Saturday, 24 November 2012


The good old song says:
                   “Apple pie and ‘simmon beer:
                    Christmas comes but once a year.”
          The day not only for apple pie, but mince pie, and turkey stuffed with oysters or chestnuts, and then the plum pudding of the good old sort, such as mother used to make. But suppose you change the Christmas bird to goose, stuffed with onions. You remember, my old Hamiltonian, when turkey was a rarity and goose was the great Canadian bird. It was not the kind of goose that was raised down towards the bay; goose of an uncertain age, valuable because of the thick coat of feathers and down worn; but the young, tender goose, fattened for the Christmas market, and, oh! so juicy and tasty. We had farmers, like the occasional one of the present day, who would swear to you by all that was holy that the goose he was selling you was less than nine months old, and as tender as a spring chicken; and then when it came out of the bake pan for the dinner would be as tough as a bit of bull beef. The good mother would feel so disappointed that the pleasure of the dinner was lost to her, and if the father had not been one of the Rev. James Caughey’s latest converts, and his name enrolled in the First church as a member, the air might have been blue with words that would not look well in print on the anniversary of the blessed Savior. But the goose that was young and tender and the onion stuffing that was seasoned to the finest taste! The memory of that dinner always makes the mouth water, and the old Hamiltonian wishes that he were back fifty years to enjoy the feast as only a boy knows how to enjoy a good dinner. Goose and plum pudding, a quarter of mince pie and other fixins’ as a benediction, and what better is there in life? Such a dinner gives one a foretaste of the good things in the New Jerusalem where, we hope, all good Hamiltonians will meet after the joys and sorrows of this life are ended.


          But haven’t we other holidays besides Christmas? To be sure we have. There’s the Queen’s birthday – God bless her memory – the summer holiday with fun, frolic and firecrackers, and excursions on the lake, and other things consoling to the inner man. Such days are welcome to saint and sinner. Then there is New Year’s Day, hailed by everybody as the most festive of all festive holidays. The children like the day as well as grown folks, although the stocking hanging in the chimney place and the visits of the good old Santa Claus are missing. The children wonder at this, too. They cannot understand why Santa Claus, who is so kind to the little folks, should not bring them precious gifts to them on New Year’s as well as Christmas eve. Well, he does not do so – and that is a fact – for some especially good reason of his own. Perhaps the kind old fellow has given away all his good things on Christmas eve, or has grown weary climbing down and up back chimneys and through chinks and crannies, to hunt up thousands and thousands of cunning little stockings that hang all over your house on Christmas eve. Happy is the Hamilton home tonight where there are little stockings to be filled, and health, bright children to scamper through the house by early dawn tomorrow morning, to find what old Santa has left them.


          And then think how ugly and how sooty Santa Claus must get in his chimney on Christmas eve! Supposing he should come on New Year’s, all grimy and unwashed, like chimney-sweeps we used to see in Hamilton in the long ago, and some good boy or girl saw him in this horrid plight! Why, it would frighten them into a goose-fit. His kind, jolly face, beaming with delightful love, would be so masked by the hideous effects of his hard Christmas work, that it would not be desirable for any one to see him; nor would he care to show himself, we suppose. Well, be all this as it may, the fact is that he does not give presents nor travel about on his polly errands on New Year’s. Our Irish grandmothers were inclined to be a bit superstitious, and they used to tell us when we were young that if we hung up our stockings on New Year’s eve, the Leprechaun – horrid name to a Canadian innocent’s ear – would steal into our bedchambers in the dead of night and carry us off, bed and all, to mysterious realms that the Irish fairies inhabited. This was enough to prevent our longing for more presents. We philosophically concluded that we would rather bear the ills we had than fly to others that we know not of.


          However, although Santa Claus does not make his visits twice in the same year, New Year’s has its pleasures for both old and young, and next to Christmas, it is the greatest day in the year. Calls used to be made by the young men from house to house, upon their lady friends, who set out tables containing good cheer of fruit cake, cold turkey and chicken fixings, and perhaps wine and coffee, or some stimulating beverage. This was a pretty custom, happily now passed into innocuous desuetude, except among old-fashioned people, though regarded by many as a dangerous one, where wines and liquors were part of the good cheer. Our temperance friends assert, and not without reason, that many a young man was led into temptation by thoughtless and fascinating ladies on these festive occasions. If a young lady, with a kindly smile and beautiful eyes, places the cup in a young man’s hand, how can he resist? Surely there can be no stinging adder at the bottom of a glass offered by such lovey hands! Ah, but this is the one drop that helps fill the cup of misery. It may be the first drop only, but the first is so pleasant that it will be followed by others just like it till the sad cup overflows at last. Brush up your memory, my old Hamilton girl of half a century ago, and count the victims of the wine cup in your own list of friends who, like ships that pass in the night, have dropped out of sight forever. Banish the decanter from your Christmas dinner and from your social gatherings and your skirts, at least, will be clear from some weak brother’s downfall.


          Christmas is the time for presents too – presents of books, photographs, pictures, paintings, scrapbooks, albums, mementoes that last through the years. We go to our what-not, bookcase or museum, and, looking them over, read there the history of many happy Christmas days which are parts of the histories of our lives. Old faces are called up, that have gone away perhaps forever – faces that now look on other skies in distant lands – faces that calmly sleep in death. Who shall say that they may not see us, too, even in the mysterious clime to which we are all tending?


          This is the time for turning over a new leaf. The spendthrift, the intemperate man – and, sad to say, the intemperate woman – the loafer, the gambler, the thriftless merchant, the quarrelsome family, each and all resolve that they will turn over a new leaf with the beginning of the new year. How many are much better by it? Yes, they do turn over a new leaf, but most of them write upon its unsoiled page their old faults, and a year hence, it is as black, blotted and shameless in its record as the leaf that preceded it. There are some, however, who do better – who write beautiful and noble characters upon the new leaf, that change them for all afterlife. God bless them! Christmas and New Year’s, however, resemble each other to some extent. Both are seasons of festivity and joyful greetings. But one is to commemorate an important event in Christian history; the other an annual event in the changes of the season. Our great English authors , the loving, genial, philanthropic historians of character and lowly human life, have given most attention to Christmas. How the imperial Dickens immortalized himself in his Christmas stories. How full of Christian philanthropy and love. Is there a man or woman who can read any of these without ears, amid the most pleasant laughter? If so, he needs forgiveness. Read Dickens, or Wilkie Collins, or Tom Hood, to stir the sweet fountains of tears and laughter. What better Christmas present, especially to the boys and girls, than a complete set of Dickens, or Wilkie Collins, or Tom Hood?


          All these Christmas times recall to memory the days of long ago, when Hamilton was merging from the country town to the incorporated city. Don’t you remember, my dear old girls and boys, the many little social pleasures that5 filled in the holiday season? That was before the Crossleys and the Hunters, professional revivalists, felt it to be their special duty to decry the evils of dancing, or going now and then to the old barn, used as a theatre, on the corner of John and Rebecca streets, when old John Nickerson put on such delightful Christmas plays, with Couldock and Caroline and Peter Richings as the stars, and Charlotte Nickerson and Simcoe Lee and Sergeant Nickerson in the cast. We may have a fine opera house now, but no such talent and no such tragedies and comedies as were presented in that old barn, where the wind whistled through creaky clapboards, and it kept the men busy piling in the knots of wood in the stoves in the auditorium and on the stage to keep the audience and the actors from shivering. Don’t you remember George Steele and Johnny O’Neale and Jennings, and other orchestra leaders whose names have passed from memory? What music and what dancing, and the boys and girls went home at seasonable hours. Where was the harm? And then the singing schools and the old-time singing masters! These were pleasures that filled in the winter evenings and made Christmas and New Year’s long to be remembered. Even the good old-fashioned revivals were well-attended, and many a Methodist brother and sister today can date their conversion away back in the 50s. It wasn’t a bad world to live in fifty years ago; and it is getting better and brighter as the years roll by.
          “My heart still bends to the good old friends.
           To the good old days of yore;
           I turn with a sigh to the days gone by,
           And the hearts that greet me no more.”

Friday, 23 November 2012


Like a specter from the long-forgotten past, up pops an old handbill to take us back to the days when Hamilton was but a little village, had no mayor, and didn’t dream of ever having twenty-one politically trained aldermen to make its laws and spend the hard-earned money of the taxpayers on fads and things. Sixty-five years ago, the businessmen were hustlers, who went out for business for all there was to it. Had electric roads been known in those days, the old boys would have had every highway leading into the town gridironed with rails, if by doing so they could add one or half a hundred more customers to the business of the town. Guelph and Galt, and all the rich country to the northwest would have been bound to Hamilton by ribs of steel, even if had it been necessary to dump Dundurn castle into the bay to get a right-of-way. Ah! Those were the days when merchants had to keep their eyes open, and carefully look after their pennies. The pounds came later, and the old boys left a goodly heritage to those who came after them. Back in the year 1841, the business center of Hamilton was on both sides of King street, between John and Hughson, and from Hughson to James and down James to King William were a lot of smaller traders. Mills & Holton had a store in Stinson’s block, near the corner of King and John streets, and it must have been one of the forerunners of the modern department stores, for in it could be found everything necessary for the daily comforts of life. WE have an old handbill before us that is in an excellent state of preservation, that was printed by Solomon Brega, in the journal and Express office, on the 13th of July, 1841.Mills & Holton were about cutting a new business path. Sixty and seventy years ago every merchant was expected to give from six months to a year’s credit to his regular customers, and if by any chance a stray quarter slipped into the money drawer during the day it was looked upon with suspicion and doubts entertained as to its genuineness. It was always a business mystery why a shopkeeper should be expected to feed and clothe the general public upon the convenience of that dear public as to when the goods would be paid for. Indeed, even in this twentieth century, the credit system still prevails, and every now and then some shopkeeper who has not the courage to say no to deadbeats who eat up his food and wear out his clothing has to turn over his depleted stock to the sheriff to make what he can out of it for the benefit of his creditors.


          The Mills of this old-time firm was an uncle of the Stanley Mills brothers and Mr. Holton was a connection with the members of the Chipman-Holton knitting works. Stanley Mills & Co. evidently took a leaf from their long ago relative’s bank by adopting the cash system. But here the copy of the handbill; it is written with an eye to catch the trade: “New Goods and Bargains! If you want to buy goods cheap, call at Mills & Holton’s new store in Stinson’s block, recently occupied by Daniel Macnab, where will be found a well-selected and choice assortment of dry goods and fancy articles, boots, shoes, hats, caps etc. together with all the leading articles of groceries, which, from the favorable terms on which they were purchased, they flatter themselves can be afforded as low (to say the least) as at any establishment in town. We make no promises about selling goods ’20 or 25 per cent less’ than our neighbors; all we ask is an examination of our prices, and if they are not found to be as reasonable as our neighbors’ we ask no one to purchase. As we intend going entirely into the cash system, we can, with confidence, solicit an examination of our stock, not fearing an unfavorable result. Don’t forget the place, second door from the corner of King and John streets, in Stinson’s block. Our profits being so small, we do not feel enabled to keep a runner and as we have scruples about keeping one at the expense of the public, we wish particular attention paid to our location, No. 2 Stinson’s block.
                                                                                               MILLS & HOLTON
Hamilton, 13th July, 1841


          Some of the veteran volunteer firemen may be interested in knowing that Burlington No. 2 company, afterward Cataract company, was organized in April, 1845. No. 1 company was organized a little while before that date. The old engine that was built by John Fisher, and presented by him to No. 1 company, descended to No. 2, and then on down to each new company organized till it became unfit for service. That old engine was bought from Bob Raw during the carnival by Chief Aitchison and Assessment Commissioner Hall, and a few months ago handed over to the Veteran Volunteer association. It is the intention, we understand, to place it in the museum of Dundurn park, as one of the few curios that has been saved of the early history of Hamilton. The first officers elected for No. 2 company were : W. Mortin, captain; Walter Armstrong, first lieutenant; W. Lynd, second lieutenant ; John Hall, first branchman; ---Partridge, second, branchman; H. Giroulard, treasurer; G. F. Lloyd, secretary. A committee was appointed to solicit exemption from town taxes for the members of the company, and also to call upon the agent of the Mutual Insurance company for a donation of 20 pounds to help pay the cost of uniforming the company. Walter Armstrong was a prominent man of affairs in the early days of Hamilton. His only descendant, now living in Hamilton, is a grandson, who occupies a clerical position with the International Harvester company.

          In the year 1845, the first sailing steamer Eclipse made daily trips between Hamilton and Toronto, taking between for and five hours to run the 35 miles. The Eclipse called at Wellington Square and at the smaller ports between this city and Oakville. The fare one way was 7 shillings, 6 pence in the cabin, and 3 shillings for deck passage. Cabin passengers had dinner on the downward trip and supper on the return trip. The deck passengers took a lunch with them or fasted till they reached the end of their journey. The Queen was another fast sailing steamer that made tri-weekly trips between Hamilton and Toronto, the passenger and freight traffic not being sufficient to justify the daily running of two boats between the two cities. The Hamilton papers were quite jubilant when the Queen was put on the route, because of the great advantage it would be to the travelling public. James Mullin, proprietor of the Farmers’ Inn, ran an omnibus to meet the boats on their arrival at the wharf. As the ‘bus fare from the wharf up to the center of the town was a York shilling, the majority of the travelers walked and saved the shilling, so that Jimmy’s enterprise did not yield much profit.


          Early in the 40s, James Knox kept the3 Odd Fellows Recess on Hughson street, where always “could be found plenty to eat and drink.” As a warning to Hamiltonians not to go hungry while there was enough to spare at the Recess, Jimmy Knox dropped into poetry, from which was take this expressive couplet:
          “Your arms and legs they will grow limber.
           Unless well lined with belly timber.”


          A Hamilton paper that was published more than sixty years ago gives an account of an incident which occurred between this town and Dundas, which from its deliberate coolness is worth repeating. A country magistrate was walking to his home and a traveler driving along in a cutter ivited him to ride. They had not gone far when they were overtaken by another person in a sleigh, who accused the driver of the first sleigh with taking his coat from a tavern where both of them had stopped. The magistrate examined the sleigh of the man who had so kindly invited him to ride, and sure enough, there was hidden under the seat. The magistrate was in a quandary; he did not want to punish his friend by arrest and lodge him in jail, but the majesty of the law must be vindicated. Under the summary punishment act, which was then in force in Canada, the magistrate formally opened court of the Queen’s highway, tried and convicted the purloiner of the coat and sentenced him to punishment of forty lashes, save one, on the bare back. The culprit was ordered to strip off his clothing to his waist, and then the magistrate tied him to the sleigh, and with the accused’s whip administered the punishment, cutting the flesh of the criminal at every crack of the whip. After justice had been satisfied and the coat was returned to its owner, the magistrate got into the sleigh of the complainant and was driven to his house, leaving the unfortunate to dress himself as best he could.
James Counsell, mechanical instructor in the mining school of Queen’s university, Kingston, is an old Hamilton boy, who told an interesting story the other day of the building of locomotives in this city – first built in Canada. He says that in 1856 a machine shop was opened at the foot of Wellington street by D. C. Gunn, who formerly lived in Kingston. Mr. Gunn came from the old country to Canada when he was but a lad of eight years, and his parents settled in Prescott. In the course of time, he made his home in Kingston, and early in the 50s came to Hamilton, where he engaged in business as a land agent and in forwarding connected with steamboat transportation. He made considerable money, as fortunes were counted in those days. When the Great Western railway was opened from the Niagara to the Detroit river, Hamilton was the headquarters of the company’s offices and workshops, and everybody was enthused with the idea that this city was to become not only a great commercial center, but that the bay front, from Wellington street to Bay street, would be built up with manufacturing industries of every description. Here were the railway and the lake for the transportation business, and there was no place in Canada so favorably situated for future development. The men of Hamilton fifty and sixty years ago were enthusiasts, and in their sleeping and waking dreams they could see a city of 50,000 population with factory chimneys towering upward, the whirr of machinery and a busy army of well-fed mechanics, every man of marriageable age living in his own house, and no need of the kindly offices of such men as Relief Officer McMenemy to distribute charity. Hamilton was not originally intended as a town for those who were not provident for the early settlers belonged to that independent class determined to hoe their own row. It was a beautiful, dreamy city sixty years ago, and go-ahead men like D. C. Gunn were willing to bet their last dollar that it would in time become a great manufacturing center. Railroads were a new thing in Canada in the early fifties, and the Great Western was the pioneer at that time. The Grand Trunk road was building from Montreal to Toronto, and with two great roads why should this young country depend upon Great Britain and the United States for its locomotives and its passenger and freight cars? That was the question D. C. Gunn and other Hamiltonians asked themselves and their neighbors. One Hamilton man – we have forgotten his name – began to build passenger coaches, and he turned out some very fine ones; but not having the capital to compete with the car builders in the United States, they could undersell him. The railroad bought from the men who could sell the cheapest. This was the first effort to build passenger coaches in Hamilton. Free trade and limited capital made short work of the enterprising Hamiltonian, and the sheriff did the rest.


D. C. Gunn had nursed a substantial bank account in his land sales and forwarding business, but in an evil hour, he dreamed that the Canadian railway companies would buy Canadian-built locomotives if they could get them as cheap as those they had to import from England or the United States. It was a bad dream for him. He knew nothing about building machinery, for he had not been trained in the mechanic arts. In the year 1856 he opened a shop at the foot of Wellington street, hired a first-class superintendent, and sent to Scotland for machinists trained in the work of locomotive building. It was a glad sight to Hamilton eyes to look in upon Mr. Gunn’s hive of industry and see an army of about 100 men at work in all the various departments of building a locomotive. The first three engines turned out were christened Shep, Ham and Japhette – all locomotives were named in those days, and Mr. Gunn wanted to start right by going to the Good Book for names for the first-born Canadian-built locomotives. The Grand Trunk line was then ready to be opened between Toronto and Montreal, and the locomotives were bought by the company. The next two built were named Achilles and Bacchus, and were sold to the Great Western company to run between Hamilton and Niagara Falls. Mr. Gunn kept his works going for about four years, during which time he built fifteen locomotives in all. The panic that began in 1857, spreading ruin in Canada and in the United States, cut a swathe through the locomotive works, and early in 1859, Mr. Gunn had to lower his flag and retire from the field without a dollar to bless himself with. The savings of long years of industry were swept away in less than four years. Canada went out of the locomotive building business and was never able to resume it until Sir John’s National Policy gave it new life. From 75 to 100 hands were employed in Mr. Gunn’s works at from $1.50 to $1.75 per day, and toward the last, the payday was uncertain. But when the doors were finally closed, every man was paid in full and the enterprising Gunn was left with the empty bag. Besides the engines, other work was done in the shops. A pipe-testing machine for the Hamilton waterworks was made, a very powerful hydraulic press for the Canada Powder company was constructed, and other machinery was turned out.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Women are the great reformers of the world. Back as far as the memory of the oldest inhabitant runneth, they tackled the budge question, and down through the centuries, from the time poor old Noah filled up with booze, probably to keep him from catching cold after his long confinement in the ark, down to the present, they have made heroic warfare on the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors. They are not to be blamed, poor souls, for their zeal in this direction, for the curse of strong drink has robbed them of love and home and the comforts of life. A man may be an “ornery cuss” and be a teetotaler, but let the same fellow fill up with whiskey and he is ten times worse. Then when Susan B. Anthony, bless her old heart, came out for women’s rights, the world of women joined with her in demanding the protection of the law. And it was a good thing they did, for down to that time woman was like the negro slave, with no right to person or property. The lords of creation claimed everything, and when they laid down to die, they disposed by will the property the wife had helped create, often cutting her off with beggarly pittance. As the result of fifty years and more, of earnest, persevering work on the part of good old Susan B. and her associates, woman now rules the roost and perverse man has to go back and sit down. Miss Bloomer, another reformer, took up the question of dress and partly arrayed herself in men’s attire, and Lucy Stone thought the trousers, at least, were so comfortable, especially in windy weather, that she threw away her skirts and boldly advocated the Bloomer dress. The women were all right as long as they knocked whiskey and fought for equal rights before the law, but one day some dear creature was sickened by the smoke from tobacco, and at once there was an outcry against its use. This has continued till Sir Wilfred and his cabinet have made life miserable for them because they will not pass a law inflicting the death penalty on the maker or smoker of cigarets. If the dear women will just leave the smoker alone, he will puff his way out York street and find a resting place overlooking Dundas marsh.


          Now it is the women of Germany who are coming to the front as dress reformers, and all the reform associations on this side of the Atlantic ocean are watching with keen interest the result. And it is the ever-offending corset that is the whalebone of contention. It is not a new subject of attack, for it comes up two or three times in every generation. You cannot persuade a girl that a corset is unhealthy so long as it adds a charm and comeliness to her fine form. It is unfortunate that she will tighten up a little closer than is healthy, when she wants to look real captivating. Don’t you remember when the girls wore steel belts and held their breath while they pulled them up to the last notch? Of course, my dear lady, you do; but it is not the object of these Musings to tell tales out of school. The matrons of Germany, when they were young and weighed less than 125 pounds, no doubt wore belts, and steel ones at that; and now that they begin to turn the scale at 160 pounds and upward, and their waists are expanding so that the wearing of corsets becomes uncomfortable, especially after a delicious meal like unto that mother used to prepare, those good old ladies, who are now fair, fat and forty, are asking the German minister of education to issue a preemptory order forbidding the wearing of corsets in girls’ schools. Why not include girls who do not go to school? The minster is clothed with autocratic power, and if he says, “Simon, thumbs up!” up goes every thumb without question. BY a stroke of his pen he can direct the principal of every school where you ladies are being educated to prohibit the wearing of corsets; or, he might go still farther, and cut out any article of clothing. Great is the minister of education in Germany. No teacher may dare defy the minister; and if he so desires,  the symmetry of form and lines of beauty that add so much grace to the charming young frauleins of Emperor Billy’s domains can be changed in the twinkling of an eye. The German dames have probably reached the age where corsets are valueless in preventing a further spread of anatomical lines, and seem determined to make the girls as shapeless as their sprawling selves. The dress reformers the world over await the German minister’s decision with no little anxiety, and should the fiat go forth that corsets are doomed, it would not be surprising if Premier Ross might not be compelled to add corsets to the prohibition planks in his platform in order to secure the hearty support of the W.C.T.U.


          “The People’s Almanack, for the year of our Lord 1844, being leap year. The seventh of Queen Victoria, and the eighty-fourth of British rule in Canada. Containing besides the astronomical calculations and official lists, much useful information adapted to the circumstances of the country. By Andrew Marvel, Toronto: Leslie Brothers, Printers and Publishers.” On the last page of the cover is the advertisement of “E. Lesslie & Son, druggists, booksellers, &c., Dundas. Have at present for sale a few bales of excellent hops, growth of 1843; and of Spanish sole leather, coopers’ edge tools, carpenters’ tools, bar iron and cast steel, and a general assortment of light and heavy hardware.” That firm evidently must have been the advance agents of the department store system. It is the only advertisement in the almanac. The first 26 pages are devoted to the calendars for the year and official information pertaining principally to the city of Toronto. Sir Charles Theophilius Metclafe was Governor of Canada, and his salary was 7777 pounds, 15 shillings, 6 ½ pence. Queen’s counselors were not very numerous in those days, there being only seven in Upper Canada, Sir Allan Macnab being one of the number. Sir Allan was in luck, holding profitable offices, for his name appears in the year 1844 as agent for issuing marriage licenses and as county registrar. J. Wetenhall was warden of the Gore district; E. Cartright Thomas, sheriff and district clerk; A. Gifford, clerk of the peace; Henry Beasley, treasurer; John Wilson, judge of surrogate court; George Rolph, registrar of surrogate court. Hon. J. B. Robinson was chief justice of the court of Queen’s Bench, with a salary of 1666 pounds, 13 shillings, 4 pence and four judges lived sumptuously on $4,000 a year each. The collector of customs for the port of Hamilton was John Davidson.


          Andrew Marvel, the compiler of the almanac, was the nom-de-plum of John (or James) Lesslie, who was the publisher of the Toronto Examiner and afterward postmaster in that city. If the articles in the almanac are an index of his bitterness as a writer then he was certainly as bitter as they made them. In those days, Canadian editors wrote with pens dripped in gall, and they were not very choice in expressing themselves about their political opponents. Lesslie took advantage of his almanac to rip up the churches, especially the Anglican, Roman Catholic and the Presbyterian. Here is a specimen of his writings: “The government table is spread for all. The stern Presbyterian eats of the same dish with the haughty advocate of Prelacy, who hands him over to the uncovenanted mercies of God. The intolerant Episcopalian quaffs the wine of administration with the Roman Catholic, while they reciprocally charge each other as the agents of the most damnable heresy. And all three partake of the fruits of the hothouse of political iniquity with the Brahmins and Buddha priests of India, while they are professionally laboring for the conversion of the latter to the Christian faith.”


          Lesslie was well-known in Dundas to the settlers early in the 40s, for it is possible he may have located there for a time after the family came to this country. John Maclean, father of the editor of the Toronto World, lived in Dundas about that period and was employed in the Lesslie drug store. He was a man of some literary ability and was a contributor to the newspapers. Maclean made a special study along economic lines, and was one of the early advocates for a protective policy for Canada. Smiley and Lesslie and Maclean, and that class of vigorous writers looked far enough ahead to see that if Canada was ever to become a prosperous country it must come through manufacturing industries. It is interesting to study the characters of the men who blazed the way for a “Made in Canada” policy.


          As the almanac was evidently printed for circulation in Toronto, many items of interest pertaining to that city are given in it. The salary of a mayor at that time was $1200 a year. The assessors were allowed 5 per cent on the amount of taxes collected, which made it to the interest of those officers to see that the property owners were assessed high enough. There were eight constables to guard the city, who were paid $350 a year each, and the high bailiff’s salary was $500. It cost Toronto $2,530 a year to light its streets with gas, and $1,000 for water. The population of Toronto in 1843 was 17,305, and the assessed value of property was $316,618. The receipts from taxes were $67,807; the expenditures $64, 694. Each child had to pay 25 cents a month for the privilege of going to school. The Temperance Reformation society had a membership of 2,500, and the pledge was “To suppress by precept, example and unity of effort, the dangerous and injurious practice of drinking intoxicating liquors.”


          Dorothy Doubleday – that is not her name, but it will answer the purpose – was a dream of delight at a southend reception the other afternoon in a chiffon cloth gown of mignonette green, ornamented with point applique lace, and set off with a panne of a deeper shade. Do not fancy for a moment that it is the Saturday Musings man that conceived the description of the fair Dorothy’s toilet, for he has not the slightest idea of what a panne is. Dorothy made it plain that she intended to adhere to the shirring of which she was so fond, for the beautiful work of that kind about the hips was more pronounced than anything in which the southend girls had yet dropped on. It takes an expert to tip off the fine points in the perfect dressing of a beautiful girl, and rather than run the risk of blundering, we give the description as given by a celebrated modiste. The material of the skirt was cut off to disclose the gleam of lavender silk that lined it, and the shirt was decorated with lace medallions. A bolero effect was produced by the shirring of the bodice, which had a narrow yoke of lace. The upper sleeves were made of short puffs of dominant material, fitting snugly at the elbows with rich lace flounces falling almost to the wrists. Insertions of the lace medallions in the front of the bodice, with dainty velvet bows between, vastly improved the whole. Dorothy wore a black velvet picture hat – the same as she wore last Sunday morning in church – with six short, thick ostrich plumes caught in the front, and her muff and stole were of ermine. The charming Dorothy was a picture of loveliness, and there were none to compare with her at that afternoon reception.


          It is a rare thing to read in the telegraphic dispatches of a man committing suicide because he could not succeed in getting employment. Men become discouraged because of physical inability to provide for their families , and the suffering and want in their homes dethrones reason; and then the poison or pistol route is used to end it. In this busy, bustling world it seems almost impossible that there is not work for every willing hand; and yet it is true that even in a manufacturing city like Hamilton, there are times of enforced idleness for men who are not looking for holidays, but prefer to put in sixty hours a week in the workshops. Men with trades and men without trades crowd into the larger cities from the country, and nine times in ten, they do not better themselves. Young men leave the farm because they think the life one of drudgery and loneliness, and move into the cities to better their condition. Do they better their condition? When they leave the farm, they leave a life of independence to become the hewers of wood and the drawers of water for their city employers. Every young man can own a farm of his own, even if it is only fifty acres, and from it he can earn a good living for himself and family, and he is his own master. He may have to work long hours during a few months of the year while raising his crops, but there be many months of comparative ease. Every acre he adds to his farm makes him more independent, and when old age comes, he can sit down in comfort and say : “Soul, take thy ease.” The city toiler is fortunate if he can even buy a home, and it takes years of economy to do that. There is nothing as callous and cruel as the eternal grind of city life. Men and women die in cities and their next door neighbor neither knows nor cares. Out in God’s open country all the world is kin, and sickness and sorrow in one house draw sympathy from the whole township.