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Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments

Servant Question, Ottawa, 1912

Ottawa Citizen, 8 October 1912, page 3

Servant Question – Charity Board Member has Ideas for the Girls

A local member of the charity board of the city when seen by the Citizen regarding the alleged low wages paid to girls and the evil consequences resulting, was of the opinion that the condition of the shop girl was somewhat improved now to what he thought it used to be a few years ago.  While he thought that the small sum of say $3 per week was not all sufficient, when girls had no parents or a domestic home, when they had homes of their parents to go to they could then just manage to get along until they became so proficient as to command fair wages.

“When a girl comes from the country,” he said, “and wants to engage in what they consider ‘genteel’ occupations they must, if they would reflect, expect this state of affairs, but if on the other hand they would go out to domestic service, where there is such a pressing demand, they would not only get better homes but be able to save more money also.

“Within the last ten years,” he went on, “I can remember when girls were glad to work in law offices as stenographers and typists for the experience only.” As this gentleman could not say definitely whether this was the case now or not, he was inclined to believe it was not.

He was a strong advocate of girls supplying this great demand – that of domestic service, for here they would not be exposed and come less in contact with a large amount of immorality which no unfortunately prevails especially in large cities.

New Year’s Poem, Ottawa, 1867

Ottawa Citizen, 3 January 1867, page 2

 

1867

 

Aurora, blushing in the rosy light,

Passed through the eastern portals of the day,

And from the sleeping earth, so still and white,

Fled the dark shadows of the night away.

 

The golden sunbeams glanced athwart the sun,

The smoke curled upwards, and the sky was clear,

And suddenly arose to busy life

The earliest morning of another year.

 

The old year, with its manifold delights,

Its slow monotony, its bitter pain,

Has passed away all silently, and we

Welcome a new year to the earth again.

 

Linger a moment for a tender thought

Of him who greeted us but yester morn,

For while we slept, unconscious of our loss,

The old friend left us, and the new was born.

 

New Year, that comest with a friendly face,

Standing, half smiling, at the open door.

We love thee, and we dread thee, knowing not

Aught of the good or evil in thy store.

 

Yet will we use thee well, and welcome thee,

Though what thou bringest us we cannot tell,

So to part with regret, but not remorse,

When the time comes for thee to say farewell.

George Paulin elected mayor of Henley-on-Thames, 1866

Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette, 8 September 1866, page 7

Henley-on-Thames

The Mayoralty – In accordance with the charter of incorporation of this town, the aldermen and burgesses met at the Town Hall, on Tuesday last, for the purpose of electing the Mayor for the ensuing year, when Mr George Paulin was nominated, and unanimously elected; after the election, the Mayor and corporation attended Divine Service at the parish church.

Photo copyright Kathleen Paulin
Photo copyright Kathleen Paulin

Important Geographical Discovery, McKenzie, 1794

Northampton Mercury, 18 October 1794 p3

Important Geographical Discovery

We have received advice, by a private letter from Montreal of a discovery which has been recently made of the highest importance to the Commercial world. Mr McKenzie, a partner in the house of Frobisher, McTavish and Co of Montreal, has lately returned to Michilimakinac after an absence of near three years, during which he has been so fortunate as to penetrate across the Continent to the Pacific Ocean, and reach a place between King George’s Island and Nootka Sound.

This gentleman, whose persevering and enterprising mind well suited him for such an undertaking, in his travels through the North West country some time ago, to establish a more extensive intercourse with the Indians, and to traffic for furs, arrived at the banks of the river which took a western direction, and which he observed to rise upwards of two fee, by the influence of the tide.  In prosecuting a second expedition from Michilimackinac, after undergoing the unavoidable hardships attendant on such a journey, which was carried on in canoes along various rivers and lakes, and often through forests where men were obliged to carry the canoes, he attained the utmost bounds of the western continent.  This circumstance will, in the course of time, be of the greatest consequence to this country, as it opens a direct communication with China, and may doubtless yet lead to further discoveries.

The distance from Michilimakinac to the Western Coast is supposed to be 1500 miles, of which the Company had before established huts as far as 1000 miles.

Curses to 2016?

A few days ago Carrie Fisher died, and so passed with her another talented performer in a year which seems to have seen the passing of far too many talented people.  Was 2016 really such a striking year for the death of celebrities?  It seems that every year a lot of wonderful and talented people pass away, and so this year in of itself is not as singular as everyone thinks.  But this was the year that saw so many people who were culturally important to me, and my generation.

To those of us growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, people like Bowie, Prince, and George Michael were a part of our lives, they were our idols and the creators of our soundtrack.  With their passing comes the startling realisation that we are growing old.  We are all really quite mortal, and that includes the people who entertained us.  And of course, when we hear the ages of some of they, and we understand how close in age they actually are to us, well…..

In a year that has seen such political and social turmoil, war, strife, and racism, the death of those whom we admire, who possessed so much talent, such capacity to entertain, and bring joy to others, their loss is perhaps the more striking.

Christhebarker/Tumblr
Christhebarker/Tumblr

Governor Simcoe’s colonial expedition to Upper Canada, 1792

Caledonian Mercury, 29 November 1792, p3

British America

Upper Canada, Kingston of Catarague, Eastern Extremity of Lake Ontario

August 8

His Excellency Governor Simcoe and Major Littlehales, with the civil and military attendants required in a colonial expedition, arrived at Kingston on the 14th of July.  Of this voyage it will not be uninteresting to relate some particulars.

In a progress of nearly 900 miles up this majesty of rivers, the St Laurence, from Cape Roziere, and the Island of Anticosti to this town, it will naturally be conceived, from the description of this tract of the Continent, that we have seen more various and more stupendous views of nature than can be painted by the most inventive imagination. From the Gulph [sic] of St Laurence to Quebec the scene is in general bold, and displays the lofty mountains of both shores to the admiring eye. For the last 100 miles the river gradually contracts, and becomes insulated with a rich variety of natural ornaments. From Quebec to Montreal, that part of Lower Canada, which is principally inhabited by the French or native Canadians, assumes a more cultivated and domestic appearance, with the most beautiful natural scenery, a little improved by art.  There are many neat small towns in this place of 200 miles, and several rivers dissembling themselves into the St Laurence in various directions; such as the Richelieu, the Ratiscan, Les Trois Rivieres, whose source is supposed to issue near Hudson’s Bay, &c &c.

Montreal is situated in an island of the same name.  It is one of the principal towns in Canada, and is surrounded by regular fortification.  The streets are uniform – the houses well built – and a convent and spiral churches add essentially to its handsome appeal.  I was more struck and pleased with it than with Quebec.

From Montreal to Kingston, the north shore of the Troquois, or St Laurence, is in good site of cultivation, and tolerably well inhabited by loyalists, disbanded officers and soldiers, though there are people of all nations, especially Germans. The South Shore has scarcely any inhabitants, except the Indians of St Regis, and another tribe near Fort Ofwegethie, constituting part of the Six Nations, as they are within the treaty line of 1783, in latitude 45.

This view of more than 200 miles does not possess the sublime, but the beautiful in the extreme.  It forms a continuation of small lakes, islands, woods, rivulets, &c and though there is little relief to the eye by any bold, prominent break, except the Alleghany, mountains afar off, yet it possesses the true Claude Lorraine in more perfection than any territory of such magnitude.  The formidable rapids of Gallete, Long Saut, Plat &c, which the Canadians navigate with wonderful dexterity, strongly interest the attention of the traveller.

Upper Canada seems to contain all the natural advantage of Great Britain, with many additions; but it is an infant state, and requires nutriment and care, and must for a few years, look for assistance, at least in a pecuniary way, from the mother country, or it will never come to years of maturity.  It has evident conveniences for commerce and agriculture. The water communication so easy for trade, the soil so reach, that even without manure, the farmer pays little regard to the succession of crops, yet his crops yield him more in proportion than in England. He uses the same implements of husbandry, the plough, the sickle, the spade and the axe.

Governor Simcoe, on his arrival here, assembled his Executive Council, and after opening his commission, solemnly proclaimed the British Constitution to this province.  The boundary had been previously determined, commencing at the Cove west of Point-au-Bauder, in Lake St Francis, the division line about 50 miles from Montreal, and 150 east of Kingston.  After concluding other colonial matters of importance, he issued a proclamation, dividing the province into counties, with the following names: Glengarry, Stormont, Dundas, Grenville, Leeds, Frontenac, Ontario, Addington, Prince Edward, Lennox, Hastings, Northumberland, Durham, York, Lincoln, Norfork, Suffolk, Essex and Kent, which last county is to comprehend all the territory not already described, and not belonging to the Indians, from the northernmost line of Hudson’s Bay, to the foremost limits of the country generally known by the name of Canada. These 19 counties are to send on the 12th of September to Niagara sixteen members for the House of Assembly.  When the people are more numerous, and the country becomes more flourishing, I presume subdivisions will be made, and the representation encreased.[sic]

Governor Simcoe is going to Niagara, across the Ontario, one of the wonderful fresh waters of this continent.  He may, probably, this autumn, visit Detroit, and the river La Franche, hereafter to be called the Thames, parallel with the north side of Lake Erie, communicating with Lakes St Clair, Huron, Superior on the W and NW by various branches, and Ontario on the SE where several people imagine the metropolis of Upper Canada will be built.  Prince Edward is expected here from Quebec to the Falls.

The Indians of the Western Territory, and the Six Nations of this part of Upper Canada, are collecting in the Miami Kingdoms, their chiefs and warriors, to prepare against that active American General Wayne, who is assembling a powerful army on the frontiers, and on the Ohio and Mississippi, to revenge the cause of St Clair, and to endeavour to extirpate the Indians, who are greatly elated with their victory last year.

All the ceded forts still remain in our possession well garrisoned.

I have visited some of the Indian towns, and encampments belonging to the Messissages, Onondagas, Oneidas, Cackowaukas, Mohawks, Senekas, &c.  An account of their manners and customs I shall reserve for another occasion; observing only at present that I cannot suppose it possible that any object, within the range of existence, can strike the eye of a stranger so forcibly as these savages, who are, in every particular, the reverse of civilization.

Highland Ball, London, 1809

Morning Post, 15 April 1809 p 3

Hon Mrs Drummond’s Ball

 

A very elegant Ball and Supper were given on Thursday night by Mrs Drummond of Charing-Cross. In the interior decoration of the very tastefully fitted up residence nothing was wanting to render the entertainment attractive in every respect.  A suite of rooms, three in number, were appropriated for dancing, cards, &c.  Each apartment was illuminated by Grecian lamps, and bell lights.  Precisely at eight o’clock the dancing commenced with Flora McDonald, a new dance, first introduced a few evenings since at a ball given in Cleveland Square by Lady Mary Drummond; it is a very lively and spirited tune.  The ball was opened by the young Duke of Dorset and the beautiful Miss Drummond.  The Earl of Adoyne danced with the Hon Miss Arden, and Mr Drummond with Lady Kinnoul.  Two sets were formed in the second dance, I’ll mak ye fain follow me.  A very sumptuous banquet the company mustering about 150 persons, partook of about midnight.  The dancing afterwards re-commenced and was kept up until five o’clock in the morning.  Reels were danced; they were given with the true Highland Fling by Mr Stewart, of Greenock; Mr Drummond, of Inverness; and another gentleman, whose name we could not learn.  The company were agreeably surprised, and much amused by the wonderful execution of a native Highlander, accoutered in his proper costume, wearing the fillabeg, &c.  He played on the bagpipes and violin, smoked tobacco, and danced reels, all at the same time.  The Duchess of Dorset, Lord and Lady Arden, and many other personages of first rate distinctions, were of the party; together with every branch of the House of Drummond then in London.

The Turkey Shot – Our Family Tradition, 2016

Christmas is almost upon us, and it brings with it a time to reflect on traditions that we continue, and memories of Christmases past.  Looking at my collection of family photos I am struck by the abundance of pictures of the Christmas turkey (and also the Thanksgiving Turkey).  Seriously, we take a lot of pictures of our turkeys.  So what is the fascination?

I first went online to find out about when people started eating turkey at Christmas.  After consulting ‘Dr. Google’ it seems that the turkey has been enjoyed since the time of Henry VIII when a Yorkshireman named William Strickland brought six birds from the new world.  [Felipe Araujo, Express, 25 Dec 2015 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/629175/christmas-dinner-turkey-meal-lunch-festive-season-food ] But it seems that it was only in the late 1800s that the beast started being enjoyed by people for Christmas.  When Dickens used the turkey in his story A Christmas Carol as for Christmas dinner with the Cratchits, it was clear that the turkey meal was a special dish.  One source says that the turkey became the dish for the the middle class by the beginning of the 20th century [http://www.bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas/history.shtml].  Another source places its popularity at a later time : “Indeed, up until the 1950s it was widely considered a luxury, as only then refrigerators became commonplace. Back in the 1930s the average person had to work for a week to be able to buy a turkey. Now it only takes 1.7 hours of labour.” And it was only in the last 60 years that it has become more widely used for Christmas dinner. [Felipe Araujo, Express, 25 Dec 2015 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/629175/christmas-dinner-turkey-meal-lunch-festive-season-food ]

I know that when Mom moved to Canada from England turkey was an unusual thing.  She normally had goose at Christmas. Dad, Canadian-born, seems to have done the turkey feast with his parents.  I think that after Mom married she decided to opt for the turkey meal, but with a number of English sides and deserts such as sausage rolls, mincemeat pies, trifle and the like. I should also mention that at the time of her marriage, she didn’t know how to cook, so it was all a learning curve anyway.  Growing up it was turkey all the way, with stuffing, corn, potatoes and cranberry sauce.  Maybe it was the sense of accomplishment – the perfect turkey, the delicious sides, the festive decorations, crackers ready to be pulled, and the joy of the season – but every year we took a picture of the turkey.  I have shared a few of the more interesting turkey shots below.

Really, the meal is only part of the tradition, it is the picture of the turkey which makes it feel like Christmas!

1989
Dad and the turkey in 1989
img549
Early 1970s

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img723

Act of Remembrance, Memorial Chapel – Ottawa, 2016

Today I attended the ceremony in the Memorial Chapel.  The Book of Remembrance lists all  those who died in service during the all the wars Canada participated in, and every day a page is turned so that they are honoured at least one day a year.  On December 22nd, the page turns to show the name of my grandfather’s first cousin, 2nd Lt Victor R Pauline.  This year I requested permission to attend the ceremony.  With this permission, I was able to stand in the chapel when the pages were turned, otherwise I would have had to stand outside the chapel and wait for the turning to finish before seeing Victor’s name.

I had come in 1996 or 7 to see the ceremony from outside, and it was interesting.  But to be in the room as the pages are turned is a much more immediate experience.  I was unsure how I would feel in the moment.  I did not know Victor, who died in 1918, but Grandad did, and I knew his niece very well.  Since my last visit to the chapel in the 1990s, I also have read some of the letters that he wrote home, so he was more real to me.

I must admit to being actually a bit emotional during the ceremony, and seeing his name among so many others who died in the First World War, brought home the waste and tragedy of war.  I thought I would share some of the images I took, and the video of the service which I have posted on Youtube.

See Video Here.

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