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Full text of "History of Toronto and county of York, Ontario, containing an outline of the history of the Dominion of Canada, a history of the city of Toronto and the county of York, with the townships, towns, villages, churches, schools, general and local statistics, biographical sketches, etc., etc Volume 1"

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Reference Department. 


MAY 30 















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

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

IV Preface. 

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

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


Toronto, 1885. 






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- 148 

I. Pre-Historic 
II. Jacques Cartier 

III. Cartier s Successors 

IV. Acadia 

V. Samuel de Champlain 
VI. Champlain and the Ottawa - 
VII. The Recollet Mission 
VIII. Champlain s Difficulties 

IX. Champlain Governor of Canada - 
X. The Jesuit Missions 
XI. The Beginning* of Montreal 
XII. The Government of Montmagny 

XIII. Canada under Royal Government 

XIV. The English Military Government 

XV. The American Revolution as it affected Canada 
XVI. The Constitution of 1791 

XVII. The Settlement of English-Speaking Canada 
XVIII. Lower Canada from 1791 to 1812 
XIX. The War of i8i2- i5 - 
XX. Lower Canada from the Peace to 1828 
XXI. Upper Canada from the Peace to 1828 
XXII. Canada on the Eve of Rebellion 
XXIII. Revolt 



XXIV. The Civil War 

XXV. The Civil War Continued 
XXVI. The Civil War Montgomery s Farm 
XXVII. The Family Compact Terror 
XXVIII. The Union of the Provinces 
XXIX. Confederation 
XXX. Prosperous Days 
XXXI. Recent Years 



I Introductory. Character and Limits of our Local History. The 
Twilight of Fable. Michilimackinac, the Western Centre ot 
the Fur Trade. The Various Routes Thither. The Huron 
Nation- -The "Pass" by Toronto. Destruction of the 
Hurons by the Iroquois.-Fort Rouille.-The Province of 
Upper Canada Constituted. Governor Simcoe. York.- 

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

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

IV. The Rebellion not altogether a Failure. A York County Cause 
Celebre.The Tragedy of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Mont 
gomery, near Richmond Hill. Execution of James McDer- 
mott. Grace Marks, the Female Fiend. Her Sham Insanity. 
Her Pardon and Marriage - 

V. The Principal Streams of the County of York. The Credit.- 
Origin of its Name. Peter Jones and Egerton Ryerson at the 

Contents. vii. 


Credit Mission. Indian Witchcraft. The Humber. The 
Don. Sir Richard Bonnycastle s Account of a Ride Through 
the County Thirty-eight Years Since. Richmond Hill with 
out the Lass. Thornhill. The Blue Hill. List of County 
Wardens. The Municipal Council. Officers Appointed by 
the Council. Tables of Values - 51 

VI. The Report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission. Statistics 
Relating to the County of York. Character of the Soil. 
Water. Price of Farms. Stumps. Fences. Farm Build 
ings and Out-Buildings. Drainage. Farm Machinery. - 
Fertilizers. Uncleared Lands. Acreage and Average Pro 
ducts. Stock and Stock By-Laws. Timber Lands. Market 
Facilities. Local Industries. Mechanics, Farm Labourers 
and Domestics .- - 63 

VII. Public Schools of the County of York. Division of the County 
for Educational Purposes. Extracts from Reports of Inspec 
tor Hodgson. School Statistics. Inspector Fotheringham s 
Report - 7 


York, Township of 77 

Etobicoke, Township of 97 

Scarborough, Township of - 106 

Markham, Township of 114 

Vaughan, Township of 124 

King, Township of J 34 

Whitchurch, Township of 145 

Georgina, Township of 158 

North Gwillimbury, Township of - 164 

East Gwillimbury, Township of - 170 

Newmarket, Town of - - 180 

Aurora, Village of - 185 

Weston, Village of - 187 

Richmond Hill, Village of - 191 

Woodbridge, Village of 196 

Markham, Village of - - - 198 


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Holland Landing, Village of 
Stouffville, Village of 



I. The Town of York Founded 

II. York at the Close ot the Last Century 2I 

III. The Administrations of Governors Hunter and Gore 
IV. Brock and the War of 1812 

V. The Advent of Dr. Strachan and the Fall of York 228 

VI. York, 1813 to 1823 2 3 6 

VII. William Lyon Mackenzie and the Rule of Sir John Colborne 245 
VIII. The Birth of Toronto 
IX. From 183810 1851 

X. From 1851 to 1859 6 5 

XI. The Six Years before Confederation 
XII. Toronto a Capital Once More 


Public Buildings 
The City Government 
The Churches 
Universities and Schools 
Parks, Public Squares, and Cemeteries 
Charitable Institutions - 
The Press 

Benevolent and Secret Societies 
Military Organizations 
The City Clubs 
The City Hotels 
Financial Institutions 
Cattle Trade 

Manufacturing Industries 

Wholesale Trade 45 

Retail and General 



Louis Papineau - 
Louis H. Lafontaine 
Sir George E. Cartier - 
Joseph Howe 
Thomas D Arcy McGee 
Hon. George Brown 
Sir Francis Hincks 


Hon. Edward Blake 

Hon. Alexander Mackenzie - 

Marquis of Lome 

Earl Dufferin 

Toronto in 1803 - ... 

First Church in Toronto (St. James ) 

Parliament Buildings, 1833 - 

King Street, 1834 

Russell Abbey 

St. Andrew s Church - 

James Ashfield 

Edward James Lennox 

William G. Storm 

Samson, Kennedy & Co. s Warehouse 

John McMillan 

EHas Rogers & Co. 


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2 55 





\ruj IQtztory vj 





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

The Indian tribes had roamed over the unbroken forest 
that is now the Dominion of Canada, through ages that we can 
only approximately estimate by the guesses of experts in our 
pre-historic annals. Like the other inferior races of man, they 
have no annals, no record of their own past ; but the record of race, stamped 
on skin and skeleton, would seem to indicate an Asiatic origin. In the 
part of North America south of what is now New York State, the 
present race of Indians appear to have superseded a far more civilized 
race, the builders of fortified towns and permanent temples, who were 
well acquainted with the use of metals. But when, in the sixteenth 
century of Christian civilization, French and English maritime enterprise, 
born of the new birth of classical literature, discovered or re-discovered this 
country, the Indian race in Canada had not advanced beyond the civili 
zation of the Stone Age. They were in some respects behind, they were in 
no respect in advance of, the human wild beast who was the contemporary 
of the mammoth and the cave-bear. Their spears and arrows were pointed 
with carefully-chipped flint, their knives were of clam-shells ; of the use of 

2 Canada and the Canadian People. 

metal they knew nothing ; their dress was that of the earlier savages 
described in the legends of Hebrew and other primitive races, paint and the 
skins of wild beasts. They had no domesticated animals except a breed of 
dogs useless for the chase, which they kept for the purpose of religious 
sacrifice and of food. They had lived for unknown centuries with no home 
but the forest, which they shared with the wolf, the bear, and the lynx. In 
architecture they were inferior to the brute instinct which had shaped the 
lake cities of the beaver, the cave-shaped nests of the mole, the wax hexagon 
of the bee. 

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

\\ lien the continent of America was first discovered, what is now the 
Dominion of Canada was inhabited by a number of savage tribes who, in their 
approach to civilization, were on a level with the negroid races of Africa or 
Australia, although to some degree surpassing them in courage and physical 
vigour. Of these, there were two principal divisions : the tribes of the Algon 
quin race, and those of the Iroquois, since known as the Six Nation Indians. 
The Algonquins, as a rule, did not live in fortified villages ; the solitary hunter 
wandered through the woods, or with wife and children erected the birch- 
bark wigwam by the banks of some stream, whose plentiful supply of fish 
would supplement the more precarious venison. In the tropical Canadian 

P re-Historic Canada. 3 

summer, life passed in Arcadian content. With the Arctic winter came the 
severer struggle for existence against the wild beasts and the weather. When 
the long-hoarded supply of food, often little better than putrid carrion, became 
nearly exhausted, old people and women were knocked on the head, and can 
nibalism became a necessity; the scanty supply of fuel, hewn with long-con 
tinued labour of flint knife and stone hatchet, gave little protection against 
the terrible winter wind which entered every crevice of the wretched dwel 
ling. Deaths from exposure thinned the ranks of the hunters; wolf and 
wildcat vainly strove to tear the marble-stiffened form frozen in the 
snow. And still, with the conservatism of savage life, no advance was 
made, no protection sought against cold and hunger ; the warrior in the 
brief hour of feasting forgot the sure approach of famine, and the terrors of 
winter descended upon his defenceless home, without any provision having 
been made against its approach. 

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

The Iroquois have been aptly termed " the Romans of the Western 
World." Their political organization, with its extensive settlements of 
allied tribes and towns, enabled them to conquer the other Indian races in 
every part of Canada, to exterminate the two great tribes of the Hurons 
and the Eries, and to become an important ally to England in the wars of 
the French and English colonists previous to the conquest, and in the two 
wars with the United States which followed it. Enthusiastic writers on 
the romantic aspects of savage life have drawn rose-coloured pictures 

4 Canada and the Canadian People. 

of the courage, the simplicity, the eloquence of the noble red man. 
But, looked at in the light of careful and patient investigation, the ways 
of the dwellers in wigwams lose much of this ideal colouring. The 
Indian Chief was not, -as writers like the poet Campbell have repre 
sented him, a hero king, like those of the Grecian army before Troy. 
He was simply a warrior raised above others by superior strength 
or cunning ; with no authority of life or death ; no power as a ruler, 
beyond what the influence he could exert in the interminable wrangling of 
war-council might give him for the time. He was in no respect a member 
of an aristocratic caste; he fished and hunted just as did every other 
member of his tribe ; had no privilege of class, such as those of the chief of 
a Highland. clan, or an Irish sept. The most noted chiefs of even the 
most recent, and therefore the best, phase of Indian warfare, such as 
Pontiac or Tecumseh, were in many respects mere painted savages among 
their fellow-savages. 

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

Pre-Historic Canada. $ 

of them but the name given to the lake by which they dwelt, the record 
of their slow and doubtful conversion by the Jesuits, and the mocking 
but brilliant romance written in ridicule of the Jesuit Relations by Voltaire." 

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

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

As to religion, much has been said of the pure monotheism of the 
Indian race : of their hope in a future life, and worship of the Great Spirit. 
Unscientific writers have found it easy to exalt this crude and shocking 
Manitou worship to a level with the monotheism of Socrates and the New 
Testament. But those who have studied the abundant early records of 
Indian superstition know well that this, like every other savage race, never 
emerged from the stage of intermingled animism and fetichism. Animism 
is the superstition of children when they beat the ground against which they 
have fallen and hurt themselves. It is the superstition of savages when 

* Voltaire s Le Huron. 

6 Canada and the Canadian People. 

they attribute a conscious life to the phenomena of nature. A more advanced 
step in animism, the worship of deceased ancestors, the Indians never seem 
to have reached. Till they learned some vague monotheistic notions from 
the white man, their idea of a Great Spirit seems to have been extremely 
vague, and to have consisted in the worship of a number of " Manitous," 
good or malignant, who dwelt in forest, lake, or cataract, and whom it was 
well to propitiate with offerings of tobacco. 

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



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

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

There seems good reason to suppose that the hardy Norman fishermen 
had, with the Bretons and Basques, visited the Newfoundland fisheries for 
centuries before the voyage, of Cabot. There is also a tradition of a. 

Canada and tlie Canadian People. 

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

After the Treaty of Cambray, France began, in some degree, to recover 
from the exhaustion of the disastrous war into which she had been plunged 
by the ambition of Francis. The plans for Canadian exploration were re 
vived by a young noble in favour with the volatile king, in whose schemes 
of gallantry and war he had shared. The king had appointed his young 
comrade Admiral of France, and a fitting choice was made of one worthy 
to be entrusted with the task of exploration. Jacques Cartier, afterwards 
ennobled by Francis for his discovery of Canada, was a bold and experi 
enced sea captain, a God-fearing seaman, fearless of tempest or battle. No 
part of France has produced a more fearless race of mariners than the rugged 
old town of St. Ivlalo, where Cartier was born. His portrait is still pre 
served there, and we can judge, to some extent, of its expression by the 
familiar copies in this country, A face firm, yet kindly; the rough sailor s 
beard pointed after the fashion of the time. On an April morning in 1534, 
Jacques Cartier, being then in his fortieth year, sailed from his native town 
with two small ships, neither of them over sixty tons, and a crew of a hun 
dred and twenty-two men. It was usual in those days to send out ships of war 
two at a time, for the ships were so built as not to carry anything but the 
munitions of war and the crew. An attendant ship held provisions and a 
cooking-room. Much space was taken up by the amount of ballast required 
to steady the ship. A voyage of twenty days brought them to Newfound 
land. Thence sailing to the south of that island, Cartier passed the Mag 
dalen Islands, and entered a bay, which, from the heat of a Canadian 
summer s day, he named Bale des Chaleurs. Having erected a large 
wooden cross as a sign of the claim of the French king to the whole 

Jacques Cartier. 9 

country, a proceeding watched with dismay by an Indian chief, who 
regarded it as an act of sorcery, Cartier advanced up the St. Lawrence till 
in sight of the Island of Anticosti, when, dreading the storms already 
threatening, as autumn approached, he set sail for France. He first carried 
away two Indian boys, a more justifiable act of kidnapping than those of 
which he and others were afterwards guilty, since it was needful to pro 
cure Indian guides who could understand the white man s speech, so as to 
serve as interpreters in future expeditions. The news of his discovery was 
received with enthusiasm. Here was a chance for the French king to 
obtain new dominions in that lately discovered world, which was regarded 
as containing new El Dorados and Empire Cities like those conquered by 
Spain. Then, the Catholic reaction, already gathering its powerful forces 
to repair the damage done by the storm of the Reformation, seized on the 
idea of converting the heathen. A new expedition was resolved on, with 
Cartier in charge, several of the young noblesse of France being under his 
command in all a hundred and ten souls. There were three ships, the 
largest bearing the memorable name of La Grande Hermine, no tons bur 
den ; the second, La Petite Hermine, and the third of lesser size. All con 
fessed and heard mass in the Cathedral of St. Malo, and on the nineteenth 
of May, 1635, set sail from the rugged stone harbour of the Breton port. 
After a stormy voyage, they all met at the Straits of Belleisle, and entered 
a bay close to Anticosti, which, it being the Feast of Saint Lawrence, 
Cartier named after the Roman martyr, St. Lawrence. From that day the 
saint became sponsor to the mightiest river of Canada. 

Cartier s conduct in kidnapping the tw r o Indian boys has been severely 
blamed by the historian Parkman and other writers ; but had he not done 
so, it is inconceivable that he could have guided his squadron through the 
dangers of the first river voyage. Day after day they sailed up the gloomy 
stream, to the giant cliff of Cape Tourmente, and anchored beside an island, 
which, from its profusion of grape-vines, Cartier named after the god 
Bacchus. At last the squadron anchored in the River St. Charles, close to 
the site of Quebec, where then, under the shadow of the historic hill, an 
Indian town or village, called Stadacona, clustered its bark-built wigwams. 
The Indians received the Frenchmen with all kindness. The two Indian 
boys, fresh from the wonders of court, camp and city, told a tale of marvellous 
experiences in the land of the white man. Donnacona, the chief, was received 
and feasted on board Cartier s ship. The Indians told Cartier that the 
entire region through which he was proceeding was called CANADA, but that 
the chief town was some distance up the river. After no slight difficulty in 
obtaining the necessary guidance from the Indians, whose sorcerers, dis- 

ro Canada and the Canadian People. 

guised as demons, with hideous paint and long horns, endeavoured to 
terrify the pale-faces, Cartier, with the smallest of his ships, a galleon of 
forty tons and sixty men, began to ascend the river. It was autumn: the 
unbroken forest on either bank lay reflected in the water ; boughs where 
the ripe grape clusters hung from tree to tree ; masses of foliage, lit with 
the colours which no other forest can emulate the gold of larch or maple, 
the flame-red of the soft maple, the garnet of the sumach. Amid the Avoods 
everywhere the song-birds thrilled the air. As the galleon sailed on, count 
less wild-fowl flew, hoarse-screaming, before their approach. At length the 
Indian guides signalled to beach the galleon. An Indian trail led them 
through the oak groves which covered what is now the site of Montreal 
to the Indian town of Hochelaga, surrounded with ripe fields of gold- 
coloured maize. Here the entire population turned out to receive the 
strangers with tumultuous welcome ; men, women and children yelling and 
leaping in the wildest excitement at the arrival of those whom they looked 
on as beings gifted with a supernatural superiority. The town consisted of 
some fifty oblong dwellings, each housing a number of families. These 
houses were constructed of birch bark twisted around a number of poles. 
In the centre of the town was a large open space. Here Cartier and his 
friends were seated on mats upon the ground. Around them, row behind 
row, the warriors squatted, the women and children thronging the outer 
area. There the chief, a palsied and repulsive-looking old man, was carried 
for Cartier to lay his hands on him and heal him. Cartier did not refuse to 
touch the aged and helpless limbs, and read a passage from the Gospels 
over a crowd of bed-ridden savages, who crawled out of their huts to be 
cured. This done, he distributed a lavish present of beads, knives and 
hatchets, to squaws and braves. The Frenchmen were offered profuse sup- 
plies of food, maize and deer-flesh, which, however they did not accept. 
Cartier then was guided to the summit of the beautiful mountain, to which, 
in honour of Francis I., he gave the name of Mount Royal. From that 
stately hill where now the traveller looks down upon a scene in which 
human art in its noblest forms mingles with and ministers to natural beauty ; 
where the river, magnificent now as then, bears on its bosom the navies 
of the merchant princes of Canada, and where its waters are spanned by 
the vast granite arches of a bridge which is one of the wonders of the world ; 
where one of Canada s noblest cities covers the site of the vanished Indian 
town the illustrious discoverer gazed far and wide upon an unbroken mass 
of forest, stretching to either horizon and beyond, from the Arctic North 
to the savannah of Florida. 

Jacques Cartier. n 

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

After an interval of six years, another expedition sailed from St. Malo 
for Canada. A renewal of war between the Emperor Charles the Fifth and 
Francis had much abated the interest of the French in American coloniza 
tion. The inducements already tried were not attractive. But a new 
court favourite, a nobleman whose title was the Sieur de Roberval, in 
Picardy, was appointed the first Viceroy of Canada, and managed to secure 
a grant from the king of sufficient money to equip five ships for the voyage. 
The squadron was manned, in a great degree, by all manner of thieves and 
useless vagabonds, wham De Roberval had authority to impress from the 
public prisons. Kept waiting for promised supplies, Roberval remained 
to obtain them, Cartier sailing at once for Newfoundland and the 

12 Canada and the Canadian People. 

St. Lawrence. Once more he anchored at the familiar mooring-place ; but 
when the Indian warriors swarmed, as they had been wont, in their birch 
canoes around his ship to ask news of Donnacona, and were told by 
Cartier of his death, they withdrew in sullen discontent. Thus, Cartier s 
requital of the Indian chief s hospitality proved not only a crime but a 

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

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


URING the next half century, the French Government and 

noblesse, occupied in the disastrous civil wars, had no thought 
. whatever of Canada. The generation which knew Cartier had 
passed away; that of Champlain had not come. Yet, through 
all these evil years the barques of the Breton and Norman fisher- 
folk swarmed upon the Banks of Newfoundland, and returned 
to France full-freighted with the harvest of the sea. The still more profit 
able trade in furs, too, became more and more an established branch of 
commerce between the Indians and the Frenchmen, who, building their 
huts on the margin of the St. Lawrence Gulf, found that, for a few 
trinkets, they could procure supplies of beaver and bear skins, walrus 
tusks, and the valuable furs of the smaller animals, such as the mink, ermine, 
and silver fox, then held in so much value in France. Many of these married 
Indian girls, acquired the Indian language and habits, and made voyages 
in the canoes which traded to some distance up the St. Lawrence. But 
the noblesse had not lost sight of the advantage of acquiring new territories 
and new titles by enterprises of Canadian colonization. A very abortive 
effort in this direction was made by the Marquis de la Roche, a Breton 
noble, who obtained from the king permission to found a colony in Canada. 
He repeated the mistake which had ruined the enterprise of Roberval. 
He ransacked the prisons, and brought together a company of thieves and 
cut-throats who were forced to embark in a small vessel, so deep-freighted 
with its cargo of convicts that the wretched men, leaning over the ship s 
side, could dip their hands in the water. By good seamanship, or good 
luck, they crossed the Atlantic, and reached a low stretch of sand-bank 
with breakers surging unceasingly over the skeleton of a wrecked ship. 
This was Sable Island, eighty miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. In ac 
cordance with the cruel custom of the time, La Roche landed his convict 
colonists on this dismal islet, while he and his sailors went in search of a 
suitable spot for settlement. But a storm from the west came on, and the 
tiny craft could do nothing else than run before the tempest, which speedily 

14 Canada and the Canadian People. 

carried her to France. There La Roche was imprisoned by one of the 
rival leaders in the civil war, and, though oppressed by remorse for the 
fate of the unfortunates he had abandoned to almost certain starvation, 
could do nothing until five years later, when he was able to bring the 
circumstances under the notice of the king. Meanwhile, the convicts 
having learned to despair of La Roche s return, faced their miserable 
fate. The island, about three miles long, contained in its centre a small 
lake fed by a clear spring of fresh water. There were a number of wild 
cattle, the progeny either of some that had escaped from the wreck of a 
Spanish ship, or of some left there eighty years before by the explorer 
De Lery. Not a tree or shrub was to be found, but the sand-hills were 
covered with a coarse grass on which the wild cattle fed. Black foxes 
burrowed in the sand-hills; seals basked on the beach. On these they 
managed to subsist, eating the flesh, and clothing themselves with the skins. 
They contrived to construct huts with the timbers of wrecked ships, wherein, 
huddled together without a fire, these miserable outcasts learned to regret 
the warmth and shelter of the dungeons whence they had been taken. 
Thus they lived for five years, when a ship passing near sent a boat to the 
island and carried the survivors of the strange exile back to France. The 
king sent for them. They stood in his presence like wild men, with hair 
unkempt and long shaggy beards, their only clothing the skins of beasts. 
They had hoarded up a quantity of valuable furs, which had been taken 
from them, but were returned by the king s order, who also pardoned them 
and bestowed on them pensions. 

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

In 1603, Aymer de Chastes, a veteran soldier and commander of the 
Drder of St. John, had saved the cause of Henry the Fourth at the most 
critical period of the civil war which ended with the triumph of Ivry. A 
devout Catholic, De Chastes longed to devote the last years of his life to 
the cause of his God and his King. He could think of no nobler achieve- 

Cartier s Successors. 15 

ment than to win the wilds of Canada for the Cross of Christ and the Crown 
of France. King Henry readily granted to his devoted follower the title of 
Viceroy of Canada. De Chastes very wisely formed a company, thus 
sharing with others the profits to be derived from his monopoly of the fur 
trade. Of his party were Pontgrave and a young soldier and sea-captain, 
named Champlain, of whose character and career we shall speak hereafter, 
as his is, beyond question, the central figure in early Canadian history. 

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



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

A cadi a. l j 

soil was too sterile. Poutrincourt then set sail for France, in order to 
procure supplies for his new domain at Port Royal. 

De Monts was left behind on the rocky and barren islet which repre 
sented his vice-royalty. The orrly civilized men in that vast region were the 
seventy-nine French exiles under his command. The brief summer had 
gone ; soon autumn had passed as surely as summer. The perpetuallv 
eddying snow now covered all things: the impenetrable wall of woodland", 
the marble-frozen stream, the pine-covered hills. The cold became intense, 
wine was frozen and served in solid lumps to the men. Scurvy broke out ; 
they tried, but with no effect, to cure it by the decoction of spruce employed 
by Cartier. Thirty-five died before that dismal winter had ended. Dis 
gusted with St. Croix, De Monts and his followers moved to Annapolis 
basin. Thither their vessels transferred the stores and furniture. A portion 
of the forest was soon cleared, and the dwellings of the colonists were built. 
De Monts had been warned by letters from France that his enemies in that 
country were busy undermining his good name in the fickle favour of the 
court, in order to deprive him of the valuable fur monopoly. He therefore 
sailed for France, Pontgrave taking his place at Port Royal. He was coldly 
looked upon at Paris. Something had been heard of the snow-clad wilder 
ness, the impenetrable fogs, the famine, and the death-list of the previous 
winter. Not even a priest would undertake the Acadian mission 
vacant by the deaths of those who had gone there at the outset. But 
Poutrincourt s zeal secured several followers who were destined to afford 
him admirable aid. Of these was Lescarbot, a lawyer and a good writer, 
who has left a history of this ill-fated settlement. In July, 1606, they 
arrived at the clearing in the forest, and saw the wooden fort and buildings of 
Port Royal. They found there two Frenchmen only, and an Indian named 
Membertou. Anxious at the advance of summer, and fearing that De 
Monts might not return with supplies, the settlers had built two small 
barques and gone in quest of some friendly ships that might give help. A 
boat was sent in quest of Poutrincourt, who joyfully returned. Their friends 
met them at the vessel with arquebuse discharges, shouts, and trumpetings; 
Membertou s Indian warriors, whose wigwam was at hand, crowded to 
the fort, where they were feasted, and Poutrincourt broached a cask of 
wine in the court-yard. Soon after this supplies were again procured on a 
more liberal scale from France. The settlers took heart ; Lescarbot made 
larger clearings in the forest, and sowed grain in the virgin soil. Near the 
fort gardens were laid out. The settlement semed to prosper. The bill of 
fare at the dinner-tables of Port Royal included trout, salmon, and sturgeon, 
speared through the river ice, and sea fish caught in the waters of the bay. 

j Canada and the Canadian People. 

There was abundance of game: the venison of the moose and caribou, the 
hare, the otter, the bear, furnished a list of good things not known to 
Parisian epicures. The winter of 1 600 was a mild one. Abundance of food, 
a generous supply of good wine, of which the allowance to each man was 
three pints a day, warded off danger of scurvy. The firm rule of the 
noble Baron de Poutrincourt, and the buoyant energy of the not less noble 
Champlain, had turned into Christian order the outcasts whom he had 
gathered from the French prisons. There being no priest, the good 
Lescarbot read the Bible to the assembled colonists every Sunday evening. 
The accounts given by this good man in his History of New France read 
like an idyl. "On the fourteenth of January," he tells us, "on a Sunday 
afternoon, we amused ourselves with singing and music on the River Equille, 
and in the same month we went to see the wheat-fields, two leagues from 
the fort, and merrily dined in the sunshine." All seemed bright with hope, 
but all depended on the favour of a monarch too easily influenced by fair 
women and courtly priests. As Lescarbot and his associates were at break 
fast, their faithful Indian chief, Membertou, came with news of a strange 
sail out of view of any vision but his own, although he had passed his 
hundredth year. The vessel bore news fatal to the colony. Their monopoly 
of the fur trade had been withdrawn by the king. De Monts and his 
associates had spent enormous sums on the colony ; the king s breach of 
faith had ruined them. Lescarbot and Champlain sailed for France, and 
reached St. Malo in October, 1607. 

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

A Jesuit confessor, a profligate queen, and a virtuous but fanatical 
lady of rank, combined to induce King Henry IV. to consent to the Jesuits 
having religious charge of the new colony. Now, Poutrincourt, although 
a fervent Catholic, disliked the Spanish Order of Ignatius, and objected 
to priests who intermeddled, as the Jesuits were forever intermeddling, no 
doubt having religious ends in view, with everything secular. The authori 
ties of the Order named Father Biard, Professor of Theology at Lyons, as 
Chaplain to Port Royal; but De Poutrincourt eluded the indignant Jesuit 
by a hasty departure for Acadia. He had with him a priest who was not a 
Jesuit. They both set hard to work, so as to gain such success in con 
verting the Indians that King Henry might see no necessity for sending 

Acadia. ig 

Jesuits to undertake the mission. Poutrincourt in this seems to have 
made a mistake ; one that resulted in the ruin of his colony and himself, by 
forfeiting the magnificent reinforcement which that Republic of the Black 
Robe might have brought to his aid. 

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

In a short time, Poutrincourt was able to send a baptismal list of 
portentous length to France. He despatched it by the hand of his son, a 
noble and gifted boy of eighteen named Biencourt. But Biencourt, when 
he reached Newfoundland, heard news which might have taught him that 
his mission was useless. The king who had given peace, order and plenty 
to France, the Victor of Ivry, De Poutrincourt s friend, was dead. On 
May i4th, 1610, Henry the Fourth was stabbed to the heart by one of those 
political pests of whose execrable breed our own age has not -as yet rid 

Young Biencourt went to the Court and had an audience of the queen, 
the infamous Marie de Medicis. He found her altogether in the hands of the 
Jesuits. Two other ladies, then all-powerful in the Court, threw their influence 
into the same scale. Many other wealthy women were persuaded by their 
Jesuit confessors to raise an immense fund for the Acadian Mission. With 
this at their command, the wily Order of Jesus completely out-flanked their 
enemy, De Poutrincourt. He imagined himself secure in the possession of 
Port Royal, which had been deeded to him by the late king ; a donation 
which, according to French law, could not be reversed. But the Jesuits 
obtained -from the imbecile young king, Louis the Thirteenth, a grant of 
all Acadia, a term which, be it remembered, then included all Canada. 
They had, in their own words, hemmed in De Poutrincourt in his own 
narrow domain of Port Royal, as in a prison. And even in Port Royal they 
obtained a controlling voice, by purchasing, with money obtained from the 

2O Canada and the Canadian People. 

ladies to whose profligacy they gave such easy absolution, a preponderat 
ing number of shares in the company which managed Port Royal, and of 
which Poutrincourt was but a single member. And, as if that was not 
enough, they contrived to involve the foolish noble who had set himself 
against their powerful Order in a mesh of law y suits, and even to throw him 
into prison. He was released, however, and returned to Port Royal. 

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

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

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

In the hour of utmost need a vessel came from France with supplies. 
It was sent by the fair penitents of the Jesuits, one of whose order, Father 
Du Thet, was on board. This chafed Biencourt more and mort. Mean 
while, in Paris, De Poutrincourt being utterly powerless, the Jesuits and 
the frail court beauties beauties of whose consciences they held the key- 
resolved to take possession of Acadia, and found a spiritual empire of Indian 
slaves bound body and soul to their sway, as they had already done with 
such unexampled success in Paraguay. Canada was to become a second 
Paraguay. A ship was freighted with all things needful for the establish 
ment of a new settlement in Acadia, which should throw Port Royal into 
the shade. All kinds of necessary and comfortable things were put on 
board : horses, goats, agricultural tools, barrels of wine. She set sail in an 
atmosphere of religious incense and courtly perfume. Her commander was 

Acadia. 21 

a brave and pious noble, named Saussaye. Arrived at Port Royal, they 
found their Jesuit colleagues and the Port Royal followers of Biencourt in 
the most miserable condition, digging for roots and living on what fish 
might be caught in the river. Without caring for the Port Royal colonists, 
they took the Jesuits on board, and steered for the Penobscot. Wrapped 
in the fogs of that* dreary bay, they prayed earnestly for sunshine, and lo! 
the curtain of -mist was swept away suddenly, and they could see the 
precipitous cliffs of Mount Desert, rising like a castle, defiant of the army 
of breakers that stormed so fiercely at its fore. With a fair wind they 
entered Frenchman s Bay, and came to anchor in a haven east of Mount 
Desert. They landed, and raised a cross, when, amid a throng of friendly 
Indians, mass was sung, and incense mingled with the odours of the 
summer woods. The mission was soon settled, with every prospect of 
thriving, when an English ship from the colony at Virginia, carrying 
thirteen guns, swooped down on the startled French. The land they had 
seized was a part of the dominions of His Majesty of Britain. The thirteen 
guns opened fire on the feebly armed French vessel, which made a brave 
resistance, led by the Jesuit DuThet, who died on her deck, sword in hand. 
The English destroyed every vestige of a building in St. Croix and Port 
Royal. Such was the ruin of Acadia ; the beginning of a struggle which 
was to end on the heights of Quebec. 


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

As has been said, Champlain accompanied De Monts on his Acadian 
enterprise. When that had utterly failed, the latter was easily induced by 
Champlain to explore the St. Lawrence, and, by -founding a French colony in 
Canada, deliver the heathen of that land from eternal punishment, so that 
they might become loyal subjects to His Majesty of France and His 
Holiness of Rome. De Monts eagerly adopted a project so full of piety 
and patriotism. He fitted out two ships, one in charge of Pontgrave, the 
other in charge of Champlain. Pontgrave, with a cargo of wares for barter 
among the Indians, sailed for Canada on the 5th of April, 1608; Champlain 

Samuel de Champlain. 23 

left on the i3th. As he rounded the cliff which to the south-east of 
the St. Lawrence projects like a buttress into the turbulent waters, he 
found Pontgrave" s ship at anchor, and beside her a Basque vessel which, 
on some difficulty arising between the two captains, had fired upon 
Pontgrave, wounded him, and killed one of his crew. With some difficulty, 
Champlain compromised the question at issue, and the Basques departed 
in peace to the neighbouring whale-fishery. Amid the desolation of sombre 
woods and hills, sombre even at this day, where after three centuries of 
civilization, the Saguenay rolls its sullen waters, ink-black, in the shadow 
of the green rocks that guard its channel, Champlain encountered an Indian 
tribe, his alliance with whom was destined to exercise no slight influence 
upon his future. They belonged to the great race of the Algonquins, who 
were the hereditary foes of the Iroquois. The lodges of their village, 
wretched huts of birch-bark, feebly supported on poles, were far inferior 
in comfort and appearance to the fortified towns visited by Cartier at 
Stadacona and Hochelaga. These Indians called themselves Montagnais. 
They traversed the gloom of the surrounding wilderness, armed with their 
flint-pointed arrows and spears, in patient quest of the only wealth 
the land yielded the fur of the fox, lynx, otter; the skins of the bear, 
wolf, wild-cat, and the various species of deer. These men circled round 
the French ships in their frail but exquisitely graceful canoes ; and several of 
their chiefs were taken on board and feasted to the utmost contentment of 
their gluttonous appetites. They promised to furnish guides. Pontgrave 
had now left for France, his vessel full-freighted with costly furs obtained 
by barter from the Indians. Champlain held his course, for the second 
time, up the St. Lawrence, through scenes which in some respects civili 
zation has done nothing to change; where, now as then, the dark green wall 
of forest fringes the utmost marge of the precipice, and the towers and 
buttresses that guard the river are reflected in the sunless depths below. 
He passed where now a long-settled farm country, varied at every few 
miles by a bright, picturesque-looking village, meets the eye of the tourist ; 
where then the wilderness held unbroken sway. Soon he beheld once more 
the huge promontory of Quebec, towering like a fortress built by some god 
or giant to bar the rash explorers onward way. At this point the lake-like 
expanse of the St. Lawrence suddenly narrows to a strait, whence the Indians 
named the place " Kebec," or " Strait." Champlain anchored his ship at 
the old mooring-place where the River St. Charles enters the St. Lawrence. 
The stone hatchets of the aborigines were scarce capable of felling 
a single tree without the labour of several days ; very different was the 
effect of the steel axes with which civilization had armed the white man. 

24 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Wielded by the strong arms of these resolute and hopeful men, inspirited 
by the presence and example of one who himself was a practised woodman, 
the gleaming axe-blades were smiting hard and fast all through the summer 
day; and ever as they smote, the huge pines, that were the advanced guard 
of the wilderness, fell before them. Soon several acres were cleared. On 
the site of the market-place of the Lower Town of Quebec was erected a 
rude but sufficiently strong fortress, consisting of a thick \vall of logs, 
defended on the outside by a" double line of palisades, and having at its 
summit a gallery with loop-holes for arquebuses. On platforms raised to 
a level with the summit of the wall were three small cannon, commanding 
the approaches from the river. There were barracks for the men, and a 
strongly-built magazine. The outer wall was surrounded by a moat. 
Grain, maize, and turnip seed were sown on part of the land which had 
been cleared ; and Champlain, practical man as he was in all things, culti 
vated part of the land close to the fort as a garden. 

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

The hero who was its founder had, like all heroes from Hercules down 
wards, not only labour and pain to contend with ; not only the hydra to 
smite down ; he had to crush the serpents that attacked his work in its 
cradle. One Duval, a locksmith, had formed a plot to seize Champlain 
when sleeping, and, having murdered him, to deliver up the ship to their 
late enemies the Basques, and to the commander of a Spanish ship then at 
Tadoussac. Aided by three other ringleaders, Duval had gained over nearly 
the whole of Champlain s garrison of twenty-eight. Prompt measures were 
taken. A shallop had lately arrived from Tadoussac, and was anchored 
close to the fort. Among the crew was one on whose loyalty Champlain 
knew he could depend. Champlain sent for him, and giving him two bottles 
of wine, directed him to invite Duval and his three accomplices to drink 
with him on board the shallop, and while drinking, to overpower them. This 
was done that evening. At ten, most of the men in the fort were in bed. 
Champlain gave orders that the trumpet should be sounded, and the men 
summoned to quarters; they were told that the plot had been discovered, 
that its author would be hanged at dawn, and the three who had aided him 
in plotting mutiny be sent in irons to France to expiate their crime as galley 

Samuel de Champlaiii. 25 

slaves for life ; the rest he would pardon, as he believed they had been mis 
led. Trembling, they returned to their beds ; and the next day s dawn saw 
the carcase of their ringleader dangling from a gallows, food for the wild 
cat, and warning against mutiny. It was an act of prompt decision that 
reminds one of Cromwell. Thenceforth Champlain had no difficulty in 
securing discipline. 

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

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

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

The year before, a young war-chief from the distant tribes of the 
Ottawa had visited the fort ; had seen with amazed admiration the warriors 

26 Canada and the Canadian People. 

clad in glittering steel ; had heard the roar of arquebuses and cannon. 
Eagerly and earnestly he sought an alliance with the great war-chief. He 
told how his tribe, one of the superior branches of the Algonquin race, were 
in alliance with their kinsmen the Hurons against their common enemy 
the Iroquois. On being questioned by Champlain, he told how a mighty 
river as vast as the St. Lawrence flowed from unknown regions where the 
Thunder-bird dwelt, and the Manitous of mighty cataracts abode. This 
aroused Champlain s most eager interest. To explore that river would be 
to obtain a knowledge of the whole country, otherwise beyond his reach ; 
perhaps it might even prove to be the long-coveted highway to China and 
the East. Without the help of the Indians it was clearly impossible for 
Champlain to pursue his explorations. It was agreed that, next spring, the 
Ottawa chief with a party of his warriors should visit the fort. But, as 
after waiting late in the spring, Champlain found that the Ottawa warriors 
did not appear at the fort, he set forth with eleven of his men and a party 
of Montagnais as guides. On his route up the river, he saw, through an 
opening in the forest, the wigwams of an unusually large Indian encamp 
ment. Grounding his shallop on the beach, he made his way to the camp, 
and found a gathering of Hurons and Algonquins. Their chief received 
him with all the profuse and demonstrative welcome of savage life ; his 
companions and Indian followers were summoned to the chiefs lodge. 
The dwellers on the far-off shores of Huron had never seen a white man. 
They gazed in wondering awe on the brilliant armour and strange weapons 
of Champlain and his followers. A feast and the usual prolonged speech- 
making followed, as a matter of course. Champlain invited all the chiefs 
to Quebec. Arrived there, they were feasted in return. At night they 
lighted huge fires, and painted and decked themselves for the war-dance. 
All through the night half-naked warriors, hideous with paint and 
feathered head-dress, danced and leaped, brandishing stone clubs and flint- 
pointed spears, as the fierce light of the fire fell on the fiend-like faces and 
frenzied gestures of hate. All through the night the sinister sound of the 
war-drum accompanied the yells of the dancers, till the wolves were scared 
at Point Levis, and wild-cat and lynx retreated deeper into the forest. 
Next day, Champlain, with eleven of his followers, set forth in a shallop. 
Accompanied by the canoes, they passed through Lake St. Peter, amid the 
tortuous windings which separate its numberless islets. Champlain looked 
with a delight inconceivable to his savage allies on that peculiar feature of 
Canadian scenery, the cluster of small islands which varies the monotonous 
expanse of the Canadian lake or lakelet ; each of them low-lying in the 
water as a coral-reef; in its centre a miniature grove of birch and cedar in 

Samuel de Champlain. 27 

which the birds are singing ; all round it, to where the emerald garment of 
the islands meets the water, a dense growth of shrubs and flowers fresh with 
the life of June. The force of the current being against them, Champlain s 
sail-boat made way far in advance of the canoes : as he cautiously steered 
his course, his eye was caught by the gleam, close at hand, of foam, and 
the roar of hurrying waters. They were dangerously near the rapids. By 
this time the Indian canoes had joined the shallop. Champlain, with two 
of "his men, determined to accompany the Hurons in their canoes, it being 
evidently impracticable to prosecute the voyage in a boat which could not 
be carried past the rapids of the river, now called the Richelieu. The rest of 
his men were sent back to Quebec. 

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

One night, about ten o clock, they saw dark objects moving on the 
lake. The keen perception of the Indians at once decided that these were 
the war-canoes of the Iroquois. They landed and intrenched themselves. 
The Hurons did the same. It was agreed on both sides that the battle was 
not to take place till the morning. But both by Huron and Iroquois the 
war-dance was kept up all night, accompanied by the hideous thumping of 
the war-drum, and by the cries and yells imitated from the wild beasts of 
the wilderness, but far surpassing in horror of discordant shrillness the 
shriek of the horned-owl, the howling of the \volf, the wailing of the starved 
wild-cat in the winter woods. With morning s dawn, the Hurons were 
drawn up in irregular skirmishing order. Champlain and his two com 
panions waited in reserve. Presently the Iroquois defiled through the 
forest. Their steady advance and manly bearing excited the admiration of 
Champlain. At their head were several chiefs, conspicious by their waving 
plumes of eagle-feathers. When the two hostile lines confronted one 
another, Champlain stepped out in front of the Hurons, levelled his arque- 
buse, and fired. The two leading chiefs of the Iroquois fell dead. With a 
yell that resounded through the wilderness, the Hurons showered their 
arrows upon their adversaries. The Iroquois still stood firm, and 
replied with arrows from two hundred bows. But when Champlain s t\v<> 
companions, each with his arquebuse, poured a volley of fire into their ranks, 
the Iroquois, utterly terrified, turned and fled. Like a tempest, the 

28 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Hurons tore after them into the woods. Most of the Iroquois were killed 
and scalped, or rather scalped and killed, on the spot ; but several were 
reserved for torture. That night, by the blazing watchfire, Champlam saw 
a captive tied to a tree ; around him, with torches and knives in their hands, 
yelled and leaped his captors. They gashed his flesh ; they applied the 
burning pine-torch to the wound. Champlain begged to be allowed to 
put a bullet through the poor wretch s heart. They refused. Cham- 
plain turned away in horror and disgust, as he saw them tear the scalp 
from the yet living head. Several of the captives were given to Cham- 
plain s Algonquins to be tortured. These they reserved till they reached 
their own camp, near Quebec, in order that the women might share in the 
torturing process, in the ingenious application of which they justly con 
sidered that the weaker sex excelled their own. 

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

Champlain s conduct in thus engaging in Indian warfare has been 
almost universally condemned by historical critics. W T e have been told, 
what no one who knows anything of the subject can question, that Indian 
warfare is beyond that of any other race savage, bloody, cruel, cowardly 
and treacherous ; and that for a superior and civilized people to engage in 
it was to lower themselves to the level of the wolves of the wilderness, by 
whose side they fought. It has been shown, and with sufficient truth, that 
the blood of the Iroquois, slain by the arquebuse of Champlain, was the 
beginning of a ceaseless guerilla warfare between that race and the French 
colonists, the results of which were the massacres of Lachine, Carillon and 
Montreal ; the desolation of many a farm by the Indian tomahawk and 
torch. But it may be said in reply that Champlain could hardly have 
done otherwise. He could not, without the alliance of friendly Indians, 
have carried out his projects of exploration. It would have been next to 
impossible for him, even if unmolested, to penetrate that labyrinth of 
wilderness and river without a guide. Even could he have done so, his 
scalp would certainly have been forfeited. On no other terms could he 

Samuel de Champlain. 29 

have secured the Algonquins, as trustworthy allies, than by his willingness 
to give them an aid that seemed all-powerful against their hereditary 
enemies the Iroquois. As to war on the part of the French with the 
Iroquois, that was an inevitable result of the French occupation of Canada. 
It was the policy of that powerful confederation, the Iroquois League, to 
subjugate or exterminate every other race in Canada. Collision between 
them and the French settlements was only a question of time, and it could 
not have been initiated in a manner more favourable to French interests 
than by securing, as Champlain did, an alliance with the two great Indian 
tribes of Canada, which in power and prowess ranked next to the Iroquois. 
In the duel of two centuries between the Iroquois and New France, the 
Indian allies were of the greatest possible use to the countrymen of Cham- 
plain ; they not only acted as guides, scouts and spies, but in actual fight 
ing they rendered invaluable assistance. It may well be doubted whether, 
had not Champlain s policy been carried out, the thin line of French settle 
ment might not have been sw^ept away before the storm of Iroquois 

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

Returning to France, Champlain visited King Henry the Fourth a 
short time before his assassination. He told him of his adventures in 

30 Canada and the Canadian People. 

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

Samuel de Champlain. 31 

On his return to Quebec, Champlain heard, with dismay, of the assassi 
nation of his friend and patron, Henry the Fourth. He also learned the 
revocation of the fur trade monopoly, which had been the life of the enter 
prise of De Monts and Pontgrave. 

Once more Champlain left his cherished home in the little fort under 
the shadow of Cape Diamond, his gardens and vineyard already yielding 
maize, wheat, barley, and-every kind of vegetables, with grapes enough to 
make a tolerably good claret. He left a M. De Pare as his lieutenant at 
Quebec, with a few men, and in due course arrived at Honfleur. No 
success attended his efforts to secure a renewal of the monopoly. In fact, 
the corrupt and imbecile French Court had not the power to do this, even 
if it had the will. For the fur trade of the St. Lawrence was now open to 
all nations. It was impossible to exclude the Basque, Dutch, English, and 
Spanish traders, whose vessels now began to swarm up the St. Lawrence 
Gulf. But, failing to secure the mastery of the fur trade at its European 
source, Champlain conceived the idea of arranging a practical monopoly of 
the Indian traffic with the Indians themselves. He returned to Quebec in 
May, 1611. A fleet of greedy trading boats followed his course. He 
resolved to elude them, and establish a new trading post at the confluence 
of the great rivers by which the Indian canoes brought down their yearly 
harvest of skins and furs. He built a small wooden depot on the spot 
where, in the Montreal of to-day, is the Hospital of the Grey Nuns. He 
named it Place Royale. Soon after this he again visited France. Meet 
ing De Monts at a place called Pans, of which De Monts was governor, all 
charge of the Quebec colony was formally surrendered into the hands of 
Champlain. But Champlain was more anxious for the success of the 
colony, for the conversion of the heathen, and for the discovery, if it might 
be, of a route through Canada to India and China, than for mere fur trade 
gains. Dismissing all selfish thoughts, he succeeded in forming a com 
pany of merchants, into whose hands the gains of the commercial traffic 
would mainly fall, Champlain contenting himself with their undertaking to 
aid and increase the colony. At St. Malo and Rouen his proposal was 
eagerly accepted, and a company was formed, backed by considerable capi 
tal ; but this was not all that was necessary. In that seventeenth century, 
wherein were gathering themselves the forces which produced the great 
Revolution of a later period, no \vork of public beneficence could be 
undertaken without the patronage of one of the royal house. Such pa 
tronage was sought and found by Champlain s company in two princes of 
the Bourbon blood, with whose names Canadian history need not concern 
itself. The two Bourbon princes were the sinecurists of a sensual and 

32 Canada and the Canadian People. 

indolent Court, men equally greedy, equally worthless; neither of them, 
though invested with all sorts of high-sounding titles connected with the 
colony they w r ere supposed to rule, took the slightest interest in Canada. 
Large sums of money had to be paid to these illustrious noblemen by 
Champlain and his company of merchants. The Bourbon princes took 
every bribe they could get, and in return did one good thing for this country 
they kept away from it. 



N 1609 two young men among Champlain s French followers had 
volunteered to ascend the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers with 
the Indians on their homeward journey, to perfect themselves in 
their language, and to learn what could be learnt of the mysteri 
ous country beyond. In 1612 one of these young men, named 
Nicholas Vignan, appeared in Paris, and related a history of 
his adventures, which, marvellous as it was, seemed so consistent 
that Champlain believed it to be true. Vignan s story was so framed as 
to meet the beliefs and flatter the hopes of those who held the theory that 
a passage could yet be discovered through North America to the Polar 
Seas. He stated that he had ascended the Upper Ottawa to its source, 
which was from a lake of considerable size. He had crossed this lake, 
and in the country beyond it had found a river, following whose course he 
had reached the sea. He said that this sea was the Pacific Ocean, and was 
distant from Quebec only seventeen days journey. This lie and Cham- 
plain afterwards said that Vignan was the most impudent liar he had ever 
known: had the good effect of interesting the selfish nobles of the court 
in Champlain s enterprise. They saw visions of a direct passage to India 
and China, which would give France, or rather the privileged class who 
regarded France as their footstool, a monopoly of trade with the Orient : 
gold and silk, ivory and spices, pearls and amber, all the most coveted 
treasures of the most gainful trade in the world, would be poured at the 
feet of great lords and ladies, to replenish whose purses the plunder of France 
alone was insufficient. They urged Champlain by all means to prosecute his 
discoveries. In April, 1613, Champlain once more sailed for the St. Law 
rence. In May he left St. Helen s Island, near Montreal, with four French 
men, Nicholas Vignan being of the number, and began to ascend the Lower 
Ottawa. Swiftly they passed up the gentle current of the mighty stream, 
with no sign of life but the cry of the fish-eagle as it swooped upon the 

,, . Canada and the Canadian People. 

water for its prey, or the song of the wild birds from the bank s unbroken 
wall of verdure. At length their course was stopped by the rapids of Car 
illon and Long Sault, past which they were obliged to carry their canoes. 
This they had to do for the most part over the bed of the river ; the forest, 
with its entanglement of underwood and interlacing vines, presenting a 
barrier that was absolutely impenetrable. They had to drag their canoes 
over rocks, like reluctant horses ; they had to push them against currents 
which threatened every moment to sweep men and canoe to certain death. 
Champlain had once a narrow escape from death; he fell where the whole 
force of the current was sweeping him irresistibly down the rapids : he 
saved himself by clutching a rock, but his wrist was severely injured by the 
cord of his canoe. At length they reached the cataract whose silver columns 
of spray even now ascend high above the smoke of a great city : whose 
grandeur remains at this day unvulgarized by its vulgar surroundings ; 
which, though bound and shackled to turn-mills and drive-machinery, 
is still the Chaudiere. Here, his Indian guides threw in offerings of 
tobacco, in order to appease the Manitou, or guardian spirit of the cataract. 
Having dragged their canoes over what is now the most densely peopled 
part of the city of Ottawa, and having passed above the Chaudiere, they 
launched them on the placid bosom of a broad, lake-like stream. On they 
glided, those two egg-shell ships, freighted with the future of Canada, past 
where now on either side villages and churches, school-houses and farm 
homesteads diversify the richly-cultivated farm-land, interspersed w ith here 
and there a grove of oak or maple, the survival of what was then primeval 
forest. Nine miles from the Chaudiere they heard again the rush of falling 
water, and saw the white spray-column, like smoke from a bush fire, ascend 
ing from the largest of the sixteen cataracts of the Chats. Here a wall of 
.nite, broken by interspaces of cataract, crosses the river, which thun 
ders with the whole force of its volume of water through every crevice and 
opening. Past this, once more they dragged their canoes by land. Again 
they embarked on the Lake of the Chats, and proceeded without further 
hindrance till they reached the rapids which extend from the Devil s Elbow 
at Portage du Fort. Thence they enjoyed a calm passage till they reached 
Allunu-uc. where an Indian chief named Tessouat received them with much 
kindness. He gave a solemn feast in Champlain s honour, runners being 
si-nt in all directions to summon the neighbouring chiefs to the feast. Early 
on the next day, the women and girls, who were Tessouat s slaves, swept the 
floor of his hut to prepare for the festival. At noon the naked warriors 
appeared from every direction, each furnished with his own wooden spoon 
and platter. The large hut which did duty as Tessouat s palace was as full 

Cham plain and the O: 

as it could hold of warriors, row within row. squatting on the ground like 
apes, and expectant of the feast. First came a compound, not unsavoury, 
so Champlain writes, of pounded maize boiled with scraps of meat and fish : 
next venison, and fish broiled on the burnt-out logs. Water was the only 
drink, and when the feast was over the pipes were lighted, and the council 
began. The pipe having first been passed to Champlain, the council 
smoked for half an hour in silence : Champlain then made a speech in which 
he desired them to send four canoes and eight men to guide him to the 
country of the Xipissings. a tribe to the north of the lake of the same name. 
To this the Indians demurred, as they were not on friendly terms with the 
Xipissings. Tessouat gave expression to their feelings: \Ye always knew 
you for our best friend amongst the Frenchmen. We love you like our own 
children. But why did you break your word with us last yeaf when we all 
went down to Montreal to give you presents and go with you to war ? You 
were not there, but other Frenchmen were there who cheated us. We will 
never go again. As to the four canoes, you shall have them if you insist 
upon it. But it grieves us to think of the hardships you will endure. The 
Xipissings have weak hearts. They are good for nothing in war, but they 
1 us with sorcery, and they poison us. They will kill you." At length, 
however, on Champlain assuring them he was proof against sorcery, he^ex- 
:orted a promise to give him the canoes; but he had no sooner left the reek 
ing and smoking hut than they re-considered their promise and gave him 
iirect refusal. Champlain returned to the council and expostulated 
This young man," said Champlain, pointing to Vignan, 
says he has been in their country, and that they are not so bad as 
you describe them." The chief looked sternly on the young Frenchman : 
"Nicholas! he cried, " Did you say you had been in the country of the 
^i " 

-Yes. I have been there." said the impostor. "All the 
iians gravely fixed their eyes upon him. At length Tessouat spoke : - You 
liar; you spent the whole winter sleeping in the house with my 
f you have been to the land of the Xipissings, it must have been 
r your sleep. You are trying to deceive your chief, and induce him to 
fe. He ought to put you to death, with tortures worse than those 
i which we kill our enemies." Champlain led the young man from the 
Duncil house ; after much equivocation Yignan finally confessed that the 
whole story was an invention of his own, fabricated, it is hard to say from 
what motive; perhaps from the morbid love of notoriety, which is" some 
times found among travellers of a later day. 

The Indians rejoiced over Champlain s discomfiture. Why." they said. 
"did you not listen to chiefs and warriors instead of believing that liar?" 

o6 Canada and the Canadian People. 

They earnestly advised Champlain to permit them to put Vignan to death 
by torture. His generous chief preferred to forgive him freely. 

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

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

Early in the thirteenth century appeared that extraordinary man, St. 
Francis of Assissi, in whom met all that was most fanatical, most ascetic ; 
most lovable in the faith of the Dark Ages. Called by dreams and 

Champlain and the Ottawa. 


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



HE Recollet Order was a mendicant one, and as it strictly 
observed the vow of poverty in the spirit of St. Francis him 

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

To Father Dolbeau the Montagnais were assigned as his peculiar care ; 
to Le Caron, the distant tribes west and north-west of Lake Huron ; 
Fathers Jamet and Du Plessis were for the present to remain in the convent 
at Quebec. Dolbeau, fired with missionary enterprise, accompanied one 
of the roving lodges of the Montagnais hunters to their winter hunting 

The Recollet Mission of Canada, 39 

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

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

On the festival of Dominion Day in our modern Canada, July ist, 1615, 
Father Le Caron bade adieu to the scanty comforts of such civilization as 

40 Canada and the Canadian People. 

then was in New France, and embarked on board one of the large Huron 
canoes. Twelve French soldiers, devout Catholics, attended the expedition. 
Day after day the fleet of frail but exquisitely graceful craft shot over the 
expanse of the unrippled stream ; day after day the wondering eyes of the 
missionary must have rested on scenes of nature s beauty on which, scarcely 
changed since then, the tourist of the Upper Ottawa looks with such 
pleasure at this day. There, on either bank of such a river as the simple 
French monk had never seen before, was an everchanging Eden of maple, oak 
and beech; while, over all, the giant pines lifted heads defiant of the storm. 
Then, on countless islets of emerald green, summer had spread her honey feast 
for humming-bird and bee. The strange beauty of the forest, fresh with the 
life of summer, the colours and scents of unknown flowers, the ever-changing 
panorama of river, lake, and island archipelago, must have awakened new 
sensations of pious happiness and gratitude in the breast of the Franciscan 
missionary. The voyage proceeded. As with slow steps the voyageurs carried 
their canoes by the portage, long and difficult, that leads past the Falls of 
the Calumet, the pious Catholics must have felt scandalized to see their 
heathen guides cast in their tobacco offerings to the guardian Manitou, the 
water-fiend, as it seemed to Le Caron, who had his lair in the recesses of 
those dark precipices crowned with sombre pines, or beneath the arches of 
those masses of descending water lashed into a sea of foam. The mission 
ary tried to dissuade them from this act of devil-worship so abhorrent to his 
soul. But the Indians persisted in their act of unmeaning superstition, 
saying to Le Caron that it was the custom of their fathers. On from thence 
the canoes held their way without interruption, past the mouth of the river 
which the town of Pembroke had not yet poisoned with the saw-dust of its 
lumber mills; on, where for seven miles the river became a lovely lake, 
beneath the ink-black shadows and sheer precipice ot the Eagle rock (Cape 
Oiseau) till the roar of rapids and the death-dance of breakers fatal to many 
a gallant lumberman s boat warned them to the portage of De Joachim. 
Thence, for twenty miles, straight as bird can fly, the Ottawa lay pent 
between its deep and dark mountain shores. Thence past the Rocher 
Capitain, where the imprisoned river struggles like a huge serpent between 
its rocky barriers ; past the Deux Rivieres, where it escapes into a wider 
channel ; at length they reach the junction of the tributary river Mat- 
tawa. That scene is little changed since the seventeenth century. 
There the congregated hills, covered with gloomy frondage, still harbour 
the beasts of prey which have become extinct elsewhere in Upper Canada; 
there still the scream of the eagle is not yet silenced by the whistle of 
the newly arrived locomotive. Ascending the Mattawa some forty miles the 

The Recollet Mission of Canada, 41 

voyagers launched their canoes and men on the marge of a limpid lake, 
bearing the name, as it does still, of the Nipissing Indians. All day long 
they saw leafy shores, and verdure-covered islands seemed to float by them 
in the depth of blue. Avoiding the villages of the Nipissings, a nation who, 
as the Huron chief told the much-believing Franciscan, w r ere a nation of 
sorcerers, and whose country, fair as it seemed to the eye, was the abode of 
demons and familiar spirits, they passed down the stream now called 
French River, and reached the country (near Lake Huron) of the Indian 
tribe afterwards known as the Cheveux Releves. These bestowed the most 
elaborate care in plaiting and dressing their long black hair. They next 
reached the principal Indian town of Carhagonha, which Le Caron found 
to present a seeming approach to civilization such as he had seen in 
no othe rlndian community. It contained a multitude of large-sized houses, 
each with the household fires of many families, and was defended by a 
triple rampart of palisades, thirty-five feet high,, supporting a gallery with a 
breastwork, whence stones and missiles could be hurled against a foe. Here, 
on their arrival, the Hurons built a house of suitable size for the missionary, 
who at once began his labours to teach and convert them. A few days after 
his arrival he beheld, with the joy of one who sees a brother from whom he 
has long been parted, Champlain and his ten French soldiers. The true- 
hearted priest pressed the illustrious soldier to his heart. 

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

But our thoughts must turn from these wielders of the spiritual weapons 
to that great man whose influence with the Indian heathen was far greater 
than that of any " Chief of the Black Robe." These benighted pagans 
were much more anxious for Champlain s aid with the carnal weapon. Again 
and again they prayed him to come once more to their aid against tin- 
common enemy. After mature deliberation, Champlain and Pontgrave 
agreed that the wisest course for the good ot New France would be to throw 
in their lot with the Hurons and Algonquins, to strike a blow at the Iroquois 

42 Canada and the Canadian People. 

ascendency, and endeavour to form out of the shifting and disunited tribes 
of Canada a confederacy capable of resisting the formidable league south 
of Lake Ontario. Of such a confederacy it was intended that the French 
colony should be the centre, that its armies should be led and officered by 
Frenchmen, and that its bond of union should be allegiance to the faith 
taught by French missionaries. Thus the Indian race, indifferent to dan 
gers from its numbers, and its skill in the tactics of the wilderness, would be 
ruled by being divided. It was a plausible, scheme, and to the last con 
tinued to be the policy of the French colony of Canada. To a certain 
extent it was successful ; the Algonquins were made the faithful allies of 
New France, the Hurons were exterminated in the course of the struggle. 
The French power stood in the path of the Iroquois power to the complete 
ascendency over all tribes north of the lakes, which they would, no doubt, 
otherwise have obtained ; but the Iroquois threw in their weight against 
New France in the English war of conquest, as they did against American 
Independence in 1778, and American aggression in 1812. For New France 
to side with the Indian tribes of Canada against those south of the lakes 
was inevitable, but she thereby incurred the hostility of the boldest, best 
organized and most terrible enemies that the savagery of the wilderness 
could match against civilization. 

A war council was held (June, 1615) at "the Sault," of the chiefs of 
the Ottawa Algonquins and of the Hurons. It was stipulated by Cham- 
plain that they should raise a force of twenty-five hundred warriors, to be 
in immediate readiness for invading the Iroquois territory. He himself 
would join them with all his available force of French soldiers. To this the 
Indian chiefs, after much discussion and many speeches, agreed. Cham- 
plain went back to Quebec to muster his force and prepare what was 
necessary for the expedition ; but when he returned to the place of meeting 
he found that the volatile and impatient Indians had set fire to their camp 
and departed, taking with them, as has been already related, the missionary 
Le Caron. But Champlain was determined not to be baffled by the fickle 
ness of his allies. , Taking with him only his French soldiers, one of whom 
was the trusty and intrepid Etienne Brule, his interpreter, and ten Indians, 
with two large canoes, he made his way over the track of his former expe 
dition up the Ottawa as far as Allumette. Beyond this he followed the 
course of the Ottawa, till among the sombre hills of Mattawa he reached 
its junction with the river of that name. Following the course of that 
stream, and crossing Lake Nipissing, he reached the Huron country, not 
without having undergone severe suffering from hunger, for the ten Indians, 
with the usual improvident glutting of their race, had gorged themselves 

f HxF 


The Recollet Mission of Canada. 


with the entire commissariat supply for the voyage, and they were glad to 
gather blueberries and wild raspberries for sustenance. Encountering 
some of the Che veux Releve s Indians, of whom mention has been made, 
they found that they were within a day s journey of the great inland sea of 
the Hurons. Soon launched upon the broad bosom of the " Mer Douce, 
the Sweet- Water Sea of the West, he held his course for over a hundred 
miles along its shores, and through the mazes of its multitudinous islands. 
Crossing Byng Inlet, Parry Sound and Matchedash Bay, he reached, as the 
terminal point of his voyage, the inlet of the bay near the present 
village of Penetanguishene. Then they left their canoes hidden in the 
woods, and struck inland for the Huron town Otouacha. Champlain found 
this to be one of the better class of Indian towns. It was of long, bark dwell 
ings, surrounded by a triple line of palisades, and stretching far into the 
distance were fields of maize, the ripe yellow spears of grain sparkling in 
the sunshine, and the great yellow pumpkins lolling over the ground. At 
Otouacha Champlain met with enthusiastic welcome. " The man with 
the breast of iron " was feasted again and again, amid rows of stolid 
warriors squatting on their haunches around him, while the younger squaws 
handed round the huge platter containing boiled maize, fried salmon, 
venison, and the flesh of various other animals, not to be too curiously 
enquired into. 

Pending the complete muster of his Indian allies, Champlain made 
an extensive tour of observation through the Huron country. At Carha- 
gouha, as has been mentioned, he met the Recollet missionary, Le Caron. 
He visited a number of the Huron villages and towns, the largest of which 
was Cahiague, in the modern township of Orillia. This contained some 
two hundred of the usual, long, bark dwellings. The entire number of those 
towns in the Huron territory of sixty or seventy square miles was eighteen, 
according to Champlain s estimate. Cahiague was now swarming with 
hosts of warriors in readiness for the march. It was known that a neigh 
bouring tribe had promised to send into the Iroquois territory a reinforce 
ment of five hundred warriors. Of course, the inevitable feasting and 
speech-making went on for several days. At length the muster was com 
plete, and, laden with their canoes and stock of maize for commissariat, 
they began their march. They crossed the portage to Balsam Lake, 
and passed across the chain of lakes of which the River Trent is 
one of the outlets. Those lakes are at the present day among the most 
desolate features of Canadian scenery. Nothing varies the monotonous 
wall of woodland which fringes the horizon. The canoe of the traveller 
moves along forests of reeds, hundreds of acres of extinct forest growth 

46 Canada and the Canadian People. 

cemeteries of dead trees, with not a sign of life or movement, except when 
the cry of the startled crane or heron breaks the silence of the solitary 


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

The Huron chiefs and warriors seemed to have no plan and very little 
heart for attacking the town. Their idea of a siege seemed to be to leap 
and dance round the palisades, screaming out epithets of abuse, and 
shooting their arrows at the strong, wooden buildings which they could not 
penetrate. At length Champlain called them together, and upbraiding them 
in no measured terms for their inaction and want of courage, proposed a 
plan by which the town might be assailed with more effect. Borrowing his 
tactics from the moveable towers of mediaeval warfare, Champlain, aided by 
his few Frenchmen and the Hurons, constructed a huge wooden tower capable 
of commanding the wall, and with a platform sufficiently spacious to support 
a body of Frenchmen armed with the arquebuse. Two hundred Hurons 

The Recollet Mission of Canada. 47 

dragged the tower, to which ropes had been fastened, close to the palisades, 
and the French arquebusiers at the top began their fire on the naked 
savages densely crowded on the rampart below them. The Iroquois stood 
their ground with rare courage, even when exposed to the terrors of a mode 
of attack to which they could offer no effectual resistance. But the 
excitable Hurons lost all self-control. Instead of making a united effort 
to storm the palisade under Champlain s leadership, they yelled, danced, 
gesticulated, and showered aimless arrows at the defences of the Iroquois. 
Champlain s voice was drowned in the tumult. The attack was discontinued 
after three hours ; the Hurons falling back to their camp, which they had taken 
the precaution of fortifying. Champlain was wounded in the leg and knee 
by arrows. Losing all heart from their repulse, the Hurons resolved to 
remain where they were for a few days, in order to see if the five hundred 
promised allies would come ; if not, to withdraw homewards. After five 
days waiting, they left their camp, retiring in what order they could 
maintain, and carrying in the centre of the main body their wounded, of 
whom Champlain was one. He was packed in a basket and carried on the 
back of an able-bodied Huron brave. Meanwhile the Iroquois hovered on 
their flanks. At last the miserable retreat was ended. They launched their 
canoes and crossed the lake in safety, paddling over the sheet of water 
between the eastern mouth of Bay Quinte and Wolf Island. Having 
landed, Champlain learned conclusively the value of an Indian s promise. 
The Huron chiefs, in return for Champlain s promised aid in war, 
had undertaken that at the close of their expedition they would furnish 
him with a guide to Quebec. They now very coolly declared that it was 
impossible ; he must winter with them, and return in the spring with their 
trade canoes down the St. Lawrence. And so the irregular army disbanded, 
each eager to return home, and all quite indifferent as to what might become 
of their late ally. Fortunately a chief named Durantal, an Algonquin, 
whose abode was on the shore of a small lake north of Kingston, most 
probably Lake Sharbot, offered Champlain his hospitality. With him the 
French leader stayed during the first part of the winter. Durantal s 
dwelling seems to have been much more comfortable and better provided 
than most Indian houses. It was necessary to wait till the setting-in of the 
coldest season of the winter should freeze the marshes and rivers that lay in 
their path before they could make the journey to the Huron towns. Mean 
time Champlain amused himself by sending the shot from his arquebuse 
among the multitudinous wild fowl that flocked and flew around the lake 
shore. On one occasion he had a narrow escape from being lost in the 
woods. A deer-hunt was being prepared for, on the banks of a small river 

48 Canada and the Canadian People. 

which had its outlet into the lake. They constructed two walls of forts 
connected by interlaced boughs and saplings, which, standing apart at a 
wide distance, converged and met. At the angle where they met, the walls 
were strengthened with timber on each side, so as to form an enclosure 
from which there was no escape. The hunters then dispersed through the 
forest and drove the deer into the enclosure, where they were easily 
slaughtered. It happened that Champlain was posted deeper in the forest 
than the rest, and he was attracted by the appearance of a strange red-headed 
bird, unlike any that he had seen before. It flew before him from tree to 
tree ; he followed, s.o absorbed in watching it that when on a sudden it took 
flight and disappeared from view, he had lost all trace of the direction 
whence he had come. He had no pocket compass. All round him was the 
mountainous maze of forest, no one tree to be distinguished from another. 
The night closed on him wandering and perplexed, and he lay down to 
sleep at the foot of a tree. The next day he wandered on once more and 
came to a dark pool, deep in the shadows of the pine woods. Here he shot 
some wild fowl with his arquebuse, and flashing some powder among the 
dry leaves, managed to light a fire and cook it. Then, drenched by rain, 
he lay down once more on the bare ground to sleep. Another day and 
another night he passed in the same way. At length he came to a brook, 
and following its course he reached the river just at the spot where his 
friends were encamped. They received him joyfully, having searched 
everywhere for him in vain. 

December, at last, brought the true, hard frost of winter; and after 
nineteen days journey they reached the Huron town of Cahiague. There 
they rested for a few days, then proceeded to Carhagouha, where Cham- 
plain found the missionary, Le Caron, in good health, and still actively 
engaged in the good work of conversion. Le Caron had by this time 
made some progress in the mysteries of the Huron tongue. Champlain 
and he visited the Tobacco Nation, a tribe south-west of the Huron, and of 
kindred origin. They also visited the Cheveux Releves, to whose custom 
of cleanliness and neatness he pays a tribute of admiration, but justly 
condemns their total abstinence from wearing apparel. Champlain was 
about to proceed homeward when he was delayed by having to act as 
umpire in a quarrel between a tribe of the Allumette Algonquins and the 
Hurons of Cahiague. The latter had given the Algonquins an Iroquois, 
with the kind design that the Algonquins should amuse themselves by 
torturing him to death. The ungrateful Algonquins on the other hand 
adopted the man, and gave him food as one of themselves. Therefore a 
Huron warrior stabbed the Iroquois, whereupon he was forthwith slain: 

The Recollet Mission of Canada. 49 

War would have been the result, but that fortunately they asked Champlain 
to decide between them. He pointed out to them the exceeding folly of 
quarrelling among themselves when the Iroquois were waiting to destroy 
them both, and certainly w y ould destroy them, if they became disunited. 
He then pointed out the great advantages both sides would gain from the 
trade with the French, and urged them to shake hands like brothers, and 
be at peace. This good advice was taken, fortunately both for the Indians 
and for New France. At last Champlain went homewards by the circuitous 
route of the Upper Ottawa, while the frequent presence of roving Iroquois 
bands in the St. Lawrence region rendered it the only secure one. He took 
with him his Huron friend and entertainer, Durantal. At Quebec it had 
been rumoured by the Indians that Champlain was dead ; great therefore 
was the joy of all the dwellers in Quebec, when it was seen that the Founder 
had returned safe and well. 


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

Champlain s Difficulties at Quebec. 51 

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

5 2 Canada and the Canadian People. 

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

So great were the dissensions with regard to the fur trade monopoly, 
and so bitter the wrangling between the merchants of St. Malo and Rouen 
on the one side, and that of Rochelle on the other, that the great noble who 
held the post of Governor of Canada suppressed the company formed by 
Champlain, and gave the fur monopoly into the hands of the Huguenot 
merchants, William and Emery de Caen. It must be remembered that the 
Huguenots of Rochelle had not yet broken out into open rebellion, and that 
their irrepressible self-assertion was backed by this influence of powerful 
robbers. The brothers De Caen undertook all sorts of pledges to support 
the Catholic missions, and to promote the interests of colonization, which 
pledges they respected as little as the company they superseded had res 
pected theirs. Such confusion and ill-feeling resulted from their rule at 
Quebec that Champlain addressed a petition to the king. But a new influ 
ence had come into operation at Paris, which was destined not only to set 
aside the ascendency of fanatical interlopers like the De Caens, but to influ 
ence powerfully the whole future of New France. The worthless historic- 
named noble who held the post of Viceroy of Canada, becoming weary of the 
correspondence and worry it caused him, sold it, such being the political 
morality of France in those days, to another noble, his nephew. The noblesse 
of those days, not yet ripe for the guillotine, were either profligates or fanatics. 
The new Governor of Canada was an amateur in the conversion of souls. 
He had left his place at Versailles, and had entered into holy orders. His 
mind, such as it was, a Jesuit confessor directed. It was suggested to him 
that the strength of that mighty order which had been in part put forth at 
the ill-fated Acadian settlement might be exerted with happier results in 
converting the heathen in Canada. But the Jesuit enterprise in New 
France and in the Huron country deserves a chapter to itself. In the mean 
time the influence of the elder De Caen was being attended with the worst 

Cham plain s Difficulties at Quebec. 53 

scandals in Quebec. He not only insisted on holding his interminable 
Huguenot services, but forced Catholics to join them. He was continually 
devising new insults against the Jesuit Fathers who had now undertaken 
the mission of Canada. And more than any preceding monopolists, he 
forced all trade with the Indians into his own hands, in one year exporting, 
in place of the ordinary number of beaver skins, which did not exceed 
twelve thousand, as many as twenty-two thousand. In spite of the greed 
and the sinister bigotry of De Caen, the colony showed signs of improve 
ment. The inhabitants of Quebec now numbered 105. Several families 
were self-supporting, subsisting on the grain and vegetables yielded by 
their farms. Although De Caen, in direct violation of his solemn promise, 
long delayed furnishing the men and funds needed to rebuild the fort which 
was by this time untenable against an enemy, Champlain s complaints at 
length had their effect, and a new fort was begun. 

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

This was in 1627. In 1628 the company were pledged to transport to 
Quebec several hundred artisans, and before 1643 to import at least four 
thousand immigrants, men and women ; to provide for their maintenance 
for three years after their arrival in the colony, and to give them farms 
already cleared. None but Catholics were to be admitted as settlers. His 
torians like Parkman, to whom the commonplaces of nineteenth century 

54 Canada and the Canadian People, 

toleration seem applicable to all times and conditions of human society, have 
exclaimed against this exclusion of the Huguenots, and have speculated on 
the benefit to Canada of a large immigration of French colonists during the 
persecution, which forced them from the country against which they had so 
persistently plotted and rebelled during the seventeenth century. But New 
France s experience of Huguenot rule under De Caen does not support 
the conclusion that what is called Richelieu s bigotry was anything else 
than political common sense. Unity was above all else needful in a com 
munity which, among the multitudinous savage nations around it, had count 
less foes and not a single friend. The Huguenots had ever shown them 
selves intolerant, tyrannical, and impracticable. A considerable number of 
them settled in Ireland about the close of the seventeenth century. The 
Protestant oligarchy opened its ranks to persecuted Protestants, many of 
whom bore the noblest French names. As a consequence the new impor 
tation strengthened the hands of the oppressors of the Celtic and Catholic 
proletariat, and intensified religious bitterness. The Huguenot immigration 
to Ireland is perhaps no slight factor in the anarchic deadlock of the Ireland 
of to-day. 

Quebec was now in the utmost need of supplies of food, a famine being 
threatened. The new company showed its vigour by taking prompt meas 
ures to avert this calamity. A number of transports laden with immigrants 
and abundant stores of provisions, seeds, and agricultural tools, left Quebec 
in April, 1628. They were destined never to arrive, though watched for 
week after week by the starving garrison. For, in the meantime, war had 
broken out between England and France, or rather between France and 
the worthless favourite who controlled the weak mind and weaker principles 
of the first Charles Stuart. The Duke of Buckingham had received 
a slight from the French Government. He forced on his country an abor 
tive war in aid of the Huguenots of Rochelle, now in open rebellion against 
France. When war was declared, a favourable opportunity presented itself 
for taking possession of the French colony in Canada. The "cruel eyes 
that bore to look on torture, but dared not look on war " were turned 
greedily toward New France. And a Huguenot renegade was not wanting 
to be his tool in ruining Quebec. David Kirk, though on the father s side 
of Scotch extraction, was to all intents and purposes a French citizen of 
Dieppe. He was a zealous Huguenot, and with his brothers, Louis and 
Thomas, Kirk had been among the loudest singers of psalms, and wranglers 
in controversy, who had so troubled the peace of Quebec. For this he had 
been expelled by Champlain as soon as Richelieu s new company was 
established. He now saw his way to revenge. With true Huguenot hatred 

Champlain s Difficulties at Quebec. 55 

against the country of his birth and the colony out of whose monopolised 
trade he had made a fortune, De Caen, through a creature of his, one Michel, 
whom Charlevoix describes as " a fierce Calvinist," " Calviniste fiirieux" 
suggested a descent by a sufficient naval force on Quebec. The suggestion 
was at once carried out. David Kirk, who, as a mariner, had considerable 
experience, and knew especially well the navigation of the St. Lawrence, 
was appointed Admiral, many Huguenot refugees being under his com 
mand. But at Quebec the colonists were confidently awaiting the arrival 
of the promised fleet laden with provisions from France. On July gth, 
1628, two men from the outpost at Cape Tourmente made their way to 
Quebec, and announced that they had seen six large ships anchored at 
Tadousac. Father Le Caron and another Recollet friar volunteered to go 
in a canoe to ascertain the truth. They had not passed the Isle of Orleans 
when they met a canoe whose Indian crew warned them to return to 
Quebec, and shewed them a wounded man at the bottom of the canoe. It 
was the French commandant at Cape Tourmente. The six ships were 
English men-of-war, and their destination was to capture Quebec. Cham- 
plain had but scant means of resistance. The fort was little better than a 
ruin, two of the main towers had fallen, the magazine contained but fifty 
pounds of powder. For this, Quebec had to thank the malicious neglect of 
duty of the Huguenot De Caen. Yet, Champlain resolved on resistance to 
the last.; even with starving garrison and ruined fort he assigned to every 
man his post, and when some Basque fishermen brought a summons to 
surrender from the Huguenot renegade Kirk, he refused. Meantime, the 
disastrous news had arrived that a battle had taken place between the four 
French ships of war and the squadron of six ships under Kirk. The 
French had been worsted, and all the fleet of transports, laden with the 
supplies so long expected, had been captured by the English and their 
Huguenot captains. Within the walls of Quebec the handful of defenders 
were now brought to the last extremity. Yet so boldly defiant was Cham- 
plain s bearing, and such his -character for determined courage, that the 
Huguenot feared to attack him, and cruised about the St. Lawrence gulf, 
doing what mischief he could by destroying fishing boats. In Quebec the 
population subsisted on roots, acorns, and a daily diminishing pittance of 
pounded peas. Champlain had even conceived a plan to leave the women 
and children whatever food remained, and himself, with the garrison, invade 
the Iroquois country to the south, seize on one of their villages, entrench 
himself therein, and subsist on the stores of buried maize invariably to be 
found in Iroquois towns. Meanwhile Kirk s squadron returned to England, 
and Quebec, left without supplies, was almost perishing. But in July, 

56 Canada and the Canadian People. 

1628, the English fleet came once more in sight, and though Champlain 
ordered his garrison, now reduced to sixteen, to man the ramparts, when a 
boat with a white flag arrived with a proposal to surrender, he accepted 
it, the conditions being that the French were to be conveyed to their own 
country, each soldier being allowed to take with him furs to the value of 
twenty crowns. The fort and the town were given up to the English, who 
made no harsh or unfair use of their conquest. The few farmers were en 
couraged to remain. The Recollet and Jesuit Missions were not interfered 
with. And so, for a short space the Red Cross flag waved over the rock of 
Quebec, whence, a century later, it was to float permanently, or until 
succeeded by the ensign of a new Canadian nationality. 

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



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

For two peaceful years his rule continued. It will have been seen that 
Champlain s nature had always a strong tinge of asceticism. In his last 
days the fires of military ardour and of adventurous exploration seem to 
have died out. The stern, practical soldier spirit was purified and calmed. 
His main care henceforward was for the religious and moral interests of his 
colony. In this he was well seconded by the Fathers of the Jesuit missions 
whose history will be given in another chapter. Under Champlain s rule 
Quebec became like a convent. Religious services were held at each one 
of the nine canonical hours from prime to compline. The traffic with 
the Indians for fire water was no longer permitted. Indeed it is a note 
worthy fact to the credit of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada that 
they have from the first done all they could to suppress this iniquity. But 

58 Canada and the Canadian People. 

the Indians were encouraged to visit the fort, and when they did so they 
were kindly received, and encouraged by every means to enter the Christian 
fold. As the bells of the church which the Governor had built were ring 
ing for mass on Christmas Day, 1635, the spirit of Samuel de Champlain 
passed quietly away. So, after many hardships, battles and wanderings, 
the life of one of the greatest men of his generation closed in peace and 
honour, and with every consolation of the faith he loved. The entire colony 
of New France attended his funeral. The funeral oration, in adequate 
terms of affection and respect, was pronounced over his remains by the 
Jesuit Father Le Jeune ; and over the spot where he was buried a fitting 
monument was raised. So passed away from French history the type of 
soldier, half hero, half saint a type which another. ten years was to dis 
play in Puritan England. 


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



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

The first superior of the Jesuit residence at Quebec was Father Le 
Jeune, who came to Canada when the piratical seizure of Quebec by the 
Huguenot Kirk had been annulled by order of the English King, to whose 
service Kirk professed to belong. Le Jeune arrived at Quebec on July 
5th, 1632. He found the Jesuit residence a heap of ruins, the Huguenots 
having entertained a special hatred of that order. The earliest settler 
in New France had been a man named Hebert, who had by thrift and 
industry made the ground around his house for some acres a tolerably 
thriving farm, and had built an unusually commodious house. To that 
house Father Le Jeune now repaired in order to celebrate his first mass in 
the new country. He was received with tears of joy by the widow Hebert 
and her pious family. That first of duties performed, Le Jeune and his 
companions set themselves at once to rebuild their residence, with such 
skill and materials as they could command, and to cultivate anew the fields 
left waste so long. The residence was on the eastern side of the little river 
St. Charles, probably on the very spot where Cartier spent the winter of 
1535. It was fortified by a square enclosure of palisades", no unnecessary 
precaution. Within this were two buildings, one of which was store-room, 
workshop, and bakery ; the other a rude frame building, thickly plastered 

60 Canada and the Canadian People. 

with mud, and thatched with the long dry grass from the river banks. It 
had four principal rooms, one used as refectory, a second as kitchen, a 
third as a sleeping place for workmen. The remaining or largest room was 
the chapel. All were furnished in the most primitive manner possible. The 
chapel had at first no other ornament than two richly executed engravings, 
but the Father had now obtained an image of a dove, which was placed 
over the altar, seeing which, an Indian asked if that was the bird that caused 
the thunder. They had also images of the Jesuit Saints, Loyola and Xavier, 
and three statues of the Virgin. Four cells which opened from the refec 
tory gave lodging to six priests. First, Jean de Brebceuf, a noble of ancient 
family in Normandy ^ a man stalwart and tall, with the figure and mien of a 
soldier. Next was Masse, who had been the associate of Father Biard in 
the Acadian mission of whose failure we have made mention. There were 
also Daniel, Davost, De Noue , and Father Le Jeune. Their first object 
was to learn the Algonquin language. The traders, who did not love 
Jesuitism, refused to help them. At last, Le Jeune sighted a hunter who 
had lived in France some time, and consequently could speak French or 
Algonquin equally well. This man, Pierre, was one of those outcasts who 
had learned only the vices of civilization, but whose want of practice in the 
woodcraft of savage life unfitted him to support himself as other savages 
do. By a present now and then of a little tobacco, Le Jeune prevailed on 
Pierre to become his private tutor, and speedily gained a working knowledge 
of the Indian dialect. To improve this, he resolved to accept an invitation 
from Pierre and his brothers to join their winter hunting party. Many were 
the hardships that befel Le Jeune in that expedition. His friends, with ill- 
judged zeal, had persuaded him to take with his provisions a small keg of 
wine. The provisions were soon devoured by the gluttonous savages, and 
the first night that he spent with them, Pierre tapped the wine cask, got 
drunk, and would have killed Le Jeune had he not sought refuge in the 
forest, where he passed the night under a tree. By day he accompanied 
their march, carrying his share of the baggage. Towards evening the 
squaws set up the poles which supported the birch-bark covering which was 
their sole detence against an unusually severe winter. The men shovelled 
the snow with their snow-shoes till it made a wall three or four feet high, 
enclosing the space occupied by the wigwam. On the earth thus bared 
they strewed cedar or spruce boughs for a bed. A bear skin served as a 
door at the opening by which they entered ; in the centre a. huge fire of 
pine logs blazed fiercely through the night. At the top of the wigwam was 
an opening so large that Le Jeune, as he lay on his spruce bough bed at 
night, could watch the stars through it. In this narrow space, men, women, 

The Jesuit Missions. 61 

children and dogs were huddled together. Attempt at decency there was 
none. Le Jeune classes the sufferings he went through in this expedi 
tion under four chief heads : cold, heat, dogs and smoke. Through crevice 
after crevice the icy blast crept in, threatening to freeze him on one side, 
while on the other the intense heat of the pine fire nearly roasted him. The 
smoke that filled the wigwam was an intolerable nuisance ; when a snow 
storm took place, it was often necessary for all of them to lie with their 
faces to the ground, in order to avoid its penetrating acrid fumes. The 
dogs were of some use, for by sleeping around where he lay they kept him 
warm, but they were in intimate alliance with another pest, the fleas, 
innumerable as voracious, which often rendered sleep impossible. At length 
he became so ill and worn that one of the better-natured Indians offered to 
carry him back to Quebec. Their frail canoe narrowly escaped being 
crushed by the floating ice-masses, it being the beginning of April, when 
the ice fields break up. They were obliged to camp as best they might on 
the Island of Orleans. Le Jeune narrowly escaped drowning, but his com 
panion had sufficient strength to draw him up to the fixed ice, and at three 
o clock in the morning the long absent Superior knocked at the door of the 
residence of Notre Dame des Anges, Our Lady of the Angels. 

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

62 Canada and the Canadian People. 

rolling the stone of Sisyphus up an interminable hill? If the Church of 
God and the Order of Saint Ignatius Loyola could but gain thereby, what 
mattered the life of martyrdom, the death of fire ? 

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

The Jesuit Missions. 63 

the ave, credo, and the commandments in Latin ; and were proficients in the 
art of crossing themselves. The Jesuits also taught the Hurons to build 
fortifications with flanking towers wherefrom the arquebusiers could harass 
an attacking foe. 

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

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

On November 2nd, 1640, Fathers Brebosuf and Chaumonot left Sainte 

64 Canada and the Canadian People. 

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

Jesuit Missions. 65 

the cry, " The Iroquois are coming ! " A crowd of painted savages scream 
ing their war-whoop were advancing on the defenceless town. Daniel 
hurried from house to house calling on the unconverted to repent and be 
baptised, and so escape hell. The people gathered round him imploring 
baptism ; he dipped his handkerchief in water and baptised them by asper 
sion. The Iroquois had already set the town in a blaze. " Fly," he said 
to his congregation " I will remain to stop them from pursuit. We shall 
meet in Heaven !" Robed in his priestly vestments, he went forth to meet 
the Iroquois, confronting them with a face lit up with unearthly enthusiasm. 
For a moment they recoiled, then pierced his body with a shower of arrows. 
Then a ball from an arquebuse pierced his heart, and he fell gasping the name 
of Jesus. They flung his mutilated corpse into the flames of his church, a 
fit funeral pyre for such a man. 

This was the beginning of the end of the Huron Nation. Next year 
(1649) the Huron village which the Jesuits had named after St. Louis was 
taken by surprise. The priests of this mission station were Breboeuf and 
Lalemant. They were urged by their converts to fly with them into the 
forest, but reflecting that they might be able to cheer some of the congrega 
tion in the hour of torture, as by baptizing a repentant heathen to snatch 
his soul from perdition, they refused to escape. Breboeuf and Lalemant, 
with a large train of Huron captives, were led away to be tortured. The 
Iroquois then attacked Sainte Marie, but the French laymen, with their 
hundred Christian Hurons, assailed them with such impetuous valour that 
they were glad to retreat to the ruined palisade of St. Louis. But before 
they left for their own country, on March i6th, 1649, the Iroquois bound 
Father Breboeuf to a stake. He continued to exhort his fellow-captives, bid 
ding them suffer patiently pangs that would soon be over, and telling them 
how soon they would be in the Heaven that would never end. The Iro 
quois burned him with pine wood torches all over his body to silence him. 
When he still continued to pray aloud, they cut away his under lip, and 
thrust a red hot iron into his mouth. But the descendant of the ancient 
Norman nobles stood defiant and undaunted. Next they led in Lalemant, 
round whose body they fastened strips of bark smeared with pitch. Lale 
mant threw himself at Breboeuf s feet. " We are made a spectacle to the 
world, to angels, and to men !" he cried, in the words of St. Paul. They 
then fastened round Breboeuf s neck a collar of red-hot hatchet-blades, but 
still the courage of the Christian martyr would not yield. A renegade 
Christian poured boiling water on his head in mockery of baptism ; still he 
would give no signs of giving way. This, to an Indian, is the most provok 
ing rebuff. If he fails by his tortures to wring out a cry of pain from a 


Canada and the Canadian People. 

prisoner, it is held a disgrace and evil omen to himself. Enraged, they cut 
pieces of flesh from his limbs before his eyes. They then scalped him, and 
when he was nearly dead cut open his breast and drank his blood, thinking 
it would make them brave. An Iroquois chief then cut out his heart and 
devoured it, in the hope that then he could endue himself with the courage 
of so valiant an enemy. Next day the defenders of Sainte Marie found 
the blackened and mutilated bodies of the two priests amid the ruins of the 
St. Louis mission. The skull of Brebceuf, preserved in the base of a silver 
bust of the martyr, which his family sent from France, is preserved at the 
nunnery of the Hotel Dieu at Quebec. 

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

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



O Champlain succeeded a Governor of very similar temperament, 
Charles Herault de Montmagny, with his lieutenant, De Lisle, 
and a brilliant train of French gentlemen. Both Montmagny and 
De Lisle were members of the semi-military, semi-ecclesiasti 
cal order of the Knights of St. John, of Malta. Both were 
therefore in thorough accord with the Jesuits in favouring that 
system of paternal government by the priesthood which, fostered 
by them, has more or less prevailed in New France ever since, and of which 
many survivals exist in French Canada at the present day. Montmagny 
was the bearer of letters from some of the most illustrious nobles and the 
greatest ladies of France, expressing their interest in the Canadian mission. 
The Relations of the Canadian Jesuits, especially those of Le Jeune, had been 
read throughout all France. The apostolic lives of these most self-denying 
of missionaries had awakened a general enthusiasm, of which the Jesuits 
throughout France took full advantage to stir up the susceptible minds of 
female devotees to aid, with prayers and money, the good work in Canada. 
Some person unknown to men, but blessed of God, was about to found a 
school for Huron children at Quebec. In one convent thirteen- of the 
sisters had bound themselves by a vow to the work of converting the 
Indian women and children. In the church of Montmartre a nun lay 
prostrate day and night before the altar, praying for the Canadian mission. 
Accordingly, in 1637, the Jesuits succeeded in building at Quebec a college 
for French boys and a seminary for Huron children. The commencement 
of the work with the latter was not hopeful for the few original pupils. One 
was taken away by his father, four ran away, and two killed themselves by 
over-eating. The Jesuits were enabled- to complete both buildings by a 
generous donation of six thousand crowns by a French nobleman. An 
appeal was made by Le Jeune, in his Relations, to the effect that he prayed 
God might put it into the heart of some virtuous and charitable lady to 

68 Canada and the Canadian People. 

come out and undertake the training of the female children of the Indians. 
A young lady of rank whose name is one of the most remarkable in the 
early history of New France, Marie Madeleine de la Peltrie, when a girl of 
seventeen, had a romantic longing to enter a convent. This her father 
strongly opposed, being exceedingly fond of his only child. He insisted on 
taking her into the gaieties of fashionable society, and induced her to 
accept the hand of M. de la Peltrie, a young nobleman of excellent dispo 
sition. The marriage was a happy one, but Madame de la Peltrie was left 
a childless widow at twenty-two. She read Le Jeune s appeal to the women 
of France ; her old religious fervour returned ; and she resolved to devote 
all her wealth and the rest of her life to founding a sisterhood for teaching 
the Indian girls at Quebec. But her father, dismayed at the prospect of 
losing his only child, threatened to disinherit her if she went to Canada. 
He pressed her to marry again ; but her Jesuit confessor suggested a means 
of escape. She w r as to pretend to marry a nobleman of great wealth and 
thorough devotion to the Church. The marriage took place. Her father 
fell ill and died before he could discover the deception. Madame de la 
Peltrie was caressed and honoured by some of the greatest ladies in France. 
The Queen herself sent for her. At Tours the Superior of the Ursuline 
Convent, with all the nuns, led her to the altar and sang Te Deum. They 
threw themselves at her feet, each weeping as she entreated to be allowed 
to go with her to Canada. That privilege was accorded to two ; a young 
nun of noble family, whose pure and earnest religious temperament was 
united with strong common sense and a natural gaiety which in after years 
shed brightness on the Ursuline Convent at Quebec. The second was the 
celebrated Marie de ITncarnation. In the history of these times we find 
ourselves in an atmosphere of miracle. Jesuitism had brought back to 
Europe the faith of the Middle Ages. With the age of faith came back the age 
of miracles, of dreams, voices, and visions ; the relation of which, by witnesses 
whose honesty of purpose is above suspicion, make them to the true believer 
additional proofs of supernatural religion, while the heretic only sees in them 
phenomena of constant recurrence in the history of religious enthusiasm, 
and capable of easy psychological explanation. Marie de 1 Incarnation 
beheld in a dream an unknown lady who took her by the hand ; and then 
they walked towards the sea. They entered a magnificent temple where 
the Virgin Mother of God sat on a throne. Her head was turned aside, and 
she was looking on a distant scene of wild mountain and valley. Three 
times the Virgin kissed her, whereon in the excess of her joy she awoke. 
Her Jesuit confessor interpreted the dream : the wild land to which the 
Virgin was looking was Canada, and when for the first time she saw 

The Beginning of Montreal. 69 

Madame de la Peltrie she recognized in her the lady seen in her dream. 
The Ursuline nuns, with Madame de la Peltrie, arrived at Quebec on 
August ist, 1659. They were received with every honour by Montmagny 
and soon were established in a massive stone convent on the site of their 
present building. Their romantic garden where Marie de St. Bernard and 
Marie de ITncarnation used to gather roses is as beautiful as ever ; and an 
ash tree beneath whose shade the latter used to catechise the Indian girls is 
flourishing still. The good nuns devoted themselves with much ardour to 
their task, and taught their pupils such a righteous horror of the opposite 
sex, that a little girl whom a man had sportively taken by the hand, ran off 
crying for a bowl of water to wash away the polluting touch of such an un 
hallowed creature. A nobleman named Dauversiere one day while at his 
devotions heard a voice commanding him to establish an hospital on an 
island called Montreal, in Canada. At Paris a young priest named Jean 
Jacques Olier was praying in church, when he heard a voice from Heaven 
telling him that he was to be a light to the Gentiles, and to form a society of 
priests on an island called Montreal, in Canada. Soon after this, Dauver 
siere and Olier, who were utter strangers to each other, met at the old 
castle of Meudon. By a miracle, as we need scarcely say, they knew and 
greeted each other by name at once ; they even could divine each other s 
thoughts. Together they undertook the task of raising funds, and soon 
succeeded in obtaining a large sum of money and a grant from the king of 
the Island of Montreal. They chose as military leader of the soldiers 
whom it would be necessary to take with them for defence, a gallant and 
devoted young nobleman, Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, one 
in whom the spirit of the ancient crusaders seemed to have returned to life, 
and who had long eagerly wished to dedicate his sword to the service of 
God. The little body of colonists, who had taken the name of the Society 
de Notre Dame de Montreal, received a valuable addition in an unmarried 
lady of noble family named Mademoiselle Jeanne Mance, who at the tender 
age of seven had bound herself by a vow of celibacy ; also a little later by 
the unobtrusive goodness, sweet charity, and practical common sense of 
Marguerite Bourgeoys. In 1653, having given all her possessions to the poor, 
the latter embarjced for Quebec. She brought from France a miracle-work 
ing image of the Virgin, which at this day stands in a niche in the old 
seventeenth century Church beside the harbour at Montreal; and still 
many a bold mariner, many an anxious wife, invokes the aid of " Our Lady 
of the Gracious Help." Before the ship set sail, Maisonneuve, with Mada- 
moiselle Mance and the other members of the expedition, knelt before the 
altar of the Virgin in the ancient cathedral church of Notre Dame at Paris. 
With the priest, Olier, at their head, they solemnly dedicated Montreal to 

7 o 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

the Virgin. The town they were about to build was to be called Ville 
Marie de .Montreal. They arrived at Quebec too late in the fall to make 
the journey to Montreal till the spring of 1642. The Governor, Mont- 
magny, seems to have felt some jealousy of Maisonneuve as a possible 
rival in governing the colony. Maisonneuve seems to have yielded to 
the temptation of encouraging his men in small acts of insubordination. 
The new colonists were sheltered by the hospitality of M. Pruseaux, 
close to the mission, established four miles from Quebec by the gene 
rosity of a French noble, Brulart de Sillery, which still bears his hon 
ourable name. Maisonneuve and his men spent the winter in building 
large flat-bottomed boats for the voyage to Montreal. On the 8th of May 
they embarked, and as their boats with soldiers, arms and supplies, moved 
slowly up the St. Lawrence, the forest, springing into verdure on either side, 
screened no lurking ambush to interrupt their way. This of course was 
due to no less a personage than the Virgin Mary herself, who chilled the 
courage and dulled the subtility of the Iroquois, so that they neglected this 
signal opportunity of crushing the new colony at its inception. For the 
Iroquois had now mastered the use of the fire-arms they had purchased 
from the Dutch traders on the Hudson. These arms were short arquebuse 
muskets ; so that the savages were on equal terms with the white men. On 
the i yth of May, 1642, the boats approached Montreal, and all on board with 
one voice intoned the Te Deuin. Maisonneuve was the first to spring on 
shore. He fell on his knees to ask a blessing on their work. His followers did 
the same. Their tents and stores were landed without delay. An altar was 
prepared for mass. It was decorated with admirable taste by Mademoiselle 
Mance, aided by Madame de la Peltrie, who, with the capricousness which 
distinguishes even the saintliest of her sex, had taken a sudden fancy to 
abandon the Ursulines in favour of the new settlement at Ville Marie. Then 
mass was celebrated, a strange and brilliant picture, with colour and music, 
as if the rite of the middle ages had been brought suddenly into the heart 
of the primeval forest. The altar, with its lights and glittering crucifix ; 
before it the priest in vestments, stiff with gold ; the two fair girls of delicate 
nurture, attended by their servants, erect and tall ; above the soldiers 
kneeling around him, Maisonneuve in panoply of steel ; further off, artisans 
and labourers, the rank and file of the colony : such was the brilliant picture 
whose background was the dark aisles of columned woods. When mass was 
said, the Jesuit Father, Vimont, Superior of the mission, addressed to those 
assembled a few remarkable words to which subsequent events have given 
the force of prophecy. " You are but a grain of mustard seed, that shall rise 
and grow till its branches overshadow the earth. You are few, but your work 
is the work of God. His smile is on you, and your children shall fill the land. 




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

7 4 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Ville Marie received an important addition to its strength in the autumn 
of 1643, when Louis d Ailleboust de Coulonges, a valiant and devout noble 
man of Champagne, accompanied by his young and beautiful wife, arrived. 
She, too, was noble. When she was asked in marriage by d Ailleboust, she 
refused him, having at the age of five made a vow of perpetual chastity. 
To this refusal her Jesuit confessor objected, since her proposed husband 
was about to proceed to Canada, to devote his sword and his life to the 
service of the church in that distant land. It was most important that she 
should go with him to help in the good work. But how could her consci 
ence be relieved of the vow she had taken ? Her confessor suggested a 
means of escape. Let the marriage ceremony be performed, but let hus 
band and wife live together as if unmarried. A year after its foundation 
the Iroquois discovered Ville Marie. Fortunately, very soon afterwards, 
d Ailleboust, who was a skillful engineer, had surrounded the town with 
ramparts and bastions of earth, that proved a far more secure defence than 
mere palisades. One day ten Algonquins, flying from a band of Iroquois, 
sought shelter in Ville Marie. For the first time, the Iroquois beheld the 
new fortifications. They examined the place carefully, and carried the 
important news home to their nation. In the summer of 1643, a party of 
sixty Hurons descended the St. Lawrence, laden with furs for the Ville 
Marie market. When they came to the rapids of Lachine they had to land 
and carry their canoes by the portage. Quite unexpectly, they came on a 
large war-party of Iroquois. The Hurons, panic-striken, sought to gain 
favour with their enemies by betraying all they knew of the defences of their 
French benefactors. The Iroquois sent a party of forty warriors, who sur 
prised six Frenchmen within shot of the fort, and having killed three of 
them, carried off the others for torture and the stake. It is satisfactory to 
know that the Huron traitors were, most of them, put to death that night 
by the Iroquois. Of the French captives, one escaped to Ville Marie, the 
others were burned alive with the usual tortures. It now became unsafe to 
pass beyond the gates of the fort without a vigilant and well-armed escort. 
From this time forth the Iroquois were in perpetual ambuscade, not only at 
Ville Marie, but near a fort lately built at the central point of Three Rivers, 
and at another fort which Montmagny had erected at the mouth of the 
Richelieu, to check the advance of the Mohawk Iroquois, who usually made 
their descents on the settlements by this river. At Ville Marie, especially, 
the Mohawk spies lay in wait ; concealed in a wood, or coiled up, bear-like, 
in a hollow tree, a single warrior would watch for days, almost without food, 
for the opportunity of taking the scalp of whoever ventured unarmed outside 
the gate. But this danger was much lessened by the arrival from France 

The Government of Montiiiagav. 75 

of a number of strong mastiffs which proved to be most efficient in instantly 
indicating the presence of the Iroquois, so that it was no longer possible 
for the savages to lurk in the woods undetected. Among these dogs the 
most remarkable was one named Pilot, which every morning, followed by a 
strong detachment of her progeny, explored the outskirts of the fort. If 
any one of them was lazy, or returned unauthorized to the fort, she bit the 
delinquent severely. She could detect the presence of the Iroquois, even 
at a distance, by the scent, on which she would run back with loud barking 
to the fort. In 1644, a considerable detachment of Iroquois camped near 
Ville Marie, intending, if possible, to surprise the garrison. But Pilot gave 
warning of their movements every day, and Maisonneuve although no 
braver soldier ever drew sword beneath the flag of France thought it his 
duty to observe extreme caution in exposing his men to a fight with an 
enemy of far superior force. But his soldiers grew discontented at this 
forced inaction. They even so far forgot themselves as to accuse Maison 
neuve of want of courage. Hearing of this, Maisonneuve resolved -on 
decisive action. One morning in March, while the snow still lay deep 
around Ville Marie, Pilot ran into the fort barking furiously. The soldiers 
begged their leader to allow them to confront the foe. " Yes," said 
Maisonneuve, " get ready at once, and take care that you are as brave as 
you profess to be. I will lead you myself." All was made ready, and 
with guns well loaded, a body of thirty French soldiers sallied forth, 
Maisonneuve at their head. They marched into the forest east of the fort, 
whence the barking of the dogs had first been heard. Suddenly from be 
hind the trees started forth some eighty Iroquois warriors, who greeted 
them with a volley of bullets and arrows. Steadily the Frenchmen returned 
the fire, and several of the savages fell dead in the snow. The French had 
the advantage of being armed with the newly-invented flint-lock musket, 
while the Indians had only the match-lock arquebuse. Maisonneuve, with 
wise precaution, ordered his men to imitate the tactics of the foe by taking 
shelter behind trees. But, being outnumbered, the fight was an unequal 
one, and it was necessary to retreat to the fort. From time to time, the 
French turned round and fired on their pursuers ; but as they got closer 
to the fort, the retreat became a panic, and Maisonneuve was left- alone. 
The Iroquois pressed close upon him, and might have surrounded him, but 
that they wished to leave the honour of his capture to their chief. Maison 
neuve shot him dead with a pistol, and while the savages busied themselves 
with securing the body of their chief, the French leader made his way in 
safety to the fort. 

In 1645, Montmagny endeavoured to secure a treaty of peace with the 

76 Canada and the Canadian People. 

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

The Government of Montmagny. 77 

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

In the year 1650, that of the final destruction of the Hurons, M. d Aille 
boust resigned office, but settled in the colony where he died. He was suc 
ceeded by M. de Lauzon, who had been one of the leading men in Richelieu s 
company. The prospe9ts of new France were dark when he entered on its 
government. The Iroquois, flushed with their success over the Hurons, 
directed all their energies against the unhappy colonists, and their yet more 
unhappy Indian allies. None, without being armed, dared to plough a field 
or bind up a sheaf of grain. The dwellers on outlying farms had either to 
entrench themselves with strong defences, or to abandon their dwellings. 
As an illustration of the straits to which the colony was reduced, the 

y8 Canada and the Canadian People. 


following from the Relations for 1653 may be quoted: "The war of the 
Iroquois has dried up all the sources of prosperity. The beavers are 
allowed to build their dams in peace, none being able or willing to molest 
them. Crowds of Hurons no longer descend from their country with furs 
for trading. The Algonquin country is dispeopled ; and the nations beyond 
are retiring further away still, fearing the musketry of the Iroquois. The 
keeper of the company s store here in Montreal has not bought a single 
beaver skin for a year past. At Three Rivers, the small means at hand 
have been used in fortifying the place from fear of an inroad upon it. 
In the Quebec store-house, all is emptiness. And thus everybody has 
reason to be malcontent, and there is not wherewithal in the treasury to meet 
the claims made upon it, or to supply public wants." An Iroquois band 
attacked Three Rivers, and killed the commandant, with several men, in a 
sortie from the fort. So critical was the condition of Ville Marie in the 
year 1651 that Maisonneuve went to France to represent the state of the 
colony. He obtained, chiefly from Maine and Brittany, a body of a 
hundred and five colonists, all well trained both in war and agriculture, 
whose arrival checked the Iroquois advance, and greatly served to build up 
the fortunes of Ville Marie. By this time the fickle Iroquois seemed inclined 
for peace, which was accordingly concluded in 1655, and though the war 
broke out again in a few months, even this short interval of tranquillity 
was of great use to the colony. A number of Jesuit missionaries took 
advantage of the peace, precarious as it was, to venture their lives in preach 
ing the gospel among the Iroquois. The Onondaga Nation had requested 
of M. de Lauzon that a settlement might be formed in their country, in 
consequence of which Captain Dupuis, a French officer of noble birth, was 
sent into the Iroquois country with fifty soldiers and four missionaries. 
When they left Quebec their friends bade them a last solemn farewell, not 
expecting to see them return alive from the land of those ruthless savages. 
The French force began to form a settlement in the Onondaga country, but 
the sleepless jealousy of the savage tribe was soon aroused against them. 
Jealousy soon became hatred. A dying Indian who had been converted 
warned one of the priests that the Iroquois had resolved on surprising and 
slaughtering their French guests. Dupuis resolved on a stratagem, pardon 
able under the circumstances : he invited the Iroquois to a feast, gave them 
plenty of brandy, and when every man, woman and child, was perfectly 
drunk, he and his soldiers embarked in canoes which had been secretly 
prepared, and made their escape. 

In 1658, Viscount d Argenson became governor. He ascended the 
river Richelieu with two hundred men, and drove back the Iroquois for a 

The Government of Montmagny. 79 

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

In 1 66 1 the Baron d Avaugour was appointed governor. He was a 
skilful soldier, and had seen service in the wars in Hungary. His term of 
office was embarrassed, like that of his predecessor, by constant disputes 
with Laval, chiefly on the subject of selling liquor to the Indians, to which 

8o Canada and the Canadian People. 

Laval, like all the rest of the clergy, was, on principle, opposed. D Avau- 
gour at this time induced the French king to give up a project which many 
of the French court advocated the abandonment of Canada. He also 
obtained for the garrison of New France a reinforcement of four hundred 

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

The Government of Montmagny. 


these faithful soldiers, and to force the noble lady whom they had served 
so well to witness the execution with a halter round her neck. The shock 
affected her reason, and she died soon after. Her husband had better 
fortune. When Puritanism, under Cromwell, became the arbiter of Europe, 
La Tour was appointed one of the three governors of Acadia. By the 
treaty of Breda, Acadia was once more transferred to France. Its history 
at this time contains little worthy of record. With a meagre soil and a sea 
board ever exposed to invasion it was held of little consequence, either by 
England or France. 



ARON D AVAUGOUR was succeeded by the Chevalier de Me zy. 
In consequence of the continual quarrels between the late Gover 
nor and Bishop Laval, De Mezy had been chosen because, from 
his ostentatious professions of piety, it was thought that he would 
be certain to act in harmony with the priesthood, so powerful 
in New France. This proved to be a mistake. Of De Mezy s 
government there is nothing left worthy of record. He quarrelled with two 
members of the Council, and, in utter contempt of law, dismissed them from 
office. This was trenching on the royal prerogative, of which his master, 
Louis XIV., was so jealous. Worse still, knowing that Bishop Laval and 
the Jesuits were most unpopular in the colony, on account of the tithes 
exacted by the Bishop, and the constant interference of the Jesuits in secular 
matters, he actually made an appeal to the people by calling a public meet 
ing to discuss the conduct of the officials he had displaced. This was the 
worst of all sins in the opinion of the Grand Monarque. Louis resolved to 
make an example of De Me zy. He was superseded, and death only saved 
him from being impeached in the Quebec court. Alexander de Prouville, 
Marquis de Tracy, was appointed by King Louis as Viceroy. He reached 
Quebec in 1665, bringing with him one who was destined to succeed him as 
Governor, Daniel de Remi, Sieur de Courcelles, and M. Talon, who was 
to fill the new office of Intendant, and prove one of the wisest and most 
successful fosterers of industry and colonization that New France has ever 
known. In the same year with De Tracy, arrived almost the entire regi 
ment of Carignan, veteran soldiers of the war against the Turks in Hungary. 
With them came their Colonel, M. de Salieres. The transport which con 
veyed them brought a considerable number of new colonists, and of sheep, 
cattle, and horses ; the latter never before seen in Canada, although the 
Jesuits had imported some to their short-lived Acadian settlement. De 
Tracy s first care was to check the Iroquois., For this purpose he built three 

Canada under Royal Government. 83 

new forts on the Richelieu River, two of them called after his officers MM. 
Sorel and Chambly, who were the first commandants. Meanwhile, three 
out of the five nations of the Iroquois had made peace. De Tracy and 
Sorel marched into the country of the other two Iroquois nations, who sued 
for peace, but who, with their usual perfidy, could not resist the opportunity 
to massacre a party of Frenchmen who fell in their way. Among those 
murdered was a nephew of Marquis de Tracy. 

It so happened that several envoys from the Iroquois had waited on De 
Tracy, and were being entertained by him at dinner. One of the savages, 
flushed with wine, boasted that it was his hand that had taken the scalp of 
De Tracy s nephew. All present were horrified, and the Marquis, saying 
that he would prevent the wretch from murdering anyone else, had him 
seized, and at once strangled by the common executioner. This most 
righteous punishment of course broke off the negotiation. Meantime 
M. de Courcelles invaded the Iroquois country. After a toilsome march of 
seven hundred miles through wilderness and forest deep with snow, he 
marched at the head of his men, shod with snow-shoes, and, like the private 
soldiers of his command, with musket and knapsack at his back. With him, 
under La Valliere and other French nobles of historic name, marched for 
the first time the representatives of that Canadian militia which has since 
gained such deserved fame for courage and every soldier-like quality. They 
found the Iroquois country a solitude ; the men were all absent on expe 
ditions elsewhere ; the women had fled to tjie woods. But this expedition, 
made at mid-winter, struck terror into the hearts of the savages, and showed 
them that they were contending with a civilization whose power was 
greater than they had supposed. It would exceed the limits of a work like 
this to give in detail all the benefits which Canada owes to the wise and 
virtuous Talon. It was he that discovered the existence of iron at Gaspe 
and at Three Rivers; it was he that opened up trade with the Hudson s Bay 
Territory, and that suggested the mission of Joliet and Marquette to the 
Mississippi. He and De Courcelles resigned office in the same year 1671-2. 
The next Governor was Louis de Buade, Count de Frontenac ; a noble of 
high reputation for ability and courage. Taking advantage of existing peace 
with the Iroquois, and with the consent of their chiefs, Frontenac built at 
the head of Lake Ontario a fort, called by his own name. It stood on the 
site of the present artillery barracks at Kingston. The discovery of the 
Mississippi by Joliet, although it took place in Frontenac s term of office, 
hardly belongs to Canadian History. Another explorer, La Salle, sailed 
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. He received a grant of Fort 
Frontenac, which he rebuilt with stone walls and bastions. A few miles 

84 Canada and the Canadian People. 

above Niagara Falls he built a ship of sixty tons and seven guns, which he 
called the Griffon. In this vessel he sailed to Lake Michigan. On his 
return he sent back the Griffon laden with furs, but. she was never seen 
again, and is believed to have foundered in a storm. Frontenac was much 
harassed by disputes with Laval and the clergy on the old vexed question 
of the Mquor trade, to which they were opposed. In 1682 he was succeeded 
as Governor by M. de La Barre. The Iroquois once more began to 
give trouble by endeavouring to take what remained of the fur trade out 
of the hands of the French, and transfer it to the British colonies. La 
Barre, with two hundred soldiers, marched into the Iroquois country ; 
but sickness and a badly managed commissariat made his expedition 
a failure, and cancelled the influence which the successes of the three pre 
vious Governors had won over the savages. He was recalled in 1685, and 
the Marquis de Denonville took his place. Denonville s administration 
marks the lowest point in the fortunes of New France, which now contained 
about ten thousand colonists. He was meditating an attack on the Iro 
quois, when, in 1686, he received a letter from the English Governor of New 
York, warning him that the Iroquois were now subjects of the King of 
England, and therefore must not be molested by the French. But Denon 
ville was about to strike the Iroquois with weapons that were not carnal ; 
he was about to degrade himself by fighting them with their own favourite 
arms, dissimulation and treachery. Through the influence of the mission 
aries in the Iroquois country, he called a meeting of the chiefs at Fort 
Frontenac, where he had them seized and sent in chains to France to work 
as galley-slaves. Even the selfish tyrant on the throne of France was 
ashamed of an act like this, and wrote to reprimand his viceroy. Denon 
ville meantime collected as many Iroquois as he could lay hands upon, 
intending to send them also to the galleys ; but an order from the King 
released these and the other victims. Denonville s act was not only a great 
crime, but a still greater mistake. Strange to say, the Iroquois did not visit 
it on the missionaries who lived in their country. They said to the Jesuits, 
" O men of the Black Robe, w T e have a right to hate you, but we do not hate 
you ! Your heart has had no share in the wrong that has been done to us. 
But you must leave us. When our young men sing the song of war, haply 
they might injure you in their fury. Therefore, go in peace." And so the 
Iroquois chiefs sent away the missionaries, under the protection 1 of armed 
guides, who escorted them to Quebec. For some time all seenied tranquil. 
A raid made by Denonville into the Iroquois country led to no adequate 
result ; and an Indian of the Huron race, known as " The Rat," whom Raynal 
terms "the Machiavel of the Wilderness," complicated matters still further, 

Canada under Royal Government. 85 

by seizing some Iroquois envoys who were on the way to treat of peace with 
Denonville. Of these " The Rat " murdered one, and having captured the 
rest, told them that this was done by Denonville s orders, but that he would 
set them free. This of course infuriated the Iroquois still more. " I have 
killed the Peace !" said the Rat. With the accession of William III. and 
Mary, war broke out between England and France, the first of the wars 
between their rival, colonies. In that war the Iroquois gave their powerful 
support to New York and New England. But they had a private grudge 
for which a signal vengeance was to be exacted. On the night of August 
5th, 1689, all was still in the picturesque village of Lachine. The industrious 
inhabitants, weary with the day s work in their harvest fields, lay asleep 
none the less soundly for a storm of hail which swept on their village from 
the lake. Under cover of this storm, which effectually disguised the noise 
of their landing, a force of many hundreds of Iroquois warriors, armed and 
painted, made a descent upon Lachine. Through the night they noiselessly 
surrounded every building in tfte village. With morning s dawn the fearful 
war-whoop awoke men, women, and children to their dawn of torture and 
death. The village was fired. By the light of its flames in the early 
morn the horror-stricken inhabitants of Montreal could see from their forti 
fications the cruelties that preceded the massacre. It is said that the Iro 
quois indulged very freely in the fire water of the Lachine merchants, and 
that had the defendants of Ville Marie been prompt to avail themselves of 
the opportunity, the drunken wolves might have been butchered like swine. 
Paralyzed by the horrors they had witnessed, the French let the occasion 
slip. After feasting all day, at nightfall the savages withdrew to the main 
land, not, however, without signifying by yells, repeated to the number of 
ninety, how many prisoners they carried away. From the ramparts of 
Ville Marie, and amid the blackened ruins of Lachine, the garrison watched 
the fiercely-burning fires on the opposite shore, kindled for what purposes , 
of nameless horror they knew too well. 

Panic-stricken, the French blew up Fort Frontenac and withdrew to 
Montreal, Three Rivers, and Quebec, to which towns the French posses 
sions in Canada were now reduced. In this crisis Frontenac, superseding 
the incompetent Denonville, was once more sent to govern New France. 
He at once organized three expeditions, wliich invaded and ravaged what 
are now the States of New York, New Hampshire, and Maine. In retalia 
tion, ths British sent two expeditions against Canada. The first, under 
General Winthrop, broke down before it reached Montreal. The second, a 
fleet of twenty-two ships of war, was directed against Quebec, but owing 
to Frontenac s vigorous resistance, was forced to withdraw, abandoning its 

86 Canada and the Canadian People. 

artillery to the Canadians. In honour of this success a church was built in 
Quebec and dedicated to " Notre Dame des Victoires" Next year another 
attack on Montreal by the English was repulsed. This war between the 
colonies, which is called " King William s war," was brought to a close by 
the treaty of Ryswick in 1697. The veteran soldier De Frontenac died at 
Quebec in the year 1698, and was succeeded by one of his lieutenants, M. 
de Callieres. In 1701 war broke out again between France and England, 
and, therefore, between their colonies. It is known as " Queen Anne s war." 
In 1700 Callieres died at Quebec, and was succeeded by the Marquis de 
Vaudreuil, under whom the colony attained its greatest prosperity. The 
total population of New France was then 15,000. An attack was made by 
four hundred French on a border fort named Haverhill, which they captured. 
In 1710 seven regiments of Marlborough s veterans were sent under Admiral 
Sir Hovendon Walker to meet a force of four thousand under General 
Nicholson. But the fleet was wrecked among the St. Lawrence reefs, and 
Nicholson, when he heard of this, marched back to Albany. This war 
closed with the peace of Utrecht, in 1713, by which Acadia, Newfoundland, 
and Hudson s Bay Territory were ceded to England. Canada was retained by 
France. In 1725 Vaudreuil, like his two predecessors, died at Quebec. He 
was succeeded by the Marquis de Beauharnois, in whose time the popu 
lation rose to 40,000. This Governor, with consent of the Iroquois chiefs, 
built a fort at the entrance of the Niagara River. In 1745 war broke out 
again between France and England, but happily this did not affect Canada, 
as its operations were chiefly carried on in the Maritime Provinces, where 
a British force took Louisbourg. The next Governor was the Marquis de 
la Jonquiere ; but he was taken prisoner, his fleet being defeated by 
Admiral Anson. For the two years that followed 1747-1748 the war 
closed by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, when La Jonquiere, being released, 
assumed the government. As a defence against the British fort of 
Oswego, La Jonquiere built a fort near the River Humber on Lake 
Ontario, called, from the French Minister of Marine, Rouille , or by its 
Indian name, TORONTO. This first feeble beginning of a great metropolis 
dates from 1749, a year for this reason one of the memorable ones of 
Canadian history. This fort, the germ of Canada s industrial and intel 
lectual centre, was situated about a mile from the Humber, to the south 
of the present Exhibition Building, in West Toronto. Meanwhile the 
administration of New France was becoming more and more corrupt. 
The greed and dishonesty of Bigot, the last of the Intendants, did much to 
hasten the downfall of the colony. The wealth he accumulated by fraud 
amounted to the enormous sum of 400,000. La Jonquiere died at Quebec 

Canada under Royal Government. 87 

in 1752, and was buried in the church of the Recollet Friars, beside Fron- 
tenac and Vaudreuil. He was succeeded, in 1752, by the Marquis Duquesne 
de Menneville. This Governor sent a force to destroy a fort named Fort 
Necessity, which was defended by a Virginian officer of militia known to 
history as George Washington. Washington was forced to capitulate to 
the French commandant, M. de Villiers. The war which ensued is called 
the French war. Duquesne having applied for his recall, was succeeded 
by the Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, son of the former Governor Vau- 
dre uil, and born at Quebec. He arrived in Canada in 1755. Every man 
in New France was now called to arms; the farms were deserted, the fields 
uncultivated, the fur trade was extinct, prices rose as provisions became 
scarce, and wretches like Bigot throve on the miseries of the people. But 
the English received a check by the almost total destruction of their army in 
the fight in which General Braddock fell. This, however, was partly 
retrieved in the victory gained by General Johnson over the French 
General Baron Dieskau, near Lake George. George the Second made 
Johnson a baronet, as a reward for his success. In 1756, the French King 
named the Marquis de Montcalm Commander-in-chief of the forces in New- 
France. Thus, on the eve of her downfall, after suffering much from 
incompetent rulers and corrupt officials, there was given to New France a 
leader who, in the purity of his chivalrous nature, in his combination of 
the two-fold type of soldier and statesman, is not unworthy to be compared 
with the heroes of her earlier and nobler day, with Chomedey de Maison- 
neuve and Samuel de Champlain. 

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

The Pitt administration had now assumed power in England, and the 
war was carried on with greater energy. An expedition was sent to Nova 

88 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Scotia and Cape Breton in 1758, and, in the face of great difficulties, 
Louisbourg was taken. This was due in part to the skill and courage of 
a young officer, Brigadier-General WOLFE, who succeeded in marching a 
body of troops up a height which had been thought inaccessible tactics 
which he was destined to repeat, with an ampler success, on a more 
memorable occasion. A second expedition, consisting of the largest army 
yet assembled in America, marched on Ticonderoga and Crown Point 
under General Abercromby. Montcalm in vain applied to the French 
King for succour ; the selfish voluptuary, whose political wisdom was 
expressed in the saying, " After me the Deluge," preferred spending the 
people s money on diamonds for his mistresses, rather than in an effort 
to redeem the national honour by preserving to France her finest colony. 
But Montcalm did not relax his efforts, though he knew that his cause 
was hopeless. "We shall fight," he wrote to the French Minister, 
" and shall bury ourselves, if need be, under the ruins of the colony." 
One final triumph awaited him, the greatest victory ever gained on 
American soil by a far inferior force over a magnificent army. Mont 
calm, with 3,600 Canadians, had entrenched himself on a triangular 
space of elevated ground between a small river, called La Chute, and 
Lake Champlain into which it flows. At the apex of the triangle was 
a small fort, whose guns commanded lake and river. Abercromby ad 
vanced with his army of 15,000 veteran troops in four columns. Mont 
calm had defended his position on the only assailable side by a breast 
work of felled trees, and had ordered the country in front to be cleared of 
woods, so as to afford no cover to an attacking force. The fight began by 
a movement made by a number of gun-barges on the river, which opened 
fire on -the right flank of the French. They were speedily sunk by the 
cannon of the fort. Then the four columns of the British advanced, 
Montcalm writes, " with admirable coolness and order." The column, 
composed chiefly of Highlanders under Lord John Murray, opened fire on 
Montcalm s right wing, commanded by M. de Le vis, who, seeing the danger, 
ordered a portee to be made in order to assail the flank of the attacking 
column. This move succeeded. The column of Highlanders, in order to 
avoid a cross flanking fire, were forced to incline the column next their 
own ; thus the four columns of the British as they advanced to the breast, 
work became massed into a dense body of troops, an easy mark for the 
fire of their opponents. Montcalm took advantage of the disgraceful 
blunder in strategy by which Abercromby sacrificed the lives of so many 
gallant soldiers. He gave strict orders that his troops should reserve their 
fire till the English came within twenty paces of the entrenchments. His 

Canada under Royal Government. 89 

order was obeyed to the letter. When the densely crowded mass of the 
English columns came quite close to the breastwork of trees, a storm of 
shot and flame leaped forth at once from all the French line in front of 
them ; the leaden hail tore its way resistlessly through their crowded ranks. 
In vain they attempted to return the fire against the Canadians, secure 
behind the entrenchments. Falling back in some confusion, the English 
columns reformed and returned to the attack. They displayed the utmost 
valour. The Highlanders, in Montcalm s own words, " covered themselves 
with glory," the picturesque costume of the Scotch mountaineers being 
distinctly visible through the smoke in the foreground of the battle. But 
Montcalm held a position impregnable except by artillery, and Abercrornby s 
artillery lay on board the gun-boats at the bottom of the river. For six 
hours the attack was renewed by the British columns, but whenever they 
advanced to the breastwork of trees they were driven back by a murderous 
fire to which they could not reply with advantage. All through the battle 
Montcalm exposed himself to every danger. From his station in the centre 
he hastened to every spot where his men were most hotly assailed, bringing 
reinforcements, and cheering them by his voice and example. Such was the 
great victory which shed its lustre on the name of Montcalm and the 
declining fortunes of New France. 

This defeat was in some degree retrieved by the capture and destruc 
tion of Fort Frontenac (Kingston) and of Duquesne by General Forbes, 
who changed its name to Pittsburg, in honour of the great Commoner. 
Abercromby was now superseded by General Amherst, who made a success 
ful move against Ticonderoga and Crown Point. At the same time General 
Prideaux and Sir William Johnson attacked Fort Niagara, where Prideaux 
was killed by the bursting of a mortar. Johnson succeeded in taking the 
fort. Meanwhile, Mr. Pitt, with that instinctive appreciation of true 
genius which distinguished that great minister, had appointed young 
General Wolfe to the supreme command. James Wolfe was a typical 
example, to borrow Wordsworth s language, of " whatever man in arms 
should wish to be." Devoted to his profession, he declined lucrative staff 
appointments in order to go on active service. At the capture of Louis- 
bourg he had already distinguished himself. Unlike most of the military 
men of his time, Wolfe had an ardent love for literature and art. He was 
engaged to be married to a young lady of great beauty and considerable 
wealth ; but he left England with the germs of a mortal disease in his con 
stitution, which would too probably prevent his seeing her again. Late in 
May, 1759, a fleet of twenty ships of the line and as many frigates conveyed 
Wolfe and his lieutenants, Townshend and Murray, with their eight thousand 

go Canada and the Canadian People. 

regular troops, up the St. Lawrence to the Isle of Orleans, where the troops 
disembarked, and took up a position at the western end, facing Quebec. 
The fleet meantime reconnoitred, the soundings being taken by James Cook, 
afterwards the celebrated sea captain and discoverer. It is a curious 
coincidence that there were then present in the two opposing camps of 
France and England the two greatest explorers of -that age Cook and 
Bougainville. Wolfe himself ascended the river, above Quebec, in a barge, 
in order to make a general observation of their position. It is characteristic 
of him that he held in his hand, and read from time to time, a poem, then 
lately published in England, by Mr. Gray, of Cambridge" An Elegy 
Written in a Country Churchyard." " Gentlemen," he said to the officers 
beside him, " I would rather have the glory of having written this poem than 
that of the capture of Quebec." " None but God knows how to attempt the 
impossible ! " wrote Montcalm from his post within the beleaguered city. 
The king whom he had served with such signal success had abandoned him 
to his fate. His army was forced to sub.sist on horse-flesh and a small daily 
allowance of biscuit. In front of him, supported by a powerful fleet, was 
a well-appointed army abundantly supplied with provisions and munitions 
of war. The viceroy and his creatures thwarted him at every step ; yet, 
amid all discouragements, the victor of Carillon held his ground, firm as 
the rock on which he stood. 

A British force under Moncton defeated the French troops at Point 
Le vis, directly opposite Quebec. From this commanding position, Wolfe, 
with his heavy artillery, proceeded to bombard the city. The cathedral 
and the best houses were destroyed, the whole of the Lower Town was con 
sumed by fire ; a shell struck the garden of the Ursulines, ploughing a deep 
trench close to the wall. Meanwhile, Montcalm had taken up a position 
outside the city, his army being entrenched from the mouth of the St. 
Charles, which was defended by a boom of ships, with masts chained 
together, to the mouth of the Montmorency ; every point where an enemy 
could land being defended by a small redoubt. Every point where access 
seemed possible was guarded by sentinels, especially one zigzag path that 
led from what is now Wolfe s Cove to the Plains of Abraham above the city. 
It seemed scarce likely that such a harebrained attempt would be made as to 
risk the ascent by such a narrow and precipitous approach. Still, sentries 
were posted on the river bank below, and a redoubt with cannon com 
manded the entire ascent. The command of the redoubt was intrusted to 
one Vergor, who, three years before, had surrendered Beausejour to the 
British. Brought to a court-martial for this unsoldier-like act, he was 
acquitted by the influence of the Intendant, Bigot, w r hose creature he was. 

Canada under Royal Government. gi 

Wolfe resolved to attack Montcalm s army on the left wing, near the mouth 
of the Montmorency River. On July 3ist, under cover of broadsides from 
the men of war, Wolfe, with eight thousand troops arranged in four columns, 
landed on the north St. Lawrence strand, crossed the Montmorency by a 
ford in the face of fire from a redoubt, which Wolfe captured. They were 
then within musket shot of Montcalm s entrenchments. Wolfe s troops, 
having formed once more in column, attacked the entrenchments with fixed 
bayonets. But as at Carillon, the Canadian militia reserved their fire till 
the British were within a few yards of their position ; they then rose from 
the trenches and poured in their fire with unerring aim. The British soldiers 
fell fast before it. Wolfe s columns were broken, and they fled. Their retreat 
was covered by a violent thunderstorm. When the mist and rain cleared 
away, the British were seen re-embarking with their wounded. The glory 
of the victory of Montmorency belongs to De Le vis, one of Montcalm s 
lieutenants. Anxiety at this defeat brought on a severe attack of Wolfe s 
malady. He called a council of war, and was in favour of renewing the 
attack from the direction of Montmorency. Colonel Townshend proposed 
the daring plan of marching the army up the steep ascent already referred 
to, and entrenching themselves on the Plains of Abraham, commanding 
the city. This plan Wolfe at once adopted. That night 4,828 men, 
with one field-piece, proceeded in barges to Wolfe s Cove. Wolfe had 
ascertained from deserters the watch-word which the crews of some 
provision barges, expected that night, were to give to the sentries on 
the river bank. Officers who spoke French were appointed to answer the 
challenge of the sentries ; thus the barges passed undiscovered. When 
they touched the shore Wolfe sprang out, followed by his light infantry. 
They quickly overpowered the French soldiers in the guard-house at the 
foot of the ascent. Noiselessly and quickly, company after company 
ascended the narrow and precipitous pathway. At the top was a redoubt. 
It was surprised. Vergor, the commandant, was taken prisoner in bed. At 
dawn Wolfe s army was ranged in battle array on the heights above Quebec. 
Montcalm, probably fearing that the British might entrench themselves, 
marched through St. John s Gate to attack them. His army advanced in 
an irregular line three deep, and began the fight with a well-sustained fire, 
which the British bore without flinching, Wolfe passed through the lines 
of his men to animate their courage. He ordered each soldier to put two 
bullets into his musket, and not to fire till the French were within twenty 
yards. So effective was the storm of shot that met the French advance 
that their lines were broken, on which Wolfe, though wounded in the wrist, 
led his Grenadiers to the charge. Presently he fell, shot through the chest. 

92 Canada and the Canadian People. 


" They run!" cried one of the officers who was supporting him in his arms. 
" Who run ?" asked Wolfe. " The French," was the reply. " Then I die 
happy," were the last wprds of the hero. 

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



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

94 Canada and the Canadian People. 

struck with the beauty of the wife of one of their delegates, the Chevalier 
de Levy, and said, " If all Canadian ladies resembled her, we may indeed 
vaunt of our beautiful conquest ! " 

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

The English Military Government. 95 

French Canada in those days of anarchy fared far better under military 
rule, which, if at times despotic, was for the most part well-intended, and 
often conciliatory. 

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

Sir Guy Carleton was appointed to the Government of Canada in 1766, 
and, acting under the instructions he had received from the home authorities, 
considerably relaxed the stringency of military rule. He also obtained a 
number of reports on various subjects connected with the French Canadians, 
and these being translated to the Home Government, were carefully examined 
and commented on by the Law Officers of the Crown ; the result of which 
was the framing of a law which passed the British Parliament, and is 
known as the Quebec Act. This Act provided that the French law, 
consisting of the "Custom of Paris" and the edicts of the Canadian Inten- 
dants, should decide all but criminal cases ; that the French language should be 


Canada and the Canadian People. 

used in the courts of law ; that there should be complete civil equality between 
the French and English ; and that legislative power, with the exception of 
taxation, which was reserved for the crown, should be vested in a council 
in concert with the governors, by whom its members were to be chosen. 
The Quebec Act was a crushing blow to the schemes of those who sought 
to erect a British-born and Protestant oligarchy. Many of these men were 
so angry that they became sympathizers with the revolutionary measures 
already maturing in the thirteen colonies. But this most righteous law 
secured the adherence to Britain, in the struggle that ensued, of the Canadian 
priests and seigneurs, and, through them, of well nigh the whole French 
Canadian people. 




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

In the autumn of 1775, Congress and General Washington, at the 
instance of General Montgomery, resolved on the invasion of Canada. 
Montgomery, with three thousand men, besieged and took the forts of 
Chambly and St. John. A detachment of his army, a hundred and ten 
strong, under Colonel Ethan Allen, attempted to seize Montreal, by 
aid of sympathizers within the city ; but Allen and his force were sur 
rounded and made prisoners by three hundred Canadian militia under 
Major Garden, who met them at Longue Pointe. Allen was sent in irons to 
England. A second expedition of a thousand men marched from Maine, 
under Colonel Benedict Arnold, the Judas of the War of Independence. 
After enduring great hardships, they arrived at Point Levis, but, not having 
canoes to cross the St. Lawrence, and Colonel Maclean being well on his 
guard at Quebec, a surprise was impracticable, and Arnold waited at 
Pointe-aux-Trembles. Meanwhile, Carleton, hearing that Quebec was 
threatened, at once repaired thither. Montreal, being thus left without 
defence, was immediately occupied by Montgomery a fact which sober 

gg Canada and the Canadian People. 

history must set down as no valid ground for boasting. From Montreal 
Montgomery marched east, to unite his force to that of Arnold, for an attack 

on Quebec. 

Meanwhile, Carleton made great efforts to strengthen the defences ( 
Quebec. The population in 1775 amounted to 5,000. The garrison num 
bered i ,800, of whom 500 were French Canadian militia. The fortifications 
had been, to a great extent, rebuilt since the war of the Conquest, and 
additional artillery had been provided, both on the landward side and 
toward the St. Lawrence. The Lower Town was defended by batteries 
at the centre, and by barricades masking artillery. At the approach to the 
Upper Town, on Champlain street, a masked battery of seven cannon com 
manded the entire street. When Montgomery arrived, the Americans pro 
ceeded to invest the city, making their headquarters at Sainte Foye. 
impossible, without artillery adequate to the purpose, to attempt a regular 
siege Montgomery s object seems rather to have been to watch his 
opportunity to capture the place by a sudden dash, when the garrison was 
off their guard. There is no doubt that he expected support from American 
sympathizers within the city. A considerable force of Canadians had 
joined him men who had been alienated by Carleton s injudicious attempt 
to force the Canadian militia to take up arms. But, as the seigneurs, with 
out exception, adhered to England, these men had to be officered by an 
American, Colonel Livingstone. Montgomery had met with a numb 
successes since he had invaded Canada ; but these were either against such 
forts like Chambly, guarded by an insufficient force, or against more 
important places, such as Montreal and Three Rivers, which he found 
altogether undefended, and occupied without any opposition, 
attack on Quebec, even with a sufficient force, required what Montgomery 
did not seem to possess genuine military skill. A competent general 
would have perceived that the American force was not sufficient to justify 
the attempt. Montgomery s men, ragged and ill fed, were unaccustomed 
to the rigour of a winter like ours ; they were also decimated by an outbreak 
of the most malignant form of small-pox. For the sick there was no hospital 
accommodation whatever. They were also almost altogether unprovided 
with funds. The Canadians, who had lost heavily by an inconvertible 
paper currency, issued by Bigot during the war, would have nothing to do 
with the paper money issued by Congress. It is true that several of the 
Montreal English traders had undertaken to deal with Congress, as repre 
sentatives of Canada; but these men belonged to the clique already 
described as being so justly odious to the French Canadians, and had, of 
course no influence whatever. Add to this, that the French who had sided 


The American Revolution as it affected Canada. 101 

with the Americans soon found that they were treated as an inferior race, 
their opinions never being asked. They foresaw that, if the Americans 
conquered Canada, they would be, in every respect, worse off than under 
British rule. The ragged and unsoldier-like appearance of Montgomery s 
levies, too, could not but excite the contempt of those who, in the British 
and French armaments, were well accustomed to the pomp and circumstance 
of war. 

Montgomery decided on attempting to carry Quebec by escalade, on 
the night of December 3ist. The weather was suitable for his purpose : 
neither moon nor stars shone through the darkness ; a boisterous wind 
would serve to prevent the movements of the attacking force from being 
noticed. But several days before this, Carleton had been warned by 
deserters that a night attack was in contemplation, and was well on his 
guard. The cannon on the ramparts and barricades were kept ready 
loaded, and the sentries warned to give the alarm at any sign of an enemy s 
approach. Montgomery sent two detachments to make a feint of attacking 
St. John s Gate and the Citadel, in order to divert Carleton s attention from 
his own movement. Arnold, with 450 men, was to enter the Lower Town 
from the suburb of St. Roche, and take the battery at the Sault au Matelot. 
He himself leading the strongest column, would carry the barricade of the 
Pres de Ville, and march by Champlain Street to the Upper Town. At 4 
a.m., January ist, 1776, his troops were ready, but the signals agreed on, 
two rockets, answered by others from the other columns, were of course seen 
by Carleton s sentries, who at once gave the alarm. Montgomery s column 
had to move along a narrow path between the cliff and the strand, encumbered 
with ice-blocks and snow. However, they reached Pres de Ville in good 
order, and succeeded in passing the outer barricade. But as the column 
approached the next barricade a battery of seven cannon confronted it, 
manned by fifty men under Captain Chabot. Montgomery rushed forward, 
followed by the men of his column, when the battery opening fire, discharged 
a storm of grape shot through their ranks. Montgomery fell dead with his two 
aides-de-camp, and many others. The rest turned and ran away, not caring 
to face a second salute from the battery. Arnold, as he approached the 
outer barricade of the Sault au Matelot Street, was severely wounded in the 
leg by a ball, and had to be carried back to his camp. This column was 
efficiently led by a Captain Major, who succeeded in passing the outer 
barrier, but the inner barricade was so admirably defended by a party of 
French Canadians, under Captain Dumas, that he could make no further 
way, and Carleton having sent round a strong force to attack the Americans 
in the rear, they were caught as in a trap, and obliged to surrender. , 

IO2 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Carleton then stormed the battery at St. Roche. The British general did 
himself honour by burying the remains of the brave but rash Montgomery 
with full military obsequies. 

The American forces continued to invest Quebec, but removed to a dis 
tance of several miles. They tried to bombard the city from Point Levis, 
but failed, not having artillery of sufficient range. Carleton, with somewhat 
of excessive caution, did not take the field against them till the arrival of 
reinforcements from England, when he marched with a thousand men and 
six field-pieces, and defeated the Americans, who ran, leaving their stores, 
artillery and baggage, with the sick and wounded, in the hands of the 
British. But Congress did not relax in its efforts to hold the ground which 
Montgomery had won in Canada. They sent reinforcements both to Mon 
treal and to General Sullivan, who was in command in the Richelieu district, 
so that the Americans in Canada amounted to 5,400 men. But Carleton 
had been largely reinforced from England, especially by a corps of German 
mercenaries whose hereditary prince had sold them to George III., and 
who after the war made very iiseful settlers in Upper Canada. He took 
the field against Sullivan, defeated the American force, taking a number of 
prisoners, and finally drove the invaders from Canada by the fall of 1776. 
Elsewhere during this war the English arms were not as successful as in 
Canada. But the record of their reverses, and of the triumphs of the 
Americans when fighting on their own soil, does not belong to Canadian 
history. Peace was made, and the independence of the United States 
recognized by the Treaty of Paris, in 1763. 

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



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

Carleton was succeeded as Governor by General Haldimand, a Swiss 
soldier in the British pay, who took office in 1778. Unlike Carleton, he 
was of a hard, stern, and despotic disposition. In proportion as it became 
evident that the United States were about to succeed in their assertion of 
independence, so did Haldimand increase the severity of his rule in Canada. 
He forced on Canada the oppressive exactions against which the Puritans 
of England had risen in revolt a century before ; compulsory enlistment, 

104 Canada and the Canadian People. 

and enforced statute labour. On the slightest suspicion of discontent with 
his rule, or of sympathy with the American Revolution, even such sympathy 
as was openly avowed by the English Opposition, he committed the suspects 
to prison, and kept them there for months without the pretence of a trial. 
With a meanness characteristic of the crafty and suspicious race, which has 
furnished the mercenaries and lackeys of every European despotism, he 
descended to violate the sanctity of private correspondence. The Post 
master-General had frequently found the European and other mail bags 
lying open in the Governor s office, and the letters, with broken seals, 
scattered on the floor. It must be remembered that in those days a 
Governor-General was not the mere titular shadow of departed power, not 
the harmless dispenser of civil speeches with which we of the Canada of 
1884 are familiar. In those days the Governor-General ruled the country 
with an absolute authority permitted to no king of England since the Stuart 
tyrants were executed or expelled. Numbers of citizens were arrested on 
the merest suspicions ; the most innocent were never safe from a long 
incarceration ; a man would disappear, none knew how, and months might 
pass before his anxious family knew in what dungeon he was immured. 
The Swiss adventurer was careful, however, to confine his high-handed 
measures to the French Canadians. The English settlers, he knew, regarded 
him as an alien, and might, if roughly handled, turn the current of public 
opinion against his administration in England. 

As was the Governor, such were his underlings. The mode of admin 
istering justice had become a public scandal. Ruinous fines were imposed 
by judges who sat on the bench drunk, or who refused to hear evidence on 
the ground that they already knew all about the case, or declined to 
investigate a charge, because the person inculpated was, in the judge s 
opinion, incapable of anything of the sort. One stranger was arrested on 
suspicion, without any definite charge being brought against him. It was 
reported that he was a young French noble, one of Lafayette s suite. The 
sentry in front of the prison was ordered to watch whether the prisoner 
showed his face at the window of his cell, and if so, to fire at him. And 
when those who had been thus imprisoned were at length set free, they 
could get no satisfaction from the Government as to the crime with which 
they had been charged. But Haldimand, in one instance, mistook the 
man he had to deal with. A French Calvinist merchant of Montreal, 
named Du Calvet, is entitled to the honour of being recorded in Canadian 
history as the first assertor of Liberal principles in Canada. In the 
darkest time of tyranny, when the French majority had not an idea beyond 
their narrow exclusiveness of race and religion ; when the English minority 

The Constitution of 1791. * 105 

sought representative institutions only as a means of oppressing others, 
Du Calvet raised and has left on record his protest on behalf of equality 
for all races and creeds, for representative and responsible government, 
and for free public school education. This admirable citizen, of whom no 
mention is made in most so-called histories of Canada, was suspected by 
the Swiss Governor of correspondence with the Americans, on what grounds 
Du Calvet was never able to ascertain. He was suddenly seized by a 
body of soldiers, who carried him from his home in Montreal, taking also 
his money and papers. He was hurried to Quebec, where he was confined 
on board a ship of war, and afterwards in a dark and loathsome dungeon, 
called the " black hole," used for punishing refractory soldiers of the 
garrison of Quebec. He was thence removed to the Recollet Convent, 
which, under Haldimand s regime, had been turned into a prison for 
political offenders, the common jail not being large enough to accommo 
date the victims. He was detained there for two years and eight months, 
and was then liberated, but could gain no explanation as to why he was 
imprisoned or why he was set free. The same thing, as has been stated, 
had been done in the case of many others, and none of them had the 
courage to challenge the constitutional right of the Governor to exercise 
this system of irresponsible inquisition. But Du Calvet was made of 
sterner stuff. As soon as the prison doors closed behind him, he travelled 
to London, and obtaining an audience of the king s ministers, stated the 
wrongs he had sustained, and requested that Haldimand might be recalled? 
in order that, being on English ground, he might be prosecuted. But 
those were the palmy days of Toryism, when not only the king, but his 
governors, could do no wrong. The ministers turned a deaf ear to Du 
Calvet s complaints. He appealed to another tribunal, the public. He 
published a volume of letters which he had scattered broadcast over Eng 
land and Canada. They were terse, often eloquent, and bore the impress 
of truth. He detailed in simple, forcible language, the persecutions to which 
he had been subjected, and told how his enemy, the Swiss Governor, sought 
to influence the Court of Justice against him by taking his seat on the bench 
beside the judges. He drew a striking picture of the corrupt and despotic 
government of Canada, the peculations of public money, and the persistent 
refusal to permit the use of French law, in violation of the English Parlia 
ment s Quebec Act of 1774. Finally, he demanded for Canada constitutional 
government, as the basis of French law for French Canadians in civil cases; 
in criminal cases trial by jury ; permanent tenure of office during good 
conduct for all judges; the Governor-General to be subject, like other 
citizens, to the law; an elective assembly; Canada to be represented in 

io6 Canada and the Canadian People. 

the English Parliament ; freedom of conscience for all sects alike ; liberty 
of the press ; and free education by parochial schools. Du Calvet s pro 
position for Canadian representation in the English Parliament was 
indeed chimerical, though less chimerical than the form in which the same 
notion has been revised in the recent craze called Imperial Federation. 
But there was something to be said for it at the time. Canada was 
merely a dependency of England, governed by a satrap sent out by the 
Home Ministry. There were no newspapers worthy of the name ; no tele 
graphs, no rapid transit to England, none of those thousand means by 
which in our days a complaint against official wrong-doing is sure to make 
itself heard. 

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

Haldimand s term of office lasted for six years. The duties of Gover 
nor were performed for a time by Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton and by 
Colonel Hope; but in 1785 the office was conferred on Sir Guy Carleton, 
now Lord Dorchester, who landed at Quebec in October, 1785. On 
his arrival Lord Dorchester found considerable political discontent. The 
Legislative Council was regarded as a mere court for registering the 
decrees of the executive. Allsop, who had led the opposition in behalf of 
the English settlers in Quebec, had been expelled from the Council. Petition 
after petition was now sent to the English Parliament. One, signed both 
by the English and French Canadian colonists, asked that the English law 
of habeas corpus might be introduced into Canada, in order to secure the 

The Constitution of 1791. 107 

colonists, French and English, from such arbitrary arrests as those practised 
by Haldimand. They also prayed, in rather vague terms, but aiming, it is 
to be supposed, at an elective assembly, that all Canadians, without dis 
tinction of race or creed, might enjoy the rights, privileges, and immunities 
of British subjects. Counter petitions were sent from the Legislative 
Council, who, of course, did not wish any portion of their power to be shared 
with an elective assembly. An address was moved and carried, praying 
the king to maintain intact the constitution of 1774. Mr. Grant moved an 
amendment in favour of an elective assembly, but he was promptly voted 
down. The Tory ministers of George III. naturally took sides with the 
colonial oligarchy. Habeas corpus they would grant ; to demand trial by 
jury, or an elective assembly, was little better than disloyalty. In spite of 
this discouragement, petitions in favour of an elective assembly continued 
to pour in, and Lord Dorchester was directed to collect authentic infor 
mation on the political and industrial state of the colony. An enquiry was 
therefore set on foot on such questions as the administration of justice, 
education, agriculture, and statistics ; to each of these, a committee was 
appointed by the Legislative Council. That appointed to consider the 
working of the existing system of administering justice ascertained that the 
grossest abuses and irregularities prevailed. Their investigation led to 
results which were strengthened by those arrived at by the Committee on 
Trade, the merchants examined before whom demanded the adoption in 
its entirety, of English law, including, in all cases, trial by jury. These 
merchants stated that no uniform system existed in the practice of the 
Canadian tribunals ; some decided according to French, some according to 
English law ; while some pursued an independent course of their own, 
which they called equity. 

The Committee on territorial proprietorship showed its British pre 
possession by giving decisions that feudal tenures should be done away 
with. Such tenures, it was maintained, were anti-progressive, and hindered 
the settlement of the country. The seigneurs, however, made most deter 
mined opposition to any change which would curtail their hereditary rank 
and emoluments as a privileged class, and it was resolved that no altera 
tion of the feudal tenures should be recommended. The report of the 
committee on education manifested a more progressive spirit. At that 
time there existed no means of supplying education outside of the priest 
hood and the religious orders. Even those were of the scantiest. There 
were absolutely no schools whatever in the country parishes. In Montreal 
and Quebec the seminaries still diffused a little " dim religious light." 
The excellent educational system of the Jasuit College at Quebec had 

io8 Canada and the Canadian People. 

fallen with the fall of the order. Nor did the bishop of Quebec, when 
applied to by the leading men of the diocese, think that the colony was 
advanced enough to support a university. He was examined before the 
committee, and he sought the restoration of the buildings of the Jesuits 
College, then used as a barracks, promising to establish therein classes in 
civil law, mathematics, and other branches of learning, preparatory to a 
university being founded. As to female education, the only schools were 
those attached to the convents of Montreal and Quebec. 

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

The Constitution of 1791. 109 

two new provinces, Upper and Lower Canada, with separate legislatures ; 
(2) the concession of an elective assembly to each Province. 

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

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




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

The Settlement of English-Speaking Canada. in 

An effort was made by Lord Shelburne s Government at the con 
clusion of the war to obtain the restoration of their properties, in compen 
sation for losses, to the adherents of England during the war. " The 
question of Loyalists or Tories," says Lord Mahon, " was a main object 
with the British Government to obtain, if possible, some restitution to the 
men who, in punishment for their continued allegiance to the king, had 
found their property confiscated and their persons banished." And this 
was strongly and persistently urged by those who represented the British 
Government. Dr. Franklin, representing the Americans, at first refused 
point blank to entertain any proposal for compensation to partisans of 
England in the States. He next devised an astute compromise by which 
he offered to take account of the losses sustained by Loyalists, provided 
account were also taken of the losses inflicted on the Americans, by the 
raids and other excesses in which the Loyalists had taken part during the 
war. As this would have led to endless disputes, the British commis 
sioners were fain to be content with Franklin s assurance that Congress 
would do its best to induce the several States to make reparation for losses 
incurred by the adherents of Britain. In spite of the well-meant, but 
utterly ineffectual efforts of the American executive, the return of the 
Royalist partisans to their former homes was as unwelcome as the proposed 
reimbursement for their losses during the war. In many cases, com 
mittees were formed, who with every resource of outrage opposed their 
continuing as residents among their former neighbours. So general was this 
persecution that over 3,000 of these American Royalists applied, through 
their agents, to the British Parliament for protection. The duty of providing 
for these faithful adherents of the mother country, engaged the serious 
attention of Parliament, and the leading men of both political parties agreed 
that the national honour was pledged to succour and support them. The 
first effort to fulfil this duty was the transportation of a number of families 
to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, " countries," as a U. E. immigrant 
wrote in 1784 " where winter continues at least seven months in the year. 
and where the land is wrapt in the gloom of a perpetual fog." But with 
fuller experience of the climate and soil of the maritime provinces, these 
first prejudices were reversed, a sparsely peopled and imperfectly cultivated 
region was endowed with a new and vigorous population ; the chief families 
of these flourishing provinces whose coal mines supply half Canada with 
fuel, whose agricultural resources equal those of any other part of Canada, 
whose sea-board cities and trade facilities are a new element in the progress 
of our country, date from the advent of those half-hearted immigrants of a 
century ago. Many of those who at first settled in Nova Scotia and New 

H2 . Canada and the Canadian People. 

Brunswick became discontented, and sought "fresh fields and pastures new " 
in Western Canada. The country west of Montreal was then an unknown 
wilderness of swamp and forest, the haunt of wild beasts and reptiles, the 
hunting ground of savages whose hatred of civilized man made its explora 
tion perilous. Here and there along the chain of lakes, a few small posts 
had been established, and with difficulty maintained. Michilimackinac at 
the entrance to Lake Michigan, Detroit, and Frontenac, were half posts, 
half trading depots. Beyond the clearings which fringed their palisades it 
was not safe for white men to penetrate too rashly the mystery of the 
wilderness. But in 1783, various causes co-operated to make the English 
Government wish to settle a new colony on the more accessible portions of 
that vast territory, hitherto only known as " Indian Hunting Grounds." 
In view of the incessant disputes between the British settlers and the older 
French Canadian colonists which had embarrassed every Governor of 
Quebec since the Conquest, it was felt that the large number of immigrants 
who had now to be provided for must be settled at a distance from those 
who insisted on the domination of the French law and French language. 
It was also thought politic to preserve the French Canadians intact and 
distinct as a separate element in the colony, w r ho might be relied on to 
oppose all revolutionary tendencies. Governor Haldimand was, therefore, 
authorized to have a survey taken of the lands around the Bay of Quinte , 
in the neighbourhood of Fort Frontenac, and to found settlements on the 
Niagara and Amherstburgh frontiers. Grants of land were then to be 
made, the applicant producing proof, when possible, on the evidence of a 
single witness, of his having sustained loss or injury from the people of the 
United States, in consequence of attachment to British interests. From 
the nature of the case many of the most deserving were unable to produce 
the evidence required, but the cases of the genuine applicants for relief seem 
to have been entertained in a liberal spirit, and it is even thought that many 
Americans who had little claim to the rewards of self-sacrificing loyalty 
obtained grants of land in the new settlements. As an instance of the man 
ner in which these settlements were formed, I take the following account of 
the first settlement of Kingston and of the neighbouring part of the Quinte 
coast, from Dr. Ryerson s Loyalists of America : " The government of the 
colony of Quebec found that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were over 
crowded with Loyalist emigrants, and were beginning to turn their thoughts 
to the unexplored western part of Canada. The late John Grass, of the 
township of Kingston, had been a prisoner of war with the French at Fort 
Frontenac. The Governor having heard of this, questioned him as to the 
suitability of that part of the country for settlement, and the account given 




The Settlement of English-Speaking Canada. 115 

of it by Grass being favourable, offered to furnish to John Grass, and as 
many of the Loyalists as he could induce to accompany him, means of con 
veyance from Quebec, and the supplies necessary for subsistence till the 
settlers could provide for themselves. Grass accepted this offer, and with a 
considerable company of men, women and children, set sail from Quebec in 
a ship provisioned for the purpose. They were forced to spend the winter 
at Sorel, in Lower Canada, but in the spring reached Frontenac, pitching 
their tent on " Indian Point," where the pleasant village of Portsmouth 
is now built around its two caravanseries for crime and misfortune, the , 
Penitentiary and Lunatic Asylum. The adjoining country was not fully 
surveyed until July. Other companies had meantime arrived at the new 
centre of colonization. The Governor, who had come to visit them, called 
on Mr. Grass as having the first claim to a choice as to which township he 
would choose for himself and his company. Grass chose the first township, 
that of Kingston. In the same way Sir John. Johnson chose the second 
township, Ernestown ; Colonel Rogers the third township, Fredericksburg ; 
Major Van Alstine the fourth township, Adolphustown ; and Colonel Mac- 
donnell the fifth township, Marysburgh. Those who, like the present writer, 
have lived for some time in Prince Edward County, know well how their 
names, borne, as they are, by worthy representatives of the Pilgrim Fathers 
of Ontario s settlement, are household words among the thriving populations 
of "the garden of Canada" at the present day ; and on those beautiful 
shores of the Bay of Quinte, where the wild beast and the prowling savage 
have long disappeared, where the masts of ships overtop the apple orchards 
and harbour, and harvest fields are almost everywhere close at hand, the 
few survivors of the children of the first settlers have many a tale of the 
hardships and privations with which their childhood was familiar. Even 
to reach the new settlements in Western Canada was a matter of much time 
and difficulty. The journey was performed in " batteaux," large flat-bot 
tomed boats resembling scows, calculated to contain four or five families and 
their effects. Twelve boats were counted as a brigade, and each brigade had 
a conductor, who gave orders for the safe management of the boats. These 
boats were supplied with but the bare necessaries of life. Shelter there 
was none. At night the immigrants slept, huddled close together, with only 
the sky above them. 

Grants, in a few cases of pensions, but for the most part of provisions, 
farming tools, oxen and seed, were made to the new settlers. Including the 
officers and men of the disbanded 8th regiment, the number of United 
Empire Loyalists who first settled in what is now the Province of Ontario 
may be estimated at between ten and twelve thousand men, women and 

IX 5 Canada and the Canadian People. 

children. Thus was English-speaking Canada settled in the manner most 
advantageous for its future progress. That settlement was not like that of 
French Canada, a tentative and gradual process, feebly subsisting on the 
fisheries and fur trade ; it was a compact and organized invasion of the 
wilderness by an army of agricultural settlers. And these men, unlike 
later immigrants to Canada, did not need to be acclimated, they had 
nothing to learn of wood-craft or forest farming, they were no old country 
settlers glad to seek a home in Canada because they were failures elsewhere. 
They were of the distinct type of manhood which this continent had already 
begun to produce ; energetic, self-helpful, and versatile. And the growth of 
their settlement of a century ago into its present greatness has been in 
geometrical proportion to the slow advance of the French Province. From 
the immigration in 1783 to the establishment of Upper Canada as a distinct 
Province in 1791, the settlement grew in silence; its only record during 
those years being that it strengthened the hands of those in the Lower 
Province who opposed the exclusive domination of the French Cana 
dians. The Upper Province had been divided by Lord Dorchester, 
previous to 1791, into four districts, of whose uncouth German names, 
chosen to natter the Hanoverian king of England, happily no trace re 
mains. These were: Lunenburg, from the river Ottawa to Gananoque; 
Mecklenburgh, from Gananoque to the river Trent ; Nassau, from the 
Trent to Long Point, on lake Erie ; and Hesse, which included the rest 
of Upper Canada and the lake St. Clair. A judge and a sheriff were 
appointed to administer justice in each of these districts. 

The first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada was one who has left 
his mark for good deeply impressed on our country. General John Graves 
Simcoe was an English gentleman of landed property, and a member of the 
British House of Commons, in which he had voted for the constitution of 
1791. He had alsa served with distinction in the late war. He arrived at 
Kingston on July 8th, 1792, when the members of the Executive and Legis 
lative Councils of Upper Canada were sworn in, and writs issued for the 
election of members of the Legislative Assembly. The capital of the new 
colony was at first fixed at Newark, now the old town of Niagara, then a 
straggling village at the mouth of the Niagara river. Here Governor Simcoe 
built a small frame dwelling which also served as a place of meeting for the 
first Parliament of Upper Canada ; which body consisted of eight members of 
the Legislative Council and sixteen members of the Assembly sturdy pioneers 
of the settlements which were now beginning to trench, with here and there 
a clearing, on the surrounding sea of forest. The session lasted four weeks, 
from September iyth to October i 5 th, 1792. Eight bills were passed ; all 

The Settlement of English-Speaking Canada. 117 

well considered and of practical benefit to the new colony. They enacted 
that English law should be in force throughout the colony, with trial by jury 
in all cases ; that the allowance claimed by millers should be limited to one 
bushel for every twelve bushels ground ; provided for the easy recovery of 
small debts ; and for the disuse of the German names which Lord Dorchester 
had imposed on the divisions of Upper Canada. The district from the 
river Ottawa to the river Gananoque was now to be the Eastern District ; 
that from Gananoque to the river Trent was to be the Midland District ; 
from the Trent to Long Point on Lake Erie was to be the Home or 
Niagara District ; the rest of the Province, west to Lake St. Clair, was the 
Western, or Detroit District. Each of these districts was again divided 
into twelve counties, and it was enacted that a jail and court-house should 
be erected in each district. When Governor Simcoe found that the 
Niagara river was settled as the boundary between Canada and the United 
States, he judged it unwise to have the capital of the Province under the 
guns of an American fort, and desired to found a new London in the centre 
of the western peninsula, on a river formerly called La Tranche, but \vhich 
he named the Thames. Lord Dorchester preferred Kingston, but Governor 
Simcoe would submit to no dictation from that quarter, and, after much 
deliberation, he fixed upon a site at the mouth of a swampy stream called 
the Don, and near the site of the old French fort Rouille. The ground was 
low and marshy, but it had the best harbour on the north shore of Lake 
Ontario, and was comparatively remote from the frontier of the United 
States. The Governor christened the place York, in honour of Frederick, 
Duke of York, one of the royal princes. Governor Simcoe s regiment, 
the Queen s Rangers, were employed to make a road through the forest, 
extending north to the lake which bears the name of the first Governor of 
our country. It was called Yonge Street, in honour of Sir George Yonge, 
Secretary of War in the Imperial cabinet, who was a personal friend of the 
Governor s. This, and many other projects of Governor Simcoe s origin 
ation, were interrupted by his removal to St. Domingo, in 1796. His suc 
cessor, the Hon. Peter Russell, was a man of a very different stamp, and 
furnished the first instance of the abuse of political power to personal 
aggrandizement which afterwards assumed such vast proportions under the 
Family Compact. His grants of new land were sometimes to himself, and 
were worded as follows : " I, Peter Russell, Lieutenant-Governor, do grant 
to you, Peter Russell," etc. In the four years of Governor Simcoe s admin 
istration, the population of Upper Canada increased to 30,000. Although 
Toronto was now the seat of Government and the capital of the Province, 
the Parliament of Upper Canada still met at Niagara. In the second 

n8 Canada and the Canadian People. 

session of our first Parliament an Act abolishing slavery was passed, ten 
years in advance of the loud-professing philanthropy of Lower Canada. 
Another Act, for offering rewards for the heads of bears and wolves, indicates 
the primitive condition of a Province which required such legislation. Major- 
General Hunter succeeded President Russell, and directed the administra 
tion up to the time of his death, which occurred at Quebec in the summer 
of 1805. Mr. Alexander Grant, a member of the Executive Council, 
temporarily took the direction of affairs. His successor arrived in 1806, 
in the person of Lieutenant-Governor Francis Gore, who had formerly 
administered the Government of Bermuda. He was a loyal and non- pro 
gressive man, suited to the times in which he lived. He surrendered him 
self to the domination of his Executive Council, and was a drag on the 
wheel of progress. Despite bad government, the Province had flourished. 
Its population now numbered 50,000. Ports of entry were established at 
Cornwall, Brockville, Kingston, York, Niagara, Queenston, Fort Erie, 
Turkey Point, Amherstburg, and Sandwich. In 1807 Parliament appointed 
a grammar school for each district, .the teachers to have a salary of 100 
per annum. 

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



HE elections held for the first Assembly of the new Province of 
Lower Canada by no means swamped the British element, 
many of whose representatives were returned by French and 
Catholic constituencies. Nor did the new constitution put an 
end to the old issues, as the use of the French law and language 
were the first subjects of debate. Lord Dorchester, having 
obtained leave of absence, sailed for England, appointing 
General Alured Clarke as his deputy. Clarke fixed the time of meeting 
for the new Assembly in December, 1792. The Legislative Council and 
the Assembly met on December I7th, in separate halls within the Palace of 
the Bishops of Quebec, a building which, ever since the Conquest, had been 
devoted to secular uses. The first debate in the Assembly was on the choice 
of a President. Messrs. Grant and McGill, two traders of British origin, 
were put forward by their party, but M. J. A. Panet, a distinguished lawyer, 
well versed in both English and French, was elected by a majority of ten. 
An injudicious and premature effort was made by the British party under 
Mr. Grant, seconded, strange to say, by the President, M. Panet, to have the 
minutes of the Assembly drawn up in English only. It was rejected, and a 
resolution was passed that the minutes should be recorded in both French 
and English, but that the laws passed should be expressed in English or 
French, according as they referred to British or French legislation. A bill 
was then passed providing for a most important need, the establishment of 
parish schools. A warm discussion took place with regard to the illegal 
appropriation by the executive of the Jesuit estates. These, it was urged 
with much justice, had been granted not for the personal benefit of the 
Jesuits, but for the purpose of education. The principal result of this, the 
first session of the Assembly of Lower Canada, was the maintenance of th- 
French language. In this year (1792) a monthly mail was established for tin 
first time between New York and Quebec. 

i 20 Canada and the Canadian People. 

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

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

In this year, one Black, having decoyed an American citizen named 
McLane to Canada, in the hope of spreading republican principles, betrayed 

Lower Canada from 1791 to 1812. 121 

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

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

A proposal brought forward at this time by Bishop Mountain was 
adopted. It was to the effect that school-masters should be employed in the 
towns and larger villages, to teach the English language free of charge, and 
writing and arithmetic at a small fee. The Assembly passed a bill for the 
establishment of free public schools, to be maintained from the funds which 
had belonged to the Jesuits ; but the Catholic priesthood were opposed to the 
measure, and it ended in grammar schools being founded in Montreal and 
Quebec only. In 1803, Chief Justice Osgoode ruled that slavery was con 
trary to the laws and constitution of Canada, and all slaves then in the 
country, in number three hundred, were emancipated. A refusal to raise 
the salary of the French translator of the Assembly gave rise to some 
irritation, as the ever-watchful jealousy of race caused it to be regarded as 
a premeditated insult ; nor were matters soothed when Sir Robert Milnes, 
in a somewhat arbitrary manner, closed the dispute by proroguing the 
Assembly. But the bitterness thus evoked found expression next session, 
when the Assembly ordered the arrest of the publisher of the Montreal 
Gazette, in which paper an article had appeared censuring the action of the 
majority in the Assembly a session before. The publisher of the (Quebec 
Mercury also had to apologise at the bar of the House. The popular party 
in the Assembly did not see that by thus assailing the liberty of the press, 
they were striking at their own best means of defence. In 1806, Sir K. 

I22 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Milnes returned to England, little regretted by any class in Canada. A 
step in advance was taken by the French Canadian party in November 
of this year by the establishment of Le Canadien, a paper edited with great 
ability, but, under an elaborate profession of loyalty to the British crown, 
bitterly hostile to the advancement of the British race and language in 
Canada. By this time a growing alienation prevailed between the United 
States and England. The republicans of America, not unnaturally, felt a 
sympathy for France, their ally in the war of Independence, now hemmed 
in by the European despotisms with which the Tory Government of England 
had thrown in its lot. The right of search, too, claimed by England, which 
at that time was mistress of the seas, was exercised on American vessels, 
with scant courtesy or regard for the feelings of the new nation, which the 
English had not yet forgiven for conquering in the late war. A new war 
was evidently at hand, the Americans, with characteristic shrewdness, 
calculating on being able to strike at England under the sword of Napoleon. 
In Canada preparations for defence were hurried on. Mr. Dunn, who was 
acting as deputy Governor, held a grand review, and called out for service 
a fifth part of the militia. In 1807, Sir James Craig arrived as Governor 
for Canada. He was a distinguished military officer, but had narrow views, 
and stern and unpleasing manners. The clique of office-holders who formed 
his court worked on his suspicious nature, to induce a belief in the existence 
of supposed disloyal conspiracies among the French Canadians. He was 
induced to make the Canadien newspaper more powerful for mischief than 
it could otherwise have been by persecuting the shareholders, several of 
whom, including the loyal and influential M. Panet, were put off the list of 
militia officers. Of course this gave much offence, and at the session of 
1808, M. Bedard sounded the first note of the struggle for Responsible 
Government in an elegant and temperate speech, which however drew on 
him severe official censure as The Apostle of Revolution and Sedition." 
Craig met the Assembly s determined attitude of opposition by first 
scolding, then dissolving it. But the people of Lower Canada replied to 
the Governor s insults by returning a House of a yet more popular character 
than in the last session. 

The Canadien justly animadverted on Governor Craig s conduct. " He 
had power by law to dissolve the Assembly when it seemed good to him. 
He had no constitutional right to address abusive remarks on the conduct 
of the Assembly in the discharge of its legislative duties, a matter over 
which the law gave him no control whatever." The agitation, in the colony 
increased. At the next session of the Assembly, Bedard and Papineau, the 
chiefs of the constitutional party, proposed a committee of seven members to 

Lower Canada from 1791 to 1812. 123 

investigate the Parliamentary precedents with regard to the Governor s late 
censures of the Assembly. It was also in contemplation to anticipate the 
recent action of the Dominion Government of Canada by sending an accre 
dited agent to represent their Province in London. But these and other 
measures were interrupted by Craig, with a repetition of his former insult, 
proroguing the Assembly. In order to frighten the electors, this was fol 
lowed up by another step, in what Craig s admirers in the Executive Council 
called "vigorous policy." A body of soldiers, accompanied by a magis 
trate, entered the office of Le Canadien, seized the printing press and type, 
and arrested the printer. After being subjected to a long inquisition, con 
ducted with closed doors, before the Executive Council, the printer was 
sent to prison. The articles in the numbers of Le Canadien which were made 
the pretext for this foolish violation of the laws, appear harmless enough, 
absurdly destitute, of anything like ability, their only evil tendency being to 
stimulate race prejudice, while the prosecution of the paper was certain to 
irritate much more than hundreds of Le Canadien editorials. One of them 
bore the mysteriously " disloyal " title of " Take hold of Your Nose by the 
Tip. The Dogberry in office detected treason in this an intention of vio 
lent seizure and disloyal tweaking of the official proboscis. Craig did not 
stop at this. Supported by the Executive Council, associated with whom it 
is unpleasant to see the name of Dr. Mountain, the Anglican bishop, he issued 
warrants for the arrest of Bedard, Taschereau, and Blanchet. Others were 
arrested afterwards. The severity with the political prisoners was such as 
to cause the death of one of them, M. Corbeil, of Isle Jesus. In vain they 
demanded to know of what they w r ere accused, in vain they demanded the 
British subject s privilege of being brought to trial. Meantime the Catholic 
bishop and his priests did all they could to allay discontent and promote 
attachment to British rule. This was difficult under the circumstances, and 
at the next election the popular delegates were once more returned in force 
to the Assembly. The English ministers had been influenced by despatches 
which Craig and his followers wrote to them, accusing the French Cana 
dians of every kind of disloyalty, and it is plain that severe measures of 
repression would have been adopted, and the liberty granted by the consti 
tution of 1791 still further trenched on, had it not been for the impending 
war with the United States. Lord Liverpool wrote to Craig unmistakable 
directions to adopt a conciliatory policy before it was too late. In conse 
quence of this, the Assembly, when it met the Governor, was astonished 
to hear an address in which, after eulogizing the loyalty of Lower Canada, 
he expressed his hope that the utmost harmony might prevail between him 
self and all branches of the Legislature. Bedard was soon after this relea- 

I2 4 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

from prison, but not till the session had closed, Craig fearing that the 
Assembly might claim the credit of having forced his hand. Soon after 
this Craig s health gave way, and the " Reign of Terror," as the French 
Canadians magniloquently termed his petty tyranny, ended with his depar 
ture for England, where he soon afterwards died. 

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


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


THE WAR OF i8i2- i5. 

|N the i8th of June, 1812, war was declared against Britain by the 
United States ; as regards Canada it may well be called the 
War of Aggression. The States Government knew well that 
Britain needed all her armaments for the gigantic struggle in 
which she was then engaged with the greatest soldier of the age. 
They calculated on over-running Canada. A force of 25,000 
regular troops was ordered to be enlisted by Congress. This was to 
be supported by 50,000 volunteers. General Dearborn, a veteran officer 
of the War of Independence, was appointed to command. Sir George 
Prevost at once ordered all Americans to quit Canada within four 
teen days, and made a tour of observation along the St. Lawrence and 
lake frontier. He found the settlers of Upper Canada, all of them good 
marksmen and trained to fighting as w<?ll as farming, to a man ready to 
leave farming or clearing to the care of the women and boys, and to 
take the field in defence of their newly-settled country. Had the United 
States Government confined itself to fighting England, as was done with a 
fair amount of success by their spar-decked corvettes, on the high seas 
which were the original scene of the quarrel, the people of Canada might 
have felt some sympathy for a brave people subjected to the wanton insult 
of the right of search. But to strike at England through Canada, a 
country whose manifest destiny it was to grow up into a free nation, was 
felt to be mere aggression. The spirit of Lower Canada, too, was roused 
to resistance. The insolence, the squalor, the exaction of Montgomery s 
troops, whom their officers allowed to seize on the farmer s stores, and who 
never pretended to pay for anything except in their worthless paper money, 
were remembered with disgust. The clergy gave the whole weight of their 
influence, all-powerful as it was, to kindle the patriotic resolution for the 
defence of altar and hearth against a heretic banditti. Although the 
Lower Canadian Assembly declined to pass an Alien Act, they gave a 

126 Canada and the Canadian People. 

most liberal grant for organizing the militia, and for the general defence of 
the Province. The money so voted was to be raised in the form of army 
bills, in order to prevent specie from being carried to the United States. 
In Upper Canada, the Lieutenant-Governor had temporarily left the 
Province, having gone to England, leaving the administration of public 
affairs in the hands of Major-General Isaac Brock, a name which has 
become inseparably woven with our history. Though a comparatively 
young man, he had had much military experience, and was admirably 
fitted by nature and training for the difficult part he was now called upon 
to play. He had at first some difficulty in gaining the desired grant from 
the Legislature, which did not believe that war would ensue. But as soon 
as hostilities were declared, they cheerfully passed a very ample militia 
bill. There were then in Upper Canada 3050 regular troops ; in Lower 
Canada, 1450. The Governor-General informed Brock that no further 
aid need be expected from England for at least some months. 

The war began with the capture of Fort Mackinac, (Michillimackinac) 
by Captain Roberts, commandant of the small military post of St. Joseph, 
on Lake Huron. Mackinac was surrendered without bloodshed. It was 
an important position, commanding the entrance to Lake Michigan. On 
July i2th, 1812, the American General Hull invaded the western peninsula of 
Upper Canada with 2,500 men. He occupied Sandwich, and issued a procla 
mation inviting the Canadians to join his standard, and " enjoy the 
blessings of peace and liberty," which he proceeded to illustrate by 
vaunting his country s alliance with war and despotism incarnate in the 
person of Napoleon I. Colonel St. George was stationed at the neigh 
bouring town of Amherstburg with a force of about 300 regulars. Had 
Hull advanced at once, St. George must have been overpowered. But Hull 
delayed, sent small detachments which St. George defeated, and meantime 
the Indians from Grand River poured in to St. George s support, and Brock 
advanced in force from Toronto. Hull now recrossed the river, and took 
up a position at Detroit. Among the Indians present in Brock s command 
was one of the most remarkable of Indian chiefs, Tecumseh, who in 
physique was a typical example of the strength and versatile dexterity 
which the wilderness sometimes developes in its children. He was born in 
the Miami Valley, and having distinguished himself in war and hunting, 
became recognized as a chief of note among his countrymen. He devised 
a new scheme for uniting the Indians into a political confederacy under his 
sway. In concert with his brother, who claimed supernatural powers, he 
originated a religious movement, in part borrowed from Christianity ; but 
after some years the American troops attacked his town in Tecumseh s 

The War of i8i2- i5. 127 

absence. It was taken and destroyed, and this Mahomet of the Red Men 
had ever since hated the Americans with the implacable rancour charac 
teristic of his race. In a council of war held opposite Detroit, Tecumseh 
traced with his scalping knife on a piece of birch bark a rude plan of the 
defence of Detroit. Brock then crossed the river, and opened fire on Detroit, 
which he was on the point of assaulting, when General Hull signalled his 
wish to capitulate. Hull and all his regular troops were sent to Quebec as 
prisoners of war. Brock returned in well-deserved triumph to York. 
But the Americans, anxious to efface the disgrace of Hull s unsoldierlike 
conduct, sent an army of 6,000 men to the Niagara frontier, with orders to 
the General in command, Van Rensellaer, to force his way through Brock s 
lines of defence, and establish himself on Canadian territory. The British 
and Canadian force for the defence of this entire frontier of thirty-six miles 
was less than 2,000 men. The Americans succeeded in landing, after some 
opposition from a party of the 4gth regirhent under Captain Dennis, who 
was compelled to retreat. He was met by General Brock with his aide-de 
camp, Colonel McDonnell. Brock at once put himself at the head of six 
hundred men of the 4Qth, and, drawing his sword, led them to* charge the 
Americans on the heights above. They advanced under a heavy fire, which 
killed several ; among the first the gallant Brock. Infuriate at the fall of a 
leader universally beloved, the regulars and Canadian troops rushed up 
the hill, and swept before them a foe far superior in numbers. But the 
Americans were reinforced, and the British and Canadian force of three 
hundred, after a brilliant display of valour, had to retire. Meanwhile a 
vigorous attack had been made on General Scott s forces (he had succeeded 
Van Rensellaer) by a young Iroquois chief, John Brant, who came in 
command of a body of warriors from the Grand River Reserve. General 
Sheaffe now succeeded Brock, and after a sharp conflict for about half 
an hour, although with a force inferior in numbers, forced the enemy to 
surrender. Brock was buried side by side with the brave McDonnell, at 
Fort George, Niagara, the Americans as well as his own army firing minute 
guns during his funeral. 

Dearborn now threatened to invade Lower Canada from his position 
at Plattsburg. General Prevost then called out the entire Lower Canadian 
militia, and his summons was obeyed with such enthusiasm that Dearborn 
gave up the proposed invasion as impracticable. Meanwhile General 
Smith, who now commanded the American force on the Niagara River, 
made several attempts to cross to the Canadian frontier, in all of which 
he was so completely held in check by a much smaller force, that he had 
to skulk from his camp to avoid the anger of his own soldiers. These 

ia8 Canada and the Canadian People. 

brave men deserved a more competent general. He wasfeceived in Buffalo 
with general execration, the very taverns being closed against him. He was 
soon after most deservedly cashiered. Meanwhile, in Congress, the repre 
sentatives of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, who had 
refused to furnish militia for the war, were backed up by Maryland. Mr. 
Cjuincy denounced the war against Canada as piratical. "Since the 
invasion of the buccaneers," he said, "there has been nothing in history 
more disgraceful than this war." In 1813, once again the legislatures of 
both Upper and Lower Canada took ample measures to supply the 
Governor with funds for defence of the country. The campaign of this 
year opened with a victory of Colonel Proctor with five hundred regulars 
and six hundred Indians over General Winchester, in command of a 
detachment of General Harrison s army. Winchester, with five hundred 
of his men, was taken prisoner. This checked Harrison s advance. For 
the rest of the campaign, raids were made with varying success on both 
sides, upon either bank of the St. Lawrence. Ogdensburg was taken by 
Major McDonnell, who crossed the frozen river with a force of regulars. 
Fort Presentation, with seven guns, four field pieces, and a considerable 
quantity of arms, ammunition, and other stores, was taken by Captain 
Jenkins and Captain Eustace. In the next campaign, Commander Chauncev 
sailed from his naval stronghold of Sackett s Harbour, with 1,600 regulars on 
board of fourteen vessels. These troops, under Brigadier Pike, landed, after 
some opposition, three miles west of York. Meanwhile the fleet opened 
fire on the very insignificant defences on shore, where Pike had succeeded 
in carrying the first battery. As he advanced, a tremendous explosion 
from the powder magazine shook the earth, and killed many, mortally 
wounding others, among whom was General Pike. It was impossible for 
General Sheaffe, with the force at his command, to resist the American 
invaders. He withdrew in orderly retreat to Kingston, leaving, for some 
inexplicable reason, Colonel Chewett with two hundred and ninety-three 
militia, who, after a hard-fought conflict of seven hours, surrendered. 
Having fired the town andde stroyed what public stores were left, Chauncey, 
with reinforcemens from Sackett s Harbour, made a descent on Niagara, 
where General Vincent, with but fourteen hundred men, held Fort George. 
Those who have visited the dismounted earthworks, where now the Niagara 
sheep, horses and children play in the casements and entrances, will have 
observed how completely it is exposed to the fire of the American Fort 
Niagara on the east side of the river. The fort now opened fire. Chauncey s 
ships poured in a shower of grapeshot and shell from the lake close by. 
After three hours fighting, Vincent spiked his guns, blew up his magazine, 

The War of i8i2- i5. 129 

and retreated to a position on Burlington Heights, near Hamilton. On the 
Detroit frontier, General Harrison, who, notwithstanding Winchester s 
defeat, wished to retake Detroit and Michigan, received a severe check 
from General Proctor, with a loss of seven hundred men. But Proctor s 
Indians wished to return home with their plunder, the militia were unwilling 
to sustain a siege, and he was thus compelled to leave Detroit, carrying 
with him his stores and munitions of war. 

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

But Chauncey had now built another ship of war at Sackett s Harbour, 
and had the superiority over Yeo s squadron. He attempted a descent on 
Vincent s depot of stores at Burlington, but was prevented from doing any 
mischief by the militia regiment from Glengarry, which marched from 
Toronto to Burlington. They thus, however, left York unprotected. 
Chauncey sailed thither, burned down the barracks and stores, and set ti 

130 Canada and the Canadian PeQple. 

the prisoners from the jail. Thus was the Provincial capital twice captured 
during this war of piratical raids. The Americans now put forth all the 
resources of their powerful country in order to stem the tide of Canadian 
success. Commodore Perry, with a well-equipped fleet of craft, out 
numbering by ten the British squadron, and carrying guns of far heavier 
metal, encountered the British squadron, under the command of Captain 
Barclay, off Put-in Bay, on Lake Erie. The British ships were embarrassed 
by the insensate measure of having more landsmen than sailors on board. 
The fight began at a quarter before twelve, and continued till half-past two, 
during which time fortune seemed to favour Barclay s fleet. Perry s flag 
ship, the Lawrence, being injured by the British fire, he went on board the 
Niagara. Soon after this the Lawrence struck its colours. But so defective 
was the equipment of Barclay s ships that there was not even a boat to 
enable him to board his prize. A change of wind, which occurred just at 
the crisis of the fight, enabled Perry to get at the weather-side of the British 
ships, into which he poured such a deadly fire that, the officers being all 
killed or wounded, a third of the crew killed, and the vessels unmanageable, 
the entire squadron of Barclay surrendered. Perry showed the courtesy 
due from one brave man to another, to Barclay, whom he released on 
parole. The defeat and loss of the ships was a severe blow to General 
Proctor, who was now compelled to retreat. Having destroyed the fortifi 
cations of Amherstburg and Detroit, he now commenced his disastrous 
retreat. His army consisted of eight hundred and thirty men, with an 
auxiliary force of 1,200 Indians, under the chief Tecumseh. General 
.Harrison followed in pursuit with three thousand men, among whom were 
included one thousand dragoons and mounted Kentucky riflemen. Near 
Chatham, Harrison overtook Proctor s rear guard, and captured all his 
stores and ammunition. The only resource for Proctor now was to try the 
fortune of a battle. The ground he chose seems to have been well selected. 
Those who have visited and examined the field will remember that at 
this point the river banks are steep, descending some twenty feet to the 
water. There is still a swamp among the remains of the woods a few 
hundred yards from the river. The intervening ground is now level and 
open ; it was then covered with lofty trees. Proctor s left wing was pro 
tected by the river, and strengthened by a field-piece ; part of his centre 
and all the right wing were defended effectually by a swamp; in the swamp, 
lurking in their usu al manner behind trees, were a large body of Indians, 
with Tecumseh. The battle may be said to have begun and ended with a 
charge which General Harrison ordered to be instantly made by Colonel 
Johnson with the mounted Kentucky riflemen. To ordinary cavalry the 

The War of 1812- 15. 131 

ground, swampy as it was, would have been most unfavourable, but the 
Kentucky horsemen had been from boyhood accustomed to ride at full 
speed through the forests and swamps of their own state. They swept in full 
Career on the British ranks before they had time to discharge a third volley. 
The soldiers, exhausted by forced marches and hunger, were no match for 
fresh troops, well supplied with everything, and flushed with Perry s recent 
victory. The battle was lost. Proctor fled ignominiou sly, as did his men, 
nor did either stop till they reached the shelter of Burlington Heights. 
Meanwhile Tecumseh and his Indians kept up a galling fire from behind 
trees in the swamp. The American Colonel s horse was shot, and he fell 
with it to the ground. A chief, conspicuous for his plume of eagle s feathers, 
rushed forward, knife in hand, to scalp him. Johnson drew a pistol and 
shot the Indian dead. He believed that he had shot Tecumseh, but his 
having done so is, to say the least, very doubtful. It is certain, however, 
that Tecumseh was slain at the battle of the Thames, though his body was 
never found. The site of the battle is now marked by the site of a house, 
opposite the Indian village of Moravian Town, and formerly used as a 
tavern. It is now a farm house called the Red House. 

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

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

On September aoth, 1813, the American General Hampton, with a well- 
equipped army of five thousand infantry and cavalry, advanced towards 
Montreal by a road leading through the village of Odelltown. There was 
then a forest swamp of about fifteen miles square,-which Colonel De Salaberry, 
with his corps of Voltigeurs, had during the year before rendered impracti 
cable by abattis. On account of these obstructions, Hampton changed his 
direction westward by the banks of the Chateauguay River. Colonel De 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

Salaberry took up a position with his small force of four hundred men in a 
thick wood on the banks of this river, constructing breastworks of felled trees, 
and covering his front and right wing with an abattis; his left wing being 
sufficiently defended by the river. There was a small ford, which he com 
manded with a breastwork outpost. He rightly judged that, at whatever 
odds, this point ought to be defended against an invading enemy ; for it was 
the only position where a stand could advantageously be made, all the rest 
being open ground as far as the St. Lawrence. On October -.2 4th, Hampton 
advanced with three thousand five hundred men, led by General Izard. He 
sent Colonel Purdy, with a brigade, to march by a detour and attack the 
British in the rear. But Purdy got lost in the woods, and did not arrive in 
time. De Salaberry placed his men in extended order along the breastwork 
in front of their line, with orders not to fire till he discharged his own rifle 
as a signal. The Americans advanced in open columns of sections to within 
musket shot, when De Salaberry gave the signal by firing his rifle, with 
which he brought down a mounted officer among the enemy s line. A hot 
fire was now poured into the dense columns of the Americans. They 
wheeled into line and attempted to reply, without much effect. De Sala 
berry now tried a ruse which Dr. Ryerson compares to Gideon s ruse dc 
guerre described in the Book of Judges. He stationed his buglers as far 
apart as possible, and ordered them to sound the advance. This caused a 
panic among Hampton s troops, who thought that large reinforcements were 
about to aid the British. At the same time Purdy had been encountered by 
two companies of De Salaberry s men, who completely routed his force. 
General Hampton, disconcerted at the failure of Purdy to execute his orders, 
and not daring, though with a force so immensely superior, to attack the 
breastwork and abattis with the bayonet, withdrew in good order. Thus did 
this gallant French Canadian soldier, with a force of less than four hundred, 
defeat an American army of several thousand strong. Well may Lower 
Canada be proud of De Salaberry s memory, and honour those who bear his 

name at this day. 

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

By this time a force of 800 regulars and militia, had been sent from 


The War of i8i2- : i5. 135 

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

The Assembly of Lower Canada which met in the next year (1814) 
impeached several of Governor Craig s subordinates as having been 
accomplices in his unconstitutional acts, more especially in the mission of 
the spy and traitor, John Henry, through whose agency, before the war oi 
1812, Craig had tried to sow disunion in some of the northern States. No 
definite result, however, followed. In the spring of 1814, Colonel Williams, 
with a force of 1,500 men, was attacked unsuccessfully by General Wilkinson 
with 4,000 Americans. The British General Drummond captured Oswego 
in May, but Commodore Yeo sustained a defeat in the same month, when 
endeavouring to cut out some boats laden with stores, at Sackett s Harbour. 
In the Niagara district, General Riall having been reinforced from Toronto, 
resolved to assume the offensive against General Brown in the neighbour 
hood of Chippewa. Brown s force amounted to over 4,000. On July 251)1, 
1814, the battle of Lundy s Lane was fought. At first the British were 
worsted, and their general, Riall was taken prisoner. But the arrival of 
General Drummond from Toronto with a force of 800 men turned the scale, 
and the Americans made a hasty retreat to Fort Erie. After the victory 
of the British at Toulouse and the abdication of Napoleon, troops could In- 
spared for service in Canada, and 1,600 of Wellington s veterans were sent 
over. Sir George Prevost, however, disgracefully mismanaged the abundant 
means thus placed at his disposal. He attacked Plattsburg with 11,000 
men, and after some idle manoeuvring withdrew before a force of 1,500 


Canada and the Canadian People. 

Americans. For this misconduct he was to have been tried by court 
martial, but death saved him from the disgrace it might have inflicted. 

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



ENERAL DRUMMOND succeeded Sir George Prevost as 
Governor of Lower Canada. He had been before this Governor 
of Upper Canada. He speedily got into disputes with the 
Assembly, on the old vexed question of the impeachment of the 
judges, which the Prince Regent had ordered to be set aside. He 
was succeeded in July, i8i6,bySir John Sherbrooke, who had been 
Governor of Nova Scotia. He saw, and reported to the English 
Ministers, the great need there was for a conciliatory policy, and the bitter 
animosity that was growing up between the Assembly and the Executive 
Council. In 1817 the Assembly chose as its Speaker the rising young orator 
Louis J. Papineau,son of the constitutionalist leader before the war. In the 
same year the Bank of Montreal, the earliest bank in Canada, was established 
in Montreal ; and, soon afterwards, the Bank of Quebec in the older capital. 
In 1818 the Governor informed the Assembly that he was instructed from 
England to apprise them that their former offer to undertake the civil list 
of the country was now accepted. This was a most welcome announce 
ment to the popular head of the Legislature, who had long desired the 
control of the public expenditure. Sherbrooke, disgusted with the reluc 
tance of the English Tory Government to permit needed reform, returned 
home, much regretted by the Lower Canadians. He was succeeded by the 
Duke of Richmond,, a dissipated and spendthrift noble, who had often 
" heard the chimes at midnight " " \vith the wild Prince and Poins." 
A year afterwards, the Duke s eccentric career was closed by an attack 
of that terrible malady, hydrophobia, the result of the bite of a tanu- 
fox. The Duke broke from his attendants, and ran furiously along tin- 
banks of the little tributary of the Ottawa which flows through the village 
of Richmond. Arrived at the nearest house, the unhappy nobleman died in 
the village that bears his name, which he had purposed to make a consider 
able town. 

138 Canada and the Canadian People. 

In June, 1820, the Earl of Dalhousie came from Nova Scotia, where he 
had been Governor, to Canada, as Governor-in-Chief. A stormy session of 
the Legislature took place in 1 82 1 . Inquiry was demanded into the accounts 
of the Receiver-General of the Province, who was suspected of having 
appropriated large sums of public money. Exception was also taken to the 
iniquitous system of making lavish grants of Crown lands to the favourites 
of Government. As the Council and the Assembly could not agree on these 
points, no money was voted by the Assembly for the civil list. Meanwhile 
the Province advanced ; no such freedom, no such prosperity, had been 
known under the French regime, as no less a witness than M. Papineau was 
free to own in a speech from the hustings. Montreal steamers were numer 
ous on the lakes and the St. Lawrence. The Lachine and Rideau canals 
gave a great impetus to trade. The first beginnings of Ottawa were being 
advanced by Colonel By. The lumber trade was beginning to reap its 
harvest of rafts from the hitherto useless forests. The Eastern Townships 
alone now held a population as large as that of all Canada at the Conquest. 
There now arose a project for the Union of the two Canadas, to which the 
French Canadians were bitterly opposed. They sent John Neilson and 
Louis J. Papineau to England with a petition against it, signed by sixty thou 
sand French Canadians. A gross case of fraud and embezzlement was now 
clearly proved against the Receiver-General, John Caldwell. The Govern 
ment had been guilty of the folly of screening him, and were compelled to 
bear the odium of his crime. In June, 1824, Lord Dalhousie was succeeded 
by Sir Francis Burton, his Deputy, till 1826, when Dalhousie returned. 
The dispute between the French and English colonists, between the oligarchy 
of the Executive Council and the popular Assembly, went on year by year 
with wearisome iteration, Papineau being in the van of the malcontents. At 
last the Governor refused to recognize Papineau as Speaker, and declared 
that he could listen to no communication from the Assembly till it got itself 
legally constituted by electing a Speaker. The ever-recurring wrangle 
between the Government and the Assembly at last attracted notice in the 
British Parliament, and a Committee was appointed to consider the Lower 
Canada question. They met and decided every point in favour of the 
French Canadians. The Assembly ordered four hundred copies of their 
report to be printed and circulated through the country. 



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

At this time Robert Gourlay, a Scotch immigrant who was desirous of 
becoming aland agent, bethought himself of the expedient of addressing. a 
number of blank forms containing each thirty-two queries as to agricultural 
matters in each district. Unfortunately he added another query : " \\ hat, in 
your opinion, most retards the improvement of your township in particular, 
or the Province in general ?" This alarmed the Government, who were in 
the, habit of conferring large grants of land on their own favourites, a 
practice which they well knew was injuring the Province. Gourlay began 
to be denounced as a republican and preacher of disloyalty ; while on 
the other hand, the generality of the replies that poured into his hands 
deneunced the Clergy Reserves as the bane of provincial improvement. 
The Clergy Reserves, set apart as an endowment for a State Church, took 
from the people one-seventh of the Province of Upper Canada. They v. 

140 Canada and the Canadian People. 

not in one place, but scattered here and there all over the Province. For 
the most part, they were waste, and this deteriorated the value of adjoining 
property, by their paying no tax, and infesting the neighbourhood with the 
wild beasts they sheltered. Finding himself the object of unjust attack, 
Gourlay proposed to the people of Upper Canada to petition the Imperial 
Parliament for an investigation of the affairs of the Province. On the ground 
of a passage in a draft of this petition, prepared by Gourlay, a prosecution 
was entered against him on a charge of libel. He was imprisoned for six 
months in Kingston gaol, but when tried was acquitted. He had every 
chance of becoming a popular leader, when he offended the Assembly by 
proposing to assemble a rival body, "the Convention ; " and so lost popu 
larity. The Family Compact were then able to hunt him down unhindered. 
A creature of their own basely swore that Gourlay was a seditious 
person. He was ordered to quit the country, and not doing so, was thrown 
into a cell at the old jail of Niagara whence he wrote some telling attacks 
on the Family Compact Government in the Niagara Spectator. But ill- 
usage and prolonged incarceration told on his health. He became almost 
insane, and after being brought to trial, and condemned, was allowed to 
quit the country, where he owned a considerable tract of land. Thirty-five 
years later an old man whom no one knew visited the villages and farms 
on what had once been Gourlay s estate. It was Robert Gourlay himself, 
come to reclaim his land. The squatters, great or small, were compelled to 
come to terms with him. In 1822 he published his book on Canada. It is 
full of bombast and ill-temper, but contains much valuable information for 
those who wish to picture to themselves the state of things in this Province 
during the palmy days of the Family Compact. Maitland, the Lieutenant- 
Governor, had completely identified himself with that party, and his unfair 
dealings with poor Gourlay made him more unpopular than any previous 
Governor. Notwithstanding misgovernment, Upper Canada was now more 
flourishing than ever, with a population of 120,000. In consequence of this, 
there was an increase of representation in the Assembly. Five new mem 
bers were added to the Legislative Council, by far the most remarkable and 
influential of whom was the Rev. John Strachan, who afterwards became the 
first Church of England bishop of Toronto. This noteworthy personage made 
his first appearance in Canada as private tutor in the household of the late 
Richard Cartwright, of Rockwood, near Kingston, at a salary of fifty 
pounds a year. From this he was promoted to be teacher of the District 
school at the village of Cornwall, where he married a widow with some 
money. Young Strachan had been bred a Presbyterian, but Presby- 
terianism at that time in Canada meant poverty. The Church of England 

Upper Canada from the Peace to 1828. 141 

was the Church of the Family Compact magnates, and to minister at its 
altars insured good pay and admission to the best society. So John 
Strachan threw aside his dislike to the " rags of popery," and the " kist 
o whustles," and without difficulty was ordained. He became an extreme 
advocate of political absolutism and religious intolerance, and to the end of 
his long life hated non-episcopalian Protestantism with intense bitterness. 
In 1823, a new subject of contention arose between the Legislative Council 
and the Assembly, in consequence of the attempts of the Family Compact 
to set aside the election of Marshall Spring Bidwell, for Lennox and 
Addington. On one pretence or other they were successful for the time, 
and their creature, one G. Ham, was declared elected, but Bidwell was 
soon afterwards returned, and became Speaker of the Assembly. The 
Family Compact made themselves odious in every way. The Assembly, in 
1823, passed a law enabling Methodist ministers to solemnize marriage, but 
the Upper House, acting under Dr. Strachan s influence, threw it out. 

On the 1 8th of May, 1824, the first trumpet note of reform was sounded 
in the publication of The Colonial Advocate of \Yilliam. Lyon Mackenzie. 
This remarkable man was the son of a poor Highland family of Perthshire. 
His grandfather had fought with the Cavalier Prince at Culloden, after 
which he had escaped with him to France. Young Mackenzie came to 
Canada in 1820, and for some time kept a small drug store in Toronto. 
The first few numbers of his paper showed a vigour and command of 
sarcasm hitherto unknown in Canadian journalism. It was eagerly read 
by the great body of the people in Upper Canada, and in proportion 
aroused the bitter hatred of the Family Compact ; for Mackenzie designated 
the Legislative Council as the " tools of a servile power," pointed out the 
injustice of one church monopolising a seventh part of the Province, and 
freely criticised the unjust imprisonment of Gourlay. In 1826, the hatred 
of the Family Compact against Mackenzie rose to such a pitch that a mob 
of well-dressed rioters broke into the printing office in Mackenzie s absence, 
wrecked the printing machines, and threw the type into the lake. This 
outrage was almost openly sanctioned by the Family Compact. But Mac 
kenzie was not to be thus suppressed. He sued the rioters, and gained his 
case, with 625 damages, and costs. Of course Mackenzie now became 
more popular than ever, and in 1828 was elected to the Assembly for the 
county of York by a large majority. 

Meanwhile in Lower Canada discontent and ill-feeling became worse 
and worse, though the colony continued to flourish. In 1826, McGill 
College, Montreal, received a charter, and in 1828, a petition signed by 
87,000 of the French Canadians, was sent by their delegates to the Imperial 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

Parliament, a committee of which recommended that its prayer should be 
granted, and the whole of the revenue be placed under the control of the 
Lower Canada Parliament. Lord Dalhousie was now recalled, and Sir 
James Kempt, formerly Governor of Nova Scotia, was sent to succeed him, 
charged with a mission of reconciliation. He confirmed the election of 
Papineau as Speaker, called into the Council representatives of the popular 
party, and in 1829, raised the representation of Lower Canada from fifty 
members to eighty-four. In 1830, Kempt was succeeded by Lord Aylmer. 
In the same year, the entire control of the revenue was assigned to the 
Provincial Legislature. The property of the Jesuits, long the subject of 
dispute, was now definitely made over for educational purposes. 

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



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

It will be 1 observed that the grievances objected to by the Reform party in 
Upper and Lower Canada were the same, but it would be untrue to conclude 
that the political aims of Reformers in the two Provinces were identical. Both 
complained of the tyranny of the irresponsible executive ; and both wished 
the Legislature to have full control of the public revenue. But while the 
Upper Canada Reformers desired, as the result of a radical change in these 
respects, the equality of all citizens irrespective of creed or race, those of 
Lower Canada wished to get power into their own hands in order to tig-hten 
the bonds of race and creed exclusiveness, to isolate themselves more com 
pletely in their Provincial-French nationality, to exclude from equal share 
of power and place those English-speaking settlers in Quebec and Montreal 
who had waked the slow-going old colony into active industrial life, but 
whom the Canadian sneered at as aliens and intruders. It would Ju 
an abuse of language to call Papineau and his followers "Liberal." A 
new member of the Assembly who had been elected to represent 
Toronto now began to exert considerable influence. His father. Dr. 
Baldwin, had left his native Cork in the heat of the troubles of 1798, and 
some time after his arrival in Canada had come to Toronto, near which 
he built a house called by the name Spadina, a name still preserved 1>\ 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

the stately avenue which stretches its broad highway from Knox College 
to the lake. Dr. Baldwin practised law as well as medicine, a union of 
several professions, not uncommon fn those primitive times of Toronto s 
history. Dr. William Baldwin did not seem to be of aristocratic 
familv, or to be received as such by the exclusive coterie of the 
Family Compact. His first venture in Toronto was that of a private 
schoolmaster. It is probable that his exclusion from what were then 
regarded as the aristocratic circles of the capital of English Canada deter 
mined Dr. Baldwin s mind in the direction of that Liberalism afterwards 
so ably advocated by his celebrated son. But by the death of the Hon. 
Peter Russell, a large estate, in what is now western Toronto, fell into the 
hands of his sister, a maiden lady, who thought fit to bequeath it to Dr. 
Baldwin, who then became a rich man and a person of consequence. Like 
most parvenus, he seemed to be bent on " founding a family," and 
resolved that " there should be forever a Baldwin of Spadina." The 
original house thus grandiloquently described stood on the corner of 
Spadina Avenue and Oxford Street. Having been built before the property 
was laid out, it stood with the gable end to the street. The son of this 
gentleman, Robert Baldwin, commanded general respect by his unimpeach 
able integrity and honesty of purpose, no less than by his political good 
sense, which, while it made him side with the Reform partyon all the main 
issues, preserved him from " the falsehood of extremes," and the Reformers 
of Upper Canada were now beginning to form into two distinct camps. On 
the one side, were the moderate men who were determined, come what 
would, to seek their constitutional aims by constitutional means. Of these 
Robert Baldwin was now the recognized leader. The other section of the 
Reform party was led by Mackenzie, whose influence was great, especially 
all through the county of York, and through most part of the counties of 
Brant and Oxford. Indeed, the farmer population generally, with the 
exception of the Orangemen, now a factor of some influence in the com 
munity, and the Anglican Church people, were assiduous readers of the 
Colonial Advocate, and sympathizers with Mackenzie. 

Meanwhile, the stream of immigrants continued to pour into Canada. 
A large number of Catholic Irish settled in Peterborough and the central 
part of Upper Canada. These, as a rule, favoured the Reform party. 
Many Ulster Protestants also took up land, sturdy and thrifty colonists, 
whose love of constitutional freedom inclined them to join- the moderate 
Reformers, while the hatred they had learned to feel for the Irish " rebels," 
kept them thoroughly in the groove of loyalty. The population of Upper 
Canada in 1831 had reached a quarter of a million. At the election of 

Canada on the Eve of Rebellion. j < r 

1830 the Family Compact exerted every influence that a large corruption 
fund placed at their disposal to secure a majority of their own supporters 
in the Assembly. Their tactics were successful. Mackenzie moved a 
resolution that the House ought to nominate its own chaplain, instead of 
having the choice of the Executive forced upon them. But the Assembly, 
by a three-fourths vote, refused to allow the motion, and the Family Com 
pact Attorney-General, Boulton, compared the claim that the House should 
appoint its own chaplain to the conduct of a street assassin, to which 
rabid insult the Assembly tamely submitted. Mackenzie then moved for a 
committee of inquiry into the state of legislative representation in the Pro 
vince of Upper Canada. It was bad indeed, a House packed with Family 
Compact officials, the mere creatures and mouthpieces of the Executive 
Council. Mackenzie s unanswerable exposure of the corruption of the 
existing system so alarmed the House that they consented to his motion for 
inquiry amid applause from the public in the gallery of the House. But 
Mackenzie would not stop there ; pension lists, fees, sinecurists, salaries, 
money abuses of all kinds so rife in that Augean stable of corruption, the 
Family Compact Government, were attacked and exposed in speeches whose 
scathing common sense struck home and were carried broadcast over the 
Province in the columns of the Colonial Advocate. At last, driven to des 
pair, the Family Compact resolved to crush the man whom they could not 
answer. A committee headed by Allan MacXab, the Attorney-General, 
endeavoured to impeach Mackenzie for breach of privilege, but their case 
broke down. Mackenzie now continued to spread the agitation for Reform- 
all through the Province. He spoke to excited multitudes in Gait, in 
Cornwall, and Brockville. His success in rousing the people s mind was 
great, even in the heart of such Family Compact centres as Brockville and 
the Talbot settlement. He now prepared a petition in Toronto, asking 
that the Assembly might have full control of the public revenues and of the 
sale of public lands ; that the clergy reserves might be secularized ; that 
municipal councils might be established ; that the right to impeach public 
officials might be conceded ; that judges and clergymen might be excluded 
from Parliament ; and the law of primogeniture repealed. To this petition 
25,000 signatures were appended. All that Mackenzie asked has long been 
part of the law of Canada. We scarcely realize the benefits of our free 
institutions, because we take them, like light and air, as a matter of course. 
It is well to remind ourselves of what we owe to those who struggled in the 
bitterness of patient battle, not fifty years ago, against corruption en 
trenched in power. But the Family Compact, having now secured a 
majority of its own creatures in the Assembly, resolved to make use of it to 



Canada and the Canadian People. 

crush their enemy. Some pungent and not very judicious strictures on 
the Assembly s reception of petitions from the people were, by a vote of the 
House, construed as a libel. By another vote Mackenzie was expelled from 
the Assembly. In the debate on this question Attorney-General Boulton 
called Mackenzie "a reptile," and Solicitor-General Hagerman compared him 
to a spaniel dog. Mackenzie rose to the height of his popularity ; petition 
after petition poured in to the Governor entreating him to dissolve the cor 
rupt Assembly. On the day of Mackenzie s dismissal nine hundred and 
thirty of those who had signed the petition waited on the Governor to 
receive his reply. It was given in two or three curt, contemptuous words. 
The troops were ready armed, artillery men stood beside the loaded can 
non, prepared, at a moment s notice, to sweep the streets with grapeshot. 
It was well that the crowd of Canadian Reformers was perfectly orderly, 
as the chivalrous English Governor was fully prepared for the massacre of 
men, women and children within range of his guns. But the Assembly 
now attempted to bid for popularity ; they voted an address to the Crown, 
praying that the clergy reserves might be secularized for the purpose of 
education. They then issued the writs for York County, but Mackenzie 
was returned by acclamation. Again they expelled him from the Assembly ; 
again he was triumphantly returned. In 1832 Mackenzie went to England 
with his petition. 

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

Canada on the Eve of Rebellion. 

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



R. WOLFRED NELSON had for many years practised medi 
cine in and around St. Denis. He spoke the language and 
thoroughly understood the character of his French neighbours. 
Considerable professional skill, freely exerted without pay or 
reward for all the poor among the habitants, had made him for 
years past exceedingly popular. He was elected to the Assembly, 
and there followed the leadership of Papineau, with whose republicanism he 
sympathized. Early intelligence was, of course, brought to him by the 
habitants of Colonel Gore s approach. Nelson had seen service as military 
surgeon during the late war, and had sufficiently the courage of his opinions 
to resolve on active resistance. Not so Papineau. The Mirabeau of Mon 
treal had not a particle of the pluck that gave backbone to the somewhat 
bizarre eloquence of the Mirabeau of the great Revolution. He left his fol 
lowers to their fate and made an inglorious retreat to the States. Mean 
while Nelson rang the village tocsin, and the aroused habitants came flock 
ing" to its summons. Nelson stationed his men at the windows and loop 
holes of a large stone building, and at those of two others wherever a 
flanking fire could be directed on an attacking force. When Colonel Gore 
arrived he attacked Nelson s position from ten in the morning till four in 
the afternoon. But his one gun could make no impression on the thick 
stone walls. He could not take the building by storm, his own men were 
being shot down, and at last he was forced to spike and abandon his field 
piece, and retreat as best he could. This victory, the only marked success 
of the revolt of 1837, was gained on November 23rd. But at St. Charles, 
though the insurgents were in far greater force, they were badly led, and 
fell an easy prey to Colonel Wetherell, who had been sent with a strong 
force to attack the place. With the exception of a raid by American sym 
pathizers, across the border, this was the last of the revolt in 1837. It is 
pleasant to record that Dr. Nelson, who had shown the greatest kindness 

Revolt. 149 

to Colonel Gore s wounded soldiers, left on his hands, succeeded in escap 
ing to the States, whence, in calmer times, he returned to his home in St. 
Denis. But next year a second insurrection took place in Lower Canada, 
led by a brother of Dr. Nelson. It was soon suppressed. Both insurrec 
tions were severely avenged by gallows and torch. Numbers of men were 
hanged with scant form of trial, and the darkness of the December night, 
in the parishes of St. Denis and St. Charles, were lit up by blazing home 
steads and barns. 

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





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

The rebellion of i837- 38 was a purely Canadian movement, 
an armament of a portion of the Canadian people to win back 
by force those constitutional rights which the Family Compact 
Government had wrested from the electors ; and, but for acci 
dental circumstances, to be detailed in the sequel, this rebellion 
would, no doubt, have been successful in overthrowing, without bloodshed, 
the whole Family Compact system, and the rule of Sir Francis Bond Head. 
Of course, it would have been absurd to suppose that any attempt could have 
been made to hold Upper Canada against the military power of England. 
But the course of subsequent events, and the legislation which followed the 
publication of Lord Durham s Report, show that it is equally absurd to 
suppose that the Liberal party then in power in England would have 
exerted military force to retain a system like that of Head and the Canadian 

The Mackenzie rising, in 1837, must be carefully distinguished from 
the other movements, from the Lower Canadian insurrection, and from the 
filibustering raids of American "sympathizers" which followed. The 
English Canadian movement resembled only in appearance the Lower 
Canadian insurrection of 1837. The Upper Canadian movement was 
essentially a popular one. It was supported by the great mass of English 
Canadian people. Not so the rising in French Canada. The latter move 
ment never had a really popular support, for it was from the first under the 
ban of the Church, and the Lower Canadian is a Catholic first, a patriot 
afterwards. Lafontaine had to mend his ways and become reconciled to 
the Church before he could become, what Papineau never had been, the 
real leader of French Canada. The English Canadian movement, under 
Mackenzie, had a distinctly national aim and support, and a military 

The Civil War. 151 

programme which came very near being successful. The French revolt 
under Papineau never could have been a success. Its solitary success in 
the field was gained under the English-speaking leader, Dr. Wolfred Nelson. 
Nor is the movement of 1837 to be confounded with the raids at Navy 
Island, at Amherstburgh, and at Prescott in the succeeding year, which 
were mere filibustering expeditions, for which no justification whatever is 

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

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

A reply to the Lieutenant-Governor s official insolence was drawn up 
by Drs. Rolph and O Grady. " We thank Your Excellency," it began, " for 
replying to our address, principally from the industrious classes of the city, 
with as much attention as if it had proceeded from either branch of the 
Legislature ; and we are duly sensible in receiving Your Excellency s reply, 
of your great condescension in endeavouring to express yourself in plainer 
and more homely language, presumed by Your Excellency to be thereby 
brought down to the lower level of our plainer and more homely under 
standings." The rejoinder then deplored, with sarcastic humility, the 
deplorable neglect of their education, resulting from the misgovernment of 
King s College University, and the veto imposed by the Executive Govern 
ment on the popular Assembly s resolutions that the Clergy Reservrs 
should be applied to the needs of public education. This able document 
proceeded to recite other grievances, and concluded with what, according 

152 Canada and the Canadian People. 

to Mr. Charles Lindsey, "William Lyon Mackenzie, in a manuscript note he 
has left, calls the first low murmur of insurrection. "If Your Excellency 
will not govern us upon those principles, you will exercise arbitrary sway, 
you will violate our charter, virtually abrogate our law, and justly forfeit 
our submission to your authority," ran the reply. The able and sarcastic 
rejoinder was left by James Leslie and Jesse Ketchum at the door of 
Government House, and its bearers were whirled out of sight before the 
irate Lieutenant-Governor could discover who they were. In one of his 
outbursts of undignified fury he sent the paper to Mr. George Ridout, a 
member of a distinguished Toronto family, whose name did not even appear 
among the signers. It was at once returned to Sir Francis by Mr. Ridout. 
But the rejoinder was already in print, and in the hands of every member 
of the Legislature. 

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

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

In effect Sir Francis Head now regarded the people of English 
Canada as belonging to two classes, the " loyal " -i.e., those who supported 
the irresponsible executive in all its monopolies and the "rebels" -who 
demanded responsible government all of whom were put down by 
Sir Francis Head as " traitors and republicans." Yet in reality it was the 


The Civil War. 155 

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

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

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

Of this fact of the utter unconstitutionally of the elections of 1836, I 
wish to give the reader clear proofs. Lord Durham states in his famous 
"Report," an authority whose truthfulness is admitted by the parties to be 
above suspicion, that " in a number of instances the elections were carried 
by an unscrupulous exercise of the influence of the Government, and by a 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

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

At the head and front of these outrages on the constitution stood the 
conceited and unprincipled Lieutenant-Governor. He openly avowed him 
self a partisan. He as openly denounced the Reformers. He stumped the 
country. He has been praised for the dexterity with which he threw himself 
into the role of an agitator, for his appeals to spread-eagle " loyal " senti 
mentality, his bunkum stump oratory about the "glorious old flag of 
England," his ridiculous anti-climax, "let them come if they dare," to an 
imaginary enemy, in the name of militia regiments, not one of which had 
he common-sense to embody for the defence of his Government when it was 
threatened by a serious danger. But all this, justly regarded, is but the 
stock in trade of a political charlatan, without common sense as he was 

The Civil War. 157 

without principle, his ever restless self-conceit exulting in a little brief 
notoriety. None of Head s predecessors would have stooped to such a 
course, though some of them, such as Sir John Colborne and Sir Peregrime 
Maitland, were deeply attached to Tory principles. But they were high- 
minded English gentlemen. Head, whose real name was Mendez, had not 
a particle of right to the respectable English name he bore. His true 
surname was that of his grandfather, Moses Mendez, the descendant of a 
Portuguese Jew, a quack doctor who had settled in England some genera 
tions before. What has been said will, it is to be hoped, enable the reader 
to realize the iniquities practised by the Tories at the election of 1836. 

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


Canada and the Canadian People. 

of Tory corruption jubilant over the land ! There remained but a pale hope 
of redress in answer to petition, and what beyond? Mackenzie s last words 
were ominous enough : " If the reply be unfavourable, as I am apprehensive 
it will, then the Crown will have forfeited all claim upon British freemen in 
Upper Canada, and the result is not difficult to foresee." 



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

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

Canada and the Canadian People. 

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


For many-sided talent it may be doubtful if any of the leaders of 
i836-*37, was the equal of the Hon. John Rolph. An Englishman of good 
education, Rolph was for some time Settled on Colonel Talbot s estate, and 
according to Colonel Ermatinger was a special favourite with that eccentric 
old warrior till their political opinions separated them. Rolph began, like 
the first of fhe Baldwin settlers, to practise law, and was equally distin 
guished as a physician. As an orator the few specimens that remain of Dr. 
Rolph s Parliamentary speeches rank with the best Canada can boast of. 
In consequence of a quarrel that took place between Mackenzie and Rolph, 
subsequent to 1837, those who side most warmly with the former are apt to 
undervalue Rolph s services to the revolutionary cause. After careful 
enquiry I can see no just evidence against Dr. Rolph. He certainly staked 
everything on the perilous game then about to be played. He knew that 
whoever else might escape, he certainly could not hope to escape the unfor 
giving hatred of the Tory chiets whose dearest plans his sarcastic oratory 
had thwarted so often. Dr. Rolph was singularly successful in his profes 
sion, and succeeded in attracting the warm affection of the young men with 
whom he came into contact as their teacher. His features were pleasing, 
his figure tall and commanding, and up to the day of his flight from Toronto 
no one was more trusted by those bent on a revolt. 

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

Samuel Lount, formerly member for Simcoe, had gained much influence 
among the farmers in the northern part of York County, especially in the 
neighbourhood of Holland Landing, where he resided. He combined with 
farming the business of blacksmithing, could make excellent horse shoes, 

The Civil War Continued. 161 

and if need be, pike-heads also. An honest, affectionate, generous man, a 
kind husband and father, much beloved of all men, he had been deprived 
of his seat for Simcoe by the unconstitutional outrages of Head and his 
Tory abettors. 

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

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

At the Brewery meeting of July 3ist, a permanent vigilance committee 
was appointed, of which Mackenzie was to be agent and corresponding 
secretary. He was to hold meetings in various parts of Upper Canada, 
and organize branch vigilance societies which were to be so organized as 
to be easily available for military purposes. Each society was to count not 
less than twelve, or more than forty members, as far as possible residents in 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

the same neighbourhood. The secretaries of five of these societies were to 
form a township committee. Ten of the township committees were each to 
choose a representative to form a county committee, and these again were 
to elect a district committee, Upper Canada being divided into four districts. 
At the head of all was to be an executive committee. The secretary of 
each subordinate society would rank as sergeant, the delegate of five 
societies to a township committee as captain, the delegate of ten township 
committees to a district committee as colonel, at the head of a battalion of 
six hundred men. 

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

It is hardly possible now to estimate the actual number of Mackenzie s 
avowed supporters. When the insurrection failed, numbers who would 
have joined Mackenzie had the attack on Toronto -succeeded, multitudes 
who, in the London district, had actually taken up arms under Dr. 
Duncombe, made a pretence of offering their services to Colonel MacNab 
or Sir Francis Head, as the best means to secure their personal safety. 
Head s boasts of the numbers of " loyal militia " that poured in to support 
him, rested therefore on very slight foundations. It was well known that 
Mackenzie had a very large following in Toronto itself, where he was most 
popular, having been the city s first mayor in 1834. The intended rising 
was known, though not, it is believed, in all- its details, to many gentlemen 

The Civil War Continued. 163 

of high position, among others to Marshall Spring Bidwell and to the elder 
Baldwin. The lat ter, it is certain, did not communicate his knowledge of 
the revolutionary plans to his son Robert, who afterwards explicitly 
declared, in his place in Parliament, that he was in complete ignorance of 
what was going on. Sir Francis Hincks has also assured the writer that 
although everyone felt that a crisis of some kind was impending, he himself 
had no sympathy whatever with anything under Mackenzie s leadership. 
East of Toronto, Mackenzie had a considerable following about Cobourg, 
Port Hope, and Pickering. With the exception of the Orangemen, with 
which powerful organization Mackenzie had made the great mistake 
of quarrelling, and the Irish Roman Catholics, whose clergy denounced 
Mackenzie (he had made another mistake in picking a quarrel with their 
bishop), all the farmers of the Home District, and most of those in the Gore 
and Niagara Districts, were in full sympathy with Mackenzie. These w r ere 
for the most part steady, industrious land-owners, men who risked not only 
life, but all that for half a lifetime they had toiled to reclaim from the wilder 
ness, on the doubtful issues of insurrection. Many took the precaution of 
deeding in trust to friends, or to their children, what land they possessed, 
as a safeguard against government confiscation, should the rising fail. 
Besides the Home District contingents which were levied by Mackenzie 
and his lieutenants, Lount, Anderson, Gibson, Matthews and Lloyd, a very 
considerable force was raised in the Western Peninsula of Ontario, 
between the Detroit River and Lake Erie. This was one of the most 
fertile and best settled districts in English Canada ; consequently it was 
one where the grievance of the Clergy Reserves was keenly felt. It was, 
as it is, a centre of Reform influence in Upper Canada. 

The leading spirit in this phase of the revolutionary organization wa s 
Dr. Charles Duncombe, a resident of the village of Bishopsgate, on the 
town-line between Burford and Brantford townships, in the county of 
Brant. Like Dr. Rolph, like Dr. Wolfred Nelson in French Canada, this 
gentleman had gained considerable personal influence by his skill in the 
exercise of his profession, as well as by the self-sacrificing generosity with 
which he would ride for miles through swamp and forest to visit pioneer 
patients too poor to give any fee but gratitude. Like the able physicians 
named above, Duncombe was a many-sided man. a lucid and impressive 
speaker, well read in history and general literature, and gifted with a 
personal magnetism which enabled him to exert no slight influence over 
the farmers of the sections of five or six counties into which (so energetic 
were the medical men of those days,) his practice extended. He had* been 
for many years representative in the Assembly of the riding in which 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

he lived. In Parliament Dr. Buncombe exerted a marked influence. He 
it was that transmitted to the British Colonial Office such an impeachment 
of Sir Francis Head s misgovernment, accompanied by proofs, as to cause 
the charges to be examined into, and the delinquent Lieutenant-Governor 
recalled in something very like disgrace. Buncombe had acquired con 
siderable wealth in the course of his practice, and owned much land in 
Brant and Oxford. 

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



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

Canada and the Canadian People. 

were deposited in the City Hall at the disposal of any one who might 

choose to take them. 

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

The Civil War Montgomery s Farm. 167 

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

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

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

On the night of December 3rd, Mackenzie, having visited the house of 
David Gibson, one of the leaders already mentioned, learned, to his no 
small dismay, that the day of rendezvous had been in his absence altered by 
Dr. Rolph s sole order, from Thursday, the yth of December, to Monday, 
the 4th. This, of course, Mackenzie thought would throw all their plans 
into confusion, and was a violation of the undertaking into which all the 
leaders had entered, that the day of rising should not be changed except by 
general consent. But there is no reason to think that Dr. Rolph acted 
otherwise than in perfect good faith. And the issuing of a warrant for 

1 68 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Mackenzie s arrest, which followed at once on the publication of the latest 
issue of the Constitution, and the issuing of arms to a city volunteer com 
pany, seem to have fully warranted Rolph s action. Had his plan been but 
privately carried out, Toronto would have fallen into Mackenzie s hands on 
the morning of Tuesday, December the 5th. Fifty resolute men could have 
done it. Nor can it be considered wise in Mackenzie to endeavour to change 
the day of rendezvous back to the original date. How much better to have 
accepted the situation than thus to play at cross-purposes. In vain aid he 
send messages to Colonel Lount, who sent word that the men were already 
on the march, and that no further change could be made. Mackenzie saw 
that the die was cast, and resolved, come what might, to abide the issue. 

Montgomery s hotel was a frame building of two stories, and of the 
type still familiar in many a backwoods settlement. Round the front 
aspect of the house, which faced towards Toronto, ran a platform, or 
" stoop," raised on three steps to-avoid the slush in spring thaws. On one 
side of the door was the usual large bar-room, over the main entrance a 
lamp, and before the house a huge sign-board raised on high, bearing the 
usual hospitable announcement. Thither Mackenzie repaired on the even 
ing of the 4th of December, the day appointed by Dr. Rolph for the rendez 
vous. The hotel belonged to John Montgomery, who had rented it to one 
Lingfoot, a man who, if anything, was a Loyalist. Montgomery is stated 
by Mr. C. Lindsey to have had no direct connection with the insurrection. 
A strong contrary opinion has been expressed by Mr. Wilcox, the companion 
of Mackenzie s flight after the battle, and by Mr. Brock, at present of Toronto, 
then one of Mackenzie s officers. It is evident, say these gentlemen, that 
Montgomery knew all about his house being constantly made a place of 
meeting by the patriots. But the anticipation of the day of meeting had 
spoiled all commissariat arrangements. Mackenzie could procure neither 
beef nor bread till the next morning, and when, late in the evening, Colonel 
Lount arrived with some ninety men, dispirited by a tramp of thirty miles 
through the Yonge Street mud, little comfort awaited them beyond what 
might be had from bare boards and bad whiskey. . Mackenzie now advised 
two measures, one a most sensible one, to cut off all communication with 
the city by placing a guard across Yonge Street. This was done at once, 
and had well nigh succeeded in preventing the news of the rising from 
reaching the Lieutenant-Governor that night. The other was that an im 
mediate advance on the city should be made by Lount s company of rifle 
men and pikemen. Against this proposal Colonels Lount and Gibson and 
Jesse Lloyd protested. They seem, from a military point of view, to have 
been quite right. Lount s company were utterly exhausted by a thirty- 

The Civil War Montgomery s Farm. 169 

mile tramp through heavy mud. They had not received any provisions. 
Men in such a condition were not fit for a further forced march, to conclude, 
perhaps, with a fight against fresh and well-fed opponents. Mac 
kenzie then offered, if accompanied by three others, to ride into the city, 
ascertain the state of matters, and return with Dr. Rolph and Dr. Morrison. 
Captain Anderson, one of Mackenzie s most trusted officers, and two others 
rode with him towards Toronto. On their way they met a mounted patrol 
consisting of Alderman John Powell and Mr. Archibald Macdonald. Mac 
kenzie explained that the rising had taken place, and said he must send 
them as temporary prisoners to Montgomery s hotel, where he would give 
orders that they should be well treated. He then put them on parole as to 
their being possessors of weapons. Powell gave his word of honour that 
he was without a weapon, but he had not ridden far before he dropped be 
hind his mounted escort, and, drawing a pistol, shot Anderson in the back. 
Anderson fell dead, his murderer gallopped away, and as he passed Mackenzie 
he fired the other pistol at him. The clumsy flintlock, however, failed to 
accomplish his deadly purpose. 

Meanwhile a meeting of Loyalists was held at the house of Colonel 
Moodie, near Richmond Hill, in consequence of the march of Lount s men 
having been observed on the neighbouring part of Yonge Street, at four o clock 
in the afternoon of that day. Several of the loyal gentlemen resolved to ride* 
if necessary, through the guard at Montgomery s hotel, in order to carry the 
news to the Lieutenant-Governor in Toronto. The other members of the 

Loyalist party were stopped by the insurgent guard, and conveyed as pris 
oners into the hotel, where, by Mackenzie s orders, they were treated with 
every respect. But Colonel Moodie had, most unfortunately, been drinking 
heavily. He acted like a madman, drew a pistol in either hand, and fired 
right and left upon the guard. It was not to be expected that the fire, 
under such circumstances, should not be returned. Moodie fell, and was 
removed to the hotel, where he died two hours afterwards. Mr. Lindsey, 
who certainly is the most reliable authority, says that the fatal shot was 
fired by a man named Ryan, who stood on the steps in front of the hotel, 
where the moonlight, falling full on Moodie, gave him a good mark. But 
two gentlemen, who were present when Moodie fell, state that the shot was 
fired from a crowd of men on the other side of the road, where there was an 
open clearing, and that the unhappily successful marksman was a farmer 
from Simcoe. 

When Powell had passed Mackenzie, after riding forward for a little, he 
dismounted, and, fancying himself pursued, hid for some time behind a log. 
He then proceeded to the city with the first news of the revolt. He first 

170 Canada and the Canadian People. 

waited on the Chief Justice, together with whom he went to Government 
House, where courtly historians record that Sir Francis Head " had gone to 
bed with a sick headache." Hurried orders were given to assemble the chief 
government officials. Torches flared in the streets, where excited groups 
continued to gather until dawn, and the city bells, with loud clangor 
sounding the alarm, gave warning to the insurgent camp that the time for a 
surprise had gone by. It had, in reality, not gone by. In the city, the 
Lieutenant-Governor, terrified and incapable, put his family and household 
effects on board the small steamer ready for flight, should Mackenzie capture 
the city. A son of the Hon. William Hamilton Merritt, then a pupil in 
Upper Canada College, thus describes the scene of that morning in Toronto : 
" It was a curious sight to behold ; guards of civilians hanging about Govern 
ment House ; the shops all closed ! People hurrying silently in all directions, 
some with arms, some without. And then, at the Town Hall, where were 
assembled the cannon, with torches ready to be lighted, and the arms 
distributed. Melancholy exhibited in every countenance. All was new 
and strange ! Nothing was done that day, but various movements took place 
in their turn. All was exciting." The judges, the city aldermen, and other 
leading gentlemen, set the example of coolly forming themselves into a com 
pany for defence of their Government. Sheriff Jarvis got together a small 
corps of volunteers who were supplied with arms. But still the condition of 
Head and his Government may be described as one of panic all the forenoon 
of Tuesday, December 5th. Two hundred resolute men, had that opportunity 
been seized, might have captured the Government House and sent the 
Lieutenant-Governor flying in the steamer he had provided for the purpose. 
At the insurgent camp, at Montgomery s hotel, all the conditions were 
favourable for an advance on Toronto at that critical moment of the 
insurrection. Colonel Lount s men had recovered from the fatigue of 
their long march of the day before. New companies and straggling 
bodies of men had poured into the camp all night. On Tuesday morn 
ing the insurgents mustered between seven and eight hundred men, an 
ample force to have carried all before them. The greater number were 
armed with pikes of Lount s manufacture, a rude but most effective weapon, 
especially for street fighting. Many had the old heavy-handle pea-rifle, 
which those who possessed it were pretty sure to know how to use. A suffi 
cient commissariat, too, had been procured. Lingfoot, the "Loyalist" 
tenant of John "Montgomery, was not unwilling to take the rebel money 
which Mackenzie most honourably paid for all expenses incurred. Requi 
sitions were made on several neighbouring houses belonging to Loyalists, 
but Mackenzie and his lieutenants would permit no violence nor injury to 

The Civil War Montgomery s Farm. 171 

property, in this respect showing a very different spirit from that displayed 
by the Loyalist forces when their time came for reprisals. Ample supplies 
of fresh and salt beef, too, as well as of bread, had been procured from a 
" truly loyal " butcher, some two miles north of Montgomery s notel. If the 
men had been refreshed with a good breakfast, and then had marched on 
the city, the attack must have succeeded. For, by Head s own account 
(Sir F. B. Head s Narrative, p. 331), he had but three hundred supporters 
in the city that morning, besides which he was notoriously unpopular, 
while Mackenzie had many ardent supporters in Toronto ready to join his 
force had it once advanced. And Mackenzie himself strongly urged an 
immediate advance. He was overruled by his lieutenants, especially by 
David Gibson, on the ground that the detachments from the west had not 
yet arrived, and that nothing was known of the state of things in the city, 
where the alarm bells warned them that their enterprise had been discovered, 
and would no doubt be resisted. Thus was the favourable moment lost by 
the want of proper discipline, and of subjection to those in authority. In fact, 
one of the gravest errors of the insurgents in planning the rising had been 
the neglect of securing communication by means of emissaries who would 
not be suspected, and by devious routes. They had trusted too much to 
receiving communications through leading men such as Rolph and Morrison, 
every movement of whom was sure to be watched by the Government. 
Dr. Morrison did, it is believed, endeavour to make his way to the camp at 
Montgomery s on the night of December 4th. A Loyalist, Captain Bridge- 
ford, meeting him, is supposed to have caused his return to the city (see 
Lindsey s Life of Mackenzie, Vol. II. p. 80, a curious detail of circum 
stantial evidence in connection with this incident as discovered at Morrison s 
trial for high treason in 1838). All through the 5th every avenue which 
directly led to the northern part of Yonge Street was watched by armed 
patrols, who did not hesitate to fire on any one whom they saw approach 
ing in the direction of Montgomery s hotel. Thus the younger Merritt, 
in his school diary, relates: " In such a state of things human life is held 
at a very cheap rate. Next day, by going too near where the rebels were 
stationed, we (several Upper Canada College students) were taken prison 
ers. When in durance, I saw a sentry aim his musket at a person who 
was running away." 

As a proof of the abject state of panic to which Sir Francis Head was 
by this time reduced, he actually stooped to send a flag of truce to the 
insurgents camp, thus acknowledging them as belligerents with whom he 
might make terms. In his own account of this transaction, Head states 
that he sent the flag of truce on Wednesday, December the 5th, and that his 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

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

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

Mackenzie on that occasion did all he could to animate his followers 
with his own intrepid spirit, but nothing he could say w r ould supply the 
utter want of discipline in their disorderly ranks. They marched without 
order, those of Lount s men who had rifles, in front, the pikemen following. 
They met and disarmed a Captain Duggan of the volunteer artillery, but 
soon afterwards they were fired on by a party of Sheriff Jarvis s volun 
teers, who after the first volley ran away. A disgraceful panic ensued. 
Had the insurgents shown anything of the courage which, too late to save 
their cause, they showed when brought to bay on December the yth, the 

The Civil War Montgomery s Farm. 173 

result would have been very different. All but a score at most retreated 
to a considerable distance above the toll-gate. Mackenzie, aided by Lount 
and Alves, tried in vain to rally them, but Lount s men threw away their 
pikes. They said they would march no further that night. Next morning, 
Rolph, finding that all hope of success was lost by the failure of the insur 
gents, left for the United States. The particulars of his escape, never before 
published, will be given in the next chapter. Many of the insurgents now 
went back to their farms, but some new arrivals kept up the force at 
Montgomery s to nearly five hundred men. Thenceforth, their history is 
but a record of divided counsels and consequent failures, redeemed, it is 
true, by the courage with which they confronted, on the morning of the yth, 
a greatly superior force of militia, well-armed and supported by artillery. 
Another error was committed by Mackenzie, though as he says in obedience 
to Rolph s express orders, burning the house of Dr. Home, a loyalist spy. 
This unduly alarmed the citizens of Toronto, and gave colour to Head s 
accusation that Mackenzie and Lount meant to fire the city. This impru 
dent act, Mr. Brock, one of Mackenzie s officers now surviving, tells me that 
he and his two brothers strongly opposed. 

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

IJA Canada and tlie Canadian People. 

themselves, well armed, and provided with artillery ? They replied in the 
affirmative." (Lindsey s Mackenzie, Vol. II., 94.) 

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



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

Meanwhile the western division of the insurgents had met at the village 
of Scotland, in the southern township of Brant County. They were about 
five hundred, generally armed with rifles. On the news of the defeat of 
Mackenzie reaching them, Colonel Sackrider, who, as has been stated, was 
a veteran officer of 1812, wished to occupy the pine woods south of Burford, 
where they could have a friendly country as a base of supplies, and might 
make a stand against MacNab and the Loyalist militia. But Buncombe 
gave it as his opinion that they had better disperse, which was accordingly 
done. A full account of the interesting circumstances of Duncombe s 
escape from the Loyalist prison, as gathered by myself from Dr. Duncombe s 
daughter, and from the son of the gentleman who contrived the escape ; as 
also of the flight, under circumstances of great difficulty, of Mr. Hagel, one 
of Duncombe s officers, will be given at full length in a future work. 
As yet these stories, so characteristic of that period of Canadian history. 
have never been laid before the public. It is hoped, also, that in the 
advanced work a fuller account may be drawn from sources entirely original 
of Dr. Rolph s escape from Toronto. His opponents were thirsting for 
his blood, and he knew it well. Calmly, on the morning of -Wednesday, 
the 6th of December, he sauntered along King Street, passing in and out 

X y6 Canada and the Canadian People. 

of the houses of his patients, as if intent on his professional practice. 
In advance of him a favourite pupil of his, now one of Toronto s most 
eminent practitioners, had Rolph s best horse ready saddled. A little past 
the western city limits, however, they met a party of militia, commanded 
by an exceedingly zealous Loyalist. Most fortunate for a life yet destined 
to be most useful to Canada and science, he had just received a letter from 
a sister, who lived at some distance, and was dangerously ill. Rolph pro 
duced the letter, said he was about to ride to see the patient, and was 
allowed to go on his way. He easily made his escape into the United 
States, where he resumed the practice of his profession with much success, 
until a pardon enabled him to return to Toronto. 

Of William Lyon Mackenzie s wonderful adventures during his flight 
a most graphic account is given by Mr. Lindsey. Less fortunate was the 
brave and generous-hearted Colonel Samuel Lount. For a short time he 
retreated along with Mackenzie, at the head of about ninety armed men. 
It was then thought most judicious that the party should separate. The 
Hon. James Young, in his amusing and useful book on Gait and Dumfries, 
states, on the authority of a militia officer still living, that Lount was 
secreted for some days near Gait. Mr. Young adds that Lount would cer 
tainly have been captured were it not that his arrest would have involved 
all who had sheltered him in the penalties of high treason. Lount was 
next secreted in an almost impenetrable swamp, near Glenmorris. Thence 
he was moved to the house of a political friend, near the village of Glen 
morris ; a magistrate arrived at the front door of that house to arrest him, 
just as Lount left by the back-door. Samuel Latchaw, a well known South 
Dumfries farmer, conveyed him thence to Waterford, where he lay con 
cealed in the hay-mow of Grover s hotel, while the Loyalist militia were 
scouring the country all round in search of him. At last, after many such 
adventures, he made his way to the Niagara river, where he was captured, 
as Mr. Young well puts it, " within sight of the United States and safety." 
He was next seen being led through Chippawa as a prisoner. His cap 
had blown off his head into the river, and a ragged old red night cap 
had been placed on his head by his " loyal " escort in mockery of the 
Republican Cap of Liberty. Though given in heartless insult, no better 
head-gear could have befitted the brow of Samuel Lount. He was tried 
soon afterwards at Toronto, with Peter Matthews of Pickering. They were 
found guilty, and an eminent physician of this city who was present in the 
court house during the trial tells me that Chief Justice Sir John Beverley 
Robinson pronounced the cruel death sentence with evident satisfaction. 
It was as if he was eating honey. Orders had been sent from England to 

The Family Compact Terror. 177 

delay the capital sentence, but the Chief Justice and the Rev. John Strachan 
used all their influence to bring Lount and Matthews to the scaffold. They 
died calmly, confident in the justice of the cause for which they gave their 
lives, on April I2th, 1838. Of a very different nature from Mackenzie s 
attempt to create a revolution by seizing the capital and overthrowing the 
Family Compact tyranny, and utterly unjustifiable on any patriotic ground, 
were the raids on Canadian territory by American sympathizers in 1838. 
The chief of these was made from the American side, whence a force of 
about a thousand Canadian and American sympathizers occupied Navy 
Island in the Niagara river above the Falls. They were, however, induced 
to disperse by the American General Scott. A steamer which they had 
used to convey supplies to the island was seized by MacNab, who set it on 
fire, and sent it to drift over the cataract. For this achievement MacNab 
was knighted. 

In 1838 Head was recalled, and Sir George Arthur came to Upper 
Canada as Governor. The Family Compact had triumphed, and had filled 
the prisons with the " rebels. 7 Two of the leaders, Lount and Matthews, 
were executed ; rewards were offered for the capture of Mackenzie, Dun- 
combe and others, dead or alive, and the frontier was haunted by prowling 
Iroquois from the Grand river, eager to take the scalp of the "rebel" chiefs 
and earn the Government blood-money. In October of this year a raid was 
made by a body of sympathizers under a Pole named Von- Schoultz, who 
occupied a stone wind-mill near Prescott. They were attacked by a large 
force of militia, and compelled to surrender. Von Schoultz was taken to 
Kingston and tried for high treason, being ably, but unsuccessfully, defended 
by a young lawyer named John A. Macdonald. Von Schoultz was exe 
cuted. An attempt was also made by the insurgents to capture Windsor 
and Amherstburg, but they were dispersed with a loss of twenty-one by 
Colonel Prince. Four prisoners were taken, who were shot in cold blood 
by the Colonel. In their triumph the insolence of the Family Compact 
knew no bounds. The Reign of Terror in France and the Bloody Assize 
in England seemed about to repeat themselves in Canada. But a great 
change had taken place in England. The Tory party, which had been 
supreme since Waterloo, had fallen from power, and their place was filled 
by the great Liberal Administration of Lords Grey and Melbourne. By 
them Lord Durham was sent out as Imperial High Commissioner to adjust 
all questions and grievances in Canada. He stood between the political 
prisoners and the Family Compact party, who were made to see that their 
hour was past. Lord Durham, on his return to England, published his 

ij8 Canada and the Canadian People. 


celebrated "Report," which must ever be regarded as one of the chief 
documents of Canadian freedom. In this he recommended nearly all the 
reforms for which Mackenzie had for so many years asked in vain. Thus 
the insurrection, though as a military movement it failed, by arousing the 
attention of English Liberalism to the tyranny of the Family Compact, 
accomplished, in an indirect manner, all at which it aimed. 



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

The union of Upper and Lower Canada came into force in 1841. 
Kingston was made the seat of Government. Mr. Thomson received the 
title of Baron Sydenham. He endeavoured to carry out faithfully the work 
of inaugurating the system of Responsible Government, and introduced, 
through the Executive Council, many useful measures. Unfortunately 
when riding up the hill of Portsmouth, near Kingston, his horse fell, crush- 

!8o Canada and the Canadian People. 

ing his leg, an injury of which, to the great sorrow of all true Canadian 
patriots, he died on September igth, 1841. By his own desire, he was 
buried at Kingston. He was succeeded by Sir Charles Bagot, a High 
Churchman and a Tory, who was at first received with dread by the 
Reformers, and with exultation by the Tories, who hoped that the good 
times of Sir Francis Head were come again. But neither party knew their 
man. Sir Charles Bagot had been sent to Canada to administer Responsi 
ble Government, and was, from first to last, faithful to his trust. He gave 
his confidence to the Reform Government, and refused to lend an ear to 
the blandishments of the Family Compact. Unhappily, he fell into ill 
health, aggravated by hard work, and exposure to the rigors of a Canadian 
winter , and he died at Alwington House, Kingston, in May, 1843. His 
successor, Sir Charles, afterwards Lord Metcalfe, was a politician of very 
different stamp. He threw himself wholly into the arms of the Tory party, 
who were the heirs of the defunct Family Compact, and, mainly by his 
influence, a small majority for that party was obtained at the elections of 
1844. A Tory Ministry under Mr. Draper now came into power, Sir A. 
MacNab being Speaker. In 1845, the Draper Government proposed to pay 
all losses sustained by Loyalists during the troubles of i8 3 7- 3 8 in Upper 
Canada. The French agreed to this, provided that similar compensation 
was given to Lower Canada. Commissioners were appointed, who reported 
that ^100,000 would be required. As, a sop to his French supporters, 
Draper proposed a grant of $9,986 in partial payment of Lower Canadian 
losses. This satisfied nobody, and the Draper Administration became 
unpopular on all sides. 

In 1846 common schools were established throughout Upper Canada, 
the germ of our present public school system being introduced by Dr. Egerton 
Ryerson. The history of this very able administration in connection with 
our public school system arose out of the following circumstances connected 
with the official acts of Lord Metcalfe. The Governor-General had, it 
is believed, received secret instructions from a reactionary administration in 
England to oppose, as far as possible, the growth of Responsible Government. 
In carrying into effect these back-stairs instructions, Metcalfe had thrown 
all his personal and official influence into the support of Mr. Draper s 
Government, which, it was evident, did not possess the confidence of the 
people. Metcalfe, in consequence of this, was exposed to considerable 
unpopularity, and was justly criticised by the caustic pens of Francis 
Hincks and Robert Baldwin Sullivan. Meantime it was suggested to the 
Rev. Egerton Ryerson, at that time President of the Methodist University 
at Cobotirg, that he might, with advantage to his church and the university, 

The Union of the Provinces. 181 

employ his pen in defending Lord Metcalfe against the aspersions con 
stantly thrown upon his political course by some of our ablest public 
ministers. The person who made this suggestion was the Hon. William 
Hamilton Merritt, of Welland Canal notoriety, in connection with which 
expensive enterprise he was more than suspected of serious malversation of 
public funds. The Rev. E. Ryerson was, at a time when such writing was 
more scarce than it is now, a vigorous and versatile writer, and a man of 
great force of character. But his Metcalfe letters are the least pleasant 
reading of anything the late Superintendent of Education has left behind 
him. They contain an admixture of political special pleading with the 
unctuous phraseology of the pulpit, which would be intolerable in the pre 
sent day, and was only bearable at the time from the more influential 
position filled by preachers in influencing public opinion. As the first 
editor of the Christian Guardian, as a convert for conscience sake from the 
rich Episcopalian Church of his fathers, as a devoted missionary to the 
Indians, as the ables t of the ministers and champions of his church, Egerton 
Ryerson was, at the time, a power, and Lord Metcalfe and his advisers 
knew it. As a direct result of the Metcalfe letters, the position of Chief 
Superintendent of Education was offered to Dr. Ryerson, pretty nearly on 
his own terms. He was certainly the best man for the position, and both 
as regards income and power, it was decidedly the best position the country 
could offer. In the course of his long autocracy, Dr. Ryerson established 
an eclectic system of public education, in part based on the Prussian and 
part on the New England school system, with a selection of non-denomi 
national text-books similar to those used at the time by Protestant and 
Catholic alike in the national schools in Ireland. Whatever mistakes Dr. 
Ryerson may have made from time to time in matters of detail, however 
imperious his self-assertion, it was necessary to have a firm hand and a 
strong will at the helm in those troublous times that saw the establishment 
of our school system. To Dr. Ryerson we owe the establishment of the 
collection of works of art in the Normal School museum, the germ, it is to 
be hoped, of a Canadian national gallery. In the graded improvement of 
this collection, in the collection of an admirable series of specimens of 
engravings historically arranged, and in the completion of an art catalogue 
likely to be of use to art study, Dr. Ryerson s work has been well carried 
out by his subordinates. Of Dr. Ryerson s work in our educational system 
it may be said, as we point to our city schools in Toronto, " if you seek his 
monument, look around you ! " 

Lord Elgin arrived in Canada as Governor General in 1847. The 
decaying Tory Government was now attacked with much effect by Mr. 

1 82 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Francis Hincks in the Montreal Pilot. This able writer and speaker had 
much advanced the cause of Reform by his articles in the Toronto Examiner 
in 1839. The Clergy Reserves question was now again agitated. A famine 
in Ireland and Scotland caused an immense immigration to Canada in this 
year, as many as 70,000 having landed at Quebec. But these were the 
least valuable class of settlers. Too weak to be of use as labourers, they 
carried the seeds of pestilence and death broadcast over the country. At 
the elections of 1848, the Reformers were once more successful, and, Draper 
being forced to resign, the Baldwin-Lafontaine Ministry came into power. 
In 1849, the strength of the two parties was tested by a new Rebellion 
Losses Bill, to which the Tories- were bitterly opposed. Meantime the 
Governor announced that the British Government was prepared to hand 
over the control of the Post Office Department to the Canadian Govern 
ment, and that it was optional with the Canadian Legislature to repeal the 
differential duties in favour of British manufactures. Dr. Wolfred Nelson 
and M. Papineau were now returned as representatives from Lower Canada, 
but the magic of Papineau s influence had gone with his cowardice at St. 
Denis , and the French Canadians followed in preference the leadership of 
the more moderate Reformer, Lafontaine. There was a memorable debate in 
Parliament over M. Lafontaine s Rebellion Losses Bill. Sir Allan MacNab s 
party entered the conflict with a will. The Knight led the attack, and his 
invective was unsparing and indiscriminate. He did not wonder that a pre 
mium was put upon rebellion, now that rebels were rewarded for their own 
uprising; for the Government itself was a rebel Government, and the party 
by which it was maintained in power was a phalanx of rebels. His lieu 
tenants were scarcely less unsparing and fierce in the attack. But the 
Government boldly took up their position. Mr. Baldwin, Attorney-General 
West, maintained that it would be disgraceful to enquire whether a man 
had been a rebel or not after the passage of a general act of indemnity. 
Mr. Drummond, Solicitor-General East, took ground which placed the 
matter in the clearest light. The Indemnity Act had pardoned those 
concerned in High Treason. Technically speaking, then, all who had 
been attainted stood in the same position as before the rebellion. But 
the opposition were not in a mood to reason. The two colonels, Prince 
and Gugy, talked a great deal of fury. The former reminded the house 
that he was " a gentleman ;" the latter made it plain that he was a 
blusterer. Mr. Sherwood was fierce, and often trenchant ; while Sir Allan 
reiterated that the whole French Canadian people were traitors and aliens. 
At this date, we are moved neither to anger nor contempt at reading such 
utterances as those of the knights, for it would be wrong to regard them as 

The Union of the Provinces. 183 

else than infirmities ; and it is deplorable that by such statements the one 
party should allow itself to be dominated, and the other driven to wrath. 
But through all these volcanic speeches Sir Allan was drifting in the 
direction of a mighty lash, held in a strong arm ; and when the blow 
descends we find little compassion for the wrigglings of the tortured knight. 
It was while Sir Allan had been bestriding the Parliament like a Colossus, 
breathing fire and brimstone against every opponent, and flinging indis 
criminately about him such epithets as " traitor " and " rebel," that Mr. 
Blake, Solicitor-General West, stung beyond endurance, sprang to his feet. 
He would remind them, he said, that there was not only one kind of rebellion, 
and one description of rebel and traitor. He would tell them that there was 
such a thing as rebellion against the constitution as well as rebellion against 
the Crown. A man could be a traitor to his country s rights as well as a 
traitor to the power of the Crown. He instanced Philip of Spain, and 
James II., when. there was a struggle between political freedom and royal 
tyranny. These royal tyrants found loyal men to do their bidding, not 
only in the army but on the bench of justice. There was one such loyal 
servant, he who shone above all the rest, the execrable Judge Jeffreys, who 
sent among the many other victims before their Maker, the mild, amiable 
and great Lord Russell. Another victim of these loyal servants was 
Algernon Sidney, whose offence was his loyalty to the people s rights and 
the constitution. He had no sympathy with the spurious loyalty of the 
honourable gentlemen opposite, which, while it trampled on the people, was 
the slave of the court ; a loyalty which, from the dawn of the history of the 
world down to the present day, had lashed humanity into rebellion. He 
would not go to ancient history ; but he would tell the honourable gentle 
men opposite of one great exhibition of this loyalty : on one occasion 
the people of a distant Roman province contemplated the perpetration of 
the foulest crime that the page of history records a crime from which 
nature in compassion hid her face, and over which she strove to draw a veil ; 
but the heathen Roman law-giver could not be induced by perjured wit 
nesses to place the great Founder of our religion upon the cross. " I find no 
fault in Him," he said. But these provincials, after endeavouring by every 
other means to effect their purpose, had recourse to this spurious loyalty. 
" If thou lettest this man go thou are not Caesar s friend !" Mark the loyalty ; 
could they not see every feature of it ; could they not trace it in this act ; 
aye, and overcome by that mawkish, spurious loyalty, the heathen Roman 
governor gave his sanction to a deed whose foul and impure stain eighteen 
centuries of national humiliation and suffering have been unable to efface. 
This spurious, slavish loyalty was not British stuff; this spurious bullyin- 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

loyalty never grew in his native land. British loyalty wrung on the field of 
Runnymede from the tyrant king the great charter of English liberty. 
Aye, the barons of England, with arms in their hands, demanded and 
received the great charter of their rights. British loyalty, during a period 
of three centuries, wrung from tyrant kings thirty different recognitions of 
that great charter. Aye, and at the glorious era of the Revolution, when 
the loyal Jeffreys was ready, in his extreme loyalty, to hand over England s 
freedom, and rights into the hands of tyrants, the people of England estab 
lished the constitution which has maintained England till this day, a great, 
free and powerful nation. 

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

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

In 1851 Mr. Hincks became the head of the Ministry. In 1853 a bill 
for election reform extended the number of representatives in the Lower 
House from eighty-four to one hundred and thirty. The Reciprocity 
Treaty with the United States was concluded in 1854. In the same year 

The Union of the Provinces. 185 

Lord Elgin was recalled, and the office of Governor-General filled by Sir. 
Edmund Head. 

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

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

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

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

1 86 Canada and the Canadian People. 

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

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

The Union of the Provinces. 187 

now in full progress. Fortunately, in spite of sympathy on the part of 
English Toryism, and the attempts of Southern refugees to abuse Canadian 
hospitality by making our country a basis for raids on the neighbouring 
Republic, Canada escaped being involved in the war. 

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

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

At this juncture John A. Macdonald for the first time, and on a great 
scale, displayed the talent for which he has since been distinguished above 
all other modern politicians, except perhaps the late Lord Beaconsfield the 
most valuable political talent of appropriating the ideas of other men, and 
utilizing them for the advancement of his party. John A. Macdonald had 
again and again ridiculed the scheme of joint Federal authority, of which 
Mr. Brown had been an advocate. It was seen by the wily party-leader 
from Kingston that his opponents had after all been in the right, and that 
the only escape from anarchy was the separate Provincial Government of 
Upper and Lower Canada, with a Federal Government of the whole country 

1 88 Canada and the Canadian People. 

based on representation by population. But the history of Confederation 
is of so great importance as to require a chapter to itself. Meanwhile we 
must notice an influence from without, which had a considerable indirect 
share in bringing about the federal union of the Provinces which now bear 
the common name of Canada. 

Since the troublous days of " sad but glorious ^98," the American 
Republic had furnished cities of refuge for the proscribed agents of Irish 
revolt. There Thomas Addis Emmett, brother of the more gifted but more 
unfortunate Robert Emmett, was welcomed by the members of the American 
bar, among whom he rose to eminence. There, without taking into account 
the unstable and capricious McGee, the really able leaders of young Ireland 
found a career. With every year, from the dismal 1847, which the writer 
so well remembers, the crowds gathered on the Dublin quays, eager to fly 
from Sligo, dark with famine and pestilence. Thousands upon thousands 
repeated and twice told over, carried the religion of their fathers, the love 
for their country, the undying hatred of her oppressors, into the new world. 
A new and greater Ireland had grown up beyond the Atlantic, whose sons 
had fought, with the valour which had beaten back the bloody Duke of 
Cumberland at Fontenoy, the battles of their protectress Republic against 
the slave-holding South. An organization having for its avowed object the 
establishment of an independent Irish Republic had been founded in Ire 
land, and had extensive branches throughout the Northern States and 
army. It took the name of " Fenian " from the ancient militia of the tribal 
system of the Brehon era of Irish civilization. It attempted a revolt in 
Ireland, of course without any success, for England was then unhampered 
by foreign wars, and English gold and steel were free to gag and smite. 
But it cannot be denied, except by the merest haters of all things Irish,- 
such as Mr. Froude and some of his still more eminent literary confreres in 
England, that the Fenian movement in Ireland called forth the devotion, 
freely given through years of cruel imprisonment, of men like John O Leary, 
Thomas Luby and John Martin. It is quite true that there has been in 
connection with the present Irish nationalist movement in the United States 
a great deal of misfortune, as well as many of those dynamite assassina 
tion horrors which would disgrace any cause; but, in Ireland, and among 
the leaders there, this was not the case. Lever, who knew well what he was 
writing about, has described moet truthfully the better side of the early 
Fenian movement in one of the most graphic of his later novels, " Lord 
Kilgobbin." It must always be remembered that one wing, and that the 
most respectable by culture and character, opposed from first to last any 
proposal to make raids on Canada. It must be remembered also that if 

The Union of the provinces. 189 

such raids were made there, they were out of no ill-will to the Canadians, but 
as an indirect means of striking at England. Had Canada been independent, 
no Fenian would have carried a rifle across her borders. But the guilt of 
entertaining such a proposal cannot be palliated. It was not only a crime 
but a mistake. It tended to create bitterness between Canada and the 
United States, which would surely be the greatest loss to Irish nationalism, 
as it would tend to strengthen the hold of British connection in Canada, 
and perpetuate for the use of English Jingoism its only available basis of 
operations against the United States. Happily the raids of the banditti 
calling themselves Fenians have never produced that effect. Between 
Canadian Liberalism and Irish Nationalism there has never been a 
close alliance. O Connell was the firm friend of William Lyon Mackenzie, 
and used all his great influence to advance the victory, in this country, of 
Responsible Government. And very recently both political parties in the 
Canadian House of Commons joined forces to support the address expres 
sive of a hope that Ireland might yet enjoy the measure of Home Rule 
possessed by Canada, which brought out so much British Billingsgate from 
the English journals, and aroused such intense sympathy in Ireland. As to 
the question between England and Ireland, a history of Canada does not 
enter into it, but this much is patent : the position of England is that of a 
strong man who has taken possession of his weaker neighbour s house. Out 
of the original wrong-doing has grown hatred, agrarian outrage, murder most 
foul in myriad-shaped atrocity; but whence come all these evil results, if not 
from the original wrong-doing ? The causes will continue to come home to 
roost till Ireland is granted the same Home Rule as is enjoyed by Canada. 
It is easy to declare against the plagues which afflict Egypt, but the plagues 
will continue till the oppressor ceases to harden his heart and let the oppressed 
go free. Fortunately for Canada, and fortunately for Irish Nationalism, 
the Fenian Raids in Canada were entirely premature, and could not have 
gamed the smallest measure of permanent success a fact which showed that 
the motives of invading peaceful Canada in order to punish English wrong 
doing was a military error, as well as a political crime. In American 
Fenianism there is no doubt that there was a great deal of misfortune and 
swindling,, which desired to make cheap capital out of an easy and 
dangerless raid, and so be able to trade on the one intense passion of the 
Irish American race, hatred of the oppressors of Ireland. At the time it 
seemed to many people that the Fenian raiders might be dangerous foes. 
The great war against slavery had just been concluded, and the Fenian 
raids were mainly manned by veteran soldiers. But their numbers were 
quite insufficient for any large operations. They were acting against the 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

prevailing sentiment in the United States, where it was felt that to invade 
Canad ian farms, and frighten the hired girls, was contemptible brigandage, 
and many a Canadian by adoption who was in thorough sympathy with 
the struggle of the Irish for Responsible Government and Home Rule, was 
glad to carry a rifle in the ranks of the volunteers who marched against the 
Fenian marauders in 1866. 

In 1866 the Fenian movement in*the States became divided into two 
parties ; one under James Stephens, who wished to confine their operations to 
the proposed liberation of Ireland ; the other led by Sweeney, who advocated 
the senseless plan of advancing Irish interests by making a raid on Canada. 
In Tune, 1866, a body of 900 Fenians, well armed, crossed the Niagara River, 
landing a little below the humble village, and once hotly-contested but now 
ruinous earthworks, of Fort Erie. They were commanded by a Colonel 
O Neil, and mainly consisted of veterans of the late war. They took pos 
session of the village of Fort Erie, and wrought much destruction among 
the provision stores and whiskey shops, licensed and unlicensed. They 
destroyed a part of the Grand Trunk Railway track, cut the telegraph wires, 
and attempted to burn bridges, but did not insult the inhabitants or wan 
tonly injure private property, except to levy forced requisitions for rations. 
At the same time the United States armed steamer Michigan entered that 
part of the river, as if to prevent breaches of international law, but her 
commander did not trouble himself to interfere with O Neil s supporters as 
they crossed the river under his guns. When news of this " invasion " 
reached the Canadian cities, there was a general feeling of indignation, and 
the volunteers responded with enthusiasm to the call, promptly given, to 
march against the invaders of Canada. The present writer was then a 
lieutenant in the Lennoxville Company of the Sherbrooke Rifle Battalion, 
commanded by Colonel Bowen, a raid on Montreal being a.t this time 
expected on the Eastern Counties frontier. Most unfortunately, the military 
reserves of the country were, at that crisis in the h.ands of a Minister of 
Militia whose habits were such that he was notoriously incompetent to 
perform his public duties for above a week. Contradictory orders were 
sent, and steamers bustled hither and thither in most admired disorder. 
But the volunteer authorities lost no time in hurrying their men to the 
front. Major-General Napier, without delay, ordered the troops of the 
regular British service in Toronto and Hamilton districts to the Niagara 
frontier. Six hundred of the finest young men in Toronto mustered under 
Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis and Major Gillmor, of the Queen s Own. 
Hamilton furnished her quota, the i3th Battalion. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Booker was sent in charge of these volunteer corps to Port Colborne for the 

The Union of the Provinces. 

purpose of securing the Welland Canal. Most unfortunately the entire 
armament was under the command of Colonel George Peacocke, of the i6th 
Regiment ; a brave officer, no doubt, but from his ignorance of the locality 
through which he had undertaken to direct the movements of his troops, 
and from the arrogance of temper, which too often in English officers of the 
" regular army " disdain to profit by the counsels of " mere colonials," 
seemed but too likely to make his expedition a second version of that disas 
trous one of General Braddock, little more than a century before. He sent 
orders by Captain Akers, who knew the country as little as himself, to 
instruct the commanding officer at Port Colborne to join the troops under 
his command to his own at Stevensville, a village a short distance west 
of Fort Erie. Akers duly communicated these orders early next day at 
Port Colborne. 

Meantime, at Port Colborne, Lieutenant-Colonel Booker had received 
intelligence that the Fenian force at Fort Erie was smaller than had 
been supposed ; that it was ill-disciplined and demoralized by drinking 
and plunder, and in fact afforded material for an easy victory. He 
accordingly took it on him to reconstruct the entire plans of the expedition . 
He, with his volunteer force, would proceed by rail to attack the enemy at 
Fort Erie. Captain Akers and Lieutenant Colonel Dennis might, if Pea 
cocke approved, support the attack with the Welland garrison battery. But 
Peacocke did not approve, and Booker, altering his plans in deference to 
his superior officer, took his troops by train as far as Ridgeway station, 
whence he marched towards Stevensville. Soon after this his advance 
guard encountered the Fenian out-posts. O Neil, having resolved before 
withdrawing to the States to destroy the locks of the Welland Canal, 
Colonel Booker and Major Gibson resolved to attack the enemy at once, 
not doubting that Peacocke and his regulars must be close at hand for 
their support. They did not realize the fact that by Booker s want of 
attention to his superior officer s orders, in leaving Port Colborne an hour 
before the time agreed on, he had thrown into confusion all Colonel Pea- 
cocke s plans for combining the movements of his troops. Meanwhile the 
order to advance was given ; the Fenians came into view, some few on the 
road in front of our men, the others firing under the cover of the fences of 
fields on either side of the road. The volunteers attacked with spirit, and 
repulsed the enemy s out-posts and first line. Just at this crisis an orderly 
reached Booker with a despatch from Colonel Peacocke, ordering him to 
delay his departure from Port Colborne two hours from the time appointed. 
As Booker, contrary to all the traditions of military duty, had in fact started 
an hour before the time appointed, it was now but too plainly evident that 

Canada and the Canadian People. 

he could get no support for at least three hours. Meanwhile the Fenian 
fire poured hotly on the companies of brave young volunteers, who, without 
any hope of support, were then exposed to a far superior force of veteran 
soldiers. A cooler head might yet have carried the day by a brisk attack 
on either flank, but Booker seems to have lost all presence of mind, and as 
a rumour reached him that a body of "Fenian cavalry" was approaching 
(it being well known that the United States army at that time had very 
little cavalry, and the Fenians none at all), Booker ordered Major Gillmor to 
"form his men into square to resist cavalry," which manoeuvre massed the 
unfortunate volunteers into a dense phalanx, the easiest of targets for the 
enemy s rifles. When Gillmor noticed the mistake he tried to form into 
line once more, but it was too late. Something very like panic possessed 
the troops, the rear companies fell back in disorder, and the word was given 
to retreat. 

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

The Union of the Provinces. 103 

have no scruple whatever in committing the defences of the country to 
incompetent officers in order to subserve the omnivorous needs of party. It 
is well that a more disastrous defeat did not follow on drunkenness in the 
Council and incompetence in the presence of the enemy. 

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

Canada showed her gratitude and regret by voting a pension of ^"300 
to McGee s widow. McGee has left to Ireland and to Canada nothing 
that will live. He was here, as there, " the comet of a season." It is worth 
noting that poor McGee had, from the convivial habits natural to his light- 
hearted countrymen, fallen for some time into drinking habits. One of his 
best speeches just before Confederation was delivered while under the 
influence of liquor. When it was finished, the last firework of the perora 
tion shot off, the actor sank back incapably drunk into the arms of a friend. 
It is possible that this, which took place at Lennoxville, in the Eastern Town 
ships, may have been a mere tour dc force, the speech having been, as 
all McGee s speeches were, memorized previously to delivery, and thus 
easily thrown off by the brain already charged with it. My authority 
for the anecdote was a captain of the Lennoxville Company, in which I 
was lieutenant. However this may be, the fact is sufficiently notorious, 
that McGee used to drink very hard. A year before his death he became a 
total abstainer, and not even when in a severe illness, and \vlu-n his 
physician assured him that brandy was necessary, would lie rxposr himself 


Canada and the Canadian People. 

to the temptation of its taste. McGee was, to the last hour of his life, 
faithful to his pledge. In this he has set a good example to some leading 
statesmen of his party, for of what use can it be for a party leader to make 
specifications to temperance deputations, and catch the temperance vote, 
while his own life, that of a bar-room loafer from his first entrance into 
politics, continues its mockery of cynical comment in his professions, and 
makes men talk of the political corruption of those in high place ? What 
use can it be to expect anything else from men who do not begin by being 
personally pure, whose conversation would pollute the ears of any virtuous 
young man, whose souls have been, for half a century, steeped in alcohol < 
Can we exaggerate the moral effect for good on the English people of the 
life of such a ruler as Gladstone, a life sincere, pure, temperate in all things ? 
Whoever would venture to repeat in Mr. Gladstone s presence some of the 
full-flavored anecdotes in which some of our Ottawa statesmen are said to 
delight would meet cold looks and prompt dismissal. 



T had been for some time evident that under the legislative system 
which had existed since the union of Upper and Lower Canada, 
frequent deadlocks were inevitable, and that some new basis for 
the Constitution must be sought elsewhere. In the session of 
1864 tne Sandfield Macdonald Government had received the full 
support of Mr. George Brown, and of the Liberal party, which 
regarded him as their leader, and his newspaper as their organ 
and standard. Tired of the endless party wrangling that had impeded all 
useful legislation, that Government resigned a mistake, as it has always 
seemed to many Reformers, in political tactics. To them succeeded the 
Tache -Macdonald Government, which led a hand-to-mouth existence from 
day to day on the sufferance ol Parliament, and in virtue of a majority of 
two. From this feeble Administration Mr. Brown succeeded in obtaining 
a Committee to " consider the best means of settling the constitutional 
changes which might be recommended, to avoid trouble." The Committee 
adopted and presented to Parliament a report in favour of " a federation 
system, applied either to Canada or to the whole of the British North Ame 
rican Provinces." John A. Macdonald was foremost in opposing the 
adoption of the report. But next day the decrepid Conservatives fell into 
one of those pitfalls which their leaders have so often unwittingly prepared 
for the downfall of their own popularity. It " came out " how many such 
things have " come out " since John A. Macdonald has been leader of tin- 
Conservatives that A. T. Gait, Finance Minister in the Cartier- Macdonald 
Government, had, without the sanction of Parliament, lent $100,000 to tin- 
Grand Trunk Railway corporation. This of course inculpated, as ti 
themselves did not attempt to deny, the whole of the Cabinet. Mr. 
Dorion moved a vote of want of confidence in this helpless Ministry. 
the two members whose votes alone sustained them in office having become 
hostile at this critical moment. What use did George Brown, for in tin 

Ig 6 Canada and the Canadian People. 

days George Brown and Canadian Liberalism were convertible terms, make 
of this signal yictory ? His bitter political foes lay at his mercy in humi 
liating defeat. A less high-minded statesman would have thought of party, 
if not of personal objects. George Brown was above both considerations, 
and thought only of the opportunity now ready to his hand of carrying into 
effect the federation system which he and he alone had desired, which above 
all else he wished to see carried into effect, even if the glory of its achieve 
ment should accrue to the Conservatives, who till the previous day had been 

its bitterest opponents. 

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

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

On Mr. Brown asking what remedy the Government proposed, to do 
away with the present system of injustice to English Canada, Messieurs 
Macdonald and Gait stated that they proposed as the remedy a federal 
union of all the British North American Provinces, local matters being 
committed to local bodies, and matters common to all, to a Federal Govern 
ment. It will be remembered that but two days before John A. Macdonald 
had voted directly against the proposal for a Federation of the Provinces. 
Truly, the conversion was sudden, and the neophyte zealous. In reply, Mr. 
Brown objected, not to the adoption of Federation, which had been his own 
ideal from the first, but to its too great remoteness and uncertainty, as a 
means of settling the injustice of which English Canada complained. As 

Confederation. 197 

a more prompt measure, he asked for representation by population for all 
Canada, with no dividing line. But ultimately a compromise was arrived 
at, on the adoption of the principle of Federation for all the Provinces, as 
the larger question, or for Canada alone, with provision for the admission 
of the Maritime Provinces and the North- West Territory. A general 
accord was reached, on the basis that as the views of Upper Canada could 
not be met under the present system, the remedy must be sought in the 
adoption of the federal principle. As a guarantee to the Reform part)-, 
three seats were to be placed at the disposal of Mr. Brown and two of his 
friends. Parliament was now at once prorogued, and on the same day, the 
Hon. George Brown entered the Government as President of the Council, 
supported by the able but unstable Hon. William McDougall, as Provincial 
Secretary, and by the far more able and high principled Hon. Oliver Mowat, 
as Postmaster-General. The Hon. A. Mackenzie, in his " Life of the Hon. 
George Brown" :;: frankly states that the appointment of Mr. McDougall was 
one desired by very few of the party. During the ensuing summer the 
various members of the new Coalition Government made a general tour of 
the Provinces, and held a convention of the Provincial delegates in October 
at Quebec. Parliament met early in 1865. The debate which ensued was 
one of the most remarkable which had, as yet, taken place in a Canadian 
Legislature. Of the two great changes which had been effected in the 
constitution of ovir country, the first, in 1791, had been altogether the work 
of the English Parliament, where its details gave rise to one of the most 
memorable debates of a great Parliamentary Assembly. The union of the 
Canadas in 1841 was also both planned and put into practical form by 
British statesmen, the consent of the Canadian Legislatures being but a 
form, and a form which, in the case of the French Canadian, was very sum 
marily dispensed with. But the inception, the adoption, and the practical 
working out of the Confederation Scheme was entirely the work of our 
own Canadian statesmen ; and the debating powers displayed when this 
question came before the Legislature were said to show a very marked 
advance in political insight and breadth of view from that shown in any 
previous discussions in the records of our Legislatures. A few years of 
that Home Rule which results from Responsible Government had already 
proved a political education. The leading speeches, those of Messieurs 
Brown, Macdonald, and Cartier, in support of the measure ; those of 
Messieurs John Sandfield Macdonald, Huntington, Dorion and Holton. 

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

ig8 Canada and the Canadian People. 

against it ; the very exhaustive and luminous criticism with which Mr. 
Dunkin s remarkable oration examined its bearings from every side, are 
well put forward and accompanied with much apt comment in the Hon. 
John H. Gray s important historical work on Confederation only the first 
volume of which unfortunately has been given to the public. John A. 
Macdonald s speech on this question was one of those rare oratorical 
successes which came on a few great occasions from one who had hitherto 
been regarded, even by those who knew him most intimately, simply as 
an adroit debater, a matchless Parliamentary whipper-in, and a retailer of 
obscene bar-room jests. More logical, more incisive, far more effective with 
thinking men, was the speech of the real founder of Confederation, George 
Brown. But the most remarkable of all the addresses delivered on this 
memorable occasion was that of Mr. Dunkin, Colonel Gray s criticism of 
which must be regarded by the impartial historian as utterly beside the 
facts. Colonel Gray says : " All that a well-read public man, all that 
a thorough sophist, a dexterous logician, a timid patriot, or a prophet 
of evil could array against the project, was brought up and pressed 
against the scheme." Of course Colonel Gray regarded Confedera 
tion as the be-all and end-all of Canadian politics. Later students of 
Canadian political history, who see that difficulties have been left unpro 
vided for, the distribution of authority between Federal and Provincial 
Governments unsettled, and a way left open to vast financial abuses, will 
see that Mr. Dunkin was right in supposing that the settlement effected by 
Confederation was no more a final one than that of the Union of the 
Canadas, or of the Act which created English Canada in 1791. A remark 
able speech in favour of the proposed measure was also delivered on this 
occasion by Mr. Walter Shanly, member for South Grenville. On Friday, 
March loth, the debate had exhausted itself, and the Hon. John A. Mac- 
donald proposed the following motion :- " That an humble Address be pre 
sented to Her Majesty, praying that she may be graciously pleased to cause 
" a measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of 
uniting the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince 
Edward Island, and Newfoundland, in one Government, with provisions 
based on certain resolutions, which were adopted by a conference of dele 
gates from the said Provinces held at Quebec on the i6th of October, 1865." 
After some further debate this resolution was carried by a vote of 91 to 33. 
The wish of John A. Macdonald in navigating the measure which he had 
with such consummate dexterity stolen from its legitimate author through the 
shoals of Parliamentary debate, was well understood to have been to cen 
tralize power as much as possible in the Federal Government, leaving the 

Confederation. 199 

Provincial Legislatures in the position of mere municipal councils. This 
was in thorough harmony with John A. Macdonald s political character, his 
insatiate greed for power, and that clinging to every exercise of personal 
authority which makes him delay conferring an official appointment , even upon 
a personal friend. But in this matter he was, to a certain extent, backed up 
by a feeling on the part of all those engaged in the work of political reconstruc 
tion, that Canada ought to take warning by what had recently seemed likely 
to be the break-down of the United States Constitution. It was thought, 
most erroneously, that what had caused the strain was the weakness of the 
central Federal authority. In reality the reverse was the case. The war 
was caused by one faction only, the opposition to slavery on the part of 
Mr. Lincoln s Cabinet. That Cabinet was unlike a Canadian one, utterly 
unrestricted in its exercise of authority. John A. Macdonald did not on 
the occasion of the inception of Confederation succeed in his wish of sowing 
the dragon s teeth of constitutional mischief, but never since then has he 
lost sight of his centralizing propensities, or neglected an opportunity to 
trample on Provincial Rights. A similar motion was introduced in the Legis 
lative Council by Sir E. P. Tache, and carried by a vote of three to one. 

In April Messrs. John A. Macdonald, Gait, Brown and Cartier made a 
visit to England, in order to confer with the Imperial Government, and 
arrange the final details of the scheme of Confederation. Meantime the 
feeling of the Maritime Provinces was increasingly manifested against the 
proposed Confederation. In Nova Scotia the opposing issues were advo 
cated by two of the ablest orators that British America has produced, by 
Dr. Charles Tupper, erewhile a druggist at Amherst, and by Joseph 
Howe, a Halifax printer, being the ideal and representative man of his 
native Province. New Brunswick, ever cautious and reserved in her isola 
tion from the rest of English speaking Canada, dreaded increased taxation. 
The little Province of Prince Edward Island held aloof, and the bleak 
cod-fishing banks-of inhospitable Newfoundland withdrew into their native 
bay. When in England, the Canadian delegates held conference after 
conference with the Imperial Ministers on the proposed measures, on the 
question of treaties and legislation, the defences of Canada, the settle 
ment of the North-West Territories, and the claims for compensation put 
forward by the Hudson s Bay Company. And as one of the most cogent 
arguments put forward by the opponents of Confederation in Nova Scotia 
and New Brunswick was that the aim of those who forwarded that 
measure was to effect the independence of Canada, and the severance of all 
connection with England, the Canadian delegates pressed on the British 
Cabinet the desirability of a strong expression from the Home Government 

200 Canada and the Canadian People. 

in favour of Confederation being conveyed to the Governments of the 
Maritime Provinces. It is a curious comment on the change that has come 
over public opinion, that in 1865 the mere mention of independence should 
have been regarded as offensive. Strong representations in favour of Con 
federation were accordingly transmitted from the English Ministry to the 
Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, a step which, curiously 
enough, drew forth from the anti-Confederationists many bitter expressions 
of what might most justly have been described as " disloyalty," and the 
British authorities were roundly denounced for attempting " an odious 
system of coercion of the colonies into the hateful bund." It required all 
the arts of which John A. Macdonald is so justly reputed a consummate 
master to induce the recalcitrant Maritimes to fall into line. This, however, 
was at last effected, and the long disjointed pieces of the Canadian fishing- 
rod at last received that accession of strength which comes from union. 
Of all the able speeches delivered on this question, the most remarkable 
is one delivered by the Hon. George Brown, a passage from which may 
well be quoted as an example of how this important constitutional change 
was regarded by the first of Canadian Liberal statesmen, and by one who 
held no second place either as an orator or writer. " I venture to assert 
that no scheme of equal magnitude ever placed before the world was 
received with higher eulogiums, with more universal approbation, than the 
measure we have now the pleasure of submitting for the acceptance of the 
Canadian Parliament. And no higher eulogy could, I think, be pro 
nounced than that I heard a few weeks ago from one of the foremost of 
British statesmen, that the system of Government now proposed seemed to 
him a happy compound of the best features of the British and American 
constitutions. And well might our present attitude in Canada arrest the 
attention of other countries. Here is a people composed of distinct 
races, speaking different languages, with religious and social and municipal 
and educational institutions wholly different ; with sectional hostilities of 
such a character as to render Government for many years well nigh impos 
sible; with a constitution so unjust in the view of one section as to justify 
every resort to enforce a remedy. And yet, here we sit, patiently and 
temperately discussing how these great evils and hostilities may justly and 
amicably be swept away for ever. We are endeavouring to adjust har 
moniously greater difficulties than have plunged other countries into all 
the horrors of civil war. We are striving to do peaceably and satisfactorily 
what Holland and Belgium, after years of strife, were unable to accomplish. 
We are seeking, by calm discussion, to settle questions that Austria and 
Hungary, that Denmark and Germany, that Russia and Poland, could only 

Confederation. 201 

crush by the iron hand of armed force. We are seeking to do, without 
foreign intervention, that which deluged in blood the sunny plains of Italy ; 
we are striving to settle for ever issues hardly less momentous than those 
that have rent the neighbouring republic, and are now exposing it to all the 
horrors of civil war. Have we not, then, great cause for thankfulness, that 
we have found a better way for the solution of our troubles than that which 
has entailed on other countries such deplorable results? and should not 
every one of us endeavour to rise to the magnitude of the occasion, and 
earnestly seek to deal with this question to the end in the same candid and 
conciliatory spirit in which, so far, it has been discussed? The scene pre 
sented by tlu s chamber at this moment, I venture to affirm, has few 
parallels in history. One hundred years have passed away since these 
provinces became, by force, part of the British Empire. I speak in no 
boastful spirit, I desire not for a moment to excite a painful thought ; 
what was then the fortune of war of the brave French nation, might have 
been ours on that well-fought field. I recall those olden times merely to 
mark the fact that here sit to-day the descendants of the victors and the 
vanquished in the fight of 1759, with all the differences of language, religion, 
civil law, and social habit, nearly as distinctly marked as they were a 
century ago; here we sit to-day seeking amicably to find a remedy for con 
stitutional evils and injustice complained of by the vanquished? no but 
complained of by the conquerors ! Here sit the representatives of the 
British population claiming justice! only justice! And here sit the repre 
sentatives of the French population discussing in the French tongue 
whether we shall have it. One hundred years have passed away since the 
conquest of Quebec, but here sit the children of the victors and the 
vanquished, also avowing hearty attachment to the British Crown, all 
earnestly deliberating how we should best extend the blessings of British 
institutions how a great people may be established on this continent in 
close and hearty connection with Great Britain. Where, in the page of 
history, shall we find a parallel for this ? " 

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

The last Canadian Parliament opened in August at Quebec, and was 
occupied altogether with receiving the report of the delegates to England. 
The Government measure for Confederation was carried by overwhelmin- 
majorities. -It was loyally supported by Mr. Brown and the Liberals, 
although that gentleman, whom the Tory tacticians vainly endeavoured to 

2O2 Canada and the Canadian People. 

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



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

Now began a prosperous reign of Conservatism, under Sir John A. 
Macdonald, with the. championship in French Canada of Sir George E. 
Cartier. The latter was a marked personage in the Conservative coterie, and 
few who have beheld that keen man s figure, and heard the tones of that 
strident, high-pitched voice, will forget either. In early life Cartier had sat 
at the feet of Papineau, and, showing a courage of which that frothy dem 
gogue was incapable, had fought bravely at St. Denis, when the French 
peasants, led by Dr. Wolfred Nelson, repelled a corps of the regular British 
army, led by a veteran of Waterloo. Like his leader, Cartier withdrew to 
the United States, and when amnesty was proclaimed for political offences, 
returned to Canada, a sadder and a wiser man. In 1848 he supplanted the 
Range leader, M. Dorion, as member for Vercheres, and, having had the 
sense to see what the old Rouge leaders had not insight for, the absolute 
necessity of keeping on good terms with the clergy and the Church, 
Cartier became the most adroit, successful, and popular manager of the vote 
of Jean Baptiste. The Finance Minister in the new Government, Alexander 

204 Canada and the Canadian People. 

Tilloch Gait, was the son of a second-rate writer who had attained a sort of 
second-rate reputation as the acquaintance of Byron, of whom he wrote a 
biography. The elder Gait came to Canada in the service of the Canada 
Land Company, and resided at Toronto, of which place, and of Canada in 
general, he expressed the supercilious disdain with which foreigners who live 
on Canadian pay are apt to express their noble scorn of the people who are 
their paymasters. Sir Alexander Gait is chiefly noted for the quasi diplo 
matic position held by him for some time in London, England, and as one 
of the chief promotors of that most impracticable of enterprises, Imperial 

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

Prosperous Days. 205 

tion he has continued personally pure," for we consider the crime of the 
bawd to lose none of its infamy because she may not herself practise the 
sin to which she entices others. But at the time we write of, John A. 
Macdonald s character was as yet comparatively untarnished. 

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

From that general election to the Day of Doom, when Mr. Huntington 
thundered forth the first sentence of his Pacific Scandal indictment, Sir John 
and Sir George Cartier were "the great twin brethren" of Canadian politics, 
against whom no champion could avail. The Ministry were now supported 
by a new politician, destined to exercise no small influence, to rise to all the 
honours of the tin-pot, and become even a dangerous "brother near the 
throne" to Sir John himself. In the little town of Amherst, on the New 
Brunswick frontier of Nova Scotia, an humble wooden store, garnished with 
bottles and gallipots, long bore the legend of " Dr. Tupper office-hours 8 to 
ii a.m." He alone of the advocates of Confederation \vas able to stem the 
torrent in his native Province. Another Blue-nose representative was 
returned to Ottawa in the person of Timothy Warren Anglin, a trenchant 
writer and speaker, but, like Tupper, given to overtax the patience, of his 
hearers. A mightier figure was that of the popular idol of the Nova 
Scotia fishermen, the versatile, vigorous, vituperative Joe Howe. But the 
reactionary effort to undo the work of Confederation was now met by a 
statesman whose intellectual force and oratorical power were, in that Parlia 
ment, and in many a succeeding one, to meet few seconds and no superiors. 
Edward Blake was now the leader of the Liberal phalanx on their slow but 
certain return to power. Mr. Blake is an instance of what is so rarely 
seen, hereditary talent, such as that of the two Pitts. He and his eminent 
brother, the Hon. Samuel Blake, are sons of the Hon. William Hume 
Blake, whose famous extempore reply to Sir Allan MacNab when the ToVy 
chief taunted the Liberals of English Canada with the charge of rebellion, 
will be remembered as constituting such a brilliant episode in the history 


Canada and the Canadian People. 

of Canadian Parliamentary debate. Mr. Blake s luminous and crushing 
retort on Howe and the Maritime malcontents was ably seconded. A few 
months later, Sir Francis Hincks, ari able financier, a clear and forcible 
speaker, and one whose personal magnetism rendered him a welcome 
acquisition even to a popular administration, once more entered public life, 
and became Minister of Finance. Sir Francis, at once after entering on 
office, delivered Canadian currency from the nuisance of a depreciated 
United States silver currency. The year 1868 was saddened by the mur 
der of Thomas D Arcy McGee, of whose career some account has been 
already given. 



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

Meantime some fifty Canadians banded themselves together under the 
leadership of Dr. Schultz. They were seized by Riel and confined in the fort, 

208 Canada and the Canadian People. 

whence after three weeks imprisonment, Schultz managed to escape. Kiel 
threatened to have him shot if recaptured, and events soon showed that the 
half-breed would have kept his word. Fortunately Schultz escaped to 
Ontario. A second attempt was made to vindicate the authority of Canada 
by about a hundred men under Major Boulton, but Boulton, with forty others, 
was captured and sentenced to death. The Catholic and Protestant clergy 
with m,uch difficulty saved his life. But among the prisoners was a young 
man named Thomas Scott, a thorough adherent of the Canadian cause, a 
Protestant and an Orangeman, and for both reasons regarded by Kiel with 
vindictive hate. Kiel had him. tried by a mock " court-martial," and sen 
tenced to be shot on the following morning. In vain did Methodist Mis 
sionary Young and others beg a reprieve. At noon Scott was blindfolded, and 
led to a spot a few yards from the fort. He was ordered to kneel, and a volley 
was fired, three bullets piercing his body. One of the firing party then put 
a revolver to the wretched victim s head, and fired. This, however, did not 
end the agony, for Scott was heard to groan as the coffin was carried away. 
It will hardly be believed that Sir John A. Macdonald had the temerity 
to condone this, the foulest crime known to Canadian history, and to allow 
the murderers of Scott to escape all punishment. He was the slave of his 
French allies, who of course sided with their compatriots and co-religionists. 
It will scarcely be believed that the Orangemen, instead of being true to their 
principles, and demanding justice for the murder of a member of their order, 
again and again voted into power the men and the Ministry on whose head 
rests to this day the unavenged blood of Thomas Scott. A fiasco of Fenian 
revolt in 1871 once more alarmed the country, and another attempt at a 
raid was made on the Missisquoi frontier. The Imperial authorities were 
now under the influence of a doctrine most forcibly put forward in a series 
of letters by Professor Goldwin Smith, and published in the London Daily 
News, that the colonies would be better off, more self-reliant, and less 
burdensome to England, if they were independent. In accordance with this 
just and statesmanlike view, it was resolved to withdraw the soldiers 
employed to garrison Canadian cities, with the exception of a few troops 
stationed at Halifax, on account of the necessity for that port being retained 
as a naval depot. This withdrawal of the foreign soldiers was, in every 
respect, a gain to Canada. Every vice followed in the train of the regi 
ment. Drunkenness and prostitution are notoriously most prevalent in 
garrison towns, and the artificial would-be aristocratic manner of the men 
tended to create a vicious social tone, to disgust young Canadians with the 
industries of peace, and to teach our fine ladies to disapprove of the simpler 
ways of their own countrymen. It was a good day for Canada when the 




Recent Years. 200 

last regiment marched down the historic hill where Wolfe and Montcalm 
and Montgomery fell. New retribution fell on the Macdonald Cabinet in 
the revelation of its full connection with the Pacific Scandal disclosures, 
which are too recent in the public mind to need repetition here. 

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


he (Comity off jjark. 




HE history of the County of York, like that of almost every 
county in Western Canada, is closely bound up with the 
general history of the Province; insomuch that, in treating of 
those subjects, it occasionally becomes a matter of no little 
difficulty to keep the respective narratives perfectly clear and 
distinct from each other. Much of what commonly passes for 
local history is the inseparable birthright of the Dominion at 
large, and cannot adequately be represented upon a narrow canvas. But 
the Metropolitan County has nevertheless a consecutive series of incidents 
which are exclusively its own; which no other community can claim to 
share with it, and which consequently are of special interest to dwellers 
upon its soil. In some few cases these incidents are of genuine and 
undoubted historical value. In others they are transitory and ephemeral 
in their nature, and have no further interest for posterity than that which 
arises from their local associations ; but they are not on that account to be 
contemptuously rejected by any one who undertakes to chronicle the local 
annals for the mingled instruction and amusement of future generations 
of local readers. Trie greatest historian of modern times declared that he 
would cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dignity 

2 The County of York. 

of history if he could succeed in placing before the English of the nineteenth 
century a true picture of the life of their ancestors. la like manner, a less 
ambitious historian may leave "the dignity of history" to take care of 
itself, and may venture to declare that he shall feel as though his task had 
been well accomplished, if he can succeed in placing before his readers a 
faithful panorama of the mutations through which the scenes immediately 
surrounding them have passed in the course of the last two hundred years. 
The known and actual history of the County of York reaches back to a 

" When wild in woods the noble savage ran," 

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

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

The County of York. 3 

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

Michilimackinac having thus become a great central place of resort, 
all the land-trails and water-ways were chosen with a special eye to con 
venient and expeditious arrival thither. The route most traversed from 
Quebec and the Lower St. Lawrence was by way of the Ottawa and French 
Rivers to the inlet of Lake Huron now known as the Georgian Bay, whence 
the course was open and unrestricted. But those who adopted this route 
were perforce compelled to neglect the traffic of the upper St. Lawrence, 

4 The County of York. 

and of Lakes Ontario and Erie, which yielded an abundant annual supply 
of the much-coveted furs. In order to catch this traffic, some agents made 
their way to and from Michilimackinac by a more southerly route than 
that by the Ottawa. Pursuing their way up the St. Lawrence to Lake 
Ontario, they thence struck across by the River Trent and the chain of 
* lakes and streams intervening between there and the Georgian Bay. This 
route was invariably productive, for it was literally alive with fur-bearing 
animals, but it was very toilsome and arduous, owing to the numerous 
portages, and the consequent difficulty of transportation. A still more 
southerly route was by way of the Niagara River. The voyageur ascended 
the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, and coasted along either the northern 
or southern shore to the mouth of the Niagara, trafficking along the route 
wherever the smoke on the neighbouring shore indicated the proximity of 
Indian wigwams, and the attendant possibility of turning an honest penny 
by turning his prow shorewards. By the time he had reached the mouth 
of the Niagara he had generally secured a sufficient supply of peltries to 
load his batteau to the water s edge. He accordingly sent back his cargo 
and boat to Montreal or Quebec, and proceeded up the river to beyond the 
cataract, where he procured another boat and proceeded to Michilimackinac 
by way of Lake Erie and Lake Huron, and the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers. 
But there was still a fourth and intermediate route, which, to readers 
of these pages, will be the most interesting of all. This was by way of the 
river now known as the Humber, which was long a not uncommon mode 
of reaching the Georgian Bay. The voyageur, whose ultimate destination 
was Michilimackinac, frequently made his way westward along the northern 
shore of Lake Ontario, calling at the mouth of the stream where the pretty 
town of Port Hope now stands, and where he generally found an Indian 
encampment well supplied .with peltries. Thence proceeding westward, 
he soon passed the curving peninsula which in those remote times nearly 
encircled the beautiful bay upon which the intellectual capital of Canada 
was destined to rear its front in a far-distant future of which he did not 
venture to dream. Thence he arrived at the mouth of the Humber, where 
he was commonly able to complete his cargo, and start his batteau on its 
return voyage. He himself then proceeded on his way to Michilimackinac. 
The Humber River affqrded him access to the ancient country of the 
Hurons, in what is now the County of Simcoe. Several well-marked trails 
existed thence to the Georgian Bay, where a boat was easily obtained for 

the rest of the journey. 

In those days the Humber was one of the two direct routes between 
the Huron country and Lake Ontario; the other being by way of the 

The County of York. 5 

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

As the reader is doubtless aware, the whdle of this portion of Canada 
then formed part of the domain of the King of France. The country south 
of Lake Ontario, on the other hand, forming the present State of New York, 
was an English colony. The profits of the fur trade gave additional keen 
ness to the rivalry already existing between the French and English 
colonists, and there were frequent invasions of each other s rights. The 
English resolved to participate in the immense profits arising out of the 
trade at Michilimackinac. Companies of New York adventurers made 
several expeditions into that distant region, and in each case the profits 
were sufficient to recompense them for the very serious danger they 
incurred. The danger was two-fold. The French very naturally regarded 
them as trespassers, and did not hesitate to treat them as such. The 
Indians thereabouts were staunch allies of the French, and they had 
additional grounds of dislike to the English arising out of the alliance of 
the latter with the much-dreaded Iroquois. Still, they were very much 
like their white brethren in one important respect they had ever an eye 
exceedingly wide open to the main chance. The English colonists offered 
better -prices than the French, and the Indians did not refuse to deal with 
them. In this way the monopoly claimed by the French as a matter of 
right was seriously threatened, and they cast about to find a remedy. For 
some time the English were restricted to the route by way of the Detroit 
and St. Clair Rivers. The Ottawa swarmed with French traders and their 
allies, and the English could not have made their way to Michilimackinac 

6 The County of York. 

by that route without fighting their way inch by inch. The two inter 
mediate routes presented obstacles equally serious, for they led directly 
through the Huron country, and the Hurons were firm allies of the French. 
In the middle of the seventeenth century, however, these two routes were 
thrown open to the English. It came about in this wise. In 1649 and 
1650 the Huron country was subjected to an invasion by the Iroquois from 
the Province of New York. The invasion forms one of the most tragical 
chapters to be found even in the history of Indian warfare. The doomed 
Hurons were dispersed, driven away from their ancient home, and nearly 
annihilated. Their cultivated fields were turned into a wilderness. There 
was thus nothing to prevent the English trespassers from availing them 
selves of this shorter and more expeditious route to the great western fur 

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

The County of York. 7 

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

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

Rouille, as has been said, was the official designation conferred upon 
the fort. But wont and usage refused to be turned aside at the bidding of 
mere officials. The adjacent stream had, as we have seen, been known as 
the Toronto River. The very site of the fort itself had from time to time 
been used as a " Toronto," or place of meeting, by the Indians. \Yigwam 
villages had occasionally arisen there, to endure only for a brief space, 
and until the stock of furs on hand could be bartered away to a passing 
French trader. The name " Toronto " clung to the site, and that of " Fort 
Rouille " sank into disuse, except in formal and official reports of the agents 
stationed there. At least as early as 1753 tne s P ot Became popularly known 
as Fort Toronto, and by that name it continued to be known as long as it 
had an existence and, indeed, for long after. For " the Old French Fort," 
as it was sometimes called, was not destined to be a permanent institution. 

8 The Count}/ of York. 

Upon the conquest of Canada by the English, there was no longer any 
reason for maintaining it as a trading-post. It was burned and deserted 
by its former occupants, after a brief existence of about ten years. From 
that time forward history only catches one or two fitful glimpses of the 
spot, until the arrival of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe in the harbour of 
Toronto in the month of May, 1793. * n September, 1760, Major Robert 
Rogers and his troops called here on their way westward to take possession 
of Detroit. They found the fort in ruins, and the cleared ground in the 
neighbourhood fast relapsing into a state of nature! The Major himself, 
in his published account of the spot, says: " I think Toronto a most con 
venient place for a factory" by which he means a trading-post "and 
that from thence we may easily settle the north side of Lake Erie." Other 
visitors called there from season to season during the next three decades, 
and a certain amount of traffic with the Indians appears to have been 
periodically carried on there. But nothing was attempted in the way of 
permanent settlement. The hour and the man Governor Simcoe had 
not arrived. In an old manuscript map, the date of which is not definitely 
ascertainable but which must have been prepared between 1760 and 1793 
the site of Rouille is designated by a little cluster of wigwams, appended 
to which are the words: " Toronto, an Indian village now deserted." 

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

In 1791, the statute known as the Constitutional Act of 1791 was 
passed by the Imperial Parliament, and Canada was divided into the two 
Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves 
Simcoe was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Upper Province, upon 
which he has stamped his name in indelible colours. He reached his 
capital then called Newark, and now called Niagara in 1792, and opened 
his first Parliament there on the i7th of September in that year. But 
Newark did not, in his opinion, fulfil the requisites of a Provincial capital. 
It was situated opposite the guns of the American fort on the other side of 

The County of York. 9 

the Niagara River, and it was in a remote corner of the Province ; both of 
which circumstances he justly regarded as serious disqualifications. He 
explored his domain from east to west in search of a suitable site for the 
future operations of his Government. He was much in favour of the present 
site of London the Less, where he at one time had serious intentions of 

founding a city to be called Georgina, in honour of His Majesty King 
George III. But the founding of the Forest City was to be the work of 
other hands than his. While exploring the northern shores of Lake 
Ontario, early in May, 1793, he entered the harbour now known as Toronto 
Bay. It was then completely land-locked, except on the western side, for 
what is now " the Island " was then a peninsula, to which the Indians from 
the mainland were wont to resort for sanitary purposes. The present site 
of Toronto was then a desolate marsh, from which rose the smoke of two 
or three wigwams, whose denizens were the only inhabitants of the place. 
The spot, however, possessed important natural advantages, and the Gov 
ernor was not long in making up his mind that here should arise the future 
capital of Upper Canada. The Indian name, Toronto, w r as not to his taste, 
and he resolved that the place should be called York, in honour of the 
King s son Frederick, w r ho, it will be remembered, was Duke of York. In 
the course of the ensuing summer he took up his abode here, with his suite. 
He also brought over most of his troops and officials, and thenceforward 
only repaired to Newark during the sessions of the Provincial Legislature. 
On the 27th of August, a royal salute was fired by the troops from the shore, 
and replied to by certain ships in the harbour. This instituted the formal 
inauguration of the new capital, which was thenceforward known as York 
for a period of nearly forty-one years. All of which events will be found 
described at full length in the history of the city. They merely require 
enumeration here in so far as they form part of the history of the County of 

A few words respecting the aboriginal inhabitants of this part of 
Canada would seem to be in order here. The Hurons already referred to 
were in their own tongue known as Wyandots a word variously spelled, 
according to the nationality of the speller. Sagard, one of the earliest 
authorities, gives it as " Houandates," of which word he supplies no interpre 
tation. "Huron" was a purely French word, originating in jest among 
the soldiers and sailors of New France, and afterwards employed seriously, 
for the sake of convenience, by the French immigrants generally. A fashion 
of preserving a row or two of upright bristles along the ridge of the cranium, 
while the sides were closely shaven, produced, as the first European be 
holders thought, a grotesque resemblance to the head of a wild boar, called 

io The County of York. 

in French liure. Hence, according to Gabriel Lalemant, arose the name 
Huron, a word which lent itself readily to the Latin tongue, like Teuton 
and Saxon. The Hurons were comprised in a Confederation of four can 
tons, or nations, to which the Tobacco Nation was afterwards united. 
They were of the blood and speech of the Iroquois, who nevertheless be 
came implacably hostile to them, and finally, as has been seen, destroyed 
them as a nation, and converted their "place of meeting" into a desolate 


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

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

The words Mississaga and Chippewa are variously spelt in early works 
in which they are referred to. Among modern writers the latter word is 
re-assuming the form of " Otchipway." From a partial similarity in 
sound, Mississaga has been imagined by some to be connected with a 
Chippewa word for eagle ; and, without any foundation in fact, it has been 
concluded that an eagle was the token or cognizance of the Mississagas. 
The correct interpretation of the word Mississaga is given by Mr. Alexander 
Henry, in his " Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Terri- 

The County of York. 


tories between the Years 1760 and 1776," a work which is becoming 
exceedingly scarce, and which has begun to command a fancy price among 
Canadian bibliophiles. " I pursued my journey," he writes, " to the mouth 
of the Missisaki [Mississaga], a river which descends from the north, and 
of which the name imputes that it has several mouths, or outlets. From 
this river all the Indians inhabiting the north side of Lake Huron are called 
Missisakies [Mississagas]." Michi, or Missi, signifies great or many, while 
saki or saga conveys the idea of the mouth or outlet of a river. It may 
further be observed that the Mississaga-Chippewas were sometimes called 
Matchedash Indians, from their descending to the shores of Lake Ontario 
from the direction of Matchedash Bay. 




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

The most important highway surveyed and laid out under the Gover 
nor s auspices was Yonge Street, extending all the way from York to Lake 
Simcoe, thirty miles distant in the northern wilderness. The name of 
" Yonge Street " was bestowed upon it by the Governor in honour of his 
friend Sir George Yonge, who was Secretary of War in the Imperial 
Cabinet during the early part of Governor Simcoe s residence in Upper 
Canada. It may also be mentioned that Lake Simcoe, just mentioned, 

Tlie County of York. 13 

was named by the Governor in honour of his father, Captain Simcoe, of 
the Royal Navy, who died on the St. Lawrence River during the expedition 
against Quebec in 1759. The building of Yonge Street was intended to 
serve the double purpose of opening up the country along the route, and of 
shortening and facilitating travel between Lake Ontario and the North- 
West. It is thus referred to by Provincial Surveyor D. W. Smyth, in his 
Gazetteer, published in 1799. "This communication affords many advan 
tages. Merchandise from Montreal to Michilimackinac may be sent this 
way at ten or fifteen pounds less expense per ton than by the route of the 
Grand or Ottawa Rivers, and the merchandise from New York to be sent 
up the North and Mohawk Rivers for the North- West trade, finding its 
way into Lake Ontario at Oswego, the advantage will certainly be felt of 
transporting goods from Oswego to York, and from thence across Yonge 
Street, and down the waters of Lake Simcoe into Lake Huron, in preference 
to sending it by Lake Erie." 

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

The territorial divisions of Upper Canada in Governor Simcoe s days 
were very different from those now existing. The first was made by pro 
clamation issued by Lord Dorchester, Governor-General of Canada, under 
authority of an Imperial statute. The proclamation was dated the 24th of 
July, 1788, at which date the Constitutional Act had not been passed, and 
while the Province afterwards known as Upper or Western Canada still 
formed a part of the Province of Quebec. The division thereby effected was 
into four districts, named respectively Lunenburgh, Mecklenburgh, Nassau 
and Hesse. The only one of the four with which the present narrative has any 
special concern is the District of Nassau, which embraced a large tract of 
country, extending westward from the head of the Bay of Quinte to a line 
extending due north from the extreme projection of Long Point, on Lake 
Erie. It thus included, among other land, the whole of the present County 
of York. This division was purely conventional and nominal, as the 
country was sparsely inhabited, and the necessity for minute and accurate 
boundary lines had not become pressing. Upon Governor Simcoe s arrival 
he made a second territorial division whereby the Province was divided 

1 4 The County of York. 

into nineteen counties, one of which was the County of York. This was in 
the month of July, 1792, nearly a year before he had caught his first glimpse 
of the site of his future capital of that name. The County of York, as then 
defined, extended from the County of Durham westward to the River 
Thames, then called La Trenche or La Tranche. During the first session 
of the First Parliament of Upper Canada, which closed its sittings on the 
i5th of October, 1792, an Act was passed (32 Geo. III. cap 8) whereby the 
names of the four districts set apart in 1788 were, altered to the Eastern, 
Midland, Home and Western Districts the Home District corresponding 
to the one theretofore called Nassau. One member was deemed sufficient 
to represent the Counties of York and Durham and one Riding of the 
County of Lincoln in the Provincial Legislature. Parliament was con 
vened at Newark for five successive years. It met at York for the first 
time in 1797, by which time Governor Simcoe had bidden the Province 
a final adieu. In the year 1796 he departed on a special diplomatic mission 
to the Island of Hayti, or St. Domingo. After the fulfilment of his mission 
he returned to England. He died on the 25th of October, 1806, and his 
remains were interred in a little chapel on his Devonshire estates. A 
mural tablet is erected to his memory in Exeter Cathedral. 

In this country, and more especially in the County of York, a strong 
interest must ever attach to the name of Governor Simcoe. This interest 
arises not merely from the fact that he was the first Governor of Upper 
Canada, but from his merits as a man and as an administrator. He was a 
man of enlightened views, in many respects considerably in advance of his 
time. He set on foot a wise system of administering public affairs, and, 
had his example been followed by his immediate successors, Upper Canada 
would have escaped some of the most serious evils which befell her during 
nearly half a century of her history. The special obligations of the County 
of York to him need no elaborate recapitulation. Briefly, it may be said 
that to him we owe the establishment of the Provincial and intellectual 
capital within our domain. To him we owe the construction of Yonge 
Street, and the opening up of the northern townships. His memory has 
claims upon us and our descendants which are not likely to be forgotten. 
As everything relating to him may be supposed to have an interest for us, 
the following letter, addressed by him, about five years before his death, to 
the clergyman of his parish, and now published for the first time, will 
doubtless be acceptable to the readers of this work. The original is in the 
possession of Dr. Scadding, of Toronto, whose valuable contributions to 
our local archaeology are well known. " Dear Sir," it runs: "On the 22nd 
of this month I shall have lived half a century. You will therefore much 

The County of York. l c 

oblige me if you will spend the day with me, and will celebrate divine 
service at 12 o clock in our chapel. I shall esteem it as a favour if you 
would take for your text Remember your Creator in the days of your 
youth, etc. The advantages of being a Christian, of having been educated 
by a most pious and excellent mother (my father dying, whilst I was yet an 
infant, in the service of his country), assisted by the companions of my 
father s youth and the protectors of my own ; the advantages of being an 
Englishman, and of that Church where Christianity is administered in its 
Durest form ; the advantages of being a member of that government where 
laws are most equal, and where justice is administered in mercy 
impressed on my heart, and I wish them to be recommended to mv 
There is a text in Leviticus, I believe, that particularly enforces 
purity of heart to those who aspire to military command. As mine in all 
views is a military family, it may not be amiss in a more especial manner 
) inculcate the remembrance of the Creator to those who shall engage in 
the solemn duties of protecting their country at these times from foreign 
usurpation. I am truly yours, J. G. S. Feb. i 4 th, 1801." 

This interesting letter is thoroughly characteristic of the man It 

breathes throughout a spirit of intelligent conservatism and devotion to duty 

5 writer was recognized by successive Governments as a useful public 

servant. He has left behind him very distinct traces of his temporary 

direction of Upper Canadian affairs. Lake Simcoe, named by him as 

already mentioned, commemorates to successive ages his own name and 

that of his father. The County of the same name, and the metropolitan 

own of the County of Norfolk, were also designated after the founder of 

Simcoe and John Streets, Toronto, were moreover so called by way 

commemoration of his surname and one of his Christian names The 

maiden name of his wife, Miss Gwillim, is also commemorated in the 

townships of North, East and West Gwillimbury. 

The laying out of Yonge Street was prosecuted under the personal 
supervision of Mr. Augustus Jones, a well-known land surveyor of those 
primitive times. He began his labours on the 2 6th of February, 1794. For 
many years after the original survey, and indeed down to a period within 
tin- memory of persons still living in Toronto, it did not extend southerly 
to the bay shore, but terminated at Queen (then called Lot) Street. Durin^ 
the early years of the present century it was impassable south ,,f what iC 
now Bloor Street. Persons driving into Toronto from the northward were 
here compelled to make a detour to the eastward until tlu-y arrival 
Parliament Street, which was in tolerable condition for those times, In 
1801 John Stegmann, another land surveyor whose name is frequently met 

1 6 The County of York. 

with in old Upper Canadian surveys, was appointed to examine and report 
upon the condition of Yonge Street. He reported that : " from the Town 
of York to the three-mile post on the Poplar Plains the road is cut, and 
that as yet the greater part of the said distance is not passable for any 
carriage whatever, on account of logs which lie in the street. From thence 
to lot i on Yonge Street the road is very difficult to pass at any time, 
agreeable to the present situation in which the said part of the street is." 
The Poplar Plains mentioned in this extract were situated immediately to 
the north of what is now Yorkville. But Yonge Street was of too much 
importance to be allowed to remain in such a state as that above indicated. 
It was largely used by the North- West Company, to whom good roads 
were an object, for purposes of transportation. They supplied funds for 
the improvement of the road, and contributed for that purpose as much as 
8,000 in one single payment. About the close of the first decade of -the 
century Yonge Street was serviceable along its entire length. 

The land on each side of the road was granted to actual settlers on con 
dition of their performing the usual settlement duties, which involved the 
necessity of building a house, clearing a proportionate part of the land, 
and "making the road across or in front of each lot." It might be supposed 
that such liberal terms as these would have been readily and eagerly taken 
advantage of; yet we find that the progress of actual settlement was slow. 
In 1799 the entire population of the Home District was only 224. For some 
years afterwards its growth was barely perceptible. In 1798 the aggregate 
population of the townships of York, Scarborough and Etobicoke, together 
with the Town of York itself, was only 749. For this state of things the line 
of policy adopted by Governor Simcoe s successors was in great measure 
responsible. Large tracts of land throughout the District were granted to 
favourites of successive administrations, and to others who could bring in 
fluence to bear upon those who had the ear of the executive. The lands so 
granted were usually "held for a rise" by the patentees, who resorted to all 
sorts of devices to avoid even the performance of the ordinary settlement 
duties. In this way a great proportion of the land was locked up in private 
hands, and practically closed to settlement. The practice flourished 
throughout the entire Province, but the Home District, being the head 
quarters of the Government, naturally became the focus and centre of such 
abuses. More than ten millions of acres of the public lands had been 
granted to the U. E. Loyalist immigrants alone; and one-seventh of the 
entire lands of the Province had been appropriated for Clergy Reserves. 
It was easy to perceive that land in Upper Canada would in course of time 
become exceedingly valuable, and many pages might be written illustrative 

The County of York. \j 

of the spirit of greed which animated the office-holders of those days. There 
was very little check upon their rapacity, for the same spirit seemed to actuate 
all the officials, from the highest to the lowest. President Russell, who, as 
senior member of the Executive Council, succeeded to the administration 
of affairs upon Governor Simcoe s departure for the West Indies, was wont 
to make grants of public land directly to himself the verbiage employed 
being somewhat after the following fashion : " I, Peter Russell, adminis 
trator, do grant unto Peter Russell," etc. During the regime of his 
successor, Lieutenant-General Peter Hunter, as well as under those of 
. Commodore Grant and Francis Gore, similar practices prevailed, though it 
does not appear that in the case of any other person than Russell did the 
administrator go the length of conveying real estate directly to himself, 
without the intervention of a trustee. 

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

In 1798, during President Russell s direction of affairs, an Act was 
passed " for the better division of this Province," whereby it was enacted 
that the Counties of Northumberland, Durham, York and Simcoe should 
form the Home District. The County of York was divided into two 
parts, to be called respectively the East and West Ridings. The East 
Riding was declared to consist of the townships of Whitby, Pickering. 
Scarborough, York (including its peninsula, now the Island) Etobicokf, 
Markham, Vaughan, King, Whitchurch, Uxbridge, Gwillimbury, " and the 
tract of land hereafter to be laid out into townships, lying between the 
County of Durham and the Lake Simcoe." The West Riding was made 
up of the townships of Beverley and Flamborough, East and West, so much 

1 8 The County of York, 

of the tract of land upon the Grand River in the occupation of the Six 
Nation Indians as lay to the northward of Dundas Street, and all the land 
between the said tract and the East Riding of the County of York, " with 
the reserved lands in the rear of the townships of Blenheim and Blandford." 
This adjustment remained undisturbed until the year 1816, when an Act 
was passed carving the District of Gore out of portions of the Niagara and 
Home Districts. By this Act also the township of Toronto was annexed 
to the East Riding of York. Five years later, in 1821, a new territorial 
division was made of the entire Province, whereby the townships of Reach, 
Brock, Scott and Georgina were annexed to the East Riding of York, and 
the townships of Albion, Caledon, Chinguacousy and the Gore of Toronto 
were annexed to the West Riding. The County of Simcoe was at the 
same time formed, being made up of various old and new townships form 
erly included within the limits of the County of York. The population of 
the Home District at this time was about 12,000. As it had then been 
settled nearly thirty years, the admission must be made that its progress 
had been very slow indeed. 

Poor Robert Gourlay, writing several years before this time, gives a 
vivid, and, upon the whole, an accurate pen-picture of the conflicting ele 
ments then at work in the Home District. As his book has long since 
become practically unobtainable, and as his account will doubtless prove 
interesting to the present inhabitants of the territory so graphically de 
scribed, it is worth while to quote a portion of it, more especially as it is of 
much topographical value. In order to make his allusions intelligible, the 
reader should be made acquainted with a few preliminary facts. Mr. 
Gourlay was a Scottish gentleman, of a decidedly critical cast of mind, 
who visited Canada in 1817, and who, after some observation of the 
country, resolved to engage in business as a land-agent, and to organize an 
extensive system of emigration from the British Islands to Canada. Having 
obtained much statistical information with respect to public lands and 
settlers, and having become cognizant of the unscrupulousness of many of 
the officials, and the baneful influence exercised by the Family Compact, 
he determined to make the facts generally known in Great Britain. In 
order to obtain minute and exhaustive intelligence, he addressed a series 
of printed questions to the principal residents in each township in Upper 
Canada, asking for information as to the date of settlement, number of 
inhabitants, houses, churches, schools, stores and mills ; the general char 
acter of the soil ; the various kinds of timber and minerals ; the rates of 
wages ; cost of clearing land ; usual time of ploughing and reaping ; extent 
and condition of wild lands, etc. The questions were thirty-one in number. 

TJie County of York. 19 

All of them were unobjectionable, except the last, which ran thus : 
" What, in your opinion, retards the improvement of your township in 
particular, or the Province in general, and what would most contribute to 
the same ? " Nearly all the replies received to this question echoed the 
same strain. The slow development was attributed to the Crown and 
Clergy Reserves, and to the immense tracts of lands held by non-residents. 
The prevailing sentiment was well mirrored in a reply received from King 
ston. Thus it ran : " The same cause which has surrounded Little York 
with a desert, creates gloom and desolation about Kingston, otherwise 
most beautifully situated ; I mean the seizure and monopoly of the land by 
people in office and favour. On the east side, particularly, you may travel 
miles together without passing a human dwelling. The roads are accord 
ingly most abominable to the very gates of this, the largest town in the 
Province ; and its market is supplied with vegetables from the United 
States, where property -is less hampered, and the exertions of cultivators 
more free." 

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

The person thus irreverently alluded to as " a monstrous little fool 
of a parson" was of course Dr. Strachan. "This man, unfortunately," 
he continues, " was a member of the Executive Council, and his efforts, 
from that circumstance, were but too successful. . . The second cause 
may be traced to the low condition of society in the Home District, owing 

2O The County of York. 

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

" A curious document has been published in this country, which gives 
a sad proof of the effect of narrow-mindedness and wrong arrangement in 
property. The document is meant to draw reverence to the above-men 
tioned parson ; but, in fact, is the strongest evidence against his deeds and 
sentiments. It is stated that seven or eight miles from York, on Yonge 
Street, there is a place of worship, where it is customary to see many grown 

The County of York. 21 

persons coming forward to be baptized. The fact is, that this, with another 
belonging to the above mentioned Quakers, are the only places of worship 
to be seen in Yonge Street, extending near forty miles. In the first men 
tioned, service is only performed once a month ; the dominant parson 
allowing nobody to preach but himself ! Much moan has been made in 
this country as to the lagging of the gospel in Upper Canada ; but I can 
assure the public that the chief cause rests in the state of property , which so 
scatters the people as to put the necessary union for building and endowing 
churches out of the question. The moment that Upper Canada becomes 
thickly peopled, the gospel, having free course, will be glorified ; and this 
will the sooner take place, the sooner that clergy reserves, vainly set apart 
for the erection of an established church, are sold off to actual settlers. 
Next to personal security, the security and right ordering of property is the 
prime concern of wise legislation. Let these indeed be properly seen to, 
and all else will go well, whether the pate of magistracy be covered with a 
cowl, a crown, or a cap of liberty. 

" There are not more desirable situations for settlement in the Province 
than on the great road from York to Kingston ; but here the largest portions 
of land have been seized upon by people in power and office. Some twenty 
years ago, these people sold two whole townships of Crown Land, and had 
the effrontery to lay out great part of the proceeds in opening the road 
through their favourite locations, which actual settlers would cheerfully 
have done gratis, besides keeping it in continual repair. The road was 
indeed opened, but to this day, except in sleighing time and fine weather, it 
is an absolute block up against him who would attempt to pass between the 
two principal towns of the Province. Upon one occasion that I wended 
my weary way through this dismal defile, I was glad to rest for a little 
while in a farm-house, far in the wild. It has been my frequent custom 
to judge my fellow men partly through external appearances their farms 
their houses their dress. When approaching a human dwelling in 
Upper Canada, I would survey its neighbourhood : I would observe whether 
the fire-wood was neatly piled ; the implements of husbandry snugly secured 
from wind and weather in a shed ; or whether the pump and oven were in 
good repair. Sometimes, nay, I shall say often, all was right, sometimes 
quite the reverse. In front of a farm-house, I would sometimes see broken 
ploughs and decayed wagons lying upon a heap of chips which had been 
accumulating for years, and which had for smaller garnishing many-coloured 
and filthy rags, broken bottles, and pieces of crockery. What was to be 
augured of the man who exhibited such signals? certainly neither good 
humour nor rational conversation. Yet if the weary traveller must have 

22 TJie County of York. 

rest and refreshment, he will not be repelled by these ; he will at least march 
up to the house, and consult the windows. If well glazed and bright, in he 
may go, assured that the mistress will prove tidy, though her man is a 
sloven ; and that the interior will yield comfort, though the exterior forbid 
the hope. If, on the contrary, an old hat, or piece of dirty blanket supplies 
the place of a pane of glass, the case is bad indeed ; and nothing but the 
strongest necessity, or most violent curiosity, would induce me to enter. 
Both were urgent on this occasion ; and after resting a little, I began to 
examine the various articles by which the light of the front window was 
obscured, or I should rather say, by which its numerous orifices were closed 
up. Let the reader reflect on the catalogue. There was one old great coat, 
and two pair of ragged pantaloons. This story, I think, will match with 
that of the paganism of Yonge Street, and the same cause has laid the foun 
dation of both. Inspect all the wretched cottages of England, and you will 
not find a window so patched as that which I have spoken of. It is not 
mere poverty that produces such appearances. The poorest creature could 
find a piece of board, or a bit of paper, to nail or paste up in the place of a 
broken glass ; and either the one or other would have some show of neat 
ness and respectability ; but an old hat, a blanket, a great coat, or ragged 
pantaloons, taken advantage of for such a purpose, mark a degree of degra 
dation below brutality ; and such is the state to which circumstances and 
situation can reduce humanity. It is the removal from social intercourse, 
the indulgence of indolence, the want of excitement, which can make the 
mind completely torpid, and at once extinguish taste, feeling and shame. 
The master of the house spoken of was tenant of a Clergy Reserve. But 
enough of this at present : there is quite enough to show why I had no reply 
to my queries in such a District. 

" To carry on my estimate of population, I suppose that Little York 
might contain, in 1817, of people, I shall not say souls, 1,200. There are 
thirteen organized tow r nships in the District ; that is, such as hold town 
meetings for the choice of town office bearers, and to these, three others 
are united, each containing a few inhabitants. If to these thirteen town 
ships, with their additions, are allowed 500 people each, the full number, I 
think, will be obtained as it stood in 1817 6,500 

The above.. 1,200 

Total white population 7,700." 

Mr. Gourlay personally reaped nothing but ignominy and imprison 
ment from his public spirit. As his statements could not be met by just 
argument, the prevailing faction resorted to the argumentnm ad hotninem, 

The County of York, 23 

and employed the most villainous means of silencing him. The same 
species of persecution assailed him, under the semblance of law, as was 
suffered in Great Britain by the Tookes, the Leigh Hunts, and the Cobbetts. 
Spies were sent about the country to dog him, in the hope that they 
might find something in his language upon which an indictment might be 
founded. The plan was successful. Indictments were found against him 
by packed Grand Juries, and cumulative prosecutions were set on foot in 
order to leave him no loophole of escape. The sad story of Robert Gourlay 
forms one of the darkest chapters in the national history. He was cast 
into prison at Niagara, and detained there for many months, after which, 
by virtue of an old statute which his persecutors warped to their own ends, 
he was ordered to quit the Province within twenty-four hours, on pain of 
death in case of his return. He accordingly left the Province, to which he 
did not return until after the lapse of many years. But the people of 
Upper Canada in general, and of the Home District in particular, had 
abundant reason to bless his name. The shameful treatment to which he 
had been subjected drew public attention to his case, and was the indirect 
means of bringing about a better state of things. When, nearly forty years 
afterwards, he again set foot in the County of York, he found that a new 
dynasty had arisen, and that all the most grievous of the old abuses had 
been swept away. 



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

Several subsequent partial enactments were consolidated in chapter 5 
of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, the 41 st section whereof enacts that the 
County of York shall consist of the townships of Etobicoke, Georgina, 
Gwillimbury East, Gwillimbury North, King, Markham, Scarborough, 
Vaughan, Whitchurch, York, the City of Toronto, and the villages of 

The County of York. 25 

Aurora, Holland Landing, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and 
Yorkville. In a municipal sense, this is the present division, except that 
the Village of Yorkville was last year admitted into the City of Toronto 
under the name of St. Paul s Ward. 

The reader hardly needs to be informed, however, that the municipal 
divisions are not identical with the divisions for the purpose of Parlia 
mentary representation. It has been seen on a former page that in very 
early times one member was considered sufficient to represent a tract of 
territory very much larger than the present County of York. To trace the 
progress of Parliamentary representation for the County of York from that 
time down to the present would occupy much space, and would be attended 
with very little benefit or entertainment to the reader. It will be sufficient 
to begin with the Union, at which date York was divided into four electoral 
Ridings, known respectively as the First, Second, Third and Fourth Ridings. 
During the First Parliament, which lasted from the 8th of April, 1841, to 
the 23rd of September, 1844, these constituencies were respectively repre 
sented by James Hervey Price, George Duggan, jr., James Edward Small, 
Robert Baldwin, and Louis Hypolite Lafontaine. The Second Parliament 
lasted from the i2th of November, 1844, to the 6th of December, 1847. 
Messieurs Price, Duggan, and Baldwin continued to represent their various 
constituencies. Mr. Small was reflected for the Third Riding, but his 
return was declared null and void on the i4th of March, 1845, and his 
opponent, George Monro, was declared to have been duly elected. Mr. 
Monro accordingly represented the constituency from that time forward 
until the close of the Second Parliament. As for Mr. Lafontaine, his repre 
sentation of an Upper Canadian constituency was merely a temporary 
expedient, and after the close of the First Parliament he was returned for 
the Lo\ver Canadian constituency of Terrebonne. Before the assembly of 
the Third Parliament a re-adjustment and re-naming of the constituencies 
had taken place, and they were thenceforward respectively known as the 
North, East, South and West Ridings. The North Riding consisted of 
the townships of Brock, Georgina, East Gwillimbury, North Gwillimbury, 
Mara, Rama, Reach, Scott, Thorali, Uxbridge, and Whitchurch. The 
East Riding was composed of the townships of Markham, Pickering. 
Scarborough, and Whitby, The South Riding comprised the townships of 
Etobicoke, King, Vaughan, and York ;. and the West Riding was made up 
of the townships of Albion, Caledon, Chinguacousy, Toronto and the Gore 
of Toronto. During the Third Parliament, which lasted from the 241)1 of 
January, 1848, to the 6th of November. 1851, the North Riding was repre 
sented by Robert Baldwin, the East Riding by William Hume Blake- and 

26 The County of York. 

Peter Perry, the South Riding by James Hervey Price, and the West 
Riding by Joseph Curran Morrison. During the Fourth Parliament an 
Act was passed increasing the representation to sixty-five members from 
each section of the Province. Thenceforward York was divided into three 
constituencies only, the North, East and West Ridings. Without con 
secutively following the representation and divisions of the county any 
further, it may be said that by the eighth section of the second chapter 
of the Consolidated Statutes of Canada, the County of York is divided 
into three Ridings, to be called respectively the North Riding, the East 
Riding and the West Riding; the North Riding consisting of the townships 
of King, Whitchurch, Georgina, East Gwillimbury and North Gwillimbury ; 
the East Riding consisting of the townships of Markham, Scarborough, and 
that portion of the Township of York lying east of Yonge Street, and the 
Village of Yorkville ; the West Riding consisting of the Townships of Etobi- 
coke, Vaughan, and that portion of the Township of York lying west of 
Yonge Street. By statute 45 Victoria, chapter 3, passed on the iyth of 
May, 1882, entitled "An Act to re-adjust the Representation in the House 
of Commons, and for other purposes," it is enacted that the East Riding of 
the County of York shall consist of the townships of East York (i.e., the 
portion lying east of Yonge Street), Scarborough and Markham, and the 
villages of Yorkville and Markham ; and that the North Riding shall consist 
of the townships of King, East Gwillimbury, West Gwillimbury, North 
Gwillimbury and Georgina, and the villages of Holland Landing, Bradford 
and Aurora. 

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

The County of York. 27 

Independently of territorial and Parliamentary divisions, there is not 
much to record in the way of purely County history, beyond what is given 
in the various Township histories which will be found elsewhere in this 
volume. The County played a very conspicuous part in the Rebellion of 
i837- 38, but the details of that ill-starred movement are recorded at con 
siderable length in the " Brief History of Canada and the Canadian People," 
with which the reader of these pages may be presumed to be already 
familiar. The merest outline is all that can be attempted here. The public 
dissatisfaction with the many abuses which existed in those days, and with 
the high-handed tyranny of the executive, was intensified in 1836 and 1837 
by the injudicious proceedings of the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Francis Bond 
Head. That dignitary employed the most corrupt means during the 
elections of 1836 to secure the return of members favourable to his policy, 
and the leading Reformers of Upper Canada w r ere defeated at the polls. 
The most shamelessly dishonest means were employed to secure the defeat 
of William Lyon Mackenzie in the Second Riding of York, for which con 
stituency he had already been returned five times in succession, and he had 
as often been unjustly expelled from membership in the Assembly. The 
combined tyranny and abuses of the time had long since aroused a spirit of 
resistance, and before the year 1837 was many months old this spirit had 
begun to assume an active shape. An enrolment of the disaffected through 
out the Second Riding took place, and the list included many persons of 
the highest respectability and intelligence. Mackenzie s paper, The Con- 
. stitution, circulated largely throughout the constituency, and his influence 
there was paramount. He and his coadjutors made urgent and repeated 
inflammatory appeals to the people of the Province generally, who were 
incited to strike for that freedom which could only be won at the point of 
the sword. A Central Vigilance Committee was formed, and Mackenzie 
devoted all his time to the organization of armed resistance to authority. 
Drillings were held at night throughout nearly the whole of the northern 
part of the County of York. It was at last settled that an attempt should 
be made to subvert the Government. The time fixed upon for the com 
mencement of hostilities was Thursday, the 7th of December (1837), at 
which date the rebels were to secretly assemble their forces at Mont 
gomery s Tavern, a well-known hostelry on Yonge Street, about tlmv miles 
north of Toronto. Having assembled, they were to proceed in a body into 
the city, where they expected to be joined by a large proportion of t lie- 
inhabitants. They were to march direct to the City Hall, and seize 4000 
stand of arms which had been placed there. The insurrectionary pro 
gramme further included the seizure of tl e Lieutenant-Governor himself 

28 The County of York. 

and his chief advisers, the capture of the garrison, and the calling of a 
convention for the purpose of framing a constitution. A provisional gov 
ernment was to be formed, at the head of which was to be placed Dr. John 
Rolph, one of the ablest men who has ever taken part in Upper Canadian 

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

The County of York. 29 

dition of the capital, and, instead of entering Toronto on Thursday with 
4,000 or 5,000 men, was apparently expected to take it on Monday with 
200, wearied after a march of thirty or forty miles through the mud, in the 
worst possible humour at finding they had been called from the very 
extremity of the county, and no one else warned at all." 

This was certainly a disheartening state of affairs, though as a simple 
matter of fact there is no doubt that the city might easily have been taken 
just then, even with a less force than 200, if the rebels had been efficiently 
commanded. But the change of date from Thursday to Monday seems to 
have completely disheartened Mackenzie, who from that time forward 
seemed to act without either energy or judgment. Instead of proceeding 
into the city, he actually kept his forces at Montgomery s until Thursday 
in a state of complete inaction. By that time the authorities in Toronto 
had of course become aware of the movement. Assistance had been sum 
moned from Hamilton and elsewhere, ^and all hopes of success for the 
insurrection were at an end. On Thursday the loyalist forces advanced 
northward and met the rebels a short distance north of Gallows Hill. A 
skirmish followed, but was of very short duration, as the rebels were alto 
gether outnumbered, and fled in all directions. Mackenzie and the other 
leaders succeeded in making their escape to the United States ; all except 
poor Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews, who were captured and executed 
at Toronto on the i2th of April following. Their remains are interred in 
the Toronto Necropolis. 

As, owing to their tragical ending, much interest is felt in these unfor 
tunate persons, it may not be amiss to give some account of them. The 
following is condensed and adapted from li Canada in 1837-38," a work 
written by Edward Alexander Theller, an Irish-American citizen who acted 
as a " Brigadier-General in the Canadian Republican Service." Samuel 
Lount was born in the State of Pennsylvania, and lived there until he 
migrated to Upper Canada, which event took place when he was about 
twenty-two or twenty-three years of age. He settled near the shores of 
Lake Simcoe, in what was then a wilderness. By industry and frugality 
he in course of a few years amassed considerable property. To the many 
poor settlers who came from Europe and obtained grants of land from the 
Government he was a friend and adviser, and in cases of necessity he 
frequently supplied their wants from his own purse or his own granaries. 
He saw and deplored the many grievances which afflicted his adopted 
country. In 1834116 was elected a member of the Provincial Assembly, 
in which he served until 1836, when, owing to the machinations of 
Sir Francis Head and his advisers (who did not scruple to employ tin- 

30 The County of York. 

most corrupt means to achieve such a result), he was defeated at the 
polls by a brother of Chief Justice Robinson. Like Mackenzie, Rolph 
and other leaders of the Reform party, he despaired of accomplishing any 
thing of importance by further constitutional agitation, so he allied him 
self with the insurrectionary movement, and marched a body of men to 
Montgomery s. When the collapse of the movement came, he fled, with 
others, to the neighbourhood of Gait, whence, accompanied by a friend 
named Kennedy, he made his way to the shores of Lake Erie. Having 
secured a boat, they attempted to cross to the United States, but their little 
craft was driven ashore by floating ice. They were at once captured and 
forwarded to headquarters at Chippewa, where Colonel MacNab s camp 
was. Lount had no sooner reached Chippewa than he was recognized. 
He was next sent to Toronto and placed in jail until his trial. There was 
no question as to his guilt, in a legal and technical sense, and he attempted 
no defence. He was found guilty, and sentenced to death. The sequel 
has already been told. , 

Peter Matthews was a wealthy farmer, possessed of great influence 
among the people in the neighbourhood of his residence. He had served as 
a Lieutenant in the incorporated militia of the Province during the War of 
1812, 13 and 14, and had signalized himself by his bravery. He made 
common cause with Mackenzie and Lount, and raised a corps in the 
neighbourhood of his home, at whose head he marched to Montgomery s. 
On the morning of that fatal Thursday he proceeded with a company of 
men to the Don Bridge, for the purpose of creating a diversion in the east 
end of the city. W 7 hile there he heard the noise of the engagement at 
Montgomery s, and was compelled to vacate his position. He fled from the 
scene, and took refuge in the house of a friend, where, a few days later, he 
was discovered and captured. He adopted the same policy as Lount, and 
made no defence. He suffered the extreme penalty of the law, as has 
already been related. "He was," says Theller, "a large, fleshy man, and 
had much of the soldier in his composition ; and sure am I that he 
demeaned himself like one, and died like a man who feared not to meet his 
God." Mackenzie, in his " Caroline Almanac," bears testimony to the 
same effect. " They behaved," he remarks, " with great resolution at the 
gallows ; chey would not have spoken to the people had they desired it." 
He adds : " the spectacle of Lount after the execution was the most shock 
ing sight that can be imagined. He was covered over with his blood, the 
head being nearly severed from his body, owing to the depth of the fall. 
More horrible to relate, when he was cut down, two ruffians seized the end 
of the rope and dragged the mangled corpse along the ground into the jail 


The County of York, ^ 

yard, some one exclaiming : This is the way every d d rebel deserves to 
be used. 

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



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

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

The County of York. 33 

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

* See his story, as related by Mrs. Moodie, in Life in tlic Clcurings, chap. X. Mrs. 
Muodie blunders grievously, both as to facts and proper names. 

34 The County of York. 

These two human tigers allowed their morbid envy and jealousy to work 
upon their minds until they were ripe for any deed of darkness. McDer- 
mott was careless in doing his work, and, after repeated admonitions from 
Nancy Montgomery, received from her a fortnight s notice to leave. On 
the afternoon of Thursday, the 2yth of July (1843) a day or two before the 
expiration of the fortnight Mr. Kinnear rode into Toronto on horseback to 
draw certain bank dividends which were due to him. He was to return on 
the day following, when McDermott was to be paid off. Grace was also to 
be paid off and discharged, in consequence of her impertinence to the house 
keeper. Whether they had formed any murderous designs before this time 
is not clear, as there is a conflict between their respective confessions in this 
particular. At any rate, they now determined to kill both their master and 
the housekeeper, and to proceed across the borders to the United States 
with such plunder as they could get together. They believed that Mr. 
Kinnear intended to bring a considerable sum of money with him upon his 
return from Toronto, and this belief may possibly have had something to do 
with their resolve to kill and rob him. 

During the afternoon of this same Thursday, several hours after Kinnear s 
departure from Toronto, Nancy Montgomery went out to pay a visit to some 
friends of hers in the neighbourhood, and during her absence this pair of 
wild beasts completed their arrangements. Nancy and Grace were to sleep 
together that night. After they had gone to bed McDermott was to enter 
the room and brain the housekeeper with an axe. " She always sleeps on 
the side nearest the wall," said Grace, " and she bolts the door the last thing 
before she puts out the light ; but I will manage both these difficulties for 
you. I will pretend to have the toothache very bad, and will ask to sleep 
next the wall to-night. She will not refuse me, and after she is asleep I will 
steal out at the foot of the bed and unbolt the door." The doomed woman, 
in ignorance of the terrible fate impending over her, came home to supper 
before dark. " She was," says McDermott, in his confession to his counsel, 
" unusually agreeable, and took her tea with us in the kitchen, and laughed 
and chatted as merrily as possible. Grace, in order to hide the wicked 
thoughts working in her mind, was very pleasant too, and they went laugh 
ing to bed, as if they were the best friends in the world." A youth named 
James Walsh, who lived with his father in a cottage on Mr. Kinnear s farm, 
spent the evening with them, and remained until half-past ten at night, 
playing his flute, at the housekeeper s request. What happened after young 
Walsh left, and after the two women had retired to bed, is thus narrated by 

* See Life in the Clearings, as above. 

The County of York. 35 

McDermott. " I sat by the kitchen fire with the axe between my knees, 
trying to harden my heart to commit the murder, but for a long time I could 
not bring myself to do it." After some time spent in self-communing, he 
concluded to carry out his resolution. " I sprang up," he continues, " and 
listened at their door, which opened into the kitchen. All was still. I tried 
the door. For the damnation of my soul, it was open. I had no need of 
a candle ; the moon was at full. There was no curtain to their window, 
and it [the moon] shone directly upon the bed, and I could see their features 
as plainly as by the light of day. Grace was either sleeping or pretending 
to sleep I think the latter, for there was a sort of fiendish smile upon her 
lips. The housekeeper had yielded to her request, and was lying with her 
head out over the bed-clothes, in the best possible manner for receiving a 
death-blow upon her temples. She had a sad, troubled look upon her hand 
some face, and once she moved her hand, and said O, dear ! I wondered 
whether she was dreaming of any danger to herself and the man she loved. 
I raised the axe to give the death-blow, but my arm seemed held back by 
an invisible hand. It was the hand of God. I turned away from the bed, 
and left the room I could not do it. I sat down by the embers of the fire, 
and cursed my own folly. I made a second attempt a third a fourth- 
yes, even to a ninth, and my purpose was each time defeated. God seemed 
to fight for the poor creature, and the last time I left the room I swore, with 
a great oath, that if she did not die till I killed her she might live on till the 
day of judgment. I threw the axe on to the wood heap in the shed, went 
to bed, and soon fell fast asleep." 

It is hard to know how much of all this is worthy of belief, for the more 
one ponders over the actions and language of this terrible pair, the more 
convinced does one become that neither of them was capable of speaking 
the whole truth. Their confessions, given independently of each other, 
and without collusion, differ materially on several important points. They 
would seem to have reached such a depth of depravity that they were 
incapable even of thinking to say nothing of telling the exact truth. It 
does not seem probable that McDermott could have entered the bedroom 
nine times without waking his intended victim. Moreover, his antecedent 
and subsequent conduct would seem to indicate no such infirmity of pur 
pose as would be involved in such a course of procedure as that above 
outlined. At any rate, even according to his own admissions, the taunts 
of his partner in iniquity were more potent with him on the following 
morning than any memory of his resolutions of the previous night. "In 
the morning," he proceeds, " I was coming into the kitchen to light the 
fire, and met Grace Marks with the pail in her hand, going out to milk 

36 The County of York. 

the cows. As she passed me she gave me a poke with the pail in the ribs, 
and whispered with a sneer, Aren t you a coward ! As she uttered these 
words, the devil, against whom I had fought all night, entered into my 
heart, and transformed me into a demon. All feelings of remorse and 
mercy forsook me from that instant, and darker and deeper plans of 
murder and theft flashed through my brain. < Go and milk the cows, said 
I with a bitter laugh, you shall soon see whether I am the coward you 
take me for. She went out to milk, and I went in to murder the unsus 
picious housekeeper. I found her at the sink in the kitchen, washing her 
face in a tin basin. I had the fatal axe in my hand, and without pausing 
for an instant to change my mind, . . I struck her a heavy blow on 
the back of the head with my axe. She fell to the ground at my feet 
without uttering a word ; and, opening the trap-door that led from the 
kitchen into the cellar where we kept potatoes and other stores," I hurled 
her down, closed the door, and wiped away the perspiration that was 
streaming down my face." 

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

Such is the horrible narrative of McDermott to his counsel, the late 
Mr. Kenneth Mackenzie, as reported by Mrs. Moodie. It, however, con 
tains some gross inaccuracies, and it seems probable that for some of the 

The County of York. 37 

most revolting details the author of Life in the Clearings was indebted to 
her morbid, but by no means powerful imagination. In the published 
reports of the trial, for instance, there is no mention of the body having 
been quartered. The witnesses who discovered the remains depose to 
having "found the body of Nancy Montgomery, the housekeeper, doubled 
up under a washtub, in the cellar, in a state of decomposition." The 
details are diabolical enough, in all conscience, without piling up fictitious 

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

38 TJie County of York. * 

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

The trials took place at the Court House, in Toronto, on Friday and 
Saturday, the 3rd and 4th of November following. The Crown was repre 
sented by Mr. (afterwards the Hon.) William Hume Blake, father of the 
present leader of the Opposition in the Dominion Parliament. The 
prisoners were defended with much ability by Mr. Kenneth Mackenzie, who 
afterwards took high rank at the .Upper Canadian bar. McDermott is 
described in the reports of the trial as " a slim made man, of about the 
middle height, with rather a swarthy complexion, and a sullen, downcast 
and forbidding countenance." The female prisoner is described as rather 
good looking, totally uneducated, and possessing a countenance devoid of 
expression. Upon being arraigned they both pleaded " Not Guilty." A 
demand was made by their counsel that they should be tried separately, 
which was granted. McDermott was then put upon his trial for the murder 
of Mr. Kinnear. The proceedings lasted until half-past one o clock on the 
following morning. The evidence was necessarily circumstantial, as there 
had been no eye-witnesses of the actual commission of the murders except 
the prisoners themselves. It however left no doubt as to the guilt of the 
accused. The jury were absent about ten minutes, when they returned a 
verdict of " Guilty." The Judge then addressed the prisoner McDermott, 
pointed out the heinousness of his crime, and sentenced him to be hanged 
on the 2ist of the month. The condemned man evinced not the slightest 
emotion, either of fear or anxiety, hope or despair. 

. Next day Grace Marks was placed on trial for the murder of Mr. 
Kinnear. The evidence was substantially the same as that given on the 
previous day. The jury speedily returned a verdict of guilty, but recom 
mended the prisoner to mercy. This was one of those kindly but mistaken 
impulses by which juries are apt to be swayed where good-looking women 
are concerned. The only conceivable grounds upon which any claim for 
mercy could justly have been founded in the case of Grace Marks was her 
extreme youth. The Judge sentenced her to suffer the extreme penalty of 
the law on the same date as that assigned for the execution of her partner 

The County of York. 39 

in iniquity. On hearing her sentence she fainted away, but soon revived. 
The Judge held out no hope of clemency, but stated that he would forward 
the recommendation of the jury to the proper quarter ; which being done, 
the prisoner was remanded to jail, and the trial was at an end. It will be 
observed that the criminals were tried for the murder of Mr. Kinnear only. 
Capital sentences having been pronounced upon them, it was considered 
unnecessary to proceed with the indictments against them for the murder 
of Nancy Montgomery. 

The prisoners maintained a stolid silence as to their crime until shortly 
before the day appointed for their execution. On the i7th of the month 
Grace Marks, whose sentence had meanwhile been commuted to imprison 
ment for life in the Penitentiary, made a voluntary confession. With the 
exception of some portions which are irrelevant, -and of others which are 
unfit for publication, it was in the following words : 

" My name is Grace Marks, and I am the daughter of John Marks, who 
lives in the Township of Toronto. He is a stone-mason by trade. We came 
to this country from the north of Ireland about three years ago. I have 
four sisters and four brothers, one sister and one brother older than I am. 
I was sixteen years old last July. I lived servant during the three years I 
have been in Canada at various places. ... In June last I went to live 
with Thomas Watson, shoemaker, on Lot Street. Nancy Montgomery 
used to visit there, and I was hired as a servant by her for Mr. Kinnear at 
$3 per month, and I went there the beginning of July last, and saw at the 
house Mr. Kinnear, Nancy Montgomery, and McDermott. McDermott had 
been, I understood, about a week at the, house. Everything went on very 
quietly for a fortnight, except the housekeeper several times scolding 
McDermott for not doing his work faithfully, and she gave him a fortnight s 
warning that when his month was up he was to leave, and she would pay 
him his wages. He often after this told me he was glad he was going. . . 
but would have satisfaction before he went. . . About a week after 
this McDermott told me if I would keep it a secret he would tell me what 
he was going to do with Kinnear and Nancy. I promised I would keep 
the secret, and then he said Mr. Kinnear was going to the city in a day or 
two, and would, no doubt, bring back plenty of money with him. He would 
kill Nancy before Kinnear came home, would shoot Kinnear when he came 
home, and would take all the money and all the valuable things he could, and 
would go over to the United States. Mr. Kinnear left for the city on Thursday 
afternoon, the ayth July, about three o clock, on horseback. McDermott, 
after Mr. Kinnear was gone, said to me it was a good job he was gone ; In- 
would kill Nancy that night. I persuaded him not to do so that night. 1 ! 

4O The County of York, 

had made me promise to assist him, and I agreed to do so. He said the 
way he intended to kill Nancy was to knock her on the head with the axe, 
and then strangle her; and shoot Kinnear with the double-barrelled gun. 
I slept with Nancy Montgomery that night, and on Friday morning after 
breakfast she told me to tell McDermott that his time was up that after 
noon. She had money to pay him his wages. I told him so, and he said : 
Tell Nancy I shall go on Saturday morning which I did. He said : 
- her, is that what she is at? I ll kill her before the morning; 
and he said : Grace, you ll help me, as you promised, won t you ? I said 
yes, I would. During the evening James Walsh came in, and brought 
his flute with him. Nancy said we might as well have some fun, as Mr. 
Kinnear was away. Nancy said to McDermott : You have often bragged 
about your dancing ; come, let us have a dance. He was very sulk} all 
the evening, and said he would not dance. About ten o clock we went to 
bed. I slept with Nancy that night. Before we went to bed McDermott 
said he was determined to kill her that night with the axe, when in bed. I 
entreated him not to do so that night, as he might hit me instead of her. 
He said: - -her, I ll kill her, then, the first thing in the morning. I got 
up early on the Saturday morning, and when I went into the kitchen 
McDermott was cleaning the shoes. The fire was lighted. He asked me 
where was Nancy. I said she was dressing, and I said : Are you going to 
kill her this morning ? He said he would. I said : McDermott, for God s 
sake don t kill her in the room, you ll make the floor all bloody. Well, 
says he, I ll not do it there, but I ll knock her down with the axe the 
moment she comes out. I went into the garden to gather some shives, 
and when I returned McDermott was cleaning the knives in the back 
kitchen. Nancy came in. She told me to get the breakfast ready, and she 
soon after called me to go to the pump for some water. McDermott and 
her were at this time in the back kitchen. I went to the pump, and 
on turning round I saw McDermott dragging Nancy along the yard 
leading from the back kitchen to the front kitchen. This was about 
seven o clock. I said to McDermott, I did not think you was going 
to do it that minute. He said it was better to get it done with. He 
said : Grace, you promised to help me. Come and open the trap-door, 
and I ll throw her down the cellar. I refused to do so, being fright 
ened. He presently came to me and said he had thrown her down the 
cellar, and he said he wanted a handkerchief. I asked him what for. He 
said, Never mind ; she is not dead yet. I gave him a piece of white cloth, 
and followed him to the trap-door. He went down the stairs. I saw the 
body lying at the foot of the stairs. He said, You can t come down here. 

The County of York. 41 

Went down himself, and shut the trap-door after him. He came up in a 
few minutes. I asked him if she was dead. He said yes, and he had put 
her behind the barrels. He said to me, Grace, now I know you ll tell ; if 
you do your life is not worth a straw. I said, I could not help you to kill 
a woman, but as I have promised you, I will assist you to kill Kinnear. 
McDermott then had some breakfast. I could not eat^ anything, I felt so 
shocked. He then said : Now, Mr. Kinnear will soon be home, and as 
there is no powder in the house, I ll go over to Harvey s, who lives opposite, 
and get some. He soon came back. He took one bullet from his pocket, 
and cut another from a piece of lead he found in the house. Mr. Kinnear 
came home about eleven o clock in his one-horse wagon. McDermott 
took charge of the horse and wagon as usual, and I took the parcels out. 1 
asked Mr. Kinnear if he would have anything to eat. He said he would- 
was there any fresh meat in the house ? Had Jefferson, the butcher, been 
there ? I told him no. He said that was curious. He then said he would 
have some tea and toast and eggs, which I provided for him. Mr. Kinnear 
went into the dining-room, sat down on the sofa, and began reading a book 
he had brought with him. When I went into the kitchen McDermott was 
there. He said, I think I ll go and kill him now. I said, Good gracious, 
McDermott, it is too soon ; wait till it is dark/ He said he was afraid to 
delay it, as if the new man was to come he would have no chance to kill 
him. When Mr. Kinnear first arrived home he asked me, Where is 
Nancy ? I told him she has gone to town in the stage. He said that was 
strange, as he had passed the stage on the road, and did not see her in it. 
He did not mention Nancy s name afterwards to me. 1 After Mr. Kinnear 
had his dinner he went to bed with his clothes on, I think, and towards 
evening he got up and went into the yard, and about the premises. When 
Mr. Kinnear was in bed, McDermott said, I ll go in now, and kill him, if 
you ll assist me. I said, Of course, McDermott, I will, as I have promisi-d 
you. He then said, I ll wait till night. When Mr. Kinnear was In the 
yard, McDermott always kept near to me. I said to him, Why, McDer 
mott, if you follow me about so, Mr. Kinnear will think something. He 
said, How can he imagine anything except you ll tell him ? I said 
should not tell him anything. Mr. Kinnear had his tea about seven o clock. 
I went into his room to take the things away, and, coming into the front 
kitchen with them, McDermott said, I am going to kill him now. How 
am I to get him out ? You go and tell him I want him. . I said, I won t 
go and call him. I then took the tea things into tin- back kitchen, flu- 
back kitchen is in the yard adjoining the end of the house . As 1 was putting 
the tea-tray down I heard the report of a gun. 1 went into tin; kitchen and 

42 The County of York. 


saw Mr. Kinnear lying dead on the floor, and McDermott standing over 
him. The double-barrelled gun was on the floor. When I saw this I 
attempted to run out. He said - - you, come back and open the trap 
door. I said, I won t. He said, You shall, after having promised to 
assist me. Knowing that I had promised I then opened the trap-door, and 
McDermott threw the body down. I was so frightened that I ran out of 
the front door into the lawn, and went round into the back kitchen. As I 
was standing at the door, McDermott came out of the front kitchen door 
into the yard, and fired at me. The ball did not hit me, but lodged in 
the jamb of the door. I fainted, and when I recovered McDermott was 
close to me. I said, What made you do that ? He said he did not 
mean to do me any harm ; he supposed there was nothing in the gun. 
This was about 8 o clock, and the boy James Walsh came into the yard. 
McDermott had just then gone across the yard without his coat on, having 
the gun in his hand. He went into the poultry yard. He said if any one 
came and asked about the firing he would tell them he had been shooting 
birds. I went out to speak to Walsh, and McDermott, seeing me talking, 
came up to us. The boy said, Where is Nancy? I said, She is gone 
to Wright s. . . After talking a short time the boy said he would go 
home, and McDermott went part of the way across the lawn with him. 
McDermott told me when he came back that if the boy had gone into the 
house he would have made away with him. He then told me how he had 
killed Mr. Kinnear ; that when I had refused to call him out, and when I 
was taking the tea things away to the back kitchen, he went to the door of 
the dining-room and told Mr. Kinnear his new saddle was scratched, and 
would he come and look at it in the harness room. Mr. Kinnear rose from 
the sofa with a book in his hand, which he had been reading, and followed 
McDermott towards the harness room. The harness room is a small 
room at one corner of the kitchen. McDermott got into the harness room, 
took up the gun which he had loaded during the day, came out and fired 
at Mr. Kinnear as he was crossing the kitchen. He told me he put the 
muzzle of the gun very near his breast. We then commenced packing up 
all the valuable things we could find," etc. The rest of her confession has 
been quoted on a former page. 

Three days later i.e., on the day before McDermott s execution, his 
counsel, Mr. Mackenzie, had a final interview with him, in the course of 
which the murderer admitted his guilt, and made the several communica 
tions already quoted. He was profoundly disgusted to hear of Grace 
Marks s reprieve. " Grace," said he, " has been reprieved, and her sen 
tence commuted to imprisonment in the penitentiary for life. This seems 

TJie County of York. 43 

very unjust to me, for she is certainly more criminal than I am. If she had 
not instigated me to commit the murder, it never would have been done. 
But the priest tells me that I shall not be hung, and not to make myself 
uneasy on that score." " McDermott," replied Mr. Mackenzie, " it is use 
less to flatter you with false hopes. You will suffer the execution of your 
sentence to-morrow, at eight o clock, in front of the jail. I have seen the 
order sent by the Governor to the Sheriff, and that was my reason for visit- 
m<y you to-night. I was not satisfied in my own mind of your guilt. What 
you have told me has greatly relieved my mind, and, I must add, if ever 
man deserved his sentence, you do yours." When the unhappy wretch 
realized what was before him, and that he must pay the penalty of his crime, 
his abject cowardice and mental agonies were indescribable. He dashed 
himself on the floor of his cell, and shrieked and raved like a maniac, 
declaring that he could not and would not die : that the law had no right to 
murder a man s soul as well as his body, by giving him no time for repent 
ance : that if he was hung like a dog, Grace Marks, in justice, ought to 
share his fate. "Finding," said Mr. Mackenzie, "that all I could say to 
him had no effect in producing a better frame of mind, I called in the chap 
lain, and left the sinner to his fate." 

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


The following are the ipsissima verba of the confession of McDermott, 
as taken down by Mr. George Walton, in the jail of the Home District, at 
four o clock in the afternoon of Monday, the 2oth of November, 1843. 

" I am twenty years and four months old, and was born in Ireland, 
and am a Catholic. I have been six years in Canada, and was, previous 
to 1840, waiter on board the steamers plying between Quebec and Montreal. 
I enlisted into the First Provincial Regiment of the Province of Lo\vt-r 
Canada in the year 1840. Colonel Dyer was the Colonel. The regiment 
was disbanded in 1842, and I then enlisted as a private in the Glengarry 
Light Infantry Company, and we were stationed at Coteau du Lac. The 
Company consisted of seventy-five men. I did not serve as a private in 
the regiment, but was servant with the Captain, Alexander Macdonald. 
The Company was disbanded ist May this year. I had been in the Com 
pany just twelve months. After being discharged I came up to Toronto 
seeking employ. I lived in the city for some time at various places, upon 

44 The County of York. 

the money I had saved during the time I was in the regiment, and I then 
determined to go into the country. I thought I would go in the direction 
of Newmarket. I set out about the latter end of June, and on my way I 
was informed Mr. Kinnear wanted a servant. I went to the house and 
saw the housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. She hired me subject to the 
approval of Mr. Kinnear when he should return home. Mr. Kinnear, when 
he came home, approved of what the housekeeper had done as to hiring 
me. Grace Marks was hired as a servant a week afterwards. She and the 
housekeeper used often to quarrel, and she told me she was determined, if 
I would assist her, she would poison both the housekeeper and Mr. Kinnear, 
by mixing poison with the porridge. I told her I would not consent to 
anything of the kind. The housekeeper, Nancy, after I had been at the 
house a short time, was overbearing towards me, and I told Mr. Kinnear I 
was ready and willing to do any work, and did not like that Nancy should 
scold me so often. He said she was the mistress of the house. I then told 
him I would not stop with them longer than the month. Grace Marks told 
me a few days before Mr. Kinnear went to town that the housekeeper had 
given her warning to leave, and she told me, Now, McDermott, I am not 
going to leave in this way. Let us poison Mr. Kinnear and Nancy, I know 
how to do it. I ll put some poison in the porridge. By that means we can 
get rid of them. We can then plunder the house, pack the silver plate and 
other valuables in some boxes, and go over to the States. I said, No, 
Grace, I will not do so. \Yhen Mr. Kinnear went to the city on Thursday 
she commenced packing up the things, and told me I was a coward for not 
assisting her. She said she had been warned to leave, and she supposed 
she should not get her wages, and she was determined to pay herself after 
Mr. Kinnear was gone to the city. She said now was the time to kill the 
housekeeper, and Mr. Kinnear when he returns home, and I ll assist you, 
and you are a coward if you don t do it. I frequently refused to do as she 
wished, and she said I should never have an hour s luck if I did not do as 

BEEN URGED TO DO so BY GRACE MARKS. After Nancy Montgomery was 
put in the cellar, Grace several times went down there, and she afterwards 
told me she had taken her purse from her pocket, and she asked me if she 
should take her ear-rings off. I persuaded her not to do so. The gold 
snuff-box and other things belonging to Mr. Kinnear she gave me when we 
were at Lewiston. Grace Marks is wrong in stating she had no hand in 
the murder. She was the means from beginning to end." 

On the following morning, a short time before his execution, McDermott 

The County of York. 45 

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

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

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

46 The County of York. 

damned ! Were I in that fiery place, my punishment could not be greater 
than this." 

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

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

77/6- County of York. 47 

This hysterical effusion, like a good many others from the same source, 
was utterly thrown away upon its subject. According to the opinion of 
Dr. Workman and other leading experts in matters pertaining to cerebral 
disease, Grace Marks never was insane, but was a fiendish impostor to her 
heart s core. She became weary of the monotony of life in the Penitentiary, 
and feigned madness in order to excite sympathy, and in order that she 
might be transferred to the Lunatic Asylum, where she would not have to 
work, and where she would enjoy certain indulgences not vouchsafed to 
her at Kingston. She was successful in her attempt, and was for some 
time under Dr. Workman s charge in the Provincial Asylum. That 
shrewd judge of shams was suspicious of her from the first, but did not 
conclusively make up his mind about her until he had had ample time and 
opportunity for forming a positive opinion. It was during this interval 
that Mrs. Moodie visited the Asylum as above narrated, when Grace Marks 
" came out from her hiding-place, and performed a thousand mad gambols 
round her." Dr. Workman in due .course made his official report, upon 
the strength of which the incorrigible Grace was re-transferred to Kingston. 
But she so wrought upon the sympathies of visitors and others that a succes 
sion of petitions to the Government were sent in, praying that a full pardon 
might be granted to her. Various w^ell-meaning but weak-minded persons 
made periodical appeals to Dr. Workman to jqin in these petitions, but 
in vain. On one occasion, after Grace s return to the Penitentiary, the 
Doctor was waited upon by a deputation consisting of several clergymen 
and a number of ladies. They made an urgent and final appeal to him on 
behalf of their protegee, urging that she had been incarcerated for many 
years ; that she had suffered untold mental agony ; and that she had bitterly 
repented her great crime. " If she were at liberty," urged the reverend 
gentleman who acted as chief spokesman for the deputation, "something 
might easily be done for her temporal, as well as her spiritual weal, and 
she might enjoy a few brief years of quiet happiness before the grave closes 
over her. She would thus have an opportunity of meditating over the past, 
and of preparing for a future life." After continuing in this strain for some 
time he concluded by asking: "And now, Dr. Workman, will you still 
persist in refusing to join in the petition for her release, and thereby per 
chance close the gates of Paradise to a repentant sinner." The Doctor s 
reply was eminently characteristic of the man. He said : " Sir, 1 luivt no 
control whatever over the gates to which you refer, and if she is worthy to 
enter there she will doubtless be admitted without any interference on m\ 
part. But certainly the gates of the Penitentiary will never -be opened to 
her through any act of mine. I have studied her carefully, and know 1 

48 The County of York. 

character and disposition better than you can possibly do. She is a 
creature devoid of moral faculties, and with the propensity to murder 
strongly developed. She is not safe to be entrusted with the ordinary 
privileges of society, and if her liberty were restored to her the chances are 
that sooner or later other lives would be sacrificed." But persistence at 
last met with its reward. One petition after another went in to the Gov 
ernment, and doubtless other influences were brought to bear. This almost 
unique malefactor received a pardon, and was conveyed to New York, 
where she changed her name, and soon afterwards married. For all the 
writer of these lines knows to the contrary, she is living .still. Whether 
her appetite for murder has ever strongly asserted itself in the interval is 
not known, as she probably guards her identity by more than one alias. 
Such is the astounding narrative of Grace Marks, which will doubtless be 
perused by many readers of these pages with greater avidity than any 
other portion of the volume. 

The scene of the frightful tragedy has undergone little change during 
the last forty-one years. It was visited by the writer of this chapter on the 
afternoon of Saturday, the 2Oth of September, 1884, the object of the visit 
being to give completeness to the narrative by ascertaining the present 
condition of the locus ui quo. The house still stands intact, and neither the 
building itself nor its immediate surroundings are sufficiently altered to 
prevent their being recognized by any one who had been familiar with 
them in bygone times. The orchard intervening between the house and 
Yonge Street has grown up in the interval, and now almost excludes the 
view of the building from the passer-by. The harness-house, adjoining the 
kitchen, where Mr. Kinnear met his doom, has been pulled down, and a 
new structure erected in the near neighbourhood ; but with these excep 
tions the general aspect of the place is pretty much the same as it was in 
1843, and if poor Kinnear were permitted to revisit the glimpses of the 
moon, he might well be permitted to marvel that time has wrought so few 
and so trifling modifications in the aspect of his earthly tenement. The 

parlour the bedrooms the hall the kitchen where Nancy Montgomery s 

terrible fate came upon her the trapdoor, and the cellar into which the 
bodies were cast all remain precisely as they were, except that they have 
grown older, and that one may here and there perceive more or less dis 
tinct traces of dilapidation. 

The present owner of the property is Mr. John Clubine, who resides 
a short distance north of Aurora, and who purchased the place in the 
autumn of 1883. He intends to tear down the old house, and to replace it 
by a new brick mansion next year. The occupant of the place is Mr. 

The County of York. 49 

James McWilliams, who has resided upon it between four and five years, 
and who declares most solemnly that he has not been subjected to any 
ghostly visitations since taking up his abode there. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

" W T e don t, and we are not afraid. Some of the neighbours used to 
try to frighten us when we first moved in, but we paid little attention to 
them. We have no objection to the place, except that it is too old to be 
comfortable. This kitchen is awfully cold in the winter, but Mr. Clubine 

50 The County of York. 

won t bother repairing it, as he intends to demolish the place and build a 
new house next spring. Yes, I have heard that Grace Marks is still living 
in New York, and that she got married there. I think they might better 
have kept her in the Penitentiary." 

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

" A merry place, tis said, in times of old ; 
But something ails it now ; the spot is cursed." 



TOLERABLY full account of the milling and other establish 
ments to be found on the banks of the principal streams which 
meander through the County of York will be found scattered 
through the various local and township histories embodied in the 
present volume. The county as a whole is well watered. The 
Credit River, which takes it rise in the range of hills known as 
the Caledon Mountains, is a considerable stream. It enters 
Lake Ontario at the Village of Port Credit, about fourteen miles west of 
Toronto. Its head waters and upper tributaries formerly swarmed with 
that most delicious of all fish, the Canadian brook trout, but the erection 
of saw-mills and the march of civilization have greatly diminished the 
supply, although there are places where " the sweet, spotted fry" are still 
to be found in sufficient numbers to afford amusement to the disciple 
of Isaac W r alton. The lower reaches of the river used to be prolific of 
salmon, but these also have been driven away by the encroachments of 
civilization, and the salmon leistering so graphically described by Mrs. 
Jameson nearly half a century ago can only be enjoyed as a picture of the 
past. The name of the river has given rise to a good deal of discussion 
among local archaeologists. It is said by one or two writers to have been 
originally derived from a French trader named Credit, who used to make- 
periodical excursions from Lachine westward, to traffic with the Indians for 

52 The County of York. 

furs, and who was accustomed to make the mouth of this stream the 
western terminus of his operations. Others derive the name from the fact 
that the traders used to buy peltries from the natives on credit. This 
custom was by no means confined to the particular locality under con 
sideration, though the last-named derivation has received the imprimatur of 
competent authorities. "The River Credit is so called," says Mrs. Jameson, 
in her " Sketches in Canada, and Rambles Among the Red Men," : 
" because in ancient times i.e., forty or fifty years ago the fur traders 
met the Indians on its banks, and delivered to them on credit the goods for 
which, the following year, they received the value, or rather ten times their 
value, in skins." 

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

*Part I., p. 39. 

TJie County of York. 53 

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

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

\Ve have topographical descriptions of portions of the county of York 
from the pens of many writers, from which it appears that the local scenery 
has little to distinguish it from the scenery of other rural neighbourhoods 
in Western Canada. Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle, in his " Canada and 
the Canadians in 1846," gives a characteristically fault-finding and inaccu 
rate account of a hurried ride from the northern portion of the county to 
Toronto. Space fails to follow him throughout the entire journey. It will 
be sufficient if we join his retinue at Richmond Hill. " Behold us," he 
writes, " at Richmond Hill, having safely passed the Slough of Despond 
which the vaunted Yonge Street mud road presents, between the celebrated 
hamlet of St. Alban s and the aforesaid hill, one of the greatest curiosities 
of which road, near St. Alban s, is the vicinity of a sort of Mormon estab 
lishment where a fellow of the name of David Wilson, commonly called 
David, has set up a Temple of the Davidites, with Virgins of the Sun, 
dressed in white, and all the tomfooleries of a long beard and exclusive 
sanctity. But America is a fine country for such knavery. Another curi- 

j j 

osity is less pitiable and more natural. It is Bond Lake, a large, narrow 
sheet of water, on the summit between Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario, 
which has no visible outlet or inlet, and is therefore, like David \Vilson, 
mysterious, although common sense soon lays tin- mystery in both cases 
bare one is a freak of Nature concealing the source and exitus ; the other 

54 The County of York. 

a fraud of man." The local reader will hardly need to be informed that the 
foregoing characterization is grossly unfair and inaccurate as applied to the 
founder of the sect known as Davidites, who have very little in common 
with the disciples of Joseph Smith. Sir Richard next refers to the Oak 
Ridges, and the stair-like descents of plateau after plateau to Ontario, as 
being " remarkable enough, showing even to the most thoughtless that here 
ancient shores of ancient seas once bounded the forest, gradually becoming 
lower and lower as the water subsided." He journeys on southward until 
he reaches what he terms " Richmond Hill without the Lass," where he 
found " Dolby s Tavern a most comfortable resting-place for a wearied 
traveller." "We departed from Richmond Hill," he continues, " at half- 
past five, and wagoned on to Finch s Inn, seven miles, where we break 
fasted. This is another excellent resting-place, and the country between 
the two is thickly settled. We have now been travelling through scenes 
celebrated in the Rebellion of Mackenzie. About five miles from Holland 
Landing is the blacksmith s shop which was the headquarters of Lount, 
the smith who, like Jack Cade, set himself up to reform abuses, and suffered 
the penalty of the outraged laws. Lount was a misled person who, imbued 
with strong republican feelings, and forgetting the favours of the Govern 
ment he lived under, which had made him what he was, took up arms at 
Mackenzie s instigation, and thought he had a call -to be a great general. 
He passed to his account, so requiescas in pace, Lount ! for many a villain 
yet lives to whose vile advices you owed your untimely end, and who ought 
to have met with your fate instead of you. Lount had the mind of an 
honest man in some things, for it is well known that his counsels curtailed 
the bloody and incendiary spirit of Mackenzie in many instances. . . 
Next to Richmond Hill is Thornhill, all on the macadamized portion of the 
road to Toronto. Thornhill is a very pretty place, with a neat church and 
a dell, in which a river must formerly have meandered, but where now a 
streamlet runs to join Lake Ontario. Here is an extensive mill, owned by 
Mr. Thorne, a wealthy merchant, who exports flour largely, the Yonge 
Street settlement being a grain country of vast extent, which not only sup 
plies his mills, but the Red Mills, near Holland Landing, and many others. 
From Montgomery s Tavern to Toronto is almost a continued series for 
four miles of gentlemen s seats and cottages, and, being a straight road, you 
see the great lake for miles before its shores are reached. Large sums have 
been expended on this road, which is- carried through a brick-clay soil, in 
which the Don has cut deep ravines, so that immense embankments and 
deep excavations for the level have been requisite. Near Toronto, at Blue 
Hill, large brick-yards are in operation, and here white brick is now made, 

The County of York. 


of which a handsome specimen of church architecture has been lately 
erected in the west end of the city." The structure here referred to was 
St. George s Church, on John Street, which was erected in 1844. 

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

1850. Franklin Jackes, Esquire. 

1851. Franklin Jackes, " 

1852. J. W. Gamble, 

1853. Joseph Hartman, 

1854. J- w - Gamble, 

1855. Joseph Hartman, 

1856. Joseph Hartman, 

1857. Joseph Hartman, 

1858. Joseph Hartman, " 

1859. Joseph Hartman, 

1860. David Reesor, " 

1 86 1. J. P. Wheler, 

1862. J. P. Wheler, 

1863. J. P. Wheler, 

1864. William Tyrrell, 

1865. H. S. Howland, 

1866. H. S. Howland, 

1868. William A. Wallis, Esquire. 

1869. William A. Wallis, 

1870. James Parnham, 

1871. Peter Patterson, 

1872. William H. Thome, " 

1873. William H. Thorne, " 

1874. William Cane, 

1875. James Speight, 

1876. William C. Patterson, " 

1877. James Robinson, 

1878. N. C. Wallace, 

1879. Joseph Fleury, 

1880. Joseph Stokes, 

1881. William Eakin, 

1882. William H. Rowen, " 

1883. Erastus Jackson, 

1884. E. J. Davis, 

1867. H. S. Howland, 

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






(M. Canning, 

f J. D. Evans, 

(Alex. McPherson, 

N. Gwillimbury .. 

\ Islington P. O. 
( J. R. Stevenson, 
\ Georgina P. O. 
i K. M. VanNorman, 
\ Keswick P. O. 

| Islington, P. O. 
(Henry Park, 
t Vochill P.O. 
fD. H. Sprague, 
| Keswick P. O. 

\ Islington, P. O. 
(Angus Ego, 
(k>orgina P. O. 
I Henry Sennett, 
1 Bel lhaven P. O. 

The County of York. 





E. Gwillimbury .. 

fW. H. Rowen, 
1 Sharon P. O. 

(E. J. Davis, 
\ King P. O. 

(D. James, 
{ Thornhill P. O. 

(John Richardson, 
( Scarbro P. O. 

(T. Porter, 
{ Humber P. O. 

(M. Jones, 
\ Bloomington P. O. 

(H. Duncan, 
] Don P. O. 

E. Jackson. 
James McClure. 
A. Yule. 
G. R. Nanzant. 
J. Brown. 
W. B. Sanders. 
Hugh McMath. 
Dr. McConnell. 
William Tyrrell. 
John Abell. 

( Charles Traviss, 
Holt P.O. 
] J. Holborn. 
( Ravenshoe P. O. 
/Charles Irwin, 
Lloydtown P. O. 
J Thomas Wilson, 
Newmarket P. O. 
M. J. O Neil, 
^ Holly Park P. O. 
Robert Bruce, 
Gormley P.O. 
F. K. Reesor, 
Box Grove. 
A. Forster, 
\ Markham P. O. 
(A. M. Secor, 
Woburn P. O. 
"j George Morgan, 
( L Amoreaux P. O. 
J William Cook, 
Carville P.O. 
D. Reaman, 
Concord P. O. 
Alexander M alloy, 
V Purpleville P. O. 
(L. Hartman, 
Aurora P. O. 
1 C. Brodie, 
( Bethesda P. O. 
F. Turner, 
Bracondale P. O. 
Joseph Watson, 
Fairbank P. O. 
" H. R. Frankland, 
Doncaster P. O. 
Joseph Davids, 
Norway P. O. 
T. H. Lloyd. 

William Ough. 
G. S. Booth. 

(J. T, Stokes, 
\ Sharon P. O. 

(Joseph Wood, 
\ Laskay P. O. 

1 J. Stephenson, 
\ Union ville P. O. 

(John Crawford, 
"i Malvern P. O. 

(J. M. Lawrence, 
\ Richmond Hill P.O. 

fj. W. Collins, 
"| Newmarket P. O. 

<]. K. Leslie, 
"( Eglinton P. O. 

David Lloyd. 
Fred. J. Kitching, 
S. H. Lundy. 
H. R. Worsen. 
M. Teefy. 
W. H. Woodgate. 
H. S. Langton. 
D. McMichael. 
W. J. Conron. 
C. J. Agar. 

Markham . 


Vaughan, . 


Holland Landing 

Markham Village 
Richmond Hill. . 



Weston . 


The following are the officers appointed by the Council for the current 


The County of York. 57 

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

Toronto, and David Fotheringham, of Aurora, Co unty Inspectors; James H. 
Hughes, of Toronto, R. W. Doan, of Toronto, and George Rose, of New 
market, Examiners. 

TRUSTEES OF HIGH SCHOOLS: No. i, Weston William Tyrrell, John 
McConnell, M.D., and J. P. Bull; No. 2, Markham John Crawford, P. 
Wideman, and John Gibson ; No. 3, Richmond Hill William Trench, P. 
Patterson, and M. Naughton; No. 4, Newmarket C. Webb, A. J. Hughes, 
and Francis Starr. 

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

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

The County of York. 


Showing the Aggregate Value of Real and Personal Property and Income; 

York for the 


No. of Persons 




O . 

6 i" 

Value of Acres 

Aver ge value pr. 
Acre Resident. 

No.of AcresNon- 






I S46.I4O 

$ c. 

S3 O4 





22 55 


Gwillimbury, North 

30, 864 

846 20 S 

27 45 

- 580 

Gwillimbury, East 


I, 370.064 

2S O7 




3 004,836 

3S 02 





3 268 O73 

48 46 




2.214 280 

S2 46 



1, 660 


3 o6i.sos 

47 22 




I,86l Q4S 

31 16 




63,01 5 

S SS7 7&S 

86 os 


Total of Townships 

14, 12O 


23 S3I 4S3 








287 161 

Holland Landing 

75 6 SO 




l87 O47 

Richmond Hill 


iso 8os 

I J 



167 480 


06 s 

I 360 S7S 

Brockton . . 


43S 76s 



2 SI 3 SO 



108 48s 

Total of Towns and Villages. 



74 * 

Grand Totals 

l8, 122 

S 30, 006 

27.OOO 747 


The County of York. 


also Average Value per Acre of the Several Municipalities in the County 01 
Year A.D. 1883. 

Value of Acres 

Av e r a g e Va 1 u e 
per Acre Non- 

Total No. Acres 
Resident and 

Total Value of 
Resident and 
Non-Residen* . 

Average Value of 
Resident and 

Taxable Income. 




K 3 i- 



Total Personal 
and Income. 




34 62 
5 17 
6 78 

4 17 
18 68 





!, 385,794 

3 101,711 
3.268 073 

$ C. 

52 97 
20 41 
27 03 
23 72 
35 8 4 
48 46 









162 370 


58 70 



3,061, SOS 

52 52 

47 22 




I2Q 840 


T -} z. OOO 


10 70 
97 21 



31 05 

86 99 





540, 806 




i 238 Soo 









97 5 










I 50.955 

3, IOO 





13 450 


I. 360 575 
















74 i 




I 34,oS5 








The County of York. 


Showing the Aggregate Value of Real and Personal Property and Income ; 

York for the Year 


i i 

>-" C 

<U M 






No. of Acres 

Difference be 
tween 82 & 83. 

No. of Acres Re 
turned by Gov- 





O) O) 

8 8 





Etobicoke .... 










E 6 

E 735 
D 105 
E 818 
E 242 
E 10 
D 363 
D 1,085 

E 221 

E 386 



E 1,256 
D 4,926 


D 3,153 
E 8,124 
D 2,068 
D 2,409 
D 3,161 
D 2,921 
E 3,147 

Georgina . 

Gwillimbury, North 

Gwillimbury East 

King . . . . 






Total of Townships 



540, 806 








Holland. Landing 



Richmond Hill 









Total of Towns and Villages. 



Grand Totals 





The Comity of York. 



also Average Value per Acre of the Several Municipalities in the County of 
A.D. 1883. Continued, 




<D X 


~H C 

o a 



































No. of Acres of 

^ <- 


S s J 

^ i-i 
O W 



S rt 


CJ ^o - 

<; t; c 

s 03 0) 

*-. ^: "O 
o o i- 

^ 03 







0: i 




4. 2 3i 















J 73 
1 20 




I 3 




13 545 

4, I 9i 

93 1 
































I, 547 










1 80 
























2. HO 






7 SO 




































County of York. 


Showing the Assessed and Equalized Value of the several Municipalities in the 

County of York for 1883. 


Assessed Value of 
Resident &Non- 
Resident Lands. 






<u . 
b <u 




Equalized Value 
per Acre. 

Equalized Value of 
Real Estate. 

Assessed Value 
Personal and In 

Equalized Value 
of Personal and 

Total Equalized 
Value of Real, 
Personal and 

Total Assessed 
Value of Real, 
Personal and In 


Etobicoke .... 

$tt ,. 
v c. 

1,549,88052 97 
736,500 20 41 
85o,23o 27 03 

i.385-794 2 3 72 
3.101.711 35 85 
3,268,07348 46 
2,236,88052 52 
3 061,50547 22 

1,865,59431 05 
5,580,32086 99 

$ c. 

52 oo 
28 oo 
33 25 
35 oo 
40 oo 
56 oo 

52 00 

55 50 
39 oo 
82 oo 




2 044,770 




66, 940 
135 090 




2,183 770 




!, 452,734 


Gwillimbury, East. 
Kinc? . 




Whitchurch .... 


Total of Townships 


Newmarket .... 

23 636,488 

444 974 

187 047 

167 480 

435 765 



200, ooo 



30 ooo 

15 215 

2 420 




29 ooo 
13 620 


20 ooo 



514 ooo 



I 200,664 
384 ooo 
134 ooo 


So 950 


Holland Landing.. 
Markham Village. . 
Richmond Hill .... 




Total for Towns and 



1 34, 8 5 




f^rand Total, 332 








N the Report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission, compiled 
and published under the auspices of the Ontario Government 
about three years since, is found a great mass of agricultu 
ral and other information respecting .the more important munici 
palities in this Province. The information collected therein with 
regard to the County of York is especially comprehensive and 
valuable, and includes statistical data relating to the soil, climate, 
topographical features, cultivable area and products, and the general pro 
gress and condition of husbandry. The various townships comprised within 
the County of York, as at present constituted, are represented as having 
been "entered and largely settled " between the years 1790 and 1815. " The 
first entered " -so runs the report" was Markham, and the last Georgina, 
in the years named." One-third of the latter township is represented as 
being still unsettled, together with about two thousand acres in East Gwil- 
limbury and one thousand in North Gwillimbury ; but some progress has 
been made since the publication of the report, and the proportion of unset 
tled lands are at the present day slightly under the figures therein given. 
In the remaining townships, we are informed, the process of settlement was 
completed in, on an average, a little more than 45^ years. 

Under appropriate headings, we next find in the report the followin- 
useful information : 

The County of York. 


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


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


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


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


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

The County of York. 65 


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


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


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


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


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


The township area of York is 540,271! acres ; the cleared area is 
392,5 13!- Of the latter, about 12^ per cent, is devoted to fall wheat, which 
yields, on an average (omitting East Gwillimbury, which does not in any 
case report the yield), about 20 bushels per acre; spring wheat, about 13 
per cent, and i2 bushels ; barley, \\\ per cent, and 25^ bushels ; oats, ia 
per cent, and 38^ bushels; rye (hardly any sown), from 15 to 20 bushels; 
peas, 7 per cent, and 19^ bushels ; corn (hardly any grown), from 25 to 40 
bushels; buckwheat (in Whitchurch only), i per cent, and 15 bushels; 
potatoes about \\ per cent, and 103^ bushels ; turnips, i^ 6 per cent, and 
383 bushels ; other root crops, about i per cent, and 457 bushels ; hay, 
about 14 per cent, and i tons. About 16 per cent, is devoted to pasture, 

66 The County of York. 

and about 2 per cent, to orchards. In King 12^ per cent., in Markham 
about 9 per cent, and in Vaughan about 14 per cent, is put under summer 
fallow. The county is well adapted for stock raising, grain growing and 
dairying. A good deal of attention is being paid to the former in townships 
specially adapted for grazing and for the growth of clover. Fruit growing 
and market gardening are also largely followed, especially in Etobicoke 
and York townships, where are also some extensive nurseries. 


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


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


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


Omitting the City of Toronto, which has no municipal connection with 
the County of York, and which has large and varied manufactories, there 
are, in addition to other local industries dependent upon or providing a 
market for agricultural products, three flouring mills reported in Etobicoke ; 
two cheese factories, two tanneries, two carding mills, seven saw mills and 
seven grist mills, in King ; milling, farm implements, carriage and wagon 
and two cheese factories, in Markham ; two agricultural implement factories 
in Vaughan ; six grist, one woollen, and three paper mills and three 

The County of York. 67 

tanneries, in York ; and flouring, saw and planing mills, a tannery, a 
woollen mill, a hat manufactory, and organ, carriage and furniture manu 
factories in Newmarket. Some lumbering is still carried on in the county. 
All which matters are more particularly treated of in the respective town 
ships- to which they severally belong. 


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


The County of York. 













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HE public schools of the County of York will compare favour 
ably with those in other parts of Western Canada, and are 

maintained in a high degree of usefulness and efficiency. For 
educational purposes the county is divided into two parts, 
known respectively as the northern and southern divisions. 
The Inspector for the northern division is Mr. D. Fothering- 
ham, of Aurora. For the southern division the Inspector is 
Mr. James Hodgson, of Bloor Street West, Toronto. The report of the last- 
named gentleman, bearing date the nth of June, 1883, contains a good deal 
of interesting and useful information respecting the public schools in his 
division. " In the Township of York," he writes, "the standing and efficiency 
of the schools have, upon the whole, been well maintained, fourteen schools 
ranking in the I. class, six schools in the II. class, and five schools in the 
III. class. 

In the Township of Markham 10 schools rank in the I. class. 

In the Township of Scarborough. . 

In Etobicoke, 

In Vaughan. 



















i I 




( i 











i t 




t 4 




7O The County of York. 


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

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


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

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


In York 23 teachers had a Normal training. 

In Markham n " " 

In Scarboro 4 " 

In Etobicoke 2 " " " . 

In York 3 teachers* held I. Class Provincial. 

" 22 " " II. " 

In Markham 15 teachers held II. Class Provincial. 
In Scarboro 7 " " II. 
In Etobicoke 2 " " II. 

The County of York. j\ 

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


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

2,241 pupils attended 100 days, or 20 school weeks. 
1,856 " " 150 " 30 " 

1,916 " " 200 " 40 " 

432 every day during the year. 


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

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


In Scarborough the average for daily attendance was, per pupil, $i 09 

In York " " " " i 0967 

In Etobicoke " " " " " i 127 

In Markham " " " " 91057 


In 1881 the daily average in York was 7,109 

" " " Markham, 819 

Scarboro , 517 

" " " Etobicoke, 346 

In 1882 the daily average in York was 1,231 

Markham, 861 

Scarboro , 523 

" " " Etobicoke, 339 

72 The County of York. 

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

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

" The following note was attached to the annual returns of one of the 
School Sections in Etobicoke, The undersigned trustees wish very respect 
fully to say that they consider the School Law, in its present state, as regards 
the attendance of children between the ages of seven and thirteen years, 

The County of York. 73 

as impracticable, at least in rural districts, as it requires the appointment 
by the Trustees in each School Section of a public prosecutor, to prosecute 
delinquent parents. Such a person cannot be found in a majority of rural 
sections. And while we think the attendance of the children in question 
very desirable, we think the end would be better, and much more effectually 
reached by the Trustees being required to examine into each case, and, if 
they found the non-attendance to be inexcusable, that they be directed to 
impose a penalty to be collected as a tax through the local Council, or 
otherwise. The end, in our opinion, would be more effectually reached in 
this way, without the odium and expense of going before a magistrate. 
I concur most fully in the above opinion, and think it very desirable that 
some such change should be made in the School Law by the proper 
authority and remedy, as far as possible, the evil of non-attendance, which 
is too prevalent in almost all the rural School Sections, as well as in many 
of our villages." 

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

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


1871 1883 

School population (5 to 16) 8,321 7,000 

Average attendance of those enrolled 37 2 5 45 

Cost per pupil $5 45 $6 65 

Pupils to each teacher 105 70 

Teachers employed Male 60 65 

" " Female 25 36 

Total 85 101 

" Normal trained 20 48 

Salary Total Male S 21, 680 oo 27,614 oo 

74 The County of York. 

Salary Total Female .., $6,081 oo $9,585 oo 

" Average Male 361 33 424 83 

" " Female 243 25 265 62 

Certificates Provincial 1 2 3 

II 18 48 

O. C. Board 42 6 

" N. C. Board 21 43 

" Interim 2 i 

Income Total $45,392 oo $52,825 oo 

Value of School Property 71,000 oo 150,000 oo 

School Corporations 71 79 

Sites Adequate 31 79 

School Houses 71 82 

" Brick 14 26 

" Frame 53 56 

" Log 4 o 

Erected in 12 years ... 44 

" Enlarged "... 26 

Expended on sites and buildings 89,284 oo 


1881. 1882. 1883. 

On Buildings and Sites $3,013 oo $2,588 oo $8,097 oo 

Fuel, Repairs, etc T^S 1 oo 8,642 oo 7,309 oo 

Salaries of Teachers 37>9 2 3 oo 37,210 oo 37,026 oo 

Maps, etc 221 oo 122 oo 393 oo 

Total $48,288 oo $48,562 oo $52,825 oo 

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

" The population, not accurately reported for 1883, owing to an error in 
printing the annual returns, but about 7,000 has fallen off in about the same 
proportion throughout the Province, as indicated by the annual report of 
the Minister of Education. But increased facilities have been provided for 
attendance as shown by the addition of eleven school- houses and eight 
school boards since 1871. That this has been appreciated is evidenced by 
a rise in the average attendance from 37^ to 45 per cent. 

" That liberality in the support of education is growing throughout the 
Inspectorate is evident from the very large amount expended on building, 
from the marked advance in the average salaries of both male and female 

The County of York. 75 

i teachers, and from the higher rate per pupil paid in the county. The 
average per pupil in the public schools of this Inspectorate is now $6.65. 
Throughout the Province it is $6.42; $6.03 in rural districts; $8.81 in 
cities; $6.86 in towns. In Toronto the cost per pupil is $9.31. The 
average cost per pupil of the High Schools is $27.56 throughout Ontario. 
The average attendance, 45 per cent., in North York, is the same as in all 
the Province. Waterloo County has an average of 49 per cent. the highest 
among counties. The per cent, of attendance in Hamilton is 66; in 
Toronto, 64. 

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

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

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

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

" The High School Entrance Examinations, established thirteen 
years ago, have done much to stimulate to thorough work in the higher 
classes of the public schools ; and never more than at present. About 
sixty at Newmarket and forty-five at Richmond Hill present themselves on 
each occasion, and an increasing percentage is successful from time to time. 
These places are, however, so far from some of the rural districts that the 

76 The County of York. 

task of leaving their own neighbourhood, the cost of travel and board, and 
the nervousness produced by mingling with strangers at an examination, 
have deprived many of the advantages of the Entrance Examinations. 

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

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


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

The history of York township as a distinct territorial division com 
mences in 1791, in which year the work of survey was undertaken. Eleven 
townships extending along the lake front, from the Humber river to the 
Bay Quinte and the river Trent, were marked out, York being at the wes 
tern end of the line. The name at that time bestowed upon it was Dublin. 
All that was then done in the way of survey was to run the dividing lines 
between these townships. Mr. Augustus Jones, who had charge of the 
work, completed it, as far as "Dublin" was concerned, on September i5th, 
1791. The name was shortly afterwards changed to that which it now 
bears, though it seems to have also borne for a while the designation of 
" Toronto," as is shown by the following entry in the official records having 
reference to the laying out of the townships: 

78 The County of York. 

" Surveyor General s office, Province of Upper Canada, a6th January, 
1793. Description of the township of York, (formerly Toronto) to be sur 
veyed by Messrs. Aitken and Jones. The front line of the front concession 
commences, adjoining the township of Scarborough (on No. 10), at a point 
known and marked by Mr. Jones, running S. 74 west from said front, and 
one chain for a road, and so on till the said line strikes the river Toronto 
[Humber] whereon St. John is settled. The concessions are one hundred 
chains deep, and one chain between each concession to the extent of twelve 
miles." This is the earliest official reference on record to the township of York. 
The work was not completed by Messrs. Aitken and Jones. Other surveyors 
were employed on it at subsequent dates, and it was not until 1829 that 
}he survey was concluded by Mr. Wilmot. The following names appear on 
the record of the early patentees of this township for the years indicated : 

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

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

!7g8 William Cooper, E. W. Smith, Robert J. D. Gray, Peter Russell, 
William Cooper, Hon. Alexander Grant, Lieut. -Col. D. Shank, David Barns, 
Alexander McNab, William Chewett, William Allan, Thomas Ridout, Eliza 
beth Johnson, John White, Isaiah Aaron Skinner, Hon. John Elmsley, 
EleanoraD. White, William Wilcox,Sr., Lieut. John McGill, James Ruggles, 
Lieut. James Givins, John Ross, Alexander Macdonell, Anne Powell, Hon. 
W. D. Powell, William Halton, George Cruikshank, John Wilson, Reuben 
Clark, Bernard Gary, Capt. Daniel Cozens, Capt. William Graham, Robert 
Franklin, William Jarvis, Christopher Samuel White, Charles S. White, 
William S. White, Joshua Chamberlain, Jr., Zekel Chamberlain, Thomas 
Kirgan, David Burns, Alexander Burns, Marian White. 

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

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

The County of York. 79 

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

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

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

1804 Frederick Brown, Andrew Macglashan, Francis Brock. 

1805 J onn Kendrick, Patrick Bern, Joseph Shepherd, John Wilson. 

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

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

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

1809 Hon. John McGill, Henry Jackson. 

1810 William Halton, George Taylor Denison. 

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

1812 James Block, Simeon Devins, Thomas Humberstone. 

1813 John Baskerville Gregg, John McLang. 

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

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

In 1820 York Township had 1672 inhabitants, an increase of 349 over 

go The County of York. 

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

The population of York Township according to the census of 1881 was 
13,748, of whom 6,491 were in the Eastern, and 6,257 in the Western division. 
This indicates a considerable increase during the decade of 1871-81, the 
numbers returned by the census of 71 being, East York, 4,390, West York, 
4,112, or a total of 8,502. This is evidently due to the overflow of the city 
population into the suburban localities which still form part of the township, 
rather than to the normal increase of the rural population. Of the popula 
tion 8,143 are of Canadian birth. In the eastern section the proportion of 
the English element is greater than in most localities, 3,649 being of English 
origin. In the eastern portion of the township the number of occupiers, 
according to latest census returns, is 548, of whom 357 are also owners of 
the land. The total acreage occupied is 26,728 acres, of which 21,409 is 
improved; of this 14,377 is in crops, 5,137 in pasture and 1,896 acres 
occupied as garden and orchards. In West York there are 677 occupiers, 
of whom 418 are also owners of the soil they till. The total acreage in 
occupation is 34,195 acres, of which 28,999 acres is improved land 22,043 
acres are in field crops, 5,218 devoted to pasturage, and 1,738 to gardens and 
orchards. For the whole township the figures are as follows : Occupiers, 
i, 225 of whom 775 are also proprietors, acreage in occupation 60,923, of 
which 50,408 or as nearly as may be, five-sixths, has been improved ; crop- 
growing land 36,420 acres; pasture land, 13,355 acres ; and orchards and 

gardens 3,633. 

The yield of the township in the staples of agricultural production is 
given as follows in the census returns of 1881 : East York, wheat, 46,612 
bushels; barley, 44,983 bushels; oats, 80,6 n bushels; peas and beans, 
10,500 bushels ; potatoes, 126,312 bushels; turnips, 19,850 bushels; other 
root crops 64,874; hay, 5,208 tons; West York, wheat, 72,390 bushels; 

The County of York. 81 

barley, 78,004 bushels; oats, 115,625 bushels; peas and beans, 27,707 
bushels; potatoes, 112,207 bushels; turnips, 37,056 bushels; other root 
crops, 59,117 bushels ; hay, 8,301 tons ; total yield for the township : wheat, 
119,002 bushels; barley, 122,987 bushels; oats, 196,236 bushels; peas and 
beans, 47,207 bushels; potatoes, 238,519 bushels; turnips, 56,906 bushels;, 
other root crops, 123,991 bushels; hay, 13,509 tons. 

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

The report of the Ontario Agricultural Commission issued in 1881 
contains some valuable information respecting the nature of the soil and 
agricultural capacity of the township. The general character of the soil 
is described as being of " all grades from drifting sand to heavy clay." 
About two-tenths of the area is estimated to be of heavy clay, four-tenths 
of clay loam, three-tenths of sandy loam, and one tenth sand. A very small 
proportion of the land is gravelly. The rich black loam which is so fertile in 
sustaining luxuriant crops is only found in few localities. There is no land 
too stony or having rock too near the surface to be uncultivable, but about 
one-tenth of the total area is sufficiently hilly and broken to render tillage dif 
ficult or impossible. Two-thirds of the land is undulating, but not to a degree 
sufficient to interfere with cultivation. Not more than one-twentieth is low- 
lying, flat land such as would be subject from its location to frequent floodings 
which would seriously depreciate its value, and swamp land is still rarer, only 
about one acre in three hundred coming under this category. A still 
smaller proportion is classed as wet, springy land, which is not estimated to 
include more than two acres out of every thousand. One third of the total 

82 The County of York. 

acreage is ranked as being first-class agricultural land, another third as 
second-class, one-sixth as third class and one-sixth as inferior. The town 
ship is described as being generally well watered, but the depth at which 
water is obtainable by digging varies from five to one hundred feet. The 
price of land rules from $40 to $80 per acre, but this of course in a town 
ship surrounding a great commercial centre is liable to be governed by 
other considerations than those of agricultural fitness, and th e land in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Toronto has a speculative value owing to the 
rapid growth of the suburbs and the possibility of its being some day avail 
able for building purposes. One half the farms are under first-class fence. 
Two-thirds of the dwellings and outbuildings are of stone, brick or first-class 
frame. Half the farms are partially drained, principally by tile drainage. 
The proportion of the acreage devoted to the leading crops and the average 
yield per acre is given as follows : Fall wheat, two-twentieths, twenty 
bushels; spring wheat, one-twentieth, fifteen bushels ; barley, four-twentieths, 
twenty-eight bushels ; oats, two-twentieths, thirty-five bushels ; rye, one- 
eightieth, twenty bushels ; peas, two-twentieths, twenty bushels ; potatoes, 
one-fortieth, one hundred bushels ; hay, four-twentieths, one and one half 
tons per acre. About one twentieth of the township is still timbered, a 
good deal of pine being mixed with the hardwood which forms the principal 
growth. The exact area is given at 64,399! acres, indicating a degree of 
precision and scrupulous avoidance of exaggeration that cannot be too 
highly commended. The total number of cleared acres is set down at 
56,501, and the enumeration of live stock shows 3,370 cattle, 2,728 horses, 
1970 sheep and 1,520 hogs. 

The first municipal record of the township relates to a meeting of the 
inhabitants held in pursuance of the provisions of an Act of the Provincial 
Legislature, passed in 1835, entitled, "An Act to reduce to one Act the 
several laws relative to the appointment and duty of the township officers 
in the Province." This Act made several important changes in the methods 
of municipal government. The record is as follows : " Monday, 4th 
January, 1836. In pursuance of the statute passed in the fifth year of the 
reign of His Majesty .William IV., the inhabitants of the Township of 
York met at the house of William Cummers, when they unanimously 
appointed James Hervey Price, Esq., their chairman, who, in consequence 
of the unfitness of the house for a public meeting, adjourned to the tavern 
of Mr. John Marsh, on Yonge Street, when the chairman read over the Act, 
and the meeting proceeded by ballot to choose the township officers. David 
Gibson, Esq., was chosen secretary to the meeting." The candidates for the 
office of township clerk were John Cummer, Elisha Pease, Joseph McMullin, 

The County of York. 83 

and John Willson, 4th. On a vote being taken, John Willson, 4th, was 
declared duly elected. It may be necessary to explain to modern readers 
that the numeral affix to his name denotes that the wearer was the fourth in 
the line of descent bearing the same name. The practice still obtains in the 
New England States. A son who is his father s namesake will sign himself 
" 2nd," instead of " junr.," following the royal fashion. We commend this 
fact to those writers who are always endeavouring to prove that the 
Americans have still a sneaking affection for monarchical institutions. It 
would be just as relevant as many adduced with that object. But to return 
to the Township Council for 1836. The vote for councillors resulted in the 
return of James Davis, Daniel McDougall, and William Donaldson. James 
McMullin was chosen assessor. The following were then appointed by a 
show of hands : Collector, Abraham Johnson ; pathmasters, John Mont 
gomery, William Kendrick, E. Pease, Robert Erwin, William Morse, John 
Beates, John James, Alexander Wallace, William Denison, Jacob Kertz, 
Richard Smith, Joseph Gale, Robert Harding, Henry Crosson, J. Griffith, 
John Duncan, Stephen Brunndage, Thomas Denison, George Cooper, 
Henry Phillips, Joseph Helliwell, George Thorn, William Milne, Alex. 
McCormick, James Cunningham, John Sanburn, Richard Willson, John 
Harris, David Cummer, Archibald Wright, Edward Brock, Henry Devenish, 
Richard Herron, Christopher Williams, Henry Earl, John Thompson, and 
Jonathan Ashbridge ; poundkeepers, Thomas Maginn, Joseph Holby, John 
Montgomery, and Mr. Finch. The Treasurer s account for the year com 
prised the following items : Cash received of the District Treasurer for 
wild lands assessment, 3 us. gd.; cash received for fines and costs, 
7 us. 4d.; cash received in commutation of statute labour, i 125. 6d. 
Credit Cash paid constable for services, 3 los. iod.; blank book for use 
of the township, gs. 6d.; for paper, etc., 53.; balance on hand, 8 los. 2d. 
Economy was evidently the rule in municipal administration in those days. 
In 1837 the township meeting was held on January 2nd, at John Mont 
gomery s, destined shortly afterwards to be the scene of civil commotion 
and bloodshed. David Gibson officiated as chairman, Elisha Pease was 
chosen township clerk, Conrad Grau, Jacob Snider, and William Donaldson 
were elected members of the Council, Abraham Johnson, assessor, and 
William James, collector. In 1838 we find the electors meeting at Mont 
gomery s and adjourning to Anderson s tavern, York Mills, where the 
following officials were duly chosen : William Hamilton, town clerk ; Peter 
Lawrence, assessor ; Robert Harding, Alex. Montgomery, and William 
Marsh, commissioners ; and William Evans, collector. In 1839 John 
Willson, 4th, was again elected town clerk, a position which he continued 

84 The County of York. 

to hold from that time forth until his death, which occurred in 1866. He 
was succeeded by his son, Arthur Lawrence Willson, who has also had a 
long term of office. And here some details respecting the Willson family, 
who have been so long and intimately connected with the township, may 
appropriately be given. John Willson, ist, was a native of Surrey, England. 
The maiden name of his wife, who belonged to the same locality, was 
Rebecca Thixton. In the year 1752 they emigrated to America, settling in 
New Jersey. In 1776 John Willson took the Loyalist side, and obtained a 
captaincy in the army, his son, also John Willson by name, entering the 
same service as a lieutenant. The property of the family was confiscated, 
and they joined the large number of U. E. Loyalists who sought refuge in 
New Brunswick. John Willson, 2nd, was married at this time, his wife being 
Sarah Sackman, a native of Wales. The family removed to Upper Canada 
at the time of Governor Simcoe s arrival, some twenty-four other families of 
exiled Loyalists accompanying them on their long journey to the Western 
wilderness. After a short residence in the Niagara District they settled on 
Yonge Street. Capt. Willson had four sons, John (2nd), Stillwell, William, 
and Jonathan. The first of these was the grandfather of the first township 
clerk of York. His son, Arthur L. Willson, who held the office for about a 
dozen years, is the author of a Municipal Manual which has been found of 
practical value as a guide to those requiring a knowledge of municipal law. 
In 1842 the records show the election of school commissioners, viz.:- 
Rev. James Harris, Bartholomew Bull, James Sever, Clark Bridgland, 
Charles Maginn, John Andrew and James Davis. Among the names most 
frequently recurring in the latest records in connection with the more 
important positions, we find those of William James, who was township 
reeve for the period 1852-60, William Tyrrell, who succeeded him in office, 
Bartholemew Bull, Jr., J. P. Bull, William Mulholland, William Jackes, 
E. Playter and R. E. Playter. The Playter family have taken a prominent 
part in the affairs of the township and county. They are of Loyalist stock. 
Their ancestor, Capt. George Playter, originally came from Suffolk, England. 
He settled in Philadelphia, where he married a Quakeress and became him 
self a member of that denomination. But his peace principles could not 
stand so powerful a strain as the outbreak of the war for Independence. It 
is recorded that when he stripped off the Quaker clothes which he wore, to 
put on his uniform as a loyalist soldier, he laid down the discarded apparel 
with the exclamation " Lie there Quaker ! " and so went forth to do his part 
manfully in the struggle. He participated in several engagements, and 
when the patriots secured their Independence, he was of course among the 
proscribed. On first coming to Canada he resided in Kingston, but shortly 

The County of York. 85 

after York had been selected as the capital, he moved to the township, and 
with his sons took up extensive tracts of land. The family did much to 
forward the progress of the community in various ways. His services to 
the Crown, during the war, received the recognition of a pension at the 
hands of the British Government. Capt. Playter was a gentleman of the 
old school. His precision of manner and old fashioned style in costume 
were a conspicuous survival of antique modes. He is described as habitually 
wearing a three-cornered hat, silver knee-buckles, broad-toed shoes with large 
buckles and white stockings, and carrying a long gold-headed cane. His house 
was a short distance beyond the limits of Toronto, being immediately north 
of Castle Frank. His son, Capt. John Playter, lived immediately across 
the Don. At the time of the American invasion in 1813, many of the 
archives of the Province were conveyed to their residences for safety, but 
the precaution was in vain, for the invaders found out where they had been 
placed and carried away all they could lay their hands on. One of the 
sons of Capt. George Playter, called after him, was, for some time, deputy 
sheriff of the Home District, and another Mr. Eli Playter at one time repre 
sented North York in the Provincial House. 

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

Between Toronto and Eglington is the Village of Davisville, near which, 
on the eastern side of Yonge Street, is the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, which 
is beautifully situated and very tastefully laid out in accordance with the 
modern idea that the last resting-place of those we have loved and lost 
should be made attractive and cheerful in its surroundings, instead of sombre 
and repellant. Nearer Toronto, again, on the brow of the high land is 

86 The County of York. 

Deer Park. There are a large number of handsome villa residences in 
these villages and the intervening spaces, most of them of quite recent con 
struction. The land rises abruptly a short distance beyond the present 
limits of Toronto, and from the brow of the elevation a magnificent view of 
the surrounding country is obtainable. This lofty bluff which runs to the 
westward for some distance is known as the Davenport Ridge, and is some 
250 to 300 feet above the Lake Ontario level. This ridge consists of fine 
rounded gravel, the beds of which all dip to the southward. Rounded 
lumps of fine clay are also of common occurrence among the gravel. Their 
presence is accounted for by supposing them to have been rolled, perhaps when 
in a frozen state, by the waves of the ancient lake. In a paper presented to the 
Geological Society of London, in 1 837, Mr. Thomas Roy states the occurrence 
of thirteen ancient water margins between Toronto and Lake Simcoe, the 
lowest of which is 342 feet and the highest 996 feet above the sea level. 
The conclusion drawn from these investigations is that the country was at 
one time submerged, and that the waters have gradually, or perhaps by 
spasmodic changes, retired to their present level. Along the Davenport 
Ridge, which is beautifully wooded in parts, and affords a commanding view 
of the city and adjoining country, with the blue waters of the lake in the 
distance, are a large number of handsome suburban residences. 

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

West of the former limits of the city of Toronto, but hemmed in to the 
north and west by the outlying portion of the city, formerly the village of 
Brockton, is Parkdale, a recently built-up suburb, possessing a separate 

The County of York. 87 

municipal organization. It is beautifully situated, overlooking the lake 
shore, and contains a number of handsome villa residences. -Of late manu 
facturing enterprise has been developed, and the population is increasing 
rapidly. It numbered 1,170, according to the census of 1881, and its popula 
tion must now be in the neighbourhood of 2,700. Mr. Hugh McMath is reeve 
of the village, G. S. Booth is deputy-reeve, and H. S. Langton clerk. The 
natural beauties of the scenery in the vicinity of the lake shore from this 
point westward to the Humber are greatly appreciated by residents of 
Toronto. Humber Bay, which is surrounded by shores wooded in portions 
down to the water s edge, forms almost a semicircle, and on a bright, clear 
day the view is a most picturesque one. At the head of the Bay is situated 
High Park, one of Toronto s most delightful pleasure resorts. It comprises 
some 290 acres, the principal portion of which is the gift of John G. Howard, 
whose name ought always to be held in grateful remembrance by the people 
of Toronto. Other wealthy men have endowed churches, colleges, and the 
like, but it is questionable whether any of them has an equal title to the 
gratitude and esteem of posterity as the donor of High Park, who has given 
what was much more urgently required a breathing-space for a densely 
crowded and rapidly increasing population, deprived by the stupidity or 
venality of the municipal representatives of the larger portion of the Queen s 
Park. An additional area of forty-five acres,.retained by Mr. How r ard for 
his own use, will be added to the Park on his death. From the lake front 
a large marsh runs north between the*eastern and western sections of the 
Park. The high ground to the west rises in an abrupt, heavily-wooded 
slope from the marsh, like an unbroken wall of variegated verdure. A less 
precipitous incline on the eastern side of the marsh affords space for a 
shaded drive winding in and out among the trees now along an open 
glade, now into the heart of some gloomy hollow, where the overhanging 
branches exclude the sunlight, and now on the crest of a ridge shaded by 
the interlacing foliage. The higher ground is reached by a succession of 
easy ascents, passing several partially wooded elevations, which add to the 
varied beauties of the charming landscape. To the northward lies an 
undulating grassy plain, dotted with shade trees, singly or in groups. In 
the northern portion of the enclosure are great stretches of natural park 
lands, where art has merely removed what was obstructive or unsightly, 
leaving the natural beauties undefaced. The western slope of the Park 
overlooks the Grenadier Pond, a pear-shaped sheet of water, the broadest 
portion of which is towards the lake. The opposite shore rises almost 
precipitously out of the water, and is well timbered. To the northward 
stretch away the rich uplands, laid out in tillage or orchard. Tradition 

88 The County of York. 

traces the origin of the name to the drowning of a party of grenadiers in 
its waters during the war of 1812. It is alleged that when crossing the 
pond in the winter the ice gave way beneath them. The truth of the story, 
however, is not beyond peradventure. The pond is of unknown depth, and 
its edges marshy and overgrown with rank vegetation. 

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

About the close of the last century the old Indian trail along the 
margin of the lake was enlarged, so as to admit of the passage of vehicles, 
and became what is now known as the Lake Shore Road. A ferry was 
established at the mouth of the Humber, where passengers and wagons 
were taken across in a scow. In 1815 a Scotchman, named McLean, had 

The County of York. 89 

charge of the ferry, and kept tavern in a building on the York side of the 
river. This was for some time the only house for the accommodation of 
travellers between Toronto and Hamilton. After McLean s death his 
widow continued business at the hostelry for many years. In 1853 Mrs. 
Creighton was in charge of the tavejn, but the building was destroyed when 
the Great Western was built. In 1838, Mr. Rowland Burr, one of the 
pioneers in mill construction in York County, erected a saw-mill on the 
York side of the Humber, not far from its mouth. The mill was shortly 
afterwards sold to Mr. William Gamble, who converted it into a barley- 
mill, and afterwards erected a bone-grinding mill immediately adjoining 
it. The property fell into the hands of the Bank of Upper Canada, from 
whom it was purchased, in 1864, by David and Joseph Atkinson. The 
mills were finally swept away by a spring freshet. 

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

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

The Humber River used to be a famous stream for salmon fishing, but 
the erection of mills destroyed the fisheries at an early period. We find the 
following anecdote, illustrating the plentifulness of salmon at one time, in 
Smith s " Canada," which we insert to tantalize the modern follower of 
Isaac Walton, who sits patiently on the bank all day and comes home with 
an undersized rock bass and a couple of measly little perch. The legend 
runneth thus : A party during the time the salmon were running came up 
the river in a skiff to spear fish. In drawing their boat ashore, as th> 
intended to spear standing in the water, they inadvertently left it resting 

90 The County of York. 

across a log lying on the beach. The salmon were plentiful, and they were 
able to spear them as fast as they could take them out of the water. As 
they caught them they threw them into the skiff, and excited with the sport 
took no heed of the way they were piling them up until a sudden crash 
arrested their attention, and they saw their skiff broken in two in the middle 
by the weight of the salmon pressing it down on the log. 

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

Reference has already been made to the most notable localities on 
Yonge Street as far northward as Eglington, and we will resume a detailed 
description of the local features of interest at that point. About Eglington 
the name of Snider is prevalent, the family being of old U. E. Loyalist 
stock, and originally of German ancestry. The name is the Anglicized form 
of the Teutonic " Schneider." Martin Snider was one of the Loyalist 
refugees who emigrated to Nova Scotia. He afterwards settled on Yonge 
Street. One of his sons, Jacob Snider, was engaged as a volunteer under 
Gen. Brock in 1813. Another of the early settlers in this neighbourhood 
was Mr. Charles Moore, who was born in Ireland in the year 1793. He 
emigrated to the United States, but the strong anti-British sentiment then 
prevailing rendered his position uncomfortable, so he crossed over to Canada. 

The County of York. 91 

After a few years spent in the Township of Missouri, then an almost unbroken 
wilderness, he remove to Yonge Street and purchased a farm on the present 
site of the Village of Eglington. For many years he was one of the most 
prominent residents in this section. His death took place in 1867. 

North of Eglington, and about six miles from Toronto, is the Village of 
York Mills, for long popularly known as Hogg s Hollow, from James Hogg, 
who was at one time the owner of the flour mills in the valley. Here the 
western branch of the Don is crossed by a bridge. The banks of the river 
are very steep, but in places the ascent is broken by intervening level land. 
On one of these flats half-way down the bluff Mr. Hogg erected at an early 
period a Presbyterian place of worship. He was a man of strong individu 
ality, and took a prominent part in political affairs. Once, incensed at a 
newspaper criticism of his conduct, he sent a challenge to mortal combat in 
due form to Mr. Gurnett, editor of the Courier. The meeting, however, 
did not take place. His death occurred in 1839. The second Episcopal 
Church in York was erected at York Mills in the fall of 1816. It was an 
oblong frame building, erected by the united liberality of the people of the 
neighbourhood, Messrs. Seneca Ketchum and Joseph Shepherd being among 
the chief promotors ; the first named contributing largely of his means and 
time, the latter giving three acres of land for the site of church and for 
burial ground. The corner-stone was laid in the presence of a large num 
ber of spectators by Lieut. -Governor Gore and the Rev. Dr. Strachan, the 
missionary for York, in a manner in keeping with the infant state of the 
parish. A hole was dug, and a bottle containing a medal and a halfpenny 
was placed in it, a rude and unpolished stone was used to cover it. The 
missionary preached to the people, who had seated themselves on boards and 
timbers collected near the site. In 1842 it was decided to erect a more com 
modious church, 40 x 60, in plain and simple style of construction. On 
Tuesday, May 30, 1843, the foundation stone was laid. Although a very 
wet and inclement day, a large congregation assembled in the old church. 
At noon, Bishop Strachan, the former missionary, took his place within the 
church. The Rev. A. Sanson read the prayers, the Rev. Dr. Beaven, Pro 
fessor of Divinity in the University of King s College, preached from Psalm 
cxviii. 22, 23, 24 verses. The Bishop afterwards administered the apostolic 
rite of confirmation to the Reverends A. Townley and A. Sanson, also to 
Messrs. Leach and Richie, formerly Presbyterian ministers, but then candi 
dates for holy orders in the Church of England. After these services the cere 
mony of laying the foundation stone of the new church was proceeded with. 
The Rev. H. J. Grasett, the Bishop s chaplain, read the appointed prayers, 
after which the following, inscribed on a roll of parchment, was read by 

92 The County of York. 

Rev. A. Sanson, the minister of the parish : " In the name of the Father 
and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, amen, this corner-stone of St. John s 
Church, Yorkville, County of York, Home District, was laid on the thirtieth 
day of May, 1843, in the sixth year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Vic 
toria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, by the Honourable and Right 
Reverend John Strachan, D.D., LL.D., Lord Bishop of the Diocese, Rev. 
A. Sanson being minister of the congregation, etc., etc." This document 
together with the latest number of The Church Journal, a programme of the 
ceremony, an English shilling, sixpence and fourpenny piece ; a penny and 
halfpenny of the Montreal bank, a halfpenny of King George III., and 
three silver medals were placed in a bottle which the architect sealed and 
deposited in a cavity of the stone. One of the medals had been dug up in 
a good state of preservation from beneath the south-east angle of the old 
church and bore on one side this inscription : 


Lieutenant-Governor 1816." 

on the other " 56th of George III." The following inscription was added : 
" Removed from the old church near this, 3Oth May, 1843." The church 
was opened for divine service in the fall of 1843. The large folio Bible and 
Prayer-book used in the old church is still in use in St. John s Church, 
Yorkville, on the fly-leaf of each is the following : " Presented by the 
Chief Justice Powell to the Second Episcopal Church in York." 

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

About a mile north of York Mills is the Village of Lansing, and a little 
further on is Willowdale. Here stood the residence of David Gibson, one 

The Cottnty of York. 93 

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

A mile or so north of Willowdale, and about the same distance south 
of the township line, is the little village of Newton Brook. The villages of 
East York are mostly of a suburban character, situated to the front of the 
township, within easy access of Toronto. The city now extends along the 
lake front eastward as far as the township line south of the Kingston Road. 
North of that thoroughfare, a short distance east of the present city limits, 
is the village of Leslieville, which took its name from Mr. George Leslie, 
one of the early inhabitants. The nursery of fruit trees established by him 
is the most notable feature of the locality. The W T oodbine Driving Park is 
a little further on, on the south side of the Kingston Road. At this point. 

94 The County of York. 

about two miles east of the Don River, the Kingston Road takes a north 
easterly turn, leading to the Village of Norway. A short distance to the 
north-east of this is the new railway suburb of Little York, where the 
Grand Trunk Railway has constructed a large freight yard. The amount 
of railway business transacted at this point renders it probable that the 
population will increase rapidly, as a number of the employe s have their 

homes here. 

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

of Canada. 

The water-power in this neighbourhood was formerly utilized for mill 
ing and manufacturing purposes to a much greater extent than at present. 
On the east branch of the Don, or Scarborough Creek, as it is best known, 
there were at an early period three saw-mills, one built by William Hough, 
one by a man named Dark, and the other, further up the stream, by John 
Heron. These mills are all gone, leaving hardly a vestige of where they stood. 
A German, named Knotthardt, also erected a carding-mill on this stream, 
which has long since disappeared. The volume of the stream, once con 
siderable, has greatly diminished, owing to the clearing of the country, 
and it is no longer available for milling uses. In the year 1817, Alexander 
Milna built a large mill, three stories in height, driven by an overshot 

The County of York. 


wheel, eighteen feet in diameter, upon a creek tributary to the west branch 
of the Don. The two lower stories of the mill were used for carding and 
fulling, and the third story was a saw-mill. The water-power was shortly 
afterwards found to be insufficient, and Mr. Milna abandoned this location 
for a better one on the main branch of the Don, where a woollen factory 
. and saw-mill were put up. Here an extensive new brick building was 
erected in 1879-80, by Alexander William Milna, a descendant of the 
original owner of the property. The old carding machine, used by Alexan 
der Milna in the first mill, is preserved as an heirloom. The next saw-mill 
above Milna s was at one time the property of John Hogg. It began opera 
tions about 1829, and was run for fifteen or twenty years. Above this site 
is William Gray s grist-mill, with two run of stones, and Alexander Gray s 
saw-mill. In the same neighbourhood there was formerly a distillery, 
owned and operated by James Gray. A saw-mill was built a little further 
up by Mr. Knotthardt, who committed suicide in 1840, the mill afterwards 
falling into the hands of James Hunter. It was rebuilt, a short distance 
further down stream, by J. Hunter & Sons, and in 1878 was destroyed by 
a flood. The firm have since erected a steam mill. Farther up, again, 
stood Stilwell Wilson s mill, which was swept away by a flood caused by 
the bursting of a water-spout, about 1828. The property afterwards passed 
into the hands of Thomas Sheppard, who ran a grist-mill here for some time, 
until it was burned in 1869. Above this was a saw-mill constructed by Philip 
Phillips, and then a saw-mill and woollen-mill built and run by Mr. Cummer. 
His successors in the woollen manufacturing business were Mr. Mclntosh 
and James L. Vroom, operations being discontinued about 1857. Cupper s 
grist-mill came next. It was situated near the point where the German 
Mill Creek empties into the Don. A saw-mill was built on this creek by 
Mr. Davidson, and afterwards came into the possession of John Sellers, who 
ran it until about 1870. Further up the main Don was a saw-mill formerly 
belonging to Samuel Hamil, which was worked until about twenty years 
ago. The last mill on the stream, east of Yonge Street, is Brunskill s grist 
mill. A log grist-mill, built by W. Walker, stands just on the west side of 
the street. 

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

At an early period, the boats of the North-West Company cu route 
to Lake Huron used to make their way up the western Don as far as 
Yonge Street, at the present locality of York Mills, where they were 
taken out of the water and carried on trucks to the Holland River. On 
the banks of the Don, fresh water shells have been found beneath a con- 

9 6 The County of York. 

siderable thickness of sand, thirty feet above the lake level which, in 
connection with other indications, are taken as evidence that the entire 
region has, at one time, been submerged. The Don and its tributaries are 
crossed in several places by the substantial bridges of the recently con 
structed Ontario and Quebec Railway which, skirting the northern limit 
of Toronto, strikes across the township in a north-easterly direction. 

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

There are in all twenty-five public schools situated within the limits of 
the Township of York, all of which are under the jurisdiction of Mr. 
Hodgson, who has already been referred to as the Inspector of Public 
Schools for the South Riding. The most important of them are located as 
follows- No. i, at Davisville, a short distance north of Mount Pleasant 
Cemetery ; No. 2, at Eglmgton ; No. 3, at York Mills ; No. 4, at Willow- 
dale ; No. 5, at Newton Brook, near the northern outskirts of the township; 
No 7. at Do ncaster; No. 8, at Wexford, on the town-line between York and 
Scarborough; No. 9, near Don Post Office; No. 12, at L Amaroux; No. 13, 
at Davenport; No. 14, on the second concession; No. 15, at Fairbanks; 
No. 1 6, between the second and third concessions, near Mr. Duncan s ; 
No. 17! at Down s View, in the fourth concession ; No. 18, on the fourth 
concession, but farther north than No. 17, and near Elia Post Office-; No. 
19, beyond Weston, near Emery Post Office ; No. 20, at Norway ; No. 21, 
at Weston ; No. 25, at Seaton Village. 


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

The etymology of the name Etobicoke is uncertain. It is usually sup 
posed to be Indian, but on the earliest documents it appears as " Toby Cook." 
In the Crown Lands Department there is preserved a map dated Newark, 
J 793> by Abraham Iredell, Assistant Deputy Surveyor, upon which has 
been written the following memorandum: "The river Toby Cook is a 
rapid stream of water. The land in the bottom good, but much cut to 
pieces with the high water. On the rear boundary line from the river 
Toby Cook to the large stream of water on lot 15, the land is very 
good. From the stream to the north angle is a burr and pine plain ; from 
thence to the said stream, from the stream to lot No. 9, burnt land, but 
tolerable good ; from thence to the lake, good. The land west of the 100 acre 
lots on the line No. 16, W. is good to lot No. 7, but low land to No. 13, the 
other lots good." " Toby Cook " appears to have been the customary spelling 
during the early days of settlement, as it is seen on several other maps, but 
in 1811 the name was given as it is now spelled, on an official plan, and 
since that time " Etobicoke " has been the recognized etymology. As no 

9 g The County of York. 

such person as Toby Cook is known either to history or tradition in con 
nection with the locality, it is altogether probable that the first surveyors 
or settlers caught the Indian pronunciation imperfectly, and rendered it by 
this homely appellation as a matter of convenience, the true derivation 
being obscured by the spelling. The first settlement of the township took 
place about the beginning of the century. In 1.795 the " militia lands" 
were laid out by Surveyor Iredell. Part of the boundary was marked out 
in 1797 by Mr. Augustus Jones. The following year a surveyor named 
Hambly undertook the work of survey, which was continued at various 
intervals by Messrs. Wilmot, Ridout, Hawkins and Castle, the latter com 
pleting the laying out of the township in the year 1838. 

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

I hear the tread of pioneers 

Of nations yet to be ; 
The first low wash of waves where soon 

Shall roll a human sea. 

They halt where the land seems richest and the position most favour 
able, and the forest echoes are awakened with three ringing cheers for King 
George. Then follows the bivouac around the camp fire, and the nex 
the woods ring to the unaccustomed sound of the axe, and many a tall tree 
topples to the ground with a resounding crash, letting the sun stream down 
on the thick underbrush through the ever- widening rifts in the^ canopy of 

The Coulity of York. 99 

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

One of the earliest grantees in Etobicoke was Colonel Smith, of the 
Queen s Rangers, who received a large tract of land which now forms the 
4th and 5th concessions of the southern portion of the township. Colonel 
Smith was for some time President of the Province of Upper Canada. 
Gourlay, in his " Statistical Account of Upper Canada," thus speaks 
of Colonel Smith s homestead on the Lake shore, in the neighbourhood 
of the River Etobicoke: " I shall describe the residence and neighbour 
hood of the President of Upper Canada from remembrance, journeying 
past it on my way to York from the westward by what is called tin- 
Lake Road, through Etobicoke. For many miles not \\ house had 
appeared, when I came to that of Col. Smith, lonely and desolate. 
It had once been genteel and comfortable, but was now going to decay. 
A vista had been opened through the woods towards Lake Ontario ; 

ioo The County of York. 

but the riotous and dangling undergrowth seemed threatening to retake 
possession from the Colonel of all that had once been cleared, which was 
of narrow compass. How could a solitary half-pay officer help himself 
settled down upon a block of land whose very extent barred out the assist 
ance and convenience of neighbours ? Not a living thing was to be seen 
around. How different it might be, thought I, were a hundred industrious 
families compactly settled here out of the redundant population of England." 
The writer continues to narrate how he lost his way in the woods, 
owing to the disappearance of the road a short distance beyond the Presi 
dent s house, in a bank of gravel thrown up at the mouth of the Etobicoke. 
He gave his horse the rein, and let him take his own way. " Abundant 
time," he says, " was afforded for reflection on the wretched state of 
property flung away on half-pay officers. Here was the head man of the 
Province born to blush unseen, without even a tolerable bridle way 
between him and the capital city, after more than twenty years possession 
of his domain. The very gravel bed which caused me such turmoil might 
have made a turnpike, but what can be done by a single hand ? The 
President could do little with the axe or wheelbarrow himself, and half-pay 
could employ but few labourers at 35. 6d. per day, with victuals and drink." 
Colonel Smith, however, showed a good deal of public spirit in some 
directions. He did something towards improving the breed of horses, 
spending considerable amounts in the importation of blood stock from the 

United States. 

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

1798 Sergeant Patrick Mealy. 

.1799 Thomas Tivy, Joseph Hunt, James Hunt. 

!8oo James Crawford, Thomas Moseley. 

!8oi Francis Bark, Barnabas McGrevie, George Bender, Abraham 
Cameron, Christian Chisholm, Adam Baker, Jr., William Hooten, Francis 
Stevenson, John Doggert, Leah T. Gamble, William Clarke, Ann Christie, 
Catherine Magdalen Gamble, Eliza Christie, William Calder. 

1802 Hon. Robert Hamilton, John Gamble, Richard Wilson, S. Steven 
son, A. Brigham, B. William. 

1803 Isaac Pilkington, Samuel Giles, Alexander Thomson, Michael 

Miller, Dan Laughlin. 

1804 Robert Gray, George McDonald, John Berry, Daniel Stewart, 

J. Doggert. 

!8o5 Isaac Mitchell. 

1806 Robert Richardson, John Gould, John Glaus, Samuel Smith, 

John Thorn. 

The County of York. 101 

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

1809 Eleonora Moore, Elizabeth Moore, L. Stevenson. 

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

1811 William Halton, Robert Gray. 

1815 Sarah Powell, T. H. Stevenson. 

1817 Christopher Widmer. 

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

No records of the township meetings prior to 1850 have been preserved. 
At the first meeting in that year, the township was divided into five wards. 
The following were elected members of the Council by the meeting : Moses 
Appleby, Thomas Fisher, William Gamble, William B. Wadsworth and 
John Geddes. At a subsequent meeting held on the 2ist January, the 
Council was organized by the election of William Gamble as Reeve, and 
William B. Wadsworth as Deputy-Reeve. Edward Musson was after 
wards chosen Township Clerk. A report presented to the Council by Mr. 
Thomas J. Hodgkin, Superintendent of Common Schools, shows that at this 
date there were eight school sections in the township, in seven of which 
schools were established. The report complains of defective school requi 
sites. The number of scholars on the roll between the ages of five and 
sixteen years was 333, besides ten above school age, two-thirds of the whole 
number being boys. Only one of the schools was free. Of the scholars, 214 
could write, 13 were studying French and 8 taking Latin lessons. The 
expenditure of the year was as follows : For bridges, 98. us. 4^d. ; print 
ing and stationery, 21. is. 3^-d. ; school assessments, 179; contingencies, 
20. 135. 7d.; salaries, 75. 6s. id. ; school funds, 89. os. gd.; cash in hand, 
179. 155. 8|d. 

In 1851, the Council consisted of Moses Appleby, Alex. McFarlane, 
Andrew Ward, Joseph Smith and John Geddes. Joseph Smith was elected 
Reeve, Andrew \Vard, Deputy-Reeve, and John R. Bagnell, Clerk and 
Treasurer. Mr. Smith retained the Reeveship till 1855, in which year he 
was succeeded by Alexander McFarlane, who in 1858 gave place to Edward 
Musson. The latter occupied the position continuously for seven years 
until 1864. W. A. Wallis and Matthew Canning are among those who have 
since held the Reeveship. Andrew Ward first chosen Deputy-Reeve in 

IO2 The County of York. 

1851, retained that office for five years, William M. Ross succeeding him 
in 1856, and giving place to W. A. Wallis two years later. Since then the 
Deputy-Reeveship has been filled by W. B. Wadsworth, Matthew Canning, 
W. Taylor, P. Wardlaw, E. C. Fisher, Jonathan Orth, Robert Willcock, 
and others. In 1855, Joseph Dawson was chosen Township Clerk and 
Treasurer, being succeeded by William R. Scott in 1861, who held the 
office for three years. In 1864, Alexander McPherson was appointed and 
has filled the position ever since. The following are the principal municipal 
officials for 1884: Matthew Canning, Islington, Reeve, J. D. Evans, 
Islington, Deputy-Reeve ; Daniel F. Homer, Mimico, James Kellam, High- 
field, and James A. Young, Weston, Councillors ; Adam F. Mather, Isling 
ton and John F. Hill, Weston, Assessors. 

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

The proportion of land devoted to the staple crops is as follows: 
Fall wheat, 15 per cent.; spring wheat, 5 per cent.; barley, 20 per cent.; 
oats, 10 per cent.; peas, 5 per cent.; potatoes, 3 per cent.; turnips, i per 
cent. ; other root crops, i per cent., and hay 15 per cent. Twenty-two per 

The County of York. 103 

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

In 1850, the population of the township was 2,904 it contained five 
grist and seven saw mills, and the crop returns for the previous year were: 
82,000 bushels of wheat, 16,000 bushels of barley, 41,000 bushels of oats, 
20,000 bushels of peas, 25,000 bushels of potatoes, 11,000 pounds of. wool, 
4,000 pounds of cheese, and 24,000 pounds of butter. Since that time, the 
population has been almost stationary. In 1871, the inhabitants numbered 
2,985, and the census of 1881 gives the number at 2,976. Of this number, 
2,137 were native Canadians. The number of occupiers of land was 425, 
of whom 254 were the owners of the soil. The total area occupied 
amounted to 28,527 acres, of which 24,801 was improved land. The area 
in cultivation for field crops included 19,435 acres 4>3 J 9 acres were 
devoted to pasturage, and 1,047 to gardens and orchards. 

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

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

IO4 The County of York. 

six run of stones. The supplies for the mill were carried up from the 
mouth of the river in barges, and the flour shipped in the same way. Mr. 
Gamble afterwards built a wharf and storehouse near the entrance of the 

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

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

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

The main line of the Grand Trunk runs west from Weston. The 

The County of York. 


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

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

No. OF 



1 John G. Roberts Mimico. 

2 T. E. Kaiser Summerville. 

3 J. B. Kaiser Lambton Mills. 

4 R. E. Castin Islington. 

5 Albert Willson Weston. 


6 L. M. Stanette Highfield. 

7 J.C.Clark Thistleton. 

8 Richard Lewis, jun r Islington. 

9 John F. Campbell | Humber. 

10 John F. Ellerby Thistleton. 

i I 



CARBOROUGH Township is situated at the south-eastern corner 
of the county. It comprises nine concessions, of which, however, 
only five extend to the eastern limit of the county, the rest being 
broken by the water front, which slopes inwards from the western 
side-line. The broken concessions are known as A, B, C and D, 
the remaining ones being numbered. The front of the town 
ship was surveyed in 1791 by Mr. Augustus Jones, the name 
then given it being " Glasgow." It is bounded on the north by the 
Township of Markham, on the south by Lake Ontario, on the east by 
Pickering, in the adjoining County of Ontario, and on the west by York. 
The concession lines were not run until the year 1833, when the laying out 
of the township was continued by Mr. Galbraith, P.L.S. In 1850 the 
western boundary was fixed by Messrs. William Smith and John Shier, 
Provincial Land Surveyors, and in 1854 the eastern limit was established 
by Mr. John Shier, P.L.S. The Boundary Line Commissioners fixed the 
northern limits of the townships. There are many irregularities in the 
laying out of this township, owing to the surveys having been made by 
different parties at long intervals, whereby some of the original land 
marks were destroyed or lost sight of. Mr. F. F. Passmore, P.L.S., in 1864 
presented a report to the Township Council in connection with a map of a 
re-survey, in which he stated that there were at that time, exclusive of the 
exterior road between the township and its neighbours, 126 side-roads, many 
of them well opened up and travelled. The soil of the southern portion of 
Scarborough is light and sandy, as indicated by the considerable quantity of 
pine timber intermixed with the hardwood growths. In the central and 
northern sections the soil is heavier and better adapted for agriculture, the 
timber being nearly all hardwood. The township is abundantly watered, 
and the land is generally undulating, excepting in the neighbourhood of 
Highland Creek and the River Rouge, the banks of which are steep and 
rugged. In the southern part of the township there are extensive beds of 

The County of York. 107 

clay, suitable for brick-making purposes, generally overlaid by sand several 
feet in- depth. The geological characteristics of the township are not of 
much interest, presenting but little variety. Two springs on the i6th lot of 
the 4th concession have a local reputation for their mineral properties. 
Their waters give, by boiling, a small amount of earthy carbonate, but even 
when evaporated to one-tenth they have no marked taste. They contain, 
in addition, only sulphate of lime with traces of chloride. Sandstone of the 
Hudson River formation is met with along the banks of the streams near 
the lake shore. 

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

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

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

1796 Capt. William Mayne, John White. 

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

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

1 799 Sarah Ashbridge, David Fleming, Jonathan Ashbridgc. John 
Adair, Andrew Templeton, William Osterhout, Nicholas Smith, Thomas 

IO 8 The County of York. 

Hewitt, Elias Thompson, John Weaver, James Eliot, David Robertson, 
Samuel Heron, Martin Buckner, Ephraim Payen, Susannah Harris, John 
Segar, John Markly, Richard Hatt, Andrew Johnston, Archibald Thomp 
son, John Henry Rahman, Eliphalet Hale, Eliza Small, Margaret Ryck- 
man, Richard Flock, Eva Bradt, Lieut. Miles McDonnell, Barnabas Eddy, 
Azariah Lundy. 

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

1802 Submission Galloway, Parker Mills, Robert Tait, Nipporah Ro- 
buck, Jacob Fisher, Nicholas Macdougal, David Thompson, Andrew 

I 8o3 William Devenish, Valentine Fisher. 

1804 John Macdougal. 

X 8o5 E. Osterhout, Donald McLean. 

1806 John Richardson, Alexander McDonnell. 

1807 Pelva Cole. 

jgog Thomas Corn well. 

1810 Henry Webster, John Robert Small. 

!8n Andrew Mercer, James Osburn. 

1812 Peter Reesor, Benjamin W r . Eaton, George Kuck, Helen Fen 
wick, John Kennedy, sen r. 

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


No very early municipal records have been preserved, the year 1848 
being as far back as the documents now extant reach. In the memorandum 
of proceedings for that year, the following names of electors are subscribed 
to a declaration that " We, the undersigned, do sincerely promise and swear 
that we will faithfully and diligently perform the duties for which we are 
appointed for the current year -Joseph Pilkey, George Snider, Adam 
Walton, William Kennedy, William Fawcett, sen r, William Mason, 
Thomas Kennedy, Medley Robinson, Daniel Kennedy, George Galway, 
John Palmer, John Warren, Isaac Christie, Timothy Devenish, John Rich ; 
ardson, Alexander Wilson, George Stephenson, Abraham Stoner, William 
Young, William Richardson, William Westeny, William Anthony, James 
Saw, Isaac Stoner, Thomas Adams, Thomas Booth, King Parkes, James 
Peters, William Chamberlain, Marshall Macklin, Thomas Adams, jun r, 
Isaac Secor, William A. Thompson, James A. Thompson, James Johnson 
John Sherburn, James Spring, Thomas Brown, John W 7 ilson, John Law, 
William Nelson, Robert Jackson, Andrew Potter, and Thomas Demma 

The County of York. 109 

The first meeting of the " Municipal Corporaton " of the township was held 
at Thomas Dowswell s tavern, on the aist of January, 1850, on which occa 
sion were present, Peter Secor, reeve ; John P. Wheeler, deputy-reeve ; 
William Helliwell, Christopher Thompson and Edward Connell. The 
following year Mr. Wheeler attained the reeveship, and Thomas Brown 
was elected deputy-reeve, and Stephen Glosson, clerk. In 1854, John 
Torrance became reeve, and William Clark, deputy-reeve. Mr. Wheeler 
was again chosen reeve in 1855, and filled the office for ten years in succes 
sion. During three years of this period, 1861-3, ^ ie was warden of the 
county. Among those who have held the reeveship are Donald G. Stephen- 
son, Thomas Brown and George Chester. The deputy-reeveship has 
numbered among its incumbents John Crawford, Simon Miller and William 
Tredway. From 1856 to 1865 James Moyle officiated as township clerk. 
He was succeeded by John Crawford, who still holds that position. The 
other leading municipal officials for 1884 are : Reeve, John Richardson ; 
ist deputy-reeve, A. M. Secor ; and deputy-reeve, George Morgan. 

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

Latterly there has been a falling off in the population of the township, 
largely owing to the considerable emigration to the North- West, which has 
drawn away many of the young men. The population in 1871 numbered 
4,615, in 1881 it had decreased 104,208. The census of the latter year gives 
the number of occupiers of land at 588, of whom 412 were also owners. The 
total acreage occupied was 43,634, of which 36,225 acres were improvt 1. 
Of this, 28,065 acres were devoted to field crops, 6,892 acres to pastunu 
and 1,268 were laid out in gardens and orchards. 

Of the total population, 3,233, or more than three-fourths, are of Can 
adian birth, though mostly of recent British origin, as the U. E. Loyalist 
element in the population is small. Smith s " Canada, Past, Present and 
Future" says on this point : " The Township of Scarborough is said to be 

no The County of York. 

occupied almost exclusively by natives of the British Isles, who have obtained 
some considerable degree of local celebrity as ploughmen." It is interesting 
to note that after the lapse of a generation the yeomen of Scarborough still 
retain their well-won pre-eminence in this department, notwithstanding 
many a well-contested match in which the representatives of other town 
ships have sought to wrest their honours from them. Mr. James Patton, 
residing near Scarborough Junction, is the pioneer ploughman of the county, 
and one of the most active in promoting competitions. On the iyth of 
June, 1884, the veteran ploughman was presented with an address and 
testimonial, in recognition of his services in promoting the cause of prize 

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

The acreage devoted to the leading crops, and the average yield of 
those crops per acre, as nearly as can be estimated, are given as follows : 
Fall wheat, 5 per cent., 20 bushels; spring wheat, 10 per cent., 10 bushels ; 
barley, 12 per cent., 30 bushels; oats. 10 per cent., 45 bushels ; peas, 5 per 
cent., 20 bushels; potatoes, 2 per cent., 130 bushels; turnips, 2 per cent., 
500 bushels; other root crops, i per cent., 500 bushels ; hay, 20 per cent., 
\\ tons per acre ; 15 per cent, is in pasture lands, and 3 per cent, in 
orchards. The portion of the township about the flats and banks of the 
Rouge River and Highland Creek are pronounced better adapted for stock 



TJie County of York, 


raising than for grain-growing purposes. The kinds of stock most exten 
sively raised are Clydesdale horses, Durham and Ayrshire cattle, Cotswold 
sheep and Berkshire pigs. A good many of the Clydesdale horses are 
imported stock. Among the principal owners of thoroughbred stock are 
John Little, Alexander Neilson, J. and J. Neilson, Stephen Westney, 
William Westney, John Crawford, William Crawford, and John Lawrie! 
The proportion of the township still under timber is estimated at about 
eight or ten acres to the hundred. The principal varieties of timber are 
cedar, maple, beech, and pine. The exact number of acres is 43,019^, of 
which 33,760 are cleared. The cattle number 2,371, the horses 2,198, the 
sheep 951, and the hogs 1,329. 

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

112 TJie County of York. 

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

Scarborough possesses a flourishing Mechanics Institute, the head-quar 
ters of which are at the Village of Ellesmere, in the western part of the town 
ship. It was established on the jih of April, 1834, being then known as 
the " Scarborough Subscription Library." The following were the first 
subscribers:]. George, T. Patterson, A. Johnston, A. Glendinning, Win. 
Glendinning, S. Thomson, F. Johnston, W. D. Thomson, J. Thorn, J. 
Gibson, S. Cornell, C. Thomson, J. Brownlee, Wm. Forfar, jun r., Wm. 
Paterson, James A. Thomson, G. Scott, D. Brown, T. Brown, R. Hamilton, 
Wm. Hood, J. Muir, R. D. Hamilton, A. Bell, J. Stobo, D. Graham, J. 
Davidson, J. Findlay, Wm. Elliott, J. Elliott, J. Tingle, Alex. Jackson, A. 
Patterson, T. Whiteside, J. Martin, George Thomson, J. Glendinning, John 
Thornbeck, B. Ferguson, M. Macklem, R. Tackett, Wm. Crone, T. Wal 
ton, sen r., Wm. Findlay, Wm. Scott, J. Carmichael. The entrance fee 
was fixed at five shillings currency, and the annual subscription at the 
same figure. A general meeting was held half-yearly for the purpose of 
choosing managers, inspecting books, and deciding upon additions to the 
library. A substantial frame building was erected in 1846, which is still in 

The County of York. 

good repair. The Institute was incorporated in 1878, at which time the 
library comprised 1,108 volumes in good condition. No public aid was 
received until 1879, when a Government grant of 400 was voted to the 
Institute; and in 1880 a grant of $25 was made by the Township Council. 
There are 1,737 volumes in the library of the Institute, which has a member 
ship of about sixty. The number of volumes issued last official year was 
1,825. The total amount of Government grants paid the Institute from 
1879 to 1883 amount to $560.64. The Government Inspector in his last 
official report bears the following strong testimony to the admirable condi 
tion and efficiency of this important factor in the diffusion of intelligence 
among the people of Scarborough: "The books are well-arranged. I 
know of no library anywhere that is better kept. It is really a credit to the 
municipality and its managers." The office of librarian was held by David 
Martin from 1852 until 1882, when he was succeeded by Sidney C. Thomson. 
There are few, if any, rural communities in Canada where a public library 
has been so successfully carried on for a lengthened period, and the fact 
speaks very highly for the intelligence and public spirit of the people of 

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

No. OF 




Jordan Tomlinson 



Sidney M. Whaley 




J. W. Spencer 

Cedar Grove. 


Joseph Lutter 



Alexander Smith 



George Tail 

Highland Creek. 



William H. Bewell 

Scarboro Junction. 


Charles L. Lapp 



John Matthews 



D. H. Campbell 

Highland Creek. 


- . 

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

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

Though a few scattered pioneers had here and there taken up land 
before that date, there was no systematic attempt at settlement until 1794, 
when a number of Germans came over from the United States, under the 
leadership of William Berczy. Governor Simcoe, believing that many 
U. E. Loyalist families still remained in the United States who would be glad 
of an opportunity to settle in Canada if encouraged to do so by offers of 
land, held out inducements which were responded to by a good many, who 

The County of York. 1 1 5 

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

The first saw and grist mills in York County were built by William 
Berczy in the early days of settlement. They were situated on the River 
Rouge, on lot No. 4, in the 3rd concession, and were known as the German 
Mills. The Gazetteer, in 1799, in referring to the Township of Markham, 
mentions it as having "good mills, and a thriving settlement of Germans." 

IT 6 The County of York. 

It may be mentioned here that the two first white children born in the 
township were John Stivers and Henry Elson, whose parents came in with 

Berczy s party. 

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

Another early pioneer in the industries of Markham was Nicholas 
Miller, who built the first mill on the Humber. In 1794, Mr. Miller settled 
on lot 33, concession i, of Markham, and built a small grist mill on a 
tributary of the Don. About the year 1828, Benjamin Fish put up a 
distillery near the township line between York and Markham, on 
middle branch of the Don. In 1830, he built a saw-mill at this point, and 
in 1848 a flour mill, which in 1850 he leased to David McDougal. Some 
years afterwards the flour mill was burned, but it was subsequently rebuilt 
by Mr. Fish. In 1860 he built a distillery. The property was purchasec 
by John Parsons in 1866. The distillery business was discontinued, and 
the flour mill remodelled in accordance with modern improvements. 
1 lot 26, in the ist concession, Rowland Burr built a saw-mill in 1825, which 

T/ie County of York. 117 

became the property of the late John Arnold, one of the .pioneers of the 
township, who lived to the age of eighty-six. It was burned in 1830, but soon 
afterwards rebuilt, and was in operation until 1870. The Pomona Mills, on 
lot 30, in the ist concession, now the Village of Thornhill, occupy the site 
which was first utilized by the erection of a saw-mill, in 1820, by Allan 
MacNab. He afterwards added a grist mill, and after some years sold out 
to Daniel Brooke, returning to Hamilton to resume his original profession 
of the law. He subsequently attained a leading position in public life, as 
Sir Allan MacNab. The mills were rented to George Playter for a term of 
years. Mr. Playter was well known as the proprietor of a stage line of four- 
horse coaches, running between York and Holland Landing. After pass 
ing through several hands the property was acquired by John Brunskill, 
who rebuilt the mills on a larger scale, and christened them the Pomona 
Mills. He ran the mills for twenty-five years. After his death they became 
the property of Mrs. Harris, and were managed by John Ramsden, who for 
some time was head miller under Mr. Brunskill. 

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

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

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

Among other mills on this stream were a saw-mill put up on lot 7, con- 

1 1 8 The County of York. 

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

Prominent among the early settlers of Markham were several of the 
French emigres who obtained grants of land in the Oak Ridges region. 
Those who obtained patents in this township included Rene Augustin, 
Comte de Chalus, Jean Louis, Vicomte de Chalus, the Comte de Puisaye, 
Quetton St. George, and Ambroise de Farcy. The Comte and Vicomte de 
Chalus derived their title* from the Castle of Chalus, in Normandy, where 
Richard Cceur de Lion met his death. The Vicomte had been a Major- 
General in the Royal army. Ambroise de Farcy bore the rank of General. 
The most notable of these exiles, however, was the Comte de Puisaye. 
" This man," remarks Lamartine, speaking of him in his " History of the 
Girondists," "was at once an orator, a diplomatist and a soldier a charac 
ter eminently adapted for civil war, which produces more adventurers than 
heroes." And Thiers, in his " History of the French Revolution," observes 
of Puisaye that " with great intelligence and extraordinary skill in uniting 
the elements of a party, he combined extreme activity of body and mind, and 
vast ambition." In 1803 Puisaye, who took a conspicuous part in the futile 
loyalist struggle against the convention, published, in London, a work com 
prising five octavo volumes of Memoirs in justification of his course. He 
died near London, England, in 1827. For a time one of the settlements in 
the Oak Ridges bore the name of " Puisaye s town." The great majority 
of the emigres were satisfied with a very brief experience of life in the 
Canadian backwoods, for which they were not at a 1 !! fitted, and returned to 
Europe ; but a few remained, and some of their descendants are still in the 

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

1796 John Lyons, Nicholas Miller, Thomas Kinnear. 

1797 Samuel Cozens. 

1798 Thomas Lyons, John Dexter. 

I 799 James B. Macauley, John Simcoe Macauley. 

1800 Samuel Ewison. 

1801 Ira Bentley, Elizabeth Shiffe, William Johnson, Martin Holder, 
Samuel Tiphe, Christian Long, James Weiant, Elijah Bentley, Timothy 
Street, Henry Green, Joshua Millar, jun r, Lieut. Lunout, Jas. McGregor, 

The County of York. up 

James Brown, James Osborne, James Hamilton, Levi Collier, George Boils, 
Peter DeGeer, Russell Olmstead, Isaac Westcook, Rachel Graham, Oliver 
Prentice, William Jarvis, Ira Bentley. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1809 John Charles Killer, Cornelius van Horn, Cornelius Van- 
ostrand, Philip Beck, William Marr, Mary Malatt, Christopher Hovell. 

1810 John Button, John Street, Daniel Furon. 

I2O TJie County of York. 

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

1813 John Henry Langhurst, James Mustard, Samuel Reynolds. 

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

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

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

1 8 1 8 George Backendahl, Francis Schmid. 

1819 Nicholas Hagerman, Absalom Summers. 

1820 John Daniel, Frederick Bush. 

1821 Polly Marr, John Marr. 

1822 Jacob Rowns. 

1824 Christian Whidnear. 

1825 John Long. 

1827 Joachim Lunen. 

1829 Joseph Barris. 

1 830-1 Philip Bartholomew. 

1832 Daniel Tipp. 

1833 Christian Reesor, Christopher Vanalen. 

1837 John Reesor, jun r. 

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

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

TJie County of York. 121 

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

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

The municipal records of the township show that in 1850 Amos \Yright 
was reeve, and David Reesor deputy-reeve. The latter became reeve the 
following year. He was succeeded in 1852 by George P. Dickson. Henry 
Miller held the position during the years 1853-5. R. Reesor became reeve 
in 1856 and retained the office for two years. In 1858 W. Button was elected 
and the next year R. Reesor again filled the chair. In 1860 the reeveship 
fell to David Reesor, and George Eakin was appointed township clerk and 
treasurer, a place which he continued to fill until 1874 when he attained his 
present position as county clerk. In 1861 W. M. Button was chosen reeve 
and continued in office for three years. In 1864-5 John Bowman was 
elected to the reeveship, being succeeded in 1866 by W. M. Button. John 
Bowman again occupied the chair for a year. Then James Robinson held 
the position for the period 1868-72. William Eakin became reevo in 1873, 
and in 1*74 James Robinson was again elected and ivt.iint-d the position for 
another period of several years. The township officials for 1884 are: David 

122 The County of York. 

James, Thornhill, reeve ; Robert Bruce, Gormley, first deputy-reeve ; F. K. 
Reesor, Box Grove, second deputy-reeve ; A. Forster, Markham, third 
deputy-reeve; William Lundy, councillor, and John Stephenson, Unionville, 
township clerk and treasurer. Mr. Stephenson was appointed clerk in 
1874, on tne resignation of Mr. Eakin. 

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

An advertisement published in the Gazette of May i6th, 1798, shows 

The County of York. . 123 

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

Three or four miles north of Thornhill, on Yonge Street, is the incorpo 
rated village of Richmond Hill, which is partly in the township limits. It 
will form the subject of a separate notice. A short distance to the north of 
Richmond Hill in Markham was the residence of Colonel Moodie, who was 
shot at Montgomery s tavern in the troubles of 1837. Colonel Moodie was 
a retired officer of the regular army, having been Lieut. -Colonel of the iO4th 
regiment, and having seen service in the Peninsular war and the struggle 
with the United States in 1812-13. 

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

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

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

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


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

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

1796 Asa Johnson. 

!jgj William B. Peters, Captain Richard Lippincott, Samuel Heron, 
Samuel D. Kiener. 

jygg Jacob Fisher, jun r, Nathan Chapman, Stephen Colby, Lieu 
tenant Abraham Tredell, Jonathan Willcott, John McKarrby, James Cram, 
Jacob Fisher, Captain Daniel Cozens, Bernard Carey, Samuel Street, Hugh 
McLean, James Ruggles, William Graham, Nicholas Cower, Robert 

!7gg Silas Cook, Priscilla Tenbreck, Garrett Klingerland, Thomas 
Barry, Hon. Alexander Grant, Thomas Butter, sen r, John Tenbroeck. 
1 oo John Anderson, James Maul, Richard Gamble, Walter Roe. 
1801 Jannette Anderson, John McDougall, Thomas Hill, George 
McBride, Thomas Knight, Dorothy Porter, Alexander Shaw, W. D. Powell, 

The County of York. 125 

Thomas Forfar, William Forfar, John Wintermute, Hugh Cameron, David 
Thompson, Annie Dally, James Ledan, Ann Davis, Peter Kulum, Joseph 
Hilts, Rachael DeFoe, Daniel Cozens, Samuel D. Cozens, W. D. Powell, 
jun r, William Harlong, John Dennis, Garrard McNutt. 

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

1803 Abner Miles, William Bowkets, Michael Korts, William Hol- 
lingshead Benjamin Cozens, Abigail Bessey. 

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

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

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

1807 Joseph Williams, John Cameron. 

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

1809 John W 7 ilson, jun r, Eleanor Moore, Louisa Stephenson. 

1810 John Wilson, sen r. 

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

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

1815 Sophia Dennison, Francis Henry Stephenson. 

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

1819 David Townsend Stevenson. 

!82o Francis Renoux, Michael Saigon, James Marchaud. 

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

Several of the names in the list are those of French loyalist refugees 
who settled in the Oak Ridges region, concerning whom particulars have 
been given in connection with other townships. Another notable name is 
that of Captain Richard Lippincott, one of the U. E. Loyalists who attained 
considerable notoriety during the American War. He was a native of New 
Jersey and a Captain in the -Loyalist army. Joshua Huddy, who held the 
same rahk in the patriot forces, having been made prisoner of war, was 
entrusted to Lippincott s charge until an exchange of prisoners could be 

126 The County of York. 

effected. A relative of Lippincott s named Philip White, a loyalist like 
himself, had fallen into the hands of the patriots and been cut down while 
attempting to make his escape. In retaliation Captain Lippincott, acting 
without any recognized authority, hanged Huddy on April i2th, 1782, leav 
ing his body suspended in the air with the following paper fastened on his 
breast : " We, the Refugees, having long with grief beheld the cruel murders 
of our brethren, and finding nothing but such measures carrying into 
execution, therefore determined not to suffer without taking vengeance for 
the numerous cruelties, and thus begin, having made use of Captain Huddy 
as the first object to present to your view ; and further determine to hang 
man for man while there is a Refugee existing. Up goes Huddy for Philip 

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

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

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

The first saw-mill in Vaughan was built in 1801, by John Lyons, who 
came to Canada from New York State in 1794, and after living for a while 
in York, settled on lot 32, concession i, in Markham. The mill was built 
on the main branch of the Don, where it crosses Yonge Street. In 1802 

The County of York. 127 

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

In 1820 Henry White built a distillery farther up the stream. On lot 34, 
concession i, Nicholas Caber, a German, built a saw-mill in 1825, which 
was destroyed by an incendiary fire five years later, being rebuilt the fol 
lowing year. In 1835 it was bought by John Barwick, who ran it for many 
years, and subsequently sold out to George Wright. It was again burned 
and rebuilt, and is still in operation. On lot 36, in the same concession, 
Barnabas Lyons, a son of John Lyons, previously mentioned, built a saw 
mill in the year 1839, which was worked for about thirty years. Hiram 
Dexter built a saw-mill on lot 37, in the year 1836, which was in operation 
for many years. In 1830 John Dexter put up a saw-mill on the next lot, 
which was in use until about 1870. At this point the stream divides, the 
west branch passing the village of Carrville and Patterson s Agricultural 
Implement Factory. On lot 16, concession 2, now Carrville, Thomas Cook 
built a saw-mill in 1850, which was worked for upwards of thirty years, 
until the supply of logs failed. On thi next lot Michael Fisher built a saw 
mill, in 1820, and the year following put up a grist mill, which is still in good 
working order. The small village of Patterson is situated on lot 21, con- 

I2 g The County of York. 

cession 2, where, in 1854, Messrs. Patterson commenced operations by 
the construction of a saw-mill, afterwards establishing here the extensive 
farm implement manufactory to which the place owes its prosperity. On 
lot 41, in the same concession, a saw-mill was built by Reuben Burr in the 
year 1828, which was worked for about twenty years. Mr. Burr was an 
excellent mechanic, and constructed the first fanning-mill in use north of 
Toronto. Rowland Burr, his son, was one of the most noted mill and fac 
tory builders in the early days. He put up a flour mill known as the 

Greenfield Mill on lot 41, which was leased to Mr. Shephard, and was 

destroyed by fire about the year 1840. C. E. Lawrence built a saw-mill on 
lot 42, in 1834, and six years afterwards built a carding and fulling mill and 
woollen factory, which he worked for many years, until his death, after 
which it changed hands frequently. James Lymburner built a distillery on 
lot 43, which was afterwards conducted by Mr. Kurtz, who was succeeded 
by J. Clarke. The latter also built and kept a tavern at Richmond Hill. 
On the same lot occupied by the distillery, Lymburner built a small log 
grist mill in 1811, which was afterwards owned by John Atkinson, who 
about 1840 put up a new grist mill at a cost of about 1,000. Mr. Atkin 
son afterwards fell into financial difficulties, and his property was purchased 
by Edward Hawke, of Toronto. This mill is still in good working order. A 
double-geared saw-mill was erected on lots 45 and 46 by James Playter in 
1848, which is still extant. Higher up, on the same branch of the stream, 
stood a distillery built by James McDavids in 1844. A saw-mill was built 
by John Langstaff in 1847, which was the nucleus of various other indus 
tries dependent on the same water-power, including a foundry and edge- 
tool factory. Mr. Langstaff also had an implement factory on another 
small branch of the Don, in the immediate neighbourhood. This was con 
structed in 1850, a steel file factory being afterwards added. 

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

The settlement of Vaughan was completed about thirty-five years after 
the arrival of the pioneers. The general character of the land is clay and 
clay loam; 19,266 acres being heavy clay, 41,074 acres clay loam, 5,670 
acres sandy loam, and 1,500 acres sand. About one-third of the total 
area is rolling land. The low bottom-land does not embrace more than 
i ,000 acres, and about an equal area is wet and springy. Thirty-five thousand 

The County of York. 129 

acres are regarded as first-class agricultural land, the market price of which 
averages about $70 per acre; 20,000 are ranked as second-class, and are 
estimated as worth $50 per acre, and the third-class land, including 12,- 
510 acres, is valued at $30 per acre. About one-half of the farms are under 
first-class fencing. One-third of the dwellings and out-buildings are of 
brick, stone or first-class frame. Under-drainage is not practised to any 
considerable extent, only about one farm in twenty-five being under-drained 
As nearly as can be given the proportions of the area devoted to the staple 
agricultural products are as follow : Fall wheat, 10,600 acres ; spring 
wheat, 2,750 acres; barley, 6,600 acres; oats, 6,500 acres; peas, 5,000 
acres ; potatoes, 700 acres ; turnips, 700 acres ; other root crops, 500 acres ; 
hay, 6,600 acres ; pasturage,. 8,000 acres, and orchards, 500 acres. The 
average yield per acre of these crops is as follows : Fall wheat, 15 bushels; 
spring wheat, 10 bushels; barley, 18 bushels; oats, 40 bushels; peas, 15 
bushels; potatoes, 100 bushels; turnips, 500 bushels; other root crops, 
500 bushels; hay, i^ tons. About 11,000 acres is still wooded with pine 
and hardwood, which makes the total area of cleared land about 56,500 

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

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

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

In 1881 the live stock of the township numbered as follows: Cattle, 

130 The County of York. 

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

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

Mr. Lawrence is of U. E. Loyalist origin. His grandfather, John 
Lawrence, held the rank of captain in the royalist forces during the 
American War of Independence, and at its close he went to New Bruns- 

Tlie County of York. 131 

wick, where he remained until 1817, when he came to Upper Canada. Mr. 
Lawrence s maternal grandfather, Robert Marsh, .settled in Vaughan in 

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

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

The School Inspectorate of North York consists of the townships, towns 
and villages of the North Riding, together with that part of the Township of 
Vaughan north of the second side-road, which separates between lots ten 
and eleven across the municipality. For reporting purposes the whole 
Township of Vaughan is included. This inspectorate, therefore, comprises 
the townships of Georgina, North Gwillimbury, East Gwillimbury, Whit- 
church, King, and Vaughan, the Town of Newmarket, and the Villages of 
Holland Landing, Aurora, Richmond Hill and Woodbridge; this last 
reporting only in the northern inspectorate. In these municipalities there 
are eighty-five school-boards, who employ from one hundred to one hundred 
and ten teachers, with an aggregate salary of over $40,000; an average of 
$425 to males and $265. 62^ to females. The outlay on building in 1883 
was over-$8,ooo; on maps, etc., $400; on care-taking, heating, etc., 7,500; 
for all purposes over $56,000. The income from all sources in 1883 was 
over $62,000 nearly $3,700 from the Legislature; $7,000 from municipal 
grants; $32,000 from direct taxation, over $10,000 from C. R. Fund and 
other funded moneys, and the balance from 1882. The school population 
of this district is about 7,600, of which the attendance at present at school 
is forty-five per cent. Twelve years ago the percentage of attendance was 
thirty-seven and a quarter. The classification of the children enrolled in 
1883 was as follows: 2,400 in the First Book; 1,600 in the Second Book; 
i, 800 in the Third Book; 1,200 in the Fourth Book; and thirty-five in the 
Fifth Book. Nearly all are instructed in arithmetic and writing; consid 
erably over half in geography, drawing, grammar and object lessons; while 

132 The County of York, 

music, temperance and hygiene, geometry and mensuration, algebra, history 
and elementary physics receive a fair share of attention, according to the 
numbers in the classes for which these subjects respectively are prescribed. 
Drill and calisthenics are not entirely overlooked, though they are not 
taught in half the schools. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The County of York. 133 

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

No. u, Purpleville School, is a good frame house, with excellent furni 
ture recently introduced. It is situated on the east end of lot 27, yth 
concession. Average, 34. Teacher, Wm. Watson. 

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

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

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

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

No. 1 6, in union with 7, Toronto Gore, called the Coleraine School, is a 
brick building, rather awkwardly placed on the ground, and suffering from 
defective foundations. Teacher, Miss McDonald. Average, from Vaughan, 
19, from Toronto Gore, 6. 

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

I7g7 _Thomas Hind, John McKay, Edward Wright, Thomas Phillips, 
William McClellan, Archibald Thompson. Edward Wright. 

ijgg Daniel Rose, Alexander Gardnar. 

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

1802 Henry Harman, James Cody, P. Cody, James Gilbert, Isaac 
Phillips, Nathaniel Gamble, jun r, Alexander Gardner, Eliza Ghent, Hepzi- 

The County of York. 135 

bah McWilliams, Lucretia Stewart, Marianne Williams, Pierre Protim, 
Charles Jabbin, Matthew Hern, Jenny Cairn, Catharine Walker, Fred. 
Lewis Mills, Eli Skinner, E. Wright, Sarah Vansicklen, Henry Windeckar, 
George Thompson, .Robert Innes, Christopher Harrison, Jonathan Kincey, 
James Newkirk, Chloe McDonnell, Hannah Palmer, James Osborn, Titus 
Doran, Margaret Buckner, John Broughner, Philip Bender, Mary Buchnar, 
Mary Rogers, A. Rogers, Richard Pattinson, Catherine Hesse, Joseph 
Dennis, Benjamin Wells, John Latteridge, Aaron Crefas, Mary Springer, 
Duncan Gilchrist, William Gilchrist, Neil Gilchrist, Eleanor Nugent, 
Charles Gisso, Thomas Walker, David Fraser, John Chisholm, Bernard 
Maisonville, Margaret Smith, Joseph Dean, Abin Miner, Alice Forsyth, 
James Cannon, Marie Joseph Gouin, Alexis Maisonville, William Farr> 
John Van Zantee, Phoebe Adair, Benjamin Springer, Christopher Gulp. 

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

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

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

1806 Rene Augustin Comte de Chains, John Dean Fisk. 

1807 Lieut. -Col. Augustin Boyton. 

!8o8 Joseph Minthorn, Elizabeth Hassun. 

!8og Murdoch McLeod, Wm. Weer. 

!8io Abraham Webster. 

1812 John Haviland, Rev. Clarke. 

1813 Henry Bonnell. 

136 The County of York. 

1814 John McDonald. 

1815 Wm. Moore. 

1816 Thos. Whittaker. 

1817 Rosannah -Ferris. 

1827 Patrick Hartney. 

1826 Sarah Lotteridge. 

1830 N. Gamble. 

1833 James Lloyd, Stephen Bissonette. 

1832 John Scott, Ann Purvis, Elizabeth Clow. 

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

1837 Peter Wintermute. 

:838 John Fulton, Bernis Baynam, William Boyle, Chas. Tomlinson. 

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

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

1841 James Henderson. 

1842 Thos. Irvin. 

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

1844 Robert Cathgart, Samuel Pearson. 

1845 Wm. Patton, Thomas Allen Stayner. 

1846 W. D. Parker. 

1847 Alex. Brown, Philip Boisverd, Isaiah Gardner, W T illiam Hane, 
John Fogart. 

1848 Neil Wilkie. 

1850 Patrick Tridnor, John Allen Nibbe. 

1853 Jeremiah P. Cummins, Rev. Richard Edmund Tyrwhitt, Septi 
mus Tyrwhitt. 

1854 Thomas McFee. 

1860 Benjamin Pearson. 

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

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

The County of York. 137 

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

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

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

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

As nearly as can be given, the following is the proportion of the area 
given to the leading crops : Fall wheat, 15 per cent. ; spring wheat, 12 per 

138 The County of York. 

cent. ; barley, 8 per cent. ; oats, 14 per cent. ; peas, 8 per cent. ; potatoes 
and turnips, i per cent, each; other root crops, ^ per cent.; hay, 12 per 
cent. Pasture lands occupy an area of 15 per cent., and orchards about i 
per cent. 

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

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

The municipal records of King are unusually complete ; the minutes of 
the township meetings as far back as 1809 being still extant, and throwing 
a good deal of light on the early condition of the community. A return of 
the number of inhabitants taken on March 28th, 1809, shows thirty-three 
heads of families, and a total population of 160. The names are as follows : 
James Rogers, John Doan, Enos Dennis, Amos Hughes, Isaac Rogers, 
William Doan, Joseph Doan, Mahlon Doan, Ebenezer Doan, Rufus Rogers, 
Levi Dennis, Nathaniel Gamble, jun r, Isaac Phillips, Isaac Hollingshead. 
Thomas Taylor, John Nichol, Benjamin Pearson, William Hughes, Joseph 
Cody, Wm. Haines, Jacob Hollingshead, William Tyler, Wm. Kennedy, 
Henry Harman, Isaac Davis, Caleb McWilliams, John Devine, David 
Love, James Love, John Hunter, Michael St. John, Henry Sagle and 
Benjamin Kester. In 1811 the total number of inhabitants was 206. In 
1812 there were 42 families and 226 inhabitants. A decrease in population 
was caused by the war with the United States, which broke out in that 
year, and three years afterward the inhabitants only numbered 209. But 
after peace was restored the population began to increase more rapidly, and 
in 1823 there were 67 families, and the total number of inhabitants was 394. 
In 1842 the population numbered 2,625. I n the course of eight years it 
more than doubled the number, in 1850 being 5,574. In 1871 it reached its 
maximum, the Government census of that year showing a total population 

The County of York. 139 

oi 7,482. In 1881 it had fallen to 6,664. Of the latter number 5,248 were 
of Canadian birth. Those of English descent numbered 2,872 ; 2,047 were 
of Irish, and 1,087 f Scotch extraction. The occupiers of land were 907 
in number, of whom 611 were the owners of their holdings. The total area 
occupied was 79,209 acres, of which 59,149 were improved. Of this 49,488 
acres were devoted to field crops. 8,402 acres to pasturage, and 1,259 to 
gardens and orchards. 

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

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

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

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

" It is agreed that hogs shall be free commoners." 

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

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

In 1843, Joel Hughes and William Brydon were town wardens; An 
drew Sloan, town clerk; Nathaniel Pearson, assessor; Richard Murphy, 
collector ; Barnes Beynon, Thos. Cosford, John Tawse, M.A., Jacob Lemon, 
Isaiah Tyson, Donald McCallum and Capt. A. Armstrong, school commis- 

140 The County of York, 

sioners ; and Thomas Cosford, Thomas W. Tyson and Henry Stewart, 
district councillors. In 1844, John R. Kennedy became town clerk, the 
district councillors being the same as the preceding year. Mr. Kennedy 
held the clerkship until 1847. The officers for that year were: Town 
wardens, John McKinley, Thomas Cosford and James Hunter ; assessor, 
James O Brien ; collector, Andrew Sloan ; town clerk, Joseph Wood. In 
1848, the district councillors were Henry Stewart and Thomas W. Tyson ; 
town wardens, Robert Parker, John Wells and Benjamin Jennings ; asses 
sor, James McCallum; collector, Isaac Dennis. In 1850 the present system 
of municipal organization came into force, and the district councillors were 
replaced by reeves and deputy-reeves the first reeve was George Hughes, 
Joseph Wells being deputy. In 1851 Mr. Hughes was re-elected and Sep 
timus Tyrwhitt chosen deputy. In 1852 Stephen Tyrwhitt was reeve and 
Joseph Wells deputy-reeve. George Hughes occupied the reeveship again 
during the period 1853-7, and was succeeded in 1858 by J. D. Phillips, who 
had previously been deputy-reeve for three years. A. Armstrong filled the 
chair in 1859, ar >d tne next year gave place to James P. Wells, who had 
held the second place two years before. Mr. Wells remained in office until 
1864, when Albert Webb was elected. In 1865 Joel Phillips was chosen 
reeve. Mr. Webb had another innings in 1866. T. Tyson and J. Stokes 
followed each for one year, and Mr. Webb served a third term of two years 
duration. Among the later occupants of the position are J. D. Phillips, Joel 
Phillips and Joseph Stokes. The township officers for 1884 are E. J. Davis, 
King, reeve; Charles Irwin,Lloydtown, ist deputy-reeve; Michael J. O Neill, 
Holly Park, 2nd deputy-reeve ; Thomas Wilson, Newmarket, 3rd deputy- 
reeve; Robert Norman, councillor ; Joseph Wood, township clerk ; Gershom 
Proctor, treasurer ; John Leigh and William Brydon, assessors ; Charles 
Fuller and William Winter, collectors; John D. Phillips, township engineer. 

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

The principal villages of King are Lloydtown and Schomberg, near the 
northern boundary, in the western part of the township ; Linton, in the 
eighth concession, towards the centre; Nobleton,in the south-west ; Pottage- 
ville, Kettleby and Grenville, in the northern section ; and Laskay, King 
Horn, King, Eversley, Temperanceville, Springhill and Oak Ridges, in the 

TJie County of York, 141 

south and south-east. Aurora is partly in King and partly in Whitchurch. 
The Northern Railway runs across the south-eastern section and enters 
Whitchurch near Aurora. After a lengthy detour to the eastward through 
that township it crosses the swamp lands of North King in a north-westerly 
direction. Its most important station in the township is at the thriving 
Village of King, about a mile from the southern boundary, which is a 
stirring and lively place, with a population of about 120. 

Lloydtown is a place of some note in the annals of York County. It 
early became one of the principal centres in the north, and was one of the 
rallying points of the Mackenzie rising in 1837. A description of the 
village and the neighbouring country is given in Smith s " Canada." There 
have been of course many changes since that time. Entering the township 
from the west the road known as the "tenth line" leads to the village. 
The first portion of the road is very hilly, and the timber consists of pine 
and hardwood intermixed. About four miles before reaching Lloydtown 
you cross a cedar swamp, after which the timber becomes principally pine 
and hemlock for the next two miles; large tracts of land bordering the 
road being still (1851) covered with wood; the country then opens, and 
large clearings lie before and on either side of you. The character of the 
timber here becomes changed, and a large proportion of it is hardwood. 
The soil the whole distance is of a loamy character, varying in consistence. 
The country generally has a new appearance, a large portion of the stumps 
still standing in the fields, and the houses and farm buildings are poor with 
few exceptions. The road the whole distance is hilly, or composed of a 
succession of rolling ridges. The population of Lloydtown is given as 350. 
"The village," Smith goes on to say, "is situated in the midst of a hilly 
country. The west branch of the Holland River runs through the village, 
and a grist mill having three run of stones, a saw mill, and a carding and 
fulling mill, are situated on it. The grist mill has a fall of twenty-five feet. 
There are also in the village two tanneries, a post-office, and two churches 
Episcopal and Methodist. Lloydtown is twelve miles from Yonge Street, 
nine miles from the Vaughan Plank Road, sixteen miles from Holland 
Landing, nine miles from Bond Head, twelve and a-half from Bradford, 
and fourteen from Newmarket. At about a mile from Lloydtown, situated 
to the north-east, is a small village called Brownsville. It contains I3S 
inhabitants, a grist mill, saw mill, and tannery, and a church open to all 
denominations. Brownsville is also situated on the west branch of the 
Holland River, which has here a fall of twenty feet." The name was 
subsequently changed to Schomberg. The road east from Lloydtown to 
Kettleby, or as it was then more generally known, Tyrwhitt s Mills, is 

142 The County of York. 

described as very hilly, and for. part of the distance timbered with cedar, 
hemlock and pine, with a little hardwood intermixed. 

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



The County of York. 143 

posed to be held in Toronto, Dr. W. W. Baldwin, Jesse Lloyd, James 
Grey, Mark Learmont, John Lawson and Gerard Irwin. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I /j /[ The County of York. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xo. 17 stands on the north side of lot 30, near the centre of the nth 
concession. It is an old frame building, and not comfortably furnished. 
Teacher, Malcolm D. Hall. Average, 23. 

No. 1 8, the Linton or Little Lake School, stands on lot 19, in the gth 
concession. It is a frame structure. Teacher, Cunningham Moore. 
Average, 33. 

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

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

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

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

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

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


JjHITCHURCH is situated to the north of the Township of 
Markham, and east of Yonge Street, which divides it from 
the Township of King, being in the middle of the eastern 
row of townships. It was laid out in 1800 by Mr. John Steg- 
mann, who had been an officer in a Hessian regiment during- 
the War of Independence, and afterwards found employment 
as a surveyor in Upper Canada. Mr. Stegmann s work was 
completed in 1802, but further surveys were afterwards made on the 8th 
and gth concessions by Surveyor Wilmot, and in 1869 a re-survey of some 
of the lines was made by Mr. John Shier. Whitchurch comprises 59,743 
acres. It has ten concessions, numbered eastward from Yonge Street, two 
of which are deficient. Settlers began to come into the township as early 
as 1795. The " Domesday Book" records the following patents issued in 
the earlier years of settlement: 
1796 Joseph Bouchette. 

1797 Frederic Smith, Charles Fathers, James Pitney. 
1798 William Bond, John Chisholm, Capt. W. Graham. 
1 80 1 Capt. John Baptist Bouchette, Mary Chambers, Duke William 
Kendrick, John Stegmann. 

1802 Nathaniel Gamble, sen r, Stephen Barbarce, Simon McMirty, 
James McMurty, Frederic Baron de Hoen, Isaac Phillips, James Roche, 
Peter Miller, Ebenezer Cook, John Ferguson, Nathan Hixon, John Baker, 
George Althouse, John Bogard, John Herns, James Mitchell, William Smith. 
1803 Abner Miles, Abraham Tucker, Robert Wilson, James Miles, 
James Fulton, Hugh Shaw, George Chisholm, Joseph Webster, Godfrey 
Hilts, Peter Brillenger, John Engelhard, Joseph Durham, Jeremiah Dur 
ham, Robert Henderson, Hugh Wilson, Peter Boughstanch, John Clin< , 
Joseph Derick, Gilbert Vanderbarrow, William Bechtel, Samuel Betzntr, 

146 The County of York. 

Jacob Bechtel, sen r, Adam Cline, Mary Peeks, William Cornell, Samuel 
McLin, Loyal Davis, John Bricker, David Alberson, George Clemens, 
John Cornwell, Samuel Bucker, Phil. Saltberger, Hall Davis, Moses McCay, 
Benham Presson, David Hooter. 

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

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

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

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

1808 Sarah Vanwick, James Lundy, Peter Wheeler, William Maclean. 
1809 Abraham Stouffer, jun r, Abraham McDonald, George Foukler. 
1810 Jacob Long. 

1811 John R. Small, W. Widdifield, James Edward Small. 
1812 Wm. Eadus, Whitfield Patterson, John Kendrick, Joseph Widdi 
field, Mary Wells, Aaron Tool, Joseph Randall, Eliezer Lundy, Osborne Cox. 
Frederic Baron de Hoen, whose name is given in the above list, 
received extensive grants of land in Whitchurch. He was an officer in a 
Hessian regiment which disbanded at the close of the American Revolution, 
and a great friend of the Baldwin family. His real name was Von Hoen. 
He also had a farm in York Township, about four miles north of Toronto, 
upon which he resided. Baron de Hoen officiated as the second of 
Attorney-General White in the duel with Mr. John Small, in 1800, which 
resulted in the Attorney-General receiving a fatal wound. 

Two or three of the names which appear among the earlier patentees 
are those of French royalist emigres, a number of whom settled in the Oak 
Ridges region. Most of them were located in Vaughan and Markham. 
The land was rough, and not well adapted for farming, and after a few years 
most of the French settlers left the country, though some of their descend 
ants still remain. Among the number is Mr. Henry Quetton St. George, 
whose name is well known in the commercial world. Mr. St. George still 
retains an interest in the picturesque locality where the little French colony 

The County of York. 

was established, as in addition to his business operations he is engaged in 
agriculture, according to the most improved scientific methods, on a fine 
farm in the 2nd concession of Whitchurch, inherited from his father, the 
Chevalier de St. George. His estate is known as " Glenlonely." 

A number of the first settlers were Quakers, from Pennsylvania. This 
body now numbers 371, according to last census returns. The Gazette, of 
October 4 th, 1806, contains an address from the Quakers residing on Yonge 
Street to Governor Francis Gore, on the occasion of his arrival in Upper 
Canada, which concludes by " hoping thy administration may be such as 
to be a terror to the evil-minded and a pleasure to them that do well : then 
will the Province flourish under thy direction, which is the earnest desire 
and prayer of thy sincere friends." This quaintly worded and characteristic 
document was presented by Timothy Rogers and Amos Armitage. The 
first-named, together with Jacob Lundy, took a leading part in the affairs 
of the Quaker settlement. A few years before the address to Governor 
Gore the Quakers had occasion to interview his predecessor, Governor 
Peter Hunter, to complain of the delay in issuing the patents to their lands. 
Governor Hunter had then just arrived in the country. He heard the 
story of the Quakers as presented by their spokesmen, Rogers and Lundy, 
and was convinced that there was just foundation for their complaints 
of official negligence. He summoned all the officials to whom the Quakers 
had successively appealed in vain, and entered into a searching investi 
gation as to the cause of the delay. It transpired that the order for the 
patents was of over a year s standing, and that Mr. Jarvis, Secretary and 
Registrar of the Province, was responsible for the documents not being 
forthcoming. Mr. Jarvis advanced the stereotyped official excuse : " press 
of business." 

" Sir," replied the irascible Governor, " if they are not forthcoming, 
every one of them, and placed in the hands of these gentlemen here in my 
presence at noon on Thursday next, by George ! I ll un-Jarvis you !" Two 
days afterwards the Quakers got their patents. 

Other times, other manners. Those were the days when governors 
were not content with being mere " figureheads," as the common phrase 
goes. What would be -thought nowadays if Lieutenant-Governor Robin 
son should talk to Provincial Secretary Hardy in that style ? 

Both Timothy Rogers and Jacob Lundy had numerous relatives, tin- 
names frequently appearing in connection with the early history of tin- 

Further to the north of the township, just beyond the Oak Ridges, tin- 
country was largely settled by Mennonites and Tunkers. These two sects 

148 The County of York. 

are not identical, as is frequently supposed, owing to the similarity 6f their 
beliefs and customs. They wear long beards and hair, old-fashioned coats 
and broad-brimmed hats, though these peculiarities have been much 
modified, and are principally seen among the older members of these 
churches. Both denominations hold the same views as the Quakers in 
relation to war and oaths. The Tunkers practise feet-washing as a 
religious rite, holding the Saviour s example and precept in this respect as 
a perpetual ordinance. They also consider the text " greet ye one another 
with a holy kiss," as prescribing the mode of salutation -among Christians, 
though this familiarity is not extended to those of opposite sex, as a public 
observance at least. The Mennonites and Tunkers are mainly of German 
and Dutch extraction. According to the census of 1881 there were 311 
belonging to these denominations. The Teutonic element, however, is by 
no means confined to the sects referred to. It is very strong in this town 
ship, and, as everywhere else, is characterized by thrift, honesty and 
intelligence. Many of the best and wealthiest farmers of the township 
came of this stock. The last census indicated that of the total population 
811 were of German and 260 of Holland origin. The great majority are 
thoroughly Canadianized by this time, and have little more than their 
names and family traditions to mark their foreign extraction. 

The quantity of Indian remains unearthed from time to time in the 
township indicates that it must anciently have contained a large aboriginal 
population. By far the most important discoveries of Indian relics within 
the county have been made in Whitchurch. Ever since the early settlement 
of the vicinity, the site of the Indian villiage on lot 9, in the 8th concession, 
has been well-known to all who were sufficiently curious about such matters 
to interest themselves in these relics of a departed race. This village 
occupied about two acres on the brow of a hill overlooking a steep ravine. 
There were no indications of the rude fortifications such as the Indians 
frequently threw up around their villages. A quarter of a century since 
many remains were dug up in the neighbourhood, such as stone-axes, flint 
arrows and spear heads, and broken crockery the latter being the frag 
ments of vessels large enough to hold several gallons, and evidently used in 
cooking. Earthen and stone pipes in great number have also been found 
here, and also bears teeth with holes bored through them, and the weL 
worn and polished teeth of beavers, deer and moose, which had apparently 
been used for decorative purposes. The implements found also included 
bone needles and two or three articles constructed from the shoulder-blades 
of deer, having six prongs about three inches in length. It is not known 
whether they were used as combs or for fish-spears. The large deposits of 

The County of York. 149 

ashes and other refuse, such as partially carbonized corn-cobs, are held to 
indicate that the village had been a place of continuous residence for many 
years. Among the more interesting remains was a circular portion of a 
human skull, well worn, but in excellent preservation. It was perforated 
with seven holes, and had evidently been held as a trophy, the holes being 
the score of enemies slaughtered in battle by the wearer. Down in the 
adjoining ravine are a number of large boulders, in each of which is a 
round well-worn depression about a foot in diameter and two or two and 
a-half inches in depth. These were used as millstones by the Indians, the 
corn being placed in the hollow and crushed with stones. No graves have 
been discovered at the village, but a quarter of a mile or so distant, on lot 
10, in the same concession, a pit containing many hundred Indian skeletons 
was found. This was opened about 1848, and large numbers of skulls and 
other remains removed. 

Another site of a once populous Indian community is located on lot 16, 
in the 6th concession. It comprises about three acres on the top and partially 
down the slope of a hill, and is enclosed by a trench and mound. The trench 
is still five feet in depth, and on the inside there is evidence that a wooden pali 
sade once existed. Trees twenty inches in diameter are growing on the top 
of the mound. The indications of the occupation of this site by the aborigines 
include an immense quantity of ashes, bones, flint instruments, etc. The 
original forest was cleared away for a considerable space around the village, 
and many of the pine trees now growing there are forked from the root up 
wards, showing that they must have been trodden down when young. The 
burying-ground of this village was situated outside the trench on the north 
side two thousand interments having taken place in the immediate spot. 
These interments were all made singly, and not in accordance with the 
usual custom among the Hurons of exposing their corpses until the flesh is 
eaten by birds or beasts of prey, and then interring the bones pro 
miscuously in a pit. The position of the remains unearthed showed that 
the bodies had been laid down on the side with the knees drawn up towards 
the chin. Large numbers of these ghastly relics of mortality were dug up 
by the early settlers at a time when scientific interest, in anything tending to 
throw light on the history and customs of the Indian races, had not suf 
ficiently developed to lead to their preservation. Latterly, however, the 
remains unearthed have fallen into the hands of collectors. Mr. Hirschfelder* 
of Toronto, an enthusiastic archaeologist, has secured many of those recently 
obtained in Whitchurch for his large collection of Indian curiosities. 

About two hundred yards distant from the fort there is a pond three or 
four acres in extent, on the border of which is another burial ground where 

150 Th* County of York. 

a large number of interments have been made. The discovery of these 
cities of the dead, in a neighbourhood from which the last living represen 
tative of their race has disappeared, may well excite such reflections as 
those to which Alexander McLachlan, the too-little known Canadian poet, 
has given utterance in his poem " To an Indian Skull," which opens as 
follows : 

And art thou come to this at last 

Great Sachem of the forest vast ? 

E en thou who wert so tall in stature 

And modelled in the pride of Nature. 

High as the deer you bore your head, 

Swift as the roebuck was thy tread ; 

Thine eye, bright as the orb of day, 

In battle a consuming ray ! 

Tradition links thy name with fear, 

And strong men hold their breath to hear 

What mighty feats by thee were done 

The battles by thy strong arm won ! 

The glory of thy tribe wert thou 

But where is all thy glory now ? 

Where are those orbs, and where that tongue, 

On which commanding accents hung ? 

Cans t thou do naught but grin and stare 

Through hollow sockets the worm s lair 

And toothless gums all gaping there ? 

Ah ! where s the heart that did imbibe 
The wild traditions of thy tribe ? 
Oft did the song of bards inspire, 
And set thy very soul on fire 
Till all thy wild and savage blood 
Was rushing like a roaring flood ; 
And all the wrongs heaped on thy race 
Leapt up like demons in thy face ; 
And rushing down upon the plain 
You raised the war-whoop once again, 
And stood among your heaps of slain ! 

Other Indian sites have been discovered near the Village of Aurora, in 
the immediate neighbourhood of the Northern Railway depot, and on lot 
15 in the 5th concession. Rev. Mr. Jenkins, Presbyterian minister, took a 
great interest in promoting the explorations of the latter locality, which to 
judge from the remains found, had been occupied as a place of residence for 
a considerable time. The situation of these and other sites in adjoining 
townships show that a line of Indian villages extended from the mouth of 

The County of York. 151 

the River Rouge to Penetanguishene, and the more thickly peopled district 
of the Georgian Bay. 

The natural features of. Whitchurch are a good deal more varied 
than those of most other sections of the county. The Oak Ridges or 
high land between Lakes Ontario and Simcoe run almost diagonally 
from the north-west to the south-east angle of the township. It is a 
rugged picturesque region abounding in beautiful sylvan scenery, and 
presenting many features of interest. Here the numerous tributaries of the 
Don, the Rouge, the Holland River and other streams have their rise. 
There are numerous small lakes scattered along the height of land, includ 
ing Bond s Lake and Lake Willcocks, in the south-eastern portion of the 
township, near Yonge Street, Lake Reesor towards the centre, and Lake 
"Alusselman and Island Lake near the western boundary. Bond s Lake, at 
which point Yonge Street makes a slight detour to the west, had its name 
from William Bond, the owner of the surrounding property, who as early as 
1800 had established a nursery garden in the town of York. It covers an 
area of fifty-one acres, and is over three hundred feet in depth, and having 
no inlet nor outlet is apparently fed by springs from the bottom. About half 
a mile to the north-east lies Lake Willcocks, which is considerably larger in 
area, covering perhaps an extent of about 150 acres. It was named after 
Col. William W r illcocks, who early in the century was Judge of the Home 
District Court, and was allied by marriage with, the Baldwin family. He 
was an early owner of the property adjoining the lake. About a mile and 
a half north of Bond s Lake is the Pinnacle, being the most elevated land 
in this region, and about eight hundred feet above the sea level. 

The soil of Whitchurch is varied in character, but fairly adapted for 
agricultural purposes. About one-fifth is composed of heavy clay on the 
surface, the sub-soil being principally marl, though somewhat diversified. 
Six-twentieths of the area is a clay loam over a sub-soil of marl and other 
constituents. Six-twentieths is sandy loam, and three-twentieths sand. 
About one-twentieth is black loam. Perhaps one acre in twenty is 
sufficiently hilly to interfere with successful cultivation. Nine-tenths are 
undulating, about one-twentieth low, flat land, and the same proportion wet 
and springy. Boulders presenting mixtures of the Laurentian, Huronian, and 
Silurian formations are met with along the height of land. The first-class 
farming land comprises about one-quarter of the total area, and seven- 
twentieths is reckoned second-class, the remainder being third-class or 
inferior. The average price of farms in the market is $60 per acre for first- 
class land, $40 for the second quality, and $20 for the third-class farms. 
About two-thirds of the farms are well fenced, the material principally in 

152 The County of York. 

use being cedar and pine rails. Draining is not generally resorted to. The 
farm houses are principally of a substantial and comfortable character, 
two-thirds being of brick, stone, or first-class frame, one-third log or 
inferior frame. Half of the outbuildings are first-class in point of material 
and construction. 

The average yield of the leading crops to the acre is as follows : Fall 
wheat, 20 bushels; spring wheat, 15 bushels; barley, 28 bushels; oats, 
35 bushels; rye, 15 bushels; peas, 20 bushels; corn, 25 bushels; buck 
wheat, 15 bushels; potatoes, 100 bushels; turnips, 300 bushels ; other root 
crops, 300 bushels ; hay, one ton. The acreage devoted to these crops 
bears the following proportion to the total area : Fall wheat, spring wheat, 
barley and hay, 10 per cent, each; oats, 15 per cent. ; peas, 5 per cent. ; rye, 
corn and buckwheat, i per cent, each ; potatoes and turnips, each, 2 per 
cent., and other root crops, i per cent.; 10 per cent, is in pasture land, and 
2 per cent, devoted to orchards. About three-sevenths of the whole is still 
timbered, the remaining bush being a mixture of hardwood, pine, and hem 
lock. The number of acres cleared is about 42,000. The township as a 
whole is considered better adapted for grain raising than for stock and 
dairy fanning. In 1881 it had 3,323 cattle, principally Durham grades; 
2,341 horses, largely roadsters and of Clydesdale stock ; Cotswold, South 
down, and other breeds of sheep to the number of 3,608, and 1,888 hogs, 
the Berkshire and Suffolk varieties being those principally produced. 

In 1842 Whit church contained 3,836 inhabitants. In 1850 the number 
had increased to 4,242. The population numbered 5,014 according to the 
census of 187.1. In 1881 the returns indicated that it had fallen to 4,529. 
This is partly, but not altogether, accounted for by the fact that Stouffville, 
part of which was formerly included in the township, having in the mean 
time become an incorporated village, has a separate place in the last 
census, instead of a portion of its population being credited to Whitchurch. 
Of the present population 3,873 are of Canadian birth. 

In 1849 the crop produced included in round numbers 76,000 bushels 
of wheat, 8,000 of barley, 81,000 of oats, 22,000 of peas, 42,000 of potatoes, 
and 40,000 of turnips. The Dominion census returns for 1881 give the 
leading articles of agricultural produce as follows : 78,543 bushels of 
wheat, 93,562 bushels of barley, 200,323 bushels of oats, 4,554 bushels of 
rye, 63,120 bushels of peas and beans, 69,687 bushels of potatoes, 104,482 
bushels of turnips, 44,950 bushels of other roots, and 5,825 tons of hay. 

There are 6.89 occupiers of land in the township, of whom 458 own 
their farms. The total area occupied is 53,346 acres, of which 39,858 acres 
are improved land. The area devoted to field crops amounts to 33,320 
acres, 5,609 are in pasture, and orchards occupy 929 acres. 

The County of York. 153 

The earliest records of municipal organization extant date back to 
1826. In that year Joseph Hewitt was town clerk, William Reader and J. 
Hewitt, assessors, Samuel Ball, collector, and Eli Gorham and John Bogart, 
jun r, town wardens. John Bogart, jun r, was elected town clerk in 1825 
and held that position twenty-three years. The town wardens under the 
old form of municipal organization were as follows : 1827 Eli Gorham and 
John Bogart, jun r ; 1828 Martin Bogart and John Bogart, sen r ; 1829 
Martin Bogart and E. Gorham; 1830 James FaulKner and Timothy 
Millard ; 1831 Isaac Lundy and Jacob Wiedman ; 1832 John Balsfred 
and Abraham Stover, sen r; 1833 John Sharfer and Ludwick Wiedman ; 
1834 William Aikins and John Stover; 1835 Thomas Macklin and 
Andrew Clubine. In 1836 the Act of the Provincial Legislature, passed 
the previous year, regulating municipal affairs came into force. Com 
missioners took the place of the town wardens, and for the old-fashioned 
designation of "town" was substituted that of township. The first Com 
missioners elected were Samuel Pearson, Joshua Wilson and Ludwick 
Wiedman. Among other curious details which appear in the records, 
indicating the difference between the methods of those days and the present 
age, we find mention of " money raised by subscription to open and make a 
road between lots 25 and 26 in the 4th concession, and to make a certain 
piece of road on the 5th concession line." The total amount raised was 
25 i8s. id., ten shillings being the usual figure of individual subscriptions, 
but John Bogart, jun r, put down his name for -$. The account of the 
receipts and expenditures on the township roads for 1836 will also be of 
interest. It runs as follows : 

" Received of Mr. Cawthra, for gravel taken out of the highway, i os. 
6d., also from Thos. A. Teb, ys. 6d., from T. Billings, jun r, for wild land 
tax for the year 1834, 4. igs. yd. Received of Joshua Wilson, i 153. 
gratis, also of L. and D. Lang, 2s. 6d. gratis, likewise of Mr. Bogart, jun r, 
10 dollars, gratis. Paid for road work 4 ys. 6d. Received of Thomas 
R. Pearson, in lieu of statute labour, i ; also of Solomon Wamsley, \ 135. 
gd., and Gabriel Lount, "3 2S. 6d. ; J. W atson, 53.; Samuel Pearson, ios., 
and a number of others for the same. Dr. account, 18 195. 6d. Cr. 
account, 22 ios. Due to the township, 3 i8s. 4d." This indicates a 
considerable degree of public spirit among the settlers of that day. In this 
era the acknowledgment by municipal officials of amounts received 
" gratis " would cause considerable astonishment. 

In 1837 Joseph Pearson was chairman of the township meeting, and 
was appointed one of the Commissioners, the others being John M.H klin 
and Eli Gorham. A resolution was passed imposing a fine of 5 a pretty 

154 Tlie County of York. 

stiff penalty in those days on any one allowing the Canada thistle to grow 
on his farm. A project was broached in this year for the erection of a 
township hall, and the following were appointed a committee to fix a suit 
able site and open a subscription list : Adam Gorham, John Millard, Simon 
Beels, Joshua Wilson, Ezra Clubine, Ludwick Wiedman, Eli Gorham, 
James Edmonson, Jacob Laing, J. Lloyd, jun r, Thomas Macklin and J. 
Burkholder. The project, however, fell through owing, no doubt, to the 
breaking out of the Rebellion. In the year 1838 it is stated that " there 
was no township meeting held, by order of the justices of the peace, in 
consequence of the Rebellion taking place about the same time ; and the 
township officers for the year are to remain as they were in 1837, except 
those commissioners known to be under bonds or implicated." 

In 1839 the old nomenclature of "wardens" seems to have been 
resumed in place of " commissioners." The chairman of township meet 
ings and wardens for the next eleven years until the present system of 
municipal representation was adopted in 1850, were as follows: 1839 
Chairman, Joshua Willson ; wardens, Robert Fenton, Joshua Willson, 
Isaac Lundy. 1840 Eli Gorham, chairman ; Phil. Bogart, John Miller, 
John Macklin, wardens. 1841 T. Willson, chairman ; P. Bogart, Benjamin 
Bozer, D. Hunter, \vardens. 1842 T. Willson, chairman; B. Bozer, 
J. Dockler, sen r, T. Hunt, wardens. 1843 T. Willson, chairman; T. W. 
Collins, Jacob Clark, T. Bozer, W. Graham, wardens. 1844- P. Pearson, 
chairman; T. Macklin, G. Bozer, T. Botsford, wardens. 1845 Michael 
T. Empey} chairman ; J. B. Colwell, C. Stouffer, Hugh Norman, wardens. 
1846 Michael J. Empey, chairman; T. Botsford, Henry \Viddifield, W. 
Seaton, wardens. 1847 M. T. Empey, chairman; J. Cook, R. H. Smith, 
J. Patterson, wardens.. 1848 J. Hewitt, chairman; T. Pearson, J. Doherty, 
J. Macklin, wardens. 1849 P. Pearson, chairman; J. Hunt, Nelson Scott, 
John Hill, wardens. In 1850, under the present municipal organization, 
the council were as follows: Joseph Hartman, T. Pearson, J. Macklin, 
E. Wiedman, and G. Playter. G. S. Hewitt was appointed township 
clerk, in place of J. Hewitt who resigned after holding the position for 
about two years ; Joseph Hartman was elected reeve. The following year 
the council comprised: J. Willson, G. Playter, J. Macklin, T. Pearson, 
and Henry Weedman. In 1852 the members were : J. Hartman, R. Weed- 
man, D. Smith, G. Playter and R. Brodie. Mr. Hartman obtained the 
reeveship, which position he retained until his death in 1859, a resolution 
of respect and condolence being passed by the township .council. John 
Ironside succeeded him in the reeveship, which he held until 1863. Among 
those who have subsequently been thus honoured are Edward Wheeler, 

The County of York. 155 

John Randolph, D. Wheeler, and Maxson Jones. The latter was first 
elected reeve in 1874 and still occupies the position. The other officers for 
the year 1884 are: Charles J. Brodie, Bethesda, ist deputy-reeve; Lot L. 
Hartman, Aurora, 2nd deputy-reeve ; John Irwin, Ballantrae, and John 
Burkholder, Lemonville, councillors; Philip Jones, Bloomington, assessor; 
Stewart Walker, Aurora, collector; J. W. Collins, Newmarket P.O., clerk 
and treasurer. Mr. Collins has held the clerkship continuously for thirty-two 
years, the date of his appointment being 1852. Joseph Collins, his father, 
was one of the early pioneers, having come in from Pennsylvania when the 
country was a wilderness. He erected a grist mill the first in the 
neighbourhood on the site of the present Village of Uxbridge, and not 
long afterwards met his death by accident. The family are originally 
of Welsh stock. On the maternal side, Mr. Collins is connected with the 
family of the Bogarts whose names occur so frequently in the annals of 
Whitchurch, who were also immigrants from Pennsylvania, but of Dutch 

The Town of Newmarket, the most important business centre in the 
county outside Toronto, is in the north-western corner of the township, 
and about four miles to the south-east, lying partly in King Township, is 
the incorporated Village of Aurora. These places will be fully noticed 
elsewhere^ They are connected by the Northern Railway, which enters 
the township a short distance south of Aurora. The Lake Simcoe Junction 
Railway runs through the eastern portion of the township from Stouffville 
on the southern boundary northward, passing the Village of Ballantrae, 
where the township meetings are held, and Vivian, about a mile and a-half 
south of the Township of East Gwillimbury. Other villages are : Ringwood, 
a mile and a-half west of Stouffville ; Lemonville, about two miles to the 
north-west of the latter place; Bethesda, in the centre of the township, 
about a mile and a-half north of the southern boundary; Bloomington, 
about two miles north of Stouffville ; Pine Orchard, in the northern portion, 
and Petchville and White Rose lying to the east of Aurora. 

Whitchurch formed a portion of the North Riding of York for Parlia 
mentary purposes until 1882, when the re-distribution of seats in the 
Dominion Parliament, popularly known as the "Gerrymander Act," took 
place, by which this township, together with the Town of Newmarket and 
the Village of Stouffville, were detached from North York, and made a 
portion of the Riding of West Ontario. 

Whitchurch has twelve school sections, and three union sections with 
houses in the township, and two with houses outside the township. 

No. i stands on lot 21 in the 2nd concession, directly east from 

156 The County of York. 

Aurora. The house is a new, neat and substantial brick building in a 
commanding situation. The teacher is Henry Love. His attendance is 
35 on an average. 

No. 2, on lot 17 in the 3rd concession, near Van Nostrand s Mills, is a 
frame house in fair condition, surrounded by an unusually attractive lot of 
evergreen and hardwood shade trees. The teacher is Thomas McCormack. 
Attendance, 28. 

No. 3, the Bogarltown School, a comfortable brick house, stands on 
lot 31, near the centre, in the 3rd concession. Teacher, J. A. Sangster. 
Average, 39. 

No. 4, the Pine Orchard School, is a renovated frame house on lot 29 
in the 4th concession. Robert O. White is teacher. The average is 30. 

No. 5, stands on the south side and near the middle of lot 31 in the 
8th concession. It is a new and good frame house, but badly situated in 
its yard. The teacher, Miss A. Myers, has an average of 40. 

No. 6, on the west end of lot 10, 3rd concession, is a new frame build 
ing with comfortable furniture. The teacher is William T. Stone. His 
average attendance is 22. 

No. 7, an old and unattractive frame house, stands on the north side of 
lot 5, near the centre, in the 3rd concession. Teacher, E. J. Smyth. At 
tendance, 27. 

No. 8, on the east end of lot 9, 5th concession, is a frame building. 
The teacher is Mary E. Cook. Her average is 16. 

No. 9, the Lemonville School, stands on lot 8, 7th concession. It is 
a frame house, enlarged some years" ago, and supplied with modern desks 
and seats. Teacher, Alexander Marshall Hannah. The attendance 
averages 25. 

No. 10, Bloomington School, is a frame house, on the west end of 
lot 10, gth concession. The average under the present teacher, Henry J. 
Hoidge, is 43. 

No. u, known as the Ballantrae School, stands on the side road 
between the 8th and gth concessions, on lot 21. It is a double frame 
house. Teacher, Edwin Ball. Average, 40. 

No. 12, on the west end of lot 7, 5th concession, is a good brick 
structure, with dinner and hat rooms, in need of some repairs however. 
Teacher, Isaac Pike. Average, 32. 

No. 2, union with Markham, known as the Ringwood School, is a brick 
structure of unusual pretentious, rapidly falling to ruin through defects in 
workmanship and neglect. The teacher is Wellington H. Wismer. The 
average for the Whitchurch part is 24. 

The County of York. 


No. 3, union with King, known as the Brick School, Yonge Street, 
stands on lot 28, ist concession. The main building is an old brick struc 
ture the addition is frame. Teacher, Joseph A. McPherson ; assistant, 
Ellen Cody. Average Whitchurch, 12, King, 30. 

No. i, union with East Gwillimbury, known as Shrubmount School, 
a small frame house, is situated on lot 35, 6th concession. Teacher, Agnes 
Brillinger. Her average Whitchurch, 12, East Gwillimbury, n. 


^EORGINA was surveyed and settled at a date considerably later 
than the other townships of the county. According to the 
original plan in the Surveyor-General s office it was laid out 
by Mr. Duncan McDonald, acting under instructions from Sur 
veyor-General Thomas Ridout in 1817. Settlement, however, 
had begun about two years previously. The first patents were 
issued in 1819. The name of the township was given in honour 
of George III. It is in the extreme north-east of the county, and is bounded 
on the north by Lake Simcoe, on the west by North Gwillimbury, on the 
south by Scott, and on the east by Brock, both the latter townships being 
in the County of Ontario, to which Georgina seems naturally by its location 
to belong rather than to York. The township comprises 34,996 acres, about 
two-thirds of the total area being settled. It has eight concessions running 
east and west, two of them broken by the lake. It is crossed by numerous 
ridges running south-west to north-east, the soil of the uplands being 
good agricultural land, while that of the depressions between the ridges is 
swampy, requiring drainage to render it cultivable. The swampy portion 
comprises about half the land in the township. One-fourth of the soil is 
heavy clay, and an equal area sand, the latter being principally found in 
the eastern section. The remainder is divided in nearly equal proportions 
between clay loam, sandy loam, gravel, and black loam. 

Rock of lower Silurian formation appears on the surface at Pefferlaw 
along the stream, and at Duclean Point, where the same stratum is exposed 
on the lake shore. Large boulders are deposited along the ridges, especially 
at their north-eastern termination. These are water-worn, and have evi 
dently been conveyed to the spot by icebergs when the country was 
submerged. The first-class land of the township, embracing about one- 
half the area, is valued at from $50 to $80 per acre ; swamp lands bring 
about $10. 


TJie County of York. 159 

The list of the earlier patentees of the township includes the following: 

1819 Alexander Robbins, Rebecca Greangan, Dorothy Buck, Michael 
Cryderman, Isaac Orser, George Snook, Joseph Morden, jun r, Abraham 
Lambert, John Deniell, Jane Deniell, Wilhelm Dusenbery, Arnoldi Borland, 
Jane Smith, Rebecca David, Margaret Baker, Gilbert Orser, John Dusen 
bery, Jane Everitt, David Secord, David Burdett, Thomas Fairman, John 
Fralick, Nancy Goldsmith, Nathaniel Hand, David Kinnaly, John McTag- 
gart, Elizabeth Hess, Margaret Hess, Sarah Coleman, Deborah Osborn, 
John Phillips, James Phillips, Mary Phillips, Samuel Peak, Tenby Taylor, 
Abram Dafoe, John Goldsmith, David Goldsmith, Mary Tripp, John 
van Horn, Peter Bonner, Susannah Bennett, Joseph Kellar, John Young 
William Bouchier. 

1820 Angus McDonald, alias Roy, Arab. McDonald, John McLennan, 
Donald Fraser. 

1821 Susannah Lousuir, Henry A. E. Pilkington, Margaret McDonnell. 

1822 John Comer, Asa Smalley, John Peregrine, James Dorithy, James 
Johnson, William Carter, John Dusenbery. 

1825 Philip Wickwire, John King. 

1826 Charles Hay Howard, Thomas McKie, William Miller. 

1827 William Johnson, William Kimmerly, Anthony Trimper, Loal 

1828 David Brady, James Donnell. 

1829 Roche Moffatt, William Crawford, Nenas Huntly. 

1830 Amable Du Sang, James Gumming, J. C. Bouchier. 

1831 David Robertson, Benjamin Ritchie, Catherine Harvey. 

1832 Andrew Wagner, Austin Huntly. 

1833 Neil Farman, Daniel Sullivan, Hugh Morrison. 

1834 Abram Oldum, Robert Johnson, Patrick Rock, Simeon Secord. 

1835 George Augustus Jack, John Elerbeck, Catherine Bogge, Dan. 
King, Mary Donahoej Godfrey Wheeler, James O Brien Bouchier. 

1836 Charles Henry Bernard, J. Hann. 

1838 George Playter. 

1839 James Appleton, Samuel Park. 

1840 William W. Baldwin, William Allan, John Rae, John Finston, 
John Davis, William K. Rains. 

1843 Patrick Roche. 

1845 Joseph Lyall, Thomas Allen Stayner, John Griffin. 

1846 Absalom Hurst. 

1848 Samuel Brook, William Dalie. 

1850 Kenneth Cameron, 

160 The County of York. 

The two earliest settlers in Georgina, so far as known, were Captain 
James O Brien Bouchier and John Comer. The former commanded Fort 
Penetanguishene during the war of 1812, and afterwards took up land like 
many other officers who retired on half-pay at the close of hostilities and 
became permanent settlers. The first white child born in the township was 
the daughter of John Comer, who lived to a good old age. Mr. Comer was 
the first assessor and collector of the municipality. Georgina was united 
for municipal purposes with the adjoining Township of North Gwillimbury 
until 1826. After the separation took place, the first town clerk elected was 
Alexander Craig Lawson, the first, and for some time the only, school teacher 
in the township, who held the clerkship for many years. The accessible 
records of the township are very scanty, and but little informatioji is procur 
able as to the early officials. The first reeve was Charles H. Howard, who held 
office during the years 1850-51. The position was filled in 1852 by James 
Bouchier, in 1853 by John Boyd, in 1854-55 by Samuel Park, in 1856 by 
W. S. Turner. Angus Ego, the present township clerk, succeeded him, 
and continued in office for the six years 1857-62, and after an interval of 
one year, during which Archibald Riddell filled the chair, was again chosen 
for 1864-65. Then Archibald Riddell had a six years term, and was 
followed by Donald McDonald, who presided over the council for five 
years consecutively. James Anderson was chosen in 1877, and re-elected 
in 1878. Mr. Ego was township clerk and treasurer from 1872 until 1877, 
when John Guben was chosen clerk and George Evans, jun r, treasurer. 
In 1878 P. McPherson was clerk. Angus Ego was re-elected township 
clerk in 1881. The officials for 1884 are as follows : Reeve, J. R. Steven 
son, Georgina ; deputy-reeve, Henry Park, Vochill ; councillors, John Kay, 
Mark Kay and Christopher Raynard ; treasurer, George Evans, jun r ; 
collector, George Lake ; assessor, Wm. E. Tomlinson ; auditors, Alexander 
Williams and William Fry. 

In 1842 Georgina contained 586 inhabitants. TKe population in 1850 
had increased to 946. In 1871 the number was 1,987. While most of the 
townships of this county have decreased in population during the decade 
1871-81, Georgina shdws an increase of about one-fifth, the number of 
inhabitants, according to the last census," being 2,482. Of these 2,039 are 
native Canadians. The occupiers of land number 298 ; occupants, who 
are also proprietors, are 216 in number. The total area in occupation is 
29,469 acres, of which 16,938 acres are improved. The portion of this 
under tillage is 13,109 acres, 3,514 acres being grazing lands, and 315 acres 
gardens and orchards. 

The returns of agricultural produce for 1849 gave the following figures 

The County of York. 161 

in round numbers : 13,000 bushels of wheat, 8.000 bushels of oats, 3,000 
bushels of peas, 9,000 bushels of potatoes, and 9,000 bushels of turnips. 
The Dominion census of 1881 gives the following as the yield of the staple 
crops: Wheat, 39,467 bushels; barley, 13,769 bushels; oats, 70,261 
bushels; peas and beans, 22,426 bushels; potatoes, 25,304 bushels; turnips, 
78,583 bushels, and hay 2,196 tons. 

As closely as can be ascertained, the acreage of agricultural land is 
distributed among the leading crops in the following proportions : Fall 
wheat, 10 per cent.; spring wheat, 20 per cent.; barley, 5 per cent.; oats, 
8 per cent.; peas, 6 per cent.; potatoes, i per cent.; turnips, 2 per cent.; 
hay 10 per cent.; pasturage, 30 per cent.; orchard, i per cent. The land 
yet uncleared, about one-third of the total area, is timbered with hemlock, 
hardwood, cedar and tamarack. The live stock of the township in 1881 
included 1,684 nea d of cattle, 823 horses, 1,485 sheep and 606 hogs. The 
varieties most extensively raised are heavy draught horses and ordinary 
cattle. The quantity of thoroughbred stock raised in the township is 
small, but increasing. Among those who are owners of Durham cattle 
may be mentioned John L. Howard and James Baine. 

Sutton, also known as Georgina, the latter being the name of the post- 
office, is the principal village in the township. It was originally called 
" Bouchier s Mills," and owes its origin to the enterprise of Captain James 
O Brien Bouchier before referred to, who established a flouring mill and 
factories, and did a great deal in other ways to build up the village as a 
centre of population. Sutton is located on the Black River, about three 
miles from Lake Simcoe, and on the western boundary of the township. 
It has about 700 inhabitants, and is in a flourishing condition. The 
Church of England and Presbyterian bodies have places of worship here. 
Smith, the author of " Canada : Past, Present arid Future," states that in 
1851 Sutton contained a grist and saw mill, a carding and fulling mill, a 
tannery, and a new cloth factory in course of erection. Of these only the 
saw and flouring mill are now in operation, and no new industries have 
taken their place. The tendency of our modern manufacturing system is 
all in the direction of centralization in the larger towns and cities, and the 
smaller factories which used to build up the country villages are becoming 
either abandoned or transferred to the great industrial centres. 

Jackson s Point, which lies about a mile and a half to the north of 
Sutton, a picturesquely wooded headland, is the terminus of the Lake 
Simcoe Junction Railway. It is a favourite resort for excursion parties, as 
jn addition to the beauties of the scenery it has the attraction of boating 
and fishing, and there are frequent steamboat trips to Belle Ewart, distant 

1 62 The County of York. 

about ten miles, and to other points on the lake. The other villages are Port 
Bolster, situated, as its name indicates, on the lake, at the extreme north 
eastern angle of the township ; Virginia, about midway between this point 
and Sutton, a mile or so distant from Lake Simcoe ; Pefferlaw, in the 
eastern portion of the township, about three miles south-west of Port 
Bolster, and Vachell and Baldwin, in the western part of the township. In 
the south-eastern corner of the township there are three small lakes con 
necting with the stream which reaches Lake Simcoe near Port Bolster, and 
there is also another near Pefferlaw. 

Georgina contains six sections, with seven Public schools. 

No. i, a union with North Gwillimbury, is situated in the Village of 
Sutton, the terminus of the Lake Simcoe Branch of the Midland Railway, 
now a part of the Grand Trunk system. T. he building is a handsome and 
substantial brick structure, with rooms for three teachers. The Principal 
is Robert Sanderson, whose well-directed labours have secured for his 
pupils several third and intermediate certificates, as well as a large number 
for entrance to High Schools. The average attendance is about 120. 

No. 2 is situated on the line running east from Sutton, at about four 
miles distance, on the south-east corner of the farm of George Evans, Esq., 
the township treasurer. It is a large frame house, and the average attend 
ance is about 44. Miss S. Tomlinson is the teacher. 

No. 3, the school of the fertile and attractive district known as Egypt, 
is situated about two miles east of the Baldwin station of the Lake Simcoe 
Railway, and about fgur south-east of Sutton. It is a large frame house, 
with rooms for two teachers, of whom the present headmaster is George A. 
Cole. For years this school has held a foremost place for efficiency. The 
average attendance is about 56. The assistant is Saidie Cameron. 

No. 4, called the Pefferlaw School, stands about half a mile south of 
the Black River. Bridge, on the same line as No. 2, and about seven miles 
from Sutton. It is a mile north of the Village of Pefferlaw. It is a new 
and good frame structure. The average attendance is 47. Thomas A. 
Wilson is the present teacher. 

No. 5, the Udora School, is situated three-quarters of a mile north of 
Udora, on the base-line, and in the south-east corner of the township. The 
house is a new and comfortable frame building. The average attendance 
is about 30, and the teacher is Miss Maggie Thomas. 

Sub-section No. 5 is a division of No. 5, with a new frame house, about 
two miles to the west of No. 5. At present it is only kept open for six 
months of the year, but when paid for, artd the liberal sentiments of the 
whole section are a little more developed, the children of the western part 

The County of York. 


of the section will be as well provided for as those of the eastern. 
Orphea Birdsall was employed during the first half of 1884. 

No. 6, or Cedarvale School, is situated on the base-line, a mile and 
three-quarters south of the Egypt School, from which it is a recent offshoot. 
The house is a new and substantial frame building. The teacher, Miss 
Bertha Appleton, has an average attendance of 36. 


ORTH GWILLIMBURY is the smallest township in the county, 
both in area and population. It comprises 29,011 acres, and 
according to the last census has 2,151 inhabitants. It is bounded 
by Lake Simcoe to the north, East Gwillimbury to the south, 
Cooke s Bay to the west, and Georgina to the east. The con 
cessions, of which there are eight, are numbered eastward from 
Yonge Street, though the first concession only comprises a few 
lots in a little strip of land south of Cooke s Bay, and the second has a 
broken front, the water encroaching in some places upon the third con 
cession. The eighth concession is also deficient, as the rear line does not 
run parallel with Yonge Street, but due north and south. North Gwillim 
bury was first settled early in the present century. The earliest patent is 
one dated in 1800. The following is a list of some of the patentees : 
1800 J. Ozburn. 

1803 James Roche, Isaac Willcox, Garrett Vanzante, Antoine La- 
palme, Ann Woodcock. 

1804 Antoine German Bertrand, Hon. James Baby, William Smalley, 
John Mardoff. 

x8o5 Levi Bales, William Garner, Frederick Sprague. 
iSo6 Edward Heazel, Calvin Ennes, Joseph Quarry, Ira Gardiner, 
Quetton de St. George, Samuel Lawrence, Benjamin Reynolds, Alice 
Cook, Mary Rogers, Cornelius Ryckman, Joseph Willson, Catharine 
Wesbour, Magdalene Allair, Frederick Augustus Goring, Elizabeth Veemer, 
Eliza Forfar, Benjamin Cozens, Simon Montross, James Gromer, Rev. 

jSoy John Small, Peter Anderson, Alexander Wood, David Bishop 
Warren, Ann Sherrard, Lieut-Col. Augustin Boiton, Le Chevalier de 
Mariscal, John Conrad Miller, James Davidson. 

Tlie County of York. 165 

1808 Jean Louis, Vicomte de Chalus, Samuel Moody Kinsal, Lina 
Curlett, Catherine Osborne, Levi Sherwood, George Bond, Margaret 
Munday, Andrew Bigham, Sarah Foder. 

1809 Esther Dennison. 

1815 D. Mann. 

1818 Eli McDonnell. 

1820 Peter Anderson, Darius Mann. 

1821 Margaret McDonnell. 

1822 D. Cox. 

1823 Rachel Wolcott. 

1825 Alexander Kennedy. 

1828 John Winch, William Powell, Henry E. Nichols. 

1833 David Sprague. 

1835 Louis Fontaine. 

1836 Thomas Mossington, Elisha Mitchell. 

1839 James Rose. 

1840 Ephraim Holland Payson, Rev. John Roaf, J. B. Sprague. 

1842 Arad Smalley. 

1845 George Tomlinson. 

1846 William Mesin. 

1847 Andrew Willoughby. 

1857 John Gaedike. 

1862 Silas B. Fourbonson. 

About one-third of the total area of North Gwilliambury, in the 
northern and western parts, is flat, low-lying land, a large portion of which 
is swampy. Three thousand acres are stony, and the remainder is undulat 
ing cultivable land. Heavy clay and sandy loam are the predominant 
characteristics of the soil, but there are considerable areas of clay loam and 
sand, and smaller tracts of gravel and black loam. The proportions of 
first, second, and third-class land are about equal. The values range from 
$50 to $80 for first-class land, $25 to $50 for second-class, and $10 to $25 
for third-class farms. About two-thirds of the farms are under first-class 
fences, and the dwellings are half of the first-class and the remainder 
inferior. A very small proportion of the land has been improved by under- 
drainage. The proportion of land devoted to the principal items of agri 
cultural produce is as follows : Fall wheat, one-tenth ; spring wheat, one- 
third ; barley, one-tenth ; oats, one-tenth ; peas, one-twentieth ; potatoes 
one one -hundred -and -fiftieth; turnips, one -hundredth; hay, one -tenth; 
pasturage, one-fifth. The yield per acre as nearly as can be calculated is 
as follows: Fall wheat, 20 bushels ; spring wheat, 15 bushels ; barley, 25 

1 66 The Cotmty of York. 

bushels; oats, 35 bushels; peas, 20 bushels.; potatoes, 100 bushels; turnips, 
500 bushels; hay, one ton. About one-twenty-fifth of the whole area is still 
wooded. There is but little improved live stock in the township. The 
returns for 1881 show 1,754 head f cattle, 1,306 horses, 1,594 sheep, and 
784 hogs. 

The early records of the township show that in 1821 the number of the 
inhabitants of North Gwillimbury and Georgina were 272. In 1822 the 
population of the two townships had increased to 314 in 1823 it was 339. 
North Gwillimbury, in 1842, contained 697 inhabitants in 1850 the num 
ber was 1,172. The census of 1871 showed a population of 2,304, which, as 
in most of the townships, has fallen off somewhat during the last decade, 
the census of 1881 giving the number as 2,151. Of this number 1,869 are 
of Canadian birth. 

The agricultural products of 1849 included 26,000 bushels of wheat, 
13,000 bushels of oats, 5,000 bushels of peas, 13,000 bushels of potatoes, 
and 10,000 bushels of turnips. In 1881 the yield amounted to 53,168 
bushels of wheat, 22,921 bushels of barley, 76,720 bushels of oats, 20,843 
bushels of peas and beans, 24,367 bushels of potatoes, 26,833 bushels of 
turnips, and 2,692 tons of hay. 

The occupiers of land number 335, of whom 224 own the soil, the total 
area in occupation being 28,783 acres, of which 19,106 acres are improved 
land. The area devoted to field crops is 14,763 acres, 3,826 acres being 
pasture, and 517 gardens and orchards. 

The townships of North Gwillimbury and Georgina were united for 
some time. The officials for the united townships for 1822 were as follows: 
Arad Smalley, town clerk; Holland A. Payson and Alexander Lawson, 
assessors; Joshua Utler, collector; Erastus Smalley, Asa Crittenden, 
George Williams, Daniel Mann, Zenas Hentley, Fountain D. Hunter, and 
William Carter, path-masters ; Silas Ernes and L. Hale, pound-keepers; 
William Crittenden and Joseph Lile, town wardens. In 1823 Arad 
Smalley was town clerk ; Asa Smalley and Benjamin Jefferson, assessors ; 
H. H. Payson, collector, and Joel Draper and Simeon Martin, town 
wardens. The town wardens for 1824 were Jacob Draper and J. Donald 
for 1825, Jhn Comer and Squire Martin. In 1826 the Township of 
Georgina was separated from North Gwillimbury, and the record of muni 
cipal proceedings thenceforward relates to the latter township only. 

In 1827 Joel Draper and David Mann were town wardens; Silas Ernes, 
assessor; John Prossor, collector, and Arad Smalley, tow r n clerk. In 1828 
David Sprague became township clerk, an office which he retained until 
1842. James Crittenden and Ephraim W. Payson were town wardens for 

The County of York. 167 

the former year. The town wardens for some years following were as 
follows: 1829 David Sprague and Noah Gager ; 1830 Joseph Rose and 
Martin Warmer ; 1831 J. Rose and Squire Martin; 1832 Abraham 
Sedore and Austin Huntley ; 1833 N. Gager and Joel Draper; 1834 
Silas Ernes and Israel Bennett ; 1835 J. Ross and E. Willoughby. 

In 1836 the municipal system underwent some changes. D. Sprague, 
B. W. Smith, John Prossor and Justin Hatfield were chosen commission 
ers. In 1837 the commissioners were Justin Hatfield, Isaac Bennett and 
Peter Bilder. A memorandum dated ist of January, 1838, is as follows : 
" In consequence of the Rebellion which broke out on the 4th of last Decem 
ber no township meeting took place this day. The township officers of last 
year therefore remain in their various offices during the year. David 
Sprague, town clerk." The records contain a minute of a special session 
of the magistrates for the division of North Gwillimbury and Georgina, 
held at North Gwillimbury on the i6th April, 1838, bearing the signatures 
of Arad Smalley, J.P., and Thomas Mossington, J.P. In 1839 Oliver 
Barton, N. Gager, and D. Sprague, sen r, were town wardens. There was 
another special session of magistrates of the two townships this year at 
which Arad Smalley, James D. Boucher, of Georgina, Thomas Mossington, 
and Simon Lee were present. In 1840 the town wardens were Silas Ernes, 
J. Bennett, and G. D. Earl; in 1841, D. Sprague, sen r, and George D. 
Earl ; 1842, J. Carbett, Silas Ernes, and George W. Chipperfield. In this 
year David Dawson was appointed town clerk in place of Mr. Sprague, and 
retained the position until his death, in 1846, when Mr. Sprague was again 
chosen to the office. The town wardens for 1843 were G. D. Earl, G. \\ . 
Chipperfield, and J. Bennett. In 1844 the Home District Council was 
organized, Isaac Bennett being chosen councilman for the township. The 
town wardens for this year were, G. W. Chipperfield, N. Gager, and D. 
Sprague, sen r. 

The town wardens for the remaining years during which this office 
existed were as follows: 1845 H. Huntly, Austin Huntly, Simeon Huntly : 
1846 T. Mossington, Israel Shepherd, J. Chipperfield ; 1847 Cornelius 
Silver, William L. T. Corbett, G. D. Earl; 1848 John Prossor, Hugh H. 
Wilson, Silas Ernes; 1849 Nicholas Bennett, Robert Anderson, S. 
Sprague, sen r. 

In 1850 it is recorded that the first meeting of the municipal council 
of the township took place on the 22nd of January, at Dughill school hou 
Isaac Bennett being reeve, and Messrs. J. Prossor, Arad Shepherd, J. 
Morton, and D. Sprague, councillors, and Richard Sheppnrd, township 
clerk. Thomas Mossington became reeve the following year. In 185.2 

i68 The County of York. 

John Prosser was elected to the reeveship. He was succeeded in 1853 by 
David Sprague, who held the office for two years. He subsequently held 
the same position in 1856, 1858, and 1864. In 1855 and 1862 the reeveship 
fell to John Morton, and in 1857 to D. B. Wilson. Thomas Evans filled 
the chair in 1859 and again in 1861, William Henry in 1860 and 1865, 
Henry Draper in 1863 and subsequently for the period 1866-69. In 1870 
he was succeeded by John Marritt who had a five years term, and filled the 
position again in 1876. Elijah Prossor and Willard Bennett are also 
among those who have held the office of late years. The present reeve is 
R. M. Van Norman of Keswick, the deputy-reeve being D. H. Sprague of 
the same place. The other councillors are Stephen Winch and J. D. David 
son, both of Belhaven, and John Boag, of Ravenshoe. Henry Sennett, 
Belhaven, is township clerk ; E. Nosser, of Keswick, treasurer, and Ellis 
Sheppard, of Belhaven, assessor. 

The township meetings, for some fifteen years past, have been held at 
Belhaven, a village containing about a hundred inhabitants, occupying a 
central position in the township. Keswick, originally called Medina, is 
picturesquely located on the summit of the uplands, overlooking Cooke s 
Bay to the west. The population is about one hundred and sixty. Three 
miles to the north is the village of Roach s Point, on the headland which 
forms the northern limit of Cooke s Bay, the romantic situation and sur 
roundings of which have not availed to induce its growth. It was formerly 
known as " Keswick," but lost its official designation when the post-office 
was removed to the lower village. A mile and a half south of Keswick is 
Jersey. The three villages are connected by a road following the course of 
the elevated land along the coast. Another road* strikes across the town 
ship in a north-easterly direction from Ravenshoe in East Gwillimbury. 
This was the outlet of travel to Yonge Street in the early days of settlement. 
The Lake Simcoe Junction Railway traverses the township from south to 
north within a very short distance of its eastern boundary. 

North Gwillimbury contains seven school sections, and seven teachers. 

No. i is half a mile east of Queen Street, and on the first side-road 
north from the town-line south. It is a plank or frame building of con 
siderable age, and not so comfortable as recent improvements have made 
pretty general. The average attendance under the present teacher, Miss 
Sarah Earl, is 35. 

No. 2 is also on Queen Street, five miles north of the town-line, and 
half a mile north of Keswick, or Dug Hill. The house is a rough-cast 
frame of good size and comfort. The average attendance is 33. Teacher, 
J. E. Pollock. 

The County of York. 169 

No. 3 is situated on the base-line, two miles directly west of Sutton, 
and one and a half from Lake Simcoe. The house is an old plank or 
frame, with some recent improvements and good furniture. The average 
attendance is 32. The teacher, Miss T. Price. 

No. 4 is nearly in the centre of the township, on the farm of John 
Morton, Esq., lot 18, 5th concession, and is an old frame house fairly fur 
nished and kept. Average attendance, 41. Teacher, Miss Sarah Fisher. 

No. 5 is on the south-east corner of lot 6 in the 5th concession in the 
English Settlement. It is an old frame building, with a recent addition 
to make legal space for the school population, but not comfortable or 
attractive inside. Miss Thusnelda Borugasser is the teacher. Her average 
attendance is 40. 

No. 6, or Roach s Point School, is an old frame house on the base-line, 
about six miles west from Sutton, on lot 23, 3rd concession. The average 
attendance under the present teacher, Miss Jennie Rogers, is 20. 

No. 7, known as Gum Swamp School, is situated on lot 15, 7th con 
cession. The building is a neat and comfortable frame building erected in 
1882. Miss Mossie Sheppard is the teacher. The average attendance is 18. 


HERE are three townships bearing the name of Gwillimbury 
East and North Gwillimbury in the County of York, and West 
Gwillimbury in Simcoe. They were named after the wife of 
Governor Simcoe, whose family name was Gwillim, and whose 
father, at that time aide-de-camp to Gen. Wolfe, was killed 
at the taking of Quebec. She was a lady of marked intel 
lectual capacity and strong artistic tastes, and long survived 
her husband, as her death did not take place until 1850. East Gwillim 
bury comprises about 58,000 acres, and is bounded on the north by North 
Gwillimbury, on the east by Scott, on the south by Whitchurch, and on 
the west by King. It has nine concessions east of Yonge Street and one 
west of it, the latter originally forming part of West Gwillimbury. Two of 
the concessions are defective. 

The first settlements in the township were made in 1798, two years 
before the commencement of trie work of survey by Surveyor Stegmann. 
Other surveyors who from time to time continued the laying out of the. 
township were Hambly, W 7 ilmot, Lount, Chewett, Lindsay, Haller and 
Gossage, the latter completing the survey in 1865. 

The first patentees are given by the " Domesday Book " as follows: 
1800 Elijah W 7 elch. 

1801 John Weddle, Ebenezer Weller, Elijah Robinson. 
1802 Reuben Richardson, Joseph Hill, Samuel Haight, A. Howard, 
Daniel Travis, Joel Bigelow, William Anderson. 

1803 Josiah Coolige, George Cutter, Edward Taylor Collins, John 
Eves, George Holinshead, Levy Vanbleck, Thomas Young, Abijah Mack, 
Esther Frisbee, Jeremiah Moore, jun r, Jacob Reer, jun r. 

1804 Nehemiah Hide, Theodore Wine, Nathan Farr, Joseph Pearson, 
Timothy Rogers, Frederick Harrick, Jacob Johnson, Adam Lepard, William 
Huff, Jacob Lepard, Jesse Bennett, Zebulon Ketchum, Ephraim Talbut. 

TJie County of York. 171 

1805 Obadiah Griffin, Bela Clark, Obadiah Huff, Elisha Mitchell. 
Bernard Velie, John Dunham, Henry Proctor, Isaac Kitly, David Willson, 
Joseph Sutherland, John Hodgson, Peter H. Vanderburgh, Jeremiah 
Traviss, Philip Chinger, Job Cogsele, Jesse Ketchum, Peter Emery, Richard 
Banks, Thomas Price, Christian Hershey, jun r, Henry Huber, Frederick 
Ashbough, Joseph Dobinger, Aveng Stiles, Augustus House, George Buck, 
Philip Buck, Anna Connor, Catharine Rouset, Le Chevalier de Marseul, 
Nathaniel Gager, Bethnel Huntley, William Phillips, Daniel Wilson, 
Stephen Howard. 

1806 Catherine Smith, Mary Parry, Elizabeth Laughlan, Andrew 
McGlasham, Mary Adams, Catherine Pallit, Mary Kreen, Catherine Rood, 
Elsy Sherrard, Nancy Barnum, Rebecca Chysdale, Ann Hoiks, Elizabeth 
Harriss, Sarah Storer, Jane Huffman, Elizabeth Beech, Rachel Woolcutal, 
Nancy Black, Samuel Pickel, Catherine Elsworth, Phoebe Cornwall, D. 
Cox, Mary Robben,. James McCaul, Robert Nichol, James Pettibon, 
Charles Hill, Benjamin Mosley, Elijah Howley. 

1807 Peter Anderson, Conrad Gostman, Calvin Washburne, Henry 
Lepard, John Johnson, William Coldwell, Hermanus House, Lewis House, 
John Hall, James Kinsey, Peter Anderson. 

1808 Sarah Grant, Ann Tiffany, John Secord, jun r, Benjamin Dun 
ham, Henry Zufelt, J. Osburn, Mary Brown, Rachel Brown, George Bond, 
Nathaniel Dennis, Catherine Bisenbery, John Benedick. 

1809 Samuel Dean, Humphrey Finch, Jean Louis Vicomte de Chains. 

1 81 1 Amos West. 

1812 Nathaniel Sherrard, Gideon Veron, Eunice Scorils, Thomas 

1813 John Titus. 

1816 Peter Robinson. 

1817 Joseph Robinson, Edward Foreman. 

1822 Daniel Cox. 

1828 R. McCarthy, George McCarthy. 

1829 Moses Knight. 

1831 John Doan, sen r, Ebenezer Doan. 

1833 John Weddel, Samuel Hughes, Samuel Johnson. 

1835 John McKay, Obadiah Rogers. 

1840 J. B. Spragge, Benjamin O. N. Lyster. 

1842 Texty Weller. 

1843 Thomas Leighton, William H. Wilson. 

1845 John Bromer. 

1846 Charles Kinsey, William Langton, George Heron. 

172 The County of York. 

1847 William Pegg. 

1848 William Elmer. 

William Hutall, Henry Shuttle worth, John Snarr. 
William Hawkins, Robert Culverwell. 

1855 H. Proctor, T. J. O Neill. 

The soil of East Gwillimbury is generally of a light character, about 
two-fifths of the total area being sandy loam, one-fifth sand, three-tenths 
clay loam, and one-tenth heavy clay. Considerably more than half is 
rolling land, about 2,000 acres being so hilly as to render cultivation 
difficult or impossible. About 11,600 acres, principally in the north-east 
of the township, near the mouth of the Holland River, are low-lying, a 
good deal of it being swamp land. The amount of first-class land is smaller 
in proportion to the total area than in any other township except King, 
one quarter being classed under this head. An equal proportion ranks as 
second-class, another quarter as third-class, the remainder being considered 
practically useless for agricultural purposes. The price of land is about 
$60 per acre for first-class, $40 for second-class, and $15 for third-class 
land. Two-thirds of the farms are under first-class fences, cedar being the 
material principally used. About one-third of the dwelling-houses are first- 
class in construction and materials ; two-thirds being inferior. The out 
buildings are about equally divided in point of quality. Under-drainage is 
not generally practised. About 26,000 acres is still wooded, the leading 
kinds of timber being maple, hemlock, tamarack, birch, pine and beech. 
The proportion of the acreage under cultivation devoted to the leading 
crops is as follows : Fall wheat, one-tenth ; spring wheat, one-tenth ; 
barley, one-twentieth ; oats, one-fifth ; peas, one-tenth ; potatoes, one- 
hundredth ; turnips, one-fiftieth ; hay, three-twentieths ; pasture lands, 
three-twentieths and orchards one-half of one per cent. 

The agricultural produce of East Gwillimbury in 1849, when the town 
ship was somewhat less in area than at present, amounted in round numbers 
to 50,000 bushels of wheat, 46,000 bushels of oats, 14,000 bushels of peas, 
34,000 bushels of potatoes, and 27,000 bushels of turnips. According to the 
Dominion census of 1881, the yield was 100,614 bushels of wheat, 42,111 
bushels of barley, 147,537 bushels of oats, 46,394 bushels of peas and beans, 
57,708 bushels of potatoes, 218,383 bushels of turnips, 20,434 bushels of 
other roots and 4,955 tons of hay. The number of live stock in the town 
ship in 1881 comprised 2,575 head of cattle, 1,620 horses, 3,006 sheep and 
1,103 hogs. The thoroughbred stock was about one-fifth of the whole. 

The population of East Gwillimbury in 1842 was 1,796, which in 1850 
had increased to 2,616. In 1871 it was 3,934, and increased during the 

The County of York. 173 

decade, 1871-81, to 4,143. The number of native Canadians was 3,390. It 
is one of the most purely agricultural communities of any in the county- 
no fewer than 600 being occupiers of land. Of these 385 are also proprie 
tors. The total area of land in occupation is 50,996 acres, of which 36,154 
are improved and 29,585 under tillage, 5,773 acres being pasture land, and 
796 in gardens and orchards. 

According to " the first book of the proceedings of the township com 
missioners, agreeable to an Act of the Provincial Legislature passed 1835," 
which is still in preservation, the township officers for 1836 were: 
Samuel Hughes, John H. Wilson and John Fletcher, commissioners, and 
John Weddel, town clerk ; J. H. Wilson and William Nelson were two of 
the commissioners the following year. In 1838 R. F. Nelson was chairman 
of the board of commissioners, which comprised Israel Lundy, Findlay 
McFarlane and John Fletcher; James Aylwood was assessor, and John H. 
Wilson, collector. In 1839 William Nelson was chairman, the board being 
composed of William Sloan, Peter Rowen, and William G. Dunham, with 
Moses Knight as assessor, and John Reed, collector ; William Nelson 
retained the chairmanship of the board for the two following years. In 
1842 Hugh D. Wilson and William Nelson were elected district coun 
cillors; Wm. Reed, sen r, being chairman of the township commissioners. 
In 1843 tne . chairmanship reverted to Mr. William Nelson, who held -it 
until 1849, when Moses Knight held the office for one year. In 1850, when 
the new system came into operation, Mr. Nelson was the first reeve of the 
township ; Moses Knight and Samuel Harrold were the district commis 
sioners for some years previous to the change. John Weddel continued in 
the office of town clerk from 1836 until 1846, when he was succeeded by 
H. D. Wilson, who in 1850 gave place to William Moore. In that year 
the members of the Council consisted of William Nelson, reeve, John H. 
Wilson, Thomas Brothers, Jesse Doan and \Villiam Millar. In 1851 Joshua 
Harrison was reeve; councillors, R. T. Wilson, Moses Knight, Henry D. 
Stiles and Charles Traviss. In 1852 R. J. Wilson was chosen reeve, and 
Charles Traviss, deputy-reeve ; Henry D. Stiles was elected reeve in 1853, 
and held .the position continuously for six years. The deputy-reeves during 
his term were: J. R. Harrison, Moses Kpight, R. Powell and W. D. 
McLeod, the latter of whom succeeded to the reeveship in 1859, retaining 
it for two years. James Panham was chosen reeve in 1861, and continued 
in office until 1868, when J. Doan who had been deputy the previous y. 
was elected to the chair. Among the occupants of the position during 
later years have been Messrs. Mosier, W. Cane, William H. Rowen, John 
Ramsdeh and W. W. Pegg. The township officials for 1884 are as follows : 

174 The County of York. 

Reeve, W. H. Rowen, Sharon; ist deputy-reeve, Charles Traviss, Holt; 
2nd deputy-reeve, J. Holborn, Ravenshoe ; councillors, Mahlon Doan and 
John A. Ramsden ; clerk and treasurer, John T. Stokes, Sharon ; health 
commissioners, B. Cody, J. T. Stokes, James Silver, W. H. Rowen, and 
John Leek, the first named being chairman of the Board. Mr. Stokes has 
now occupied the position of township clerk for a period of twenty-nine 

The most considerable village in East Gwillimbury is Holland Landing, 
situated on Yonge Street, about four miles above Newmarket. It is of suffi 
cient importance to require a separate notice. East of Holland Landing, 
on the line between the ist and 2nd concessions, is the smaller village of 
Sharon, formerly known as Hope. It was at one time a more important 
point than at present, as, before the completion of the northern portion of 
Yonge Street, the line of travel to the upper part of the country diverged to 
the east at Holland Landing, and passed through Sharon. The construction 
of the Northern Railway, which passes within about a mile of it, following 
the west bank of the Holland River, has considerably decreased the amount 
of traffic along this thoroughfare. A good deal of local travel still 
goes northward by the stage route. The great feature of Sharon, however, 
is the conspicuous temple of the local sect known as the " Children of 
Peace," founded by David Willson. This remarkable character, whose 
name is indelibly associated with the early days of Sharon, was an American, 
of Presbyterian parentage, his native place being Dutchess County, in New 
York State. In his younger days he was a sailor. In 1801 he settled in 
Upper Canada, and after a few years became a member of the Hicksite 
branch of the Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, and adopted 
the profession of school teacher. On account of some peculiarities of belief 
or conduct he was disowned by the Quakers, and several others who held 
similar views withdrew from membership at the same time. The outcome of 
this secession was the establishment of a new body under the designation 
of the Children of Peace, of which Willson became the leader. About the 
year 1825, Willson erected the Sharon Temple, which was designed to sym 
bolize the mystical views held by the sect. This structure, which at once 
strikes the eye of any one entering the village, is a frame building painted 
white, and seventy feet in height. It comprises three stories. The first is 
sixty feet square, with a door in the centre of each side, and three large win 
dows on each side of every door. On two sides of the building the setting 
sun is depicted, with the word " Armageddon " inscribed beneath it. The 
second story is twenty-seven feet square, with three windows on each side, 
and the third nine feet square, with one window looking in each direction, 

The County of York. 175 

the edifice being crowned by a large gilt ball. At the corners of each of 
the stories were square lanterns with gilt mountings. The interior of the 
building was painted fawn-colour, green and white. There was no pulpit 
or platform from which to speak to the congregation, but in the centre were 
sixteen pillars surrounding a square cabinet of black walnut. This con 
tained a table covered with black velvet, and hung with crimson merino 
and fringe, on which was deposited a Bible. The four central pillars were 
inscribed with the words " Faith," " Hope," " Charity " and " Love " ; the 
others bore the names of the twelve apostles. 

In constructing this temple, Willson, in imitation of the method of 
building Solomon s temple, had the framework prepared at a distance, and 
put up without the use of tools as far as possible. On the first Friday in 
September in each year the Children of Peace held an annual feast, on 
which occasion the temple was illuminated with over a hundred candles. 

David Willson was for some time under the impression that he was an 
object of dislike to the Government, and at the close of the War of 1812 
addressed a remonstrance to the British Crown against the intention, which 
he supposed them to hold, of subjecting him to exile or imprisonment. It 
is needless to say that his apprehensions were entirely unfounded. Periodi 
cally the Children of Peace were in the habit of coming to Toronto, driving 
down Yonge Street in their wagons in procession. Services would be 
held in some public place as previously announced. Willson s favourite 
topic was the corruption of public affairs, and his addresses were delivered 
in instalments, between which hymns of his own composition were sung by 
a company of females dressed in white, who occupied one side of the room, 
while a band of music on the other rendered an accompaniment. Patrick 
Swift s Almanac for 1834 contains the following notice of the Children of 
Peace: " This society numbers about 280 members in Hope, east of New 
market. They have also started 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 sfcek no pay from the Governor out of the taxes." 

A more comprehensive account of David Willson, and the peculiar 
sect founded by him, is given in an article entitled, " A Visit to the House 
of David," published in a recent number of the Rural Canadian. " About 
the middle of last century," says the writer of this article, " there lived in 
the City of Carrick Fergus, County Antrim, one Hugh Willson, a merchant 
and extensive dealer in linen, an occupation followed by his father before 
him. He had two sons, Hugh and John, who came to America in 1770. 

176 The County of York. 

They landed in New York ; then proceeded up the Hudson, and afterwards 
settled in Dutchess County. Here David Willson (son of John) was born 
in the year 1780 ; here he grew to manhood, and married about the begin 
ning of the century, Phosbe Titus. Soon after marriage he made a trip to 
Cuba, and on his return came to Canada, where he settled in the year 1801, 
on the uncleared lands where is now the village of Sharon. We will not 
dwell upon that trip, a portion of which was by Indian trail, or upon the 
privations and hardships incident to pioneer life. Our subject, being of a 
religious turn of mind, became at once, on his arrival in Canada, identified 
with the Friends, as the most of the settlers in this region at that time were 
Quakers from Pennsylvania. David Willson was a ready and an impressive 
speaker. He advocated opinions that were not in accordance with those 
held by the Friends, for which he was formally expelled from the Society 
that gathered at that time for worship on Yonge Street. He, with three or 
four other families, then established the Church of the Children of Peace, 
at Hope. They held their meetings first in the houses of the settlers, after 
wards in the school-house ; but soon after erected what is now known as 
the old meeting-house, which has long since fallen into disuse. Between 
the years 1825 and 1830 they erected the Temple, called by them the Upper 
Meeting-house. This was opened only twice a year, at the.first Saturday 
in June, called the seeding feast ; and the first Saturday in September, 
called the harvest feast. It is a structure of sixty feet square, with a height 
of main or outside part of about twenty-two feet. This is surmounted by a 
central second story, or crystal music room ; and this by a dome twelve 
feet square. At the top of the dome are four central spires, across which 
are wires, and from these is suspended a large metallic globe ; at the corners 
of each of these a crystal spire or lantern. The Temple is composed 
largely of windows, and the night before the harvest feast the whole 
building was illuminated. The belief of David Willson -and his followers 
seems to be one about midway between that of the old Jewish belief and 
that of the Quakers, and flourished up to about 1840, when, it is thought, 
nearly 200 souls gathered there for worship. In the year 1843 they built 
their largest house of worship, called the Town Meeting-house. The 
building has a frontage of 100 feet, and a depth of fifty feet. It is of much 
the same style of architecture as the one already described, and is sur 
rounded by a colonnade or row of pillars about four feet from the building. 
They are arched between, forming a sort of balustrade around the entire 
edifice. The two buildings seem to represent in a way the Old and New 
Testament, as inside there is a central colonnade, and upon each of the 
pillars is engraved the names of the principal characters in the Old Testa- 

The County of York. 177 

ment ; and on the corresponding pillars in the temple are the names of the 
twelve apostles, and the four central ones are made to represent Faith, 
Hope, Love and Charity. One of the principal points of difference with 
the Friends was the introduction of music. This was made a principal 
feature, and there was at one time at this place one of the finest silver 
bands in the Province. At the time of the harvest feast the people gathered 
from near and far, assembling in the Lower Meeting-house, where tables 
were already spread with every dainty the country afforded. They then 
marched in procession to the Temple, headed by the band, where an 
especial half-yearly service waS held ; afterwards returning to the Lower 
House, where feasting and good cheer prevailed. This people have been 
friends of an honest and economical administration of Government, and 
were strongly opposed to the Family Compact. Several of them were with 
Mr. Mackenzie in 1837. The Patriarch was not ; yet he and his two sons 
were arrested and taken from their homes. The father was soon after 
released, but the two sons (Hugh D. and John D., who are the only sur 
viving members of the family, and now fourscore years or more) were 
confined each five months in Toronto jail ; and the former was then taken 
to Kingston, where a further incarceration of seven months was endured. 
Although styled the Children of Peace, and for many years a most har 
monious body, dissensions have at last arisen, and the congregation has 
diminished from time to time, until scarcely a dozen families assemble on 
the Lord s day ; yet we deem it not more than justice to this worthy people, 
many of whom are now departed to the Land of the Children of Peace, to 
say that a more intelligent, well-to-do and moral people can not be found 
throughout the length and breadth of the land." 

Mr. Willson died in 1866, at the good old age of eighty-nine years and 
seven months, his son taking his place as head of the sect, the members 
whereof still retain many of their peculiarities. , 

East Gwillimbury contributed largely towards the rising in 1837. One 
of the most prominent leaders of the agitation the patriotic and ill-fated 
Samuel Lount resided near Holland Landing. He was appointed to a 
command in the insurrectionary force a short time before the outbreak, and 
one of the principal causes for the miscarriage of the movement was the 
misunderstanding between Mackenzie, Dr. Rolph and himself as to the day 
upon which the rising was to take place. He organized the movement in 
the north-eastern part of the county, and raised about eighty or ninety 
men, who were the first to begin operations in Upper Canada, and bore 
the brunt of the fighting in the neighbourhood of Toronto. Mr. Lount was 
a blacksmith by trade, and many of the pikes which formed the only arms 

178 The Ccunty of York. 

procurable by a large portion of his followers were of his manufacture. He 
was captured on the i8th of January, 1838, and was sacrificed to the 
blood-thirsty vindictiveness of the Government, being executed on the i2th 
of April, 1838. 

Other villages in the township, in addition to those already mentioned, 
are: Queensville, about four miles north of Sharon; Ravenshoe, on the 
northern boundary, five miles east of Yonge Street; and Hartman, Holt, 
and Mount Albert, in the south-eastern part of the township. The last 
named village, which has a population of about 380, is a station on the 
Toronto and Nipissing Railway, which runs northward within a short 
distance of the eastern boundary. , 

East Gwillimbury has fourteen school-houses and two unions with 
other townships. 

No. i stands on lot 5 (or 100) on Yonge Street, concession i, west. It 
is a good frame structure. The average attendance from East Gwillimbury 
is 20, from the part of King therewith united, 5. The teacher is Robert 
Irwin Terry. 

No. 2 stands on lot 30, in the 3rd concession, two miles north of 
Queensville. It is an attractive and comfortable frame building. The 
average attendance is 27. It is in charge of Henry Johnston. 

No. 3 is built of brick, on the west end of lot 10, in the 2nd concession. 
The average attendance is 14. Miss Frances Kelty is the teacher. 

No. 4 is situated on the east end of lot 9, in the 2nd concession, on 
Queen Street, a little south of Sharon, It is a roomy and comfortable, 
though not modern, frame building, well kept and furnished. The teacher 
is Ira D. Breals. The average attendance is 40. 

No. 5, on lot 20, in the 3rd concession, is in Queensville, a double 
frame house, comfortable in furnishing and accommodation. Only one 
teacher, Robert price, is at present employed. Average, 50. 

No. 6, the Eastville School, is situated on the east end of lot 13, in the 
6th concession. It is an old frame building, enlarged to meet legal require 
ments, not well furnished according to later ideas, but fairly comfortable. 
The teacher is George Welsh. The attendance averages 30. 

No. 7 is on the south-west corner of lot 8, in the 4th concession. It is 
a recent brick structure of good appearance and fair comfort. The teacher 
is William L. Bond. The average is 23. 

No. 8 is also on Union Street, east end of lot 20, in the 3rd concession. 
It is a fairly preserved frame house, well lighted and ventilated, with good 
furniture recently introduced. The average is 35. Teacher, Miss Lizzie 

The County of York. 179 

No. 9, on the east end of lot 30, in the 3rd concession, on Union Street, 
is an oldish frame building, rather poorly furnished and situated. The 
teacher is Hattie E. Lewis. Her attendance is 15. 

No. 10 is located near the centre of lot 29, in the 5th concession, on its 
south side. The building is a plain frame house, with only moderately 
comfortable furnishings. Miss Eliza Sheppard, the teacher, has an average 
attendance of 32. 

No. ii, a recently built frame house, is situated on the west end of lot 
14, in the 5th concession, on Silver Street. The attendance averages 25. 
Teacher, Minnie Steele. 

No. 12, a new school in the Ridges, is a frame building on lot 26, in 
the 8th concession. Miss Jessie Toole is the teacher. The average is 10. 
Owing to the poor soil and the surrounding swamps this is one of the 1 
weakest sections in the inspectorate. 

No. 13, situated on lot 16, in the 8th concession, is directly north of 
Mount Albert, about three-quarters of a mile. The house is a frame struc 
ture, having two apartments. Mr. James A. Brculs and Miss M. Smith are 
the teachers. The average attendance is 60. 

No. 14, a large, but badly kept, frame house, stands on lot 5, in the 8th 
concession, a mile and a quarter south of Mount Albert. The teacher, 
Miss McPhail, has an average of 25. 


EWMARKET is the only town in the County of York, and is a 
place of historical and commercial importance. It is situated 
in the Township of Whitchurch, close to the northern boundary, 
and a short distance east of Yonge Street. It is about twenty- 
eight miles from* Toronto, with which it has communication by 
the Northern Railway. Newmarket became a centre of trade at 
a comparatively early period. The foundation of its prosperity 
was laid by Elisha Beaman, who came here from New York State in 1806, 
and. established mills and stores. Other pioneers of industry were Mordecai 
Millard, who, about the same time, built mills upon a branch of the Holland 
River, and Joseph Hill, who started a tannery. A great impetus was given 
to its growth by the advent of Peter Robinson, who purchased a mill in 
1812, and went extensively into business. In 1814, according to the testi 
mony of one of the early settlers, there were two frame and several log 
buildings in the village. Mr. Robinson occupied one of the frame houses, 
and Timothy Millard, who was in his employ as miller, the other. Mr. 
Robinson afterwards became one of the representatives of York and Simcoe 
in the Provincial Parliament, and was appointed Commissioner of Crown 
Lands in 1827. His brother, W. B. Robinson, also resident in Newmarket, 
attained Parliamentary honours likewise. The Robinsons were famous for 
their open-handed hospitality. Among the distinguished guests whom they 
entertained were Sir John Franklin, Sir John Ross and Captain Jack, the 
Arctic explorers. Their old time residence was one of the landmarks of the 
village until carried away by a freshet in 1878. The convenience of doing 
their trading at Newmarket, instead of taking their produce to York to 
exchange it for supplies, was appreciated by the settlers in the neighbour 
hood. As trade sprang up, the name of " Newmarket " gradually came into 
use as an appropriate designation for this outpost of traffic. 

The County of York. 181 

One of the earliest settlers, who survived until a recent period, was 
William Roe, who, for over forty years, was postmaster of the village. Mr. 
Roe was born at Detroit, while it was in the possession of the British, his 
father being an Englishman from London. When in pursuance of treaty 
stipulations, Detroit was handed over to the Americans, it was Mr. Roe, 
sen r, who officially delivered the key of the fort to the officer of the United 
States deputed to receive it. He and his family afterwards removed to 
Windsor, where he died. John Loughton, Mr. Roe s maternal grandfather, 
as a naval officer took an important part in the capture of Quebec. In 1807 
William Roe came to York. During the w r ar of 1812, he was instrumental 
in concealing from the invading American force, under General Dearborn 
and Commodore Chauncey, a large portion of the contents of the public 
treasury. He was at that time employed in the office of the Receiver- 
General, and by the order of the Government he buried three bags of gold 
and a quantity of army-bills, on the farm of Chief Justice Robinson, on the 
Kingston Road. The enemy afterwards- secured the bills, but the gold was 
safely restored to the authorities by Mr. Roe when the Americans had with 
drawn. He also removed the iron chest of the Receiver-General s office to 
the house of Donald McLean, Clerk of the Assembly. The latter was killed 
in battle, and his house plundered, about one thousand silver dollars being 
taken from the chest. 

After the war, Mr. Roe removed to Newmarket, where, in partnership 
with Andrew Borland, he was engaged for many years in the fur trade. 
The Indians at that time came to Newmarket in large numbers to exchange 
their peltries for supplies. These parties sometimes numbered as many as 
three or four hundred, and the value and extent of the trade may be realized 
from the fact that sometimes Messrs. Roe and Borland obtained furs at one 
time amounting to fifty thousand dollars. Mr. Roe died in April, 1879, at 
the age of eighty-four. 

Mr. Andrew Borland, who was associated with him in the fur trade, 
was in active service during the war of 1812. He was made prisoner by 
the Americans when York wa s taken in 1813, but his capture was not 
effected before he had received six wounds, the results of which he con 
tinued to experience for the remainder of his life. He also participated in 
the battles of Queenston and Detroit. The Loyal and Patriotic Society 
of Upper Canada, at a meeting held on the nth of June, 1813, voted him a 
donation of sixty dollars, in the words of the report, " for his patriotic and 
eminent services at Detroit, Queenston and York, at which latter place he 
was severely wounded." The petition to the society requesting this grant 
to be made was presented by D Arcy Boulton, in whose employment Mr. 

1 82 The County of York. 

Borland had been. The latter afterwards received a pension of twenty 
pounds a year. The troubles of 1837-8 found Mr. Borland still ready to 
take up arms in defence of his country. He was placed in command of two 
hundred Indians, who were stationed at Holland Landing, but their ser 
vices were not needed. Mr. Borland had a thorough knowledge of the 
Indian character, as well as of the language of the neighbouring tribes, and 
had acquired considerable influence over them. 

Another of the more conspicuous names among the early settlers is 
that of Mr. John Cawthra, who, with his brother Jonathan, was at the front 
during the War of 1812, and was engaged at Queenston and Detroit. He 
was subsequently in business at Newmarket for a considerable time, and 
was elected Member of Parliament. 

Newmarket was one of the centres of the. agitation against the Family 
Compact, which preceded the insurrection of 1837. The first of the series 
of public meetings held by Mr. Mackenzie throughout the country, in pur 
suance of his scheme for organizing the Reformers of Upper Canada, was 
held here on the 3rd of August, 1837, After Mr. Mackenzie had spoken 
for an hour and a-half, resolutions were passed approving of the Toronto 
Declaration of Independence, and declaring that the constitution was " con 
tinually violated and trampled upon by the Executive, and countenanced 
by the Colonial Office and the English Parliament." The resolutions also 
pledged the meeting to abstain, as far as possible, from the consumption of 
articles upon which a duty was imposed, .and to unite with the Lower Can 
adians, whose cause was declared to be the cause of Upper Canada, " in 
every practicable measure for the maintenance of civil and religious liberty." 
Delegates were appointed to the convention which it was proposed to hold 
in Toronto. These were Samuel Lount, afterwards executed for his partici 
pation in the rising; Nelson Gorham, who was also involved, and who sought 
refuge for a long time in the United States ; Silas Fletcher, another refugee ; 
Jeremiah Graham, and John Mclntosh, M.P.P. The latter, although com 
mitted to the insurrection, was never called to account for his participation 
in the preliminary movements. The Newmarket meeting resulted in the 
formation of a political association and a vigilance committee. At Lount s 
suggestion, three cheers for Papineau and the Lower Canadian Reformers 
were given, and when Lieutenant Carthew, an ex-officer of the British 
army, called on those opposed to Papineau to separate themselves by 
moving to the right, he was followed by only two persons. 

Newmarket in 1851 was described by W. H. Smith, in his "Canada: 
Past, Present and Future," as " a considerable village, containing nearly 
eight hundred inhabitants. It has been long settled, and to tell the truth, 

The County of York. 183 

it has rather an old-fashioned look about it. It is divided into two distinct 
positions, at some little distance from each other. The east branch of the 
Holland River runs through the village, and two grist mills are erected on 
it. There are also in Newmarket a foundry, tannery and brewery ; seven 
churches : Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational, Wesleyan-Methodist, 
Baptist, Christian, and Roman Catholic ; a court-house and a grammar- 
school. Newmarket is situated in a fine section of country, and is sur 
rounded by excellent farms." 

The first Episcopal church in Newmarket was built in 1834. It was 
an unpretentious frame structure, to which, some time afterwards, a school 
room and two transepts were added. The first clergyman to hold service 
in this church was the Rev. Mr. Williams, who was followed by the Rev. 
(now Canon) Ritchie. Both of these were travelling missionaries. Rev. 
Robert Taylor was the first incumbent of the church. His successor was 
the Rev. George Street. In 1848 Rev. Canon Ramsay became incumbent, 
and continued in charge for twenty-four years, during which period Aurora 
and Holland Landing were made distinct missions, and Newmarket became 
a parish. In 1873 Rev. Dr. Tremayne succeeded to the pastoral office, and 
on his resignation the Rev. Canon Givins temporarily supplied the vacancy 
for a year. The Rev. H. B. Owen was appointed incumbent in June, 1879. 
The present rector, the Rev. Albert W. Spragge succeeded him in May, 
1882. The old frame building was demolished in the summer of 1883 in 
order to make way for the erection of a substantial stone edifice in its 
place. On the 26th June, 1884, fifty years after the building of the old 
church, the corner-stone of the new structure of St. Paul s Church was 
laid in the presence of a large assemblage by Miss Rosamond Mulock, 
assisted by the church officers, in accordance with the customary cere 
monies observed by the Church of England. Addresses were delivered by 
the Rev. W. W. Bates, Thornhill, Mr. Clark, of Bolton, the Rev. Albert 
W. Spragge, rector of the Church, William Mulock, M.P., Lieutenant 
Armstrong, of King, and others. The new church will be a handsome 
building, with sitting accommodation for three hundred people in the nave. 

Newmarket possesses a flourishing Mechanics Institute, which was 
incorporated in 1856. It has thirty-five members, and 828 volumes in the 
library, the number of volumes issued last business year being 810. It has 
received since 1869 Government grants amounting to $721. There are two 
excellent weekly journals published in the town the Newmarket Em ami 
the North York Reformer the latter, as the name implies, bring an ex 
ponent of Liberal views, while the former, though of similar tendencies, is 

184 The County of York. 

The town was formerly embraced within the Parliamentary constitu 
ency of North York for Dominion as well as Provincial electoral purposes, 
but the Dominion re-distribution measure of 1882 detached it from that 
Riding, and constituted it, together with Whit church Township and the 
Village of Stouffville, a portion of West Ontario. 

The incorporation of Newmarket as a village took place in 1857. The 
following were the first officials : Donald Sutherland, reeve ; George H. 
Bache, E. Jackson, William Roe and William Wallis, councillors ; Edwin 
P. Irwin, clerk, and William Trent, treasurer. In 1880, Newmarket was 
incorporated as a town with three wards: St. George s, St. Andrew s and St. 
Patrick s. The officials for 1884 are as follows : William Crane, mayor ; 
Erastus Jackson, reeve ; Thomas H. Lloyd, deputy-reeve ; H. S. Crane, 
Nelson Johnson, B. T. Reesor, T. G. Robertson, John Eves, Dr. Stanley 
Scott, John H. Millard, William Bowden and John Gascoigne, councillors ; 
David Lloyd, town clerk and treasurer. The population was 1,760 accord 
ing to the census of 1871 in 1881 it had increased to 2,006. Among the 
prominent architectural features of the town is the high school, which is a 
handsome brick building, situated in a conspicuous position upon a hill. 
Mr. J. E. Dickson, B.A., of Toronto University, is head-master. It has a 
favourable reputation for thoroughness and efficiency, and many of its 
graduates have attained leading positions in the country. 

The Model or Public School consists of a large one-story frame 
building with three wings, furnishing accommodation for the Principal, 
William Rannie, and three assistants, George Rose, Annie Birnie, and 
Jennie Fidell. There is also a Model Class Room, where students-in- 
training receive instruction. The spacious grounds are much improved 
by plank walks and flower-beds in front of the building and shade trees. 
The average attendance here is about 150. 

The Primary, conducted by Miss Johnston, is a good frame building 
in the western part of the town, with an average of about forty pupils in 
the first t\vo books. 


URORA, being situated on Yonge Street, about twenty-five miles 
north of Toronto, lies partly in the Township ot Whitchurch 
and partly in King. It is the largest village in the county, the 
population, according to the census of 1881, being 1,540. It 
was formerly known as Machell s Corners, and in 1851 the num 
ber of inhabitants was estimated at about a hundred. In 1871 
the population numbered 1,132. Aurora was incorporated as a 
village on January ist, 1863, tne fi rst municipal officials being Charles 
Doan, reeve ; Seth Ashton, Robert Boyd, James Halladay and G. S. 
Stevenson, councillors ; Charles York, clerk and treasurer. The officials 
for 1884 are, A. Yule, reeve ; William Ough, deputy reeve, and S. H. 
Lundy, clerk and treasurer. 

One of the most noteworthy events in the history of the village was 
the delivery of Mr. Edward Blake s celebrated " Aurora Speech," at a 
political demonstration held here on the 3rd of October, 1874, which was 
intended to foreshadow a new departure in the Liberal policy, and caused 
much political controversy at the tkne. The gathering took place in the 
drill shed at the head of Moseley Street, about 2,000 persons being present. 
The chairman of the meeting was Mr. Nelson Gorham, of Newmarket, a 
veteran Reformer, who in his younger days took a prominent part in 
connection with~Mackenzie s insurrection. Mr. Blake, in what he then 
described as a " disturbing speech," took strong ground in favour of the 
encouragement of Canadian national sentiment, and the assertion by Cana 
dians of the right to more complete self-government than hitherto accorded 
them. On this point he said : 

" For my own part, I believe that while it was not unnatural, not 
unreasonable, pending that process of development which has been going 
on in our new and sparsely-settled country, that we should have been quite 

The County of York. 

willing we, so few in numbers, so busied in our local concerns, so engaged 

in subduing the earth and settling up the country to leave the cares and 
privileges to which I have referred in the hands of the parent State, the 
time will come when that national spirit which has been spoken of will be 
truly felt amongst us, when we shall realize that we are four millions of 
Britons who are not free; when we shall be ready to take up that freedom, 
and to ask what the late Prime Minister of England assured us should not 
be denied our share of national rights." The speech created a sensation 
in political circles, and the controversy which ensued inspired strong hopes 
among men of progressive views ; but the repressive influences were too 
powerful, and the movement, though exciting a temporary enthusiasm 
among the younger element, came to nothing. 

Aurora is an enterprising and stirring business community. It contains 
several factories and mills, five churches, and -two weekly newspapers are 
published there, the Banner, of Reform politics, and the Aurora Borealis, 

The recent erection of a handsome white brick Episcopal place of 
worship, upon an attractive site, has contributed materially to the architec 
tural beauty of the village. It takes the place of the church opened on the 
ayth of September, 1846. The first Church of England service in Aurora 
was held in 1843, in a private house, by Rev. George Street. After the 
building of the church the Rev. Septimus Ramsay officiated from 1848 to 
1859. In 1860 the Rev. H. W. Stewart was appointed incumbent, and the 
year following he was succeeded by the Rev. J. H. McCollum, during whose 
pastorate the present parsonage was erected, Mr. McCollum being a large 
contributor to the fund for that purpose. It was built by the united sub 
scriptions of the three congregations of Aurora, Oak Ridges and King, and 
cost $3,000. In 1871 the Rev. A. J. Fidler succeeded to the incumbency, 
and remained in charge until 1878, when the Rev. C. W. Paterson was 
appointed. During his incumbency the parish of King was separated from 
Aurora and Oak Ridges. On the death of Mr. Paterson, in 1881, the Rev. 
E. Horace Mussen, the present incumbent, succeeded him. Mr. Mussen is 
a graduate of Trinity College, Toronto. 

In this village the school-house, though substantial, is old and out of 
keeping with the improvements growing up around it and the unusually 
rapid development of the place. It is of brick and affords insufficient 
accommodation for the school population. The teachers are M. H.Thomp 
son, principal, and Misses Bretta Barren, E. Ruth Dickson and Mary E. 
Lough. Average attendance, 210. 


BOUT eight miles from Toronto, in a north-westerly direction, is 
the picturesque and busy Village of Weston, which lies in a 
valley formed by the Humber River. The larger portion of the 
village is in York Township, that on the west side of the river 
being in Etobicoke. The village stretches for some distance 
along the mam street, which is a portion of one of the oldest 
roads of the county, and diverges from the Dundas Road near 
Carleton. At Weston it runs parallel to and within a stone s throw of the 
river. The fall in the river at this point is sixteen feet and a-half, the 
excellent water power being available for the mill and other industries 
pursued here. The banks are largely composed of thin horizontal layers 
of limestone, suitable for some of the purposes for which stone is required 
other than building, with clay interposed, and a surface soil of sandy loam. 
Weston has a population of about 1,200. It was incorporated as a 
village in 1882, when William Tyrrell was elected reeve, and W. J. Conron, 
clerk and treasurer, which positions they still retain. The other officials 
for 1884 are as follows: Councillors, John Barton, Jacob Bull, David 
Rowntree and James Conron ; assessor, John Gram. 

The village has a fine public hall, erected in 1883, which occupies a 
central position on the west side of the main street, and is a conspicuous 
feature. It is a handsome building of red brick, two stories in height, 
surmounted by a tastefully designed mansard roof, with fancy iron work 
and a dome in front. Here are the council chamber and municipal offices, 
the library of the Mechanics Institute, and a large hall for public meetings 
and entertainments, known as Dufferin Hall. Its erection is justly 
regarded as a marked improvement, both from the standpoint of practical 
convenience and architectural taste. There are four churches in or near 
the village. The Methodist church, a brick building erected in 1849, 

1 88 The County of York. 

which has a large and flourishing congregation under the pastoral care of 
Rev. Peter Campbell ; the Presbyterian church, also of brick, built a few 
years ago ; the Catholic church, a capacious frame structure, and the 
Episcopal church, situated within a short distance from Weston, in 
Etobicoke. The three latter churches are at present without resident 
pastors, being supplied from Toronto. 

Weston has a High School of noted efficiency, the head master of which 
is Mr. George Wallace, B.A., of Dublin University. It is attended by 
about fifty pupils. 

Sixty years ago, on the York side of what is now the Village of Weston, 
then known as " Farr s Mills," there were only three houses, all occupied 
by farmers. The village was almost entirely on the Etobicoke side of the 
river, being mainly situated upon a narrow strip of land, containing between 
two and three acres, bounded on the west by Wadsworth s mill and tail 
race, and on the east by the Humber. About fifteen houses, besides stores 
and other business places, constituted the village. It comprised two stores, 
a tavern, and blacksmith s, weaver s, cooper s, and saddler s shops. This 
locality was gradually abandoned, owing to the damage caused by spring 
freshets. Several buildings were greatly injured from this cause in 1842, 
and in 1850 the buildings remaining in that part of the village were entirely 
destroyed. Weston has latterly been almost entirely on the York side of 
the stream. 

In the year 1818, Mr. George Dixon constructed a saw-mill on the 
Etobicoke side, a short distance below Eagle s Bridge. On the adjoining 
lot below, his brother, Thomas Dixon, put up a saw-mill in 1823, which 
afterwards passed into the hands of a man named Keating, being purchased 
in 1840 by Gibson Brothers. They pulled down the old building, and 
erected a flour mill in its place. It was afterwards sold to Mr. Somerville, 
and twice destroyed by fire. Opposite this point, on the York side, where 
the extensive mills of the Weston Woollen Manufacturing Company now 
stand, a saw-mill was erected in 1827 by Joseph Holley, who two years 
afterwards sold out to John Chew. The property was successively trans 
ferred to James Clifford, J. N. Coons, and James Magee, the latter of whom 
erected a flax-mill adjoining the saw-mill. In 1853, the property came into 
the possession of Mr. John Dennis, who put up a woollen factory of brick 
and stone on the site of the old mill. This was run by John Wardlaw, and 
afterwards by Messrs. Farren and Miles. About thirteen years since the 
place was purchased by Messrs. Smith and Wilby, who made extensive 
improvements, and established the business on a much larger scale. Mr. 
Smith withdrew from the concern in 1879, leaving Oliver Wilby sole pro- 

The County of York. 189 

prietor. The factory was three times destroyed by fire within two years, 
but rebuilt owing to the indomitable energy of Mr. Wilby. Latterly it has 
been turned over to a joint stock company, under the title of the Weston 
Woollen Manufacturing Company, Mr. Wilby still retaining the manage 
ment of its affairs. 

Further up the river, on the Etobicoke side, just above Eagle s Bridge, 
a brewery was built about fifty years ago, which ran but a very short time 
before it was burned down. Opposite this site, on the York side, an oil 
refinery was established in 1863 by Messrs. Tyrrell and Noble. Two 
years later the refinery was consumed, though afterwards rebuilt. Some 
distance up stream, a saw-mill was put up by Mr. Porter in 1830, which ten 
years later became the property of Mr. Burr, who added a flour mill and 
woollen factory under one roof a few rods west of the saw-mill. It was 
destroyed by fire, and in 1849 Mr. Robert McDougall became the owner of 
the property, and the year afterwards built a flour mill four stories in 
height, with three run of stones. This mill is yet in operation. He pulled 
down the old saw-mill, and replaced it by a new one, which was worked 
until 1870. Mr. Gracey erected a brewery a little way above, which was 
burned down fourteen years since. A tannery business was carried on in 
this immediate neighbourhood by John Lawrence from 1842 to 1855. On 
the Etobicoke side, somewhat further up, two brothers, Edward and Thomas 
Musson, built a small distillery in 1820, which was pulled down in 1842, and 
a larger one constructed on the site. This was burned down two years 
later, and immediately rebuilt. 

During the latter years of the eighteenth century, a grist mill was built 
by Mr. Countryman, on a site just above that now occupied by Wads- 
worth s mill. -It met what appears to be the usual fate of mills destruction 
by fire and was rebuilt by Joseph Holley, who also put up a saw-mill 
adjoining the first building. In 1815, these mills, together with 150 acres 
of land, fell into the hands of Mr. James Farr, from whom the locality took 
the title of " Farr s Mills," by which it was known for a long time. Alex 
ander Milne, of Markham, in partnership with Jacob McKay, of York, 
subsequently carried on carding and fulling in a portion of the flour mill. 
The Messrs. Wadsworth purchased the property in 1828, and two years 
afterwards put up a new saw-mill, which remained until 1870, when it was 
pulled down. The firm erected a distillery in 1840, which was in operation 
for twenty years, having been burned down and rebuilt during that period. 
In 1856, the Wadsworths erected a new flour mill, five stories in height, 
and with six run of stones, below the old building. On the east side of the 
mill-pond a tannery was built, in 1840, by William and Peter Gibson, who 

The County of York. 

carried on the business for a long time. Joseph Holley put up a saw-mill 
just opposite, in 1841, which the Wadsworths afterwards purchased and 
worked until about twelve years since. 

The industries of the village have done a great deal to advance the 
progress of the place, and make it one of the most prosperous villages in 
the "county. Its excellent railway facilities are an important factor of 
its growth. It is a station on the main line of the Grand Trunk, and 
on the Toronto, Grey and Bruce line, now a branch of the Canada 
Pacific. Weston is a noted resort for sleighing parties from the city, being 
within convenient driving distance, and having first-class hotel accommo 

One of the most notable of the old-time residents of Weston was Mr. 
Joseph Dennis, who was born in New Brunswick in 1789, his father, John 
Dennis, having been a U. E. Loyalist refugee. The family removed to 
Upper Canada in 1792, Mr. John Dennis receiving a grant of land on the 
Humber as a compensation for his losses. He subsequently removed to 
Kingston, on his appointment as superintendent of the dock-yard in that 
city. This secured to his son a thorough knowledge of ship-building, but 
he found sailing a more congenial occupation. Joseph Dennis owned a lake 
vessel at the outbreak of the war of 1812, which he placed at the disposal of 
the Government, and which was attached to the Provincial marine. In one 
of the naval engagements on the lake his vessel was lost, and he was cap 
tured by the Americans, and remained a prisoner of war for about fifteen 
months. Mr. Dennis afterwards commanded the Princess Charlotte, sup 
posed to have been the first steamer 6n Lake Ontario, which plied between 
the Bay of Quinte, Kingston and Prescott. On returning from active 
pursuits he made his home at Weston, where he passed his declining years, 
dying respected by all who knew him in the year 1867, aged seventy-eight 


VERYBODY has heard of the beautiful English landscape bear 
ing the name of Richmond Hill, and it is often asserted in off 
hand conversation that our Canadian village was so named in 
consequence of its close resemblance to its trans- Atlantic pro 
totype. As matter of fact, nothing could be much further from 
the truth. The two places bear about as much resemblance to 
each other as a hawk bears to a handsaw. But, though our 
Canadian Richmond Hill has little or nothing beyond its elevation in 
common with the fair Surrey landscape, it has charms peculiar to itself, 
and is one of the most beautiful villages to be found anywhere throughout 
the length and breadth of "this Canada of ours." As its name indicates, 
it stands on an eminence, and it overlooks a wide expanse of richly culti 
vated farm land. Its situation is on Yonge Street, about sixteen miles 
north of Toronto, and nine miles south of the Village of Aurora. Yonge 
Street forms its principal thoroughfare, and divides it into two parts, the 
portion to the west of the street lying in the Township of Vaughan, and 
that to the east being in Markham. It is a long, straggling place, the 
houses principally following the line of the great northern thoroughfare, 
instead of grouping round a centre, so that it extends over a more con 
siderable area of ground than might be expected from its population. 

Richmond Hill is referred to in Smith s " Canada: Past, Present and 
Future" as a smart little place, the population of which it is difficult to 
calculate, on account of the houses being so scattered, but which contaii 
at that time (1851) a steam grist-mill, a steam saw-mill, a tannery, and t\vo 
churches, Presbyterian and Methodist. 

But we must go back to a date long anterior to 1851 in order to dis 
cover the origin of its name. A settlement seems to have sprung up lu-iv 
during the earl}- years of the present century, and to have received the 

The County of York. 

appropriate name of Mount Pleasant. It made reasonable progress, and 
in 1819 it became necessary to erect a Presbyterian Church for the accom 
modation of the professors of that faith resident in the neighbourhood. 
While the work of construction was in progress a very distinguished per 
sonage visited the spot, and his visit proved to be an important historical 
event in its history, for it was the means of conferring upon it the name 
which it has borne ever since. The visitor was no less a personage than 
Charles Gordon Lennox, Fourth Duke of Richmond, who was then Gov 
ernor-General of Canada. His Grace was engaged in making a tour of 
both the Provinces, in the course of which he drove from York to Penetan- 
guishene. The Village of Mount Pleasant being situated midway between 
the two ends of Yonge Street, was a frequent place of call for travellers, 
who generally stopped there to rest and bait their horses. The Governor- 
General and his retinue followed this example, and remained in the village 
several hours on their upward progress. The Duke inspected the little 
church which was building, and conversed with the workmen with the 
utmost affability. The people of the village, impressed by his Grace s 
dignified yet pleasant bearing, resolved to commemorate his visit by 
re-christening the place in his honour, and accordingly bestowed upon it 
the name of Richmond Hill. The Governor s visit took place in the month 
of Tuly, 1819. It was not destined to be repeated. He died from hydro 
phobia, in a little hovel on the banks of the Goodwood River, near its 
confluence with the Rideau, in the County of Carleton, on the a8th of the 
following month, and within six weeks after his vice-regal progress up 
Yonge Street. 

Fifty-three years elapsed between the time of the Duke of Richmond s 
visit and the incorporation of Richmond Hill as a village. The latter 
event took place in 1872. The first council comprised Abraham Law, 
reeve; and William Warren, David Hopkins, Jacob Brillinger and William 
Powell. Matthew Teefy was appointed village clerk and treasurer, and 
still retains that position. The reeve for the present year is J. Brown. 
The population of the village, according to the Dominion census of 1881, 
was 867, and is now about 900. Richmond Hill has no immediate railway 
connections, but the Northern Railway passes within four miles to the 
west, and there is a station at this point, known as Richmond Hill station. 
Stages run regularly to Toronto and other places on Yonge Street. 

There are several spots in the village which are of special interest to 
students of our local history and topography. Not the least interesting of 
these is the office of Mr. Teefy, the village postmaster, which is situated on 
the west side of the main street, in a central and convenient locality. Mr. 

TJie County of York. 193 

Teefy is the gentleman already referred to as the clerk and treasurer of the 
village corporation. He is an enthusiastic archaeologist and antiquarian, 
and probably knows more of the history, topography, traditions and folk 
lore of Richmond Hill and its neighbourhood than all the rest of the 
inhabitants put together. He is a gentleman of upwards of three-score 
years of age, but his physical and mental vigour are those of one in the 
prime of life, and he presents the appearance of a man of forty or forty-five. 
He has been postmaster for thirty-four years, having been appointed to 
that position in 1850. He has also been a magistrate for a period of thirty- 
one years, "and has during all the interval been one of the most popular and 
useful citizens. His private office is immediately to the rear of the post- 
office, and is crammed full of objects of interest. In the centre of the room 
is his desk, from which he dispenses magisterial justice. The wall to the 
right is lined with volumes of the Dominion and Provincial Statutes, and 
other law books and works for technical reference. Another side of the 
room is largely taken up by files of the Colonial Advocate and other rare 
old Canadian newspapers which have long since been practically unpro 
curable. Around, set in suitable frames, are various old documents, the 
sight of which is eminently calculated to gladden the heart of any one 
sufficiently versed in Canadian history to know their value. Conspicuous 
among them is a printed Address from Mr. William Jarvis, dated " York, 
i4th July, 1800." Mr. Jarvis was for many years Provincial Secretary of 
Upper Canada, and was the gentleman referred to elsewhere in this volume 
as having been sharply admonished by Lieutenant-Governor Peter Hunter 
for neglect of duty. The document now under consideration is addressed 
" To the Free and Independent Electors of the Counties of Durham, 
Simcoe, and the East Riding of York." It sets out that Mr. Jarvis will be a 
candidate for their suffrages at the ensuing elections ; that he has not 
relinquished his intention of so doing, and that all reports to that effect are 
utterly unfounded. Next, we find a framed broadside issued as an advertise 
ment by Peter Perry, dated at Whitby, on the 2oth of December, 1841. 
Most readers of these pages doubtless have some knowledge of Mr. Perry. 
" From forty to fifty years ago," says the author of " The Canadian 
Portrait Gallery,"* " there was no name better known throughout the 
whole of Upper Canada ; and, in Reform Constituencies, there was no 
name more potent wherewith to conjure during an election campaign. 
Peter Perry was closely identified with the original formation of the Reform 
Party in Upper Canada, and for more than a quarter of a century he 

"Vol. iii., p. 212. 

The County of York. 

continued to be one of its foremost members. During the last ten or 
twelve years of his life he was to some extent, overshadowed by the figure 
of Robert Baldwin, whose lofty character, unselfish aims, and high social 
position combined to place him on a sort of pedestal. But Peter Perry 
continued to the very last to be an important factor in the ranks of his 
party." He died at Saratoga Springs, New York State, on the 24th of 
August, 1851. At the time when he issued the broadside which hangs 
framed in Mr. Teefy s office, he kept a general store at Whitby, originally 
named Perry s Corners. The broadside is headed " O yes ! O yes ! O yes ! " 
and contains a pressing injunction to his debtors to pay up their several 
liabilities or take the consequences. It is too long for quotation here, but 
is very suggestive throughout to any one who remembers the man and the 
times. We next come to a framed Address from the Irish inhabitants of 
Upper Canada to the Queen, printed in 1838. It is headed " Erin Go 
Bragh !" and deplores the recent rebellion, at the same time avowing the 
loyalty of the Irish inhabitants. Mr. Teefy also has a number of volumes 
of rare and unprocurable Canadian pamphlets, concerning which it is not 
an exaggeration to say that they are worth their weight in gold. But 
space fails to describe the multiform out-of-the-way objects which are here 
exhibited. Any one who feels sufficiently interested in the matter should 
call on Mr. Teefy and see them for himself. 

On the northern outskirts of the village, on the east side of Yonge 
Street, and about twenty feet from the road, stands the whilome residence 
of Colonel Moodie, who was shot by the rebels at Montgomery s, while 
trying to force his way southward, in December, 1838. The house is an 
antiquated looking structure, which has undergone various modifications 
since the impetuous Colonel s days, but the identical frame is still there, 
and forms a sort of connecting link between the past and the present. It 
is the property of the Robinson estate, but is at present occupied by a 
tenant, and seems to stand in need of repairs. 

About two miles further north, on the opposite side of Yonge Street,