Henry Scadding.

Toronto of old; collections and recollections illustrative of the early settlement and social life of the capital of Ontario online

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as the season will permit. The intention is: 1st. To lengthen the Church
forty feet towards the east, with a circular end; thirty of which to
form part of the body of the Church, and the remaining ten an Altar,
with a small vestry-room on the one side, and a Government Pew on the
other. 2nd. To remove the Pulpit to the north side, and to erect two
Galleries, one opposite to it, and another on the west end. 3rd. To
alter the Pews to suit the situation of the Pulpit, and to paint and
number the same throughout the Church. 4th. To raise a Belfry on the
west end, and make a handsome entrance on the south side of the Church,
and to paint the whole building on the outside. Thomas Ridout, J. B.
Robinson, Churchwardens. William Allan. Feb. 18, 1818."

The intentions here detailed were not carried into effect. On the north
and south sides of the old building additional space was enclosed, which
brought the axis of the Church and its roof into a north and south
direction. An entrance was opened at the southern end, towards King
Street, and over the gable in this direction was built a square tower
bearing a circular bell-turret, surmounted by a small tin-covered spire.
The whole edifice, as thus enlarged and improved, was painted of a light
blue colour, with the exception of the frames round the windows and
doors, and the casings at the angles, imitating blocks of stone,
alternately long and short, which were all painted white.

The original western door was not closed up. Its use, almost
exclusively, was now, on Sundays and other occasions of Divine Worship,
to admit the Troops, whose benches extended along by the wall on that
side the whole length of the church. - The upper windows on all the four
sides were now made circular-headed. On the east side there was a
difference. The altar-window of the original building remained, only
transformed into a kind of triplet, the central compartment rising above
the other two, and made circular headed. On the north and south of this
east window were two tiers of lights, as on the western side.

In the bell-turret was a bell of sufficient weight sensibly to jar the
whole building at every one of its semi-revolutions.

In the interior, a central aisle, or open passage, led from the door to
the southern end of the church, where, on the floor, was situated a pew
of state for the Lieutenant-Governor: small square pillars at its four
corners sustained a flat canopy over it, immediately under the ceiling
of the gallery; and below this distinctive tester or covering, suspended
against the wall, were the royal arms, emblazoned on a black tablet of
board or canvas.

Half-way up the central aisle, on the right side, was an open space, in
which were planted the pulpit, reading-desk and clerk's pew, in the old
orthodox fashion, rising by gradations one above the other, the whole
overshadowed by a rather handsome sounding-board, sustained partially by
a rod from the roof. Behind this mountainous structure was the altar,
lighted copiously by the original east window. Two narrow side-aisles,
running parallel with the central one, gave access to corresponding rows
of pews, each having a numeral painted on its door. Two passages, for
the same purpose ran westward from the space in front of the pulpit. To
the right and left of the Lieutenant-Governor's seat, and filling up
(with the exception of two square corner pews) the rest of the northern
end of the church, were two oblong pews; the one on the west
appropriated to the officers of the garrison; the other, on the east, to
the members of the Legislature.

Round the north, west, and south sides of the interior, ran a gallery,
divided, like the area below, into pews. This structure was sustained by
a row of pillars of turned wood, and from it to the roof above rose
another row of similar supports. The ceiling over the parts exterior to
the gallery was divided into four shallow semi-circular vaults, which
met at a central point. The pews everywhere were painted of a buff or
yellowish hue, with the exception of the rims at the top, which were
black. The pulpit and its appurtenances were white. The rims just
referred to, at the tops of the pews, throughout the whole church,
exhibited, at regular intervals, small gimlet-holes: in these were
inserted annually, at Christmas-tide, small sprigs of hemlock-spruce.
The interior, when thus dressed, wore a cheerful, refreshing look, in
keeping with the festival commemorated.

Within this interior used to assemble, periodically, the little world of
York: occasionally, a goodly proportion of the little world of all Upper

To limit ourselves to our own recollections: here, with great
regularity, every Sunday, was to be seen, passing to and from the place
of honour assigned him, Sir Peregrine Maitland, - a tall, grave officer,
always in military undress; his countenance ever wearing a mingled
expression of sadness and benevolence, like that which one may observe
on the face of the predecessor of Louis Philippe, Charles the Tenth,
whose current portrait recalls, not badly, the whole head and figure of
this early Governor of Upper Canada.

In an outline representation which we accidentally possessed, of a
panorama of the battle of Waterloo, on exhibition in London, the 1st
Foot Guards were conspicuously to be seen led on by "Major-General Sir
Peregrine Maitland." It was a matter of no small curiosity to the boyish
mind, and something that helped to rouse an interest in history
generally, to be assured that the living personage here, every week,
before the eye, was the commander represented in the panorama; one who
had actually passed through the tremendous excitement of the real scene.

With persons of wider knowledge, Sir Peregrine was invested with
further associations. Besides being the royal representative in these
parts, he was the son-in-law of Charles Gordon Lennox, fourth Duke of
Richmond, a name that stirred chivalrous feelings in early Canadians of
both Provinces; for the Duke had come to Canada as Governor-in-Chief,
with a grand reputation acquired as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland; and
great benefits were expected, and probably would have been realized from
his administration, had it been of long continuance. But he had been
suddenly removed by an excruciating death. Whilst on a tour of
inspection in the Upper Province, he had been fatally attacked with
hydrophobia, occasioned by the bite of a pet fox. The injury had been
received at Sorel; its terrible effects were fatally experienced at a
place near the Ottawa, since named Richmond.

Some of the prestige of the deceased Duke continued to adhere to Sir
Peregrine Maitland, for he had married the Duke's daughter, a graceful
and elegant woman, who was always at his side, here and at Stamford
Cottage across the Lake. She bore a name not unfamiliar in the domestic
annals of George the Third, who once, it is said, was enamoured of a
beautiful Lady Sarah Lennox, grandmother, as we suppose, or some other
near relative, of the Lady Sarah here before us at York. Moreover,
conversationalists whispered about (in confidence) something supposed to
be unknown to the general public - that the match between Sir Peregrine
and Lady Sarah had been effected in spite of the Duke. The report was
that there had been an elopement; and it was naturally supposed that the
party of the sterner sex had been the most active agent in the affair.

To say the truth, however, in this instance, it was the lady who
precipitated matters. The affair occurred at Paris, soon after the
Waterloo campaign. The Duke's final determination against Sir
Peregrine's proposals having been announced, the daughter suddenly
withdrew from the father's roof, and fled to the lodgings of Sir
Peregrine, who instantly retired to other quarters. The upshot of the
whole thing, at once romantic and unromantic, included a marriage and a
reconciliation; and eventually a Lieutenant-Governorship for the
son-in-law under the Governorship-in-Chief of the father, both
despatched together to undertake the discharge of vice-regal functions
in a distant colony. At the time of his marriage with Lady Sarah Lennox,
Sir Peregrine had been for some ten years a widower. On his staff here
at York was a son by his first wife, also named Peregrine, a subaltern
in the army.

After the death of the Duke of Richmond, Sir Peregrine became
administrator, for a time, of the general government of British North
America. The movements of the representative of the Crown were attended
with some state in those days. Even a passage across from York to
Stamford, or from Stamford to York, was announced by a royal salute at
the garrison.

Of a visit to Lower Canada in 1824, when, in addition to the usual
suite, there were in the party several young Englishmen of distinction,
tourists at that early period, on this continent, we have the following
notice in the _Canadian Review_ for December of that year. After
mentioning the arrival at the Mansion House Hotel in Montreal, the
_Review_ proceeds: "In the morning His Excellency breakfasted with Sir
Francis Burton, at the Government House, whom he afterwards accompanied
to Quebec in the Swiftsure steamboat. Sir Peregrine is accompanied," the
_Review_ reports, "by Lord Arthur Lennox, Mr. Maitland, Colonels Foster,
Lightfoot, Coffin and Talbot; with the Hon. E. G. Stanley [from 1851 to
1869, Earl of Derby], grandson of Earl Derby, M.P. for Stockbridge, John
E. Denison, Esq. [subsequently Speaker of the House of Commons], M.P.
for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and James S. Wortley, Esq. [afterwards Lord
Wharncliffe], M.P. for Bossiney in Cornwall. The three latter
gentlemen," the magazine adds, "are now upon a tour in this country from
England; and we are happy to learn that they have expressed themselves
as being highly gratified with all that they have hitherto seen in

It will be of interest to know that the name of Sir Peregrine Maitland
is pleasantly preserved by means of Maitland Scholarships in a Grammar
School for natives at Madras; and by a Maitland Prize in the University
of Cambridge. The circumstances of the institution of these memorials
are these as originally announced: "The friends of Lieutenant-General
Sir Peregrine Maitland, K.C.B., late Commander in Chief of the Forces in
South India, being desirous of testifying their respect and esteem for
his character and principles, and for his disinterested zeal in the
cause of Christian Truth in the East, have raised a fund for the
institution of a prize in one of the Universities, and for the
establishment of two native scholarships at Bishop Corrie's Grammar
School at Madras; such prize and scholarships to be associated with the
name of Sir Peregrine Maitland. In pursuance of the foregoing scheme,
the sum of £1,000 has been given to the University of Cambridge for the
purpose of instituting a prize to be called "Sir Peregrine Maitland's
Prize," for an English essay on some subject connected with the
propagation of the Gospel, through missionary exertions in India and
other parts of the heathen world." This Prize, which is kept up by the
interest accruing every three years, has been awarded at Cambridge
regularly since 1845.

The successor to Sir Peregrine Maitland in the Government of Upper
Canada was another distinguished military officer, Sir John Colborne.
With ourselves, the first impression of his form and figure is
especially associated with the interior in which we are supposing the
reader to be now standing. We remember his first passing up the central
aisle of St James's Church. He had arrived early, in an unostentatious
way; and on coming within the building he quietly inquired of the first
person whom he saw, sitting in a seat near the door: Which was the
Governor's pew? The gentleman addressed happened to be Mr. Bernard
Turquand, who, quickly recognizing the inquirer, stood up and extended
his right arm and open hand in the direction of the canopied pew over
which was suspended the tablet bearing the Royal Arms. Sir John, and
some of his family after him, then passed on to the place indicated.

At school, in an edition of Goldsmith then in use, the name of "Major
Colborne" in connection with the account of Sir John Moore's death at
Corunna had already been observed; and it was with us lads a matter of
intense interest to learn that the new Governor was the same person.

The scene which was epitomized in the school-book, is given at greater
length in Gleig's Lives of Eminent British Military Commanders. The
following are some particulars from Colonel Anderson's narrative in that
work: "I met the General," Colonel Anderson says, "on the evening of the
16th, bringing in, in a blanket and sashes. He knew me immediately,
though it was almost dark, squeezed me by the hand and said 'Anderson,
don't leave me.' At intervals he added 'Anderson, you know that I have
always wished to die in this way. I hope the people of England will be
satisfied. I hope my country will do me justice. You will see my friends
as soon as you can. Tell them everything. I have made my will, and have
remembered my servants. Colborne has my will and all my papers.' Major
Colborne now came into the room. He spoke most kindly to him; and then
said to me, 'Anderson, remember you go to - - , and tell him it is my
request, and that I expect, he will give Major Colborne a
lieutenant-colonelcy.' He thanked the surgeons for their trouble. He
pressed my hand close to his body, and in a few minutes died without a

He had been struck by a cannon ball. The shot, we are told, had
completely crushed his shoulder; the arm was hanging by a piece of skin,
and the ribs over the heart, besides been broken, were literally
stripped of flesh. Yet, the narrative adds, "he sat upon the field
collected and unrepining, as if no ball had struck him, and as if he
were placed where he was for the mere purpose of reposing for a brief
space from the fatigue of hard riding."

Sir John Colborne himself afterwards at Ciudad Rodrigo came within a
hair's-breadth of a similar fate. His right shoulder was shattered by a
cannon shot. The escape of the right arm from amputation on the field at
the hands of some prompt military surgeon on that occasion, was a
marvel. The limb was saved, though greatly disabled. The want of
symmetry in Sir John Colborne's tall and graceful form, permanently
occasioned by this injury, was conspicuous to the eye. We happened to be
present in the Council Chamber at Quebec, in 1838, at the moment when
this noble-looking soldier literally vacated the vice-regal chair, and
installed his successor Lord Durham in it, after administering to him
the oaths. The exchange was not for the better, in a scenic point of
view, although the features of Lord Durham, as his well-known portrait
shews, were very fine, suggestive of the poet or artist.

Of late years a monument has been erected on Mount Wise at Plymouth, in
honour of the illustrious military chief and pre-eminently excellent
man, whose memory has just been recalled to us. It is a statue of
bronze, by Adams, a little larger than life; and the likeness is
admirably preserved. (When seen on horseback at parades or reviews
soldiers always averred that he greatly resembled "the Duke." Dr. Henry,
in "Trifles from my Portfolio" (ii. 111.) thus wrote of him in 1833:
"When we first dined at Government House, we were struck by the strong
resemblance he bore to the Duke of Wellington; and there is also," Dr.
Henry continues, "a great similarity in mind and disposition, as well as
in the lineaments of the face. In one particular they harmonize
perfectly - namely, great simplicity of character, and an utter dislike
to shew ostentation.")

On the four sides of the granite pedestal of the statue on Mount Wise,
are to be read the following inscriptions: in front: John Colborne,
Baron Seaton. Born MDCCLXXVIII. Died MDCCCLXIII. On the right side:
Canada. Ionian Islands. On the left side: Peninsula. Waterloo. On the
remaining side: In memory of the distinguished career and stainless
character of Field Marshal Lord Seaton, G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.H. This
Monument is erected by his friends and comrades.

Accompanying the family of Sir John Colborne to their place in the
Church at York was to be seen every Sunday, for some time, a
shy-mannered, black-eyed, Italian-featured Mr. Jeune, tutor to the
Governor's sons. This was afterwards the eminent Dr. Jeune, Master of
Pembroke College at Oxford, a great promoter of reform in that
University, and Bishop of Lincoln. Sir John himself was a man of
scholarly tastes; a great student of history, and a practical modern
European linguist.

Through a casual circumstance, it is said that full praise was not
publicly given, at the time, to the regiment commanded by Sir John
Colborne, the 52nd, for the particular service rendered by it at the
battle of Waterloo. By the independent direction of their leader, the
52nd made a sudden flank movement at the crisis of the fight and
initiated the final discomfiture of which the Guards got the sole
praise. At the close of the day, when the Duke of Wellington was rapidly
constructing his despatch, Colonel Colborne was inquired for by him, and
could not, for the moment, be found. The information, evidently desired,
was thus not to be had; and the document was completed and sent off
without a special mention of the 52nd's deed of "derring do."

During the life-time of the great Duke there was much reticence among
the military authorities in regard to the Battle of Waterloo from the
fact that the Duke himself did not encourage discussion on the subject.
All was well that had ended well, appeared to have been his doctrine. He
once checked an incipient dispute in regard to the great event of the
18th of June between two friends, in his presence, by the command,
half-jocose, half-earnest: "You leave the Battle of Waterloo alone!" He
gave £60 for a private letter written by himself to a friend on the eve
of the battle, and was heard to say, as he threw the document into the
fire, "What a fool was I, when I wrote that!"

Since the death of the Duke, an officer of the 52nd, subsequently in
Holy Orders, - the Rev. William Leeke - has devoted two volumes to the
history of "the 52nd or Lord Seaton's Regiment;" in which its movements
on the field of Waterloo are fully detailed. And Colonel Chesney in his
"Waterloo Lectures; a Study of the Campaign of 1815" has set the great
battle in a new light, and has demolished several English and French
traditions in relation to it, bringing out into great prominence the
services rendered by Blucher and the Prussians.

The Duke's personal sensitiveness to criticism was shewn on another
occasion: when Colonel Gurwood suddenly died, he, through the police,
took possession of the Colonel's papers, and especially of a Manuscript
of Table Talk and other _ana_, designed for publication, and which, had
it not been on the instant ruthlessly destroyed, would have been as
interesting probably as Boswell's.

On Lord Seaton's departure from Canada, he was successively Lord High
Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, and Commander-in-Chief in Ireland.
He then retired to his own estate in the West of England, where he had a
beautiful seat, in the midst of the calm, rural, inland scenery of
Devonshire, not far from Plympton, and on the slope descending southward
from the summits of Dartmoor. The name of the house is Beechwood, from
the numerous clean, bold, magnificent beech trees that adorn its
grounds, and give character to the neighbourhood generally. In the
adjoining village of Sparkwell he erected a handsome school-house and

On his decease at Torquay in 1863 his remains were deposited in the
Church at Newton Ferrers, the ancient family burying-place of the

Mrs. Jameson's words in her "Winter studies and Summer Rambles," express
briefly but truly, the report which all that remember him, would give,
of this distinguished and ever memorable Governor of Canada. "Sir John
Colborne," she says incidentally, in the Introduction to the work just
named, "whose mind appeared to me cast in the antique mould of
chivalrous honour; and whom I never heard mentioned in either Province
but with respect and veneration." Dr. Henry in "Trifles from my
Portfolio," once before referred to, uses similar language. "I believe,"
he says, "there never was a soldier of more perfect moral character than
Sir John Colborne - a Bayard without gasconade, as well as _sans peur et
sans reproche_." The title "Seaton," we may add, was taken from the name
of an ancient seaport town of Devon, the Moridunum of the Roman period.




At the southern end of the Church, in which we are supposing ourselves
to be, opposite the Lieutenant-Governor's pew, but aloft in the gallery,
immediately over the central entrance underneath, was the pew of Chief
Justice Powell, a long narrow enclosure, with a high screen at its back
to keep off the draughts from the door into the gallery, just behind.
The whole of the inside of the pew, together with the screen by which it
was backed, was lined with dark green baize or cloth. The Chief's own
particular place in the pew was its central point. There, as in a focus,
surrounded by the members of his family, he calmly sat, with his face to
the north, his white head and intelligent features well brought out by
the dark back-ground of the screen behind.

The spectator, on looking up and recognizing the presence of the Chief
Justice thus seated, involuntarily imagined himself, for the moment, to
be in court. In truth, in an absent moment, the Judge himself might
experience some confusion as to his whereabouts. For below him, on his
right and left, he would see many of the barristers, attorneys, jurors
and witnesses (to go no farther), who on week days were to be seen or
heard before him in different compartments of the Court-room.

Chief Justice Powell was of Welsh descent. The name is, of course, Ap
Howell; of which "Caer Howell," "Howell's Place," the title given by the
Chief Justice to his Park-lot at York, is a relic. His portrait exists
in Toronto, in possession of members of his family. He was a man of
rather less than the ordinary stature. His features were round in
outline, unmarked by the painful lines which usually furrow the modern
judicial visage, but wakefully intelligent. His hair was milky white.
The head was inclined to be bald.

We have before us a contemporary brochure of the Chief's, from which we
learn his view of the ecclesiastical land question, which for so long a
period agitated Canada. After a full historical discussion, he
recommends the re-investment of the property in the Crown, "which," he
says, "in its bounty, will apply the proceeds equally for the support of
Christianity, without other distinction:" but he comes to this
determination reluctantly, and considers the plan to be one of
expediency only. We give the concluding paragraph of his pamphlet, for
the sake of its ring - so characteristically that of a by-gone day and
generation: "If the wise provision of Mr. Pitt," the writer says, "to
preserve the Law of the Union [between England and Scotland], by
preserving the Church of England predominant in the Colony, and touching
upon her rights to tythes only for her own advantage, and by the same
course as the Church itself desiderates in England (the exchange of
tythes for the fee simple), must be abandoned to the sudden thought of a
youthful speculator [_i. e._, Mr. Wilmot, Secretary for the Colonies,
who had introduced a bill into the Imperial Parliament for the sale of
the Lands to the Canada Company], let the provision of his bill cease,
and the tythes to which the Church of England was at that time lawfully
entitled be restored; she will enjoy these exclusively even of the Kirk
of Scotland: but if all veneration for the wisdom of our Ancestors has
ceased, and the time is come to prostrate the Church of England, bind
her not up in the same wythe with her bitterest enemy; force her not to
an exclusive association with any one of her rivals; leave the tythes
abolished; abolish all the legal exchange for them; and restore the
Reserves to the Crown, which, in its bounty, will apply the proceeds
equally for the support of Christianity, without other distinction."

In the body of the Church, below, sat another Chief Justice, retired
from public life, and infirm - Mr. Scott - the immediate predecessor of
Chief Justice Powell; a white-haired, venerable form, assisted to his

Online LibraryHenry ScaddingToronto of old; collections and recollections illustrative of the early settlement and social life of the capital of Ontario → online text (page 13 of 59)