Montreal Daily Star, 26 January 1888, page 3
The Burns Anniversary
Address by Rev J Edgar Hill- the feel of the people and his ~~~~~~
An appreciative and enthusiastic audience assembled last night at the Queen’s Hall on the occasion of the Burns Anniversary concert given by the Caledonian Society. Here aided by the shrill sound of the pipes, the President, Mr W Rutherford, entered the hall accompanied by Sir Donald A Smith (St Andrew’s Society), Mr Jas Wilson (IPBS), Mr CP Selater (St George’s Society), Jas Crawford, ex-President Caledonian Society of Victoria, BC, J Black, ex-President Mainland Caledonian Society, Rev Professor J Clarke Murray, Rev John Nichols, Lt-Col Stevenson, Mr JJ Curran, MP, Mr JS Hall, MPP, Hon AW Ogilvie, and others.
Letters of apology were read from the following; Sir John Macdonald, Sir W Dawson, Sir AP Caron, Sir George Stephen, Hon W Laurier, the Mayor, Col. Fletcher, Rev James Barclay, SP Stearns and others.
Mr Rutherford opened the proceedings in a brief speech in which he urged on all Scotchmen the necessity and duty of belonging to some one or other of the Scotch societies. The first number on the programme was played by the Parker Banjo Quartette which gave a spirited march, and this was followed by the familiar and always popular “My love is like the red, red rose,” sung by Mr John Caldwell in a peculiarly effective and finished manner. In this he was encored, and later on in the second part he was equally successful in his rendering of “Gae bring to me a pint o’ wine.” Miss Jessie Alexander is better known in Toronto as an elocutionist than in this city, but she established her reputation as a finished reader last night beyond cavil. She gave “A man’s a man for a’ that,” and a supplement thereto, with great force and feeling. She was of course encored. Mrs Chambers sang with exquisite taste the ballads “O’ a’ the airts the win’ oan blaw” and “John Anderson.” Mr S Bain was much applauded for his delivery of the stirring song “Scots wha hae.” A peculiar and pleasing feature of the entertainment was the performance of Miss Lida M Farrell, the whistler of Ogdensburg. This novel performance was very striking, the talented performer giving the “Bird’s song” and a selection. The Rev J Edgar Hill delivered the address on the poet, and remarked that it was proverbial that great men grew greater as we receded from them, and their rate of growth in public esteem was a measure of their real greatness. Of this Burns was a striking example far from the moment of the issue of his first volume of poems, just over a century ago, his fame had steadily advanced. No British poet filled the same place in the estimation of mankind. Reviewing the poetry of Burns the speaker said this was spontaneous, and an utter absence of effort marked his works. He was the poet of the human race, but above all else a Scotchman. Mr Hill denied the assertions sometimes made that Burns’ influence had been injurious to religion and morals. The best proof of the work of the poet was found in his world-wide reputation.
The second part of the programme was then concluded, and “Auld Lang Syne” and “God Save the Queen” having been sung the assembly broke up.