Montreal Daily Star, 24 April 1897, page 9

St George’s Day Honored

Englishmen meet around the festive board

The history of the Montreal society reviewed.

The enthusiasm of the large company assembled in the Ladies’ Ordinary of the Windsor Hotel last evening to do the honor to St George’s day reached its culminating point when Mr Watkin mills, an honored guest, rendered “Hearts of Oak” in his best style, and followed it with “Here’s a health unto ‘Her’ Majesty.”

The St George’s society is to be congratulated upon the success of this anniversary dinner, which happily inaugurated the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee.  It is the first time for more than fifteen years that the festival has been held at the Windsor and the menu, the service, the music and the speeches were worthy of the occasion.

The President, Mr Joseph Richards, occupied the chair, and the Vice-chairmen were the Hon JK Ward, Mr JH Redfern and Mr CP Selater, Past Presidents, with Ald. Goff Penny, MP, Messrs WE Smith and EP Selater.

President Richards proposed the health of Her Majesty in felicitous terms and the other toasts were as follows: 

“The Governor General,” proposed by Mr CP Selater; the Mayors of Montreal and adjoining municipalities, proposed by the president, and responded to by Ald. Penny and Mayor Luttrell, of Ste Cunengonde, in the regretted absence of Mayor Wilson-Smith, who wrote from a sick room congratulating the Society, “St George and Merrie England,” was proposed by Ald. Penny and responded to by Mr Chas Percy; Past Presidents proposed by Mr JH Redfern, and acknowledged by Hon JK Ward; “Sister Societies” proposed by the president and responded to by Rev Edgar Hill, chaplain of the St Andrew’s Society; Dr Guerin, president of the St Patrick’s Society, Mr JX Perrault; president of St Jean Baptiste Society; Mr JH Ewing for the Irish Benevolent Association; Mr SS Bain, president of the Caledonian Society; and “Wales” found an unofficial representative in the person of the Rev EC Evans, DD of Emanuel Church, where the annual sermon of the St George’s Society will be preached tomorrow by that minister.  “The Press”, proposed by Mr Trenholme, and the Ladies by Mr Walter L Joseph, brought the toast list to a conclusion long after midnight, though the company was not diminished by the lateness of the hour, owing to the agreeable nature of the proceedings.

Among those present, not previously named were: Messrs HA Hodgson, Rev Edward Bushnell, Henry ~~bell Birks, A Joyce, R Hemsley, Charles Cassleman, Edgar Judge, Harry G Nivin, GH Snow, EC Currie, HA Ekers, TL Moore, AE Cook, Thos R Flint, Alex BJ Moore, R Reld, Ed Graves, Chas Cassals, Mr Nivin, H Cornell, SG Macpherson, CRG Johnson, Walter C Wonham, Harold Hampson….. and Mr WC Blake, representing the Society of the Sons of England.

Not the least interesting feature of the evening was the presentation to the Society by Hon JK Ward on behalf of a true friends, of a portrait, painted by Mr JK Hawksilt, of the late Mr WS Walker, who for 32 years honorably filled the post of treasurer: this portrait will take its place in the Board Room at the valuable home of the Society in St Antoine Street, alongside that of another lamented patron—Mr John Leeming.

Mr Ward, in his speech, remarked that this was the 54th anniversary of a St George’s Day festival he had attended; the first was at Albany in 1843.  He alluded in the establishment of the Montreal society in 1834 by a few benevolently-minded Englishmen, many of whom had experienced some of the difficulties an immigrant was subject to on arrival.  Its primary object was to lend advice and, in deserving cases, assistance to such so that they might have a fair start; its secondary object was to facilitate this return to their native land of whose who through sickness or misfortune, could no longer fight the battle of life here.  Incidentally, President Richads had stated that last week there were over 50 transient inmates in charge of the valued matron of the home, and other speeches it evident that it is a duty for every man of English birth or parentage in the city to lend the St George’s society his support by becoming an annual or life member.

The wit of the evening was supplied by Rev Edgar Hill, Dr Guerin and Mr Bain, in their responses for sister societies, and Mr JX Perrault spoke in a more serious view of the value which the vast majority of French Canadians attached in their connection with England, and to the reverence in which the sovereign was held as Queen and woman and the English constitution looked up to as a model of free government.

Among the many pithy remarks made during the evening, Mr Percy’s allusion to the necessity which the Englishman felt to sink his individuality and by so doing facilitate the formation of a greater Britain; and Mr Trenholme’s remarks—as a Canadian born—upon the future of Canada, Australia and South Africa as, even grown into complete independence, yet remaining so loyal in sentiment as to unite with the Motherland in any hour when danger threatened her and “form four square to all the winds that blow.”

It was a gathering characterized by the unostentatious display of a sincere patriotism; most English counties and the Isles of Wight and Man were represented.

Messrs Culverwell, EA Mumford, RH Bartholemew, A Tattersall and AJ Rice contributed some well-known English patriotic songs in fine style.  Congratulatory telegrams were exchanged with the St George’s Societies at London, Guelph and Toronto during the evening.