Saturday, 24 August 2013


In looking over some of the old daily papers of Hamilton forty years ago, we find an advertisement of Moore & Davis, real estate agents, offering choice building lots in East Hamilton, on the line of the street railway for $600 an acre. The owners of those farms never dreamed that the same choice building lots would be selling in the opening years of the twentieth century at from $3,000 to $4,000 an acre. Forty years ago, Hamilton had a population of less than 30,000; the latest census figures up 110,000, or nearly four times the population of forty years ago. If Moore & Davis had those choice building lots for sale today, their commissions on the sale would be a small fortune for them, and the selling price enrich the farmers who owned the land so that every one of them would be able to buy a large block of Victory bonds and spend their remaining days in luxury, not caring a cent about the high cost of living. It does one good to take a stroll through east Hamilton, say from Land’s woods to the Jockey club and see how the city has grown even within the past twenty years. One gets enlarged ideas of this old town, and naturally asks the question, what has made this great change? At the risk of someone calling this old muser a politician we must give credit where credit is due, and accord to the old Protection party all the honor of Canada’s and of Hamilton’s increase in wealth and population. Before Sir John A. Macdonald saw the light of protection away back in the ‘80s, Hamilton was a pleasant town to live in, but if the enterprising young men who were born here ever expected to see beyond being hewers of wood and drawers of water, they had to seek a home elsewhere. Forty years ago, one could almost count the number of Hamilton industries at less than half a hundred; today the number has increased till it almost reaches the five hundred mark. Take half a dozen of the great industries of today, and they give employment to more men and women than did all the factories in Hamilton forty years ago, and at an average of double the wages. The latest data we have of the average rate of wages earned was $550 a year, while in other parts of Canada the average was down to $475. In 1913, the output for the year of 415 industries was $60,000,000 and the number of employees was over 27,000. During the past three years, wealth has been showered upon Hamilton, and there has been work and the highest wages for every man, woman and child that wanted it. In the munitions factories, women have earned from $15 to $25 a week, while the men have gone as high as $10 a day and over. And yet we are not happy!

When people get discontented with their present condition, it is well to recall the conditions of other days. The old Hamiltonian will remember when wages for men were from $7 to $9 a week, and when girls thought themselves fortunate with a wage of $4 to $6 a month. Boys averaged about $3 a week in the days of their apprenticeship, and their employers “speeded them up” to do a man’s work. Probably it was the best thing for the boys, for it made better workmen of them, and they learned their trades from the ground up. Even a late as forty years ago, $10 a week was considered good wages, and the the workman had to put in sixty hours a week to earn it; now the average man gets half that amount for a single day’s work. Take the printing trade as an example. In the early ‘50s, such men as John W. Harris, Thomas McIntosh, William Nicholson, R. R. Donnelly, and many more that might be named, were artists as job printers, and the highest wages that any of them were paid was $8 a week - $7 a week being the average; now the scale of wages is $25 a week, and the men have to work only eight hours a day. Cigar makers were the best paid in the old days, and they bettered their condition by organizing in trades unions about the year 1854. At that time, George Tuckett worked at the bench rolling cigars. There were nine factories in Hamilton in those days. Mr. Quimby kept a shop on James street, near the Mechanics’ hall, and George Tuckett abandoned the bench and went out on the road with a peddler’s’ wagon and sold cigars and tobacco for Quimby. In the same year the printers organized a union, and raised the scale of prices from $7 a week to $9, and for piecework to 27 cents a thousand. It has been always a disputed question as to whether the cigar makers or the printers organized the first society; but if we take the city directory of that date as proof, the printers evidently had the call as being first. Only three of the original members of the printers society are now living so far as we have any knowledge – A. T. Freed, Reese Evans and Richard Butler. If there are any members of the first cigar makers’ society, we have failed to learn.

Hamilton always had the reputation for being a society town. Sixty years ago, it had two lodges of Oddfellows, four lodges and three chapters of the Masonic order, five Orange lodges, three temperance societies, a St. George, St. Andrew, a Highland society, and three building societies.

Here is an item that may be of interest in these days of natural gas and antagonism between the city and the company. The Hamilton Gas company was organized in the year 1850, with a paid-up capital of $150,000, Thomas McIlwraith, manager. The works were completed in 1851, when the streets were first lighted with gas with about sixty lamps. For the year ending 31st of January, 1857, the net profits of the company were $20,794, out of which the semi-annual dividend, at the rate of ten per cent per annum, was declared. The old gas company was a moneymaker from the start, for it paid ten per cent after the first two or three years. It could never pay a larger dividend under its charter, for there was a proviso that if the company earned more, it had to divide the surplus with the consumers by reducing the rates. By 1857, the number of lamps had increased to 220, and the number of consumers to about 640. Hamilton had not got beyond the tallow candle and burning-fluid stage till Robert Young began to manufacture the first coal-oil burners made in Canada. Now the old town is so struck on itself that it has not only natural and artificial gas to burn, but it also takes two electric companies to light the residences, the business houses, the thousand or more workshops and factories, and to keep the wheels going around so that Hamilton’s industries can turn out from $60,000,000 to $80,000,000 worth of manufactures in a year. The quantity of coal used during the year 1857 for the manufacture o9f artificial gas was 2,072 tons, which produced 15,047,200 cubic feet. The net price per 1,000 cubic feet of gas was $3.50. Now it costs Hamilton about 45 cents per 1,000 cubic feet for natural gas, and still we are not happy. There is a class of growlers who would swear that the gas company was robbing them if they got their light and fuel for ten cents a thousand feet.
The citizen of Hamilton who does not feel proud of his town, and always be ready to sing its praises, has something wrong with his liver. If you, my gentle Hamiltonian, have reached that unhappy state of mind, just take a stroll from the mountain to the bay, and from the eastern to the western limits, and learn something of the town you are living in. It would do no harm to take a panoramic view from the mountain top as a starter, and catch a glimpse of the broad, well-shaded streets, the beautiful homes, and Macassa Bay. Sometimes we wonder why they ever changed the original commonplace Burlington; or why they ever forgot the fighting Irish duke, and changed Wellington Square to Burlington. Then when you have feasted your eyes on what nature has done in creating such a landscape picture, come down from the heights and spend a few hours gazing on the public library, the artistic court house, the fine churches, the splendid school buildings, of which the city might feel proud; the city hall, and our Goodenough mayor. Then when you have done the business center, start out on a tour of the manufacturing districts, and see what a protective tariff and the Dominion Power and Transmission company, assisted by the Hydro-Electric, have done to build up an industrial city from a few foundries, planning mills and small workshops. If after you have seen all this, and you still feel grouchy, then, for heaven’s sake, pack up your old kit bag and take the first train to Kitchener, and join the growlers up there. You are not really in a proper frame of mind to live in this up-to-date industrial town.
Did it not make the red blood tingle in your veins the other night as the greatest procession ever seen in the streets of Hamilton paraded for two or three hours in the interest of Victory bonds! Will such a grand hurrah ever be repeated in the old town? Probably, “When Tommy comes marching home again, we will get up a royal welcome then: the girls will cheer, the boys will shout, and all the people will turn out, and we w2ill all feel gay when Tommy comes marching home.” Fancy this old town buying bonds by the million dollars’ worth! Who would ever though that such a thing could be possible! It is the men who have been saving their money for years who are able to respond to the call of the government in its hour of distress, and while they are helping the government, they are adding to their incomes by the increased rate of interest.
Hamilton was never as prosperous as it is today, and the hope is that it will last. There is not a wage-earner in the town who cannot spare $50 or $100 to invest in a government bond out of the increased wages they are getting for their labor. Begin saving now, and when old age comes upon you, poverty wilol not enter your home. Let every family have a small savings bank of its own, and after each meal each member drop a coin, if only a cent, into a box as a thank offering for the meal. The working members of the family can surely spare a trifle, and the children will become interested and do their part instead of investing in chewing gum, and it will teach the giver the joy of giving and produce wonderful results in educating the spirit of saving. Be saving of the pennies and the dollars will increase and take care of themselves. There is more money extravagantly wasted in this industrial city than would give a home of comfort to every man, woman and child. There should be no poverty in prosperous Canada except in cases of sickness or old age that had a reckless youth.
Why should fish be so costly as a food when the lakes and rivers are swarming with finny tribe? Lake Ontario is alive with the most delicious fish, and yet the people of Hamilton have to scramble to get a meal of it and then pay the highest price. It is not the fisherman who gets rich at the business, for it is a rare thing to find one who wears diamonds. Ancient Hamiltonians regretfully tell of the old days when fish were so plentiful down at the beach that they could get all they wanted for merely helping the two ancient fishermen draw in the nets.

Sunday, 18 August 2013



          On the 7th of November, 1820 – ninety-seven years ago last Wednesday – Mrs. Daniel Kelly, whose home is No. 444 Main Street East, was born in a frame house on King street, where the Stanley Mills company department store is now located. This makes her the oldest native-born Hamiltonian now living, and virtually the oldest resident of this city, for she has spent her long life within a mile of the house in which she was born. Connected with her life is a bit of ancient history. Her grandfather, Richard Springer, came to Hamilton about the year 1800, and located on a farm of about one hundred or more acres, from the mountain down to Main street. He built his log house in a grove in the rear of where the Woods Milling company have their mill on Hannah street. The Springer family descended from Charles Christopher Springer, who was born in Amsterdam, Holland, in the year 1650. He had one son, who was educated in London, England, for the ministry, and afterwards became Episcopal Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden. This bishop had also one son, who was educated for the ministry, who emigrated to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1696, where he built the first church, which is still standing. The Springers and the Beasleys were related by marriage. Colonel Richard Beasley, who married Henrietta Springer, was the original owner of Dundurn Park, which was part of his farm, and built the west wing of the castle, in which his family resided till 1832, when he sold the place to Mr. Allan N. Macnab. From the marriage of Colonel Beasley to Henrietta Springer, descended former City Clerk Thomas Beasley. Lee Wilson, the discoverer of acetylene gas, was also a descendant of the Springer family. It would be an interesting bit of history to trace the Springer family from Amsterdam and down through three centuries to Mrs. Daniel Kelly, now the oldest lady in Hamilton.
          Richard Springer’s daughter, Sarah, married Dey Knight, a native of Fryeburg, Maine, and they were the parents of Mrs. Daniel Kelly. We have before given a history of Richard Springer, the founder of Methodism in Hamilton, therefore it will only be necessary to refer to it at this time. Four years after Mrs. Kelly was born, her father, Dey Knight, had the contract to erect the first church building in Hamilton, which event occurred in the year 1824. From the time when Richard Springer held the first Methodist service in his log house in what is now known as the eastern part of Corktown, which was in the year 1801, till the year 1824, there was not a church building in Hamilton belonging to any denomination, and it was a number of years later before the Presbyterians came to occupy the land.
          When the first church (then known as the King street Methodist church) was dedicated, Mrs. Kelly was a girl four years old, and can possibly lay claim to be one of the first attendants and one of the first members of the Sabbath school. Her life has been one continuous part of the history of Hamilton, and now in her ninety-seventh year, her mind is clear and active, and it is a pleasure to hear her tell of the early days in this city. She has one sister living on Main street east, Mrs. McKerlie, who is ninety-three years old; two sons and one daughter. One of the sons holds a responsible position in St. Louis, the other son lives in Pierre, Dakota, and the daughter, Mrs. Rogers, lives at home with her mother. She also has living seven grandchildren. Almost a centenarian, and the Grand Old Woman is as bright and cheerful as she was in the years gone by. May she continue so to the end is the prayer of her host of friends.
Nearly eighteen years ago, William E. Curtis, one of the best-informed newspaper correspondents of his time, then the principal staff writer on the Chicago Record-Herald, wrote a history of the new Irish land act that forced the landlords to sell their estates to their tenants, so as to enable every tiller of the soil to become a prosperous farm owner if he so desired. This act was to be the deathblow to landlordism in Ireland, and the hope that with a sense of ownership of their homes would come peace with prosperity to the tenantry. It was intended to complete the land reform in Ireland, and to eradicate forever the evils of landlordism, which had for so many generations afflicted that country, and retarded its prosperity. The British government provided $900,000,000 to help Ireland become independent of what was known as “absentee landlordism,” as the greater part  of the land was owned by men who lived in England and spent part of each year on the continent, while some poor Pat lived in the tumbledown cottage in Ireland, unless he had made it habitable for his family at his own expense. No wonder why they lived in poverty, when all the agricultural wealth was stripped from Ireland to support the “landed gentry,” who left the gathering of the rents in the hands of agents, who, too often, were the essence of brutality. Under this galling yoke, the Irish renters were compelled to live until patience ceased to be a virtue, and they emigrated from the homeland to Canada and the United States by hundreds of thousands. The early settlers in Hamilton will remember the year 1847, when thousands of them landed at the wharves down at the bay, some to make their home in this town, and others to scatter to the westward. What pitiable plight were the poor immigrants in, scores of them dying in the sheds down on the wharves of that dreaded disease “ship fever.” Those who survived the perils were nursed to health and strength by the good women of Hamilton, and today their descendants are among the leading businessmen and citizens of the town. They settled in one of the quarters of town, built comfortable homes for their families, and that section was christened “Corktown,” and the name will stick to it forever. But what a change has taken place in the last thirty or forty years; the early frame four-room cottages have given place to hundreds of handsome brick houses, built in all the elegance and comfort befitting the prosperity of the people who own and live in them.
Nearly all of the city newspapers have some smart Aleck on the staff who delights in poking fun at the country paper. Peraps to the city reader it matters little whether Tom Jones and wife visited Dave Smith and wife last Sunday, or whether Tim Turnsod’s barn is not as big as some of the skyscrapers that are being built in our Canadian towns, but all the same, these little personal mentions tell a story of vital interest to the weekly readers of Dave Hastings’ compendium of home gossip.
          People in the country are interested in each other’s doings, and the people mentioned as a rule are of the substantial sort, and very few of them have their names connected with the scandals or divorce cases. It may that to one who does not known country life, these personal mentions may sound funny, but the little country paper, in reporting these simple things, and the clean, wholesome life in the community in which it circulates, is doing that which is worthwhile for the information and pleasured of its readers. It is in the quiet country and in the small towns where the strength of Canada is rooted, where its wealth is created, and where its most important and precious ideals are cherished. The country paper must be true to country life, of which it is an important part, if it is to live and do the work of highest value. Their continued efforts on behalf of community betterment is of more worth to the nation than all the efforts of the big city papers that are devoted to the building up of great cities. It is an old saying that “God made the country and man made the town,” and it must be admitted that the country editor has no small share in the country part.

Thursday, 15 August 2013


        I am dreaming ‘a dream’ of the olden time,” when Hamilton was but little more than a village in population, and its boundaries were Wellington street on the east and the Bowery (now Bay street south) on the west, and all on the other side was farms and cow pasture. From the mountainside down to the bay was a gentle slope, with here and there a gully to carry off the surplus water that at times flowed down from the mountain in torrents. What a delightful picture would the old town have made for later generations to feast their eyes upon, had there been some technical student to put it on canvas. But then we had no technical schools in those days, nor indeed did Hamilton have a respectable common school, for it was before the building of the Central school, or the coming of Dr. Sangster. And this calls to mind that only a few weeks ago, the last of that small galaxy of learned women, who was one of the first teachers under Dr. Sangster, ended life’s journey. Not one of them is left to tell the story of the early days in the Central school, and even of pupils but few are left to answer at roll call at the next reunion. Boys and girls were not privileged in those days to spend long years in the school room, except in the case of the children of parents who were fortunate in business, and could stand the expense, for it was necessary to have the boys learn a trade and help in support of the family, for the families were larger and the earnings of the father smaller than they are now, and the girls were needed in the homes to help mother care for the younger children. My ancient Hamilton readers will recall those days, for it was in their younger days that the foundations of the wealth and prosperity were laid that the children of the present are enjoying.

What is more natural for an old-timer than that he should go back to his youth when he fails of anything interesting to talk about? He thinks that there is nothing like the old times and the old town in which he spent his boyhood days. They are pleasant memories  to him, even if they do not interest those who are living in this new world of the present. The time will come when they will be retelling to the future generations of the days when Hamilton had a Goodenough mayor, and when the railroad corporations were trying to gobble up what was left of the ancient mountain that was the pride of this old town away back in the early days when Lady Simcoe, the literary wife of the first governor-general of Canada, so beautifully described it in her history of the Head of the Lake, when she came sailing into Burlington bay through a shallow entrance in the north end of the beach. How many of the present generation are aware of the fact that the bay was originally called Geneva lake or Macassa bay, and that it was on the 16th of June, 1792, that the name was changed to Burlington bay by proclamation of Governor Simcoe? In the topographical description of Upper Canada, issued in the year 1813, it was said of Burlington bay that it was as “beautiful and romantic a situation a any in the interior of America, particularly if we include with it a marshy lake which falls into it, and a noble promontory that divides them.” From unwritten history, it has been handed down that Captain Zealand was the first sailorman to enter the bay, with the good rig Rebecca and Eliza, through the creek that wound round from Wellington square into Macassa bay. It was also said that in the early days, there existed a barracks or fort on the sand strip on the north end somewhere in the vicinity of the power house of the beach trolley line. Sixty or seventy years ago there were some evidences of a fort having once been located there, but the advancing civilization blotted them out. Lady Simcoe in her diary speaks of an Indian encampment having once been located in the neighborhood. Somewhere in an old encyclopedia, the story is told that thousands of years ago the waters from Lake Erie and its tributary of streams came down through Dundas Valley, out into the bay, and then over the sand strip into Lake Ontario, and on ward flowed to the sea, and that at the time, there was no Niagara Falls beyond the overflow of water from the lower end of Lake Erie. Be that as it may, the ancient geologist who told the story has been dead so long that there is nothing in the present histories to prove to the contrary. However, in Lady Simcoe’s day, Burlington bay was bountifully stocked with fine sea salmon, and was the favorite fishing grounds of the Indians who had settled at the head of the lake. Then it was that the mountainside was covered with a wealth of forest trees that added beauty to the picture, and was the pride of the early settlers. The greed for money despoiled the forest trees and changed the green verdure into a bald-faced stone quarry. For the love of Mike, don’t permit the further despoliation by the railroad company turning what is left as a beauty spot into a freight yard.


Our kind friend, Mr. William Murray, never forgets the Muser on anniversary occasions, and with pleasure, we give his greeting:

Athol Bank, Hamilton, Oct. 19
Congratulations, free from froth,
To Colonel Richard Butler, both
  Our Muser and amuser,
Upon his reaching eighty-three
(The very age of merry me),
  With never an accuser.

And joy to both himself and wife,
So long without a streak of strife,
  On this their wedding day;
(The sixtieth no less), with love
From all there’er they write or rove,
  Or with Spectator’s play.

And may the wondrous couple still
Continue marching up the hill,
With ne’er an ounce of strength decreased.
For twenty annunis more, at least,
  Free from worry.
                   WILLIAM MURRAY

Monday, 12 August 2013


This life is on “damnition” grind if one follows up day after day the routine work. Did you ever tackle the job of filling so much space every week for a department in a great family journal like the venerable Spectator? No? Then try it in mid-summer when the sun is bright and warm and the blue sky and our beautiful bay are calling to you to take half a day off and enjoy nature in her happiest mood. Away back in the last century, my old Hamiltonian, when you and I had the freshness of youth, summer evenings on the bay were a joy that the boys and girls of the present day know naught of. After a long ten hours in the workshop, for we had to work from 7 in the morning till 6 at night, and no half holiday on Saturday, there was a pleasure in tramping down to the bay, for we did not have even the old-fashioned one-horse car, and going out for a sail on one of the most charming miniature lakes in this broad land, where nature has made every provision for the pleasure and happiness if its children. Before starting the boys paid a visit to Ecclestone & Bethune’s bakery and had a tempting little lunch put up, and the girls would take from their homes delicacies prepared with their own hands. And what times we used to have in that long ago, with songs accompanied by the guitar, as we floated along on the smooth water, probably dreaming of the day when the girl that sat beside us in the boat would be our guardian angel through the years to come. Those old Hamiltonians were rare dreamers. Then each one would hand out their contributions to the feast, and with appetites that only youth can appreciate, short work was made of the cunning little packages. Ah! those were evenings long to be remembered, and as we journey on toward the sunset of life, their memories become more precious. “Life’s dream is o’er” with the majority of us who sailed on our beautiful bay in the moonlights of the last century.

But to get back to where we started. If you never felt it a boundless duty to grind out so many hundred words to fill your allotted space in a newspaper once a week, then get down to your typewriter and rattle over the keys for an hour or two and see what will come of it. There be times when one is musingly inclined, and the lines of words will flow as easily as rolling off a log; and then again, instead of being a labor of love, you hear the manacles of his mightiness, the managing editor, calling in tones not to be misunderstood for the fulfillment of your assignment. Fancy what it must be for the local reporters and the army of inside editors upon whose devoted needs rests the responsibility of turning out so much copy a day to fill the sixteen or twenty pages of the Spectator. Of course, the good-natured advertiser does his share in making the daily paper interesting, and when some enterprising business firm sends in an unexpected page of display matter, a sigh of relief goes up for the reportorial staff that so much less is expected from them that day. Did you ever hear the story of the revival that was held in the woods back of Ancaster in the days when camp meetings were the power of Methodism? At one of the experience meetings, one old brother slowly rose up in the audience to testify. He had been a bad man, he said, in his younger days, had drunk Canadian whiskey when it was only fifteen pence a gallon, and had profaned the Sabbath by playing cards in Deacon Smith’s barn, but the grace of the Lord had changed his heart, and he now felt that he was without sin. Old-fashioned Methodists have heard such experiences in the days when class meetings were one of the features of the early church; and, if one should wander off now into some country neighborhood and drop into an old-fashioned love feast, the old, old story would still be heard, and you would wonder that such a saintly a man as the speaker could ever have been such a tough in his younger days. When Brother Jones had told his experiences and sat down amid the amens of the audience, a stranger arose in the back part of the church and said that he could vouch for every word that Brother Jones had said, as to the kind of a boy he had been in his youth. He said that he used to know Brother Jones when he lived up on the shores of Lake Erie, and if there was a meaner, more dishonest, low-lived, son-of-a-gun in that part of the country, he had never heard of the man. When the stranger sat down, Brother Jones rose again, but there was nothing meek or lowly about him now. With glaring eyes and fists clenched, he said that the man who had made the statement concerning his character was an infernal liar, and some of the old Ancaster people, when they tell the story now, say that, in his wrath, Brother Jones used a word with a great big D before infernal liar. Be that as it may, Brother Jones has long since been forgiven. Meanwhile, the stranger who had created the disturbance had quietly slipped out and gone, and during the remaining years of Brother Jones’ life, it kept him busy explaining to the Ancaster people that he never lived, ever, on the shores of Lake Erie, and never saw the stranger in his life before. But in spite of all his denials and explanations, there are yet some old-timers out in Ancaster who are half-inclined to believe the story. Give the dog a bad name and it is never forgotten. Once in a while, when you hear one of those old saints tell their experience, and of how wicked they were before they were snatched as brands from the burning, you wonder how it was possible to transform them into such bright and shining lights as to be qualified to pass the collection plate in church on Sunday.


          Do you remember when you could buy a young and tender spring chicken, weighing three pounds, for the trifling sum of a quarter of a dollar? That must have been ages ago, to which the memory of the housekeeper of the present day runneth not back. Speaking of spring chickens makes one’s mouth water at the recollection of what it looked like as it was turned out of the pan, a rich, brown color, steaming hot, smothered in gravy, the incense of which filled the kitchen with a fragrance that will never be forgotten. Ah! me, will those scenes ever come again, or are we to pass down through life with only the memories of a barnyard to recall the days when Biddy was in the flower of her youth? Surely, the raising of chickens has not become one of the lost arts, or why is it that to indulge in the luxury of a fry, one must either be a bank manager or a member of the city council. In looking over the last census of the United States, there were on the farms of that country in 1910 over 195,000,000 fowls, valued at $154,000,000. And, mind you,, that did not include the number of chickens kept in the back yards in cities, towns or villages. The eggs raised on those Yankee farms in 1909 numbered over 1,500,000,000 worth over $200,000,000. The eggs produced in the eastern states brought about 30 cents a dozen, while in the western and southern states, the price was down to 20 cents, and even lower. This old Muser looks back to a pleasant visit to his old home in Illinois last year, when his entertainers fed him on tender chickens, fried as only those western housewives know how to get up a dainty meal, and eggs that cost less than 15 cents a dozen. But let us get on with our story about the chicken industry. There was a time when the farmer’s wife made all of her spending money out of chickens, eggs and butter, and then she did not get rich at it. Here in Hamilton, a woman could go to market and buy a fine pair of fowls for half a dollar, and eggs at 10 to 12 cents a dozen. Now, the average housewife looks longingly at the scraggy bits of old fowl for which the seller has the conscience to ask from one to two dollars a pair, and tough at that very often. It used to be that a farmer’s wife might expect to sell about $200 worth of eggs and $150 worth of chickens during the year and still have left at the end of the year more fowls than she had at the beginning. Speaking of chickens reminds us of the troubles of poultry raisers here in Hamilton. Every now and then some one makes complaint to the police that their morning sleep is disturbed by the crowing of their neighbor’s roosters. We read once of the method adopted by a chicken fancier who lived in a town whose chanticleers crowed lustily every morning at daybreak, to the great discomfort of the neighborhood. In his study of chicken life, he noticed that when a rooster crowed on his porch, he always stood up, and stretching himself to his full height, he let it go for all that was in it. He tried the experiment of nailing a board over the roost just high enough to allow the rooster to get on his accustomed place beside his Biddy, and it worked like a charm. Old chanticleer could not stand up and stretch his neck, and it knocked the crow out of it. Try it, you Hamilton chicken raisers, and your neighbors will have no more cause for complaint.


The good people of Hamilton are stirred up a bit about the proclamation of the mayor prohibiting the use of city water for sprinkling purposes except ar stated times. Fortunately for the lawns and flowers nature has been more generous than our civic authorities, and there has been a liberal sprinkling of rain to keep them from being burnt up by the summer sun. For more than half a century the Hamilton waterworks have been in operation, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars for extensions and an ocean of water to pump from and yet enough water cannot be supplied even to sprinkle lawns and flower beds. Our city dads are saving at the spigot and wasting in the bunghole. Enough water is needlessly poured out on the asphalt streets every hour in the day to supply the wants of the people and then have plenty to spare. Of what sense is there in pouring water on the asphalt heated by the summer sun to dry off before the wagon has reached the end of the block? And almost before the passing of a shower of rain the wagons are at it again. The people of Hamilton pay a bigger tax for the water they use than do the people of any city in Canada or the United States, and yet every summer there is the outcry against using it for lawns and flowers. The surplus revenue from the waterworks after paying the cost of running and incidental expenses should build up a system that would equal any in the world so far as supplying the necessities of the people.


When a prominent man dies who has been connected with the city government, or a member of some club, or a director of a bank or trust company, due honor is paid to his memory by the institution with which he was connected by raising of the Union Jack at half-staff on the building. It is a recognition that the deceased had been identified with the business interests of the club, bank or industry. For the first time last Sunday, we saw the flag at half-staff in front of a church at a funeral of one if its members, and it did seem so appropriate that we complimented the rector of the church. We learned that it is always done, even for the humblest member of the congregation. Not only is the flag floated on funeral occasions, but the rector informed us that it has been the custom of that church ever since he became connected with it as rector to raise the flag every Sunday morning and keep it floating all day. A man who is loyal to the flag of his country makes a better Christian, for he is generally loyal to everything that is good.
The recent accident on the D. L. and W. railroad near Corning, New York, resulting in the death of a number of passengers and the maiming of many more, has caused the issuing of a radical order by the officers of the company forbidding the use of intoxicating liquors by the employees of the company, whether on or off duty. And it goes still further, for it prohibits all men  connected with the movement of trains from indulging in any habit, such as gambling, that may unfit them for the safe, prompt and efficient performance of their duties. Nine times out of ten accidents in railway service are almost directly traceable to the intemperate habits of the employees. In the case of the Corning disaster, the engineer of the train was known to be under the influence of liquor a short time before he took charge of his engine. Many years ago some of the leading railway companies issued orders against train employees using liquor whether on or off duty, and the result was fewer accidents on these roads. If there is any class of men who should be total abstainers, it is railway trainmen, policemen and members of city fire departments, for there is not a minute, either day or night, while on duty that they are not exposed to danger or may be called upon to avert danger to others. An old fire department chief in Chicago began in the service when he was a young man and was in the habit of taking an occasional drink. When he was promoted to captaincy, he cut the drinking out, and only indulged when on holidays. When he became chief, he said, he determined that total abstinence was the safest, for he did not known the moment when some great responsibility would devolve upon him at a fire, and then, if ever he would require a clear head to guide him. From the day of his appointment as chief to the hour of his death, he never drank liquor of any kind, and he advised the men under him in the department to follow his example.