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Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments



St George’s Day, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Gazette, 24 April 1877, page 3


The annual sermon, commemorative of St George’s Day, preached by the Rev BW Norman, one of the chaplains of the St George’s Society, on Sunday afternoon, at St George’s Church, was taken from Psalm 137, verses 4, 5 and 6. As Mr Norman’s discourse is to be published in pamphlet form, it will suffice to merely refer to the principal points touched upon. It was thoroughly English in its character; broad, free, liberal and patriotic in its sentiment.  The love for the Mother Land was not absorbed to the exclusion of affection for Canada and her institutions, inherited through the liberty handed down by our Anglo-Saxon forefathers. The duty of the Englishmen in his adopted country; the prominent part taken by the church of England in shaping and moulding national progress were also referred to, the preacher not forgetting to acknowledge the right of liberty or conscious in the free choice of religious belief. An interesting part of the sermon, and so far as this province is concerned, a novel application of a theory which is gaining ground in some parts of England, was the reference to the suppositious connection between the Anglo-Saxon race and the lost tribes of the Isrealitish nation.  Mr Norman, without committing himself to an opinion on the matter, admitted there was much to favour such a theory, which, if established as correct, would be a powerful aid in the conversion of the Jews proper and in uniting the fragments of that mysterious people. In conclusion, he advocated the benevolent claims of the society and the good it had accomplished, and commended it warmly to the liberal consideration of his hearers. A collection was taken up in aid of the Society, after which, “God Save the Queen” was sung, in which everybody joined most heartily in the common prayer for our beloved Sovereign.


A Joyous Meeting – Victoria, 1888

R_P_Rithet_(sternwheeler)_at_Yale_on_Fraser_River_1882_c_03819 (1)
By Richard Maynard (1832-1907) – British Columbia Archives digital collections, image C-03819, Public Domain,

Victoria Colonist, 11 September 1888, page 3

A Joyous Meeting

At the landing of the steamer Rithet last night the Messrs F and EA Pauline were on the dock to welcome the arrival of their father and mother, brother

Paulin family in Birmingham, c 1890s – collection of K Paulin

and six sisters from Manchester, England. [Actually – Birmingham] The Messrs Pauline have been in Victoria for several years, and occupy honourable positions in a couple of mercantile houses.  Having made a home for themselves, they sent for and are now joined by the remainder of their family, and last night a joyous meeting took place on board the Rithet.

Sailing of Lady Franklin’s Expedition, 1857

Montreal Gazette, 3 August 1857, page 2

Sailing of Lady Franklin’s Expedition

(From the Glasgow Telegraph, July 31)

Last Wednesday at a very early hour the city of Aberdeen was the scene of bustle and excitement. The inhabitants were hurrying hither and thither, their countenances bearing the impress of a mixture of anxiety and hope.  A great event was at hand – not the arrival of royalty in search of Highland seclusion- not the visit of a French prince on a scientific exploration – not the return of the brave Highlanders from a Russian campaign; butt an event of far greater significance, and of transcendent importance to the cause of humanity – Lady Franklin’s screw streamer the Fox was appointed that morning to sail for the Arctic seas, in search of the remains of the long lost navigator and his intrepid band.  The spectators crowded the docs to catch a glimpse of that gallant captain and daring crew who had undertaken the perilous voyage.  Lady Franklin and her neice were there blessing the expedition; and as the brave ship weighed anchor and stood out to sea, the lust cheers of the assembled thousands unmistakably testified that the noble efforts that lady had made – though timidly deserted by a government in whose service her husband and his followers had embarked – to investigate and clear up the haze still hanging around the fate of the Arctic expedition, were fully appreciated.

Yes; Lady Franklin’s expedition has sailed; in a few days hence it will reach the ice, where the hardships of an Arctic voyage commence.  To Captain McClintock and his gallant crew we sincerely wish God Speed!  There must be relics in existence which will afford a satisfactory clue to the fate of the lost Sir John Franklin and his companions; the remains of such an expedition as that which he commanded cannot be utterly obliterated.  Besides, the Fox sails under specially favourable auspices.  Captain McClintock will doubtlessly be enabled to profit by the experience of all the previous searching expeditions they have extended over a wide expanse of ground; he has now but a comparatively small space to explore, that done, the work will be thoroughly accomplished, every mile of those ice-bound region will have been minutely examined.

The Eldest Sister, Glengarry, ON, 1892

Glengarry News

31 Mar 1892


The Eldest Sister

How much the world owes to the older sister in the home, writes T DeWitt Talmage in the March Ladies Home Journal.  Born while yet the family were in limited circumstances, she had to hold and take care of younger brothers.  And if there is anything that excites my sympathy, it is a little girl carrying round a great heavy child, and getting her ears boxed because she cannot keep him quiet. By the time she gets to womanhood she is pale and worn out, and her attractiveness has been sacrificed on the altar of sisterly fidelity, and she is consigned to celibacy, and society calls her by an ungallant name, but in heaven they call her Miriam.

In most families the two most undesirable places in the record of births are the first and the last, the first because she is worn out with the cares of a home that cannot afford to hire help, and the last because she is spoiled as a pet.

Among the grandest equipages that sweep through the streets of heaven will be those occupied by sisters who sacrificed themselves for brothers. They will have the finest of apocalyptic white horses, and many who on earth looked down on them will have to turn out to let them pass.

And this leads me to the thought: Let sisters not begrudge the time and care bestowed on a brother.  It is hard to believe that any boy you know so well as you do your brother can ever turn out anything very useful.  Well, he may not be a Moses.  There is only one of that kind needed for 6000 years. But I tell you what your brother will be –either a blessing or a curse to society, and a candidated for happiness or wretchedness.  He will, like Moses, have the choice between rubies and living goals, and your influence will have much to do with his decision.

Advice to women at balls, 1933

Gentlewomen Aim to Please: Edited from Victorian Manuels of Etiquette, Jerrard Tickell, London: George Routledge & Sons, 1933.


No lady should accept refreshments from a stranger at a public ball; for she would thereby lay herself under a pecuniary obligation.


Queen’s Birthday, Montreal, 1844

Montreal Gazette, 25 May 1844, page 2

Yesterday, being Her Majesty’s birthday, the whole of the military in this garrison, consisting of the Royal Artillery, and the 89th and 93rd Regiments were reviewed on the Old Race Course. The weather was rather unfavourable; but a large concourse of citizens attended, though several, like ourselves, were disappointed, in consequence of the troops having left the ground sooner than was expected.  As we mentioned before, the public offices and and [sic] banks were closed, and all the ships in the harbour were decked out with flags in honour of the day.

Children at dinners – advice

Gentlewomen Aim to Please: Edited from Victorian Manuals of Etiquette, Jerrard Tickell, London: George Routledge & Sons, 1933.



If you are a mother, you will be wise never to let your children make their appearance at dessert when you entertain friends at dinner.  Children are out of place on these occasions.  Your guests only tolerate them through politeness; their presence interrupts the genial flow of after-dinner conversation; and you may rely upon it that, with the exception of yourself, and perhaps your husband, there is not a person at table who does not wish them in the nursery.

Drinking for Ladies – Advice

Gentlewomen Aim to Please: Edited from Victorian Manuals of Etiquette, Jerrard Tickell, London: George Routledge & Sons, 1933.


Young ladies seldom drink more than three glasses of wine at dinner; but married ladies, professional ladies, and those accustomed to society and habits of affluence, will habitually take five or even six, whether in their own homes or at the tables of their friends.


Emigration to Canada – how others see us, Montreal, 1869

Montreal Gazette, 11 August 1869, page 3

Emigration to Canada

How Others See Us

Experience of a recent influential visitor, what he saw in, and what he says of, Canada

A special meeting of the British and Colonial Emigration Fund was held at the Mansion-house, London on the 27th ult, the Lord Mayor presiding.  There were present, among others, Sir George Grey, late Governor of New Zealand, Mr Dixon, Canada emigration agent, Mr White, special emigration commissioner from Ontario, the Rev JF Kitto.

Mr EH Currie, a member of the committee, and long identified with the Poplar district as a large employer of labour, read an interesting account of a visit he had recently made to the Dominion of Canada, with the view of ascertaining with some exactitude the prospects of persons emigrating thither from the east of London. For that purpose he left Liverpool on the 23d of May last, and returned on the 16th of July.  He made Toronto his headquarters, and saw about 100 families who had emigrated from the east of London in a different district of Ontario. He also held meetings and addressed letters to the local papers on the object of his visit.  He travelled over many miles of country, and visited most of the principal towns, spent three days in the heart of the free grant district above Lake Muskoka, made the best use of this time in consulting farmers and others, losing no opportunity of ascertaining facts, and finally spent several days at Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec, and worked out the whole system of passing emigrants to their new homes, both at Quebec and New York.  He acknowledged the debt of gratitude he was under to many friends at Toronto and elsewhere, especially to the Government emigration officers, who placed every facility in his way.  The result he had arrived at was a conviction on his part that nearly all the emigrants aided by the charitable societies were not merely employed, by far the greater portion of them at farm work, but were perfectly happy and contented. Some naturally succeeded better than others, some few had been unfortunate, some were unthrifty and would not succeed anywhere, but they were exceptions.  Every able, industrious and sober man would get employment earn a livelihood, and in a few years make a provision for his family, but he must be prepared for some hardships at first.  He must take moderated wages until he become acquainted with the wages of the country.

Mr Currie thinks there is no country which affords so many instances of success in Canada. In nine cases out of ten failure is the fault of the emigrant himself. Emigrants whether with some money or not, must go determined to work for themselves.  All that is required is industry and sobriety.  An emigrant, unless going to friends, should pass on to Toronto at once, and put himself entirely in the emigration agent’s hands, and if offered employment at a fair rate, close with it for a year.  He urges every emigrant to get out of town as quickly as possible, to take work in country districts, food, rent and fuel being all much dearer in the towns. A mechanic he says, should take the first job offered to him, even at low wages, and he will in a short time get a better offer at his own trade, if he is worth it. Mr Currie dissuades an emigrant from taking a free grant of land.  He tells him to obtain employment on a farm till he has bought his experience of the country, and if he has a little money to put it in a savings bank for a year. With the exception of the small amount required for clothing, he can save all his wages and it is useless to settle in the bush unless he has £40 or £50 to carry him through the first year and to purchase tools. The farmers, he says, live well, the quantity of mess consumed is more a matter of taste than economy; vegetables and fruit are abundant and any quantity of milk is to be obtained. He met a farmer at Barrie on Lake Simcoe who had two Portsmouth men in his employ. They went out in the Crocodile. The farmer told him that at first, as might be expected, they were of little use to him.  They were greenhorns, as he expressed himself, but they meant to succeed and in a few weeks they got on so well that he had agreed with them for a year, at 22l 10s each, a house and their board being found them, the use of a cow for the children, and they had each half an acre of land, which he had ploughed for them.  They were quite contented and happy, and their employer said he had never had such men on his farm before. Mr Currie drove out, at the same place, to a charming little farm, to see a man from Wapping, who was working on the farm.  He had a comfortable house, and received a little better wages than the two from Portsmouth. He met another man who had gone out from Scotland a few years ago, worked for a time on the quay for his brother, and is now a substantial farmer.  Mr Currie adds that he could take dozens of similar instances from his notebook of people there whose only anxiety was that friends and relations should join them.  There is plenty of room, he says, for mechanics who know every part of their trade, and he has met with many who were quite contented, such as house-carpenters, bricklayers, stone-masons, blacksmiths, and coopers, but these men took the first offer, and are now thriving at their own trades. Canada, he adds, will find a home for any person, accustomed to manual labour, who does not see his way clearly to provide for himself and a family in the old country, and is industrious and sober.  This year 5 720 persons have passed through the hands of Mr Donaldson, the Government emigration officer at Toronto, up to June 17, besides large numbers who had been sent direct to Hamilton and elsewhere. On the 9th of June according to replies to a circular sent out in the spring by the Minister of Agriculture to the various townships in Ontario, asking for a return of persons required those townships still wanted 7 229 labourers, 420 mechanics, and 3423 domestic servants.  Some of the townships did not reply to the circular, and those who did so probably asked for a much smaller number than they could really absorb.

This was the substance of Mr Currie’s report read to the meeting yesterday, and at its conclusion a cordial vote of thanks was accorded to him.

Mr Dixon, emigration agent of the Canadian government took occasion to say that it was now late in the season for farm labourers to emigrate, but that tailors, shoemakers, harnessmakers, blacksmiths, and cabinet makers were in request.

Mr White, emigration commissioner from Ontario, corroborated Mr Dixon in that respect, and said as the winter business was about to commence, that class of artisans, and especially cabinet makers, shoemakers and tailors might be absorbed to a very considerable extent.

Before the meeting separated, a cordial vote of thanks was passed to the Marquis of Westminster for a second munificent donation of £1000 to the fund.  By the first donation of £1000 the committee had been able to despatch 300 emigrants, and by the second 200 more would be sent out in September.

On the motion of Sir George Grey, a resolution was unanimously adopted, expressive of the gratitude of the meeting to the agents of the Canadian government for the facilities they had afforded Mr Currie in attaining the objects of his mission.

The meeting then separated.

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