The City Ablaze with Light
A more beautiful day than yesterday on which to celebrate an important event in the history of a city could not possibly be imagined, at all events, in this parallel of latitude. The weather on Thursday was so fine that it caused many apprehensions as to the morrow, but when the sun rose in regal splendor all doubts were dispelled, and everyone, with a spark of pride within him, went straightway to work to make the Centennial Celebration a grand success, so far as his or her division of it was concerned. The wind was just strong enough from the east to temper the increased power of the sun's rays, and remained so until nightfall, when it apparently lost its base in the general excitement and shifted to every point of the compass. The celebration proper may be said to have commenced Thursday evening, because the City was already full of strangers and the sound of the small boys cracker was heard in every direction.
The dinner given by the Salvage Corps to their guests at the Dufferin can scarcely be considered a part of the celebration, but an amount of enthusiasm and home-made patriotism was developed before the evenings entertainment closed that must have done much to fire the ardor of the young men for the work ahead of them.
The Watch-Night Services in Centenary Church were attended by an immense congregation, the supply of tickets for admission to the edifice having become exhausted at an early hour in the afternoon. All the aisles and corridors were packed with vertical humanity, and the greatest enthusiasm prevailed. The floral decorations in front of the reading desk consisted of cactus, century plants and geraniums, and the Stars and Stripes and Union Jack were displayed on either side of the choir platform. On the platform were:—
Lieutenant Governor Wilmot, Chief Justice Allen, Mayor Jones, General Warner, United States Consul, Rev. Mr. Holbrook, Rev. Dr. Macrae, Rev. Dr. Pope, Rev. John Read, J. V. Ellis, M.P.P., T. W. Daniel, J. W. Lawrence, Col. S. K. Foster, George Thomas, Dr. Botsford, R. Marshall, W. D. W. Hubbard, J. Sullivan, R. W. Thorne, E. T. C. Knowles, T. H. Hall, Rev, D. Daniel.
After the large choir in attendance had sung with powerful effect,
"O God our help in ages past. Our hope for years to come,”—
Rev. Dr. Pope offered up a pathetic prayer which was followed by the reading of the prayer for the Queen and subsequently the Lord's prayer by Rev. Mr. Holdbrook.
Chief Justice Allan, the first speaker, remarked that it was too late now to commemorate
the landing of the Loyalists in a substantial way, but perhaps next year, the anniversary of the division of" New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the people of this city may be able to determine upon some scheme to perpetuate the memory of the Loyalists, He proposed the Lieut. Governor, a descendant of the Loyalists, as chairman of the meeting, an announcement which was applauded, and led to His Honor being selected to the chair by acclamation.
THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR,
on taking the chair, stated that next year he should be 75 years old, his age thus covering the best part of the century that was now expiring. At the time his forefathers came out here, they had to camp out under canvass. In his day, the two houses of worship in the city were the old meeting houses of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. He remembered the march of the 104th Regiment in the year 1812 and the illumination in honor of the victory of Waterloo. His recollection took in St. John in time of prosperity and in time of woe. The people were all, he was thankful to say, attached to the Queen (who he remembered being crowned in 1837) who by her virtues had endeared herself to all her subjects. His Honor made a feeling reference to the absence of bad feeling now prevailing between, the United States and Canada.
The choir then sang Woodbury's anthem, ''I was glad when they said unto me, we will go into the house of the Lord."
Dr. Pope stated that the copy of the Scriptures from which the Word of God would be read, was brought to the city by one of the Loyalists.
Rev. Dr. Macrae and Rev. John Read then read the 91st and 100th Psalm (the former was read in the city on Sunday, the 18th of May, 1783,) and the choir sang Emerson's anthem, "Guide me, O! thou Great Jehovah,"
Rev. Mr. Currie, Rev. Dr. Hopper and Rev. Mr. Holbrook then spoke briefly, and were warmly applauded.
Rev. Mr. Daniel pronounced the benediction, and the congregation adjourned after singing "God Save the Queen" with a power and pathos seldom heard in this loyal city.
At midnight the birth of another century was saluted by fifty shots fired from two pieces of artillery in the old Burying Ground, intermingled with which could be heard the sweet chimes of Trinity that sent their peals of welcome far and wide over the city.
Landing of The Loyalists, etc.
According to the programme the day was ushered in with salutes of fifty guns each from either side of the harbor which effectually roused from their slumbers, any who had the fortitude to sleep in view of the exciting events to come off on the morrow. At this time the city was full of strangers. Train after train had landed detachments of from Halifax, Truro, Windsor, Pictou and other cities of the neighboring Province; Moncton was represented by nearly 1500 excursionists; about the same number came from Fredericton by rail and boat; St. Stephen and St. Andrews were well represented, and it almost appeared as if the entire population of the North Shore had been transplanted here en bloc. The larger hotels had all their rooms chartered days before hand, and a general raid was made on second class hotels and private boarding houses. During Thursday the people who were in the hotels along King square were packed away like the same number of sardines, and it was not an unusual sight to see a belated delegate encamped for the night in the friendly suburbs of some front doorstep or hallway. All night long the tramp of the weary strangers resounded through the streets, and distracted fragments of fife and drum bands meandered like beings possessed of the imp of the perverse through the echoing streets. But in reality what the writer intended to say when he started this was, that the landing of the Loyalists was effected in grand style. The woodboat “St. George" with the venerable passengers made a tour of the Island in company with a fleet of tugs and then started up the harbor to the bagpipes, managed by Messrs. Cruikshank and Perry. As the unearthly howling of the tugs became more and more audible the multitude which occupied the Market Square and precincts made a rush for the wharves. All the wharves along the ocean's edge became speedily taken up, but it was on the North and South Wharves where the crush took place. Strange to say not an accident occurred, although numerous hair-breath escapes were reported. As the schooner swept into the slip she was saluted by cannons placed on the North and South Wharves, and by Mr. Benj. Lawton, who, in the costume of a noble red man paddled his canoe into the slip, and repeatedly loaded up and discharged an ancient fowling piece that was condemned when the Pilgrim fathers landed. Hearty cheers greeted the make up of the Loyalists on board of the St. George. Prominent among her passengers were the Duc du Chambord (John C. Miles), James Devlin as Major General of the Loyalist band, G. Gordon Boyne and James McConnell as Irish gentlemen, John H. Leah as a naval officer of 1783, and some thirty ladies and gentlemen in quaint costumes of the olden time.
Promptly at the moment the St. George touched land, the Polymorphians and Calithumpians could be seen deploying on Dock street and afterwards marching across the Square to the head of the slip. After a somewhat tedious waiting spell caused by the length of the procession, the parade proceeded down Prince William street carrying out the programme originally proposed. From the elaborate description of the features of the procession that have already appeared it would be superfluous to enter into details. Among the features which attracted general attention were "the Loyalist Log Cabin," "ship St. George," "Bridal Party of 1783,” "Tally Ho" coach with its Court of Queen Elizabeth and "Loyalist Baggage," all of which were greeted with liberal plaudits. The turnout of the Haymarket Polymorphian knights in armor was especially fine. The winners of the prizes given by the Calithumpian and Polymorphian clubs were as follows :—Knights in Armour, 1st prize; “Tally Ho "coach with the Court of Queen Elizabeth, 2nd Prize; 104th Regiment, 3rd prize; and log cabin 4th prize. Honorable mention was made of "the Ship on wheels," and the costumes of Major Armstrong, Marshal; Geo. Fraser, Deputy Marshal; and James McLauchlin as a Courtier of the last century.
THE INTEREST MANIFESTED BY OUTSIDERS WAS VERY GRATIFYING.
It was to be expected that United Empire Loyalists would every where feel an interest in the proceedings. It was also to be expected that New Brunswickers generally would be stirred by the memories of the day, connected as they were so intimately with the history of the chief city of the Province. But the Fire Departments of Halifax, Yarmouth, Pictou, Truro and Charlottetown sent delegations to participate in some of the leading proceedings of the day, and the Chief Magistrates of these towns came and joined in the celebration. It was natural for Lieutenant Governor Wilmot to identify himself with the observances, as the Chief Magistrate of the Province, and as having for a long time represented the city and county in the Legislature. But the fact of his being a son of the Loyalists rendered his participation all the more interesting.
THE UNANIMITY WITH WHICH OUR CITIZENS JOINED IN THE FESTIVITIES OF THE DAY WAS EXTREMELY PLEASING.
Had the celebration been partial only, had a large body of the citizens disregarded the day, showing no interest in its associations, no respect for the event commemorated, no sympathy with the feelings of fellow citizens of loyalist descent, the celebration would have been shorn of much of its glory. But the observance was general. The whole city kept holiday. Thousands of people in whose veins there runs not one drop of loyalist blood respected the day. Nay, great numbers of them contributed heartily to the success of the celebration. Differences of race, of creed, of political sentiment were for the time forgotten to participate in celebrating an event worthy of remembrance and of great historic interest.
THE FINE FEELING PERVADING THE CELEBRATION WAS NOTEWORTHY.
Everybody seemed under the influence of good feeling. Gaiety of heart was manifested on all sides by young and old. Some were there, doubtless, who entered into the pathos of the recollections evoked, who dwelt on the sadder memories associated with the day, threw back over the vanished century a mournful gaze, who sighed over what might have been, but even they were prepared to relish everything done for their entertainment. People were in a mood to be pleased and they were pleased, and the good behavior of the crowding thousands that filled street and wharf and square in turn was delightful to witness. Never has a better tempered mass of people taken possession of St. John's out of doors. And very little drunkenness seems to have been indulged in, and little or no fighting or quarreling. The spirit that pervaded the observances, whatever shape they happened to take, was excellent. Full significance to the action of the famous Loyalists was accorded. Their virtues were duly recognized, the grandeur of their self-sacrifice admired, their heroic action duly lauded. There was no apology for their course tendered, as though they had done something for their children to be ashamed of. The men, their deeds and their endurance were held high. But at the same time, there was no attempt at reviving worn out quarrels, at rekindling extinct fires, at fomenting old hatreds. And, we believe that not a sentence was uttered at which our kinsmen from over the border present could justly take offence. The worthy representative of the United States Government among us, Gen. Warner, felt glad to participate in observances marked by such fine feeling, sound sense and excellent taste. All this, too, was gratifying in a high degree.
THE GENERAL SUCCESS ACHIEVED WAS A THING TO BE PROUD OF
Almost, if not quite everything planned was executed well. The representation of the landing was highly enjoyable. True, histrionic talent of a high order might have made the landing of the exiles a tearful scene. But people did not want to cry on the occasion. They wanted to be astonished and tickled and pleased; and they were not disappointed. The processions were fine spectacular manifestations by day and by night. The gathering in the Institute was a grand one; and the relics of the olden time shown and the oratory and the poetry evoked fitting the occasion. The evening illuminations, whether with candle or lantern or torch or electric incandescence or fire works, were quite splendid, taken as a whole. And from morning till late at night the city was flooded with music.
THE EXEMPTION FROM FIRE AND FROM ACCIDENT TO LIFE AND LIMB ENJOYED WAS WONDERFUL.
From early morning till late at night, crackers and small torpedoes were the order of the day. In every general illumination, the danger from fire is considerable. But celebration day had no destructive Hire enkindled worth speaking of. Then, not a life was lost, nor, so far as we have heard, a limb broken. Let us hope that such an auspicious celebration of the close of one century and the commencement of another will prove to be a good omen for St. John, to be amply fulfilled as the years roil away.