(For THE SUN.)
INCIDENTS IN THE EARLY GOVERNMENT OF ST. JOHN.
Extracts from Ancient Records, Old Newspapers, Etc.
By W. F. Bunting.
LOYALIST JUBILEE CELEBRATION.
By resolution of the city council adopted 3rd May, 1833, "it was ordered that a dinner be given by this board, on the eighteenth day of May instant, being the fiftieth anniversary of the landing of the loyalists in this province, and that the members of last year's common council, with the heads of families who landed here in the year 1783 resident in the city and county of Saint John, be invited thereto; and that the four aldermen on the east side of the harbour be a committee to prepare a dinner accordingly, and that a card of invitation be sent to His Excellency the Lieut. Governor, to dine with them."
The "jubilee" was the greatest gala day in the history of Saint John up to that date. People of every walk in life entered heartily into the festivities, either as participators or spectators. Large numbers flocked to the city from all portions of the province. All the surviving loyalists, who could possibly come, were on hand to celebrate their advent to New Brunswick. There were firing of cannon, bonfires, militia parades, feasting, fireworks and general rejoicing. The dinner giyen by the city corporation, in the old Masonic hall, corner of King and Charlotte streets, was a grand affair. The mayor, who presided at the table, was supported by the Lieut. Governor and other prominent personages, together with many old loyalists and leading citizens. Through the courtesy of Lt. Col. Kelly, the splendid band of the 34th regiment gave additional zest to the banquet by performing appropriate selections of music, for which he and they received the thanks of the common council. It was a day green in the memory of all who witnessed the great rejoicings.
John M. Wilmot, Esq., was mayor of the city, and Sir Archibald Campbell, Lt. Governor of the province. Prominent civic officials, were the following:
Recorder—William B. Kinnear.
Chamberlain—John R. Partelow.
Common Clerk—James Peters, jr.
Alderman King's Ward, Benjamin Stanton.
" Queen's Ward, Daniel Ansley.
" Duke's Ward, Thomas Harding.
" Sidney Ward. Gregory Van Horne.
" Guy's Ward. William Olive.
" Brook's Ward. George Bond.
Ass't Ald'n. King's Ward, Thomas Rankine.
" Queen's Ward, Geo. A. Lockhart.
" Duke's Ward, John Hooper.
" Sidney Ward, Ewen Cameron.
" Guy's Ward, William Wetmore.
" Brook's Ward, Edward Toole.
A CIVIC REPROBATE.
An unusual occurrence, and the solitary one of its peculiar nature in the annals of Saint John, took place at a meeting of the civic board held 18th July, 1834, as follows: "Alderman Ansley submitted a certificate from the clerk of the peace, showing that William J. Drummond, the assistant alderman of Queens ward, had at the June sessions holden for the city and county of Saint John, been indicted and convicted of an attempt to ravish Jane Maria Jones, the wife of John D. Jones; which being read he moved that in consequence of the said William J. Drummond having been convicted of this highly criminal offence, he, the said William J. Drummond, be expelled from the common council hoard, and not hereafter be summoned or allowed to take his seat thereat as a member of the said board. Which motion was seconded by Assistant Aiderman Hooper, and on the question being put was unanimously carried in the affirmative."
Daniel Ansley, the mover of the resolution, was alderman of Queen's ward; a gentleman highly respected in the community, and for many years a representative at the civic board. John Hooper, the seconder, who was assistant alderman of Duke's ward, was an Englishman by birth, and at one time proprietor of the British Colonist, a weekly newspaper published in Saint John.
Drummond, whose criminal conduct caused his expulsion from the common council, was well known in the community during his residence here. He was a very large sized man, a cartman, and had also a grocery and dwelling on Duke street. The case caused much excitement in Saint John at the time. It gave an excellent opportunity to the doggrel poet for the exercise of his peculiar gifts, and he did not fail to make the most of it.
AN OLD TIME SCHOOL TEACHER.
In the Courier of the 8th November, 1834, William Mills advertized opening a commercial and mathematical school in Flaglor's room, Germain street, on Monday, November 10th. It was stated in the notice that he had been, for four years, head English aud mathematical assistant in the North Main street academy in the city of Cork, Ireland. His references as to capability, etc., were the Rev. J. W. D. Gray, and Peter Bernard and Henry Blakslee Esquires. Many who have attained prominence in the professional, mercantile and other pursuits, have been indebted to William Mills for the foundation of their success. The few survivors of his earliest scholars (their number can be easily counted on one's fingers) remember with pleasure and satisfaction their old tutor; the ancient building owned by Gilbert Flaglor; the spacious and low ceiled school room; the long and steep flight of stairs in the rear, leading up to the circumscribed vestibule, and the celebrated Flaglor's alley, with its heterogeneous and cosmopolitan denizens. Peter Besnard Esq. is the sole survivor of teacher and above-mentioned referees.
ASSESSOR'S NOTICE, COPIED FROM THE CITY GAZETTE.
"The undersigned Assessors of Taxes and Satute Labour for the current year, hereby give notice that any explanatory or unequivocal statements in writing sent in to them, or left at either of their stores, on or before Saturday the 29th June, instant, will meet with due and impartial consideration. Attendance from five to seven p. m. daily."
GEORGE A. NAGEL,
"Office No. 2, Bragg's Building,
Saint John, 18th June 1835."
Bragg's building was located on the corner of King and Cross (now Canterbury) streets on the site now occupied by Vassie's dry goods warehouse. A large hall in the building, called Bragg's Long Room, was used for exhibitions, balls, lectures, etc. The building was at one time the residence of the celebrated General Benedict Arnold, an engraving and description of which appear in the pages of Lawrence's Foot Prints.
A POETICAL AND SPORTING TAILOR.
I take the liberty of imposing upon the good natured readers of THE SUN, a poetical effusion taken from the advertising columns of the Courier of the 1st January, 1836. Citizens who were contemporaries of the enterprising costumer, whose Parnassian flights in doggerel record the advantages derivable from purchasing his cloths and clothing, knowing the man and his peculiarities, will read the subjoined attempt at versification with an awakened and an amused interest. O'Toole's advertisements generally appeared in rhyme:
"Merchant Tailor, Dock Street."
An Irishman I am with a Scotchman (a) in Co;
The Bluenose and Yankees to us are no foe;
They give us their custom because we sell cheap;
Our foreman will fit every man to his shape.
The young Scotchman he says he will always out;
We have two ships at sea, our cloths to fetch hold out;
As for the country people I am happy to say.
They are leaving their measure with us every day.
I have commenced the new rear my prices to fall;
I hope all my customers yet to me will call;
For ray elotlies are made neat, firm and strong;
I defy all the slop shops there is under the sun.
My cloths they are ready, both black, blue and brown.
For the inspection of my customers when they come to town:
My prices I have decreased one hundred per cent.,
And still I am able to pay all my rent.
As for my merchants, with them I am clear;
And all my bad neighbours I need never fear;
Though they took down my balls (b) and my sign carried away,
And committed them to the w area in the midst of the sea.
But Providence, I thank my God, was always kind to me;
The wind it blew most favorable, though it was faraway;
The captain of the Nelson Wood, so good as he sailed up the bay.
He seen them floating with the tide and to his men did say:
"Lower the boats my boys, for yonder is a sign.
Where I have bought pieces of cloth from him full many a time."
When he had landed on the wharf, to me he straight did come.
To tell me of the sign he had on board for me.
So instead of loss it was a gain I am happy for to say;
His crew left me five and twenty pounds before - they went away.
I return to all my customers, my sincere thanks and a Happy New Year;
And may they live long my cloth for to wear.
When you come to town, be sure you look out;
The Three Balls and Scotchman you’ll easily find out.
They are nothing the worse I venture to say,
Though they crossed St. John harbor and were picked up in the bay."
At the severe fire of August 17th, 1839, which destroyed the business portion of the city north of the Market square and North Market wharf, John O'Toole, whose place of business was on Dock street, was burnt out. The fire, however, did not consume his muse. Shortly after the burning, it asserted itself in this wise-:
DISSOLUTION OF CO-PARTNERSHIP.
I wish to let my friends and customers see
What destruction has happened to Sir William (c) and me.
At the burning of Dock street, I am sorry to say,
From my good natured partner I had to run away.
A warrior he was and that you will know;
From powder and ball he never would go;
When the flames they were raging, to him I did say:—
"Sir William, come with me and make no delay!"
A chieftain he was and a Scotchman so brave;
He died in the fire my fortune to save.
His courage was bold, his honor was good;
He fell by the fire and was burned up like wood.
It is for his remains I am searching in vain;
So faithful a partner I'll ne'er meet again.
It is five years and better since we went into co.;
The Bluenose and Yankees to us were no foe.
A figure head he was and that you may see;
He was put up at auction and knocked down to me."
"All persons having any legal demands against the estate of the late Sir William of this city, are requested to hand in their claims for adjustment; and all parties indebted are desired to make payment without delay."
"St. John. Oct. 12th. 1839." Executors.
John O’Toole was a rather prominent character in Saint John, especially in sporting circles. He was the owner of some fair racing stock (one of his horses being the celebrated blood mare Eagle), and figured conspicuously on the race course at Courtenay Bay; when the annual subscription races were held there. It will be gathered from the effusions I have here presented, that he was not a success as a poet. His rhythm was at fault, as well as his grammar and composition. Possibly the poetical portion of his business may have been committed to the charge of his brother Bartholomew, who, in later years, enjoyed the soubriquet of "poet laureate of the volunteer fire department of Saint John."
I may be permitted to venture the remark, that two degrees only of verse should be offered to the reading public — the sublime, and the ridiculous. The selections given above have their legitimate place in the latter classification.
FIRST PAYMENT TO MEMBERS OF THE COMMON COUNCIL FOR THEIR SERVICES.
In council, 18th April, 1837: "It was ordered, that the chamberlain pay to the respective aldermen and assistant aldermen, such sums as they shall be called to receive under the ordinance, on the number of days being certified by the common clerk, that they have attended at the several councils."
Under a bye-law of the council previously paused, provision was made to pay the members for their services; the amount of payment to be regulated by the actual attendance of each member at the meetings of the board. The sums so ordered are not specified and are the first grant of the kind on record.
"LO, THE POOR INDIAN! WHOSE UNTUTORED MIND," ETC.
At a meeting of the council held 18th July, 1837, "the sum of five pounds was voted to a number of Indians then in Saint John, forming a deputation from the Passama Quoddy tribe, on their way to Montreal to renew their treaty of amity with the Indian tribes in the latter locality." They were present in person at the meeting when the grant was donated to them, and alleged that they needed the money to aid in defraying the expense of their journey to Montreal. Assistance had been rendered similar deputations on two or three previous occasions.
(a) The Scotchman referred to as forming one in the co-partnership, was a bust carved in wood and fixed over the shop door.
(b) Although three balls occupied a conspicuous place on the front of his store, O'Toole was no ta pawn broker.
(c) The wooden copartner was honored with the historic name of Sir William Wallace.