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12th of July, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Daily Star, 12 July 1877, page 2

The Twelfth – Last Words

This is the Twelfth of July, the recognized anniversary of the Orangemen.  They intend commemorating it in a quiet, unobtrusive manner, by going to church and hearing a sermon.  They have made every concession asked of them by the public, and will display no insignia whatever.  They will offend, directly or indirectly, the prejudices of none and we therefore warn whoever may, in  spite of all that is done, be criminal enough to attack them, that the consequences will not be light.  We warn all persons disposed to violence, to beware of breaking the peace.


Montreal Daily Star, 13 July 1877, page 2


The Events of Yesterday

Upon the calmest consideration of the events of yesterday, and in view of the enormity of the disgrace cast  upon the fair name of Montreal, it is hard indeed, to coolly review the shameful disorders perpetuated under the very eye of authority, we cannot too strongly condemn the inaction which was observed from the first, by those in whose hands was reposed the care of the public safety.  Ample warning was given of the probabilities of the day, but no preparatory action, calculated to keep the streets clear and obviate the chances of a collision, were taken.  The Police force, as a fact was held back until after murder had been committed, and the mob held possession of the streets, and even then, when representative citizens waited upon the Mayor, and asked him if he had made any further arrangements for preserving the peace of the city, they were told “We are doing all we can to have good order preserved by the duly appointed civic force, the Police,” and when the Chief of Police, an officer whose hands appear to have been tied all day, stated positively that he needed military force to assist his limited organization, he was told by the Mayor that he was not inclined to call out the military. The deputation was treated cavalierly, the Police Superintendent snubbed, and all that was done was to send out a detective to see if the crowd were still in the streets.

The Mayor could not pretend that the elements of disorder had not been apparent from an early hour in the day.  It was made plain that the gangs of roughs who congregated in the streets were bent upon mischief, and waited only the first pretence of a cause to commence trouble; and upon the slightest demonstration of a color, not borne by Orangemen, but by unprotected women, they broke out, and the result was the murder of poor Hackett, and the thrashing of Mr Henshaw within an inch of his life. No precautions appear to have been taken to avoid a collision such as there was reason to expect, even with the Orangemen giving up their intention of walking; on the contrary, every latitude was given the disorderly, and despite the volume of force actually at hand to repress disturbance, it may be said that the mob was wantonly allowed to take possession of the city and work its nefarious will unopposed.  The citizens of Montreal will not, we are sure, allow such trifling with an immense responsibility to pass unregarded, but will call to a proper account whoever is chargeable with the prolongation of a period of disorder.

The Orangemen fulfilled their obligations to the letter.  They refrained from any act which might be construed into a demonstration.  They attended divine service, but not in procession as a body, and when it was over they withdrew in the same way.  Their path to and from the church was surrounded by roughs hungrily watching an opportunity of strife; while in the church hostile crowds were around the edifice, but the Orangemen offered offence by word, look, gesture or deed to none, and they must be held blameless.  The conduct of those who sought occasion of molesting them and devoted a day and a night finding it carries its own condemnation.  Henceforward, if party processions are to be longer tolerated, it will not be for good citizens to turn Orangemen from their design of parading, but to assist them, and teach those who seek to oppose them the sternest of lessons.

The mob held the streets yesterday, must never be permitted to repeat the outrage, be the cost what it may.


Orange Celebration, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Daily Star, 5 July 1877, page 2

The Orange Celebration

A deputation of Orangemen waiting upon then mayor yesterday for the purpose of making affidavits respecting certain parties, whom they said threatened violence.  His Worship directed the deputation to the Police Magistrate.  A formal request for protection on the 12th inst during “a peaceable religious ceremony” has been made.  The Mayor replied that, as the Orange body is not legally constituted, the members can only be accorded the same protection “that every citizen is individually entitled to under ordinary circumstances.” His Worship expresses the hope that the celebration will be held wholly indoors.

Twelfth of July, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Daily Star, 11 July 1877, page 2

Twelth of July

The responsible heads of the Orange Society have agreed to rescind the resolution on the books of the order to celebtrate the Twelfth of July by a public demonstration.  While reserving the Society the right of parading, they yield to the representations made them by a deputation of the City Council and of members of the various national and benevolent societies, and waive what they consider a right in favour of proceeding quietly and unobtrusively to Knox Church on Thursday, there to commemorate their festival.  The action taken by the Orange order is worthy of all praise.  They have listened to the voice of reason, and resolved to act as good citizens, to refrain from anything that would look like a challenge to those who oppose their existence, and to conduct their celebration, in short as becomes peacable and respectable members of a community, respecting the feelings and prejudices of their fellows of different faith or opinion. The thanks of the city are due to the Orangemen in the present instance.  By the exercise of self denial and a moderation of view they have arrived at a decision which certainly will save the city the scenes of violence and disorder which it had reason to anticipate, not at the hands of the Orangemen, but of those who opposed them, for their walking of itself would be a harmless matter.  They have chosen the better part, and for their wise and patriotic conduct they are deserving the commendable approval of the community.  They have, through their representatives at the meeting of last night, expressed a desire to live in a spirit of unity with their brethren of another creed and faith; let us hope that something beneficial will come of their amicable advances in this direction.

The conduct of the Orangemen in the present emergency contrasts more than favourable with the attitude of the Irish Catholic Union, a secret society of the class condemned by the Church.  The Orangemen gave way, not because they were afraid of the armed sections of the Union, but because of their respect for law and order, and of the rights of property.  The Union has maintained its position of menacing hostility throughout, and up to the last moment almost, Mr Devlin, who may be said to have spoken its intentions, prophesied bloodshed. He could not have spoken confidently in advance, if he did not know what the men who have been buying arms and ammunition intended to do.  If, as Mr Devlin in his speech has more than intimated, that the Irish Catholic Union is an organization bound to enforce its opinions by riot and bloodshed, and there is no such thing as getting over the full significance of his remarks, then it is a body of the most dangerously lawless character, worthy of no sympathy at the hand of any good citizen. Upon it, in the event of hostilities, on Thursday, (now rendered improbable) would have devolved all the responsibility, and upon the authorities would have fallen the necessity of extirpating it.  Such an order has no reason of existence in a community like ours, and the sooner those who are its moving spirits learn that they will not be permitted to inaugurate a reign of terrorism unchecked, the better will it be for themselves. We feel pretty sure that the honor and dignity of the Irish Catholic people require no such defence as this organization, revolver-armed, pretends to offer.

No Procession on the 12th, Montreal, 1877

Montreal Daily Star, 11 July 1877, page 1

No Procession on the 12th

The Orangemen Patriotically Accede to the Request of their Fellow Citizens and Abandon the Procession in the Interest of Peace

A great weight has been lifted off the city by the patriotic conduct of the Orange body in acceding to the request of their fellow citizens, and abandoning , for this year, at least, their intention of walking to the church in procession on the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.  This resolution was not arrived at until a few minutes before midnight last night, and the deepest anxiety was manifested by large numbers of citizens who congregated in several places to know the result.  At St Patrick’s Hall the largest gathering with [illegible] and the heads of the Irish Societies were in session until a late hour.  The course that has been pursued reflects honor upon all concerned.  The sp[illegible] of wise concession and forbearance showed by the Orangemen deserve the highest recognition, and the Roman Catholics were among the first last night to acknowledge the spirit of conciliation that was manifested in the resolution arrived at.  Every one looked forward to serious trouble, if not loss of life if the procession took place, and the feeling that was prevailed for some time past in this community has been a profoundly painful one.  Much of the happy result accomplished is owing to the wise and moderate con [illegible] pursued by the leaders of the Irish societies, who suggested and succeeded in getting truly representative meeting yesterday [illegible] all our National Societies. The sensible speeches of those gentlemen, who met in the parlour of the St Lawrence Hall, and notably the observations of the chairman, could not fail to have effect in averting what was looked forward to as a civil war. Our city has been spared scenes of riot and disorder that would have fallen upon her like a nightmare.  Good sense has prevailed, and citizens now look forward to a long continuance of that peace, harmony and good will that should always prevail among a people and by the ties of a common Christianity and citizenship.  The matter has been acquitted in such a form that both sides can co[illegible] shake hands over the result, and no feeling of triumph or defeat be felt on either side.

We stated in last evening’s issue that the meeting in the St Lawrence Hall passed a resolution earnestly among the Orangemen to give up the procession.  This result was communicated to the leaders of the Orange Society by a deputation and a copy of the resolution signed by all the representatives of National Societies, [illegible] added to Colonel Smith and Mr Grant the latter County Master and Chairman [illegible] the mass meeting of Orangemen which was being held in the Orange Hall. These gentlemen promised to lay it before the meeting without delay and return as early as possible with an answer. The signers remained in session awaiting an answer, and the reports from time to time that arrive, up to the last kept up the most painful anxiety to know the result. At 11:45 pm all felt as if they could breath freely, as an advance courier armed with the pleasing news that the resolution was carried (although by a narrow majority) to abandon the idea of  having a procession.  Messrs. Grant and Smith followed soon after as the ambassadors of peace and evidently well pleased to come in that capacity.  The meeting to receive the report took place at once, with Mr Devlin in the chair.  The following is the substance of what occurred.

Mr Grant said there had been a large attendance of the membership of the order, who after discussion had come to a resolution, which had been carried by a small majority, not to make a public demonstration.  The committee would be served with an exact copy of the resolution which had been arrived at. The society reserved their right to march when they pleased, but there would be no procession on the 12th of July this year. The members would proceed to church about half past eleven and trusted that there would be no disturbance or endeavour to hinder them in the charge of their privilege and duty of going to church.

Col Smith said that he had only to say that this decision had been arrived at after earnest deliberation upon the requests of the societies. They had determined to give way but reserved their right to go to church. He trusted the societies would now do their duty and see that the Orangemen were not molested. The society had acted in deference to the wishes of their fellow citizens.

Mr Grant said he ought to state that a deputation from the City Council had this day waited on the Orangemen which had tended in a great measure to influence their decision.

Mr Devlin said it was only necessary for him to say that he congratulated the societies on the result which had been arrived at, which was calculated to sustain and continue the friendly feeling which had existed for years.  He regarded the result, not as a triumph of party, but as a triumph of peace, good will and fellowship, and as such he regarded it.  He would announce the result at another meeting this evening.  All might rest assured that the proceedings throughout had been conducted with good will as tending to the prosperity of the Dominion and of the city of Montreal.

Col Smith said that in light of the society had acted in the interest of peace and good will.

Mr Devlin said he considered the best thanks of the committee and of the citizens generally were due to the gentlemen who had waited upon the committee, and also to all who had cooperated towards this good result. The Irish Catholic societies did not desire to triumph over Protestants, but were actuated by desires for the best interests of the whole country.

Mr Kerry, St George’s Society, said before the meeting separated it ought to thank the gentlemen of the Orange Society present for the interest they had taken in the matter.  He thought a vote of thanks should be passed to them for their kind offices.

Mr McMaster, of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society, in seconding the motion, said he had no doubt that the gentlemen had made many personal sacrifices for the peace of the city.

Several gentlemen having spoken in this sense.

Col Smith thought that the vote should be passed to the society generally.

Mr Kerry said he should be glad to amend his motion in that sense.

The motion having been carried.

Col Smith, in acknowledging it, said he hoped after all this would be considered brethren.  The meeting adjourned.

Irish Protestant Benevolent Society’s Picnic & Games, Montreal, 1880

Montreal Gazette, 22 September 1880, page 2

The Irish Protestant Benevolent Society’s Picnic and Games

The Shamrock Lacrosse Grounds were well filled early in the day, yesterday, but the friends of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society, despite the threatening and stormy appearance of the sky. The programme contained a large number of events, which had been so drawn up as to afford gratification to all classes of the community, and the only drawback to the complete success of the day, was its extreme length.  A description of the various contests would occupy more space that we can devote to it, and we simply summarise:

Croquet – Open to ladies only – Mrs James L Wisemen, 1st; Miss M Maltby, 2nd

Second game – Mrs H Horne, 2st; Miss L Horne, 2nd.

Quoits – A Tattersall, 1st; R Rowland, 2nd.

Mile Race (open) – John Raine 1st; DA Wood, 2nd; George Irving, 3rd.

Mile Race – Amateur – George Maclaine 1st, OK Patton, 2nd.

150 yards dash – Amateurs – W Blaiklock 1st, D Tees 2nd.

Boys Race – C Henderson, 1st, J Henderson, 2nd

Boys Race (Indian) – This was a very amusing race, a youngster rejoicing in the name of Peter coming in first, closely followed by a juvenile who claimed Paul as his name.

Half-mile, open to members of St Patrick’s Benefit Society only – P Kiernan 1st, – Doyle second.

Half-mile, open to members of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society- H Mooney 1st, DeCourcy Harnett 2nd, A Guest, 3rd.

Highland Fling, in costume – RP Niven 1st, AR Macdonald 2nd.

Irish Jig in costume- this was a very pretty exhibition, and required a good deal of discussion among the judges before a decision was reached. Grant took first prize, and Sullivan 2nd.

Sailor’s Hornpipe in costume – AR McDonald 1st; RP Niven 2nd.

Air Rifle competition – Sergt Millier, 19 points, 1st, SH Ward 17 points, 2nd.

Tug of war between 12 fresh-water sailors and 12 salt-water sailors- the fresh-water men proved themselves the more powerful team, winning two heats.

Lacrosse match

Was very interesting, some fine play being developed. The team of Indians who were pitted against the Shamrocks proved themselves worthy of their formidable antagonists, winning the first game after about twenty-five minutes of exciting play. The second game was taken by the Shamrocks in about five minutes, and the last game was called a draw, owing to a dispute which arose between two of the players.

The Indian Exhibit

Of national dances, marriage ceremonies, &c, proved a strong attraction, and the manner in which the “braves” howled and danced about was highly ludicrous.

The Military Competition

Was however, the most important event of the day, and the drilling of the four battalions which were [illegible] was a treat. Skirmishing drill, manual and platoon exercises were gone through in a manner which would have done credit to a regular troop.

St Patrick’s Day, Montreal, 1867

Ottawa Citizen, 18 March 1867, page 2.


From Montreal.

Montreal, 18th – The celebration of St Patrick’s Day so far has passed by quietly.  The turn-out has not been so large as in former years, the coldness of the weather probably deterring many from paying their tribute to the memory of their patron Saint.  After high mass the Rev Mr O’Brien, of Brockville, preached a most able discourse. The procession then reformed, and after marching through the principal streets of the city and through Griffintown, along the streets of which numerous arches had been erected, proceeded to the site of the new St Patrick’s Hall.  Here speeches were delivered by the President of the Society, B Devlin. His worship the Mayor, Dr Hingston and Father Dowd, after which Father Dowd proceeded to lay the corner stone.  After this was completed three cheers were given by Father Dowd, three for the St Patrick’s Hall, and three for Old Ireland.  General orders were issued to-day ordering every man to be in barracks and not to leave it after four o’clock. The Montreal Light Infantry and the Hochelagas are under orders to be ready for service if required, to be brigaded with the regulars. It is stated that Col Wolesely is to succeed Col McDougall as Adjutant-General of Militia.

Today is St Patrick’s Day, I must be Irish: Reflections of a multi-ethnic Canadian, 2015

thistle painting
I will admit to spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about identity. My academic interest, since my Master’s has been about how people of British origin Canada saw themselves, and expressed their identity through the public and religious lives. This has resulted in a great deal of self-reflection. If they said/did this to express themselves as Irish, English, etc. in the nineteenth-century, how do I relate this to how I, in my own life, express my various identities?

I am like everybody else, in that I have a large collection of identities which I pull out according to various situations. I am a Canadian, raised in Canada, in a predominantly culturally Canadian household. I was educated in Canadian schools. As a child I was able to watch Canadian television (at a time before Canadian content became a problem for Canadian broadcasters). I tend to think that my Canadian-ness underlies and informs all of my expressions of identity/

But I am also English. If the household was Canadian, it was also English, as my mother was English. Thanksgiving and Halloween were celebrated alongside Guy Fawkes. Christmas dinners had trifle, mince meat pies with the turkey and the yams. Wayne and Shuster and Second City’s airtime were joined by the Two Ronnies and Monty Python. And of course there were visits to family in England, and English family visits to Canada. There is a great familiarity and comfort with aspects of English culture, which make me feel very English.

But then, I am also Irish and Scottish by extraction. These identities don’t come specifically from growing up surrounded by Irish or Scottish culture, but rather an awareness nourished by my father that my paternal family was Irish and Scottish. The Irish culture was closest because Dad’s grandmother was irish , raised in an Irish-Montreal household, and who had lived for a time in Ireland after her marriage. The food, the music, the culture of Ireland was close to Dad, and this was passed on to his children. His Scottish heritage was more a touchstone, as that line had left Scotland 6 generations prior, but it was still important.

Since becoming an adult, and a historian, I have explored the history of my family, traced our journeys across from Scotland, Ireland and England, and have come to appreciate the places where they came from, the culture that they understood, and the immigration to the new world which changed their lives. I have also had the pleasure of living in Scotland for almost a year. I have connected to these aspects of my history, and embrace the identity of these peoples and places.

Each of these identities are a part of me, and on days like St Patrick’s Day I feel Irish, and honour my Irish-ness with a bit of green, on St Andrew’s Day I am Scottish, and eat haggis, and listen to bagpipes, on Guy Fawkes I light sparklers and recite the poem my Mother taught me, and on Canada Day I wave my flag enthusiastically and feel pride. I am all these identities at once, and singularly, depending on the day, on the place, on circumstances.

Wearin’ of the Green, Montreal, 1911

Montreal Daily Star, 17 March 1911, page 8

Poems in Honour of St Patrick’s Day

(Revised Version)
By RL Werry, Montreal

O, Paddy, dear, and did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round?
The Shamrock, once forbidden to be grown on Irish ground,
May on St Patrick’s Day be worn, as everywhere ‘tis seen.
For now there is no law agin the wearin’ o’ the green,
I met with naybor Roberts, and he took me by the hand:
Says he, I’m proud I’m Irish, don’t ye see now, where we stand?
Oh, the Irish are the bravest men the world have ever seen
And the Irish now are honored by the wearin’ of the green.


Oh, the wearin’ o’ the green is now
Approved by King and Queen-
Long may they reign and aye maintain
The wearin’ o’ the green.

Sure, Erin’s sons will ne’er forget the blood that they have shed
To guard old Britain’s colors dear, the white and blue and red:
So wear the Shamrock in your hat and plant it in the sod,
For now ‘twill grow and flourish, though once under foot was trod.
The Shamrock and the Union Jack will warm each Irish heart,
And we’ll fight and die ere from the dear old flag we’ll part;
We covet not the wealthy of lands that lie beyond the sea,
For rich and poor are equal ‘neath the flag of liberty.


O, brother Briton, should you be hard pressed on every hand,
You always can depend on us, in home or foreign land;
When enemies against you rise, no matter where they’re seen,
Your first and last defenders will be wearers of the green.
When man can stop the blades of grass from growing as they grow,
And when the leaves in summer time their verdure fail to show-
Then I will change the color that I wear in my caubeen,
And then forsake the Union Jack and the wearing of the green.

A Large Parade is Now Predicted for St Patrick’s Day, Montreal, 1911

Montreal Daily Star, 15 March 1911, page 19


Archbishop Bruchesi will Probably Join Procession as it Passes Cathedral

From present indications the change in hour of the annual St Patrick’s Day parade, instead of reducing the number of people participating in it, appears to have the effect of increasing interest. At least, such is the opinion of the marshals, who have received reports from the various parochial and national organizations as to the numbers in which they will be able to muster. It is found that even the remote parishes of the district will be able to send large representations to the parade.
Neither will there be any difficulty in securing music, as already ten bands have been engaged. The indications are therefore entirely favorable to a larger and more representative procession than usual. In fact, a record turnout is looked for.
His Grace Archbishop Bruchesi will officiate pontifically at High Mass in St Patrick’s Church. He will be assisted at the throne by Very Rev Canon O’Meara, pastor of St Gabriel’s: Rev JE Donnelly, pastor of St Anthony’s and Rev Luke Callaghan DD pastor St Michael’s. the decons [sic] of the mass will be Rev ML Shea, pastor of St Aloysius; Rev Thomas F Heffernan, pastor of St Thomas Aquinas. The sermon will be preached by Rev Thomas F Burke, CSP of New York.
It is probably that His Grace the Archbishop will view the procession as it passes the Cathedral and will likely join in and proceed with to the church.

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