Montreal Gazette, 24 April 1868, page 1
St George’s Day
Yesterday, St George’s Day, dawned a in somewhat unexpected manner, with a heavy snow storm, and the streets secured once more ready to be traversed by the ubiquitous sleigh. As the morning wore on, however, the warm sun-rays again rendered the pavement visible, and the Union Jack and St George’s banner floated from many a window and roof over the sloppy streets. In connection with the association of the day, we give the following short sketch of its hero.
St George, surnamed of Cappatocia, was a native of Bilicia, and is said to have been born in a fuller’s shop. He seems to have risen from his humble position not altogether in the most creditable manner, until he obtained a lucrative contract for supplying the army with bacon. His administration of this affair was so unsatisfactory that he fled to Alexandria and having thus laid the foundations of his future sanctity in the acquired experience of a good practical sinner, he embraced the profession of Arianism. Here he founded a valuable library, and so great did his influence become among the followers of Arius, that when Athanasius was driven from Alexandria he was elevated to the Episcopal throne. As Primate of Egypt he exhibited a most devout avarice, and evidently imagined he had got hold of another bacon contract. Under the reign of Constatinius he was expelled by the people, and afterwards restored with much difficulty. On the accession of Julian, AD 361, George, with two of his ministers, were cast into prison, and in twenty-four hours the prison was forced by the mob, and the Pagans, after slaying them, attempted to intercept the future honours of the martyrs by throwing their bodies into the sea. When the English Crusaders arrived in the East in 1096 they found St George had become a respectable warrior saint among the Christians, and was called the Victorious. They had some acquaintance with him in their calendars and martyrologies, and as he was supposed to have given them a life at the siege of Antioch, they adopted him as patron of the Order of the Garter, and he thus gradually became considered as the patron of chivalry, and in spite of some little inconsistencies, the tutelar Saint of England.
DINNER AT THE HOME.
An excellent dinner of Roast Beef and Plum pudding was provided for the inmates of the St George’s Home and heartily enjoyed by them.
At 2 o’clock in the afternoon the members of the Society assembled at the Mechanic’s Hall for the transaction of business.
Mr. OXLEY, the secretary, having read the minutes of the last General meeting they were confirmed.
The following were then proposed as members:– Messrs. JB Leithhead, Bell Smith (artist), A Steel, AR Sowden, R Roe, Alfred Turner, George Maybank, DE Morris, JA Walton, WB Thayer.
It was then moved by Mr. STROUD, seconded by Mr. MARLER, that Mr. William Trigg and Mr. Charles Walker be proposed members. – Carried.
It was moved by Mr. GARDNER, seconded by Mr. WALKER, “that Dr Selly be elected a member of this society.”
It was moved by Mr. MARLER, seconded by Mr. KERRY, “that the members proposed be considered duly elected.”
PORTRAIT OF PRESIDENT
Mr. PELL said he had a small communication to make. The president had conferred a favour on him last year, and he thought it was his turn now. Whilst heading the list of subscribers to the Home, some gentlemen had made a proposition that the President should have his portrait taken by Mr. Bell Smith in official costume, to be placed in the Home, as a slight acknowledgment of his services.
The PRESIDENT said he was quite take by surprise by the proposition for taking his portrait in official costume; but it would be more agreeable if it was presented when the Home was finished, which he thought would be in October. In consenting to sit he felt honoured by such a mark of respect, though at the same time he did not know he had done anything more than he ought. He trusted to be able to return thanks in the Home. He had nothing more to wish than that the shadow of the Society might never be ~~~.
The PRESIDENT then said that they were all aware there was to be a dinner at the Cosmopolitan that evening, the arrangements of which had been very carefully made. The list of subscriptions to the Home had been published in the papers, and in addition, a small circular had been issued to the members. Since then, several others had been received. There was another subject, this being a general meeting of the Society he believed there was an inclination among the members to take some action as to precedence. They had waived it on two occasions, but they nevertheless claimed it as a right, and he for one, would never walk after any other Society again. He would like to see a resolution on the subject, as he thought it ought to be a rule of the Society that it should walk first or not at all: the St Jean Baptiste Society was not a national society,
Which was the case with the St George’s Society.
It was moved by Mr. KERRY, seconded by Mr. STROUD, “That the members of this Society resolve, that on all future occasions which the St George’s Society is expected to take part with the other National societies, they will only consent to do so when its right of precedence is duly accorded.”
It was moved by Mr. JOHN KERRY, seconded by Mr. GARDNER that a copy of this resolution be sent, to His Worship the Mayor.
The evening prayers were read by the Rev CANON LOOSEMORE, after which the lessons for the day, ~~~ chap ~~~ book of Samuel, and 23 chap 2 ~~~~~ were read by the Rev Canon Bond, the remainder of the prayers were concluded by the Rev Mr. Dart.
The 87th hymn having been sung by the choir.
The Rev GEORGE SLACK, rural Dean of Beofford ascended the pulpit and took his text from the 3rd chapter of Deuteronomy, ~~~~.
Happy art thou, O Israel, who us like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield
[not taken down]
THE ANNUAL DINNER
According to custom the society gave the Annual dinner in the evening at the Cosmopolitan. The celebration of the Anniversary would not have been complete without the dinner in the fine old English style, and the arrangements of Gianelli were certainly excellent. The members of the Society and a few invited guests assembled to the number of eighty, and at half-past seven entered the dining hall, where three tables had been prepared. At the upper table, the President of the Society, John Leeming, Esq., took the chair, having on his right His Worship the Mayor, Champion Brown, Esq., GS Scott, Esq.; on his left, A Robertson, Esq., E Carter, Esq., MPP and Dean Slack. The Vice-chairs were occupied by John Kerry and Alfred Rimmer, Esqs. The following is the
BILL OF FARE
Soups—Mock turtle, Printanere
Fish—Boiled salmon trout—Egg sauce
Entrees—Ris de Veau au Petit Pois; Grenadin au Champignons; Côtelettes d’agneau—Sauce, Tomatoes
Joints and Poultry—Roast beef (horse radish ~ roast lamb (mint sauce) boiled corn beef and greens; boiled turkey (parsley sauce); Baked ham (champagne sauce)
Vegetables—Mashed potatoes; artichokes; lettuce; turnips; parsnips
Entrements Sucree—Plum pudding; Raspberry Tarte lettes; Charlotte Russe; wine; jelly; dessert; coffee, &c.
The room was handsomely ornamented with flags, amongst which was the banner of the society.
After the viands had been discussed the chairman read letters from Mr. Lewis, of the Custom-house, Dr Hingston, Ed Murphy, TK Ramsay, Rev Dr Wilkes, and Gen Averill, regretting their inability to attend owing to other engagements. The chairman said this was to be regretted, especially the absence of Gen Averill, whom he certainly expected to have had on his left hand to respond to the toast of “our guests.” Before proceeding to the announcement of the toasts the chairman said he would make a few remarks. It was very pleasant to meet to-night so many members of St George’s Society, with other friends around them to congratulate them upon the return of St George’s day. They met under auspices which, so far as concerned the position and usefulness of the society, this, its 34th anniversary, would compare favourably with any previous one in history. (hear, hear) There was, and not more than 20 or 23 years of age, when not many emigrants reached this city, and amongst the number very few Englishmen indeed. But at that time this St George’s society, headed by the most influential, wealthy and honored names in this community, held out the hand of charity and did good service to the stranger within its gates. (applause) At that time it was, as he was proud to say, and it had been ever since, distinguished in the maintenance of the dignity and honour which attaches to the English name. (applause) The city has increased in wealth and population, but it must be confessed that the society had not kept pace with it. This was partly owing to the death of the original founders, and partly to the establishment of kindred institutions, and partly he must say, to the reprehensible conduct of Englishmen themselves. (hear, hear) The society had passed through days of darkness, but he might safely say on this occasion that it had emerged from that night, and they were now looking to brighter and better days. (applause). For many reasons the society had lamented the want of a good St George’s Home. The place they had was too limited in its usefulness, and a better one was very much wanted, one with better accommodation and more specially adapted for the purpose. To accomplish this end the officers of the society, during the past year had devoted their energies to procure the means to establish a St George’s Home somewhat worthy of the name, and in some degree commensurate with the objects they had in view, and the list of donors published in the Montreal papers of this morning certainly gave full proof of the favour with which this movement was viewed, and a more noble testimony of the liberality, charitable feelings, and public spirit of the Englishmen of this community could not be better supplied. (Applause.) Moreover, the names on that list had been given with such cordiality, promptitude and pleasure, that ~~~ them was a work of pleasure, a labour of love. A great many warm friends of the society who had not put down their names had, in most instances, very pleasantly said they would do something, not just now perhaps, and he knew they were all sincere in their intentions. There was one man who refused to give aid, for the curious reason, that the proposed Home would have shops on the ground floor, and that would make rents cheaper. (Laughter.) But he came round. They had now collected $8000 and although the contract for the building was $8400, they would have to pay for the land and the furnishing of the Home, and no man should hold back, but put his hand to his pocket; for they wanted at least four thousand dollars. For any further information on the subject he would refer them to the excellent Secretary of the Society, Mr. Walker. He would congratulate them upon the list, and felt sure they would agree with the expression of Dean Stack, in the sermon in the morning that it was “a noble subscription—a noble deed.” He would say that the contract had been given out, the ground had been broken, the building had been commenced, and it was expected to be ready by the early part of October, and it was his intention before the termination of his tenure of office, to call them together in that place in the month of December next, and they could then consider the completion of the work. They had undertaken a work which would be most useful and truly charitable in relieving the wants of destitute English men who may reach our shores. (Applause.) There were obligations which men owed to each other, and no man could justify themselves from asking the question. “Am I discharging these obligations to the society or community in which I dwell. No man had a right to say to another “you ought to do this” or “you ought to do that”—by no means: let every man ask that question himself: let every man be perfectly satisfied in his own mind. Many very respected citizens here staid [sic] aloof from national societies on the ground that in a new country there should be no distinction of races or nationalities. He thought that there ought not to be when the object in view was the attainment of any commercial or political end; but in benevolent and charitable objects there should be associations—they should associate for the purpose of referring those of our own nation who need it, associate for the purpose of standing by each other in the days of trial, associate for the purpose of cherishing in their own bosoms a love of the mother country, of the fatherland, and they should associate that their children should be brought up in the same love of England that they themselves had been. They should associate, and be called St George’s Society, and why? Because St George represents the rule by which Englishmen are governed. It was quite true that the fact of St George’s Dragon, St George’s Cross, &c., have in times past had an influence with people, and were believed to be true. He did not look upon them as legends, nor did they so look upon them; but when they saw the old flag—that glorious flag, and saw that dragon and cross, they would allude to St George as part of the British Empire, and wherever the English language is spoken—and where it was not spoken? — and where on the habitable globed Englishmen were not to be found— and where were they not to be found? It will be looked upon with pride and exultation, the first quarter has been given to the British nation—the lion of England takes precedent; St Andrew’s cross takes the next, and he hoped it would ever take the next (applause) and the harp of Ireland he hoped would ever take the third. (applause.) The rose, the thistle and the shamrock are the emblems of the mighty nations blended in the great country of Great Britain and Ireland, and may they long be entwined together. (applause.) The crests of lion and cross and harp were characteristics of all and each of them. He would say so long as the mottoes should be emblazoned. Honi soi quil ~~~~ penser, Nemo me impune laccesit, and Erin go bragh, there was something in these aspirations which was worthy of being perpetuated and it was the burden to strive that they should not forget the ancient land from which they derived their name, and the institutions and government which they all so revered and loved, and that beloved Queen who was so exalted in her beneficences. (Applause)
“The Queen” was then proposed by the chairman, and responded to with the most loyal demonstration: Mr. Maybank leading in the “National Anthem.”
“The Prince of Wales and all the Royal family” was proposed by the Chairman, and drunk with all honours.
The Chairman, in a few happy remarks, gave the toast “St George and Merrie England; the day and all who honour it,” calling on Mr. Bulmer to reply.
Mr. HENRY BULMER said—Mr. President and gentlemen. I see so many Englishmen around this table, so much more competent to respond to this toast than I am, that I assure you it is with much diffidence and some reluctance that in obedience to your call I rise to do so. The toast of St George and Merrie England, will be proposed and honored in all parts of the civilized world to-day. Wherever it is proposed, it will bring before the minds of Englishmen soul stirring recollections of a glorious past, and lend them to one ~ish bright hopes and heart-felt aspirations for a still more glorious future. Cosmopolitan is our idea as we Englishmen are apt to be—as if the whole world wore our national heritage—we have no objections that men of other nationalities should love the land of their birth, and the memories ~~~ ed with it. On the contrary, we honor them for it. We have no objections that they should sing the praises, and extol the virtues of their great men and dwell upon the heroic deeds they have performed. On the contrary, we reverence these virtues and admire the heroic deeds that have shed luster and renown upon the countries that have produced those great men; but, sir, as true Englishmen, we hold that in all that constitutes true greatness in a nation, the annals of England’s history stands forth preeminent to challenge the admiration of the world. Of the mystical, or, perhaps, mythical story of St George, I have nothing to say. Our respected President, whose mind is so well stored with the lore of ancient as well as modern times could, I am sure, if he would both interest and instruct on this point. He might perhaps dispel from my mind doubts that linger as to what kind of a character St George really was. But whatever he may have been, the name of our patron saint has been associated and interwoven with the whole of England’s authentic history. The cry of St George and merrie England has served the arms of her sons and inspired to deeds of heroic valour, and the remembrance of those deeds will incite her sons to equally heroic deeds in the future. It is a favourite fancy with some persons that the power and greatness of England is on the wane and will soon vanish away. They imagine that the Anglo-Saxon race is be