History of Toronto Appendix
In 1869, the survivors of the early occupants of York, Uppe...
The Harbour Its Marine 1800-1814
On the 15th of May, 1800, Governor Hunter arrives again in ...
In French colonial documents of a very respectable antiquit...
Queen Street From Brock Street And Spadina Avenue To The Humber
Immediately after the grounds and property of Mr. Dunn, on ...
Yonge Street: From Bond's Lake To The Holland Landing With Digressions To Newmarket And Sharon
We now speedily passed Drynoch, lying off to the left, on e...
King Street From Yonge Street To Church Street
Where Yonge Street crosses King Street, forming at the pres...
Yonge Street From Yorkville To Hogg's Hollow
Of long standing is the group of buildings on the right aft...
King Street From John Street To Yonge Street
After our long stroll westward, we had purposed returning t...
King Street: Digression Southwards At Church Street: Market Lane
Across Church Street from Clinkunbroomer's were the wooden ...
King Street From Church Street To George Street
We were arrested in our progress on King Street by St. Jame...
The Harbour: Its Marine 1793-99
The first formal survey of the harbour of Toronto was made ...
Yonge Street From Hogg's Hollow To Bond's Lake
Beyond the hollow, Mr. Humberstone's was passed on the west...
From Brock Street To The Old French Fort
Returning again to the front. The portion of the Common tha...
The Harbour: Its Marine 1815-1827
Soon after the close of the war with the United States in 1...
Queen Street From The Don Bridge To Caroline Street
We return once more to the Don Bridge; and from that point ...
Palace Street To The Market Place
In Rome, at the present day, the parts that are the most at...
Queen Street From George Street To Yonge Street
--MEMORIES OF THE OLD COURT HOUSE.
When we pass George S...
Queen Street From Yonge Street To College Avenue Digression Southward At Bay Street Osgoode Hall Digression Northward At The Av
Leaving now the site of our ancient Court House, the spot a...
From Berkeley Street To The Bridge And Across It
We now propose to pass rapidly down "the road to Quebec" as...
Yonge Street: Onward From Holland Landing To Penetanguishene
To render our narrative complete, we give in a few parting ...
Queen Street From The Don Bridge To Caroline Street
We return once more to the Don Bridge; and from that point commence a
journey westward along the thoroughfare now known as Queen Street, but
which at the period at present occupying our attention, was
non-existent. The region through which we at first pass was long known
as the Park. It was a portion of Government property not divided into
lots and sold, until recent times.
Originally a great space extending from the first Parliament houses,
bounded southward and eastward by the water of the Bay and Don, and
northward by the Castle Frank lot, was set apart as a "Reserve for
Government Buildings," to be, it may be, according to the idea of the
day, a small domain of woods and forest in connection with them; or else
to be converted in the course of time into a source of ways and means
for their erection and maintenance. The latter appears to have been the
view taken of this property in 1811. We have seen a plan of that date,
signed "T. Ridout, S. G.," shewing this reserve divided into a number of
moderate sized lots, each marked with "the estimated yearly rent, in
dollars, as reported by the Deputy Surveyor [Samuel S. Wilmot]." The
survey is therein stated to have been made "by order of His Excellency
Francis Gore, Esq., Lieutenant-Governor."
The number of the lots is eighty-three. None of them bear a larger
amount than twenty dollars. Some of them consisting of minute bits of
marsh, were expected to yield not more than one dollar. The revenue from
the whole if realised would have been eleven hundred and thirty-three
dollars. In this plan, what is now Queen street is duly laid down, in
direct continuation of the Kingston Road westward, without regard to the
engineering difficulties presented by ravines; but it is entitled in
large letters, "Dundas Street." On its north side lie forty-six, and on
its south, thirty-seven of the small lots into which the whole reserve
is divided The scheme was never carried into effect.
The Park, as we remember it, was a tract of land in a state of nature,
densely covered, towards the north, with massive pines; and towards the
south, with a thick secondary growth of the same forest tree. Through
these woods ran a devious and rather obscure track, originating in the
bridle-road cut out, before the close of the preceding century, to
Castle Frank; one branch led off from it to the Playter-estate, passing
down and up two very steep and difficult precipices; and another,
trending to the west and north, conducted the wayfarer to a point on
Yonge Street about where Yorkville is now to be seen.
To the youthful imagination, the Park, thus clothed with veritable
The nodding horror of whose shady brows
Awed the forlorn and wandering passenger--
and traversed by irregular, ill-defined and very solitary paths, leading
to widely-separated localities, seemed a vast and rather mysterious
region, the place which immediately flashed on the mind, whenever in
poem or fairy tale, a wild or wold or wilderness was named. As time
rolled on, too, it actually became the haunt and hiding-place of lawless
After passing, on our left, the burial-plot attached to the first Roman
Catholic Church of York, and arriving where Parliament Street, at the
present day, intersects, we reached the limit, in that direction, of the
"Reserve for Government Buildings." Stretching from the point indicated,
there was on the right side of the way, a range of "park lots,"
extending some two miles to the west, all bounded on the south by what
at the present time is Queen Street, but which, from being the great
thoroughfare along the front of this very range, was long known as "Lot
Street." (In the plan above spoken of, it is marked, as already stated,
"Dundas Street," it being a section of the great military way, bearing
that name, projected by the first Governor of Upper Canada to traverse
the whole province from west to east, as we shall have occasion
hereafter to narrate.)
In the early plan of this part of York, the names of the first locatees
of the range of park-lots are given. On the first or easternmost lot we
read that of John Small. On the next, that of J. White.
In this collocation of names there is something touching, when we recall
an event in which the first owners of these two contiguous lots were
tragically concerned. Friends, and associates in the Public Service, the
one as Clerk of the Crown, the other as Attorney-General for Upper
Canada, from 1792-1800, their dream, doubtless, was to pass the evening
of their days in pleasant suburban villas placed here side by side in
the outskirts of the young capital. But there arose between them a
difficulty, trivial enough probably at the beginning, but which,
according to the barbaric conventionality of the hour, could only be
finally settled by a "meeting," as the phrase was, in the field, where
chance was to decide between them, for life or death, as between two
armies--two armies reduced to the absurdity of each consisting of one
man. The encounter took place in a pleasant grove at the back of the
Parliament Building, immediately to the east of it, between what is now
King Street and the water's edge. Mr. White was mortally wounded and
soon expired. At his own request his remains were deposited in his
garden on the park-lot, beneath a summer-house to which he had been
accustomed to retire for purposes of study.
The Oracle of Saturday, January 4, 1800, records the duel in the
following words:--"Yesterday morning a duel was fought back of the
Government Buildings by John White, Esq., his Majesty's
Attorney-General, and John Small, Esq., Clerk of the Executive Council,
wherein the former received a wound above the right hip, which it is
feared will prove mortal." In the issue of the following Saturday,
January 11th, the announcement appears:--"It is with much regret that we
express to the public, the death of John White, Esq." It is added: "His
remains were on Tuesday evening interred in a small octagon building,
erected on the rear of his Park lot." "The procession," the Oracle
observes, "was solemn and pensive; and shewed that though death, 'all
eloquent,' had seized upon him as his victim, yet it could not take from
the public mind the lively sense of his virtues. Vivit post funera
The Constellation at Niagara, of the date January 11th, 1800, also
records the event, and enjoying a greater liberty of expression than the
Government organ at York, indulges in some just and sensible remarks on
the irrational practice of duelling in general, and on the sadness of
the special case which had just occurred. We give the Constellation
"Died at York, on the 3rd instant, John White, Esq., Attorney-General of
this Province. His death was occasioned by a wound he received in a duel
fought the day before with John Small, Esq., Clerk of the Executive
Council, by whom he was challenged. We have not been able to obtain the
particulars of the cause of the dispute; but be the origin what it may,
we have to lament the toleration and prevalency of a custom falsely
deemed honourable, or the criterion of true courage, innocency or guilt,
a custom to gratify the passion of revenge in a single person, to the
privation of the country and a family, of an ornament of society, and
support: an outrage on humanity that is too often procured by the meanly
malicious, who have preferment in office or friendship in view, without
merit to gain it, and stupidly lacquey from family to family, or from
person to person, some wonderful suspicion, the suggestions of a soft
head and evil heart; and it is truly unfortunate for Society that the
evil they bring on others should pass by their heads to light on those
the world could illy spare. We are unwilling to attribute to either the
Attorney-General or Mr. Small any improprieties of their own, or to say
on whom the blame lies; but of this we feel assured, that an explanation
might easily have been brought about by persons near to them, and a
valuable life preserved to us. The loss is great; as a professional
gentleman, the Attorney-General was eminent, as a friend, sincere; and
in whatever relation he stood was highly esteemed; an honest and upright
man, a friend to the poor; and dies universally lamented and we here
cannot refuse to mention, at the particular request of some who have
experienced his goodness, that he has refused taking fees, and
discharged suits at law, by recommending to the parties, and assisting
them with friendly advice, to an amicable adjustment of their
differences: and this is the man whom we have lost!"
For his share in the duel Mr. Small was, on the 20th January, 1800,
indicted and tried before Judge Allcock and a jury, of which Mr. Wm.
Jarvis was the foreman. The verdict rendered was "Not Guilty." The
seconds were--Mr. Sheriff Macdonell for Mr. Small, and the Baron DeHoen
for Mr. White.
(In 1871, as some labourers were digging out sand, for building
purposes, they came upon the grave of Attorney-General White. The
remains were carefully removed under the inspection of Mr. Clarke
Gamble, and deposited in St. James' Cemetery.)
Mr. White's park-lot became afterwards the property of Mr. Samuel
Ridout, sometime Sheriff of the County, of whom we have had occasion to
speak already. A portion of it was subsequently owned and built on by
Mr. Edward McMahon, an Irish gentleman, long well known and greatly
respected as Chief Clerk in the Attorney General's office. Mr. McMahon's
name was, for a time, preserved in that of a street which here enters
Queen Street from the North.
Sherborne Street, which at present divides the White park-lot from Moss
Park commemorates happily the name of the old Dorsetshire home of the
main stem of the Canadian Ridouts. The original stock of this family
still flourishes in the very ancient and most interesting town of
Sherborne, famous as having been in the Saxon days the see of a bishop;
and possessing still a spacious and beautiful minster, familiarly known
to architects as a fine study.
Like some other English names, transplanted to the American continent,
that of this Dorsetshire family has assumed here a pronunciation
slightly different from that given to it by its ancient owners. What in
Canada is Ri-dout, at Sherborne and its neighbourhood, is Rid-out.
On the park-lot which constituted the Moss-Park Estate, the name of D.
W. Smith appears in the original plan. Mr. D. W. Smith was acting
Surveyor-General in 1794. He was the author of "A Short Topographical
Description of His Majesty's Province of Upper Canada in North America,
to which is annexed a Provincial Gazetteer:"--a work of considerable
antiquarian interest now, preserving as it does, the early names,
native, French and English, of many places now known by different
appellations. A second edition was published in London in 1813, and was
designed to accompany the new map published in that year by W. Faden,
Geographer to the King and Prince Regent. The original work was compiled
at the desire of Governor Simcoe, to illustrate an earlier map of Upper
We have spoken already in our progress through Front Street, of the
subsequent possessor of Mr. Smith's lot, Col. Allan. The residence at
Moss Park was built by him in comparatively recent times. The homestead
previously had been, as we have already seen, at the foot of Frederick
Street, on the south-east corner. To the articles of capitulation on the
27th April, 1813, surrendering the town of York to Dearborn and
Chauncey, the commanders of the United States force, the name of Col.
Allan, at the time Major Allan, is appended, following that of
Besides the many capacities in which Col. Allan did good service to the
community, as detailed during our survey of Front Street, he was also,
in 1801, Returning Officer on the occasion of a public election. In the
Oracle of the 20th of June, 1801, we have an advertisement signed by
him as Returning Officer for the "County of Durham, the East Riding of
the County of York, and the County of Simcoe"--which territories
conjointly are to elect one member. Mr. Allan announces that he will be
in attendance "on Thursday, the 2nd day of July next, at 10 o'clock in
the forenoon, at the Hustings under the Colonnade of the Government
Buildings in the Town of York--and proceed to the election of one Knight
to represent the said county, riding and county in the House of
Assembly, whereof all freeholders of the said county, riding and county,
are to take notice and attend accordingly."
The writ, issuing from "His Excellency, Peter Hunter, Esq.," directs the
returning officer "to cause one Knight, girt with a sword, the most fit
and discreet, to be freely and indifferently chosen to represent the
aforesaid county, riding and county, in Assembly, by those who shall be
present on the day of election."
Two candidates presented themselves, Mr. A. Macdonell and Mr. J. Small.
Mr. Macdonell was duly elected, "there appearing for him," we are
briefly informed in a subsequent number of the Oracle, "112
unquestionable votes; and for J. Small, Esq. 32: majority, 80."
In 1804 there was another election, when the candidates were Mr. A.
Macdonell again, Mr. D. W. Smith, of whom above, and Mr. Weekes. The
address of the last-named gentleman is in the Oracle of May 24th. It
is addressed to the Free and Independent Electors of the East Riding of
York. He says: "I stand unconnected with any party, unsupported by any
influence, and unambitious of any patronage, other than the suffrages of
those who consider the impartial enjoyment of their rights, and the
free exercise of their privileges as objects not only worthy of the
vigilance of the legislator, but also essential to their political
security and to their local prosperity. The opportunity of addressing
myself to men who may be inclined to think with freedom, and to act with
independency, is to me truly desirable; and the receiving of the
countenance and support of those characters, must ever bear in my mind
impressions more than gratifying."
"It will not accord with my sentiments," the address proceeds to say,
"to express myself in the usual terms of zeal and fidelity of an
election candidate; inasmuch as that the principle of previous
assurances has frequently, in the exercise of the functions of a
representative, have been either forgotten or occasionally abandoned;
but I hope it will not be considered vaunting in me to assert that that
zeal and the fidelity which have manifested themselves in the discharge
of my duty to my clients, will not be abated in supporting a more
important trust--the cause of the public!"
In the Oracle of April 7th is an address put forth by friends on the
part of Mr. D. W. Smith, who is at the moment absent. It is "to the free
and independent electors of the County of Durham, the East Riding of the
County of York, and the County of Simcoe." It runs as follows: "The
friends of the Hon. D. W. Smith beg leave to offer that gentleman to
represent you in the ensuing Parliament. His honour, integrity and
ability, and the essential services which, in different capacities, he
hath rendered to the Province, are so well known and felt that his
friends consider the mentioning of his name only to be the most powerful
solicitation which they can use on the present occasion, to obtain for
him your favour and suffrage." To this address the following paragraph
is added on May the 5th: "The friends of Mr. Smith consider it as their
duty further to intimate, that from late accounts received from him in
England, it was his determination to set out from that country so as to
arrive here early in the summer of this present year."
On the 2nd of May Mr. Macdonell's address came out. He speaks like a
practised orator, accustomed to the outside as well as the interior of
the House. He delivers himself in the following vigorous style:--
"To the Worthy Inhabitants of the East Riding of the County of York, and
Counties of Durham and Simcoe: Friends and Fellow Subjects. In
addressing you by appellations unusual, I believe, on similar
occasions, no affectation of singularity has dictated the innovation: my
terms flow from a more dignified principle, a purer source of ideas,
from a sentiment of liberal and extensive affection, which embraces and
contemplates not only such of you as by law are qualified to vote, but
also such as a contracted and short-sighted policy has restrained from
the immediate enjoyment of that privilege. Your interests, inseparably
the same, and alike dear and interesting to me, have always been equally
my care; and your good-will shall indiscriminately be gratifying,
whether accompanied with the ability of advancing my present pursuit, or
confined to the wishes of my succeeding in it.
"The anxious anticipation of events, which has engaged so many persons
unto such early struggles to supplant me, forces me also to anticipate
the dissolution of parliament, in declaring my disposition to continue
(if supported by my friends at the next general election) in that
situation which I have now the honour of filling in parliament; a
situation, which the majority of suffrages which placed me in it,
justifies the honest pride of supposing, was not obtained without merit,
and inspires the natural confidence of presuming, will not be lost
without a fault.
"I stoop with reluctance, gentlemen, to animadvert upon some puny
fabrications calculated to mislead your judgment, and alienate your
favour. It has been said that I am canvassing for a seat elsewhere. No!
gentlemen: the satisfaction, the pride, of representing that division of
this Province, which, comprehending the capital, is consequently the
political head, is to me, too captivating an object of political
ambition to suffer the view of it to be intercepted in my imagination
for a moment, by the prospect of any inferior representation. Be
assured, therefore, gentlemen, that I shall not forsake my present post,
until you or life shall have forsaken me.
"Another calumny of a darker hue has been fabricated. I have been
represented as inimical to the provincial statute which restrains many
worthy persons migrating into this Province from voting at elections,
under a residence of seven years. A more insidious, a more bare-faced
falsehood, never issued from the lips of malice; for during every
session of my sitting in parliament, I have been the warmest, and
loudest advocate for repealing that statute and for rendering taxation
and representation reciprocal.
"I shall notice a third expedient, in attempting which, detraction (by
resorting to an imposture so gross as to carry its own refutation upon
the very face of it) has effectually avowed its own impotency:--It has
been whispered that I have endeavoured to increase the general rate of
assessments within the Home District. Wretched misrepresentation! I
should have been my own enemy indeed, if I had lent myself to such a
measure. On the contrary; my maxim has been, and shall ever continue to
be, that so much of the public burden as possible should be shifted from
the shoulders of the industrious farmers and mechanics, upon those of
the more opulent classes of the community; persons with large salaries
and lucrative employments: the shallow artifice of these exploded lies
suggests this natural reflection, that slander could find no real
foundation to build upon, when reduced to the necessity of rearing its
fabrics upon visions.
"To conclude, gentlemen, I have no interests separate from yours, no
country but that which we inhabit in common. In all situations, under
all circumstances, I have been the friend of the people and the votary
of their rights. I have never changed with the times, nor shifted sides
with the occasion; and you may therefore reasonably confide that I shall
always be, gentlemen, your most devoted and most attached servant, A.
Macdonell, York, 2nd May, 1804."
An attempt had also been made to induce Mr. R. Henderson to become a
candidate at this election. He explained the reason why he declined to
come forward, in the following card:--"The subscriber thinks it a duty
incumbent on him thus publicly to notify his friends who wished him to
stand as a candidate at the ensuing election for York and its adjacent
counties; that he declines standing, having special business that causes
his absence at the time of the election. He hopes that his friends will
be pleased to accept of his grateful acknowledgments for the honour they
wished to confer on him. But as there are several candidates who solicit
the suffrages of the Public, they cannot be at a loss. He leaves you,
gentlemen, to the freedom of your own will. He has only to observe that
were he present on the day of election, he would give his vote to the
Honourable David William Smith. I am, Gentlemen, your obedient and
obliged servant, R. Henderson, York, 26th May, 1804."
Mr. Henderson's occupation was afterwards that of a local army
contractor, &c., as may be gathered from an advertisement which is to
be observed in the Oracle of September 6, 1806:--"Notice. The
subscriber having got the contract for supplying His Majesty's troops at
the garrison with fresh beef, takes the liberty of informing the public
that he has engaged a person to superintend the butchering business, and
that good fresh beef may be had three times a week. Fresh pork and
mutton will be always ready on a day's notice; poultry, &c. Those
gentlemen who may be pleased to become customers, may rely on being well
served, and regularly supplied. If constant customers, &c., a note of
the weight will be sent along with the article. Families becoming
constant customers, will please to send a book by their servant, to have
it entered, to prevent any mistakes. The business will commence on
Monday, the 1st of September next. R. Henderson, York, Aug. 28, 1806."
The grazing ground of Mr. Henderson's fat cattle was extensive. In the
same paper we have a notice bearing his signature, announcing that "the
subscriber has a considerable number of fat cattle running at large
between the town and the Humber. They are all branded on the horns with
R. H." The notice continues: "If any of said cattle should be offered
for sale to butchers or others, it is hoped no one will purchase them,
as they may suppose them to be stolen. A number of fat cattle is still
wanted, for which cash will be paid."
The result of the election at York in 1804 is announced in the Oracle
of June 16. As was probably to be expected, Mr. Macdonell was the man
returned. Thus runs the paragraph: "On Monday last the 11th instant, the
election of a Knight to represent the counties of Durham and Simcoe and
the East Riding of the County of York, took place at the Government
Buildings in this town. At the close of the poll, Angus Macdonell was
declared to be duly elected to represent the said counties and riding.
We have not yet been able to collect any further returns," the Editor
adds, "but as soon as practicable they will be laid before the public."
On the 4th of the following August, accordingly, the following complete
list was given of members returned at the election of 1804. Alexander
Macdonell and W. B. Wilkinson, Esqrs., Glengarry and Prescott. Robert
Isaac D. Grey, Esq., Stormont and Russell. John Chrysler, Dundas. Samuel
Sherwood, Esq., Grenville. Peter Howard, Esq., Leeds. Allan McLean,
Esq., Frontenac. Thomas Dorland, Esq., Lennox and Addington. Ebenezer
Washburn, Esq., Prince Edward. David McGregor Rogers, Esq., Hastings and
Northumberland. Angus Macdonell, Esq., Durham, Simcoe and East Riding of
York. Solomon Hill and Robert Nelles, Esqrs., West Riding of York, First
Lincoln, and Haldimand. Isaac Swayzey and Ralph Clench, Esqs., 2nd, 3rd
and 4th Ridings of Lincoln. Benaiah Mallory, Esq., Norfolk, Oxford and
Middlesex. John McGregor, Esq., Kent. Matthew Elliott and David Cowan,
The Mr. Weekes who, as we have seen, was an unsuccessful candidate for a
seat in parliament in 1804 was nevertheless a member of the House in
1806, representing the constituencies to which he had previously offered
himself. In 1806 he was killed in a duel with Mr. Dickson at Niagara,
another victim to the peculiar social code of the day, which obliged
gentlemen on certain occasions of difference to fire pistols at each
other. In the Oracle of the 11th of October, 1806, we read the
announcement: "Died on Friday, the 10th instant, at night, in
consequence of a wound received that morning in a duel, William Weekes,
Esq., Barrister-at-law, and a Member of the House of Assembly for the
counties of York, Durham and Simcoe." In the next issue of the paper,
dated October 25, 1806, we have a second record of the event in the
following terms, with a eulogy on Mr. Weekes' character: "It is with
sentiments of the deepest regret that we announce to the public the
death of William Weekes, Esq., Barrister-at-law in this Province; not
only from the melancholy circumstances attendant on his untimely death,
but also from a view of the many virtues this Province is deprived of by
that death. In him the orphan has lost a father, the widow a friend, the
injured a protector, society a pleasing and safe companion, and the Bar
one of its ablest advocates. Mr. Weekes was honest without the show of
ostentation. Wealth and splendour held no lure for him; nor could any
pecuniary motives induce him to swerve in the smallest degree from that
which he conceived to be strictly honourable. His last moments were
marked with that fortitude which was the characteristic of his life,
convinced of the purity of which, he met death with pleasure.
"His funeral was delayed longer than could have been wished, a form of
law being necessary previous to that ceremony. He was interred on
Tuesday, the fourteenth. His funeral," it is added, "was attended by a
respectable assemblage of people, from the house of John MacKay, Esq.,
in the following order:--mourners, John MacKay, Esq.; three Members of
the House of Assembly, of which he was a member: viz., Ralph Clench, J.
Swayzey, Robert Nelles; Dr. West, Surgeon of the American Garrison, Dr.
Thomas, 41st Regt., Dr. Muirhead, Niagara; the Gentlemen of the Bar; the
Magistrates of the place; and a numerous concourse of people from town
This duel, as we have been informed, was fought on the United States
side of the river, near the French Fort.
Mr. Weekes, we believe, was an unmarried man. He was fond of solitary
rambles in the woods in search of game. Once he was so long missing that
foul play was suspected; and some human remains having been found under
a heap of logs on the property of Peter Ernest, Peter Ernest was
arrested; and just as the evidence was all going strongly against him,
Mr. Weekes appeared on the scene alive and well.
One more of these inhuman and unchristian encounters, with fatal result,
memorable in the early annals of York, we shall have occasion to speak
of hereafter when, in our intended progress up Yonge Street, we pass the
spot where the tragedy was enacted.
Mr. Weekes was greatly regretted by his constituents. "Overwhelmed with
grief," they say in their address dated the 20th September, 1806, to the
gentleman whom they desire to succeed him, "at the unexpected death of
our late able and upright Representative; we, freeholders of these
Counties of York, Durham and Simcoe, feel that we have neglected our
interests in the season of sorrow. Now awake, it is to you we turn;
notwithstanding the great portion of consolation which we draw from the
dawning of our impartial and energetic administration. (The allusion is
to Gov. Gore.)
"Fully persuaded that the great object of your heart is the advancement
of public prosperity, the observance of the laws, and the practice of
religion and morality, we hasten with assurances of our warmest support,
to invite you from your retreat to represent us in Parliament. Permit
us, however, to impress upon you, that as subjects of a generous and
beloved King; as a part of that great nation which has for so long a
time stood the bulwark of Europe, and is now the solitary and
inaccessible asylum of liberty; as the children of Englishmen, guarded,
protected and restrained by English laws; in fine, as members of their
community, as fathers and sons, we are induced to place this confidence
in your virtue, from the firm hope that, equally insensible to the
impulse of popular feeling and the impulse of power, you will pursue
what is right. This has been the body of your decisions; may it be the
spirit of your counsels! (Signed by fifty-two persons, residing in the
Town and Township of York.)" The names not given.
These words were addressed to Mr. Justice Thorpe. His reply was couched
in the following terms: "Gentlemen: With pleasure I accede to your
desire. If you make me your representative I will faithfully discharge
my duty. Your confidence is not misplaced. May the first moment of
dereliction be the last of my existence. Your late worthy representative
I lament from my heart. In private he was a warm friend; at the Bar an
able advocate, and in Parliament a firm patriot. It is but just to draw
consolation from our Governor, when the first act of his administration
granted to those in the U. E. list and their children, what your late
most valuable member so strenuously laboured to obtain. Surely from this
we have every reason to expect that the liberal interests of our beloved
sovereign, whose chief glory is to reign triumphantly enthroned on the
hearts of a free people, will be fulfilled, honouring those who give and
those who receive, enriching the Province and strengthening the Empire.
Let us cherish this hope in the blossom; may it not be blasted in the
ripening." A postscript is subjoined: "P. S. If influence, threat,
coercion or oppression should be attempted to be exercised over any
individual, for the purpose of controlling the freedom of election, let
me be informed.--R. T."
In 1806 Judges were not ineligible to the Upper Canadian Parliament. Mr.
Justice Thorpe and Governor Gore did not agree. He was consequently
removed from office. Some years later, when both gentlemen were living
in England as private persons, Mr. Thorpe brought an action for libel
against Mr. Gore, and obtained a favourable verdict.
We now proceed on our prescribed course. So late as 1833, Walton, in his
"York Commercial Directory, Street Guide, and Register," when naming the
residents on Lot Street, as he still designates Queen Street, makes a
note on arriving at two park lots to the westward of the spot where we
have been pausing, to the effect, that "here this street is intercepted
by the grounds of Capt. McGill, S. P. Jarvis, Esq., and Hon. W. Allan;
past here it is open to the Roman Catholic Church, and intended to be
carried through to the Don Bridge."
The process of levelling up, now become so common in Toronto, has
effectually disposed of the difficulty temporarily presented by the
ravine or ancient water-course, yet partially to be seen either in front
of or upon the park lots occupied by the old inhabitants just named; and
Queen Street, at the present hour, is an uninterrupted thoroughfare in a
right line, and almost on a level the whole way, from the Don in the
east to the Lunatic Asylum in the west, and beyond, on to the gracefully
curving margin of Humber Bay.--(The unfrequented and rather tortuous
Britain Street is a relic of the deviation occasioned by the ravine,
although the actual route followed in making the detour of old was
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