says, "is contracted out by Government to Mr. Danforth, to be cut and completed by the first of July next; and which, when completed, will open a communication round the Lake by land from this town [Niagara] with the Bay, Kingston, &c. Hitherto," the Constellation continues, "in the season of winter our intercourse with that part of the province has been almost totally interrupted. Mr. Danforth has already made forty miles of excellent road," the editor encourages his patrons by observing, "and procured men to the number sufficient for doing the whole extent by the setting in of winter. It would be desirable also," Mr. Tiffany suggests, "were a little labour expended in bridging the streams between Burlington Bay and York; indeed the whole country," it is sweepingly declared, "affords room for amendment in this respect."

It is plain from this extract that if the men of the present generation would have a just conception of what was the condition of the region round Lake Ontario seventy years ago, they must pay a visit to the head of Lake Superior and perform the journey by the Dawson road and the rest of the newly-opened route from Fort William to Winnipeg.

The Gazette of December 14, 1799, was able to speak approvingly of the road to the eastward. "The road from this town (York) to the Midland District is," it says, "completed as far as the Township of Hope, about sixty miles, so that sleigh[307]s, waggons, &c., may travel it with safety. The report which has been made to the Government by the gentlemen appointed to inspect the work is," the Gazette then proceeds to say, "highly favourable to Mr. Danforth, the undertaker; and less imperfections could not be pointed out in so extensive a work. The remaining part," it is added, "will be accomplished by the first of July next." The road to which these various extracts refer, is still known as the Danforth Road. It runs somewhat to the north of the present Kingston Road, entering it by the town line at the "Four Mile Tree."

Yonge Street, which we purpose duly to perambulate hereafter, has its name from Sir George Yonge, a member of the Imperial Government in the reign of George III. He was of a distinguished Devonshire family, and a personal friend of Governor Simcoe's.

The first grantee of the park-lot which we next pass in our progress westward was Dr. Macaulay, an army surgeon attached successively to the 33rd Regiment and the famous Queen's Rangers. His sons, Sir James Macaulay, first Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Colonel John Simcoe Macaulay, a distinguished officer of Engineers, are well remembered. Those who have personal recollections of Dr. Macaulay speak of him in terms of great respect. The southern portion of this property was at an early period laid out in streets and small lots. The collection of houses that here began to spring up was known as Macaulay Town, and was long considered as bearing the relation to York that Yorkville does to Toronto now. So late as 1833 Walton, in his Street Guide and Register, speaks of Macaulay Town as extending from Yonge Street to Osgoode Hall.

James Street retains the Christian name of Dr. Macaulay. Teraulay Street led up to the site of his residence, Teraulay Cottage, which after having been moved from its original position in connection with the laying out of Trinity Square off Yonge Street, was destroyed by fire in 1848. The northern portion of Macaulay Town was bounded by Macaulay Lane, described by Walton as "fronting the fields." This is Louisa Street.

Of the memorable possessor of the property on the south side of Queen Street, opposite Macaulay Town, Mr. Jesse Ketchum, we shall have occasion to speak hereafter, when we pass his place of abode in our proposed journey through Yonge Street. The existing Free Kirk place of worship, known as Knox Church, stands on land given by Mr. Ketchum, and on a site previously occupied by a long oblong [308]red brick chapel which looked towards what is now Richmond Street, and in which a son-in-law of his, Mr. Harris, officiated to a congregation of United Synod Presbyterians. The donor was probably unconscious of the remarkable excellence of this particular position as a site for a conspicuous architectural object. The spire that towers up from this now central spot is seen with peculiarly good effect as one approaches Toronto by the thoroughfare of Queen Street whether from the east or from the west.

Digression Southward at Bay Street.

Old inhabitants say that Bay Street, where we are now arrived, was at the first in fact "Bear Street," and that it was popularly so called from a noted chase given to a bear out of the adjoining wood on the north, which, to escape from its pursuers, made for the water along this route. Mr. Justice Boulton's two horses, Bonaparte and Jefferson, were once seen, we are told, to attack a monster of this species that intruded on their pasture on the Grange property a little to the west. They are described as plunging at the animal with their fore feet. In 1809, a straggler from the forest of the same species was killed in George Street by Lieut. Fawcett, of the 100th regiment, who cleft the creature's head open with his sword. This Lieut. Fawcett was afterwards Lieut.-Col. of the 100th, and was severely wounded in the war of 1812.

Bay street, as we pass it, recalls one of the early breweries of York. We have already in another place briefly spoken of Shaw's and Hugill's. At the second north-west corner southward, beer of good repute in the town and neighbourhood was manufactured by Mr. John Doel up to 1847, when his brewery was accidentally burnt. Mr. Doel's name is associated with the early post-office traditions of York. For a number of years he undertook and faithfully accomplished the delivery with his own hands of all the correspondence of the place that was in those days thus distributed. His presence at a door in the olden time was often a matter of considerable interest.

In the local commotions of 1837, Mr. Doel ventured in an humble way to give aid and comfort to the promoters of what proved to be a small revolution. We cannot at this hour affirm that there was anything to his discredit in this. He acted, no d[309]oubt, in accordance with certain honest instincts. Men of his class and stamp, shrewd in their ideas and sturdy against encroachments, civil and religious, abound in old Somersetshire where he first drew breath. His supposed presumption in having opinions on public questions induced the satirists of the non-progressive side to mention him occasionally in their philippics and pasquinades. His name has thus become associated in the narrative of Upper Canadian affairs with those of the actual chiefs of the party of reform. In 1827, Robert Randal, M.P., was despatched to London as a delegate on the part of the so-called "Aliens" or unnaturalized British subjects of United States origin. A series of burlesque nominations, supposed to be suggested by Randal to the Colonial Secretary, appeared at this time, emanating of course from the friends of the officials of the day. We give the document. It will be seen that Mr. Doel is set down in it for the Postmaster-Generalship. The other persons mentioned will be all readily recalled.

"Nominations to be dictated by the Constitutional Meeting, on Saturday next, in the petition for the redress of grievances to be forwarded to London by Ambassador Randal. Barnabas Bidwell—President of Upper Canada—with an extra annual allowance for a jaunt, for the benefit of his health, to his native State of Massachusetts. W. W. Baldwin—Chief Justice and Surgeon-General to the Militia Forces—with 1,000,000 acres of land for past services, he and his family having been most shamefully treated in having grants of land withheld from them heretofore. John Rolph—Attorney-General, and Paymaster-General to the Militia—with 500,000 acres of land for his former accounts as District Paymaster, faithfully rendered. Marshall S. Bidwell—Solicitor-General—with an annual allowance of as much as he may be pleased to ask for, rendering no account—for the purpose of 'encouraging emigration from the United States,' and a contingent account if he shall find it convenient to accompany the President to Massachusetts. The Puisne Judges—to be chosen by ballot in the Market Square, on the 4th of July in each and every year, subject to the approval of W. W. B., the Chief Justice. Their salaries to be settled when going out of office. Jesse Ketchum, Jos. Sheppard, Dr. Stoyell, and A. Burnside—Executive and Legislative Councillors. Joint Secretaries—William Lyon McKenzie and Francis Collins, with all the printing. John Carey—Assistant Secretary, with as much of the printing as the Joint Secretaries may be pleased to allow him. Moses Fish—Insp[310]ector of Public Buildings and Fortifications. J. S. Baldwin—Contractor-General to the Province, with a monopoly of the trade. T. D. Morrison—Surveyor-General and Inspector of Hospitals. Little Doel—Postmaster-General. Peter Perry—Chancellor of the Exchequer and Receiver-General. The above persons being thus amply provided for, their friends, alias their stepping stones," the document just quoted proceeds to state, "may shift for themselves; an opportunity, however, will be offered them for 'doing a little business' by disposing of all other public offices to the lowest bidder, from whom neither talent nor security will be required for the performance of their duties. Tenders received at Russell Square, Front Street, York. The Magistracy, being of no consequence, is to be left for after consideration. The Militia, at the particular request of Paul Peterson, [M.P. for Prince Edward,] to be done away altogether; and the roads to take care of themselves. The Welland Canal to be stopped immediately, and Colonel By to be recalled from the Rideau Canal. N.B. Any suggestions for further improvements will be thankfully received at Russell Square, as above."—(The humour of all this can of course be only locally understood.)

Mr. Doel arrived in York in 1818, occupying a month in the journey from Philadelphia to Oswego, and a week in that from Oswego to Niagara, being obliged from stress of weather to put in at Sodus Bay. At Niagara he waited three days for a passage to York. He and his venerable helpmeet were surviving in 1870, at the ages respectively, of 80 and 82.—Not without reason, as the event proved, they lived for many years in a state of apprehension in regard to the stability of the lofty spire of a place of worship close to their residence. In 1862, that spire actually fell, eastward as it happened, and not westward, doing considerable damage. Mr. Doel died in 1871.

By the name of the short street passing from Adelaide Street to Richmond Street, a few chains to the west of Mr. Doel's corner, we are reminded of Harvey Shepard, a famous worker in iron of the former time, whose imprint on axe, broad axe or adze, was a guarantee to the practical backwoodsman of its temper and serviceable quality. Harvey Shepard's axe factory was on the west side of this short street. Before his establishment here he worked in a smithy of the customary village type, on King Street[311], on the property of Jordan Post. Like Jordan Post himself, Harvey Shepard was of the old fashioned New England mould, elongated and wiry. After a brief suspension of business, a placard hung up in the country inns characteristically announced to his friends and the public that he had resumed his former occupation and that he would, "by the aid of Divine Providence," undertake to turn out as good axes as any that he had ever made; which acknowledgement of the source of his skill is commendable surely, if unusual. So also, there is no one who will refuse to applaud an epigrammatic observation of his, when responding to an appeal of charity. "Though dealing usually in iron only, I keep," he said, "a little stock of silver and gold for such a call as this." The factory on Shepard Street was afterwards worked by Mr. J. Armstrong, and subsequently by Mr. Thomas Champion, formerly of Sheffield, who, in 1838, advertised that he had "a large stock of Champion's warranted cast steel axes, made at the factory originally built by the late Harvey Shepard, and afterwards occupied by John Armstrong. As Shepard's and Armstrong's axes have been decidedly preferred before any others in the Province," the advertisement continues, "it is only necessary to state that Champion's are made by the same workmen, and from the very best material, to ensure for them the same continued preference."—We now return from our digression southward at Bay Street.

Chief Justice Elmsley was the first possessor of the hundred acres westward of the Macaulay lot. He effected, however, a certain exchange with Dr. Macaulay. Preferring land that lay higher, he gave the southern half of his lot for the northern half of his neighbour's, the latter at the same time discerning, as is probable, the prospective greater value of a long frontage on one of the highways into the town. Of Mr. Elmsley, we have had occasion to speak in our perambulation of King Street in connection with Government House, which in its primitive state was his family residence; and in our progress through Yonge Street hereafter we shall again have to refer to him. In 1802 he was promoted from a Puisne Judgeship in Upper Canada to the Chief Justiceship of Lower Canada.

The park-lot which follows was originally secured by one who has singularly vanished out of the early traditions of York—the Rev. T. Raddish. His name is inscribed on this property in the first plan, and also on part of what is now the south-east portion of the Government-house grounds. He [312]emigrated to these parts under the express auspices of the first Lieutenant-Governor, and was expected by him to take a position of influence in the young colony of Upper Canada. But, habituated to the amenities and conveniencies of an old community, he speedily discovered either that an entirely new society was not suited to him or that he himself did not dovetail well into it. He appears to have remained in the country only just long enough to acquire for himself and heirs the fee simple of a good many acres of its virgin soil. In 1826 the southern portion of Mr. Raddish's park-lot became the property of Sir John Robinson, at the time Attorney General.—The site of Osgoode Hall, six acres, was, as we have been assured, the generous gift of Sir John Robinson to the Law Society, and the name which the building bears was his suggestion.

Osgoode Hall.

The east wing of the existing edifice was the original Osgoode Hall, erected under the eye of Dr. W. W. Baldwin, at the time Treasurer of the Society. It was a plain square matter-of-fact brick building two storeys and a half in height. In 1844-46 a corresponding structure was erected to the west, and the two were united by a building between, surmounted by a low dome. In 1857-60 the whole edifice underwent a renovation; the dome was removed; a very handsome façade of cut stone was put up; the inner area, all constructed of Caen stone, reminding one of the interior of a Genoese or Roman Palace, was added, with the Court Rooms, Library and other appurtenances, on a scale of dignity and in a style of architectural beauty surpassed only by the new Law Courts in London. The pediment of each wing, sustained aloft on fluted Ionic columns, seen on a fine day against the pure azure of a northern sky, is something enjoyable.

Great expense has been lavished by the Benchers on this Canadian Palais de Justice; but the effect of such a pile, kept in its every nook and corner and in all its surroundings in scrupulous order, is invaluable, tending to refine and elevate each successive generation of our young candidates for the legal profession, and helping to inspire amongst them a salutary esprit de corps.[313]

The Library, too, here to be seen, noble in its dimensions and aspect, must, even independently of its contents, tend to create a love of legal study and research.

The Law Society of Osgoode Hall was incorporated in 1822. The Seal bears a Pillar on which is a beaver holding a Scroll inscribed Magna Charta. To the right and left are figures of Justice and Strength (Hercules.)

An incident associated in modern times with Osgoode Hall is the Entertainment given there to the Prince of Wales during his visit to Canada in 1860, on which occasion, at night, all the architectural lines of the exterior of the building were brilliantly marked out by rows of minute gas-jets.

Here, too, were held the impressive funeral obsequies of Sir John Robinson, the distinguished Chief Justice of Upper Canada, in 1862. In the Library is a large painting of him in oil, in which his finely cut Reginald Heber features are well delineated. Sayer Street, passing northward on the east side of Osgoode Hall, was so named by Chief Justice Robinson, in honour of his mother. In 1870 the name was changed, probably without reflection and certainly without any sufficient cause.

The series of paintings begun in Osgoode Hall, conservative to future ages of the outward presentment of our Chief Justices, Chancellors and Judges, is very interesting. All of them, we believe, are by Berthon, of Toronto. No portrait of Chief Justice Osgoode, however, is at present here to be seen. The engraving contained in this volume is from an original in the possession of Capt. J. K. Simcoe, R. N., of Wolford, in the County of Devon.

After filling the office of Chief Justice in Upper Canada, Mr. Osgoode was removed to the same high position in Lower Canada. He resigned in 1801 and returned to England. Among the deaths in the Canadian Review of July, 1824, his is recorded in the following terms:—"At his Chambers in the Albany, London, on the 17th of February last, Wm. Osgoode, Esq., formerly Chief Justice of Canada, aged 70. By the death of this gentleman," it is added, "his pension of £800 sterling paid by this Province now ceases." It is said of him, "no person admitted to his intimacy ever failed to conceive for him that esteem which his conduct and conversation always tended to augment." Garneau, in his History of Canada, iii., 117, without giving his authority, says that he was an illegitimate son of George III. Similar tattle has been rife from time to time in relation to other personages in Canada.


A popular designation of Osgoode Hall long in vogue was "Lawyers' Hall:"

"Farewell, Toronto, of great glory,  Of valour, too, in modern story;  Farewell to Courts, to Lawyers' Hall,  The Justice seats, both great and small:  Farewell Attorneys, Special Pleaders,  Equity Draftsmen, and their Readers.  Canadian Laws, and Suits, to song  Of future Bard, henceforth belong."

Thus closed a curious production in rhyme entitled Curiæ Canadenses, published anonymously in 1843, but written by Mr. John Rumsey, an English barrister, sometime domiciled here. In one place is described the migration of the Court of Chancery back from Kingston, whither it was for a brief interval removed, when Upper and Lower Canada were re-united. The minstrel says:

"Dreary and sad was Frontenac:  Thy duke ne'er made a clearer sack,  Than when the edict to be gone  Issued from the Vice-regal Throne.  Exeunt omnes helter skelter  To Little York again for shelter:  Little no longer: York the New  Of imports such can boast but few:  A goodly freight, without all brag,  When comes 'mongst others, Master Spragge.  And skilful Turner, versed in pleading,  The Kingston exiles gently leading."

To the last three lines the following note is appended:—

"J. G. Spragge, Esq., the present very highly esteemed and respected Master of the Court of Chancery; R. T. Turner, Esq., a skilful Equity Draftsman and Solicitor in Chancery. See Journals of House of Assembly, 1841."

The notes to Curiæ Canadenses teem with interesting matter relating to the laws, courts, terms, districts and early history, legal and general, of Lower as well as Upper Canada. A copious table of contents renders the volume quite valuable for reference. The author must have been an experienced compiler, analyst and legal index maker. In the text of the work, Christopher Anstey's poetical "Pleader's Guide" is taken as a model. As a motto to the portion of his poem that treats of Upper Canada he[315] places the line of Virgil, "Gensque virûm truncis et duro robore nata," which may be a compliment or not. The title in full of Mr. Rumsey's brochure, which consists of only 127 octavo pages, is as follows:—"Curiæ Canadenses; or, The Canadian Law Courts: being a Poem, describing the several Courts of Law and Equity which have been erected from time to time in the Canadas; with copious notes, explanatory and historical, and an Appendix of much useful Matter. Itur in antiquam sylvam, stabula alta ferarum; Procumbunt piceæ, sonat icta securibus ilex, Fraxineæque trabes: cuneis et fissile robur Scinditur: advolvunt ingentes montibus ornos.—Virgil. By Plinius Secundus. Toronto: H. and W. Rowsell, King Street, 1843." The typography and paper are admirable. The Curiæ, in a jacket of fair calf, should be given a place on the shelves of our Canadian law libraries.

We pause for a moment at York Street, opposite the east wing of Osgoode Hall.

It rather puzzles one to conceive why York Street received its name. If a commemoration of the Duke of York of sixty years since was designed, the name of the whole town was that sufficiently already. Frederick Street, besides, recorded his specific Christian name, and Duke Street his rank and title. Although interesting now as a memento of a name borne of old by Toronto, York Street, when Toronto was York, might well have been otherwise designated, it seeming somewhat irrational for any particular thoroughfare in a town to be distinguished by the name of that town.—A certain poverty of invention in regard to street names has in other instances been evinced amongst us. Victoria Street, for example, was for a time called Upper George Street, to distinguish it from George Street proper, so named from George, Prince of Wales, the notable Prince Regent. It is curious that no other name but George should have been suggested for the second street; especially, too, as that street might have been so fittingly named Toronto Street, as being situated within a few feet of the line of the original thoroughfare of that name which figures so largely in the early descriptions of York.—If in "York Street" a compliment had been intended to Charles Yorke, Secretary at War in 1802, the orthography would have been "Yorke Street."

After all, however, the name "York Street" may have arisen from the circumstance that, at an early period, this was for teams on their way to York, the beaten track, suddenly turn[316]ing off here to the south out of Dundas or Lot Street, the line of road which, if followed, would have taken the traveller to Kingston.

The street on the west of the grounds of Osgoode Hall is now known as University Street. By the donor to the public of the land occupied by the street, it was designated Park Lane—not without due consideration, as is likely. In London there is a famous and very distinguished Park Lane. It leads from Oxford Street to Piccadilly, and skirts the whole of the east side of Hyde Park. The position of what was our Park Lane is somewhat analogous, it being open along its whole length on the left to the plantations of an ornamental piece of ground. Unmeddled with, our Park Lane would have suggested from time to time in the mind of the ruminating wayfarer pleasant thoughts of a noble and interesting part of the great home metropolis. The change to University Street was altogether uncalled for. It ignored the adjoining "College Avenue," the name of which showed that a generally-recognized "University Street" existed already: it gave, moreover, a name which is pretentious, the roadway indicated being comparatively narrow.

Of the street on the east side of the grounds of Osgoode Hall we have already spoken. But in connection with the question of changes in street names, we must here again refer to it. In this case the name "Sayer" has been made to give place to "Chestnut." "Elm Street," which intersects this street to the north, probably in some vague way suggested a tree name. "Elm Street," however, had a reason for its existence. Many persons still remember a solitary Elm, a relic of the forest, which was long conspicuous just where Elm Street enters Yonge Street. And there is a fitness likewise in the names of Pine Street and Sumach Street, in the east; these streets, passing through a region where pines and sumachs once abounded. But the modern Chestnut Street has nothing about it in the past or present associated with chestnut trees of any kind. The name "Sayer" should have been respected.

It is unfortunate when persons, apparently without serious retrospective thought, have a momentary chance to make changes in local names. Chancery might well be invoked to undo in some instances what has been done, and to prohibit like inconsiderate proceedings in the future. Equity would surely say that a citizen's private right should be sustained, so long as it worked no harm to the community; and that perplexity in the registration and [317]description of property should not needlessly be created.

Although we shall forestall ourselves a little, we may here notice one more alteration in a street-name near Osgoode Hall. William Street, immediately west of the Avenue leading to the University, has in recent times been changed to Simcoe Street. It is true, William Street was nearly in a line with the street previously known as Simcoe Street; nevertheless, starting as it conspicuously did somewhat to the west of that line, it was a street sufficiently distinct to be entitled to retain an independent name. Here again, an item of local history has been obliterated. William Street was a record on the soil of the first name of an early Chief Justice of Upper Canada, who projected the street and gave the land. Dummer Street, the next street westward, bears his second name.

Of "Powell," his third name we have already spoken elsewhere, and shall again almost immediately have to speak.

When it shall be proposed to alter the name of Dummer Street, with the hope, perhaps, of improving the fame of the locality along with its name, let the case of March Street be recalled. In the case of March Street, the rose, notwithstanding a change of name, retained its perfume: and the Colonial Minister of the day, Lord Stanley, received but a sorry compliment when his name was made to displace that of the Earl of March. (It was from this second title of the Duke of Richmond that March Street had its name.)—It is probable that the Dummer Street of to-day, like the March Street of yesterday, would, under another name, continue much what it is. In all such quarters, it is not a change of name that is of any avail: but the presence of the schoolmaster and home-missionary, backed up by landlords and builders, studious of the public health and morals, as well as of private interests.

Digression Northward at the College Avenue.

The fine vista of the College Avenue, opposite to which we have now arrived, always recalls to our recollection a certain bright spring morning, when on reaching school a whole holiday was unexpectedly announced; and when, as a mode of filling up a portion of [318]the unlooked-for vacant time, it was agreed between two or three young lads to pay a visit to the place on Lot Street where, as the report had spread amongst us, they were beginning to make visible preparations for the commencement of the University of King's College. The minds of growing lads in the neighbourhood of York at that period had very vague ideas of what a University really was. It was a place where studies were carried on, but how or under what conditions, there was of necessity little conception. Curiosity, however, was naturally excited by the talk on the lips of every one that a University was one day to be established at York; and now suddenly we learned that actual beginnings were to be seen of the much-talked-of institution. On the morning of the fine spring day referred to, we accordingly undertook an exploration.

On arriving at the spot to which we had been directed, we found that a long strip of land running in a straight line northwards had been marked out, after the manner of a newly-opened side line or concession road in the woods. We found a number of men actually at work with axes and mattocks; yokes of oxen, too, were straining at strong ploughs, which forced a way in amongst the roots and small stumps of the natural brushwood, and, here and there, underneath a rough mat of tangled grass, bringing to light, now black vegetable mould, now dry clay, now loose red sand. Longitudinally, up the middle of the space marked off, several bold furrows were cut, those on the right inclining to the left, and those on the left inclining to the right, as is the wont in primitive turnpiking.

One novelty we discovered, viz., that on each side along a portion of the newly-cleared ground, young saplings had been planted at regular intervals; these, we were told, were horse-chestnuts, procured from the United States expressly for the purpose of forming a double row of trees here. In the neighbourhood of York the horse-chestnut was then a rarity.

Everywhere throughout the North American continent, as in the numerous newly-opened areas of the British Empire elsewhere on the globe's surface, instances, of course, abound of wonderful progress made in a brief interval of time. For ourselves, we seem sometimes as if we were moving among the unrealities of a dream when we deliberately review the steps in the march of physical and social improvement, which, within a fractional portion only of a retrospect not very extended, can be recalled, in the region where our own lot has been cast, and,[319] in particular, in the neighbourhood where we are at this moment pausing.

The grand mediæval-looking structure of University College in the grounds at the head of the Avenue, continues to this day to be a surprise somewhat bewildering to the eye and mind, whenever it breaks upon our view. It looks so completely a thing of the old world and of an age long past away. To think that one has walked over its site before one stone was laid upon another thereon, seems almost like a mental hallucination.

A certain quietness of aspect and absence of overstrain after architectural effect give the massive pile an air of great genuineness. The irregular grouping of its many parts appears the undesigned result of accretion growing out of the necessities of successive years. The whole looks in its place, and as if it had long occupied it. The material of its walls, left for the most part superficially in the rough, has the appearance of being weather-worn. An impression of age, too, is given by the smooth finish of the surrounding grounds and spacious drives by which, on several sides, the building is approached, as also by the goodly size of the well-grown oaks and other trees through whose outstretched branches it is usually first caught sight of, from across the picturesque ravine.

Of the still virgin condition of the surrounding soil, however, we have some unmistakeable evidence in the ponderous granitic boulders every here and there heaving up their grey backs above the natural greensward, undisturbed since the day when they dropped suddenly down from the dissolving ice-rafts that could no longer endure their weight.

Seen at a little distance, as from Yonge Street for example, the square central tower of the University, with the cone-capped turret at its north-east angle, rising above a pleasant horizon of trees, and outlined against an afternoon sky, is something thoroughly English, recalling Rugby or Warwick. On a nearer approach, this same tower, combined with the portal below, bears a certain resemblance to the gateway of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, as figured in Palgrave's "Anglo-Saxons;" and the elaborate and exquisite work about the recessed circular-headed entrance enables one to realize with some degree of certainty how the enriched front of that and other noble mediæval structures, seen by us now corroded and mutilated, looked when fresh from the hands that so cunningly carved them.[320]

In the two gigantic blind-worms, likewise, stretched in terrorem on the sloping parapets of the steps leading to the door, benumbed, not dead; giving in their extremities, still faint evidence of life, we have a sermon in stone, which the brethren of a masonic guild of Wykeham's day would readily have expounded. As we enter a house devoted to learning and study, is it not fitting that the eye should be greeted with a symbol of the paralyzing power of Science over Ignorance and Superstition?

Moreover, sounds that come at stated intervals from that central tower, make another link of sympathy with the old mother-land. Every night at nine, "swinging slow with solemn roar," the great bell of the University is agreeably suggestive of Christ Church, Oxford, St. Mary's, Cambridge, and other places beyond the sea, which to the present hour give back an echo of the ancient Curfew.

And if to this day the University building, in its exterior aspect and accidents, is startling to those who knew its site when as yet in a state of nature, its interior also, when traversed and explored, tends in the same persons to produce a degree of confusion as between things new and old; as between Canada and elsewhere. Within its walls are to be seen appliances and conveniences and luxuries for the behoof and use of teacher and student, unknown a few years since in many an ancient seat of learning.

In a library of Old World aspect and arrangement, is a collection rich in the Greek and Latin Classics, in Epigraphy and Archæology, beyond anything of the kind in any other collection on this continent, and beyond what is to be met with in those departments in many a separate College within the precincts of the ancient Universities—a pre-eminence due to the tastes and special studies of the first president and other early professors of the Canadian Institution.

Strange, it is, yet true that hither, as to a recognized source of certain aid in identification and decipherment, are duly transmitted, by cast, rubbing and photograph, the "finds" that from time to time create such excitement and delight among epigraphists, and ethnologists, and other minute historical investigators in the British Islands and elsewhere.

There used to be preserved in the Old Hospital a model in cork [321]and card-board, of the great educational establishment to which, in the first instance, the Avenue was expected to form an approach. It was very curious. Had it been really followed, a large portion of the park provided for the reception of the University would have been covered with buildings. A multitude of edifices, isolated and varying in magnitude, were scattered about, with gardens and ornamental grounds interspersed. These were halls of science, lecture-rooms, laboratories, residences for president, vice-president, professors, officials and servants of every grade. On the widely extended premises occupied by the proposed institution, a population was apparently expected to be found that would, of itself, have almost sufficed to justify representation in Parliament—a privilege the college was actually by its charter to enjoy. We should have had in fact realized before our eyes, on a considerable scale, a part of the dreams of Plato and More, a fragment of Atlantis and Utopia.

When the moment arrived, however, for calling into visible being the long contemplated seat of learning, it was found expedient to abandon the elaborate model which had been constructed. Mr. Young, a local architect, was directed to devise new plans. His ideas appear to have been wholly modern. Notwithstanding the tenor of the Royal Charter, which suggested the precedents of the old universities of "our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland," wherever it should be practicable to follow them, the architecture and arrangements customary in those places were ignored. Girard College, Philadelphia, seems to have inspired the new designs. However, only a minute fragment of one of the buildings of the new plan was destined ever to exist.

The formal commencement of the abortive work took place on the 23rd of April, 1842—a day indelibly impressed on the memory of those who participated in the proceedings. It was one of the sunniest and brightest of days. In the year just named it happened that so early as St. George's day the leaves of the horse-chestnut were bursting their glossy sheaths, and vegetation generally was in a very advanced stage. A procession, such as had never before been seen in these parts, slowly defiled up the Avenue to the spot where the corner-stone of the proposed University was to be laid.

A highly wrought contemporary description of the scene is given in a note in Curiæ Canadenses: "The vast procession opened its ranks, and his Excellency the Chancellor, wit[322]h the President, the Lord Bishop of Toronto, on his right, and the Senior Visitor, the Chief Justice, on his left, proceeded on foot through the College Avenue to the University grounds. The countless array moved forward to the sound of military music. The sun shone out with cloudless meridian splendour; one blaze of banners flushed upon the admiring eye.—The Governor's rich Lord-Lieutenant's dress, the Bishop's sacerdotal robes, the Judicial Ermine of the Chief Justice, the splendid Convocation robes of Dr. McCaul, the gorgeous uniforms of the suite, the accoutrements of the numerous Firemen, the national badges worn by the Office-bearers of the different Societies, and what on such a day (St. George's) must not be omitted, the Red Crosses on the breasts of England's congregated sons, the grave habiliments of the Clergy and Lawyers, and the glancing lances and waving plumes of the First Incorporated Dragoons, all formed one moving picture of civic pomp, one glorious spectacle which can never be remembered but with satisfaction by those who had the good fortune to witness it. The following stanza from a Latin Ode," the note goes on to say, "recited by Master Draper, son of the late Attorney-General, after the ceremony, expresses in beautifully classical language the proud occasion of all this joy and splendid pageantry:—

"Io! triumphe! flos Canadensium!  Est alma nobis mater; æmula  Britanniæ hæc sit nostra terra,—  Terra diu domibus negata!"

Another contemporary account adds: "As the procession drew nearer to the site where the stone was to be laid, the 43rd Regiment lined the way, with soldiers bearing arms, and placed on either side, at equal intervals. The 93rd Regiment was not on duty here, but in every direction the gallant Highlanders were scattered through the crowd, and added by their national garb and nodding plumes to the varied beauty of the animated scene. When the site was reached," this account says, "a new feature was added to the interest of the ceremony. Close to the spot, the north-east corner, where the foundation was to be deposited, a temporary building had been erected for the Chancellor, and there, accompanied by the officers of the University and his suite, he took his stand. Fronting this was a kind of amphitheatre of seats, constructed for the occasion, tier rising above tier, densely filled with ladies, who thus commanded a view of the whole ceremony. Between this amphitheatre and the pla[323]ce where the Chancellor stood, the procession ranged itself."

The Chancellor above spoken of was the Governor General of the day, Sir Charles Bagot, a man of noble bearing and genial, pleasant aspect. He entered with all the more spirit into the ceremonies described, from being himself a graduate of one of the old universities. Memories of far-off Oxford and Christ Church would be sure to be roused amidst the proceedings that rendered the 23rd of April, 1842, so memorable amongst us. A brother of Sir Charles' was at the time Bishop of Oxford. In his suite, as one of his Secretaries, was Captain Henry Bagot, of the Royal Navy, his own son. Preceding him in the procession, bearing a large gilded mace, was an "Esquire Bedell," like the Chancellor himself, a Christ Church man, Mr. William Cayley, subsequently a member of the Canadian Government.

Although breaking ground for the University building had been long delayed, the commencement now made proved to be premature. The edifice begun was never completed, as we have already intimated; and even in its imperfect, fragmentary condition, it was not fated to be for any great length of time a scene of learned labours. In 1856 its fortune was to be converted into a Female Department for the over-crowded Provincial Lunatic Asylum.

The educational system inaugurated in the new building in 1843 was, as the plate enclosed in the foundation-stone finely expressed it, "præstantissimum ad exemplar Britannicarum Universitatum." But the "exemplar" was not, in practice, found to be, as a whole, adapted to the genius of the Western Canadian people.

The revision of the University scheme with a view to the necessities of Western Canada, was signalized by the erection in 1857 of a new building on an entirely different site, and a migration to it bodily, of president, professors and students, without departing however from the bounds of the spacious park originally provided for the institution; and it is remarkable that, while deviating, educationally and otherwise, in some points, from the pattern of the ancient universities, as they were in 1842, a nearer approach, architecturally, was made to the mediæval English College than any that had been thought of before. Mr. Cumberland, the designer of the really fine and most appropriate building in which the University at length found a resting place, was, as is evident, a man after the heart of Wykeham and Wayneflete.


The story of our University is a part of the history of Upper Canada. From the first foundation of the colony the idea of some such seat of learning entered into the scheme of its organization. In 1791, before he had yet left England for the unbroken wilderness in which his Government was to be set up, we have General Simcoe speaking to Sir Joseph Banks, the President of the Royal Society, of "a college of a higher class," as desirable in the community which he was about to create. "A college of a higher class," he says, "would be eminently useful, and would give a tone of principles and of manners that would be of infinite support to Government." In the same letter he remarks to Sir Joseph, "My friend the Marquis of Buckingham has suggested that Government might allow me a sum of money to be laid out for a Public Library, to be composed of such books as might be useful in the colony. He instanced the Encyclopædia, extracts from which might occasionally be published in the newspapers. It is possible," he adds, "private donations might be obtained, and that it would become an object of Royal munificence."

It was naturally long before the community of Upper Canada was ripe for a college of the character contemplated; but provision for its ultimate existence and sustenance was made, almost from the beginning, in the assignment to that object of a fixed and liberal portion of the public lands of the country.

In 1819-20, Gourlay spoke of the unpreparedness of Upper Canada as yet for a seat of learning of a high grade. Meanwhile, as a temporary expedient, he suggested a romantic scheme. "It has been proposed," he says, "to have a college in Upper Canada; and no doubt in time colleges will grow up there. At present, and for a considerable period to come, any effort to found a college would prove abortive. There could neither be got masters nor scholars to ensure a tolerable commencement for ten years to come; and a feeble beginning might beget a feeble race of teachers and pupils. In the United States," he continued, "academies and colleges, though fast improving, are yet but raw; and greatly inferior to those in Britain, generally speaking. Twenty-five lads sent annually at public charge from Upper Canada to British Universities, would draw after them many more. The youths themselves, generally, would become desirous of making a voyage in quest of learning.—Crossing the ocean on such an errand would elevate their ideas, and stir them up to extraordinary exertions. They would become finished preachers, lawyers, phy[325]sicians, merchants; and, returning to their native country, would repay in wisdom what was expended in goodness and liberality. What more especially invites the adoption of such a scheme is the amiable and affectionate connection which it would tend to establish between Canada and Britain. But it will not do at present to follow out the idea."

Gourlay's prediction that "in time colleges will grow up there" has been speedily verified. The town especially, of which in its infant state he spoke in such terms of contempt, has been so prolific of colleges that it is now become a kind of Salamanca for the country at large; a place of resort for students from all parts. It is well probably for Canada that the scheme of drafting a batch of young students periodically to the old country, was not adopted. Canada would thereby possibly, on the one hand, have lost the services of some of the cleverest of her sons, who, on obtaining academic distinction would have preferred to remain in the mother country, entering on one or other of the public careers to which academic distinction there opens the ready path; and, on the other hand, she should, in many an instance, it is to be feared, have received back her sons just unfitted, in temper and habit, for life under matter-of-fact colonial conditions.

In the original planting of the Avenue, up whose fine vista we have been gazing, the mistake was committed of imitating nature too closely. Numerous trees and shrubs of different kinds and habits were mingled together as they are usually to be seen in a wild primitive wood; and thus the growth and fair development of all were hindered. The horse-chestnuts alone should have been relied on to give character to the Avenue; and of these there should have been on each side a double row, with a promenade for pedestrians underneath, after the manner of the great walks in the public parks of the old towns of Europe.




Pursuing our way now westward from the Avenue leading to the University, we pass the Powell park-lot, on which was, up to recent times, the family vault of the Powells, descendants of the Chief Justice. The whole property was named by the fancy of the first possessor, Caer-Howell, Castle Howell, in allusion to the mythic Hoel, to whom all ap-Hoels trace their origin. Dummer Street, which opens northward a little further on, retains, as we have said, the second baptismal name of Chief Justice Powell.

Beverley House and its surroundings, on the side opposite Caer Howell estate, recall one whose name and memory must repeatedly recur in every narrative of our later Canadian history, Sir John Robinson.—This was the residence temporarily of Poulett Thomson, afterwards Lord Sydenham, while present in Toronto as Governor-General of the Canadas in 1839-40. A kitchen on a large scale which he caused to be built on the premises of Beverley House, is supposed to have been an auxiliary, indirectly, in getting the Union measure through the Upper Canada Parliament. In a letter to a friend, written at Montreal in 1840, he gives a sketch of his every-day life: it describes equally well the daily distribution of his time here in Toronto. "Work in my room," he says, "till three o'clock; a ride with my aide-de-camp till five; work again till dinner; at dinner till nine; and work again till early next morning. This is my daily routine. My dinners last till ten, when I have company, which is about three times a week; except one night in the week, when I receive about 150 people."

His policy was, as we know, very successful. Of the state of things at Toronto, and in Upper Canada generally, after the Union measure had been pushed through, he writes to a friend thus: "I have prorogued my Parliament," he says, "and I send you my Speech. Never was such unanimity! When the Speaker read it in the Commons, after the prorogation, they gave me three cheers, in which even the ultras united. In fact, as the ma[327]tter stands now, the Province is in a state of peace and harmony which, three months ago, I thought was utterly hopeless."

In a private letter of the following year (1841), he alludes to his influence in these terms: "I am in the midst," he says, "of the bustle attending the opening of the Session, and have, besides, a ministerial 'crisis' on my hands. The latter I shall get through triumphantly, unless my wand, as they call it here, has lost all power over the members, which I do not believe to be the case." This was written at Kingston, where, it will be remembered, the seat of Government was established for a short time after the union of Upper and Lower Canada.

Through Poulett Thomson, Toronto for a few months and to the extent of one-half, was the seat of a modern feudal barony. On being elevated to the peerage, the Governor-General, who had carried the Union, was created Baron Sydenham of Sydenham in Kent and Toronto in Canada.

At one time it was expected that Toronto would be the capital of the United Province, but its liege lord pronounced it to be "too far and out of the way;" though at the same time he gives it as his opinion that "Kingston or Bytown would do." Thus in 1840, and in July, 1841, he writes: "I have every reason to be satisfied with having selected this place (Kingston) as the new Capital. There is no situation in the Province so well adapted for the seat of Government from its central position; and certainly we are as near England as we should be anywhere else in the whole of Canada. My last letters reached me," he says, "in fifteen days from London! So much for steam and railways." Being in very delicate health, it had been Lord Sydenham's intention to return to England in September, 1841. On the 5th of June he writes at Kingston to a friend: "I long for September, beyond which I will not stay if they were to make me Duke of Canada and Prince of Regiopolis, as this place is called." But he was never more to see England. On the 4th of the September in which he had hoped to leave Canada, he suffered a fracture of the right leg and other injury by a fall from his horse. He never rallied from the shock. His age was only 42.

The Park lot which follows that occupied by Chief Justice Powell was selected by Solicitor-General Gray, of whom fully already. It afterwards became the property of Mr. D'Arcy Boulton, eldest son of Mr. Justice Boulton, and was known as the Grange estate. The house which bears the name of the "Grange," was built at[328] the beginning of the brick era of York, and is a favourable specimen of the edifices of that period. (Beverley House, just noted, was, it may be added, also built by Mr. D'Arcy Boulton.)

The Grange-gate, now thrust far back by the progress of improvement, was long a familiar landmark on the line of Lot-street. It was just within this gate that the fight already recorded took place between Mr. Justice Boulton's horses, Bonaparte and Jefferson, and the bears. A memorandum of Mr. G. S. Jarvis, of Cornwall, in our possession, affirms that Mr. Justice Boulton drove a phaeton of some pretensions, and that his horses, Bonaparte and Jefferson, were the crack pair of the day at York. As to some other equipages he says: "The Lieut. Governor's carriage was considered a splendid affair, but some of the Toronto cabs would now throw it into the shade. The carriage of Chief Justice Powell, he adds, was a rough sort of omnibus, and would compare with the jail van used now." (We remember Bishop Strachan's account of a carriage sent up for his own use from Albany or New York; it was constructed on the model of the ordinary oval stage coach, with a kind of hemispherical top.)

To our former notes of Mr. Justice Boulton, we add, that he was the author of a work in quarto published in London in 1806, entitled a "Sketch of the Province of Upper Canada."

John Street, passing south just here, is, as was noted previously, a memorial, so far as its name is concerned, of the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. On the plan of the "new town," as the first expansion westward, of York, was termed,—while this street is marked "John," the next parallel thoroughfare eastward is named "Graves," and the open square included between the two, southward on Front Street, is "Simcoe-place." The three names of the founder of York were thus commemorated. The expression "Simcoe-place" has fallen into disuse. It indicated, of course, the site of the present Parliament Buildings of the Province of Ontario. Graves Street has become Simcoe Street, a name, as we have seen, recently extended to the thoroughfare northward, with which it is nearly in a right line, viz., William Street, which previously recorded, as we have said, the first Christian name of Chief Justice Powell. The name "John Street" has escaped change. The name sounds trivial enough; but it has an interest.

In the minds of the present generation, with John Street will be specially as[329]sociated the memorable landing of the Prince of Wales at Toronto in 1860. At the foot of John Street, for that occasion, there was built a vast semi-colosseum of wood, opening out upon the waters of the Bay; a pile whose capacious concavity was densely filled again and again, during the Prince's visit, with the inhabitants of the town and the population of the surrounding country. And on the brow of the bank, immediately above the so-called amphitheatre, and exactly in the line of John Street, was erected a finely designed triumphal arch, recalling those of Septimus Severus and Titus.

This architectural object, while it stood, gave a peculiarly fine finish to the vista, looking southward along John Street. The usually monotonous water-view presented by the bay and lake, and even the common-place straight line of the Island, seen through the frame-work of three lofty vaulted passages, acquired for the moment a genuine picturesqueness. An ephemeral monument; but as long as it stood its effect was delightfully classic and beautiful. The whole group—the arch and the huge amphitheatre below, furnished around its upper rim at equal intervals with tall masts, each bearing a graceful gonfalon, and each helping to sustain on high a luxuriant festoon of evergreen which alternately drooped and rose again round the whole structure and along the two sides of the grand roadway up to the arch—all seen under a sky of pure azure, and bathed in cheery sunlight, surrounded too and thronged with a pleased multitude—constituted a spectacle not likely to be forgotten.

Turning down John Street a few chains, the curious observer may see on his left a particle of the old area of York retaining several of its original natural features. In the portion of the Macdonell-block not yet divided into building-slips we have a fragment of one of the many shallow ravines which meandered capriciously, every here and there, across the broad site of the intended town. To the passer-by it now presents a refreshing bit of bowery meadow, out of which towers up one of the grand elm-trees of the country, with stem of great height and girth, and head of very graceful form, whose healthy and undecayed limbs and long trailing branchlets, clearly show that the human regard which has led to the preservation hitherto of this solitary survivor of the forest has not been thrown away. This elm and the surrounding grove are still favourite stations or resting-places for our migratory birds. Here, for one place, in the spring, are sure to be heard the first notes of the robin.[330]

At the south-west angle of the Macdonell block still stands in a good state of preservation the mansion put up by the Hon. Alexander Macdonell. We have from time to time spoken of the brick era of York. Mr. Macdonell's imposing old homestead may be described as belonging to an immediately preceding era—the age of framed timber and weather-board, which followed the primitive or hewn-log period. It is a building of two full storeys, each of considerable elevation. A central portico with columns of the whole height of the house, gives it an air of dignity.

Mr. Macdonell was one more in that large group of military men who served in the American Revolutionary war, under Col. Simcoe, and who were attracted to Upper Canada by the prospects held out by that officer when appointed Governor of the new colony. Mr. Macdonell was the first Sheriff of the Home District. He represented in successive parliaments the Highland constituency of Glengary, and was chosen Speaker of the House. He was afterwards summoned to the Upper House. He was a friend and correspondent of the Earl of Selkirk, and was desired by that zealous emigrational theorist to undertake the superintendence of the settlement at Kildonan on the Red River. Though he declined this task, he undertook the management of one of the other Highland settlements included in the Earl of Selkirk's scheme, namely, that of Baldoon, on Lake St. Clair; Mr. Douglas undertaking the care of that established at Moulton, at the mouth of the Grand River.

Mr. Macdonell, in person rather tall and thin, of thoughtful aspect, and in manner quiet and reserved, is one of the company of our early worthies whom we personally well remember. An interesting portrait of him exists in the possession of his descendants: it presents him with his hair in powder, and otherwise in the costume of "sixty years since." He died in 1842, "amid the regrets of a community who," to adopt the language of a contemporary obituary, "loved him for the mild excellence of his domestic and private character, no less than they esteemed him as a public man."

Mr. Miles Macdonell, the first Governor of Assiniboia, under the auspices of the Hudson's Bay Company, and Alexander Macdonell, the chief representative in 1816 of the rival and even hostile Company of the North-West Traders of Montreal, were both near relations of Mr. Macdonell of York, as also[331] was the barrister, lost in the Speedy, and the well-known R. C. Bishop Macdonell of Kingston. Col. Macdonell, slain at Queenston, with General Brock, and whose remains are deposited beneath the column there, was his brother. His son, Mr. Allan Macdonell, has on several occasions stood forward as the friend and spirited advocate of the Indian Tribes, especially of the Lake Superior region, on occasions when their interests, as native lords of the soil, seemed in danger of being overlooked by the Government of the day.

On Richmond Street a little to the west of the Macdonell block, was the town residence of Col. Smith, some time President of the Province of Upper Canada. He was also allied to the family of Mr. Macdonell. Col. Smith's original homestead was on the Lake Shore to the west, in the neighbourhood of the river Etobicoke. Gourlay in his "Statistical Account of Upper Canada," has chanced to speak of it. "I shall describe the residence and neighbourhood of the President of Upper Canada from remembrance," he says, "journeying past it on my way to York from the westward, by what is called the Lake Road through Etobicoke. For many miles," he says, "not a house had appeared, when I came to that of Colonel Smith, lonely and desolate. It had once been genteel and comfortable; but was now going to decay. A vista had been opened through the woods towards Lake Ontario; but the riotous and dangling undergrowth seemed threatening to retake possession from the Colonel of all that had once been cleared, which was of narrow compass. How could a solitary half-pay officer help himself," candidly asks Gourlay, "settled down upon a block of land, whose very extent barred out the assistance and convenience of neighbours? Not a living thing was to be seen around. How different might it be, thought I, were a hundred industrious families compactly settled here out of the redundant population of England!"

"The road was miserable," he continues; "a little way beyond the President's house it was lost on a bank of loose gravel flung up between the contending waters of the lake and the Etobicoke stream." He here went astray. "It was my anxious wish," he says, "to get through the woods before dusk; but the light was nearly gone before the gravel bank was cleared. There seemed but one path, which took to the left. It led me astray: I was lost: and there was nothing for it but to let my little horse take his own way. Abundant time was afforded for reflection on the wretched state of property flung away on half-pay officers. [332]Here was the head man of the Province, 'born to blush unseen,' without even a tolerable bridle-way between him and the capital city, after more than twenty years' possession of his domain. The very gravel-bed which caused me such turmoil might have made a turnpike, but what can be done by a single hand? The President could do little with the axe or wheelbarrow himself; and half-pay could employ but few labourers at 3s. 6d. per day with victuals and drink." He recovers the road at length, and then concludes: "after many a weary twist and turn I found myself," he says, "on the banks of the Humber, where there was a house and a boat."

Col. Smith did something, in his day, to improve the breed of horses in Upper Canada. He expended considerable sums of money in the importation of choice animals of that species from the United States.

The house which led us to this notice of President Smith is, as we have said, situated on Richmond Street. On Adelaide Street, immediately south of this house, and also a little west of the Macdonell block, was a residence of mark, erected at an early period by Mr. Hugh Heward, and memorable as having been the abode for a time of the Naval Commissioner or Commodore, Joseph Bouchette, who first took the soundings and constructed a map of the harbour of York. His portrait is to be seen prefixed to his well-known "British Dominions in North America." The same house was also once occupied by Dr. Stuart, afterwards Archdeacon of Kingston; and at a later period by Mrs. Caldwell, widow of Dr. Caldwell, connected with the Naval establishment at Penetanguishene. Her sons John and Leslie, two tall, sociable youths, now both deceased, were our classmates at school. We observe in the Oracle of Saturday, May 28, 1803, a notice of Mr. Hugh Heward's death in the following terms: "Died lately at Niagara, on his way to Detroit, after a lingering illness, Mr. Hugh Heward, formerly clerk in the Lieutenant-Governor's office, and a respectable inhabitant of this town (York)."

Just beyond was the abode of Lieut. Col. Foster, long Adjutant General of Militia; an officer of the antique Wellington school, of a fine type, portly in figure, authoritative in air and voice; in spirit and heart warm and frank. His son Colley, also, we here name as a congenial and attached schoolboy friend, likewise now deceased, after a brief but not undistinguished career at the Bar.[333]

A few yards further on was the home of Mr. John Ross, whose almost prescriptive right it gradually became, whenever a death occurred in one of the old families, to undertake the funeral obsequies. Few were there of the ancient inhabitants who had not found themselves at one time or another, wending their way, on a sad errand, to Mr. Ross's doorstep. On his sombre and very unpretending premises were put together the perishable shells in which the mortal remains of a large proportion of the primitive householders of York and their families are now reverting to their original dust. Almost up to the moment of his own summons to depart hence, he continued to ply his customary business, being favoured with an old age unusually green and vigorous, like "the ferryman austere and stern," Charon; to whom also the "inculta canities" of a plentiful supply of hair and beard, along with a certain staidness, taciturnity and rural homeliness of manner and attire, further suggested a resemblance. Many things thus combine to render Mr. John Ross not the least notable of our local dramatis personæ. He was led, as we have understood, to the particular business which was his usual avocation, by the accident of having been desired, whilst out on active service as a militiaman in 1812, to take charge of the body of Gen. Brock, when that officer was killed on Queenston Heights.

While in this quarter we should pause too for a moment before the former abode of Mr. Robert Stanton, sometime King's Printer for Upper Canada, as noted already; afterwards editor of the Loyalist; and subsequently Collector of Customs at York:—a structure of the secondary brick period, and situated on Peter Street, but commanding the view eastward along the whole length of Richmond Street. Mr. Stanton's father was an officer in the Navy, who between the years 1771 and 1786 saw much active service in the East and West Indies, in the Mediterranean, at the siege of Gibraltar under General Elliott, and on the American coast during the Revolutionary war. From 1786 to 1828 he was in the public service in several military and civil capacities in Lower and Upper Canada. In 1806 he was for one thing, we find, issuer of Marriage Licences at York. From memoranda of his while acting in this capacity we make some extracts. The unceremoniousness of the record in the majority of cases, is refreshing. The names are all familiar ones in Toronto. The parties set down as about to pledge their troth, either to other, had not in every instance, in 1872, passed off the scene.[334]

1806, Nov. 26, Stephen Heward to Mary Robinson. Same date, Ely Playter to Sophia Beaman. Dec. 11, same year, Geo. T. Denison to C. B. Lippincott. 1807, Feb. 3, Jordan Post to M. Woodruffe. July 13, Hiram Kendrick to Hester Vanderburg. Dec. 28, Jarvis Ashley to Dorothy McDougal. 1808, Jan. 13, D'Arcy Boulton, Jun., to Sally Ann Robinson. March 17, James Finch to M. Reynolds. April 9, David Wilson to Susannah Stone. May 2, John Langstaff to Lucy Miles. May 30, John Murchison to Frances Hunt. August 8, John Powell, Esq., to Miss Isabella Shaw. Sept. 12, Hugh Heward to Eliza Muir. 1809, April 14, Nicholas Hagarman to Polly Fletcher. May 18, William Cornwall to Rhoda Terry. June 19, John Ashbridge to Sarah Mercer. June 21, Jonathan Ashbridge to Hannah Barton. July 15, Orin Hale to Hannah Barrett. Aug. 5, Henry Drean to Jane Brooke. Dec. 14, John Thompson to Ann Smith. 1810, March 8, Andrew Thomson to Sarah Smith. March 30, Isaac Pilkington to Sarah McBride. June 2, Thomas Bright to Jane Hunter. July 3, John Scarlett to Mary Thomson. Sept. 10, William Smith to Eleanor Thomson. June 22, William B. Sheldon to Jane Johnson. July 30, Robert Hamilton, gent., to Miss Maria Lavinia Jarvis. 1811, Sept. 20, George Duggan to Mary Jackson.

In one or two instances we are enabled to give the formal announcement in the Gazette and Oracle of the marriage for which the licence issued by Mr. Stanton was so curtly recorded. In the paper of Jan. 27, 1808, we have: "Married, on the 13th instant, by the Rev. G. O. Stuart, D'Arcy Boulton, jun., Esq., barrister, to Miss Sarah Robinson, second daughter of the late C. Robinson, Esq., of York."

And in the number for August 13, in the same year we read: "Married by the Rev. G. O. Stuart, on Monday the 8th instant, John Powell, Esq., to Miss Shaw, daughter of the Hon. Æneas Shaw, of this place (York)." To this announcement the editor, as we suppose, volunteers the observation: "This matrimonial connexion of the amiable parties we think replete with, and we wish it productive of, the most perfect human happiness."

A complimentary epithet to the bride is not unusual in early Canadian marriage notices. In the Gazette and Oracle of Dec. 29, 1798, we have a wedding in the Playter family recorded thus: "Married last Monday, Mr. James Playter to the agreeable Miss H[335]annah Miles, daughter of Mr. Abner Miles of this town." In the same paper for Feb. 24, 1798, is the announcement: "Married in this town (Niagara), by the Rev. Mr. Burke, Captain Miles Macdonell of the Royal Canadian Volunteers, to the amiable Miss Katey Macdonell." (This union was of brief duration. In the Constellation of Sept 6, 1799, we observe: "Died lately at Kingston, Mrs. Macdonell, of this town (Niagara), the amiable consort of Captain Miles Macdonell of the Canadian Volunteers.")

Again: in the Gazette and Oracle for Saturday Oct, 26, 1799: "Married, last Monday, by the Rev. Mr. Addison, Colonel Smith, of the Queen's Rangers, to the most agreeable and accomplished Miss Mary Clarke." (This was the Col. Smith who subsequently was for a time President of Upper Canada.)

In the Constellation of Nov. 23, 1799, in addition to the complimentary epithet, a poetical stanza is subjoined: thus: "Married at the seat of the Hon. Mr. Hamilton, at Queenston, on Sunday last, Mr. Thomas Dickson, merchant, to the amiable Mrs. Taylor, daughter of Captain Wilkinson, commanding, Fort Erie.

For thee, best treasure of a husband's heart; Whose bliss it is that thou for life art so; That thy fond bosom bears a faithful part In every casual change his breast may know."

But occasionally the announcement is almost as terse as one of Mr. Stanton's entries. Thus in the Constellation of Dec. 28, 1799, Mr. Hatt's marriage to Miss Cooly appears with great brevity: "Married at Ancaster, Mr. Richard Hatt to Miss Polly Cooly."

A magistrate officiates sometimes, and his name is given accordingly. In the Gazette and Oracle of March 2, 1799, we have: "Married on Tuesday last, by William Willcocks, Esq., Sergeant Mealy, of the Queen's Rangers, to Miss M. Wright, of this town."

(Somewhat in the strain of the complimentary marriage notices are the following: "We announce with much pleasure an acquisition to society in this place by the arrival of Prideaux Selby, Esq., and Miss Selby.—Gazette, Dec. 9, 1807. The York Assembly which commenced on Thursday the 17th instant, was honoured by the attendance of His Excellency and Mrs. Gore. It was not numerous. We understand that Mrs. Firth, the amiable Lady of the Attorney General, lately arrived, was a distinguished figure."—Gazette, Dec. 23, 1807.)

The family of Mr. Stanton, senior, was large. It wa[336]s augmented by twins on five several occasions. Not far from Mr. Stanton's house, a lesser edifice of brick of comparatively late date on the north side of Richmond Street, immediately opposite the premises associated just now with the memory of President Smith, may be noted as having been built and occupied by the distinguished Admiral Vansittart, and the first example in this region of a cottage furnished with light, tasteful verandahs in the modern style.

We now return from our digression into Richmond and Adelaide Streets, and again proceed on our way westward.

The grantee of the park-lot which followed Solicitor-General Gray's, was the famous Hon. Peter Russell, of whom we have had occasion again and again to speak. A portion of the property was brought under cultivation at an early period, and a substantial farm-house put up thereon—a building which in 1872 was still in existence. The name attached to this house and clearing was Petersfield.

Human depredators prowled about a solitary place like this. At their hands in 1803, Mr. Russell suffered a serious loss, as we learn from an advertisement which about midsummer in that year appeared in several successive numbers of the Oracle. It ran as follows: "Five Guineas Reward. Stolen on the 12th or 13th instant from Mr. Russell's farm, near this town, a Turkey Hen, with her brood of six half-grown young ones. Whoever will give such information and evidence as may lead to the discovery of the Thieves shall receive from the subscriber the above reward upon conviction of any of the delinquents. Peter Russell, York, Aug. 15th, 1803." Another advertisement has been mentioned to us, issuing from the same sufferer, announcing the theft of a Plough from the same farm.

Similar larcenies were elsewhere committed. In the Gazette of June 12, 1802, we read: "Forty dollars reward.—Mr. Justice Allcock offers a reward of forty dollars to any one who will give information of the person or persons who stole and carried away from his farm near the Garrison a number of iron teeth from two harrows. The same reward will also be given to any one who will give such information as will convict any person or persons of having bought such iron teeth, or any part of them, knowing the same to be stolen. If more than one was concerned, the same reward will be given to any accomplice upon his giving such information as will convict the other party or parties concerned with him, and every endeavour used to obtain a pardon. Note. [337]It has been ascertained that two blacksmiths in the town did, about the time these teeth were stolen, purchase harrow-teeth from a soldier, since deserted, and that another soldier was in company when such teeth were offered for sale. 28th May, 1802."

Again, in the same paper we have:—"Twenty dollars reward will be paid by the subscriber to any person who will discover the man who is so depraved and lost to every sense of social duty, as to cut with an axe or knife, the withes which bound some of the fence round the late Chief Justice's Farm on Yonge Street, and to throw down the said Fence. Independent of the above inducement, it is the duty of every good member of society to endeavour to find out who the character is that can be guilty of such an infamous act, in order that he may be brought to justice. Robert J. D. Gray, York, June 28th, 1803."

Occasionally notices of a reverse order appear. A homely article picked up on the Common was judged to be of sufficient importance to its owner to induce the finder to advertise as follows in the Oracle of Saturday, Aug. 14th, 1802:—"Found lately near the Garrison, a Cow-bell. Whoever has lost the same, may have it again by applying to the Printer hereof, on paying the expense of this advertisement, and proving property. York, Aug. 7, 1802."

Again, in the Oracle of Feb. 25, 1804:—"Found on Saturday last, the 11th instant, a Bar of Iron. The owner may have it again, by applying to the Printer hereof. York, Feb. 8th." And again: "Found on Friday, the 5th instant, two silk handkerchiefs. The owner can have them again by applying to the Printer, and paying the expense of this advertisement. York, Oct. 12th, 1804." In October, 1806, an iron pot was picked up: "Found, on Sunday last, the 12th instant, on the beach opposite Messrs. Ashbridge's, an Iron Pot capable of containing about two pails full. Whoever may own the above-mentioned Pot, may have it again by proving property, and paying charges, on application to Samuel Lewis or to the Printer hereof. York, Oct. 16th, 1806."

A barrel of flour was found on the beach near the Garrison in 1802, and was thus advertised: "The Public are hereby informed that there has been a barrel of flour left on the beach near the Garrison by persons unknown. Whoever will produce a just claim to the same may have it, by applying to the Garrison Sergeant-Major, and paying the expense of th[338]e present advertisement. J. Petto, G. S. Major, York, March 22, 1802."

Once more: in the Gazette of Dec. 3, 1803: "On the 26th ult. the subscriber found one-half of a fat Hog on the Humber Plains, which he supposes to be fraudulently killed, and the other half taken away. The part which he found he carried home and dressed, and requests the owner to call, pay expenses, and take it away. John Clark, Humber Mills, Dec. 2, 1803."

Peter Russell's name became locally a household synonym for a helluo agrorum, and not without some show of reason, as the following list in successive numbers of the Gazette and Oracle of 1803 would seem to indicate. Of the lands enumerated he styles himself, at the close of the advertisement, the proprietor. We have no desire, however, to perpetuate the popular impression, that all the said properties had been patented by himself to himself. This, of course, could not have been done. He simply chose, as he was at liberty to do, after acquiring what he and his family were entitled to legally, in the shape of grants, to invest his means in lands, which in every direction were to be had for a mere song.

The document spoken of reads thus: "To be sold.—The Front Town Lot, with an excellent dwelling-house and a kitchen recently built thereon, in which Mr. John Denison now lives, in the Town of York, with a very commodious water-lot adjoining, and possession given to the purchaser immediately. The Lots Nos. 5, 6, and 7 in the 2nd, and lots No. 6 and 7 in the 3d concession of West Flamboro' township, containing 1,000 acres, on which there are some very good mill seats; the lots No. 4 and 5, in the 1st concession of East Flamboro' with their broken fronts, containing, according to the Patent, 600 acres more or less; the lots No. 1, 3 and 4 in the 2nd, and lots No. 2 and 3 in the 3rd concession of Beverley, containing 1,000 acres; the lots No. 16 in the 2nd and 3rd concession of the township of York containing 400 acres; the lots 32 and 33 with their broken fronts, in the 1st, and lots No. 31 and 32 in the 2nd concession of Whitby, containing 800 acres; the lots 22 and 24 in the 11th, lot 23 in the 12th, and No. 24 in the 13th and 14th concessions of Townsend, containing a 1,000 acres; the lots No. 12, 13 and 14 in the 1st and 2nd concession of Charlotteville, immediately behind the Town plot, containing 1,200 acres; the lots Nos. 16 and 17 in the 1st concession of Delaware township, on the river Thames (La Tranche) containing 800 acres; the lots Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5,[339] and 7 in the 10th; No. 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 in the 11th, and Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 7 in the 12th concession of Dereham, containing 3,000 acres, with mill-seats thereon; and also the lots Nos. 22, 24, 25, 26, and 28 in the 1st, Nos. 22, 23, 25, 27 and 28 in the 3rd, Nos. 22, 24, 25, 26 and 28 in the 11th, and Nos. 22, 24, 25, 26 and 28 in the 12th concession of Norwich, containing 600 acres, with mill-seats thereon. The terms are either cash, or good bills of exchange on London, Montreal and Quebec, for the whole of such purchase, in which case a proportionably less price will be expected, or the same for one moiety of each purchase, and bonds properly secured for principal and interest, until paid, for the other. The prices may be known by application to the proprietor at York. Peter Russell."

Clearly, an idea of the prospective value of property in Canada had dawned upon the mind of Mr. Russell in the year 1803; and he aimed to create for himself speedily a handsome fortune. His plans, however, in the long run, came to little, as in another connexion, we have heard already.

Survivors of the primitive era in Upper Canada have been heard sometimes to express, (like Lord Clive, after his dealings with the rajahs,) their surprise that they did not provide for themselves more largely than they did, when the broad acres of their adopted country were to be had to any extent, almost for the asking. But this reflection should console them; in few instances are the descendants of the early very large land-holders much better off at the present hour than probably they would have been, had their fathers continued landless.

Mr. Russell died at York on the 30th of September, 1808. His obituary appears in the Gazette and Oracle of the following day. "Departed this life on Friday, the 30th ultimo, the Hon. Peter Russell, Esquire, formerly President of the Government of the Province, late Receiver General, and Member of the Executive and Legislative Councils: a gentleman who whilst living was honoured, and sincerely esteemed; and of whose regular and amiable conduct, the Public will long retain a favoured and grateful remembrance."

Of the funeral, which took place on the 4th of October, we have a brief account in the paper of Oct. 8, 1808. It says: "The remains of the late Hon. Peter Russell were interred on Wednesday the 4th instant with the greatest decorum and respect. The obsequ[340]ies of this accomplished gentleman were followed to the grave by His Excellency the Lieut. Governor (Gore) as Chief Mourner; with the principal gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood; and they were feelingly accompanied by all ranks, evincing a reverential awe for the Divine dispensation. An appropriate funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. Okill Stuart. The Garrison, commanded by Major Fuller, performed with becoming dignity the military honours of this respected veteran, who was a Captain in the Army on half-pay." The editor then adds: "deeply impressed with an ardent esteem for his manly character, and the irreparable loss occasioned by his death, we were not among those who felt the least at this last tribute of respect to his memory and remains." (The Major Fuller, above named, was the father of the Rev. Thomas Brock Fuller, in 1873 Archdeacon of Niagara.)

As we have elsewhere said, Mr. Russell's estate passed to his unmarried sister, Miss Elizabeth Russell, who, at her own decease, devised the whole of it to Dr. W. W. Baldwin and his family. The Irish family to which Mr. Russell belonged was originally a transplanted branch of the Aston-Abbotts subdivision of the great English family of the same name; and a connexion, through intermarriages, had long subsisted between these Russells and the Baldwins of the County of Cork. Russell Hill in the neighbourhood of Toronto, is so called from a Russell Hill in Ireland, which has its name from the Russells of the County of Cork.—During the Revolutionary war, Mr. Russell had been Secretary to Sir Henry Clinton, Commander-in-chief of the Army in North America from 1778 to 1782.

At the beginning of Peter Russell's advertisement of properties, it will have been observed that he offered for sale "an excellent dwelling-house in the town of York," described as being in the occupation of Mr. John Denison. The building referred to, situate, as it is further mentioned, on a "front town lot, with a very convenient water-lot adjoining," was the "ornamental cottage" noted in our journey along Front Street, as having been once inhabited by Major Hillier, of the 74th. On its site was afterwards built Dr. Baldwin's town residence, which subsequently became first a Military Hospital, and then the head office of the Toronto and Nipissing Railroad.

But Petersfield was also associated with the h[341]istory of Mr. Denison, who was the progenitor of the now numerous Canadian family of that name. Through an intimacy with Mr. Russell, springing out of several years' campaigning together in the American Revolutionary war, Mr. Denison was induced by that gentleman, when about to leave England in an official capacity in company with General Simcoe, to emigrate with his family to Upper Canada in 1792. He first settled at Kingston, but, in 1796, removed to York, where, by the authority of Mr. Russell, he temporarily occupied Castle Frank on the Don. He then, as we have seen, occupied "the excellent dwelling-house" put up "on a front lot" in the town of York by Mr. Russell himself; and afterwards, he was again accommodated by his friend with quarters in the newly-erected homestead of Petersfield.

We have evidence that in 1805 a portion of Petersfield was under cultivation, and that under Mr. Denison's care it produced fine crops of a valuable vegetable. Under date of York, 20th December, 1805, in a contemporary Oracle, we have the following advertisement: "Potatoes: To be sold at Mr. Russell's Farm at Petersfield, by Mr. John Denison, in any quantities not less than ten bushels, at Four Shillings, York Currency, the bushel, if delivered at the purchaser's house, or Three Shillings the bushel, if taken by them from the Farm."

And again, in the Gazette of March 4, 1807: "Blue Nose Potatoes. To be sold at Mr. Russell's Farm near York. The price three shillings, York currency, the bushel, if taken away by the purchasers, or they will be delivered anywhere within the precincts of the Town, at Four Shillings, in any quantity not less than ten bushels. Application to be made to Mr. John Denison, on the premises, to whom the above prices are to be paid on delivery. Feb. 14, 1807."

Our own personal recollection of Mr. Denison is associated with Petersfield, the homely cosiness of whose interior, often seen during its occupancy by him, lighted up by a rousing hospitable fire of great logs, piled high in one of the usual capacious and lofty fire-places of the time, made an indelible impression on the boyish fancy. The venerable Mrs. Sophia Denison, too, Mr. Denison's better half, was in like manner associated in our memory with the cheery interior of the ancient Petersfield farm-house—a fine old English matron and mother, of the antique, strongly-marked, vigorous, sterling type. She was one of the Taylors, of Essex; among whom, at home and abroad, ability and[342] talent, and traits of a higher and more sacred character, are curiously hereditary. We shall have occasion, further on, to speak of the immediate descendants of these early occupants of Petersfield.

On the south side of the expansion of Queen Street, in front of Petersfield, and a little beyond Peter Street (which, as we have previously noticed, had its name from Peter Russell) was the abode of Mr. Dunn, long Receiver-General of Upper Canada. It was (and is) a retired family house, almost hidden from the general view by a grove of ornamental trees. A quiet-looking gate led into a straight drive up to the house, out of Queen Street. Of Mr. Dunn we have already discoursed, and of Mrs. Dunn, one of the graceful lady-chiefs in the high life of York in the olden time. In the house at which we now pause was born their famous son, Alexander Roberts Dunn, in 1833; who not only had the honour of sharing in the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in 1856, now so renowned in history and song, but who, of all the six hundred there, won the highest meed of glory.

Six feet three inches in stature, a most powerful and most skilful swordsman, and a stranger to fear, Lieut. Dunn, instead of consulting his own safety in the midst of that frightful and untoward mêlée, deliberately interposed for the protection of his comrades in arms. Old troopers of the Eleventh Hussars long told with kindling eyes how the young lieutenant seeing Sergeant Bentley of his own regiment attacked from behind by two or three Russian lancers, rushed upon them single-handed, and cut them down; how he saved the life of Sergeant Bond; how Private Levett owed his safety to the same friendly arm, when assailed by Russian Hussars. Kinglake, the historian of the Crimean war, records that the Victoria Cross placed at the disposal of the Eleventh Hussars was unanimously awarded by them to Lieut. Dunn; the only cavalry officer who obtained the distinction.

To the enthusiasm inspired by his brilliant reputation was mainly due the speedy formation in Canada of the Hundredth Regiment, the Prince of Wales' Royal Canadian Regiment, in 1857. Of this regiment, chiefly raised through his instrumentality, Mr. Dunn was gazetted the first major; and on the retirement of the Baron de Rottenburg from its command, he succeeded as its Lieutenant Colonel.


In 1864 he was gazetted full Colonel: at the time he had barely completed his twenty-seventh year. Impatient of inactivity, he caused himself to be transferred to a command in India, where he speedily attracted the notice of General Napier, afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala; and he accompanied that officer in the expedition against King Theodore of Abyssinia. While halting at Senafé in that country, he was accidently killed by the sudden explosion of his rifle while out shooting deer. The sequel can best be given, as well as an impression of the feelings of his immediate associates on the deplorable occasion, by quoting the touching words of a letter addressed at the time to a near relative of Colonel Dunn, by a brother officer:

"In no regiment," says this friend, "was ever a commanding officer so missed as the one we have just so unhappily lost: such a courteous, thorough gentleman in word and deed, so thoughtful for others, so perfect a soldier, so confidence-inspiring a leader. Every soldier in the regiment misses Colonel Dunn; he was a friend, and felt to be such, to every one of them. The regiment will never have so universally esteemed a commander again. We all feel that. For myself I feel that I have lost a brother who can never be replaced. I can scarcely yet realize that the dear fellow is really dead, and as I pass his tent every morning I involuntarily turn my head, expecting to hear his usual kind salutation, and to see the dear, handsome face that has never looked at me but with kindness. I breakfasted with him on the morning of the 25th, and he looked so well as he started off with our surgeon for a day's shooting. Little did I think that I had looked on his dear old face for the last time in life. . . . I cannot describe to you what a shock the sad news was to every one, both in my regiment and indeed in every one in the camp. Our dear Colonel was so well known, and so universally liked and respected.

"Next day, Sunday, the 26th of January, he was buried about 4 o'clock p.m.. I went to look at the dear old fellow, before his coffin was closed, and his poor face, though looking so cold, was yet so handsome, and the expression of it, so peaceful and happy. I cut off some of his hair, which lately he wore very short, a lock of which I now send you, keeping one for myself, as the most valuable souvenir I could have of one I loved very dearly. And I knelt down to give his cold forehead a long farewell kiss. He was buried in uniform, as he had often expressed a wish to me to that effect. Every officer in the camp attended his funeral, and, of course, the whole of his own regiment,[344] in which there was not a single dry eye, as all stood round the grave of their lost commander. He has been buried in a piece of ground near where our camp now stands, at the foot of a small hill covered with shrubbery and many wild flowers. We have had railings put round the grave, and a stone is to be placed there with the inscription: In memory of A. R. Dunn, V.C., Col. 33rd Regiment, who died at Senafé on 25th January, 1868, aged 34 years and 7 months."

Thus in remote Abyssinia rest the mortal remains of one who in the happy unconsciousness of childhood, sported here in grounds and groves which we are now passing on Queen Street. In numerous other regions of the earth, once seemingly as unlikely to be their respective final resting-places, repose the remains of Canadian youth, who have died in the public service of England. We are sharing in the fortune and history of the mother country, and like her, or rather like the ubiquitous Roman citizen of old, we may even already ask "Quæ caret ora cruore nostro?"—sadly as individuals, perhaps, but proudly as a people.

The occupant of Mr. Dunn's house at a later period was Chief Justice McLean, who died here in 1865. He was born at St. Andrews, near Cornwall, in 1791. At the battle of Queenston, he served as Lieutenant in Capt. Cameron's No. 1 Flank Company of York Militia, and received a severe wound in the early part of the engagement. He was afterwards for some time Speaker of the House. An admirable full-length painting of Chief Justice McLean exists at Osgoode Hall.




Immediately after the grounds and property of Mr. Dunn, on the same side, and across the very broad Brock Street, which is an opening of modern date, was to be seen until recently, a modest dwelling-place of wood, somewhat peculiar in expression, square, and rather tall for its depth and width, of dingy hue; its roof four-sided; below, a number of lean-to's and irregular extensions clustering round; in front, low shrubbery, a circular drive, and a wide, open-barred gate. This was the home of one who has acquired a distinguished place in our local annals, military and civil—Colonel James Fitzgibbon.

A memorable exploit of his, in the war with the United States in 1813, was the capture of a force of 450 infantry, 50 cavalry and two guns, when in command himself, at the moment, of only forty-eight men. He had been put in charge of a depôt of stores, at the Beaver Dams, between Queenston and Thorold. Colonel Boerstler, of the invading army, was despatched from Fort George, at Niagara, with orders to take this depôt. Fitzgibbon was apprized of his approach. Reconnoitring, and discovering that Boerstler had been somewhat disconcerted, on his march, by a straggling fire from the woods, kept up by a few militiamen and about thirty Indians under Captain Kerr, he conceived the bold idea of dashing out and demanding a surrender of the enemy! Accordingly, spreading his little force judiciously, he suddenly presented himself, waving a white pocket-handkerchief. He was an officer, he hurriedly announced, in command of a detachment: his superior officer, with a large force, was in the rear; and the Indians were unmanageable. (Some extemporized war-whoops were to be heard at the moment in the distance.)

The suggestion of a capitulation was listened to by Colonel Boerstler as a dictate of humanity. The truth was, Major DeHaren, of the Canadian force, to whom, in the neighbourhood of what is now St. Catharines, a message had been sent, was momentarily expected, with 200 men. To gain time, Fitzgibbon made it a matter of importance that the terms of the surrender should be reduced [346]to writing. Scarcely was the document completed when DeHaren arrived. Had there been the least further delay on his part, how to dispose of the prisoners would have been a perplexing question.

Lieutenant Fitzgibbon was now soon Captain Fitzgibbon. He had previously been a private in the 19th and 61st Regiments, having enlisted in Ireland at the age of seventeen. On the day of his enrolment, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant; and a very few years later he was a sergeant-major. He saw active service in Holland and Denmark. His title of Colonel was derived from his rank in our Canadian Militia.

His tall muscular figure, ever in buoyant motion; his grey, good-humoured vivacious eye, beaming out from underneath a bushy, light-coloured eyebrow; the cheery ring of his voice, and its animated utterances, were familiar to everyone. In the midst of a gathering of the young, whether in the school-room or on the play-ground, his presence was always warmly hailed. They at once recognized in him a genuine sympathizer with themselves in their ways and wants; and he had ever ready for them words of hope and encouragement.

Our own last personal recollection of Colonel Fitzgibbon is connected with a visit which we chanced to pay him at his quarters in Windsor Castle, where, in his old age, through the interest of Lord Seaton, he had been appointed one of the Military Knights. Though most romantically ensconced and very comfortably lodged, within the walls of the noblest of all the royal residences of Europe, his heart, we found, was far away, ever recurring to the scenes of old activities. Where the light streamed in through what seemed properly an embrasure for cannon, pierced through a wall several yards in thickness, we saw a pile of Canadian newspapers. To pore over these was his favourite occupation.

After chatting with him in his room, we went with him to attend Divine [347] Service in the magnificent Chapel of St. George, close by. We then strolled together round the ramparts of the Castle, enjoying the incomparable views. Since the time of William IV. the habit of the Military Knights is that of an officer of high rank in full dress, cocked hat and feather included. As our venerable friend passed the several sentries placed at intervals about the Castle, arms were duly presented; an attention which each time elicited from the Colonel the words, rapidly interposed in the midst of a stream of earnest talk, and accompanied by deprecatory gestures of the hand, "Never mind me, boy! never mind me!"

Colonel Fitzgibbon took the fancy of Mrs. Jameson when in Canada. She devotes several pages of her "Winter Studies" to the story of his life. She gives some account of his marriage. The moment he received his captaincy, she tells us, "he surprised General Sheaffe, his commanding officer, by asking for a leave of absence, although the war was still at its height. In explanation, he said he wished to have his nuptials celebrated, so that if a fatal disaster happened to himself, his bride might enjoy the pension of a captain's widow. The desired leave was granted, and after riding some 150 miles and accomplishing his purpose, he was back in an incredibly short space of time at head-quarters again. No fatal disaster occurred, and he lived," Mrs. Jameson adds "to be the father of four brave sons and one gentle daughter."

The name of Colonel Fitzgibbon recalls the recollection of his sister, Mrs. Washburne, remarkable of old, in York, for dash and spirit on horseback, spite of extra embonpoínt; for a distinguished dignity of bearing, combined with a marked Hibernian heartiness and gaiety of manner. As to the "four brave sons and one gentle daughter," all have now passed away: one of the former met with a painful death from the giving way of a crowded gallery at a political meeting in the Market Square, as previously narrated. All four lads were favourites with their associates, and partook of their father's temperament.

Of Spadina Avenue, which we crossed in our approach to Col. Fitzgibbon's old home, and of Spadina house, visible in the far distance at the head of the Avenue, we have already spoken in our Collections and Recollections, connected with Front Street.

In passing we make an addition to what was then narrated. The career of Dr. Baldwin, the projector of the Avenue, and the builder of Spadina, is now a part of Upper Canadian history. It presents a curious instance of that versatility which we have had occasion to notice in so many of the men who have been eminent in this country. A medical graduate of Edinburgh, and in that capacity, commencing life in Ireland—on settling in Canada, he began the study of Law and became a leading member of the Bar.

On his arrival at York, from the first Canadian home of his father on Baldwin's Creek in the township of Clarke, Dr. Baldwin's purpose was to turn to account for a time his own educational ac[348]quirements, by undertaking the office of a teacher of youth. In several successive numbers of the Gazette and Oracle of 1802-3 we read the following advertisement: "Dr. Baldwin understanding that some of the gentlemen of this Town have expressed some anxiety for the establishment of a Classical School, begs leave to inform them and the public that he intends on Monday the first day of January next, to open a School in which he will instruct Twelve Boys in Writing, Reading, and Classics and Arithmetic. The terms are, for each boy, eight guineas per annum, to be paid quarterly or half-yearly; one guinea entrance and one cord of wood to be supplied by each of the boys on opening the School. N.B.—Mr. Baldwin will meet his pupils at Mr. Willcocks' house on Duke Street. York, December 18th, 1802." Of the results of this enterprise we have not at hand any record.

The Russell bequest augmented in no slight degree the previous possessions of Dr. Baldwin. In the magnificent dimensions assigned to the thoroughfare opened up by him in the neighbourhood of Petersfield, we have probably a visible expression of the large-handed generosity which a pleasant windfall is apt to inspire. Spadina Avenue is 160 feet wide throughout its mile-and-a-half length; and the part of Queen Street that bounds the front of the Petersfield park-lot, is made suddenly to expand to the width of 90 feet. Maria Street also, a short street here, is of extra width. The portion of York, now Toronto, laid out by Dr. Baldwin on a fraction of the land opportunely inherited, will, when solidly built over, rival Washington or St. Petersburg in grandeur of ground-plan and design.

The career of Dr. Rolph, another of our early Upper Canadian notabilities, resembles in some respects, that of Dr. Baldwin. Before emigrating from Gloucestershire, he began life as a medical man. On arriving in Canada he transferred himself to the Bar. In this case, however, after the attainment of eminence in the newly adopted profession, there was a return to the original pursuit, with the acquisition in that also, of a splendid reputation. Both acquired the local style of Honourable: Dr. Rolph by having been a member of the Hincks-ministry from 1851 to 1854; Dr. Baldwin by being summoned, six months before his decease, to the Legislative Council of United Canada, while his son was Attorney-General.

Mr. William Willcocks, allied by marriage to Dr. Baldwin's family, selected the park-lot at which we arrive after crossin[349]g Spadina Avenue. A lake in the Oak Ridges (Lake Willcocks) has its name from the same early inhabitant. In 1802 he was Judge of the Home District Court. He is to be distinguished from the ultra-Reformer, Sheriff Willcocks, of Judge Thorpe's day, whose name was Joseph; and from Charles Willcocks, who in 1818 was proposing, through the columns of the Upper Canada Gazette, to publish, by subscription, a history of his own life. The advertisement was as follows (what finally came of it, we are not able to state):—"The subscriber proposes to publish, by subscription, a History of his Life. The subscription to be One Dollar, to be paid by each subscriber; one-half in advance; the other half on the delivery of the Book. The money to be paid to his agent, Mr. Thomas Deary, who will give receipts and deliver the Books. Charles Willcocks, late Lieutenant, City of Cork Militia. York, March, 17th, 1818."

This Mr. Charles Willcocks once fancied he had grounds for challenging his name-sake, Joseph, to mortal combat, according to the barbaric notions of the time. But at the hour named for the meeting, Joseph did not appear on the ground. Charles waited a reasonable time. He then chipped off a square inch or so of the bark of a neighbouring tree, and, stationing himself at duelling distance, discharged his pistol at the mark which he had made. As the ball buried itself in the spot at which aim had been taken, he loudly bewailed his old friend's reluctance to face him. "Oh, Joe, Joe!" he passionately cried, "if you had only been here!"

Although Joseph escaped this time, he was not so fortunate afterwards. He fell, as we have already noted in connexion with the Early Press, "foremost fighting" in the ranks of the invaders of Upper Canada in 1814. The incident is briefly mentioned in the Montreal Herald of the 15th of October, in that year, in the following terms: "It is officially announced by General Ripley (on the American side, that is), that the traitor Willcocks was killed in the sortie from Fort Erie on the 4th ult., greatly lamented by his general and the army." Undertaking with impetuosity a crusade against the governmental ideas which were locally in the ascendant, and encountering the resistance customary in such cases, he cut the knot of his discontent by joining the Republican force when it made its appearance.

The Willcocks park-lot, or a portion of it, was afterwards possessed by Mr. Billings, a well-remembered Commissariat officer, long stationed at York. He built the house subsequent[350]ly known as Englefield, which, later, was the home of Colonel Loring, who, at the time of the taking of York, in 1813, had his horse killed under him; and here he died. Mr. Billings and Colonel Loring both had sons, of whom we make brief mention as having been in the olden times among our own school-boy associates, but who now, like so many more personal contemporaries, already noted, are, after brief careers, deceased. An announcement in the Montreal Herald of February 4th, 1815, admits us to a domestic scene in the household of Colonel, at the time Captain, Loring. (The Treaty of Peace with the United States was signed at Ghent, on the 24th of December, 1814. Its effect was being pleasantly realized in Canada, in January, 1815). "At Prescott," the Herald reports, "on Thursday, 26th January, the lady of Capt. Loring, Aide-de-Camp and Private Secretary to His Honor Lieut.-Gen. Drummond, was safely delivered of a daughter." The Herald then adds: "The happy father had returned from a state of captivity with the enemy, but a few hours previous to the joyful event." Capt. Loring had been taken prisoner in the battle of Lundy's Lane, in the preceding July.

The first occupant of the next lot (No. 16) westward, was Mr. Baby, of whom we have spoken in former sections. Opposite was the house of Bernard Turquand, an Englishman of note, for many years first clerk in the Receiver-General's department. He was an early promoter of amateur boating among us, a recreation with which possibly he had become familiar at Malta, where he was long a resident. Just beyond on the same side, was the dwelling-place of Major Winniett,—a long, low, one-storey bungalow, of a neutral tint in colour, its roof spreading out, verandah-wise, on both sides.

After the name of Mr. Baby, on the early plan of the park-lots, comes the name of Mr. Grant—"the Hon. Alexander Grant." During the interregnum between the death of Governor Hunter and the arrival of Governor Gore, Mr. Grant, as senior member of the Executive Council, was President of Upper Canada. The Parliament that sat during his brief administration, appropriated £800 to the purchase of instruments for illustrating the principles of Natural Philosophy, "to be deposited in the hands of a person employed in the Education of Youth;" from the débris of which collection, preserved in a mutilated condition in one of the rooms of the Home District School building, we ourselves, like others probably of our contemporaries, obtained ou[351]r very earliest inkling of the existence and significance of scientific apparatus.

In his speech at the close of the session of 1806, President Grant alluded to this action of Parliament in the following terms: "The encouragement which you have given for procuring the means necessary for communicating useful and ornamental knowledge to the rising generation, meets with my approbation, and, I have no doubt, will produce the most salutary effects." Mr. Grant was also known as Commodore Grant, having had, at one time, command of the Naval Force on the Lakes.

After Mr. Grant's name appears that of "E. B. Littlehales." This is the Major Littlehales with whom those who familiarize themselves with the earliest records of Upper Canada become so well acquainted. He was the writer, for example, of the interesting journal of an Exploring Excursion from Niagara to Detroit in 1793, to be seen in print in the Canadian Literary Magazine of May, 1834; an expedition undertaken, as the document itself sets forth, by the Lieut.-Governor, accompanied by Captain Fitzgerald, Lieutenant Smith of the 5th Regiment, and Lieutenants Talbot, Grey and Givins, and Major Littlehales, starting from Niagara on the 4th of February, arriving at Detroit on the 18th, by a route which was 270 miles in length. The return began on the 23rd, and was completed on the 10th of the following month.

It was in this expedition that the site of London, on the Thames, was first examined, and judged to be "a situation eminently calculated for the metropolis of all Canada." "Among other essentials," says Major Littlehales, "it possesses the following advantages: command of territory—internal situation—central position, facility of water communication up and down the Thames into Lakes St. Clair, Erie, Huron, and Superior,—navigable for boats to near its source, and for small craft probably to the Moravian settlement,—to the southward by a small portage to the waters flowing into Lake Huron—to the south-east by a carrying-place into Lake Ontario and the River St. Lawrence; the soil luxuriantly fertile,—the land rich and capable of being easily cleared, and soon put into a state of agriculture,—a pinery upon an adjacent high knoll, and other timber on the heights, well calculated for the erection of public buildings,—a climate not inferior to any part of Canada."

The intention of the Governor, at one time,[352] was that the future capital should be named Georgina, in compliment to George III. Had that intention been adhered to, posterity would have been saved some confusion. To this hour, the name of our Canadian London gives trouble in the post-office and elsewhere. Georgina was a name not inaptly conceived, suggested doubtless by the title "Augusta," borne by so many places of old, as, for example, by London itself, the Veritable, in honour of the Augustus, the Emperor of the day. We might perhaps have rather expected Georgiana, on the analogy of Aureliana (Orleans), from Aurelius, or Georgia, after Julia, a frequent local appellation from the imperial Julius.—Already, had Georgius, temp. Geo. II., yielded Georgia as the name of a province, and later, temp. Geo. III., the same royal name had been associated with the style and title of a new planet, the Georgium Sidus, suggested probably by the Julium Sidus of Horace. We presume, also, that the large subdivision of Lake Huron, known as the Georgian Bay, had for its name a like loyal origin. (The name Georgina, is preserved in that of a now flourishing township on Lake Simcoe.)

An incident not recorded in Major Littlehales' Journal was the order of a grand parade (of ten men), and a formal discharge of musketry, issued in jocose mood by the Governor to Lieut. Givins; which was duly executed as a ceremony of inauguration for the new capital.

The capture of a porcupine, however, somewhere near the site of the proposed metropolis is noted by the Major. In the narrative the name of Lieut. Givins comes up. "The young Indians who had chased a herd of deer in company with Lieut. Givins," he says, "returned unsuccessful, but brought with them a large porcupine: which was very seasonable," he remarks, "as our provisions were nearly exhausted. This animal," he observes, "afforded us a good repast, and tasted like a pig." The Newfoundland dog, he adds, attempted to bite the porcupine, but soon got his mouth filled with the barbed quills, which gave him exquisite pain. An Indian undertook to extract them, he then says, and with much perseverance plucked them out, one by one, and carefully applied a root or decoction, which speedily healed the wound.

From Major Littlehales' Journal it appears that it was the practice of the party to wind up each day's proceedings by singing "God save the King." Thus on the 28th Feb., before arriving at the site of London, we have it recorded: "At six we stopped at an old Mississagua hut, upon the sou[353]th side of the Thames. After taking some refreshment of salt pork and venison, well-cooked by Lieutenant Smith, who superintended that department, we, as usual, sang God save the King, and went to rest."

The Duke de Liancourt, in his Travels in North America, speaks of Major Littlehales in the following pleasant terms: "Before I close the article of Niagara," he says, "I must make particular mention of the civility shewn us by Major Littlehales, adjutant and first secretary to the Governor, a well-bred, mild and amiable man, who has the charge of the whole correspondence of government, and acquits himself with peculiar ability and application. Major Littlehales," the Duke says, "appeared to possess the confidence of the country. This is not unfrequently the case with men in place and power; but his worth, politeness, prudence, and judgment, give this officer peculiar claims to the confidence and respect which he universally enjoys."

In the Oracle of Feb. 24, 1798, a report of the death of this officer is contradicted. "We have the pleasure of declaring the account received in December last of the death of Col. Littlehales premature. Letters have been recently received from him dated in England." He had probably returned home with Gen. Simcoe. In the same paper a flying rumour is noticed, to the effect "that His Excellency Governor Simcoe is appointed Governor General of the Canadas."

Major Littlehales afterwards attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and was created a baronet in 1802. In 1801 he was appointed under-Secretary for Ireland; and he held this office for nineteen years.

Major Littlehales' park-lot became subsequently the property of Capt. John Denison, and from him descended to his heir Col. George Taylor Denison, from whom the street now passing from south to north has its name, Denison Avenue. This thoroughfare was, in the first instance, the drive up to the homestead of the estate, Bellevue, a large white cheery-looking abode, lying far back but pleasantly visible from Lot Street through a long vista of overhanging trees.—From the old Bellevue have spread populous colonies at Dovercourt, Rusholme and elsewhere, marked, like their progenitor, with vigour of character, and evincing in a succession of instances strong aptitude for military affairs. Col. Denison's grandson, G. T. Denison tertius, is the author of a work on "Modern Cavalry, its Organisation, Armament and Employment in War," which has taken a recognized place in E[354]nglish strategetical literature.

In accordance with an early Canadian practice, Capt. John Dennison set apart on his property a plot of ground as a receptacle for the mortal remains of himself and his descendants. He selected for this purpose a picturesque spot on land possessed by him on the Humber river, entailing at the same time the surrounding estate. In 1853,—although at that date an Act of Parliament had cancelled entails,—his heir, Col. G. T. Denison, primus, perpetually connected the land referred to, together with the burial plot, with his family and descendants, by converting it into an endowment for an ecclesiastical living, to be always in the gift of the legal representative of his name. This is the projected rectory of St. John's on the Humber. In 1857, a son of Col. Denison's, Robert Britton Denison, erected at his own cost, in immediate proximity to the old Bellevue homestead, the church of St. Stephen, and took steps to make it in perpetuity a recognized ecclesiastical benefice.

The boundary of Major Littlehales' lot westward was near what is now Bathurst Street. In front of this lot, on the south side of Lot street, and stretching far to the west, was the Government Common, of which we have previously spoken, on which was traced out, at first ideally, and at length in reality, the arc of a circle of 1,000 yards radius, having the Garrison as its centre. Southward of the concave side of this arc no buildings were for a long time permitted to be erected. This gave rise to a curiously-shaped enclosure, northward of St. Andrew's Market-house, wide towards the east, but vanishing off to nothing on the west, at the point where Lot Street formed a tangent with the military circle.

Of Portland Street and Bathurst Street we have already spoken in our survey of Front Street. Immediately opposite Portland Street was the abode, at the latter period of his life, of Dr. Lee, to whom we have referred in our accounts of Front and George Streets. Glancing northward as we pass Bathurst Street, which, by the way, north of Lot Street, was long known as Crookshank's Lane, we are reminded again of Mr. Murchison, whom we have likewise briefly commemorated elsewhere. The substantial abode to which he retired after acquiring a good competency, and where in 1870 he died, is to be seen on the east side of Bathurst Street.

The names which appear in the early plans of York and[355] its suburbs, as the first possessors of the park lots westward of Major Littlehales', are, in order of succession, respectively, Col. David Shank, Capt. Macdonell, Capt. S. Smith, Capt. Æ. Shaw, Capt. Bouchette. We then arrive at the line of the present Dundas road, where it passes at right angles north from the line of Queen Street. This thoroughfare is not laid down in the plans. Then follow the names of David Burns, William Chewitt and Alexander MacNab (conjointly), Thomas Ridout and William Allan (conjointly), and Angus Macdonell. We then reach a road duly marked, leading straight down to the French Fort, Fort Rouillé, commonly known as Fort Toronto. Across this road westward, only one lot is laid off, and on it is the name of Benjamin Hallowell.

Most of the names first enumerated are very familiar to those whose recollections embrace the period to which our attention is now being directed. Many of them have occurred again and again in these papers.

In regard to Col. David Shank, the first occupant of the park lot westward of Major Littlehales', we must content ourselves with some brief "Collections." In the Simcoe correspondence, preserved at Ottawa, there is an interesting mention of him, associated, as it appropriately happens, with his neighbour-locatees to the east and west here on Lot Street. In a private letter to the "Secretary at War," Sir George Yonge, from Governor Simcoe, dated Jan. 17th, 1792, announcing his arrival at Montreal, en route for his new Government, still far up "the most august of rivers," Capt. Shank is spoken of as being on his way to the same destination in command of a portion of the Queen's Rangers, in company with Capt. Smith.

There is noted in the same document, it will be observed, a gallant achievement of Capt. Shaw's, who, the Governor reports, had just successfully marched with his division of the same regiment all the way from New Brunswick to Montreal, in the depth of winter, on snow-shoes. "It is with infinite pleasure," writes Governor Simcoe to Sir George Yonge, "that I received your letter of the 1st of April by Capt. Littlehales. On the 13th of June," he continues, "that officer overtook me on the St. Lawrence, as I was on my passage in batteaux up the most august of rivers. It has given me great satisfaction," the Governor says, "that the Queen's Rangers have arrived so early. Capt. Shaw, who crossed in the depth of winter on snow-shoes from New Brunswick, is now at Kingston with the troops of the two first ships; and Cap[356]tains Shank and Smith, with the remainder, are, I trust, at no great distance from this place,—as the wind has served for the last 36 hours, and I hope with sufficient force to enable them to pass the Rapids of the Richelieu, where they have been detained some days." Governor Simcoe himself, as we learn from this correspondence, had landed at Quebec on the 11th of November preceding (1791), in the "Triton," Capt. Murray, "after a blustering passage."

In addition to the lot immediately after Major Littlehales', Col. Shank also possessed another in this range, just beyond, viz., No. 21.

The Capt. Macdonell, whose name appears on the lot that follows Col. Shank's first lot, was the aide-de-camp of Gen. Brock, who fell, with that General, at Queenston Heights. Capt. Macdonell's lot was afterwards the property of Mr. Crookshank, from whom what is now Bathurst Street North had, as we have remarked, for a time the name of Crookshank's Lane.

Capt. S. Smith, whose name follows those of Capt. Macdonell and Col. Shank, was afterwards President Smith, of whom already. The park lot selected by him was subsequently the property of Mr. Duncan Cameron, a member of the Legislative Council, freshly remembered. At an early period, the whole was known by the graceful appellation of Gore Vale. Gore was in honour of the Governor of that name. Vale denoted the ravine which indented a portion of the lot through whose meadow-land meandered a pleasant little stream. The southern half of this lot now forms the site and grounds of the University of Trinity College. Its brooklet will hereafter be famous in scholastic song. It will be regarded as the Cephissus of a Canadian Academus, the Cherwell of an infant Christ Church. The elmy dale which gives such agreeable variety to the park of Trinity College, and which renders so charming the views from the Provost's Lodge, is irrigated by it. (The cupola and tower of the principal entrance to Trinity College will pleasantly, in however humble a degree, recall to the minds of Oxford-men, the Tom Gate of Christ Church.)—After the decease of Mr. Cameron, Gore Vale was long occupied by his excellent and benevolent sister, Miss Janet Cameron.

On the steep mound which overhangs the Gore Vale brook, on its eastern side, just where it is crossed by Queen Street, was, at [357]an early period, a Blockhouse commanding the western approach to York. On the old plans this military work is shown, as also a path leading to it across the Common from the Garrison, trodden often probably by the relief party of the guard that would be stationed there in anxious times.

In the valley of this stream a little farther to the west, on the opposite side of Queen Street, was a Brewery of local repute: it was a long, low-lying dingy-looking building of hewn logs; on the side towards the street a railed gangway led from the road to a door in its upper storey. Conspicuous on the hill above the valley on the western side was the house, also of hewn logs, but cased over with clap-boards, of Mr. Farr, the proprietor of the brewery, a north-of-England man in aspect, as well as in staidness and shrewdness of character. His spare form and slightly crippled gait were everywhere familiarly recognized. Greatly respected, he was still surviving in 1872. His chief assistant in the old brewery bore the name of Bow-beer. (At Canterbury, we remember, many years ago, when the abbey of St. Augustine there, now a famous Missionary College, was a Brewery, on the beautiful turretted gateway, wherein were the coolers, the inscription "Beer, Brewer," was conspicuous; the name of the brewer in occupation of the grand monastic ruin being Beer, a common name, sometimes given as Bere; but which in reality is Bear.)

The stream which is here crossed by Queen Street is the same that afterwards flows below the easternmost bastion of the Fort. A portion of the broken ground between Farr's and the Garrison was once designated by the local Government—so far as an order in Council has force—and permanently set apart, as a site for a Museum and Institute of Natural History and Philosophy, with Botanical and Zoological Gardens attached. The project, originated by Dr. Dunlop, Dr. Rees and Mr. Fothergill, and patronized by successive Lieutenant-Governors, was probably too bold in its conception, and too advanced to be justly appreciated and earnestly taken up by a sufficient number of the contemporary public forty years ago. It consequently fell to the ground. It is to be regretted that, at all events, the land, for which an order in Council stands recorded, was not secured in perpetuity as a source of revenue for the promotion of science. In the Canadian Institute we have the kind of Association which was designed by Drs. Dunlop and Rees and Mr. Fothergill, but minus the revenue which the g[358]round-rent of two or three building lots in a flourishing city would conveniently supply.

Capt. Æneas Shaw, the original locatee of the park-lot next westward of Colonel Shank's second lot, was afterwards well known in Upper Canada as Major General Shaw. Like so many of our early men of note he was a Scotchman; a Shaw of Tordorach in Strathnairn. Possessed of great vigour and decision, his adopted country availed itself of his services in a civil as well as a military capacity, making him a member of the legislative and executive councils. The name by which his house and estate at this point were known, was Oakhill. The primitive domicile still exists and in 1871 was still occupied by one of his many descendants, Capt. Alex. Shaw.—It was at Oakhill that the Duke of Kent was lodged during his visit to York in his second tour in Upper Canada. The Duke arrived at Halifax on the 12th of September, 1799, after a passage from England of forty-three days, "on board of the Arethusa."

Of Col. Joseph Bouchette, whose name is read on the following allotment, we have had occasion already to speak. He was one of the many French Canadians of eminence who, in the early days, were distinguished for their chivalrous attachment to the cause and service of England. The successor of Col. Bouchette in the proprietorship of the park lot at which we have arrived, was Col. Givins.—He, as we have already seen, was one of the companions of Gov. Simcoe in the first exploration of Upper Canada. Before obtaining a commission in the army, he had been as a youth employed in the North-West, and had acquired a familiar acquaintance with the Otchibway and Huron dialects. This acquisition rendered his services of especial value to the Government in its dealings with the native tribes, among whom also the mettle and ardor and energy of his own natural character gave him a powerful influence. At the express desire of Governor Simcoe he studied and mastered the dialects of the Six Nations, as well as those of the Otchibways and their Mississaga allies.—We ourselves remember seeing a considerable body of Indian chiefs kept in order and good humour mainly through the tact exercised by Col. Givins. This was at a Council held in the garden at Government House some forty years since, and presided over by the then Lieutenant-Governor, Sir John Colborne.


Col. Givins was Superintendent of Indian Affairs down to the year 1842. In 1828 his name was connected with an incident that locally made a noise for a time. A committee of the House of Assembly, desiring to have his evidence and that of Col. Coffin, Adjutant General of Militia, in relation to a trespass by one Forsyth on Government property at the Falls of Niagara, commanded their presence at a certain day and hour. On referring to Sir Peregrine Maitland, the Lieutenant-Governor at the time, and also Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, permission to obey the mandate of the House was refused. Col. Givins and Col. Coffin were then arrested by the Sergeant-at-arms, after forcible entry effected at their respective domiciles, and were kept confined in the common gaol until the close of the session.

The following is Col. Coffin's letter to Major Hillier, private secretary to the Governor, on the occasion: "York, March 22nd, 1828. Sir,—I beg leave to request that you will state to the Lieutenant Governor that in obedience to the communication I received through you, that His Excellency could not give me permission to attend a Committee of the House of Assembly for the reason therein stated, that I did not attend the said Committee, and that in consequence thereof, I have been committed this evening to the common gaol of the Home District, by order of the House of Assembly. I have therefore to pray that His Excellency will be pleased to direct that I may have the advice and assistance of the Crown Officers, to enable me take such steps as I may be instructed on the occasion. I have the honour, &c., N. Coffin, Adjt. Gen. of Militia."

No redress was to be had. The Executive Council reported in regard to this letter that upon mature consideration they could not advise that the Government should interfere to give any direction to the Crown Officers, as therein solicited. Sir Peregrine Maitland was removed from the Government in the same year. Sir George Murray, who in that year succeeded Mr. Huskisson as Colonial Secretary, severely censured him for the line of action adopted in relation to the Forsyth grievance.

Colonels Givins and Coffin afterwards brought an action against the Speaker of the House for false imprisonment, but they did not recover: for the legality of the imprisonment, that is the right of the House to convict for what they had adjudged a contempt, was confirmed by the Court of King's Bench, by a solemn judgment render[360]ed in another cause then pending, which involved the same question.

Although its hundred-acre domain is being rapidly narrowed and circumscribed by the encroachments of modern improvement, the old family abode of Col. Givins still stands, wearing at this day a look of peculiar calm and tranquillity, screened from the outer world by a dark grove of second-growth pine, and overshadowed by a number of acacias of unusual height and girth.

Governor Gore and his lady, Mrs. Arabella Gore, were constant visitors at Pine Grove, as this house was named; and here to this day is preserved a very fine portrait, in oil, of that Governor. It will satisfy the ideal likely to be fashioned in the mind by the current traditions of this particular ruler of Upper Canada. In contour of countenance and in costume he is plainly of the type of the English country squire of a former day. He looks good humoured and shrewd; sturdy and self-willed; and fond of good cheer.

The cavalier style adopted by Gov. Gore towards the local parliament was one of the seeds of trouble at a later date in the history of Upper Canada. "He would dismiss the rascals at once." Such was his determination on their coming to a vote adverse to his notions; and, scarcely like a Cromwell, but rather like a Louis XIV., though still not, as in the case of that monarch, with a riding-whip in his hand, but nevertheless, in the undress of the moment, he proceeded to carry out his hasty resolve.

The entry of the incident in the Journals of the House is as follows: "On Monday, 7th April, at 11 o'clock a.m., before the minutes of the former day were read, and without any previous notice, the Commons, to the great surprise of all the members, were summoned to the bar of the Legislative Council, when his Excellency having assented, in his Majesty's name, to several bills, and reserved for his Majesty's pleasure the Bank bill, and another, to enable creditors to sue joint debtors separately, put an end to the session by the following speech:—'Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council, and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly,—The session of the provincial legislature having been protracted by an unusual interruption of business at its commencement, your longer absence from your respective avocations must be too great a sacrifice for the objects which remain to occupy your attention. I have therefore come to close the session and permit you to return to your homes. In accepting, in the name of his Majesty, the supply for defraying the deficiency [361]of the funds which have hitherto served to meet the charges of the administration of justice and support of the civil government of this province, I have great satisfaction in acknowledging the readiness manifested to meet this exigence.'"

Upper Canadian society was, indeed, in an infant state; but the growing intelligence of many of its constituents, especially in the non-official ranks, rendered it unwise in rulers to push the feudal or paternal theory of government too far. The names of the majority in the particular division of the Lower House which brought on the sudden prorogation just described are the following:—McDonell, McMartin, Cameron, Jones, Howard, Casey, Robinson, Nellis, Secord, Nichol, Burwell, McCormack, Cornwall. Of the minority: Van Koughnet, Crystler, Fraser, Cotter, McNab, Swayze, and Clench.

Six weeks after, Governor Gore was on his way to England, not recalled, as it would seem, but purposing to give an account of himself in his own person. He never returned. He is understood to have had a powerful friend at Court in the person of the Marquis of Camden.

One of the "districts" of Upper Canada was called after Governor Gore. It was set off, during his regime, from the Home and Niagara districts. But of late years county names have rendered the old district names unfamiliar. In 1837, "the men of Gore" was a phrase invested with stirring associations.

The town of Belleville received its name from Gov. Gore. In early newspapers and other documents the word appears as Bellville, without the central e, which gives it now such a fine French look. And this, it is said, is the true orthography. "Bell," we are told, was the Governor's familiar abbreviation of his wife's name, Arabella: and the compound was suggested by the Governor jocosely, as a name for the new village: but it was set down in earnest, and has continued, the sound at least, to this day. This off-hand assignment of a local name may remind some persons that Flos, Tay and Tiny, which are names of three now populous townships in the Penetanguishene region, are a commemoration of three of Lady Sarah Maitland's lap-dogs. Changes of names in such cases as these are not unjustifiable.

In fact, the Executive Council itself, at the period of which we are speaking, had occasionally found it proper to ch[362]ange local names which had been frivolously given. In the Upper Canada Gazette of March 11th, 1822, we have several such alterations. It would seem that some one having access to the map or plan of a newly surveyed region, had inscribed across the parallelograms betokening townships, a fragment of a well-known Latin sentence, "jus et norma," placing each separate word in a separate compartment. In this way Upper Canada had for a time a township of "Jus," and more wonderful still, a township of "Et." In the number of the Gazette of the date given above these names are formally changed to Barrie and Palmerston respectively. In the same advertisement, "Norma," which might have passed, is made "Clarendon."

Other impertinent appellations are also at the same time changed. The township of "Yea" is ordered to be hereafter the township of "Burleigh," with a humorous allusion to the famous nod, probably. The township of "No" is to be the township of Grimsthorpe; and the township of "Aye," the township of Anglesea.—The name "Et" may recall the street known as "Of" alley, on the south side of the Strand, in London, which "Of" is a portion of the name and title "George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham," distributed severally among a cluster of streets in that locality.

Gov. Gore was so fortunate as to be away from his Province during the whole of the war in 1812-13-14. He obtained leave of absence to visit England in 1811, and returned to his post in 1815, the Presidents, Isaac Brock, Roger Hale Sheaffe, and Gordon Drummond, Esquires, reigning in the interim.

Under date of York U. C., Sept., 30, 1815, we read the following particulars in the Gazette of the day:—"Arrived on Monday last the 25th instant, His Excellency Francis Gore, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Upper Canada, to reassume the reins of government. His Excellency was received with a cordial welcome and the honours due to his rank; and was saluted by his M. S. Montreal, and Garrison."

We are also informed that "On Wednesday the 27th instant, he was waited on by a deputation, and presented with the following address: To His Excellency, Francis Gore, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Upper Canada, &c., &c., &c. We, the Judges, Magistrates and principal Inhabitants of the Town of York, in approaching your Excellency to express our great satisfaction at beholding you once more among us, feel that we have still greater reason to c[363]ongratulate ourselves on this happy event. Our experience of your past firm and liberal administration, by which the prosperity of the Province has been so essentially promoted, teaches us to anticipate the greater benefit from its resumption; and this pleasing anticipation is confirmed by our knowledge of that paternal solicitude which induced you while in England to bring, upon all proper occasions, the interests of the Colony under the favourable attention of His Majesty's Government; a solicitude which calls forth in our hearts the most grateful emotions. We rejoice that the blessings of peace are to be dispensed by one who is so well acquainted with the wants and feelings of the Colony; and we flatter ourselves that York, recovering from a state of war, (during which she has been twice in the power of the enemy), will not only forget her disasters, but rise to greater prosperity under your Excellency's auspicious administration. York, September 27th, 1815. Thos. Scott, C.J., W. Dummer Powell, John Strachan, D.D., John McGill, John Beikie, M.P., Grant Powell J.P., W. Chewett, J.P., J. G. Chewett, W. Lee, Sam. Smith, W. Claus, Benjamin Gale, D. Cameron, D. Boulton, jun., George Ridout, And. Mercer, Thomas Ridout, J.P., W. Jarvis, Sec. and Reg., S. Jarvis, J.P., John Small, J.P., W. Allan, J.P., J. Givins, E. MacMahon, J. Scarlett, S. Heward, Thos. Hamilton, C. Baynes, John Dennis, P. K. Hartney, Jno. Cameron, E. W. McBride, Jordan Post, jun., Levi Bigelow, John Hays, T. R. Johnson, Lardner Bostwick, John Burke, John Jordan, W. Smith, sen., W. Smith, jun., J. Cawthra, John Smith, Alex. Legge, Jordan Post, sen., Andrew O'Keefe, S. A. Lumsden, John Murchison, Thomas Deary, Ezek. Benson, A. NcNabb, Edward Wright, John Evans, W. Lawrence, Thos. Duggan, George Duggan, Benjamin Cozens, Philip Klinger, and Sheriff Ridout. To which His Excellency was pleased to make the following answer: Gentlemen: After so long an absence from this place it is particularly gratifying to find the same sentiments of cordiality to me, and of approbation of my conduct, which I experienced during my former residence in this Province. It is but doing me justice to say that, while in Europe, I paid every attention in my power to promote your prosperity; and such, you may be assured, shall be my future endeavour when residing amongst you; earnestly hoping that, under the fostering care of our Parent State, and under that security which Peace alone can bestow, this Colony will speedily become a valuable, though distant part of the British Empire. York, 27th September, 1815."


On the 7th of the following month, it is announced that "His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent acting in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, has been pleased to appoint Thomas Fraser, Esquire, of Prescott, Neil McLean, Esquire, of Cornwall, Thomas Clark, Esquire, of Queenston, and William Dickson, Esquire, of Niagara, to be members of the Legislative Council; Samuel Smith, Esquire, of Etobicoke, to be a member of the Executive Council, and Doctor John Strachan, to be an Honorary Member of the same Council."

By one of the acts passed during the administration of Gov. Gore, the foundation was laid of a parliamentary library, to replace the one destroyed or dispersed during the occupation of York in 1813. In the session of 1816, the sum of £800 was voted for the purchase of books for the use of the Legislative Council and House of Assembly.

The sum of £800 for such a purpose contrasts poorly, however, with the £3,000 recommended in the same session, to be granted to Gov. Gore himself, for the purchase of "Plate." The joint address of both Houses to the Prince Regent, on this subject, was couched in the following terms: "To his Royal Highness, George, Prince of Wales, Prince Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c., &c., &c.: May it please your Royal Highness: We, his Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Council and House of Assembly of the Province of Upper Canada, in Provincial Parliament assembled, impressed with a lively sense of the firm, upright, and liberal administration of Francis Gore, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor of this Province, as well as of his unceasing attention to the individual and general interests of the Colony during his absence, have unanimously passed a bill to appropriate the sum of three thousand pounds, to enable him to purchase a service of plate, commemorative of our gratitude. Apprized that this spontaneous gift cannot receive the sanction of our beloved Sovereign in the ordinary mode, by the acceptance of the Lieutenant-Governor in his name and behalf; we, the Legislative Council and Assembly of the Province of Upper Canada, humbly beg leave to approach your Royal Highness with an earnest prayer that you will approve this demonstration of our gratitude, and graciously be pleased to sanction, in His Majesty's name, the grant of the Legislature, in behalf of the inhabitants of Upper Canada. Wm. Dummer Powell, Speaker, Legislative Co[365]uncil Chambers, 26th March, 1816. Allan Maclean, Speaker, Commons House of Assembly, 25th March, 1816."

To which, as we are next informed, his Excellency replied: "Gentlemen: I shall transmit your address to His Majesty's Ministers, in order that their expression of your approbation of my past administration may be laid at the feet of His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent. Government House, York, 26th March, 1816." The Bill which suggested this allowance was popularly spoken of as the "Spoon-bill." The House that passed the measure was the same that, a few weeks later, was so abruptly dismissed.

The name on the allotment following that occupied successively by Col. Bouchette and Col. Givins, is "David Burns." Mr. Burns, who had been a Navy surgeon, was the first Clerk of the Crown for Upper Canada, and one of the "Masters in Chancery." He died in 1806. In the Gazette and Oracle of Saturday, Feb. 15th, in that year, we have verses to the memory of the late David Burns, Esq. We make the following extract, which is suggestive:—

"Say, power of Truth, so great, so unconfined,  And solve the doubt which so distracts my mind—  Why Strength to Weakness is so near allied?  Perhaps 'tis given to humble human pride.  At times perchance frail Nature held the sway,  Yet dimm'd not it the intellectual ray:  Reason and Truth triumphant held their course,  And list'ning hearers felt conviction's force:  No precept mangled, text misunderstood,  He thought and acted but for public good:  His reasoning pure, his mind all manly light,  Made day of that which else appear'd as night.  In him instruction aim'd at this great end—  Our fates to soften and our lives amend.  Yet he was man, and man's the child of woe:  Who seeks perfection, seeks not here below."

From the paper of September, 1806, it appears that numerous books were missing out of the library of the deceased gentleman. His administrator, Alexander Burns, advertises: "The following books, with many others, being lent by the deceased, it is particularly entreated that they may be immediately returned:—Plutarch's Lives, 1st volume; Voltaire's Works, 11th do., in French, half-bound; Titi Livii, Latin, 1st do.; Guthrie's History of Scotland, 1st and 2nd do.; Rollin's Ancient Hi[366]story, 1st do.; Pope's Works, 5th do.; Swift's Works, 5th and 8th do., half-bound; Molière's, 6th do., French."

Of Col. W. Chewett, whose name appears next, we have made mention more than once. His name, like that of his son, J. G. Chewett, is very familiar to those who have to examine the plans and charts connected with early Upper Canadian history. Both were long distinguished attachés of the Surveyor-General's department. In 1802, Col. W. Chewett was Registrar of the Home District.

Alexander Macnab, whose name occurs next in succession, was afterwards Capt. Macnab, who fell at Waterloo, the only instance, as is supposed, of a Canadian slain on that occasion. In 1868, his nephew, the Rev. Dr. Macnab, of Bowmanville, was presented by the Duke of Cambridge in person with the Waterloo medal due to the family of Capt. Macnab.

Alexander Macnab was also the first patentee of the plot of ground whereon stands the house on Bay Street noted, in our account of the early press, as being the place of publication of the Upper Canada Gazette at the time of the taking of York, and subsequently owned and occupied by Mr. Andrew Mercer up to the time of his decease in 1871.

Of Messrs. Ridout and Allan, whose names are inscribed conjointly on the following park lot, we have already spoken; and Angus Macdonell, who took up the next lot, was the barrister who perished, along with the whole court, in the Speedy.

The name that appears on the westernmost lot of the range along which we have been passing is that of Benjamin Hallowell. He was a near connection of Chief Justice Elmsley's, and father of the Admiral, Sir Benjamin Hallowell, K.C.B. We observe the notice of Mr. Hallowell's death in the Gazette and Oracle of the day, in the following terms:—"Died, on Thursday last (March 28th, 1799), Benjamin Hallowell, Esq., in the 75th year of his age. The funeral will be on Tuesday next, and will proceed from the house of the Chief Justice to the Garrison Burying Ground at one o'clock precisely. The attendance of his friends is requested."

Associated at a later period with the memories of this locality is the name of Col. Walter O'Hara.—In 1808 an immense enthusiasm sprang up in England in behalf of the Spaniards, who were beginning to rise in spirited style against the domination of Napoleon and his family. Walter Savage Landor, for one, the distin[367]guished scholar, philosopher and poet, determined to assist them in person as a volunteer. In a letter to Southey, in August, 1808, he says: "At Brighton, I preached a crusade to two auditors: i. e., a crusade against the French in Spain: Inclination," he continues, "was not wanting, and in a few minutes everything was fixed." The two auditors, we are afterwards told, were both Irishmen, an O'Hara and a Fitzgerald. Landor did not himself remain long in Spain, although long enough to expend, out of his own resources, a very large sum of money; but his companions continued to do good service in the Peninsula, in a military capacity, to the close of the war.

In a subsequent communication to Southey, Landor speaks of a letter just received from his friend O'Hara. "This morning," he says, "I had a letter from Portugal, from a sensible man and excellent officer, Walter O'Hara. The officers do not appear," he continues, "to entertain very sanguine hopes of success. We have lost a vast number of brave men, and the French have gained a vast number, and fight as well as under the republic."

The Walter O'Hara whom we here have Landor speaking of as "a sensible man and excellent officer" is the Col. O'Hara at whose homestead, on a portion of the Hallowell park-lot, we have arrived, and whose name is one of our household words. Colonel O'Hara built on this spot in 1831, at which date the surrounding region was in a state of nature. The area cleared for the reception of the still existing spacious residence, with its lawn, garden and orchards, remained for a number of years an oasis in the midst of a grand forest. A brief memorandum which we are enabled to give from his own pen of the Peninsular portion of his military career, will be here in place, and will be deemed of interest.

"I joined," he says, "the Peninsular army in the year 1811, having obtained leave of absence from my British Regiment quartered at Canterbury, for the purpose of volunteering into the Portuguese army, then commanded by Lord Beresford. I remained in that force until the end of the war, and witnessed all the varieties of service during that interesting period, during which time I was twice wounded, and once fell into the hands of a brave and generous enemy."

From 1831 Col. O'Hara held the post of Adjutant-General in Upper Canada. His contemporaries will always think of him as a chivalrous, high-spirited, warm-hearted gentleman; and in our annals hereafter he will be named among the friends of Canadian progress, at a peri[368]od when enlightened ideas in regard to government and social life, derived from a wide intercourse with man in large and ancient communities, were, amongst us, considerably misunderstood.

After passing the long range of suburban properties on which we have been annotating, the continuation, in a right line westward, of Lot Street, used to be known as the Lake Shore Road. This Lake Shore Road, after passing the dugway, or steep descent to the sands that form the margin of the Lake, first skirted the graceful curve of Humber Bay, and then followed the irregular line of the shore all the way to the head of the Lake. It was a mere track, representing, doubtless, a trail trodden by the aborigines from time immemorial.

So late as 1813 all that could be said of the region traversed by the Lake Shore Road was the following, which we read in the "Topographical Description of Upper Canada," issued in London in that year, under the authority of Governor Gore:—"Further to the westward (i. e. of the river Humber)," we are told, "the Etobicoke, the Credit, and two other rivers, with a great many smaller streams, join the main waters of the Lake; they all abound in fish, particularly salmon......the Credit is the most noted; here is a small house of entertainment for passengers. The tract between the Etobicoke and the head of the Lake," the Topographical Description then goes on to say, "is frequented only by wandering tribes of Mississaguas."

"At the head of Lake Ontario," we are then told, "there is a smaller Lake, within a long beach, of about five miles, from whence there is an outlet to Lake Ontario, over which there is a bridge. At the south end of the beach," it is added, "is the King's Head, a good inn, erected for the accommodation of travellers, by order of his Excellency Major-General Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor. It is beautifully situated at a small portage which leads from the head of a natural canal connecting Burlington Bay with Lake Ontario, and is a good landmark. Burlington Bay," it is then rather boldly asserted, "is perhaps as beautiful and romantic a situation as any in interior America, particularly if we include with it a marshy lake which falls into it, and a noble promontory that divides them. This lake is called Coote's Paradise, and abounds with game." (Coote's Paradise had its name from Capt. Coote, of the 8th, a keen sportsman.)


As to "the wandering tribes of Mississaguas," who in 1813 were still the only noticeable human beings west of the Etobicoke, they were in fact a portion of the great Otchibway nation. From time to time, previous and subsequent to 1813, and for pecuniary considerations of various amounts they surrendered to the local Government their nominal right over the regions which they still occupied in a scattered way. In 1792 they surrendered 3,000,000 acres, commencing four miles west of Mississagua point, at the mouth of the river Niagara for the sum of £1,180 7s. 4d. On the 8th of August, 1797, they surrendered 3,450 acres in Burlington Bay for the sum of £65 2s. 6d. On the 6th September, 1806, 85,000 acres, commencing on the east bank of the Etobicoke river, brought them £1,000 5s. On the 28th of October, 1818, "the Mississagua tract Home District," consisting of 648,000 acres, went for the respectable sum of £8,500. On the 8th of February, 1820, 2,000 acres, east of the Credit reserve, brought in £50.

All circumstances at the respective dates considered, the values received for the tracts surrendered as thus duly enumerated may, by possibility, have been reasonable. Lord Carteret, it is stated, proposed to sell all New Jersey for £5,000, 150 years ago. But there remains one transfer from Mississaga to White ownership to be noticed, for which the equivalent, sometimes alleged to have been accepted, excites surprise. On the 1st of August, 1805, a Report of the Indian Department informs us, the "Toronto Purchase" was made, comprising 250,880 acres, and stretching eastward to the Scarboro' Heights; and the consideration accepted therefor was the sum of ten shillings. Two dollars for the site of Toronto and its suburbs, with an area extending eastward to Scarboro' heights. The explanation, however, is this, which we gather from a manuscript volume of certified copies of early Indian treaties, furnished by William L. Baby, Esq., of Sandwich. The Toronto purchase was really effected in 1787, by Sir John Johnson, at the Bay of Quinté Carrying-place; and "divers good and valuable considerations," not specified, were received by the Mississagas on the occasion. But the document testifying to the transfer was imperfect. The deed of August 1, 1805, was simply confirmatory, and the sum named as the consideration was merely nominal.

On the early map from which we have been takin[370]g the names of the first locatees of the range of park-lots extending along Queen Street from Parliament Street to Humber Bay, we observe the easternmost limit of the "Toronto Purchase" conspicuously marked by a curved line drawn northwards from the water's edge near the commencement of the spit of land which used to fence off Ashbridge's Bay and Toronto Harbour from the lake.

In 1804, the Lake Shore Road stood in need of repairs, and in some places even of "opening" and "clearing out." In the Gazette and Oracle of Aug. 4th, in that year, we have an advertisement for "Proposals from any person or persons disposed to contract for the opening and repairing the Road and building Bridges between the Town of York and the Head of Burlington Bay." "Such proposals," the advertisement goes on to say, "must state what prices the Party desirous of undertaking the aforesaid work will engage to finish and complete the same, and must consist of the following particulars: At what price per mile such person will open and clear out such part of the road leading from Lot Street, adjoining the Town of York (beginning at Peter Street) to the mouth of the Humber, of the width of 33 feet, as shall not be found to stand in need of any causeway. With the price also per rod at which such party will engage to open, clear out, and causeway such other part of the same road as shall require to be causewayed, and the last-mentioned price to include as well the opening and clearing out, as the causewaying such Road. The causewaying to be 18 feet wide; as also the price at which any person will engage to build Bridges upon the said Road of the width of 18 feet.

"And the same Commissioners will also receive proposals from any person or persons willing to engage to cut down three Hills at the following places viz:—One at the Sixteen Mile Creek, another between Sixteen and Twelve Mile Creek, and the third at the Twelve Mile Creek. And also for repairing, in a good and substantial manner, the Bridge at the outlet of Burlington Bay. All the before-mentioned work to be completed, in a good and substantial manner, on or before the last day of October next, and, when completed, the Money contracted to be given shall be paid by the Receiver General." This advertisement is issued by William Allan and Duncan Cameron, of York; James Ruggles and William Graham, of Yonge Street; and William Applegarth, of Flamboro' East, Commissioners for executing Statute passed in Session of present year.


We now return to that point on Queen Street where, instead of continuing on westward by the Lake Shore Road, the traveller of a later era turned abruptly towards the north in order to pass into Dundas Street proper, the great highway projected, as we have observed, by the first organizer of Upper Canada and marked on the earliest manuscript maps of the Province, but not made practicable for human traffic until comparatively recent times.

From an advertisement in the Gazette and Oracle of August, 1806, we learn that Dundas Street was not, in that year, yet hewn out through the woods about the Credit. "Notice is hereby given," thus runs the advertisement referred to, "that the Commissioners of the Highways of the Home District will be ready on Saturday, the 23rd day of the present month of August, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, at the Government Buildings in the town of York, to receive proposals and to treat with any person or persons who will contend to open and make the road called Dundas Street, leading through the Indian Reserve on the River Credit; and also to erect a Bridge over the said River at or near where the said Road passes. Also to bridge and causeway (in aid to the Statute Labour) such other parts of such Road passing through the Home District, when such works are necessary, and for the performance of which the said Statute Labour is not sufficient. Thomas Ridout, Clerk of the Peace, Home District. York, 6th August, 1806."

The early line of communication with the Head of the Lake was by the Lake Shore Road. The cross thoroughfare between the park lots of Mr. Bouchette or Col. Givins and Mr. David Burns, was opened up by Col. G. T. Denison, senior, with the assistance of some of the embodied militia.

The work of opening the road here, as well as further on through the forest, was at first undertaken by a detachment of the regulars under the direction of an officer of the Royal Engineers. The plan adopted, we are told, was first to fell each tree by very laboriously severing it from its base close to the ground, and then to smooth off the upper surface of the root or stump with an adze. As this process was necessarily slow, and after all not likely to result in a permanently good road, the proposal of Colonel, then Lieutenant, Denison, to set his militia-men to eradicate the trees bodily, was accepted—an operation with which they were all more or less familiar on their farms and in their new clearings. A fine broad open track, ready, when the d[372]ay for such further improvements should arrive, for the reception of plank or macadam, was soon constructed.

Immediately at the turn northwards, out of the line of Lot Street, on the east side, was Sandford's Inn, a watering place for teams on their way into York, provided accordingly with a conspicuous pump and great trough, a long section of a huge pine-tree dug out like a canoe. Near by, a little to the east, was another notable inn, an early rival, as we suppose, of Sandford's: this was the Blue Bell. A sign to that effect, at the top of a strong and lofty pole in front of its door, swung to and fro within a frame.

Just opposite, on the Garrison Common, there were for a long while low log buildings belonging to the Indian department. One of them contained a forge in charge of Mr. Higgins, armourer to the Department. Here the Indians could get, when necessary, their fishing-spears, axes, knives and tomahawks, and other implements of iron, sharpened and put in order. One of these buildings was afterwards used as a school for the surrounding neighbourhood.

Immediately across from Sandford's, on the park lot originally occupied by Mr. Burns, was a house, shaded with great willow-trees, and surrounded by a flower-garden and lawn, the abode for many years of the venerable widow of Captain John Denison, who long survived her husband. Of her we have already once spoken in connection with Petersfield. She was, as we have intimated, a sterling old English gentlewoman of a type now vanishing, as we imagine. The house was afterwards long in the occupation of her son-in-law, Mr. John Fennings Taylor, a gentleman well-known to Canadian M.P.'s during a long series of years, having been attached as Chief Clerk and Master in Chancery first to the Legislative Council of United Canada and then to the Senate of the Dominion.

To the right and left, as we passed north, was a wet swamp, filled with cedars of all shapes and sizes, and strewn plentifully with granitic boulders: a strip of land held in light esteem by the passers-by, in the early day, as seeming to be irreclaimable for agricultural purposes.

But how admirably reclaimable in reality the acres hereabout were for the choicest human purposes, was afterwards seen, when, for example, the house and grounds known as Foxley Grove, came to be established.[373] By the outlay of some money and the exercise of some discrimination, a portion of this same cedar swamp was rapidly converted into pleasure ground, with labyrinths of full-grown shrubbery ready-prepared by nature's hand. Mr. James Bealey Harrison, who thus transformed the wild into a garden and plaisaunce, will be long remembered for his skill and taste in the culture of flowers and esculents choice and rare: as well as for his eminence as a lawyer and jurist.

He was a graduate of Cambridge; and before his emigration to Canada, had attained distinction at the English bar. He was the author of a work well known to the legal profession in Great Britain and here, entitled "An Analytical Digest of all the Reported Cases determined in the House of Lords, the several Courts of the Courts of the Common Law in Banc and Nisi Prius, and the Court of Bankruptcy, from Michaelmas Term, 1756, to Easter Term, 1843; including also the Crown Cases Referred: in Four Volumes." During the régime of Sir George Arthur, Mr. Harrison was Secretary of the Province and a member of the Executive Council; and at a later period he was Judge of the County and Surrogate Courts. The memory of Judge Harrison as an English Gentleman, genial, frank and straightforward, is cherished among his surviving contemporaries.

On turning westward into Dundas Street proper, we were soon in the midst of a magnificent pine forest, which remained long undisturbed. The whole width of the allowance for road was here for a number of miles completely cleared. The highway thus well-defined was seen bordered on the right and left with a series of towering columns, the outermost ranges of an innumerable multitude of similar tall shafts set at various distances from each other, and circumscribing the view in an irregular manner on both sides, all helping to bear up aloft a matted awning of deep-green, through which, here and there, glimpses of azure could be caught, looking bright and cheery. The yellow pine predominated, a tree remarkable for the straightness and tallness of its stems, and for the height at which its branches begins.

No fence on either hand intervened between the road and the forest; the rider at his pleasure, could rein his horse aside at any point and take a canter in amongst the columns, the underwood being very slight. Everywhere, at the proper season, the ground was sprinkled with wild flowers—with the wild lupin and the wild columbine; and everywhere, at all times, the [374]air was more or less fragrant with resinous exhalations.

In the heart of the forest, midway between York and the bridge over the Humber, was another famous resting place for teams—the Peacock Tavern—a perfect specimen of a respectable wayside hostelry of the olden time, with very spacious driving-houses and other appropriate outbuildings on an extensive scale.

Not far from the Peacock a beaten track branched off westerly, which soon led the equestrian into the midst of beautiful oak woods, the trees constituting it of no great magnitude, but as is often the case on sandy plains, of a gnarled, contorted aspect, each presenting a good study for the sketcher. This track also conducted to the Humber, descending to the valley of that stream where its waters, now become shallow but rapid, passed over sheets of shale. Here the surroundings of the bridle-road and foot-path were likewise picturesque, exhibiting rock plentifully amidst and beneath the foliage and herbage.

Here in the vale of the Humber stood a large Swiss-like structure of hewn logs, with two tiers of balcony on each of its sides. This was the house of Mr. John Scarlett. It was subsequently destroyed by fire. Near by were mills and factories also belonging to Mr. Scarlett. He was well connected in England; a man of enlightened views and fine personal presence. He loved horses and was much at home in the saddle. A shrewd observer when out among his fellow men, at his own fireside he was a diligent student of books.




The tourist of the present day, who, on one of our great lake-steamers, enters the harbour of Toronto, observes, as he is borne swiftly along, an interesting succession of street vistas, opening at intervals inland, each one of them somewhat resembling a scene on the stage. He obtains a glimpse for a moment of a thoroughfare gently ascending in a right line northward, with appropriate groups of men and vehicles, reduced prettily to lilliputian size by distance.

Of all the openings thus transiently disclosed, the one towards which the boat at length shapes its course, with the clear intention of thereabout disburdening itself of its multifarious load, is quickly seen to be of preëminent importance. Thronged at the point where it descends to the water's edge with steamers and other craft, great and small, lined on the right and left up to the far vanishing-point with handsome buildings, its pavements and central roadway everywhere astir with life, its appearance is agreeably exciting and even impressive. It looks to be, what in fact it is, the outlet of a great highway leading into the interior of a busy, populous country. The railway station seen on the right, heaving up its huge semicircular metal back above the subjacent buildings, and flanking the very sidewalk with its fine front and lofty ever-open portals, might be imagined a porter's lodge proportioned to the dignity of the avenue whose entrance it seems planted there to guard.

We propose to pass, as rapidly as we may, up the remarkable street at the foot of which our tourist steps ashore. It will not be a part of our plan to enlarge on its condition as we see it at the present time, except here and there as in contrast with some circumstance of the past. We intend simply to take note, as we ramble on, of such recollections as may spring up at particular points, suggested by objects or localities encountered, and to recall at least the names, if not in every instance, characteristic traits and words and acts, of some of the worthies of a byegone generation, to whose toil and endurance the present occupants of the region which we shall traverse are so profoundly indebted.

Where Yonge Street opened on the harbour, the observer some forty years ago would only have seen, on the east side, the gard[376]en, orchard and pleasure grounds of Chief Justice Scott, with his residence situated therein, afterwards the abode of Mr. Justice Sherwood; and on the west side the garden, orchard, pleasure-grounds and house of Mr. Justice Macaulay, afterwards Chief Justice Sir James Macaulay, and the approaches to these premises were, in both cases, not from Yonge Street but from Front Street, or from Market Street in the rear.

The principal landing place for the town was for a series of years, as we have elsewhere stated, at the southern extremity of Church Street: and then previously, for another series of years, further to the east, at the southern extremity of Frederick Street. The country and local traffic found its way to these points, not by Yonge Street, south of King Street, but by other routes which have been already specified and described.

Teams and solitary horses, led or ridden, seen passing into Yonge Street, south of King Street, either out of King Street or out of Front Street, would most likely be on their way to the forge of old Mr. Philip Klinger, a German, whose name we used to think had in it a kind of anvil ring. His smithy, on the east side, just south of Market Street, now Wellington Street, was almost the only attraction and occasion of resort to Yonge Street, south of King Street. His successor here was Mr. Calvin Davis, whose name became as familiar a sound to the ears of the early townsfolk of York as Mr. Klinger's had been.

It seems in the retrospect but a very short time since Yonge Street south of King Street, now so solidly and even splendidly built up, was an obscure allowance for road, visited seldom by any one, and for a long while particularly difficult to traverse during and just after the rainy seasons.

Few persons in the olden time at which we are glancing ever dreamed that the intersection of Yonge Street and King Street was to be the heart of the town. Yet here in one generation we have the Carfax of Toronto, as some of our forefathers would have called it—the Quatrevoies or Grand Four-cross-way, where the golden milestone might be planted whence to measure distances in each direction.

What are the local mutations that are to follow? Will the needs of the population and the exigencies of business ever make of the intersection of Brock Street and Queen Street what the intersection of Yonge and King Streets is now?[377]

In the meantime, those who recall the very commonplace look which this particular spot, viz.: the intersection of King Street and Yonge Street, long wore, when as yet only recently reclaimed from nature, cannot but experience a degree of mental amazement whenever now they pause for a moment on one of the crossings and look around.

A more perfect and well-proportioned rectangular meeting of four great streets is seldom to be seen. Take the view at this point, north, south, west, or east, almost at any hour and at any season of the year, and it is striking.

It is striking in the freshness and coolness and comparative quiet of early morning, when few are astir.

It is striking in the brightness and glow of noon, when the sons and daughters of honest toil are trooping in haste to their mid-day meal.

A few hours later, again, it is striking when the phaetons, pony-carriages, and fancy equipages generally, are out, and loungers of each sex are leisurely promenading, or here and there placidly engaged in the inspection and occasional selection of "personal requisites,"—of some one or other of the variegated tissues or artificial adjuncts demanded by the modes of the period,—while the westering sun is now flooding the principal thoroughfare with a misty splendour, and on the walls, along on either side, weird shadows slanting and elongated, are being cast.

Then, later still, the views here are by no means ordinary ones, when the vehicles have for the most part withdrawn, and the passengers are once more few in number, and the lamps are lighted, and the gas is flaming in the windows.

Even in the closed up sedate aspect of all places of business on a Sunday or public holiday, statutable or otherwise, these four streets, by some happy charm, are fair to see and cheery. But when drest for a festive gala occasion, when gay with banners and festoons, in honour of a royal birthday, a royal marriage, the visit of a prince, the announcement of a victory, they shew to special advantage.

So, also, they furnish no inharmonious framework or setting, when processions and bands of music are going by, or bodies of military, horse or foot, or pageants such as those that in modern times accompany a great menagerie in its progress through the country—elephants in oriental trappings, teams of camels clad in similar guise, ca[378]valiers in glittering mediæval armour, gorgeous cars and vans.

And again, in winter, peculiarly fine pictures, characteristic of the season, are presented here when, after a plentiful fall of snow, the sleighs are on the move without number and in infinite variety; or when, on the contrary, each long white vista, east, west, north, and south, glistening, perhaps, under a clear December moon, is a scene almost wholly of still life—scarcely a man or beast abroad, so keen is the motionless air, the mercury having shrunk down some way below the zero-line of Fahrenheit.

But we must proceed. From the Lake to the Landing is a long journey.

In the course of our perambulations we have already noticed some instances in the town of long persistency in one place of business or residence. Such evidences of staidness and substantiality are common enough in the old world, but are of necessity somewhat rare amid the chances, changes, and exchanges of young communities on this continent. An additional instance we have to note here, at the intersection of King Street and Yonge Street. At its north-east angle, where, as in a former section we have observed, stood the sole building in this quarter, the house of Mr. John Dennis, for forty years at least has been seen with little alteration of external aspect, the Birmingham, Sheffield and Wolverhampton warehouse of the brothers Mr. Joseph Ridout and Mr. Percival Ridout. A little way to the north, too, on the east side, the name of Piper has been for an equal length of time associated uninterruptedly with a particular business; but here, though outward appearances have remained to some extent the same, death has wrought changes.

Near by, also, we see foundries still in operation where Messrs. W. B. Sheldon, F. R. Dutcher, W. A. Dutcher, Samuel Andrus, J. Vannorman and B. Vannorman, names familiar to all old inhabitants, were among the foremost in that kind of useful enterprise in York. Their advertisement, as showing the condition of one branch of the iron manufacture in York in 1832, will be of interest. Some of the articles enumerated have become old-fashioned. "They respectfully inform their friends and the public that they have lately made large additions to their establishments. They have enlarged their Furnace so as to enable them to make Castings of any size or weight used in this province, and erected Lathes for turning and finishing the same. They have also erected a Steam Engine of ten horse power, of their own manufac[379]ture, for propelling their machinery, which is now in complete operation, and they are prepared to build Steam Engines of any size, either high or low pressure. Having a number of experienced engineers employed, whose capability cannot be doubted, they hope to share the patronage of a generous public. They always keep constantly on hand and for sale, either by wholesale or retail, Bark Mills, Cooking, Franklin, Plate and Box Stoves, also, a general assortment of Hollow Ware, consisting of Kettles, from one to one hundred and twenty gallons; Bake-Ovens, Bake-Basins, Belly-Pots, High Pans, Tea Kettles, Wash-Kettles, Portable Furnaces, &c. Also are constantly manufacturing Mill-Gearing of all kinds; Sleigh Shoes, 50, 56, 30, 28, 15, 14, and 7 pound Weights, Clock and Sash Weights, Cranes, Andirons, Cart and Waggon Boxes, Clothiers' Plates, Plough Castings, and Ploughs of all kinds."

In 1832 Mr. Charles Perry was also the proprietor of foundries in York, and we have him advertising in the local paper that "he is about adding to his establishment the manufacture of Printing Presses, and that he will be able in a few weeks to produce Iron Printing Presses combining the latest improvements."

We move on now towards Newgate Street, first noticing that nearly opposite to the Messrs. Sheldon and Dutcher's foundry were the spirit vaults of Mr. Michael Kane, father of Paul Kane, the artist of whom we have spoken previously. At the corner of Newgate Street or Adelaide Street, on the left, and stretching along the southern side of that Street, the famous tannery-yard of Mr. Jesse Ketchum was to be seen, with high stacks of hemlock-bark piled up on the Yonge Street side. On the North side of Newgate Street, at the angle opposite, was his residence, a large white building in the American style, with a square turret, bearing a railing, rising out of the ridge of the roof. Before pavements of any kind were introduced in York, the sidewalks hereabout were rendered clean and comfortable by a thick coating of tan-bark.

Mr. Ketchum emigrated hither from Buffalo at an early period. In the Gazette of June 11, 1803, we have the death of his father mentioned. "On Wednesday last (8th June), departed this life, Mr. Joseph Ketchum, aged 85. His remains," it is added, "were interred the following day." In 1806 we find Jesse Ketchum named at the annual "town meeting," one of the overseers of highways and fence viewers. His section was from "No. 1 to half the Big Creek Brid[380]ge (Hogg's Hollow) on Yonge Street." Mr. William Marsh, jun., then took up the oversight from half the Big Creek Bridge to No. 17. In the first instance Mr. Ketchum came over to look after the affairs of an elder brother, deceased, who had settled here and founded the tannery works. He then continued to be a householder of York until about 1845, when he returned to Buffalo, his original home, where he still retained valuable possessions. He was familiarly known in Buffalo in later years as "Father Ketchum," and was distinguished for the lively practical interest which he took in schools for the young, and for the largeness of his annual contributions to such institutions. Two brothers, Henry and Zebulun, were also early inhabitants of Buffalo.

Mr. Ketchum's York property extended to Lot Street. Hospital Street (Richmond Street) passed through it, and he himself projected and opened Temperance Street. To the facility with which he supplied building sites for moral and religious uses it is due that at this day the quadrilateral between Queen Street and Adelaide Street, Yonge Street and Bay Street, is a sort of miniature Mount Athos, a district curiously crowded with places of worship. He gave in Yorkville also sites for a school-house and Temperance Hall, and, besides, two acres for a Children's Park. The Bible and Tract Society likewise obtained its House on Yonge Street on easy terms from Mr. Ketchum, on the condition that the Society should annually distribute in the Public Schools the amount of the ground rent in the form of books—a condition that continues to be punctually fulfilled. The ground-rent of an adjoining tenement was also secured to the Society by Mr. Ketchum, to be distributed in Sunday Schools in a similar way. Thus by his generous gifts and arrangements in Buffalo, and in our own town and neighbourhood, his name has become permanently enrolled in the list of public benefactors in two cities. Among the subscriptions to a "Common School" in York in 1820, a novelty at the period, we observe his name down for one hundred dollars. Subscriptions for that amount to any object were not frequent in York in 1820. (Among the contributors to the same school we observe Jordan Post's name down for £17 6s. 3d.; Philip Klinger's for £2 10s.; Lardner Bostwick's for £2 10s.)

Mr. Ketchum died in Buffalo in 1867. He was a man of quiet, shrewd, homely appearance and manners, and of the average stature. His brother Seneca was also a character well kn[381]own in these parts for his natural benevolence, and likewise for his desire to offer counsel to the young on every occasion. We have a distinct recollection of being, along with several young friends, the objects of a well intended didactic lecture from Seneca Ketchum, who, as we were amusing ourselves on the ice, approached us on horseback.

It seems singular to us, in the present day, that those who laid out the region called the "New Town," that is, the land westward of the original town plot of York, did not apparently expect the great northern road known as Yonge Street ever to extend directly to the water's edge. In the plans of 1800, Yonge Street stops short at Lot Street, i. e., Queen Street. A range of lots blocks the way immediately to the south. The traffic from the north was expected to pass down into the town by a thoroughfare called Toronto Street, three chains and seven links to the east of the line of Yonge Street. Mr. Ketchum's lot, and all the similar lots southward, were bounded on the east by this street.

The advisability of pushing Yonge Street through to its natural terminus must have early struck the owners of the properties that formed the obstruction. We accordingly find Yonge Street in due time "produced" to the Bay. Toronto Street was then shut up and the proprietors of the land through which the northern road now ran received in exchange for the space usurped, proportionate pieces of the old Toronto Street. In 1818, deeds for these fragments, executed in conformity with the ninth section of an Act of the local Parliament, passed in the fiftieth year of George III., were given to Jesse Ketchum, William Bowkett, mariner, son of William Bowkett, and others, by the surveyors of highways, James Miles for the Home District, and William Richardson Caldwell for the County of York, respectively.

The street which supplied the passage-way southward previously afforded by Toronto Street, and which now formed the easterly boundary of the easterly portions of the lots cut in two by Yonge Street, was, as we have had occasion already to state in another place, called Upper George Street, and afterwards Victoria Street.

(The line of the now-vanished Toronto Street is, for purposes of reference, marked with fine lines on the map of Toronto by the Messrs. H. J. and J. O. Bro[382]wne.)

What the condition of some of the lots to which we have been just referring was in 1801, we gather from a surveyor's report of that date, which we have already quoted (p. 64), in another connection. We are now enabled to add the exact terms of the order issued to the surveyor, Mr. Stegman, on the occasion: "Surveyor General's Office, 19th Dec., 1800 Mr. John Stegman: Sir,—All persons claiming to hold land in the town of York, having been required to cut and burn all the brush and underwood on the said lots, and to fall all the trees which are standing thereon, you will be pleased to report to me, without delay, the number of the particular lots on which it has not been done. D. W. Smith, Acting Surveyor General."

The continuation of the great northern highway in a continuous right line to the Bay, from its point of issue on Lot Street, i. e., Queen Street, was the circumstance that eventually created for Yonge Street, regarded as a street in the usual sense, the peculiar renown which it popularly has for extraordinary length. A story is told of a tourist, newly arrived at York, wishing to utilize a stroll before breakfast, by making out as he went along the whereabouts of a gentleman to whom he had a letter. Passing down the hall of his hotel, he asks in a casual way of the book-keeper—"Can you tell me where Mr. So-and-so lives? (leisurely producing the note from his breast-pocket wallet). It is somewhere along Yonge Street here in your town." "Oh yes," was the reply, when the address had been glanced at—"Mr. So-and-so lives on Yonge Street, about twenty-five miles up!" We have heard also of a serious demur on the part of a Quebec naval and military inspector, at two agents for purchases being stationed on one street at York. However surprised, he was nevertheless satisfied when he learned that their posts were thirty miles apart.

Let us now direct our attention to Yonge Street north of Queen Street.

For some years previous to the opening of Yonge Street from Lot Street to the Bay, the portion of the great highway to the north, between Lot Street and the road which is now the southern boundary of Yorkville, was in an almost impracticable condition. The route was recognized, but no grading or causewaying had been done on it. In the popular mind, indeed, practically, the point where Yonge Street began as a travelled road to the north, was at Yorkville, as we should now speak.

The track followed by the farmers coming into town from the north veer[383]ed off at Yorkville to the eastward, and passed down in a hap-hazard kind of way over the sandy pineland in that direction, and finally entered the town by the route later known as Parliament Street.

In 1800 the expediency was seen of making the direct northern approach to York more available. In the Gazette of Dec. 20th, 1800, we have an account of a public meeting held on the subject. It will be observed that Yonge Street, between Queen Street and Yorkville, as moderns would phrase it, is spoken of therein, for the moment, not as Yonge Street, but as "the road to Yonge Street." "On Thursday last, about noon," the Gazette reports, "a number of the principal inhabitants of this town met together in one of the Government Buildings, to consider the best means of opening the road to Yonge Street, and enabling the farmers there to bring their provisions to market with more ease than is practicable at present." The account then proceeds: "The Hon. Chief-Justice Elmsley was called to the chair. He briefly stated the purpose of the meeting, and added that a subscription-list had been lately opened by which something more than two hundred dollars in money and labour had been promised, and that other sums were to be expected from several respectable inhabitants who were well-wishers to the undertaking, but had not as yet contributed towards it. These sums, he feared, however, would not be equal to the purpose, which hardly could be accomplished for less than between five and six hundred dollars. Many of the subscribers were desirous that what was already subscribed should be immediately applied as far as it would go, and that other resources should be looked for."

A paper was produced and read containing a proposal from Mr. Eliphalet Hale to open and make the road, or so much of it as might be required, at the rate of twelve dollars per acre for clearing it where no causeway was wanted, four rods wide, and cutting the stumps in the two middle rods close to the ground; and seven shillings and sixpence, provincial currency, per rod, for making a causeway eighteen feet wide where a causeway might be wanted. Mr. Hale undertook to find security for the due performance of the work by the first of February following (1801). The subscribers present were unanimously of opinion that the subscription should be immediately applied as far as it would go. Mr. Hale's proposition was accepted, and a committee consisting of Mr. Secretary Jarvis, Mr. William Allan, and Mr. James Playter, was appointed to superintend the carrying [384]of it into execution. Additional subscriptions would be received by Messrs. Allan and Wood.

At the same meeting a curious project was mooted, and a resolution in its favour adopted, for the permanent shutting up of a portion of Lot Street, and selling the land, the proceeds to be applied to the improvement of Yonge Street. There was no need of that portion of Lot Street, it was argued, there being already convenient access to the town in that direction by a way a few yards to the south. We gather from this that Hospital Street (Richmond Street) was the usual beaten track into the town from the west.

"It had been suggested," says the report of the meeting, "that considerable aid might be obtained by shutting up the street which now forms the northern boundary of the town between Toronto Street and the Common, and disposing of the land occupied by it. This street, it was conceived, was altogether superfluous," the report continues, "as another street equally convenient in every respect runs parallel to it at the distance of about ten rods; but it could not be shut up and disposed of by any authority less than that of the Legislature." A petition to the Legislature embodying the above ideas was to lie for signature at Mr. McDougall's Hotel.

The proposed document may have been duly presented, but the Legislature certainly never closed up Lot Street. Owners of park lots westward of Yonge Street may have had their objections. The change suggested would have compelled them to buy not only the land occupied by Lot Street, but also the land immediately to the south of their respective lots; otherwise they would have had no frontage in that direction.

In the Gazette of March 14, 1801, we have a further account of the improvement on Yonge Street. We are informed that "at a meeting of the subscribers to the opening of Yonge Street held at the Government Buildings on Monday last, the 9th instant, pursuant to public notice, William Jarvis, Esq., in the chair, the following gentlemen were appointed as a committee to oversee and inspect the work, one member of which to attend in person daily by rotation: James Macaulay, Esq., M.D., William Weekes, Esq., A. Wood, Esq., William Allan, Esq., Mr. John Cameron, Mr. Simon McNab. After the meeting," we are then to[385]ld, "the committee went in a body, accompanied by the Hon. J. Elmsley, to view that part of the street which Mr. Hale, the undertaker, had in part opened. After ascertaining the alterations and improvements necessary to be made, and providing for the immediate building of a bridge over the creek between the second and third mile-posts, the Committee adjourned." All this is signed "S. McNab, Secretary to the Committee. York, 9th March, 1801."

A list of subscribers then follows, with the sums given. Hon. J. Elmsley, 80 dollars; Hon. Peter Russell, 20; Hon. J. McGill, 16; Hon. D. W. Smith, 10; John Small, Esq., 20; R. J. D. Gray, Esq., 20; William Jarvis, Esq., 10; William Willcocks, Esq., 15; D. Burns, Esq., 20; Wm. Weekes, Esq., 15; James Macaulay, Esq., 20; Alexander Macdonell, Esq., the work of one yoke of oxen for four days; Alexander Wood, Esq., 10; Mr. John Cameron, 15; Mr. D. Cameron, 10; Mr. Jacob Herchmer, 5; Mr. Simon McNab, 5; Mr. P. Mealy, 5; Mr. Elisha Beaman, 10; Thomas Ridout, Esq., 4; Mr. T. G. Simons, 4; Mr. W. Waters, 5; Mr. Robert Young, 10; Mr. Daniel Tiers, 5; Mr. John Edgell, 5; Mr. George Cutter, 10; Mr. James Playter, 6; Mr. Joseph McMurtrie, 5; Mr. William Bowkett, 6; Mr. John Horton, 4; Mr. John Kerr, 2. Total, 392 dollars.

The money collected was, we may suppose, satisfactorily laid out by Mr. Hale, but it did not suffice for the completion of the contemplated work. From the Gazette of Feb. 20 in the following year (1802), we learn that a second subscription was started for the purpose of completing the communication with the travelled part of Yonge Street to the north.

In the Gazette just named we have the following, under date of York, Saturday, Feb. 20, 1802: "We whose names are hereunto subscribed, contemplating the advantage which must arise from the rendering of Yonge Street accessible and convenient to the public, and having before us a proposal for completing that part of the said street between the Town of York and lot No. 1, do hereby respectively agree to pay the sums annexed to our names towards the carrying of the said proposal into effect; cherishing at the same time the hope that every liberal character will give his support to a work which has for its design the improvement of the country, as well as the convenience of the public: *the Chief Justice, 100 dollars; *Receiver-General, 20; *Robt. J. D. Gray, 20 (and two acres of land when the road is completed); John Cameron 40; *James Macaulay, 20; *Alexander Wood, 20;[386] *William Weekes, 20; John McGill, 16; Wilson, Humphreys and Campbell, 15; D. W. Smith, 10; Thomas Scott, 10; *Wm. Jarvis, 10; *John Small, 10; *David Burns, 10; *Wm. Allan, 10; Alexander McDonell, 10; Wm. Smith, 10; Robert Henderson, 10; *Simon McNab, 8; John McDougall, 8; D. Cozens, 8; Thomas Ward, 8; *Elisha Beaman, 6; Joseph Hunt, 6; Eli Playter, 6; John Bennett, 6; *George Cutter, 6; James Norris, 5¼; Wm. B. Peters, 5; John Leach, 5; John Titus, 5; Wm. Cooper, 5; *Wm. Hunter, 5; J. B. Cozens, 5; *Daniel Tiers, 5; Thomas Forfar, 5; Samuel Nash, 5; Paul Marian, 3; Thomas Smith, 3; John McBeth, 3." It is subjoined that "subscriptions will be received by Mr. S. McNab, Secretary, and advertised weekly in the Gazette. Those marked thus (*) have paid a former subscription."

In the Gazette of March 6, 1802, an editorial is devoted to the subject of the improvement of Yonge Street. It runs as follows: "It affords us much pleasure to state to our readers that the necessary repair of Yonge Street is likely to be soon effected, as the work, we understand, has been undertaken with the assurance of entering upon and completing it without delay; and by every one who reflects upon the present sufferings of our industrious community on resorting to a market, it cannot but prove highly satisfactory to observe a work of such convenience and utility speedily accomplished. That the measure of its future benefits must be extreme indeed, we may reasonably expect; but whilst we look forward with flattering expectations of those benefits we cannot but appreciate the immediate advantage which is afforded to us, in being relieved from the application of the statute labour to circuitous by-paths and occasional roads, and in being enabled to apply the same to the improvement of the streets, and the nearer and more direct approaches to the Town."

The irregular track branching off eastward at Yorkville was an example of these "circuitous by-paths and occasional roads." Editorials were rare in the Gazettes of the period. Had there been more of them, subsequent investigators would have been better able than they are now, to produce pictures of the olden time. Chief Justice Elmsley was probably the inspirer of the article just given.

The work appears [387]to have been duly proceeded with. In the following June, we have an advertisement calling a meeting of the committee entrusted with its superintendence. In the Gazette of June 12, 1802, we read: "The committee for inspecting the repair of Yonge Street requests that the subscribers will meet on the repaired part of the said street at 5 o'clock on Monday evening, to take into consideration how far the moneys subscribed by them have been beneficially expended. S. McNab, Secretary to Committee. York, 10th June, 1802."

In 1807, as we gather from the Gazette of Nov. 11, in that year, an effort was made to improve the road at the Blue Hill. A present of Fifty Dollars from the Lieutenant Governor (Gore) to the object is acknowledged in the paper named. "A number of public-spirited persons" the Gazette says, "collected on last Saturday to cut down the Hill at Frank's Creek. (We shall see hereafter that the rivulet here was thus known, as being the stream that flowed through the Castle Frank lot.) The Lieutenant-Governor, when informed of it, despatched a person with a present of Fifty Dollars to assist in improving the Yonge Street road." It is then added by "John Van Zante, pathmaster, for himself and the public,"—"To his Excellency for his liberal donation, and to the gentlemen who contributed, we return our warmest thanks."

These early efforts of our predecessors to render practicable the great northern approach to the town, are deserving of respectful remembrance.

The death of Eliphalet Hale, named above, is thus noted in the Gazette of Sept. 19, 1807:—"Died on the evening of the 17th instant, after a short illness, Mr. Eliphalet Hale, High Constable of the Home District, an old and respectable inhabitant of this town. From the regular discharge of his official duties" the Gazette subjoins, "he may be considered as a public loss."

The nature of the soil at many points between Lot Street and the modern Yorkville was such as to render the construction of a road that should be comfortably available at all seasons of the year no easy task. Down to the time when macadam was at length applied, some twenty-eight years after Mr. Hale's operations, this approach to the town was notorious for its badness every spring and autumn. At one period an experiment was tried of a wooden tramway for a short distance at the worst part, on which the loaded waggons were expected to keep and so be saved from sinking hopelessly in the direful sloughs. Mr. Sheriff Jarvis was the chief promoter of this improvement, which answered its purpose for a time, and Mr. Rowland Burr was its suggester. But we must not fo[388]restall ourselves.

We return to the point where Lot Street, or Queen Street, intersects the thoroughfare to whose farthest bourne we are about to be travellers.

After passing Mr. Jesse Ketchum's property, which had been divided into two parts by the pushing of Yonge Street southward to its natural termination, we arrived at another striking rectangular meeting of thoroughfares. Lot Street having happily escaped extinction westward and eastward, there was created at this spot a four-cross-way possessed of an especial historic interest, being the conspicuous intersection of the two great military roads of Upper Canada, projected and explored in person by its first organiser. Four extensive reaches, two of Dundas Street (identical, of course, with Lot or Queen Street), and two of Yonge Street, can here be contemplated from one and the same standpoint. In the course of time the views up and down the four long vistas here commanded will probably rival those to be seen at the present moment where King Street crosses Yonge Street. When lined along all its sides with handsome buildings, the superior elevation above the level of the Lake of the more northerly quadrivium, will be in its favour.

Perhaps it will here not be out of order to state that Yonge Street was so named in honour of Sir George Yonge, Secretary of War in 1791, and M.P. for Honiton, in the county of Devon, from 1763 to 1796. The first exploration which led to the establishment of this communication with the north, was made in 1793. On the early MS. map mentioned before in these papers, the route taken by Governor Simcoe on the memorable occasion, in going and returning is shewn. Explanatory of the red dotted lines which indicate it, the following note is appended. It reveals the Governor's clear perception of the commercial and military importance of the projected road: "Lieut.-Gov. Simcoe's route on foot and in canoes to explore a way which might afford communication for the Fur-traders to the Great Portage, without passing Detroit in case that place were given up to the United States. The march was attended with some difficulties, but was quite satisfactory: an excellent harbour at Penetanguishene: returned to York, 1793."

(On the same map, the tracks are given of four other similar excursions, with the following accounts appended respectively:—1. Lieut.-Gov. Simcoe's route on fo[389]ot from Niagara to Detroit and back again in five weeks; returned to Niagara March 8th, 1793. 2. Lieut.-Gov. Simcoe's route from York to the Thames; down that river in canoes to Detroit; from thence to the Miamis, to build the fort Lord Dorchester ordered to be built: left York March 1794; returned by Lake Erie and Niagara to York, May 5th, 1794. 3. Lieut.-Gov. Simcoe's track from York to Kingston in an open boat, Dec. 5th, 1794. 4. Lieut.-Gov. Simcoe's route from Niagara to Long Point on Lake Erie, on foot and in boats: returned down the Ouse [Grand River]: from thence crossed a portage of five miles to Welland River, and so to Fort Chippawa, September, 1795.)

The old chroniclers of England speak in high praise of a primeval but somewhat mythic king of Britain, named Belin:

"Belin well held his honour,  And wisely was good governour."

says Peter de Langtoft, and his translator, Robert de Brunn; and they assign, among the reasons why he merited such mention at their hands, the following:

"His land Britaine he yode throughout,  And ilk county beheld about;  Beheld the woods, water and fen.  No passage was maked for men,  No highe street thorough countrie,  Ne to borough ne citié.  Thorough mooris, hills and valleys  He madé brigs and causeways,  Highe street for common passage,  Brigs over water did he stage."

This notice of the old chroniclers' pioneer king of Britain has again and again recurred to us as we have had occasion to narrate the energetic doings of the first ruler of Upper Canada, here and previously. What Britain was when Belin and his Celts were at work, Canada was in the days of our immediate fathers—a trackless wild. That we see our country such as it is to-day, approaching in many respects the beauty and agricultural finish of Britain itself, is due to the intrepid men who faced without blenching the trials and perils inevitable in a first attack on the savage fastnesses of nature.

A succinct but good account is given of the origin of Yonge Street in Mr. Surveyor General D. W. Smith's Gazetteer of 1799. The advantages expected to accrue from the new highway are clearly set forth[390]; and though the anticipations expressed have not been fulfilled precisely in the manner supposed, we see how comprehensive and really well-laid were the plans of the first organizer of Upper Canada.

"Yonge Street," the early Gazetteer says, "is the direct communication from York to Lake Simcoe, opened during the administration of his Excellency Major-General Lieut.-Governor Simcoe, who, having visited Lake Huron by Lake aux Claies (formerly also Ouentaronk, or Sinion, and now named Lake Simcoe), and discovered the harbour of Penetanguishene (now Gloucester) to be fit for shipping, resolved on improving the communication from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron, by this short route, thereby avoiding the circuitous passage of Lake Erie. This street has been opened in a direct line, and the road made by the troops of his Excellency's corps. It is thirty miles from York to Holland's river, at the Pine Fort called Gwillimbury, where the road ends; from thence you descend into Lake Simcoe, and, having passed it, there are two passages into Lake Huron; the one by the river Severn, which conveys the waters of Lake Simcoe into Gloucester Bay; the other by a small portage, the continuation of Yonge Street, to a small lake, which also runs into Gloucester Bay. This communication affords many advantages; merchandize from Montreal to Michilimackinac may be sent this way at ten or fifteen pounds less expense per ton, than by the route of the Grand or Ottawa River; and the merchandize from New York to be sent up the North and Mohawk Rivers for the north-west trade, finding its way into Lake Ontario at Oswego (Fort Ontario), the advantage will certainly be felt of transporting goods from Oswego to York, and from thence across Yonge Street, and down the waters of Lake Simcoe into Lake Huron, in preference to sending it by Lake Erie."

We now again endeavour to effect a start on our pilgrimage of retrospection up the long route, from the establishment of which so many public advantages were predicted in 1799.

The objects that came to be familiar to the eye at the entrance to Yonge Street from Lot Street were, after the lapse of some years, on the west side, a large square white edifice known as the Sun Tavern, Elliott's; and on the east side, the buildings constituting Good's Foundry.


The open land to the north of Elliott's was the place generally occupied by the travelling menageries and circuses when such exhibitions began to visit the town.

The foundry, after supplying the country for a series of years with ploughs, stoves and other necessary articles of heavy hardware, is memorable as having been the first in Upper Canada to turn out real railway locomotives. When novelties, these highly finished ponderous machines, seen slowly and very laboriously urged through the streets from the foundry to their destination, were startling phenomena. We have in the Canadian Journal (vol. ii. p. 76), an account of the first engine manufactured by Mr. Good at the Toronto Locomotive Works, with a lithographic illustration. "We have much pleasure," the editor of the Canadian Journal says "in presenting our readers with a drawing of the first locomotive engine constructed in Canada, and indeed, we believe, in any British Colony. The 'Toronto' is certainly no beauty, nor is she distinguished for any peculiarity in the construction, but she affords a very striking illustration of our progress in the mechanical arts, and of the growing wants of the country. The 'Toronto' was built at the Toronto Locomotive Works, which were established by Mr. Good, in October, 1852. The order for the 'Toronto' was received in February, 1853, for the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railroad. The engine was completed on the 16th of April, and put on the track the 26th of the same month. Her dimensions are as follows: cylinder 16 inches diameter, stroke 22 inches, driving wheel 5 feet 6 inches in diameter, length of internal fire box 4 feet 6 inches, weight of engine 25 tons, number of tubes 150, diameter of tubes 2 inches."

With property a little to the north on the east side, the name of McIntosh was early associated, and—Canadian persistency again—is still associated. Of Captains John, Robert and Charles McIntosh, we shall have occasion to speak in our paper on the early Marine of York harbour. It was opposite the residence of Captain John McIntosh that the small riot took place, which signalized the return home of William Lyon Mackenzie, in 1849, after the civil tumults of 1837. Mr. Mackenzie was at the time the guest of Captain McIntosh, who was related to him through a marriage connexion.

Albert Street, which enters Yonge Street opposite the McIntosh property, was in 1833 still known as Macaulay Lane, and was described by Walton as "fronting the Fields." From this point a long stretch of fine forest-land extended to Yorkville. On the left sid[392]e it was the property partly of Dr. Macaulay and partly of Chief Justice Elmsley. The fields which Macaulay Lane fronted were the improvements around Dr. Macaulay's abode. The white entrance gate to his house was near where now a street leads into Trinity Square. Wykham Lodge, the residence of Sir James Macaulay after the removal from Front Street, and Elmsley Villa, the residence of Captain J. S. Macaulay, (Government House in Lord Elgin's day, and subsequently Knox College,) were late erections on portions of these spacious suburban estates.

The first Dr. Macaulay and Chief Justice Elmsley selected two adjoining park lots, both of them fronting, of course, on Lot Street. They then effected an exchange of properties with each other. Dividing these two lots transversely into equal portions, the Chief Justice chose the upper or northern halves, and Dr. Macaulay the lower or southern. Dr. Macaulay thus acquired a large frontage on Lot Street, and the Chief Justice a like advantage on Yonge Street. Captain Macaulay acquired his interest in the southern portion of the Elmsley halves by marriage with a daughter of the Chief Justice. The northern portion of these halves descended to the heir of the Chief Justice, Capt. John Elmsley, who having become a convert to the Church of Rome, gave facilities for the establishment of St. Basil's college and other Roman Catholic Institutions on his estate. Of Chief Justice Elmsley and his son we have previously spoken.

Dr. Macaulay's clearing on the north side of Macaulay lane was, in relation to the first town plot of York, long considered a locality particularly remote; a spot to be discovered by strangers not without difficulty. In attempting to reach it we have distinct accounts of persons bewildered and lost for long hours in the intervening marshes and woods. Mr. Justice Boulton, travelling from Prescott in his own vehicle, and bound for Dr. Macaulay's domicile, was dissuaded, on reaching Mr. Small's house at the eastern extremity of York, from attempting to push on to his destination, although it was by no means late, on account of the inconveniences and perils to be encountered; and half of the following day was taken up in accomplishing the residue of the journey.

Dr. Macaulay's cottage might still have been existent and in good order; but while it was being removed bodily by Mr. Alexander Hamilton, from its original site to a position on the entrance to Trinity Square, a few yards to the eastward, it was burnt, either accidentally or by the act of an incendiary. Mr. Hamilton, who was intending to convert[393] the building into a home for himself and his family, gave the name of Teraulay Cottage—the name by which the destroyed building had been known—to the house which he put up in its stead.

A quarter of a century sufficed to transform Dr. Macaulay's garden and grounds into a well-peopled city district. The "fields," of which Walton spoke, have undergone the change which St. George's Fields and other similar spaces have undergone in London:

St. George's Fields are fields no more; The trowel supersedes the plough; Huge inundated swamps of yore Are changed to civic villas now. The builder's plank, the mason's hod, Wide and more wide extending still, Usurp the violated sod.

The area which Dr. Macaulay's homestead immediately occupied now constitutes Trinity Square—a little bay by the side of a great stream of busy human traffic, ever ebbing and flowing, not without rumble and other resonances; a quiet close, resembling, it is pleasant to think, one of the Inns of Court in London, so tranquil despite the turmoil of Fleet Street adjoining.

Trinity Square is now completely surrounded with buildings; nevertheless an aspiring attic therein, in which many of these collections and recollections have been reduced to shape, has the advantage of commanding to this day a view still showing within its range some of the primitive features of the site of York. To the north an extended portion of the rising land above Yorkville is pleasantly visible, looking in the distance as it anciently looked, albeit beheld now with spires intervening, and ornamental turrets of public buildings, and lofty factory flues: while to the south, seen also between chimney stacks and steeples and long solid architectural ranges, a glimpse of Lake Ontario itself is procurable—a glimpse especially precious so long as it is to be had, for not only recalling, as it does, the olden time when "the Lake" was an element in so much of the talk of the early settlers—its sound, its aspect, its condition being matters of hourly observation to them—but also suggesting the thought of the far-off outer ocean stream—the silver moat that guards the fatherland, and that forms the horizon in so many of its landscapes.

To the far-off Atlantic, and to the misty isles beyond—the true Insulæ Fortunatoe—we need not name them[394]—the glittering slip which we are still permitted to see yonder, is the highway—the route by which the fathers came—the route by which their sons from time to time return to make dutiful visits to hearthstones and shrines never to be thought of or named without affection and reverence.—Of that other ideal ocean-stream, too, and of that other ideal home, of which the poet speaks, our peep of Ontario may likewise, to the thoughtful, be an allegory, by the help of which

In a season of calm weather, Though inland far we be, Our souls have sight of that immortal sea Which brought us hither; Can in a moment travel thither— And see the children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore!

The Church with the twin turrets, now seen in the middle space of Trinity Square, was a gift of benevolence to Western Canada in 1846 from two ladies, sisters. The personal character of Bishop Strachan was the attraction that drew the boon to Toronto. Through the hands of Bishop Longley of Ripon, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, a sum of £5,000 sterling was transmitted by the donors to Bishop Strachan for the purpose of founding a church, two stipulations being that it should be forever, like the ancient churches of England, free to all for worship, and that it should bear the name of The Holy Trinity. The sum sent built the Church and created a small endowment. Soon after the completion of the edifice, Scoresby, the celebrated Arctic navigator, author of "An Account of the Arctic Regions, with a History and Description of the Northern Whale Fishery," preached and otherwise officiated within its walls. Therein, too, at a later period was heard the voice of Selwyn, Bishop of Lichfield, but previously the eminent Missionary Bishop of New Zealand. Here also, while the Cathedral of St. James was rebuilding, after its second destruction by fire in 1849, Lord Elgin was a constant devout participant in Christian rites, an historical association connected with the building, made worthy of preservation by the very remarkable public services of the Earl afterwards in China and India.—We recall at this moment the empressement with which an obscure little chapel was pointed out to us in the small hamlet of Tregear in Cornwall, on account of the fact that John Wesley had once preached there. Well then: it may be that [395]with some hereafter, it will be a matter of curiosity and interest to know that several men of world-wide note, did, in their day, while sojourning in this region, "pay their vows" in the particular "Lord's House" to which we now have occasion to refer.

In the grove which surrounded Sir James Macaulay's residence, Wykham Lodge, we had down to recent years a fragment of the fine forest which lined Yonge Street, almost continuously from Lot Street to Yorkville, some forty years since. The ruthless uprooting of the eastern border of this beautiful sylvan relic of the past, for building purposes, was painful to witness, however quickly the presence of rows of useful structures reconciled us to the change. The trees which cluster round the great school building in the rear of these improvements will long, as we hope, survive to give an idea of what was the primeval aspect of the whole of the neighbourhood.

The land on the opposite side, a little to the north of the point at which we have arrived, viz., Carleton Street—long remaining in an uncultivated condition, was a portion of the estate of Alexander Wood, of whom we have already spoken. His family and baptismal names are preserved, as we have before noted, in "Wood" Street and "Alexander" Street.

The streets which we passed southward of Wood Street, Carleton, Gerrard, Shuter, with Gould Street in the immediate vicinity, had their names from personal friends of Mr. McGill, the first owner, as we have seen, of this tract. They are names mostly associated with the early annals of Montreal, and seem rather inapposite here.

Northward, a little beyond where Grosvenor Street leads into what was Elmsley Villa, and is now Knox College, was a solitary green field with a screen of lofty trees on three of its sides. In its midst was a Dutch barn, or hay-barrack, with movable top. The sward on the northern side of the building was ever eyed by the passer-by with a degree of awe. It was the exact spot where a fatal duel had been fought.

We have seen in repeated instances that the so-called code of honour was in force at York from the era of its foundation. "Without it," Mandeville had said, "there would be no living in a populous nation. It is the tie of society; and although we are beholden to our frailties for the chief ingredient of it, there has been no virtue, at least that I am acquainted with, which has proved half so instrumenta[396]l to the civilizing of mankind, who, in great societies, would soon degenerate into cruel villains and treacherous slaves, were honour to be removed from among them." Mandeville's sophistical dictum was blindly accepted, and trifles light as air gave rise to the conventional hostile meeting. The merest accident at a dance, a look, a jest, a few words of unconsidered talk, of youthful chaff, were every now and then sufficient to force persons who previously, perhaps, had been bosom friends, companions from childhood, along with others sometimes, in no wise concerned in the quarrel at first, to put on an unnatural show of thirst for each other's blood. The victim of the social usage of the day, in the case now referred to, was a youthful son of Surveyor-General Ridout.

Some years after the event, the public attention was drawn afresh to it. The surviving principal in the affair, Mr. Samuel Jarvis, underwent a trial at the time and was acquitted. But the seconds were not arraigned. It happened in 1828, eleven years after the incident (the duel took place July 12, 1817), that Francis Collins, editor of the Canadian Freeman, a paper of which we have before spoken, was imprisoned and fined for libel. As an act of retaliation on at least some of those who had promoted the prosecution, which ended in his being thus sentenced, he set himself to work to bring the seconds into court. He succeeded. One of them, Mr. Henry John Boulton, was now Solicitor-General, and the other, Mr. James E. Small, an eminent member of the Bar. All the particulars of the fatal encounter, were once more gone over in the evidence. But the jury did not convict.

Modern society, here and elsewhere, is to be congratulated on the change which has come over its ideas in regard to duelling. Apart from the considerations dictated by morals and religion, common sense, as we suppose, has had its effect in checking the practice. York, in its infancy, was no better and no worse in this respect than other places. It took its cue in this as in some other matters, from very high quarters. The Duke of York, from whom York derived its name, had himself narrowly escaped a bullet from the pistol of Colonel Lennox: "it passed so near to the ear as to discommode the side-curl," the report said; but our Duke's action, or rather inaction, on the occasion helped perhaps to impress on the public mind the irrationality of duelling: he did not return the fire. "He came out," he said, "to give Colonel Lennox satisfaction, and did not mean to fire at him; [397]if Colonel Lennox was not satisfied, he might fire again."

Just to the north of the scene of the fatal duel, which has led to this digression, was the portion of Yonge Street where a wooden tramway was once laid down for a short distance; an experiment interesting to be remembered now, as an early foreshadowing of the existing convenient street railway, if not of the great Northern Railway itself. Subterranean springs and quicksands hereabout rendered the primitive roadmaker's occupation no easy one; and previous to the application of macadam, the tramway, while it lasted, was a boon to the farmers after heavy rains.

Mr. Durand's modest cottage and bowery grounds, near here, recall at the present day, an early praiseworthy effort of its owner to establish a local periodical devoted to Literature and Natural History, in conjunction with an advocacy of the cause of Temperance. A diligent attention to his profession as a lawyer did not hinder the editor of the Literary Gem from giving some of his leisure time to the observation and study of Nature. We accordingly have in the columns of that periodical numerous notes of the fauna and flora of the surrounding neighbourhood, which for their appreciativeness, simplicity, and minuteness, remind us of the pleasant pages of White's "Natural History of Selborne." The Gem appeared in 1851-2, and had an extensive circulation. It was illustrated with good wood-cuts, and its motto was "Humanity, Temperance, Progress." The place of its publication was indicated by a square label suspended on one side of the front entrance of a small white office still to be seen adjoining the cottage which we are now passing.

The father of Mr. Durand was an Englishman of Huguenot descent, who emigrated hither from Abergavenny at a very early period. Having been previously engaged in the East India mercantile service, he undertook the importation of East India produce. After reaching Quebec and Montreal in safety, his first consignments, embarked in batteaux, were swallowed up bodily in the rapids of the St. Lawrence. He nevertheless afterwards prospered in his enterprise, and acquired property. Nearly the whole of the eastern moiety of the present city of Hamilton was originally his. He represented the united counties of Wentworth and Halton in several parliaments up to 1822. A political journal, entitled The Bee, moderate and reasonable in tone, was, up to 1812, edited and published by him in the Niagara District. Mr. Dur[398]and, senior, died in 1833, at Hamilton, where he filled the post of County Registrar. His eldest son, Mr. James Durand, when, in 1817, member for Halton, enjoyed the distinction of being expelled from the House of Assembly. A Parliament had just expired. He offered some strictures on its proceedings, in an address to his late constituents. The new House, which embraced many persons who had been members of the previous Parliament, was persuaded to vote the Address to the electors of Halton a libel, to exclude its author from the House, and to commit him to prison. His instant re-election by the county of Halton was of course secured. We observe from the evidence of Mr. James Durand before the celebrated Grievance Committee of 1835, that he was an early advocate of a number of the changes which have since been carried into effect. This Mr. Durand died in 1872 at Kingston, where he was Registrar for the County of Frontenac.

We have been enabled to present these facts, through the kindness of Mr. Charles Durand, who, in a valuable communication, further informs us that besides being among the earliest to engage in mercantile enterprises in Upper Canada, his father had also in 1805, a large interest in the extensive flour mills in Chippawa, known as the Bridgewater Mills: mills burnt by the retreating American army in 1812, at which period Mr. Durand, senior, was in the command of one of the flank companies of Militia, composed of the first settlers in the neighbourhood of the modern Hamilton: moreover he was the first who ever imported foxhounds into Upper Canada, a pack of which animals he caused to be sent out to him from England, being fond of the hunter's sport. With these he hunted near Long Point, on Lake Erie, in 1805, over a region teeming at the time with deer, bears, wolves and wild turkeys. Mr. Peter Des Jardins, from whom the Dundas Canal has its name, was, in 1805, a clerk in the employment of Mr. Durand. (Omitted elsewhere, we insert here a passing notice of Mr. J. M. Cawdell, another well-remembered local pioneer of literature. He published for a short time a magazine of light reading, entitled the Rose harp, the bulk of which consisted of graceful compositions in verse and prose by himself. Mr. Cawdell had been an officer in the army. Through the friendship of Mr. Justice Macaulay (afterwards Sir James), he was appointed librarian and secretary to the Law Society of Osgoode Hall. He died in 1842.)


Proceeding now onward a few yards, we arrived, in former times, at what was popularly called the Sandhill—a moderate rise, showing where, in by-gone ages, the lake began to shoal. An object of interest in the woods here, at the top of the rise, on the west side, was the "Indian's Grave," made noticeable to the traveller by a little civilized railing surrounding it.

The story connected therewith was this: When the United States forces were landing in 1813, near the Humber Bay, with the intention of attacking the Fort and taking York, one of Major Givins' Indians, concealed himself in a tree, and from that position fired into the boats with fatal effect repeatedly. He was soon discovered, and speedily shot. The body was afterwards found, and deposited with respect in a little grave here on the crest of the Sandhill, where an ancient Indian burying ground had existed, though long abandoned. It would seem that by some means, the scalp of this poor Indian was packed up with the trophies of the capture of York, conveyed by Lieut. Dudley to Washington. From being found in company with the Speaker's Mace on that occasion, the foolish story arose of its having been discovered over the Speaker's chair in the Parliament building that was destroyed.

"With the exception," says Ingersoll, in his History of the War of 1812-14, "of the English general's musical snuff-box, which was an object of much interest to some of our officers, and a scalp which Major Forsyth found suspended over the Speaker's chair, we gained but barren honour by the capture of York, of which no permanent possession was taken."

Auchinleck, in his History of the same war, very reasonably observes, that "from the expertness of the backwoodsmen in scalping (of which he gives two or three instances), it is not at all unlikely that the scalp in question was that of an unfortunate Indian who was shot while in a tree by the Americans, in their advance on the town." It was rejected with disgust by the authorities at Washington, Ingersoll informs us, and was not allowed to decorate the walls of the War Office there. Colonel W. F. Coffin, in his "1812: The War and its Moral," asserts that a peruke or scratch-wig, found in the Parliament House, was mistaken for a scalp.

Building requirements have at the present day occasioned the almost complete obliteration of the Sandhill. Innumerable loads of the loose silex of which it was composed have be[400]en removed. The bones of the Indian brave, and of his foref