Wednesday, 30 January 2013



          At the beginning of the last century, a sort of semi-slavery was permitted by law in Upper Canada, known as the apprentice slavery system. Negroes were not bought and sold as in the United States, but a sort of settled condition existed that did not allow the negro to own himself. Human slavery has existed since the foundation of the world. Homer tells us that in his day the male slaves were I employed in the tillage of the land and the tending of cattle and the females in domestic work and household manufactures. The females were in the more pitiable condition, for they had to submit to the brutality of their masters. By the original Roman law, the master was clothed with absolute Dominion over the slave, extending to the power of life and death. The slave could not possess property of any kind; whatever he acquired was legally his master’s. The union of a male and female slave had not the legal character of a marriage, and it might be terminated at will by the master. Down to 1442, the conquering armies made slaves of the conquered armies, and it was not till that year that negroes, as a race, became slaves. When the Portuguese, under Prince Henry, the navigator, were exploring the Atlantic coast of Africa, one of his officers, who had captured some Moors, was directed by the prince to carry them back to Africa. He received from the Moors in exchange for them ten blacks and a quantity of gold dust. This excited the cupidity of his fellow countrymen and they fitted out a large number of ships for the trade, and built several forts on the African coast. Many negroes were brought into Spain from these Portuguese settlements and the colonial slave trade first appears in the form of the introduction into the newly-discovered western world of children or descendants of these negroes. So far as we can gather from history this was the beginning of the slavery. The first Englishman who engaged in the African slave traffic was Capt. John Hawkins. The English slave traders were at first altogether occupied in supplying the Spanish settlements. In 1620, a Dutch ship from the coast of Guinea visited Jamestown in Virginia, and sold a part of her cargo of negroes to the tobacco planters. This was the first beginning of slavery in British America; the number of negroes was afterwards continually increased by importation, and the field labor was more and more performed by slave labor, so that in 1790 the State of Virginia contained 200,000 negroes. The question of the legal existence of slavery in Great Britain and Ireland was raised in 1729, to the effect that a slave by coming into those countries did not become free, and might be compelled by his master to return to the plantations. It was decided by Lord Mansfield, on June 22, 1792, that as soon as a slave set foot on the soil of British islands, he became free. The question of slavery became a live one in the British parliament in 1788 in consequence of the numerous petitions presented by the people against it. Mr. Pitt moved that the House of Commons should early in the next session take the subject into consideration. On March 19, 1789, Wilberforce, after an admirable speech, laid on the table twelve resolutions which were intended as the basis of a future motion for the abolition of the trade. In 1806, a bill was passed in both houses to put an end to the British slave trade for foreign supply and to forbid the importation into the colonies won by the British arms in the course of the war. In 1807, a bill was enacted that no slave vessel should clear from any port within the British dominions and that no slave should be landed in the British colonies after March 1, 1808. The British parliament had a long and bitter struggle in its humane efforts to remove the blot of slavery from its history. In 1811 a bill was passed through parliament declaring the traffic to be a felony punishable with transportation. Some years later, another act was passed making it’s a capital offense. There was so much profit in the slave trade that if one voyage in three was successful, they were abundantly remunerated for the risk. England was not the first European power to abolish the slave trade; that honor belongs to Denmark. The United States had, in 1794, forbidden any participation by American citizens in the slave trade to foreign countries; they now prohibited the importation of slaves from Africa into their Dominion. This act was passed in 1807. In 1807, there were 800,000 slaves in the West Indies; three years later, they were reduced to 700,000, and in 1823, England abolished slavery in the West Indies, paying the owners an indemnity of $100,000,000.


          Slavery was far from being approved by the most eminent fathers of the American union. Washington in his will provided for the emancipation of his own slaves. The words, “slave,” and “slavery,” were excluded from the constitution because they did not choose to admit the right of property in man, and it was at the same time provided that congress might interdict the foreign slave after twenty years. Soon after the formation of the Northern States in 1777, Vermont abolished slavery, and in 1804, New Jersey adopted measures for its final abolition within its boundaries. This simply transferred the northern slaves to southern markets. The pioneer of the abolition movement in the United States was Benjamin Lundy, and he was followed by William Lloyd Garrison, Elijah P. Lovejoy, Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner and John Brown, the latter being hanged at Harper’s Ferry in 1859. The election of President Lincoln in 1860 was the signal for the rising of the south. The north at first took up arms to maintain the union, but soon the whole nation saw that the real issue with the south was the continued existence of slavery. The war closed at  Appomattox on April 9, 1865, but slavery in the territories had been abolished by congress in 1862. On the 22nd of April, 1862, President Lincoln issued his proclamation of freedom to the slaves, and in 1864, a constitutional amendment was passed abolishing and forever prohibiting slavery in the United States.


                                       SLAVES IN HAMILTON
          How many of the ancient Hamiltonians remember the time when slavery existed in this city, though in a very mild form. It was known as the apprentice slave system, which bound the colored man or woman to his or her master, but at the same time protected the slave from injustice or cruel treatment. In a box of legal papers that were removed many years ago to Toronto by the owner, much interesting history might be found that would be well worth writing up. That box would be valuable to the archivist of Ontario, and it will be a misfortune to some future historian should it be lost. A part of its contents is legal papers  relating to the sale and transfer of negroes who were owned in this city when it was known as the Head of the Lake. The only record the writer of these Musings had access to, and it is very brief, is of two household servants that were owned by early settlers. The older citizens of Hamilton whose memory will carry them back to the days before the American war, will remember an aged negro named Jackson, who lived in a very ancient frame cottage near the Delta. Jackson was a house servant in the family of Col. Henry Beasley, grandfather of A. C. Beasley. Where he came from is beyond the knowledge of Mr. Beasley. All that he can remember of the old man is that he used to nurse the father of Thomas C. Beasley, former city clerk, and that he performed the same kindly office for him. Jackson lived for almost one hundred years, dying about the year 1868. He was a kindly old soul, and everybody who knew him was always ready to add to his comfort. He was bent with age and his head was covered with thick, white hair, as fine and wavy as a fleece of wool. If he ever had a family, it was not known even to the Beasleys. That he had been a runaway slave from the south there was no doubt; but he never talked about his early life, not even to those with whom he was most intimate. Jackson, for he was never known by a Christian name, had a little patch of ground surrounding his cabin near the Delta, on which he raised vegetables, chickens and some fruits, so that his wants, which were few, were well-supplied. During the latter part of his life, Thomas C. Beasley saw to it that the old man was well-supplied with comfortable clothing and with money sufficient to make him independent. One day he was missed from his usual haunts; his chimney was smokeless, his door closed and locked, and his chickens squawking around, looking for the kindly hand that fed them. A neighbor went over to see what was the matter, and in looking through the window he saw the ancient colored man sitting bolt upright on a chair. The alarm was given, the door broken open, and it was seen that the old man had passed away, a sweet smile resting on his face, evidencing that his closing hours were free from suffering. Mr. Beasley took charge of the house and paid the expenses of the funeral. There was a large gathering at the house during the ceremonies, and the aged slave was followed to the grave in the city cemetery by nearly the whole neighborhood in which he lived. Jackson was the first apprenticed slave of whom we have any record.


          When James Durand, in 1805, came to Hamilton from Norfolk, he brough with him a colored woman, who was his apprenticed slave. Mr. Durand kept a general store in Norfolk, and Peter Desjardins, the builder of the Desjardins canal, worked for him as a clerk, and he came with his employer. Mr. Durand bought  the fine farm of 100 acres located between Main street and south to the mountain top, and bounded by a line running through the center of the block between Walnut and Catharine streets on the east and Hughson street on the west.  In coming down the then dangerous mountainside, and almost in sight of her new home, Mrs. Durand was thrown from her carriage, and lived but a few days afterward, dying from the injuries received. She was attended by Dr. William Case, the grandfather of Miss Case, whose home is on Queen street. There were no graveyards in those early days, the settlers burying their loved ones on their farms. Mrs. Durand was buried on the side of the mountain on her husband’s farm, and, strange to say, Dr. Case was buried in the same lot nearly fifty years later. We have told the story before, but history will always stand repeating for the benefit of the later generations. When Dr. Case died in 1854, although Hamilton cemetery was then opened, but did not belong to the city, the church that then controlled the property refused to sell a lot to the Case family unless some orthodox minister would perform the burial service at the grave. The good old doctor had the misfortune, if it might be so called, not to be affiliated with any church, and this was considered to be an unpardonable sin in Hamilton in those bucolic days. It mattered not that the old doctor was one of the kindest men that ever stood by a sick bed, and that he rarely ever got a copper from the poorer class  of patients, yet there was one thing lacking, he did not bow before the altar in “our” church, therefore he could not be buried in consecrated ground. Geo. Hamilton, who succeeded Mr. Durand in ownership of the farm, tendered a burial spot to the family in the original Durand burial ground, and there the body of the good old doctor rests as peacefully as though it had been consigned to the grave by the pomps and ceremonies of every minister in the then holy city. The day of the doctor’s funeral was bright sunshine, and a large company had assembled to do honor to the memory of one of the kindest souls that ever lived in the town, and the chief mourners at that grave on the mountain side were the poor in purse, whose families had been nursed back to health and life by the free ministrations of their dead benefactor. When the pallbearers were about to lower the coffin into the grave a terrific thunderstorm broke from the clear sky and the rain poured down in torrents. This brought the burial service to a close, the large audience seeking shelter as best they could under the trees, the coffin being left by the side of the grave. The storm soon broke, and the sun shone out bright and clear as it did a half an hour before. Then a few who remained completed the burial. How many are still living who attended Dr. William Case’s funeral. The doctor’s body was never moved to the cemetery. It would have been sacrilege to disturb his peaceful rest. The grave can yet be seen on the mountain side as one walks up or down the hill at the head of John street.


          Well, there is nothing more to be told about the slave woman who came to Hamilton in 1805 with James Durand’s family and Peter Desjardins, the French boy who afterwards built the Desjardins canal. The faithful old slave remained in the Durand family during her lifetime, and was nurse to a generation by the second wife. The Durand farm was afterward bought by George Hamilton for $3,000 and was the first surveyed of the present city that has grown in population from less than two thousand in the year 1813 to over one hundred thousand in the year 1916. In the early days, Hamilton was the mecca for the runaway slaves from the southern states. While many of them stopped in the race from slavery to freedom at the village of St. Catharines, yet they never felt safe till they reached Hamilton, the haven of rest and safety. The runaway slaves were fearful that St. Catharines was too close to the border, and that their masters would sneak in upon them in the silent night and kidnap them back to slavery. Chatham was also a paradise for runaway slaves, and that town has yet many relics of the slave days before “Massa Linkum” issued his celebrated proclamation in 1862 declaring freedom to very black faced son and daughter. One by one the slave-born who sought refuge in Hamilton have passed to the home of freedom that is fairer than this. Back in the early days of the year 1840, there was quite a settlement of colored people in this old town. You, my old Hamiltonian, will remember John Burns, dark, fat and fifty, who kept a restaurant on King street west, in the building adjoining the C. P. R. ticket office. John was not overrun with business during the day, but when night came, and it was time for everybody  to be pointing their noses homeward, then was John’s harvest. The old man was a chef of no mean order and his pastries and sandwiches and delicious coffee makes one’s mouth water even in these days sixty years after. O for the halcyon days of youth! Then there was Peleg (sic) Brown, whose clanging hand bell and stentorian voice could be heard crying ales, things lost or stolen, lost children, concerts and lectures, in fact, everything that is now advertised in the daily papers. Hamilton had no daily paper then, and old Peleg (sic) was a first class substitute. Then there was cheerful old Taffy Mary, who was the banker for all of the children’s coppers, for which she exchanged her delicious taffy. An old Hamiltonian was talking about her the other day to the Muser, and the remembrance of that taffy was so vivid that he began licking his fingers. You remember Henry Pease, who died about six years ago? He came from Tennessee about the year 1850 and stopped to take a rest in London; but that sleepy old town was too slow for a man of his energy and skill, and he bought a ticket for Hamilton, and here he made his home. Henry Brazier died the other day, aged 92 years. He had a kind master and an easy job in the south, but his soul panted for freedom, and he crossed the river and came to Hamilton. He came long before the war, and was a decent citizen, and lived here 66 years. We might extend the roll; there are not many left of the old slavery stock. Julia Diggs, an old colored woman, who has lived so long that she has forgotten where she was born. She remembers, however, that she was born a slave in Maryland more than ninety years ago, and that she came to Hamilton nearly seventy years ago, and was united in marriage by Dean Geddes to her husband, also a runaway slave. When the American war broke out, Aunt Julia’s husband went from Hamilton to the United States and did his best to help President Lincoln free the slaves of the south. He died shortly after the war, and Aunt Julia is still drawing $12 a month pension from the United States government, which keeps the good old woman from being an object of charity. Some of these people who indulge in sneers about the United States forget that as a nation it provide generously for the men who did its fighting, and also takes care of the surviving widows of the veteran soldiers. There is one more colored man who spent his young life in slavery, and who is now drawing a pension from Uncle Sam for three years’ service on the fighting line. His name is William Moore. The old man has passed beyond the days of hard work, but his wants are all provided for while he lives.

Friday, 25 January 2013


Sixty-one years ago, Hamilton’s first big hotel was opened for the reception of guests. At that time it was said to be one of the largest hotels in Canada, and it was certainly one of the finest. At that time thirty-one places advertised in this city under the heading of “Hotels,” yet it was doubtful if more than half a dozen of them could furnish decent accommodation for guests. Some of them had very high-sounding titles, but mighty poor cooks. Travelling men gave the town the go-by and would not spend a night here if it was possible to transact their business in time to catch the last train out. This was humiliating to the progressive business men of the town, and Hamilton had any number of that enterprising class in those days. The principal wholesale houses in Canada, next to Montreal, were in this town, and the country merchants who came here to buy goods very freely registered their complaints with the wholesale men with whom they dealt. A few of the comfortable hotels were always crowded, and the wiser country merchants used to send on in advance and secure accommodations. After the opening of the Great Western railway in the fall of 1853, more than ever was the necessity felt for a first-class hotel, large enough to accommodate the increasing travelling public, and in 1854, a few of the more public-spirited business men started a stock-subscription for the purpose of creating a building fund for a new hotel. In addition to the so-called hotels at that time, Hamilton had twenty-six eating houses combined with saloons, where one could get food and liquor to wash it down, but they were not expected or required to furnish lodgings. The stock was soon subscribed, each business man taking as many shares as his interests justified, and as soon as the plans, and the specifications, could be prepared, work was begun on the new hotel. Negotiations had been opened with Charles S. Coleman, a member of the family of celebrated hotel keepers in the United States, to lease the hotel at a nominal rent for a term of years, and Mr. Coleman was consulted as to the manner of building that would best suit a city of the size that Hamilton then was. The result was the elegant hotel known first as the Anglo-American and in later years as the Waldorf.
          Land at that time in Hamilton did not have much value, and the lot on the south side of King street, in the middle of the block between John and Catharine streets, was selected as the site for the new hotel. No one seemed to want that lot, for it was on the wrong side of the street for retail business hotels and the wholesale business was located on the same side of the street, between John and James streets. It might be interesting to state as a matter of history that the early circuses and tent shows that visited Hamilton used that lot for exhibition grounds. We doubt if there are many ancient Hamiltonians now living who can remember when Welch and Mann’s great national circus or VanAmburgh’s animal show pitched their tents on that lot. It is about seventy years ago since those celebrated shows travelled through Canada, and having a day off they stopped over in Hamilton and occupied this historic spot. How many of the old boys are now living who spent that day in carrying water from the town pump, that stood at the west end of the Gore, opposite where the Bank of Hamilton now raises its dizzy head skyward? It was a long way to carry water, but what did a boy care if in the end he was to be rewarded with standing room on the inside of the tent? Those elephants and horses and other animals never seemed to get water enough, but when the show began, the boys were permitted to crawl under the canvas and forget the weary hours they had spend in tramping from the town pump to the circus ground.
          But the time came when some enterprising shopkeepers were looking for cheap lots on which to build, and what is now the site of a new hotel was covered with a row of frame buildings, and in time at each end of the block more pretentious brick stores were erected. Those brick buildings are there yet, but much larger than were the originals. It was always a wonder why the middle of that block was selected as the site of the Anglo-American, when the whole block might have been bought for less than half the money that was spent for the 160 feet on which the new hotel is built. However, there is no accounting for the judgment of men when they get their minds fixed. It was deemed to be the most eligible spot on King street for a hotel, and there it was built. At the time when the streets of this ancient city were being platted, it was the purpose of the original surveyors to make King street something that future generations would be proud of. The plan was to have it as wide from James as far as Wellington street, which was then the eastern limits of the town, as it was at the west end of the Gore. What a magnificent street that would have been, and it was intended to continue that width as far east as the town might grow in the future. The early settlers who owned the farm lands thought it would be a waste of land to have such a wide street, and they objected so strenuously that the old cow path line was followed, and that accounts for King street being laid out in a gore pattern. The land at that time could have been bought for less than $50 an acre, but as there was no such thing known as legal expropriation proceedings, the farmers won out. Well, the Anglo-American was built on that 160 feet frontage, and for all time to come there, Hamilton’s leading hotel will stand. It was a handsome structure, and the interior was so planned that every room was bright and airy. It was a great day for Hamilton when in the year 1854 the town took a holiday for the laying of the cornerstone; and for the months that followed the progress of the construction was watched with as much interest as though the hotel was to be the personal residence of each individual. It was a new thing for the town to see such a skyscraper as the five-story hotel being erected; for it was at that time the tallest building in the town.


          Every man and woman in Hamilton felt a personal interest in that hotel, and when the last hammer sounded and the master builder said the work was completed, the managers very generously opened its doors to the public that it might see what a grand thing had come to Hamilton through the enterprise and liberality of the progressive business men who had contributed to its erection, for the men who furnished the money never expected to receive a penny in the way of dividends. And they were not disappointed, as subsequent events proved. But they had the comforting solace that Hamilton had at last a first-class hotel and a landlord that had the experience and ability to keep it at the head of Canadian hostelries. The Anglo-American soon won a reputation for its comfortable rooms and for its cuisine, and instead of travelling men hurrying away from town, rather than put up with former discomforts, the hotel was crowded with guests, especially over Sunday. The hotel was dedicated by a grand ball, and in order to give Mr. Coleman a financial benefit to start with, the price of tickets was placed at $10, the gentlemen having the privilege of taking one or more ladies.  It was an extremely select affair, as ten dollar bills in those days did not have a very wide circulation among the average Hamiltonians; but those who could not attend, for financial reasons, had the pleasure of seeing the handsomely-dressed women and their fashionably-equipped escorts enter the hotel, and of hearing the fine orchestra, brought from Buffalo for the occasion. It was joy enough to watch the dancers as they whirled around the large dining room, transferred into a ballroom for the opening night at least.

          There was a sound of revelry that night,
            And the Ambitious City had gathered then
          Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
            The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men.
          A thousand hearts beat happily, and when
            Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
          Soft eyes look’d love to eyes which spake again,
            And all went merry as a marriage bell.

          The wealth and fashion of Hamilton and the surrounding country was there, and Byron’s description of the ball the night before Waterloo, fits in to tell the story. It was the first grand event of the old town, and it was fittingly observed. There are not many left of the young men and women who were present on that opening night, but to the survivors it comes as a dream of the past, never to be forgotten.
          The Anglo-American was built before its time. A population of 15,000 was not large enough to draw custom to a hotel kept in the style that it was. Mr. Coleman was disappointed although the business men gave him every encouragement, and the stockholders were willing that he should continue as lessee at a merely nominal rent. The term for which he had originally leased the house having expired, no inducements could be strong enough to persuade him to renew it. He liked Hamilton and its people, but better inducements were offered elsewhere and he bade farewell and left town with less money than he brought to it. The panic of 1857 struck Canada with foirce, and Hamilton felt it at its worst. There were but few manufacturing industries in the town, and nearly all of them were closed or the men put on short time. Men by the score were leaving every week to seek employment across the border, and none returning to take their place was poor encouragement for a hotel with a large payroll and an empty dining room. In fact, the only paying department in the Anglo-American was its bar. Old-timers will remember the genius who presided behind the bar. He was an Adonis that any photographer would delight to have for a sitter, so they he might enlarge it for the front show window. He was a man of pleasant features, with a long black beard nearly a foot in length. He went on duty about 6 o’clock in full evening dress, low cut vest, broad expanse of snowy linen with an immaculate rolled-down shirt collar and white necktie, and was a picture that foolish women would rave about and a drawing card with the men. Behind the bar with him were two or more assistants dressed in white linen suits and as lavish shirt fronts as their principal, and to them was allotted the task of rinsing the glasses and keeping the bar polished. The principal barkeep never did any of the wash up; all he did was to hand down the decanters and take in the cash. He was popular with the patrons of the bar, and through his acquaintance with prominent men connected with the Great Western succeeded in getting a conductorship on the road. But the end finally came and the Anglo-American sounded “lights out,” closed its doors to the travelling public, and Mr. Coleman and his pleasant family returned to their homes across the border.


          That left Hamilton with but one first-class hotel. Thomas Davidson was the proprietor of the City hotel, a very popular home for travelers who visited the town, but not large enough to accommodate an extra rush of travelers. After Fisher and McQuesten’s foundry had burned down, on the opposite corner of the City hotel, a stock company bought the site and upon it built the Royal hotel about a year later than when the Anglo-American was opened. The trade of the town was not sufficient for two first-class hotels, especially as Mr. Davidson, who had been long in the business, and F. W. Fearman, who had been connected with the City hotel, both as manager and lessee, were competitors of the Anglo-American. The Prince of Wales was expected to visit Hamilton in his tour through Canada and the United States, and the stockholders of the Anglo-American thought it to be an opportune time to secure a new manager and again open its doors, and they induced Rice and Kinsley to make the experiment. They were men of ability in the hotel business, and if it was at all possible they would certainly succeed. Kinsley had for years been the manager of the Robinson Hall hotel in London, one of the most popular stopping places for the travelling public. Again the doors of the Anglo-American swung open, and when the prince was expected in Hamilton, the committee of arrangements selected it for the reception and ball. It was a brilliant affair, and Rice and Kinsley made good their reputation as hotel keepers. The night of the ball, after the guests had departed and only here and there was to be seen a glimmer of light from the window of some tired reveler, Rice and Kinsley “flew the coop.” The merchants who had furnished the supplies for entertaining the prince came round the next morning to collect their bills, but went away sorrowful, for Rice and Kinsley were not there. That was the last of the Anglo-American. The stockholders sold the building to a company of Wesleyan Methodists, who converted it into a ladies’ college. The new company got a snap, for they bought the elegant property for the low price of $28,000 – about $175 per front foot. The Hamilton hotel company paid the heirs of Dr. Burns $175,000 for the property. The hotel opened again a few years ago, with a popular landlord who knew how to keep hotel. He made it a financial success and when he sold it, he left Hamilton $75,000 better off than when he came here. The next landlord was not a success.

Thursday, 24 January 2013



        If the ancient Hamiltonians who lived in the first half of the last century could only see with the natural eye the heritage they planned and provided for the Hamiltonian of the present day, it would certainly be a surprise to them. A few of the old-timers are still living, but it is doubtful if many of them even know or appreciate the changes that have and are taking place everyday. It is not many years since the went end was almost a desert waste, given over to the town cow for a pasture lot and to the brick makers by day, and to the burning kilns and the unfortunates who sought their warmth by night as they crouched around the hot kilns and slept and dreamt of the happy days of childhood when home and comfort were theirs. All is changing now, and the fine homes, broad streets and concrete walks, brilliantly lighted by night by electric power from Niagara Falls, are making a paradise out of what was once the most forlorn spot in this beautiful valley. An enterprising man who saw the possibilities in the future of that waste territory bought up a few tracts of land and spent money freely and judiciously in laying blocks and streets, building sidewalks, sewer, water and gas mains, and when he had changed the whole landscape and made it fit for the homemaker, then he parceled it out into building lots and invited the Hamilton out to see what a charming place he had prepared for them. Conditions were put in the deeds that would make it impossible for one neighbor to interfere with the rights and comforts of the other, and indeed every reservation was made to guarantee a location for a desirable home. There were doubting Thomases a plenty who said the enterprising shorthorn breeder was wasting his good money to no purpose and that it would be many a long day before people would be lured to make a home in the west end. But he had the faith that builds up cities, and in less than half a dozen years, nearly every lot was sold, fine houses built for first-class citizens, and the man who planned all this laid the foundation for the fortune he has made in less than a dozen years, for he did not stop his promotion of land projects with his west end deal, but is extending his conquests to the north shore of the bay and of old Ontario.


          Now the McKittrick syndicate is putting the finishing touches in the way of improving the remainder of the west end valley and preparing it for the present and future of Hamiltonians. There is money galore behind this syndicate, and what has been left undone by the former proprietor will be enlarged upon. A trip to the west end will open one’s eyes as to the possibilities at no late date of joining hands with the ancient town of Dundas, and bringing it into the sunlight of this growing and ambitious city. The time was when Dundas was IT, and Hamilton was only the Head of the Lake. After Desjardin built the canal, Dundas was the principal shipping point for all the country west and north of it. The first sailing vessel that was built in this section was the work of a Scotchman whose son is now at the head of the Lake Carriers’ association, and lives in Detroit, and it was a proud day for Dundas when it came floating down the raging Desjardin canal and out into the broad bay at Burlington. Old Captain Peace, who spent his life as a sailor on the upper lakes, made Dundas his terminal point, and young Dan, Hamilton’s ancient tobacconist, slept many a night at the masthead to get beyond the reach of the mosquitoes that bred by the million in the broad bosom of the “Dundas marsh.” Well, the ancient marsh will be drained in time, and may become an extension to the McKittrick syndicate, and through the canal furnish an outlet to the west end to the open sea of Burlington bay. Who knows?


          Hamilton is a city of great possibilities, for it is not only building in the valley down to the waterside, but is climbing the mountain heights and reaching out toward the Grand river, and in time may take the shores of Lake Erie in as one of its suburbs. There are as many families living on the mountain brow today as the assessors could count up for the entire population of ancient Hamilton when John Fisher was elected the second mayor. Who was John Fisher? Some belated Hamiltonian may ask. John Fisher was an enterprising Yankee boy who crossed the Niagara river long before a suspension bridge joined New York state to Canada and came to Hamilton and started the first foundry and machine shop, and built the first threshing machine in Canada. That was John. Count up the number of factories today in this progressive town and the thousands of hands employed, both men and women, and you can figure out the results of that one little foundry and machine shop, on the corner of James and Merrick streets, the present site of the Royal hotel, that John Fisher built away back in the year 1838. Hamilton was the home of the stove foundry business when you and I were boys, my old Hamiltonian; and it was with a feeling of sadness that I took a stroll through the northwest quarter of the town the other day and saw more than one of the old shops deserted, with the windows boarded up and the neighbourhood in which they are located as quiet as a country graveyard. But the men have fooled away this profitable branch of the molder’s trade. And from all appearance, it has gone forever. Still, there is something doing over in that quarter, and to take the place of the foundries, there are numerous large factory buildings occupied by other trades. The star of enterprise has arisen in the east end, and all along the bay front, down as far as the sandstrip (now politely called the Beach) that used to join this old town and the ancient village of Wellington Square, the line of smokestacks gives one an idea of the present and future greatness that is possible for the home of our youth. Hamilton is the nursery for the factory wealth of Canada, and Montreal pops in and walks away with all the profits. Montreal deserves all it can rake in if our own capitalists will sit idly by and see the rich cream of industry float down the St. Lawrence. And speaking of Montreal reminds us that its enterprising moneyed men are spending their wealth broadcast and gathering in a harvest of dividends. Out in the central part of Illinois, which this old Muser called home for a quarter of a century, Montreal capital has constructed hundreds of miles of electric railway that covers the richest part of the state.


          But now let us get back to Hamilton and to what it is doing as a manufacturing town. The ancient ones will remember when Lover’s Lane was the eastern terminal of the corporate limits. The present generation will not know it by that name, but if we tell them that it is now better known as Wellington street, then they will be able to locate it. Lover’s Lane was a dear old name to the ancient bucolics who used to do their sparking, by the silvery light of the moon, till such time as they could see their way clear to take each other for better or worse. It required $6 then to buy a marriage license and at least a one note to pay the preacher for the marriage ceremony. And, by the way, we see that by the late law the marriage license fee has been raised again from $2 to $6, only part of which goes to the government and part to some political appointee for issuing it. Why should the issuing of such an important document be given to some favorite shopkeeper? Really, the government might better offer a premium to the young man who has courage enough to marry in these days, when it takes seven cents to buy a one pound loaf of bread and forty cents a pound for butter to make it palatable. If you are rich enough to own a motor car, or even a faithful old horse, take a trip down Main street east – which, by the way, is one of the finest residence streets in the city, take it and by and large out as far as the Delta, where Jackson, an old negro slave made his home nearly a century ago, and you will be surprised at the growth of your home town; and, mind you, it has nearly all been accomplished within the past fifteen years, during which time the population has more than doubled. Broad avenues, lined with handsome homes, with beautiful lawns and flower beds, where only yesterday, you may say, the town cow used to chew its cud and lazily dream of the time when the owner would call to drive it home, with its rich bag of milk to trickle down the family throat. Ah! these are memories of the past that will never return. Turn your motor to the north and get down into the factory district, where you will find massive buildings covering acres of ground, and wanting still more of mother earth for extensions. You, my old Hamiltonian, can remember the time when land down there could be bought at ridiculously low prices : now you might cover an acre of it with one-dollar Dominion bank bills and the owners would only laugh at you for thinking he was going to throw away for nothing. The early pioneers who located that land thought it dear at almost any price. It was old Colonel Land, if our history is not forgotten, who purchased a hundred acres of land in the early days, not far from King and Wellington streets, for a barrel of salt pork and some other trifles. Down in that district are more than four hundred factories, representing hundreds of millions of wealth, and giving labor to thousands of skilled workmen, who have prospered so that they are able to live well on eight and nine hours for a day’s work when their fathers found it hard scratching to make both ends meet with a ten and twelve hour day. This old town is prospering, and with no serious setbacks it will yet become the greatest industrial city in Canada.