Henry Scadding.

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

. (page 26 of 59)
Online LibraryHenry ScaddingToronto of old; collections and recollections illustrative of the early settlement and social life of the capital of Ontario → online text (page 26 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


communicated under real signatures.

"The price of this _Gazette_ will be three dollars per annum. All
advertisements inserted in it, and not exceeding twelve lines, will pay
4s. Quebec currency; and for every additional line a proportionable
price. Orders for letter-press printing will be executed with neatness,
despatch and attention, and on the most reasonable terms."

An advertisement in the first number informs the public that a Brewery
is about to be established under the sanction of the
Lieutenant-Governor. "Notice is hereby given, that there will be a
Brewery erected here this summer under the sanction of His Excellency
the Lieutenant-Governor, and encouraged by some of the principal
gentlemen of this place; and whosoever will sow barley and cultivate
their land so that it will produce grain of a good quality, they may be
certain of a market in the fall at one dollar a bushel on delivery. W.
Huet, Niagara, 18th April, 1793."

The number dated Niagara, May 2, 1793, "hath" the following
advertisement: - "Sampson Jutes begs leave to inform all persons who
propose to build houses, &c., in the course of this summer, that he hath
laths, planks and scantlings of all kinds to sell on reasonable terms.
Any person may be supplied with any of the above articles on the
shortest notice. Applications to be made to him at his mill near Mr.
Peter Secord's."

In the Number for May 30, 1793, we have ten guineas reward offered for
the recovery of a Government grindstone: - "Ten Guineas Reward is offered
to any person that will make discovery and prosecute to conviction, the
Thief or Thieves that have stolen a Grindstone from the King's Wharf at
Navy Hall, between the 30th of April and the 6th instant. John McGill,
Com. of Stores, &c., &c., for the Province of Upper Canada. Queenstown,
16th May, 1793."

The Anniversary of the King's Birth-day was celebrated at Niagara in
1793, in the following manner: - "Niagara, June 6. On Tuesday last, being
the Anniversary of His Majesty's birthday, His Excellency the
Lieutenant-Governor had a Levee at Navy Hall. At one o'clock the troops
in garrison and at Queenston fired three volleys; the field-pieces above
Navy Hall, under the direction of the Royal Artillery, and the guns of
the Garrison, fired a Royal Salute. His Majesty's schooner, the
Onondago, at anchor in the river, likewise fired a Royal Salute. In the
evening His Excellency gave a Ball and elegant Supper at the Council
Chamber, which was most numerously attended."

In the second volume (1794) of the _Gazette and Oracle_, Louis Roy's
name disappears. G. Tiffany becomes the printer. In 1798 it has assumed
the Quarto form, and is dated "West Niagara," a name Newark was
beginning to acquire.

No _Gazette_ is issued April 29th, 1798. An apology for the omission
constitutes the whole of the editorial of the Number for May 5. It says:
"The Printer having been called to York last week upon business, is
humbly tendered to his readers as an apology for the _Gazette's_ not
appearing."

In 1799, the _Gazette_ being about to be removed across permanently to
York, the new capital, whither also all the government offices were
departing, Messrs. S. and G. Tiffany decide on starting a newspaper on
their own account for Niagara. It is called the "_Canada
Constellation_," and its terms are four dollars per annum. It is
announced to appear weekly "opposite the Lion tavern." The date of the
first number is July 20. In the introductory address to the public, the
Messrs. Tiffany make use of the following rather involved language: - "It
is a truth long acknowledged that no men hold situations more
influential of the minds and conduct of men than do printers: political
printers are sucked from, nursed and directed by the press: and when
they are just, the community is in unity and prosperity; but when
vicious, every evil ensues; and it is lamentable that many printers,
either vile remiss in, or ignorant of, their duty, produce the latter or
no effect; and to which of these classes we belong, time will unfold."

The public means of maintaining a regular correspondence with the outer
world being insufficient, the enterprising spirit of the Messrs. Tiffany
led them to think of establishing a postal system of their own. In the
_Constellation_ for August 23, we have the announcement: "The printers
of the _Constellation_ are desirous of establishing a post on the road
from their office to Ancaster and the Grand River, as well as another to
Fort Erie; and for this purpose they propose to hire men to perform the
routes as soon as the subscriptions will allow of the expense. In order
to establish the business, the printers on their part will subscribe
generously, and to put the design into execution, but little remains for
the people to do."

We can detect in the _Constellation_ a natural local feeling against the
upstart town of York, which had now drawn away almost every thing from
the old Newark. Thus in the number for November the 14th, 1799, a
communication from York, signed _Amicus_, is admitted, written plainly
by one who was no great lover of the place. It affords a glimpse of the
state of its thoroughfares, and of the habits of some of its
inhabitants. _Amicus_ proposes a "_Stump Act_" for York; _i. e._, a
compulsory eradication of the stumps in the streets: so that "the people
of York in the space of a few months may" as he speaks. "relapse into
intoxication with impunity; and stagger home at any hour of the night
without encountering the dreadful apprehension of broken necks."

The same animus gives colour to remarks on some legal verbiage recently
employed at York. Under the heading "Interesting Discovery" we read: "It
has been lately found at York that in England laws are made; and that a
law made in England is the law of England, and is enforced by another
law; that many laws are made in Lower Canada and follow up, that is,
follow after, or in other words are made since, other laws; and that
these laws may be repealed. It is seldom," continues the writer in the
_Constellation_, "that so few as one discovery slips into existence at
one birth. Genius is sterile, and justly said to be like a breeding cat,
as is verified in York, where by some unaccountable fortuity of events
all genius centres; at the same time with the above, its twin kitten
came forth, that an atheist does not believe as a Christian."

In another number we have some chaffing about the use of the word
_capital_. In an address on the arrival of Governor Hunter, the
expression, "We, the inhabitants of the Capital," had occurred. "This
fretted my pate," the critic pretends to complain. "What can this be?
Surely it is some great place in a great country was my conclusion; but
where the capital is, was a little beyond my geographical acquaintance.
I had recourse to the books" he continues: "all the gazettes and
magazines from the year One I carefully turned over, and not one case
among all the addresses they contained afforded me any instruction: 'We,
the inhabitants of the cities of London and Westminster, of Edinburgh,
Dublin, Paris, &c.,' only proved to me that neither of these is the
Capital. But as these are only _little_ towns in young countries, and
cannot be so forward as to take upon themselves the pompous title of
_capital_, it must be in America." He then professes to have consulted
the _Encyclopædia Eboretica_, or, "A Vindication in support of the great
Utility of New Words," lately printed in Upper Canada, and to have
discovered therein that the Capital in question "was, in plain English,
York." He concludes, therefore, that whenever in future the expression
"We, the inhabitants of the Capital" is met with, it is to be translated
into the vernacular tongue, "We, the inhabitants of York, assembled at
McDougall's, &c."

There is mention made above of a Stump Act. We have been assured that
such a regulation was, at an early day, in force at York, as a deterrent
from drunkenness. Capt. Peeke, who burnt lime at Duffin's Creek, and
shipped it to York in his own vessel, before the close of the last
century, was occasionally inconvenienced by the working of the Stump
Act. His men whom he had brought up with him to assist in navigating his
boat would be found, just when especially wanted by himself, laboriously
engaged in the extraction of a great pine-root in one or other of the
public thoroughfares of the town, under sentence of the magistrate, for
having been found, on the preceding day, intoxicated in the streets.

The _Constellation_ newspaper does not appear to have succeeded. Early
in 1801 a new paper comes out, entitled the _Herald_. In it, it is
announced that the _Constellation_, "after existing one year, expired
some months since of starvation, its publishers departing too much from
its constitution (advance pay)." The printer is now Silvester Tiffany,
the senior proprietor of the _Constellation_. It is very well printed
with good type; but on blue wrapping paper. In little more than two
years, viz., on the 4th June, 1802, it announced that the publication of
the _Herald_ is suspended; that it will appear only "on particular
occasions;" but Mr. Tiffany hopes it "will by and by receive a revival."
Other early papers published at the town of Niagara were the _Gleaner_,
by Mr. Heron; the _Reporter_; the _Spectator_. The _Mail_ was
established so late as 1845. Its publication ceased in 1870, when its
editor, Mr. Kirby, was appointed to the collectorship of the Port of
Niagara. Down to 1870 Mr. Tiffany's "imposing stone," used in the
printing of the _Constellation_, did duty in the office of the _Mail_.

In 1800, the _Upper Canada Gazette or American Oracle_ is issued at
York, weekly, from the office of William Waters and T. G. Simons. In the
number for Saturday, May the 17th, in that year, we read that on the
Thursday evening previous, "His Excellency Peter Hunter, Esq.,
Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Province, arrived in
our harbour on board the Toronto; and on Friday morning, about nine
o'clock, landed at the Garrison, where he is at present to reside."

We are thus enabled to add two items to the table of dates usually
given, shewing the introduction of Printing at different points on this
Continent: viz., the dates 1793 and 1800 for Niagara and York
respectively. The table will now stand as follows: -

1639, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Stephen Day and Samuel Green; 1674,
Boston, John Foster; 1684, Philadelphia, Wm. Bradford; 1693, New York,
Wm. Bradford (removed from Philadelphia); 1730, Charleston, Eleazer
Phillips; 1730, Bridgetown, Barbadoes, David Harry and Samuel Keimer;
1751, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bartholomew Green, jun., and John Bushell;
1764, Quebec, Wm. Brown and Thos. H. Gilmore; 1771, Albany, Alex. and
Jas. Robertson; 1775, Montreal, Chas. Berger and Fleury Mesplet; 1784,
St. George's, Bermuda, J. Stockdale; 1793, Newark (Niagara), Louis Roy;
1795, Cincinnati, S. Freeman; 1800, York (Toronto), Wm. Waters and T. G.
Simons.

As at York and Niagara, the first printers in most of the places named
were publishers of newspapers.

It may be added that a press was in operation in the City of Mexico in
1569; and in the City of Lima in 1621. The original of all the many
Colonial Government _Gazettes_ was the famous royal or exclusively court
news sheet, published first at Oxford, in November, 1665, entitled the
_Oxford Gazette_, and in the following year, at London, and entitled
then and ever afterwards to this day, the _London Gazette_.

In 1801, J. Bennett succeeds Messrs. Waters and Simons, and becomes the
printer and publisher of the _Gazette or Oracle_. In that year the
printing-office is removed to "the house of Mr. A. Cameron, King
Street," and it is added, "subscriptions will be received there and at
the Toronto Coffee House, York." From March 21st in this year, and
onward for six weeks, the paper appears printed on blue sheets of the
kind of material that used formerly to be seen on the outsides of
pamphlets and magazines and Government "Blue-books." The stock of white
paper has plainly run out, and no fresh supply can be had before the
opening of the navigation. The _Herald_, at Niagara, of the same period,
appeared, as we have already noticed, in the like guise.

On Saturday, December 20th, 1801, is this statement, the whole of the
editorial matter: "It is much to be lamented that communication between
Niagara and this town is so irregular and unfrequent: opportunities now
do not often occur of receiving the American papers from our
correspondents; and thereby prevents us for the present from laying
before our readers the state of politics in Europe." In the number for
June 13th, the editorial "leader" reads as follows: - "The _Oracle_,
York, Saturday, June 13th. Last Monday was a day of universal rejoicing
in this town, occasioned by the arrival of the news of the splendid
victory gained by Lord Nelson over the Danes in Copenhagen Roads on the
2nd of April last: in the morning the great guns at the Garrison were
fired: at night there was a general illumination, and bonfires blazed in
almost every direction." The writer indulges in no further comments.

It would have been gratifying to posterity had the printers of the
_Gazette and Oracle_ endeavoured to furnish a connected record of "the
short and simple annals" of their own immediate neighbourhood. But these
unfortunately were deemed undeserving of much notice. We have
announcements of meetings, and projects, and subscriptions for
particular purposes, unfollowed by any account of what was subsequently
said, done and effected; and when a local incident is mentioned, the
detail is generally very meagre.

An advertisement in the number for the 27th August, 1801, reminds us
that in the early history of Canada it was imagined that a great source
of wealth to the inhabitants of the country in all future time would be
the ginseng that was found growing naturally in the swamps. The market
for ginseng was principally China, where it was worth its weight in
silver. The word is said to be Chinese for "all-heal." In 1801 we find
that Mr. Jacob Herchmer, of York, was speculating in ginseng. In his
advertisement in the _Gazette and Oracle_ he "begs leave to inform the
inhabitants of York and its vicinity that he will purchase any quantity
of ginseng between this and the first of November next, and that he will
give two shillings, New York currency, per pound well dried, and one
shilling for green."

At one period, it will be remembered, the cultivation of hemp was
expected to be the mainstay of the country's prosperity. In the Upper
Canada Almanac for 1804, among the public officers we have set down as
"Commissioners appointed for the distribution of Hemp Seed (gratis) to
the Farmers of the Provinces, the Hon. John McGill, the Hon. David W.
Smith, and Thomas Scott, Esquires."

The whole of the editorial matter of the _Gazette and Oracle_ on the 2nd
of January, 1802, is the following: "The _Oracle_, York, Saturday,
January 2, 1802. The Printer presents his congratulary compliments to
his customers on the New Year." Note that the dignified title of Editor
was yet but sparingly assumed. That term is used once by Tiffany at
Newark, in the second volume. After the death of Governor Hunter, in
September, 1805, J. Bennett writes himself down "Printer to the King's
Most Excellent Majesty." Previously the colophon of the publication had
been: "York, printed by John Bennett, by the authority of His Excellency
Peter Hunter, Esq., Lieut.-Governor."

Happening to have at hand a bill of Bennett's against the Government we
give it here. The modern reader will be able to form from this specimen
an idea of the extent of the Government requirements in 1805 in regard
to printing and the cost thereof. We give also the various attestations
appended to the account: -

York, Upper Canada, 24th June, 1805.

The Government of Upper Canada,

To John Bennett, Government Printer.

Jan. 11. 300 copies Still Licenses, ½ sheet foolscap, pica type 0 16 6

March 30. Printing 20 copies of an Act for altering the time of issuing
Licenses for keeping of a House of Public Entertainment,
¼ sheet demy, pica type 0 3 4

April 5. Inserting a Notice to persons taking out Shop, Still or
Tavern Licenses, 6 weeks in the _Gazette_, equal to 4½
advertisements 1 16 0

April 16. 1,000 copies of Proclamation, warning persons that possess
and occupy Lands in this Province, without due
titles having been obtained for such Lands, forthwith
to quit and remove from the same, ½ sheet demy,
double pica type 4 18 4

April 22. 100 copies of an Act to afford relief to persons entitled to
claim Land in this Province as heirs or devisees of the
nominees of the Crown, one sheet demy, pica type 3 6 3

Printing Marginal notes to do 0 5 0

May 14. Printing 1,500 copies of the Acts of the First Session of
the Fourth Parliament, three sheets demy, pica type 45 0 0

Marginal Notes to do., at 5s. per sheet 0 15 0

Folding, Stitching and Covering in Blue Paper, at 1d. 6 5 0
- - - -
Halifax currency £63 5 9

Amounting to sixty-three pounds five shillings and nine-pence
Halifax currency. Errors excepted.
(Signed) John Bennett.

John Bennett, of the Town of York, in the Home District, maketh
oath and saith, that the foregoing account amounting to
sixty-three pounds five shillings and ninepence Halifax
currency, is just and true in all its particulars to the best of
his knowledge and belief.
(Signed) John Bennett.

Sworn before me at York, this 20th day of July, 1805.
(Signed) Wm. Dummer Powell, J.

Audited and approved in Council 6th August 1805.
(Signed) Peter Russell,
_Presiding Councillor_.

(_Examined_)
(Signed) John McGill,
_Inspector Genl. P. P. Accts._
[A true copy.]
John McGill,
Inspector Gen. P. P. Accts.

Bennett published "The Upper Canada Almanac," containing with the matter
usually found in such productions the Civil and Military Lists and the
Duties, Imperial and Provincial. This work was admirably printed in fine
Elzevir type, and in aspect, as well as arrangement, was an exact copy
of the almanacs of the day published in London.

A rival Calendar continued to be issued at Niagara entitled "Tiffany's
Upper Canada Almanac." This was a roughly-printed little tract, and
contained popular matter in addition to the official lists. It gave in a
separate and very conspicuous column in each month "the moon's place" on
each day in respect to a distinct portion of the human body with
prognostications accordingly. And in the "Advertisement to the reader"
it was set forth, that "in the calculation of the weather the most
unwearied pains have been taken; and the calculator prays, for his
honour's sake, that he may have not failed in the least point; but as
all calculation may sometimes fail in small matters," the writer
continues, "no wonder is it that in this, the most important, should be
at times erroneous. And when this shall unfortunately have been the case
with the Upper Canada Almanac, let careful observers throw over the
error the excess of that charity of which their generous souls are
composed, and the all-importance of the subject requires; let them
remember that the task, in all the variety and changes of climates and
seasons, is arduous beyond that of reforming a vicious world, and not
less than that of making a middle-sized new one."

In the number of the _Oracle_ for September 28th, 1805, which is in
mourning, we have the following notice of the character of Governor
Hunter, who had deceased on the 23rd of the preceding August at
Quebec: - "As an officer his character was high and unsullied; and at
this present moment his death may be considered a great public loss. As
Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, his loss will be severely felt; for by
his unremitting attention and exertions he has, in the course of a very
few years, brought that infant colony to an unparalleled state of
prosperity." An account is then given of the procession at the funeral.
The 49th and 6th Regiments were present; also Lieut.-Col. Brock,
Commanding. At the grave one round was fired slowly and distinctly by
eleven field pieces, followed by one round of small arms, by regiments;
then a second round of artillery, followed in like manner by the small
arms; and, lastly, a third round of artillery, and a third round of
small arms. The mourners were, the Hon. Thomas Dunn, President of the
Province (Lower Canada). Col. Bowes, Major Curry, Hon. Mr. Craigie, Col.
Green, Major Robe, Capt. Gomm and Mr. William Green.

In 1813, during the war with the United States, Cameron is the printer
of the official paper, which now for a time assumed the title of _The
York Gazette_. Mr. John Cameron also published "The Upper Canada
Almanac," from which we have already had occasion to quote, but it put
in no claim to an official character. It did not contain the Civil
Lists, but, as stated in the title page, "some Chinese sayings and
Elegant Aphorisms." It bore as a motto the following lines: -

"Ye who would mend these wicked times
And morals of the age,
Come buy a book half full of rhymes,
At three-pence York per page.
It would be money well outlaid,
So plenty money is;
Paper for paper is fair trade:
So said "Poor Richard Quiz."

Among the aphorisms given is this one: "Issuers of paper-change, are
entitled to thanks from the public for the great accommodation such
change affords. They might render the accommodation more extensive were
they to emit a proportionate number of half-penny bills." At one place
the query is put, "When will the beard be worn, and man allowed to
appear with it in native dignity? And if so, how long before it will
become fashionable to have it greased and powdered?" In the almanac for
1815, towards the end, the following paragraph appears: - "York
supernatural prices current: Turnips 1 dollar per bushel; Potatoes,
long, at 2 ditto; Salt 20 ditto; Butter per lb. 1 ditto; Indifferent
bread 1 shilling N. Y. cy. per lb.; Conscience, a contraband article."

In Bennett's time the Government press was, as we have seen, set up in
Mr. Cameron's house on King Street. But at the period of the war in 1812
Mr. Cameron's printing office was in a building which still exists,
viz., the house on Bay Street associated with the name of Mr. Andrew
Mercer. During the occupation of York by the United States force, the
press was broken up and the type dispersed. Mr. Mercer once exhibited to
ourselves a portion of the press which on that occasion was made
useless. For a short period Mr. Mercer himself had charge of the
publication of the _York Gazette_.

In 1817 Dr. Horne became the editor and publisher. On coming into his
hands the paper resumed the name of _Upper Canada Gazette_, but the old
secondary title of _American Oracle_ was dropped. To the official
portion of the paper there was, nevertheless, still appended abstracts
of news from the United States and Europe, summaries of the proceedings
in the Parliaments of Upper and Lower Canada, and much well-selected
miscellaneous matter. The shape continued to be that of a small folio,
and the terms were four dollars per annum in advance; and if sent by
mail, four dollars and a half.

In 1821 Mr. Charles Fothergill (of whom we have already spoken) became
the Editor and Publisher of the _Gazette_. Mr. Fothergill revived the
practice of having a secondary title, which was now _The Weekly
Register_; a singular choice, by the way, that being very nearly the
name of Cobbett's celebrated democratic publication in London. After Mr.
Fothergill came Mr. Robert Stanton, who changed the name of the private
portion of the _Gazette_ sheet, styling it "_The U. E. Loyalist_."

In 1820 Mr. John Carey had established the _Observer_ at York. The
_Gazette_ of May 11, 1820, contains the announcement of his design; and
he therein speaks of himself as "the person who gave the Debates"



Online LibraryHenry ScaddingToronto of old; collections and recollections illustrative of the early settlement and social life of the capital of Ontario → online text (page 26 of 59)