Montreal Herald, 25 April 1865 page 1

St George’s Day

Yesterday, according to the usual custom, the St George’s Society celebrated their thirty first anniversary.  The day being bright and pleasant for pedestrians a considerable crown assembled to watch the procession.  The society, which met at Dolly’s to transact business, was joined by the English Workingmen’s Benefit Society, which marched to the place of meeting with banners flying and headed by the Montreal Brass Band.  Punctuality at a quarter to three o’clock the two societies, with their Presidents and office bearers formed in procession and marched along Great St James Street, through Haymarket Square and up Beaver Hall Hill to Christ Church Cathedral.  Here a large crowd had assembled and the body of the Church was speedily filled.  The prayers in the morning service were intoned by the Rev Mr Wood, and the lessons for the day were read by Canons Leaach and White.  Mr Carter presided at the organ; the music for the day being Tallis’ Festival Service, with the anthem “God is our Strength and Hope,” by Dr Green.  The sermon was preached by the Rev Mr Loosemore, who took for his text Proverbs XIV, 34.

He pointed out that there were two aspects to which man might view himself.  The one was in his individual capacity, the other as being a unit of a great whole, and in relation to the duties he owed to his fellows.  As much every man could contribute to the growth of that righteousness which exalted a nation.  When we look around the world as a while we see man acutated by various motives, and thus distinct nations with laws, customs and institutions peculiar to themselves are formed.  But there is a community of interest, a mutual dependence existing among nations possessing the most diverse forms of government.  The prosperity of nations depended greatly on order and method since the many were kept together and consolidated by the genius of the few.  Every nation had its rebels and traitors who were regarded as unworthy to remain on their native soil.  But these were the exceptions and not the rule.  He then showed the tendency of all men to form nationalities from the darkest and apparently, the most forsaken parts of the earth, to the most civilised countries rated over by the highest know form of government.  All the earlier dynasties had passed away, Macedon, Greece, Imperial Rome, and Nenvuh raising  her voice to the men of the present day equity with the other ruined nations, all united is attesting the enduring truth of the text, “Righteousness evalieth a nation.”  Many motives contributed to bring men together.  To-day it was a feeling of nationality.  He disclaimed every intention of secularizing the pulpit, he had too high a feeling of reverence for God’s house, and respect for his own sacred office to do so, but he did not think the subject unsuited to the time or place, and if he spoke of loyalty and attachment to their earthly sovereign  would it not lead him to urge them to a feeling of loyalty and devotion to the King of Kings, and if he urged them to look back to their loved country with feelings of affection it was that he might the  more earnestly urge them to look forward with a deeper interest to a heavenly home.  Such thoughts were appropriate to the anniversary of St George when so goodly an array were gathered together.  The  rev gentleman gave a short sketch of the life of the Patron Saint of England, and while acknowledging himself to be no friend of the multiplying societies which had a tendency to keep up up animosity or arouse hostile and bitter feelings, he yet could bid them Godspeed in their labours of love, and would promise the aid of all his powers to assist in carrying on the good work or of infusing new warmth into the cold heart.  It was gratifying t find evidence of what had been done, and he stated that last year $997 had been expended in affording assistance to 267 brethren, giving shelter to 106 in the Home, giving aid, chiefly in clothing to 33 persons in destitute circumstances, 8 had been buried, besides other acts of kindness.  Every anniversary was of necessity a memorial of the past.  They were about to exemplify their love to one who had been prominent in every act of benevolence and good will to man, their lamented first President, who had been carried away from among them.  The act they were about to perform was one easily done but it was valuable from the spirit it displayed.  He prayed that the set they were about to perform might strengthen many to do so what he had done.  Old and hencured members of that and other societies had gone, and their place know them no more.  It was not easy to supply that place, but yet he hoped the enterprise would not flag but would be carried on with activity.  He then eloquently spoke of the deep responsibility laid upon Britain, a land taken, as it were, into covenant with God.  As colonists and fellow subjects a vast responsibility was also laid on them to spread the Gospel, and viewing that duty in this light each should individually do what he could that these colonies should not set the part of a thorn in the side or a mill stone round the neck of the mother country.  There was a time coming when all national distinctions would be done away, when there would be neither greek nor Jew, bond nor free, but when God in Christ would be all and in all.

At the issue of the divine service the members of the Society assembled around the spot where the tree planted last year in the memory of Shakespeare  had been uprooted, and John S Day, Esq, QC, President of the Society, who officiated at the replacing of the tree, said:–

Members of the St George’s Society—it will be within the recollection of most of you that in celebrating the anniversary of our Patron Saint last year we commemorated the Tercentenary of the birth of England’s  immortal Bard, Shakespeare, by planting on this spot a sapling oak.  Our late lamented friend and brother, the Hon George Moffatt, an ex President of the society, being present with me at that interesting, and to me now memorable ceremony.  The youthful tree took root, and for a time gave hopes of vigorous and permanent growth, but although carefully tended, the summers drought destroyed it.  To replace the lost tree was obviously our duty, and the mournful event that has deprived us of our inestimable friend, naturally suggested that besides replacing the Shakesperean commemorative oak, we should, by permission of the Cathedral authorities, plant on the other side of the sacred edifice, a corresponding tree to his memory.  Deeming it, after discharging the preliminary duty of transmitting to his bereaved widow and family the resolutions expressive of condolence to be found on our records, the most appropriate tribute of respect we could offer to the memory of one who took so prominent a part in the founding of our society, and during so many years discharged the office of the President so faithfully and well.  We will now, soliciting divine favour on our act, replace the sapling planted last year in commemoration of the Shakespeare Tercentenary. 

The tree having been duly planted, the Band played “The Brave old Oak”.  Mr Day then said:– and now brothers having discharged this duty, let us proceed to the performance of the more painful and solemn service of planting the sapling oak we desire to offer, as a tribute of respect to the memory of our deceased brother, the late Hon George Moffat.  The office bearers and others then proceeded to the other side of the Cathedral where an oak sapling in memory of the Hon George Moffatt, having been planted, the President said:–

Members of the St George Society, and Ladies and Gentlemen, St George’s Society was founded in Montreal in 1834, and by reference to the records it will be seen that our lamenting brother was one of its founders. ~~~~~~~ and for ~~~~~~