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 elevated land,

the abode of Capt. Martin McLeod, formerly of the Isle of Skye. The

family and domestic group systematized on a large scale at Drynoch here,

was a Canadian reproduction of a chieftain's household.

Capt. McLeod was a Scot of the Norse vikinger type, of robust manly

frame, of noble, frank, and tender spirit; an Ossianist too, and, in the

> Scandinavian direction, a philologist. Sir Walter Scott would have made

a study of Capt. McLeod, and may have done so. He was one of eight

brothers who all held commissions in the army. His own military life

extended from 1808 to 1832. As an officer successively of the 27th, the

79th, and the 25th regiments, he saw much active service. He accompanied

the force sent over to this continent in the War of 1812-13. It was then

that he for the first time saw the land which was to be his final home.

He was present, likewise, at the affair of Plattsburg; and also, we

believe, at the attack on New Orleans. He afterwards took part in the

so-called Peninsular war, and received a medal with four clasps for

Toulouse, Orthes, Nive, and Nivelle. He missed Waterloo,

"unfortunately," as he used to say; but he was present with the allied

troops in Paris during the occupation of that city in 1815. Of the 25th

regiment he was for many years adjutant, and then paymaster. Three of

his uncles were general officers.

It is not inappropriate to add that the Major McLeod who received the

honour of a Companionship in the Order of St. Michael and St. George for

distinguished service in the Red River Expedition of 1870, was a son of

Captain McLeod of Drynoch.

That in and about the Canadian Drynoch Gaelic should be familiarly heard

was in keeping with the general character of the place. The ancient

Celtic tongue was in fact a necessity, as among the dependents of the

house there were always some who had never learned the English language.

Drynoch was the name of the old home in Skye. The Skye Drynoch was an

unfenced, hilly pasture farm, of about ten miles in extent, yielding

nutriment to herds of wild cattle and some 8,000 sheep. Within its

limits a lake, Loch Brockadale, is still the haunt of the otter, which

is hunted by the aid of the famous terriers of the island; a mountain

stream abounds with salmon and trout; while the heather and bracken of

the slopes shelter grouse and other game.

Whittaker, in his History of Whalley, quoted by Hallam in his Middle

Ages, describes the aspect which, as he supposes, a certain portion of

England presented to the eye, as seen from the top of Pendle Hill, in

Yorkshire, in the Saxon times. The picture which he draws we in Canada

can realize with great perfectness. "Could a curious observer of the

present day," he says, "carry himself nine or ten centuries back, and

ranging the summit of Pendle, survey the forked vale of Calder on one

side and the bolder margins of Ribble and Hodder on the other, instead

of populous towns and villages, the castles, the old tower-built house,

the elegant modern mansion, the artificial plantation, the enclosed park

and pleasure-ground, instead of uninterrupted enclosures which have

driven sterility almost to the summit of the fells, how great then must

have been the contrast when, ranging either at a distance or immediately

beneath, his eye must have caught vast tracts of forest-ground,

stagnating with bog or darkened by native woods, where the wild ox, the

roe, the stag and the wolf, had scarcely learned the supremacy of man,

when, directing his view to the intermediate spaces, to the widening of

the valleys, or expanse of plains beneath, he could only have

distinguished a few insulated patches of culture, each encircling a

village of wretched cabins, among which would still be remarked one rude

mansion of wood, scarcely equal in comfort to a modern cottage, yet

there rising proudly eminent above the rest, where the Saxon lord,

surrounded by his faithful cotarii, enjoyed a rude and solitary

independence, having no superior but his sovereign."

This writer asks us to carry ourselves nine or ten centuries back, to

realize the picture which he has conceived. From the upland here in the

vicinity of Drynoch, less than half a century ago, gazing southwards

over the expanse thence to be commanded, we should have beheld a scene

closely resembling that which, as he supposed, was seen from the summit

of Pendle in the Saxon days; while at the present day we see everywhere,

throughout the same expanse, an approximation to the old mother-lands,

England, Ireland, and Scotland, in condition and appearance: in its

style of agriculture, and the character of its towns, villages, hamlets,

farm-houses, and country villas.

We now entered a region once occupied by a number of French military

refugees. During the revolution in France, at the close of the last

century, many of the devotees of the royalist cause passed over into

England, where, as elsewhere, they were known and spoken of as

emigres. Amongst them were numerous officers of the regular army, all

of them, of course, of the noblesse order, or else, as the inherited

rule was, no commission in the King's service could have been theirs.

When now the royal cause became desperate, and they had suffered the

loss of all their worldly goods, the British Government of the day, in

its sympathy for the monarchical cause in France, offered them grants of

land in the newly organized province of Upper Canada.

Some of them availed themselves of the generosity of the British Crown.

Having been comrades in arms they desired to occupy a block of

contiguous lots. Whilst there was yet almost all western Canada to

choose from, by some chance these Oak Ridges, especially difficult to

bring under cultivation and somewhat sterile when subdued, were

preferred, partly perhaps through the influence of sentiment; they may

have discovered some resemblance to regions familiar to themselves in

their native land. Or in a mood inspired and made fashionable by

Rousseau they may have longed for a lodge in some vast wilderness, where

the "mortal coil" which had descended upon the old society of Europe

should no longer harass them. When twitted by the passing wayfarer who

had selected land in a more propitious situation, they would point to

the gigantic boles of the surrounding pines in proof of the intrinsic

excellence of the soil below, which must be good, they said, to nourish

such a vegetation.

After all, however, this particular locality may have been selected

rather for them than by them. On the early map of 1798 a range of nine

lots on each side of Yonge Street, just here in the Ridges, is bracketed

and marked, "French Royalists: by order of his Honor," i.e., the

President, Peter Russell. A postscript to the Gazetteer of 1799 gives

the reader the information that "lands have been appropriated in the

year of York as a refuge for some French Royalists, and their settlement

has commenced."

On the Vaughan side, No. 56 was occupied conjointly by Michel Saigeon

and Francis Reneoux; No. 57 by Julien le Bugle; No. 58 by Rene Aug.

Comte de Chalus, Amboise de Farcy and Quetton St. George conjointly; No.

59 by Quetton St. George; No. 60 by Jean Louis Vicomte de Chalus. In

King, No. 61 by Rene Aug. Comte de Chalus and Augustin Boiton

conjointly. On the Markham side: No. 52 is occupied by the Comte de

Puisaye; No. 53 by Rene Aug. Comte de Chalus; No. 54 by Jean Louis

Vicomte de Chalus and Rene Aug. Comte de Chalus conjointly;--No. 55 by

Jean Louis Vicomte de Chalus; No. 66 by le Chevalier de Marseuil and

Michael Fauchard conjointly; No. 57 by the Chev. de Marseuil; No. 58 by

Rene Letourneaux, Augustin Boiton and J. L. Vicomte de Chalus

conjointly; No. 59 by Quetton St. George and Jean Furon conjointly; No.

60 by Amboise de Farcy. In Whitchurch, No. 61 by Michel Saigeon.

After felling the trees in a few acres of their respective allotments,

some of these emigres withdrew from the country. Hence in the Ridges was

to be seen here and there the rather unusual sight of abandoned

clearings returning to a state of nature.

The officers styled Comte and Vicomte de Chalus derived their title from

the veritable domain and castle of Chalus in Normandy, associated in the

minds of young readers of English History with the death of Richard

Coeur de Lion. Jean Louis de Chalus, whose name appears on numbers 54

and in 55 Markham and on other lots, was a Major-General in the Royal

Army of Brittany. At the balls given by the Governor and others at York,

the jewels of Madame la Comtesse created a great sensation, wholly

surpassing everything of the kind that had hitherto been seen by the

ladies of Upper Canada. Amboise de Farcy, of No. 58 in Vaughan and No.

60 in Markham, had also the rank of General. Augustin Boiton, of No. 48

in Markham and No. 61 in Vaughan, was a Lieutenant-Colonel.

The Comte de Puisaye, of No. 52 in Markham, figures conspicuously in the

contemporary accounts of the royalist struggle against the Convention.

He himself published in London in 1803 five octavo volumes of Memoirs,

justificatory of his proceedings in that contest. Carlyle in his "French

Revolution" speaks of de Puisaye's work, and, referring to the so-called

Calvados war, says that those who are curious in such matters may read

therein "how our Girondin National forces, i.e., the Moderates,

marching off with plenty of wind music, were drawn out about the old

chateau of Brecourt, in the wood-country near Vernon (in Brittany), to

meet the Mountain National forces (the Communist) advancing from Paris.

How on the fifteenth afternoon of July, 1793, they did meet:--and, as it

were, shrieked mutually, and took mutually to flight, without loss. How

Puisaye thereafter,--for the Mountain Nationals fled first, and we

thought ourselves the victors,--was roused from his warm bed in the

Castle of Brecourt and had to gallop without boots; our Nationals in the

night watches having fallen unexpectedly into sauve qui peut."

Carlyle alludes again to this misadventure, when approaching the subject

of the Quiberon expedition, two years later, towards the close of La

Vendee war. Affecting for the moment a prophetic tone, in his peculiar

way Carlyle proceeds thus, introducing at the close of his sketch de

Puisaye once more, who was in command of the invading force spoken of,

although not undividedly so. "In the month of July, 1795, English

ships," he says, "will ride in Quiberon roads. There will be debarkation

of chivalrous ci-devants, (i.e. ex-noblesse), of volunteer prisoners

of war--eager to desert; of fire-arms, proclamations, clothes chests,

royalists, and specie. Whereupon also, on the Republican side, there

will be rapid stand-to arms; with ambuscade-marchings by Quiberon beach

at midnight; storming of Fort Penthievre; war-thunder mingling with the

roar of the mighty main; and such a morning light as has seldom dawned;

debarkation hurled back into its boats, or into the devouring billows,

with wreck and wail;--in one word, a ci-devant Puisaye as totally

ineffectual here as he was at Calvados, when he rode from Vernon Castle

without boots."

The impression which Carlyle gives of M. de Puisaye is not greatly

bettered by what M. de Lamartine says of him in the History of the

Girondists, when speaking of him in connexion with the affair near the

Chateau of Brecourt. He is there ranked with adventurers rather than

heroes. "This man," de Lamartine says, "was at once an orator, a

diplomatist, and a soldier,--a character eminently adapted for civil

war, which produces more adventurers than heroes." De Lamartine

describes how, prior to the repulse at Chateau Brecourt, "M. de Puisaye

had passed a whole year concealed in a cavern in the midst of the

forests of Brittany, where, by his manoeuvres and correspondence he

kindled the fire of revolt against the republic." He professed to act in

the interest of the moderates, believing that, through his influence,

they would at last be induced to espouse heartily the cause of

constitutional royalty.

Thiers, in his "History of the French Revolution," vii. 146, speaks in

respectful terms of Puisaye. He says that "with great intelligence and

extraordinary skill in uniting the elements of a party, he combined

extreme activity of body and mind, and vast ambition:" and even after

Quiberon, Thiers says "it was certain that Puisaye had done all that lay

in his power." De Puisaye ended his days in England, in the

neighbourhood of London, in 1827.--In one of the letters of Mr. Surveyor

Jones we observe some of the improvements of the Oak Ridges spoken of as

"Puisaye's Town."

It is possibly to the settlement, then only in contemplation, of emigres

here in the Oak Ridges of Yonge Street, that Burke alludes, when in his

Reflections on the French Revolution he says: "I hear that there are

considerable emigrations from France, and that many, quitting that

voluptuous climate and that seductive Circean liberty, have taken refuge

in the frozen regions, and under the British despotism, of Canada."

"The frozen regions of Canada," the great rhetorician's expression in

this place, has become a stereotyped phrase with declaimers. The reports

of the first settlers at Tadousac and Quebec made an indelible

impression on the European mind. To this day in transatlantic

communities, it is realized only to a limited extent that Canada has a

spring, summer and autumn as well as a winter, and that her skies wear

an aspect not always gloomy and inhospitable. "British despotism" is, of

course, ironically said, and means, in reality, British constitutional

freedom. (In some instances these Royalist officers appear to have

accepted commissions from the British Crown, and so to have become

nominally entitled to grants of land.)

There are some representatives of the original emigres still to be met

with in the neighbourhood of the Oak Ridges; but they have not in every

instance continued to be seised of the lands granted in 1798. The Comte

de Chalus, son of Rene Augustin, retains property here; but he resides

in Montreal.

An estate, however, at the distance of one lot eastward from Yonge

Street, in Whitchurch, is yet in the actual occupation of a direct

descendant of one of the first settlers in this region. Mr. Henry

Quetton St. George here engages with energy in the various operations of

a practical farmer, on land inherited immediately from his father, the

Chevalier de St. George, at the same time dispensing to his many friends

a refined hospitality. If at Glenlonely the circular turrets and pointed

roofs of the old French chateau are not to be seen,--what is of greater

importance, the amenities and gentle life of the old French chateau are

to be found. Moreover, by another successful enterprise added to

agriculture, the present proprietor of Glenlonely has brought it to pass

that the name of St. George is no longer suggestive, as in the first

instance it was, of wars in La Vendee and fightings on the Garonne and

Dordogne, but redolent in Canada, far and wide, only of vineyards in

Languedoc and of pleasant wines from across the Pyrenees.

A large group of superior farm buildings, formerly seen on the right

just after the turn which leads to Glenlonely, bore the graceful name of

Larchmere,--an appellation glancing at the mere or little lake within

view of the windows of the house: a sheet of water more generally known

as Lake Willcocks--so called from an early owner of the spot, Col.

Willcocks, of whom we have spoken in another section. Larchmere was for

some time the home of his great grandson, William Willcocks Baldwin. The

house has since been destroyed by fire.

Just beneath the surface of the soil on the borders of the lakelets of

the Ridges, was early noticed a plentiful deposit of white shell-marl,

resembling the substance brought up from the oozy floor of the Atlantic

in the soundings preparatory to laying the telegraph-cable. It was, in

fact, incipient chalk. It used to be employed in the composition of a

whitewash for walls and fences. It may since have been found of value as

a manure. In these quarters, as elsewhere in Canada, fine specimens of

the antlers of the Wapiti, or great American stag, were occasionally dug


The summit level of the Ridges was now reached, the most elevated land

in this part of the basin of the St. Lawrence; a height, however, after

all, of only about eight hundred feet above the level of the sea. The

attention of the wayfarer was hereabout always directed to a small

stream, which the road crossed, flowing out of Lake Willcocks: and then

a short distance further on, he was desired to notice a slight swale or

shallow morass on the left. The stream in question, he was told, was the

infant Humber, just starting south for Lake Ontario; while the swale or

morass, he was assured, was a feeder of the east branch of the Holland

River, flowing north into Lake Simcoe.

Notwithstanding the comparative nearness to each other of the waters of

the Holland and the Humber, thus made visible to the eye, the earliest

project of a canal in these parts was, as has once before been observed,

for the connection, not of the Holland river and the Humber, but of the

Holland river and the Rouge or Nen. The Mississaga Indians attached

great importance to the Rouge and its valley as a link in one of their

ancient trails between Huron and Ontario; and they seem to have imparted

to the first white men their own notions on the subject. "It apparently

rises," says the Gazetteer of 1799, speaking of the Rouge or Nen, "in

the vicinity of one of the branches of Holland's river, with which it

will probably, at some future period, be connected by a canal." A

"proposed canal" is accordingly here marked on one of the first

manuscript maps of Upper Canada.

Father St. Lawrence and Father Mississippi pour their streams--so

travellers assure us--from urns situated at no great distance apart.

Lake Itaska and its vicinity, just west of Lake Superior, possess a

charm for this reason. In like manner, to compare small things with

great, the particular quarter of the Ridges where the waters of the

Humber and the Holland used to be seen in near proximity to each other,

had always with ourselves a special interest. Two small lakes, called

respectively Lake Sproxton and Lake Simon, important feeders of the

Rouge, a little to the east of the Glenlonely property, are situated

very close to the streams that pass into the east branch of the Holland

river; so that the conjecture of the author of the Gazetteer was a

good one. He says, "apparently the sources of the Rouge and Holland lie

near each other."

After passing the notable locality of the Ridges just spoken of, the

land began perceptibly to decline; and soon emerging from the confused

glens and hillocks and woods that had long on every side been hedging in

the view, we suddenly came out upon a brow where a wide prospect was

obtained, stretching far to the north, and far to the east and west.

From such an elevation the acres here and there denuded of their woods

by the solitary axemen could not be distinguished; accordingly, the

panorama presented here for many a year continued to be exactly that

which met the eyes of the first exploring party from York in 1793.

As we used to see it, it seemed in effect to be an unbroken forest; in

the foreground bold and billowy and of every variety of green; in the

middle distance assuming neutral, indistinct tints, as it dipped down

into what looked like a wide vale; then apparently rising by successive

gentle stages, coloured now deep violet, now a tender blue, up to the

line of the sky. In a depression in the far horizon, immediately in

front, was seen the silvery sheen of water. This, of course, was the

lake known since 1793 as Lake Simcoe; but previously spoken of by the

French sometimes as Lake Sinion or Sheniong; sometimes as Lake

Ouentironk, Ouentaron, and Toronto--the very name which is so familiar

to us now, as appertaining to a locality thirty miles southward of this


The French also in their own tongue sometimes designated it, perhaps for

some reason connected with fishing operations, Lac aux Claies, Hurdle

Lake. Thus in the Gazetteer of 1799 we have "Simcoe Lake: formerly

Lake aux Claies, Ouentironk, Sheniong, situated between York and

Gloucester upon Lake Huron: it has a few small islands and several good

harbours." And again on another page of the same Gazetteer, we have

the article: "Toronto Lake (or Toronto): lake le Clie [i. e. Lac aux

Claies] was formerly so called by some: (others," the same article

proceeds to say, "called the chain of lakes from the vicinity of

Matchedash towards the head of the Bay of Quinte, the Toronto lakes and

the communication from the one to the other was called the Toronto

river:" whilst in another place in the Gazetteer we have the

information given us that the Humber was also styled the Toronto river,

thus: "Toronto river, called by some St. John's; now called the


The region of which we here obtained a kind of Pisgah view, where

"The bursting prospect spreads immense around"

on the northern brow of the Ridges, is a classic one, renowned in the

history of the Wyandots or Hurons, and in the early French missionary


It did not chance to enter into the poet Longfellow's plan to lay the

scene of any portion of his song of Hiawatha so far to the eastward; and

the legends gathered by him

From the great lakes of the Northland,

From the mountains, moors and fenlands,

Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,

Feeds among the reeds and rushes--

tell of an era just anterior to the period when this district becomes

invested with interest for us. Francis Parkman, however, in an agreeably

written work, entitled "The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth

Century," has dwelt somewhat at length on the history of this locality,

which is the well-peopled Toronto region, lieu ou il y a beaucoup de

gens, of which we have formerly spoken. (p. 74.)

In the early Reports of the Jesuit fathers themselves, too, this area

figures largely. They, in fact, constructed a map, which must have led

the central mission-board of their association, at Rome, to believe that

this portion of Western Canada was as thickly strewn with villages and

towns as a district of equal area in old France. In the "Chorographia

Regionis Huronum," attached to Father du Creux's Map of New France, of

the date 1660, given in Bressani's Abridgment of "the Relations," we

have the following places conspicuously marked as stations or

sub-missions in the peninsula bounded by Notawasaga bay, Matchedash or

Sturgeon bay, the river Severn, Lake Couchichin, and Lake Simcoe,

implying population in and round each of them:--St. Xavier, St. Charles,

St. Louis, St. Ignatius, St. Denis, St. Joachim, St. Athanasius, St.

Elizabeth, St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, St. Mary, St. Michael, La

Conception, St. Mary Magdalene, and others.

(In Schoolcraft's American Indians, p. 130, ed. 1851, the scene of the

story of Aingodon and Naywadaha is laid at Toronto, by which a spot

near Lake Simcoe seems to be meant, and not the trading-post of Toronto

on Lake Ontario.)

But we must push on. The end of our journey is in sight. The impediments

to our advance have been innumerable, but unavoidable. In spite of

appearances, "Semper ad eventum festina," has all along been secretly

goading us forward.

The farmhouses and their surroundings in the Quaker settlement through

which, after descending from the Ridges on the northern side, we passed,

came to be notable at an early date for a characteristic neatness,

completeness, and visible judiciousness; and for an air of enviable

general comfort and prosperity. The farmers here were emigrants chiefly

from Pennsylvania. Coming from a quarter where large tracts had been

rapidly transformed by human toil from a state of nature to a condition

of high cultivation, they brought with them an inherited experience in

regard to such matters; and on planting themselves down in the midst of

an unbroken wild, they regarded the situation with more intelligence

perhaps than the ordinary emigrant from the British Islands and interior

of Germany, and so, unretarded by blunders and by doubts as to the

issue, were enabled very speedily to turn their industry to profitable


The old Gazetteer of 1799 speaks in an exalted sentimental strain of

an emigration then going on from the United States into Canada. "The

loyal peasant," it says, "sighing after the government he lost by the

late revolution, travels from Pennsylvania in search of his former laws

and protection; and having his expectations fulfilled by new marks of

favour from the Crown in a grant of lands, he turns his plough at once

into these fertile plains [the immediate reference is to the

neighbourhood of Woodhouse on Lake Erie], and an abundant crop reminds

him of his gratitude to his God and to his king."

We do not know for certain whether the Quaker settlers of the region

north of the Ridges came into Canada under the influence of feelings

exactly such as those described by the Gazetteer of 1799. In 1806,

however, we find them coming forward in a body to congratulate a new

Lieutenant-Governor on his arrival in Upper Canada. In the Gazette of

Oct. 4, 1806, we read: "On Tuesday, the 30th September (1806), the

following address from the Quakers residing on Yonge Street was

presented to his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor: "The Society of the

people called Quakers, to Francis Gore, Governor of Upper Canada,

sendeth greeting. Notwithstanding we are a people who hold forth to the

world a principle which in many respects differs from the greater part

of mankind, yet we believe it our reasonable duty, as saith the Apostle,

'Submit yourselves unto every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake,

whether it be the king as supreme, or unto governors as unto them that

are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of

them that do well:' in this we hope to be his humble and peaceful

subjects. Although we cannot for conscience sake join with many of our

fellow-mortals in complimentary customs of man, neither in taking up the

sword in order to shed human blood--for the Scripture saith that 'it is

righteousness that exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any

people'--we feel concerned for thy welfare and the prosperity of the

province, hoping thy administration may be such as to be a terror to the

evil-minded and a pleasure to them that do well: then will the province

flourish and prosper under thy direction; which is the earnest desire

and prayer of thy sincere friends.--Read and approved in Yonge Street

monthly meeting, held the 18th day of the ninth month, 1806. Timothy

Rogers and Amos Armitage are appointed to attend on the Governor

therewith." Signed by order of the said meeting, Nathaniel Pearson,


To this address, characteristic alike in the peculiar syntax of its

sentences and in the well-meant platitudes to which it gives expression,

his Excellency was pleased to return the following answer: "I return you

my thanks for your dutiful address and for your good wishes for my

welfare and prosperity of this province. I have no doubt of your proving

peaceful and good subjects to his Majesty, as well as industrious and

respectable members of society. I shall at all times be happy to afford

to such persons my countenance and support. Francis Gore,

Lieut.-Governor. Government House, York, Upper Canada, 30th Sept.,


The Timothy Rogers here named bore a leading part in the first

establishment of the Quaker settlement. He and Jacob Lundy were the two

original managers of its affairs. On the arrival of Governor Peter

Hunter, predecessor to Gov. Gore, Timothy Rogers and Jacob Lundy with a

deputation from the settlement, came into town to complain to him of the

delay which they and their co-religionists had experienced in obtaining

the patents for their lands.

Governor Hunter, who was also Commander-in-Chief and a Lieut.-General in

the army, received them in the garrison, and after hearing how on coming

to York on former occasions they had been sent about from one office to

another for a reply to their inquiries about the patents, he requested

them to come to him again the next day at noon. Orders were at the same

instant despatched to Mr. D. W. Smith, the Surveyor-General, to Mr.

Small, Clerk of the Executive Council, to Mr. Burns, Clerk of the Crown,

and to Mr. Jarvis, Secretary and Registrar of the Province (all of whom

it appeared at one time or another had failed to reply satisfactorily to

the Quakers), to wait at the same hour on the Lieut.-Governor, bringing

with them, each respectively, such papers and memoranda as might be in

their possession, having relation to patents for lands in Whitchurch and


Governor Hunter had a reputation for considerable severity of character;

and all functionaries, from the judge on the bench to the humblest

employe, held office in those days very literally during pleasure.

"These gentlemen complain,"--the personages above enumerated having duly

appeared, together with the deputation from Yonge Street--"These

gentlemen complain," the Governor said, pointing to the Quakers, "that

they cannot get their patents."

Each of the official personages present offered in succession some

indistinct observations; expressive it would seem of a degree of regret,

and hinting exculpatory reasons, so far as he individually was


On closer interrogation, one thing however came out very clear, that the

order for the patents was more than twelve months old.

At length the onus of blame seemed to settle down on the head of the

Secretary and Registrar, Mr. Jarvis, who could only say that really the

pressure of business in his office was so great that he had been

absolutely unable, up to the present moment, to get ready the particular

patents referred to.

"Sir!" was the Governor's immediate rejoinder, "if they are not

forthcoming, every one of them, and placed in the hands of these

gentlemen here in my presence at noon on Thursday next (it was now

Tuesday), by George! I'll un-Jarvis you!"--implying, as we suppose, a

summary conge as Secretary and Registrar.

It is needless to say that Mr. Rogers and his colleagues of the

deputation carried back with them to Whitchurch lively accounts of the

vigour and rigour of the new Governor--as well as their patents.

General Hunter was very peremptory in his dismissals occasionally. In a

Gazette of July 16, 1803, is to be seen an ominous announcement that

the Governor is going to be very strict with the Government clerks in

regard to hours: "Lieut.-Governor's office, 21st June, 1803. Notice is

hereby given that regular attendance for the transaction of the public

business of the Province will in future be given at the office of the

Secretary of the Province, the Executive Council office, and the

Surveyor-General's office, every day in the year (Sundays, Good Friday,

and Christmas day only excepted) from ten o'clock in the morning until

three in the afternoon, and from five o'clock in the afternoon until

seven in the evening. By order of the Lieutenant-Governor, Jas. Green,


Soon after the appearance of this notice, it happened one forenoon that

young Alexander Macnab, a clerk in one of the public offices, was

innocently watching the Governor's debarkation from a boat, preparatory

to his being conveyed up to the Council-chamber in a sedan-chair which

was in waiting for him. The youth suddenly caught his Excellency's eye,

and was asked--"What business he had to be there? Did he not belong to

the Surveyor-General's office? Sir! your services are no longer


For this same young Macnab, thus summarily dismissed, Governor Hunter,

we have been told, procured subsequently a commission. He attained the

rank of captain and met a soldier's fate on the field of Waterloo, the

only Upper Canadian known to have been engaged or to have fallen in that

famous battle. (We have before mentioned that so late as 1868, Captain

Macnab's Waterloo medal was presented, by the Duke of Cambridge

personally, to the Rev. Dr. Macnab, of Bowmanville, nephew of the

deceased officer.)

Two stray characteristic items relating to Governor Hunter may here be

subjoined. The following was his brief reply to the Address of the

Inhabitants of York on his arrival there in 1799:--"Gentlemen, nothing

that is in my power shall be wanting to contribute to the happiness and

welfare of this colony." (Gazette, Aug. 24, 1799)--At Niagara, an

Address from "the mechanics and husbandmen" was refused by him, on the

ground that an address professedly from the inhabitants generally had

been presented already. On this, the Constellation of Sep. 10 (1799),

prints the following "anecdote," which is a hit at Gov. Hunter.

"Anecdote.--When Governor Simcoe arrived at Kingston on his way here to

take upon him the government of the Province, the magistrates and

gentlemen of that town presented him with a very polite address. It was

politely and verbally answered. The inhabitants of the country and town,

who move not in the upper circles, presented theirs. And this also his

Excellency very politely answered, and the answer being in writing, is

carefully preserved to this day."

Among the patents carried home by Mr. Timothy Rogers, above named, were

at least seven in which he was more or less personally interested. His

own lot was 95 on the west or King side of Yonge Street. Immediately in

front of him on the Whitchurch or east side, on lots 91, 92, 93, 94, 95,

and 96, all in a row, were enjoyed by sons or near relatives of his,

bearing the names respectively of Rufus Rogers, Asa Rogers, Isaac

Rogers, Wing Rogers, James Rogers, and Obadiah Rogers.

Mr. Lundy's name does not appear among those of the original patentees;

but lots or portions of lot in the "Quaker Settlement" are marked at an

earlier period with the names of Shadrach Lundy, Oliver Lundy, Jacob

Lundy, Reuben Lundy, and perhaps more.

In the region just beyond the Ridges there were farmers also of the

community known as Mennonists or Tunkers. Long beards, when such

appendages were rarities, dangling hair, antique-shaped, buttonless,

home-spun coats, and wide-brimmed low-crowned hats, made these persons

conspicuous in the street. On the seat of a loaded country-waggon, or on

the back of a solitary rustic nag, would now and then be seen a man of

this community, who might pass for John Huss or John a Lasco, as

represented in the pictures. It was always curious to gaze upon these

waifs and strays from old Holland, perpetuating, or at least trying to

perpetuate, on a new continent, customs and notions originating in the

peculiar circumstances of obscure localities in another hemisphere three

hundred years ago.

Simon Menno, the founder and prophet of the Mennonists, was a native of

Friesland in 1496. He advocated the utmost rigour of life. Although

there are, as we are informed, modernized Mennonists now in Holland, at

Amsterdam, for example, who are distinguished for luxury in their

tables, their equipages and their country seats, yet a sub-section of

the community known as Uke-Wallists, from one Uke Walles, adhere to the

primitive strictness enjoined by Menno. Their apparel, we are told, is

mean beyond expression, and they avoid everything that has the most

distant appearance of elegance or ornament. They let their beards grow

to an enormous length; their hair, uncombed, lies in a disorderly manner

on their shoulders; their countenances are marked with the strongest

lines of dejection and melancholy; and their habitations and household

furniture are such as are only fitted to answer the demands of mere

necessity. "We shall not enlarge," Mosheim adds, "upon the circumstances

of their ritual, but only observe that they prevent all attempts to

alter or modify their religious discipline, by preserving their people

from everything that bears the remotest aspect of learning and science;

from whatever, in a word, that may have a tendency to enlighten their

devout ignorance."

The sympathies of our primitive Tunkers beyond the Ridges, were, as we

may suppose, with this section of the fatherland Mennonists.

Thus, to get the clue to social phenomena which we see around us here in

Canada, we have to concern ourselves occasionally with uninviting pages,

not only of Irish, Scottish and English religious history, but of German

and Netherlandish religious history likewise. Pity 'tis, in some

respects, that on a new continent our immigrants could not have made a

tabula rasa of the past, and taken a start de novo on another

level--a higher one; on a new gauge--a widened one.

Though only a minute fraction of our population, an exception was early

made by the local parliament in favour of the Mennonists or Tunkers,

allowing them to make affirmations in the Courts, like the Quakers, and

to compound for military service.--Like Lollard, Quaker and some other

similar terms, Tunker, i. e. Dipper, was probably at first used in a

spirit of ridicule.

Digression to Newmarket and Sharon.

When Newmarket came in view off to the right, a large portion of the

traffic of the street turned aside for a certain distance out of the

straight route to the north, in that direction.

About this point the ancient dwellers at York used to take note of signs

that they had passed into a higher latitude. Half a degree to the south

of their homes--at Niagara, for example--they were in the land, if not

of the citron and myrtle, certainly of the tulip-tree and pawpaw--where

the edible chestnut grew plentifully in the natural woods, and the peach

luxuriantly flourished.

Now, half a degree the other way, in the tramontane region north of the

Ridges, they found themselves in the presence of a vegetation that spoke

of an advance, however minute, towards the pole. Here, all along the

wayside, beautiful specimens of the spruce-pine and balsam-fir,

strangers in the forest about York, were encountered. Sweeping the sward

with their drooping branches and sending up their dark green spires high

in the air, these trees were always regarded with interest, and desired

as graceful objects worthy to be transferred to the lawn or ornamental


A little way off the road, on the left, just before the turn leading to

Newmarket, was the great Quaker meeting-house of this region--the

"Friends' Meeting-house"--a building of the usual plain cast, generally

seen with its solid shutters closed up. This was the successor of the

first Quaker meeting-house in Upper Canada. Here Mr. Joseph John Gurney,

the eminent English Quaker, who travelled on this continent in 1837-40,

delivered several addresses, with a view especially to the re-uniting,

if possible, of the Orthodox and the Hicksites.

Gourlay, in his "Statistical Account of Upper Canada," took note that

this Quaker meeting-house and a wooden chapel at Hogg's Hollow,

belonging to the Church of England, were the only two places of public

worship to be seen on Yonge Street between York and the Holland

Landing--a distance, he says, of nearly forty miles. This was in 1817.

Following now the wheel-marks of clearly the majority of vehicles

travelling on the street, we turn aside to Newmarket.

Newmarket had for its germ or nucleus the mills and stores of Mr. Elisha

Beaman, who emigrated hither from the State of New York in 1806. Here

also, on the branch of the Holland river, mills at an early date were

established by Mr. Mordecai Millard, and tanneries by Mr. Joseph Hill.

Mr. Beaman's mills became subsequently the property of Mr. Peter

Robinson, who was Commissioner of Crown Lands in 1827, and one of the

representatives of the united counties of York and Simcoe; and

afterwards, the property of his brother, Mr. W. B. Robinson, who for a

time resided here, and for a number of years represented the County of

Simcoe in the provincial parliament. Most gentlemen travelling north or

to the north-west brought with them, from friends in York, a note of

commendation to Mr. Robinson, whose friendly and hospitable disposition

were well known:

"Fast by the road his ever-open door

Oblig'd the wealthy and reliev'd the poor."

Governors, Commodores, and Commanders-in-chief, on their tours of

pleasure or duty, were glad to find a momentary resting-place at a

refined domestic fireside. Here Sir John Franklin was entertained for

some days in 1835: and at other periods, Sir John Ross and Capt. Back,

when on their way to the Arctic regions.

In 1847, Mr. W. B. Robinson was Commissioner of Public Works; and, at a

later period, one of the Chief Commissioners of the Canada Company. Mr.

Peter Robinson was instrumental in settling the region in which our

Canadian Peterborough is situated, and from him that town has its name.

At Newmarket was long engaged in prosperous business Mr. John Cawthra, a

member of the millionaire family of that name. Mr. John Cawthra was the

first representative in the Provincial Parliament of the County of

Simcoe, after the separation from the County of York. In 1812, Mr. John

Cawthra and his brother Jonathan were among the volunteers who offered

themselves for the defence of the country. Though by nature inclined to

peace, they were impelled to this by a sincere sense of duty. At

Detroit, John assisted in conveying across the river in scows the heavy

guns which were expected to be wanted in the attack on the Fort. On the

slopes at Queenston, Jonathan had a hair-breadth escape. At the

direction of his officer, he moved from the rear to the front of his

company, giving place to a comrade, who the following instant had a

portion of his leg carried away by a shot from Fort Gray, on the

opposite side of the river. Also at Queenston, John, after personally

cautioning Col. Macdonell against rashly exposing himself, as he seemed

to be doing, was called on a few minutes afterwards, to aid in carrying

that officer to the rear, mortally wounded.

With Newmarket too is associated the name of Mr. William Roe, a merchant

there since 1814, engaged at one time largely in the fur-trade. It was

Mr. Roe who saved from capture a considerable portion of the public

funds, when York fell into the hands of General Dearborn and Commodore

Chauncey in 1813. Mr. Roe was at the time an employe in the office of

the Receiver General, Prideaux Selby; and by the order of General

Sheaffe and the Executive Council he conveyed three bags of gold and a

large sum in army-bills to the farm of Chief Justice Robinson, on the

Kingston road east of the Don bridge, and there buried them.

The army-bills were afterwards delivered up to the enemy; but the gold

remained secreted until the departure of the invaders, and was handed

over to the authorities in Dr. Strachan's parlour by Mr. Roe. The

Receiver General's iron chest was also removed by Mr. Roe and deposited

in the premises of Mr. Donald McLean, Clerk of the House of Assembly.

Mr. McLean was killed while bravely opposing the landing of the

Americans, and his house was plundered; the strong chest was broken open

and about one thousand silver dollars were taken therefrom.

The name of Mr. Roe's partner at Newmarket, Mr. Andrew Borland, is

likewise associated with the taking of York in 1813. He was made

prisoner in the fight, and in the actual struggle against capture he

received six severe rifle wounds, from the effects of which he never

wholly recovered. He had also been engaged at Queenston and Detroit.

In the Report of the Loyal and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada, we

have an entry made of a donation of sixty dollars to Mr. Andrew Borland

on the 11th June, 1813, with the note appended: "The committee of the

Loyal and Patriotic Society voted this sum to Mr. Borland for his

patriotic and eminent services at Detroit, Queenston and York, at which

latter place he was severely wounded."

We also learn from the Report that Mr. D'Arcy Boulton had presented a

petition to the Society in favour of Mr. Borland. The members of

committee present at the meeting held June 11th, 1813, were Rev. Dr.

Strachan, chairman, Wm. Chewett, Esq., Wm. Allan, Esq., John Small,

Esq., and Alex. Wood, Esq., secretary: and the minutes state that "The

petition of D'Arcy Boulton, Esq., a member of the Society, in favour of

Andrew Borland, was taken into consideration, and the sum of Sixty

Dollars was voted to him, on account of his patriotic and eminent

services at Detroit, Queenston and York, at which latter place he was

most severely wounded." Mr. Borland had been a clerk in Mr. Boulton's

store. In the order to pay the money, signed by Alexander Wood, Mr.

Borland is styled "a volunteer in the York Militia." He afterwards had a

pension of Twenty Pounds a year.

In 1838 his patriotic ardour was not quenched. During the troubles of

that period he undertook the command of 200 Indians who had volunteered

to fight in defence of the rights of the Crown of England, if there

should be need. They were stationed for a time at the Holland Landing,

but their services were happily not required.

From being endowed with great energy of character, and having also a

familiar knowledge of the native dialects, Mr. Borland had great

influence with the Indian tribes frequenting the coasts of Lakes Huron

and Simcoe. Mr. Roe likewise, in his dealings with the aborigines, had

acquired a considerable facility in speaking the Otchibway dialect, and

had much influence among the natives.

Let us not omit to record, too, that at Newmarket, not very many years

since, was successfully practising a grandson of Sir William Blackstone,

the commentator on the Laws of England--Mr. Henry Blackstone, whose

conspicuous talents gave promise of an eminence in his profession not

unworthy of the name he bore. But his career was cut short by death.

The varied character of colonial society, especially in its early crude

state, the living elements mixed up in it, and the curious changes and

interchanges that take place in the course of its development and

consolidation, receive illustrations from ecclesiastical as well as

civil annals.

We ourselves remember the church-edifice of the Anglican communion at

Newmarket when it was an unplastered, unlathed clap-board shell, having

repeatedly officiated in it while in that stage of its existence. Since

then the congregation represented by this clap-board shell have had as

pastors men like the following: a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin,

not undistinguished in his University, a protege of the famous

Archbishop Magee, a co-worker for a time of the distinguished Dr. Walter

Farquhar Hook, of Leeds, and minister of one of the modern churches

there--the Rev. Robert Taylor, afterwards of Peterborough here in

Canada. And since his incumbency, they have been ministered to by a

former vicar of a prominent church in London, St. Michael's, Burleigh

Street, a dependency of St. Martin's in Trafalgar Square--the Rev.

Septimus Ramsay, who was also long the chief secretary and manager of a

well-known Colonial Missionary Society which had its headquarters in


While, on the other hand, an intervening pastor of the same

congregation, educated for the ministry here in Canada and admitted to

Holy Orders here, was transferred from Newmarket first to the vicarage

of Somerton in Somersetshire, England, and, secondly, to the rectory of

Clenchwarden in the county of Norfolk in England--the Rev. R. Athill.

And another intervening incumbent was, after having been also trained

for the ministry and admitted to orders here in Canada, called

subsequently to clerical work in the United States, being finally

appointed one of the canons of the cathedral church at Chicago, by

Bishop Whitehouse of Illinois: this was the Rev. G. C. Street, a near

relative of the distinguished English architect of that name, designer

and builder of the New Law Courts in London.

As to the name "Newmarket"--in its adoption there was no desire to set

up in Canada a memorial of the famous English Cambridgeshire racing

town. The title chosen for the place was an announcement to this effect:

"Here is an additional mart for the convenience of an increased

population: a place where farmers and others may purchase and exchange

commodities without being at the trouble of a journey to York or

elsewhere." The name of the Canadian Newmarket, in fact, arose as

probably that of the English Newmarket itself arose, when first

established as a newly-opened place of trade for the primitive farmers

and others of East Anglia and Mercia in the Anglo-Saxon period.

It deserves to be added that the English church at Newmarket was, a few

years back, to some extent endowed by a generous gift of valuable land

made by Dr. Beswick, a bachelor medical man, whose large white house on

a knoll by the wayside was always noted by the traveller from York as he

turned aside from Yonge Street for Newmarket.

Proceeding onwards now from Newmarket, we speedily come to the village

of Sharon (or Hope as it was once named), situated also off the direct

northern route of Yonge Street.

David Willson, the great notability and founder of the place, had been

in his younger days a sailor, and, as such, had visited the Chinese

ports. After joining the Quakers, he taught for a time amongst them as a

schoolmaster. For some proceeding of his, or for some peculiarity of

religious opinion, difficult to define, he was cut off from the Hicksite

sub-division of the Quaker body. He then began the formation of a

denomination of his own. In the bold policy of giving to his personal

ideas an outward embodiment in the form of a conspicuous Temple, he

anticipated the shrewd prophets of the Mormons, Joseph and Hiram Smith.

Willson's building was erected about 1825. Nauvoo was not commenced

until the spring of 1840.

In a little pamphlet published at Philadelphia in 1815, Willson gives

the following account of himself: "I, the writer," he says, "was born of

Presbyterian parents in the county of Dutchess, state of New York, in

North America. In 1801 I removed with my family into this province

(Upper Canada), and after a few years became a member of the Society of

the Quakers at my own request, as I chose a spiritual people for my

brethren and sisters in religion. But after I had been a member thereof

about seven years, I began to speak something of my knowledge of God or

a Divine Being in the heart, soul or mind of man, all which signifies

the same to my understanding,--but my language was offensive, my spirit

was abhorred, my person was disdained, my company was forsaken by my

brethren and sisters. After which I retired from the society and was

disowned by them for so doing; but several retired with me and were

disowned also, because they would not unite in the disowning and

condemning the fruits of my spirit; for, as I had been accounted a

faithful member of the society for many years, they did not like to be

hasty in condemnation. Therefore we became a separate people, and

assembled ourselves together under a separate order which I immediately

formed. After I retired from my former meetings--as our discipline led

to peace with all people more than any one in my knowledge--we called

ourselves Children of Peace, because we were but young therein."

The following account of the Temple erected by Willson at Sharon is by a

visitor to the village in 1835. "The building," says Mr. Patrick

Shirreff in his "Tour through North America," published in Edinburgh in

1835, "is of wood painted white externally, seventy feet high; and

consists of three storeys. The first is sixty feet square, with a door

in the centre of each side and three large windows on each side of the

door. On two sides there is a representation of the setting sun and the

word 'Armageddon' inscribed below. The second storey is twenty-seven

feet square with three windows on each side; and the third storey nine

feet square with one window on each side.

"The corners of each of the storeys are terminated by square lanterns,

with gilded mountings; and the termination of the building is a gilded

ball of considerable size. The interior was filled with wooden chairs

placed round sixteen pillars, in the centre of which is a square cabinet

of black walnut with a door and windows on each side. There was a table

in the centre of the cabinet covered with black velvet, hung with

crimson merino and fringe, in which was deposited a Bible. On the four

central pillars were painted the words Faith, Hope, Charity, and Love;

and on the twelve others, the names of the Apostles. The central pillars

seemed to support the second storey; and at the foot of each was a table

covered with green cloth. The house was without ornament, being painted

fawn, green and white; and had not a pulpit or place for addressing an

audience. It is occupied once a month for collecting charity; and

contains 2,952 panes of glass, and is lighted once a year with 116


The materials of the frame-work of the Temple were, as we have been

told, prepared at a distance from the site, and run rapidly up as far as

possible without noise, in imitation of the building of Solomon's

Temple. By the side of the principal edifice stood a structure 100 feet

by 50 feet, used for ordinary meetings on Sundays. On the first Friday

in September used to be an annual feast, when the Temple was

illuminated. In this was an organ built by Mr. Coates of York.

David was an illiterate mystic, as his writings shew, in which, when the

drift of his maundering is made out, there is nothing new or remarkable

to be discerned.

At the close of the war of 1812-13-14, he appears to have been under the

impression that the Government designed to banish him as a seditious

person, under c. 1. 44 Geo. III. He accordingly published a document

deprecating such action. It was thus headed: "Address to thy Crown, O

England, and thy great name. I write as follows to all the inhabitants

thereof." In the course of it he says: "After I have written, I will

leave God to judge between you and me; and also to make judges of you,

whether you will receive my ministry in your land in peace, yea or nay.

. . . Ye are great indeed. I cannot help that, neither do I want to; but

am willing ye should remain great in the sight of God, although I am but

small therein, in the things thereof. Now choose whether I should or

might be your servant in these things, yea or nay. As I think, it would

be a shame for a minister to be banished from your nation for preaching

the gospel of peace therein. I am a man," he continues, "under the

visitation of God's power in your land; and many scandalous reports are

in circulation against me. The intent of the spirit of the thing is to

put me to flight from your dominions, or that I should be imprisoned

therein. For which cause I, as a dutiful subject, make myself known

hereby unto you of great estate in the world, lest your minds should be

affected and stirred up against me without a cause by your inferiors,

who seek to do evil to the works of God, whenever the Almighty is trying

to do you good."

In some verses of the same date as this address to the home authorities,

viz., 1815, he refers to the peril he supposed himself to be in. A

stanza or two will suffice as a specimen of his poetical productions,

which are all of the same Sternhold and Hopkins type, with the

disadvantage of great grammatical irregularity. Thus he sings: (The tone

of the ci-devant Jack-tar is perhaps to be slightly detected.)

The powers of hell are now combin'd--

With war against me rage:

But in my God my soul's resigned--

The rock of every age, &c.

Some thou doth set in king's estate,

And some on earth must serve;

And some hath gold and silver plate,

When others almost starve, &c.

The earth doth hunger for my blood,

And Satan for my soul;

And men my flesh for daily food,

That they may me control, &c.

If God doth give what I receive

The same is due to thee;

And thou in spirit must believe

In gospel liberty, &c.

It's also mine, by George our king,

The ruler of my day;

And yet if I dishonour bring,

Cut short my feeble stay, &c.

For this is in your hearts to do,

Ye inferiors of the earth;

And it's in mine to do so too,

And stop that cursed birth, &c.

The style of a volume entitled "Impressions"--a kind of Alcoran, which

used formerly to be sold to visitors in the Temple--does not rise much

above the foregoing, either in its verse or prose.

What Mosheim says of Menno's books, may be said with at least equal

truth of Willson's: "An extensively diffuse and rambling style, frequent

and unnecessary repetitions, an irregular and confused method, with

other defects of equal moment, render the perusal of the productions

highly disagreeable." Nevertheless, the reduction of his solitary

meditations to writing had, we may conceive, a pious operation and

effect on Willson's own spirit; and the perusal of them may, in the

simple-minded few who still profess to be his followers, have a like

operation and effect, even when in the reading constrained, with poor

monk Felix, to confess that, though believing, they do not understand.

The worthy man neither won martyrdom nor suffered exile; but lived on in

great worldly prosperity here in Sharon, reverenced by his adherents as

a sort of oracle, and flattered by attentions from successive political

leaders on account of the influence which he might be supposed locally

to possess--down to the year 1866, when he died in peace, aged

eighty-nine years and seven months.

Of Willson's periodical missionary expeditions into town, we have spoken

in another connection.

We return now to the great northern route, from which we have been

deviating, and hasten on with all speed to the Landing. We place

ourselves at the point on Yonge Street where we turned off to Newmarket.

Proceeding onward, we saw almost immediately, on the left, the

conspicuous dwelling of Mr. Irving--the Hon. Jacob AEmilius Irving, a

name historical in Canada, a Paulus AEmilius Irving having been

Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in British America in 1765, and also

President for a time of the Province of Quebec. (This Paulus AEmilius

Irving had previously taken part under General Wolfe in the capture of


The house of his descendant, Jacob AEmilius Irving, here on Yonge Street,

was known as Bonshaw, from some ancient family property in

Dumfriesshire. He had been an officer in the 13th Light Dragoons, and

was wounded at Waterloo. In addition to many strongly-marked English

traits of character and physique, he possessed fine literary tastes, and

histrionic skill of a high order, favoured by the possession of a grand

barytone voice. He retained a professional liking for horses. A

four-in-hand, guided by himself, issuing from the gates at Bonshaw and

whirling along Yonge Street into town, was a common phenomenon.--He died

at the Falls of Niagara in 1856. Since 1843 Mr. Irving had been a member

of the Upper House of United Canada.

A little way back, ere we descended the northern slope of the Ridges we

caught sight, as we have narrated, of the Holland River, or at least of

some portion of the branch of it with which we are immediately

concerned--issuing, "a new-born rill," from one of its fountains.

As we traversed the Quaker settlement it was again seen, a brook

meandering through meadows. This was the eastern branch of the river.

The main stream lies off to the west, flowing past the modern Bradford

and Lloydtown. It is at the head of the main stream that the most

striking approximation of the waters of the Humber and Holland rivers is

to be seen.

We arrive now at the Upper Landing, the ancient canoe-landing, and we

pause for a moment. Here it was that the war-parties and hunting-parties

embarked and disembarked, while yet these waters were unploughed by the

heavy boats of the white man.

The Iroquois from the south-side of Lake Ontario penetrated the

well-peopled region of the Hurons by several routes, as we have already

intimated: by the great Bay of Quinte highway; by the trails whose

termini on Lake Ontario were near respectively the modern Bowmanville

and Port Hope: and thirdly by a track which we have virtually been

following in this our long ramble from York; virtually, we say, for it

was to the west of Yonge Street that the trail ran, following first the

valley of the Humber and then that of the main stream of the Holland

river. The route which Mr. Holland took when he penetrated from Toronto

Bay to the head waters of the river which now bears his name, is marked

in the great MS. map which he constructed in 1791. He passed up

evidently along the great water-course of the Humber.

"You can pass from Lake Frontenac, i. e., Ontario," Lahontan says (ii.

23), "into Lake Huron by the River Tan-a-hou-ate (the Humber), by a

portage of about twenty-four miles to Lake Toronto, which by a river of

the same name empties into Lake Huron," i.e. by the River Severn, as

we should now speak.

Hunting-parties or war-parties taking to the water here at the Upper

Landing, in the pre-historic period, would probably be just about to

penetrate the almost insular district, of which we have spoken, westward

of Lake Simcoe,--the Toronto region, the place of concourse, the

well-peopled region. But some of them might perhaps be making for the

Lake Huron country and North-west generally, by the established trail

having its terminus at or near Orillia (to use the modern name).

In the days of the white man, the old Indian place of embarkation and

debarkation on the Holland river, acquired the name of the Upper

Canoe-landing; and hither the smaller craft continued to proceed.

Vessels of deeper draught lay at the Lower Landing, to which we now move

on, about a mile and a half further down the stream. Here the river was

about twenty-five yards wide, the banks low and bordered by a woody

marsh, in which the tamarac or larch was a conspicuous tree.

In a cleared space on the right, at the point where Yonge Street struck

the stream, there were some long low buildings of log with strong

shutters on the windows, usually closed. These were the Government

depositories of naval and military stores, and Indian presents, on their

way to Penetanguishene. The cluster of buildings here was once known as

Fort Gwillimbury. Thus we have it written in the old Gazetteer of

1799: "It is thirty miles from York to Holland river, at the Pine Fort

called Gwillimbury, where the road ends."

Galt, in his Autobiography, speaks of this spot. He travelled from York

to Newmarket in one day. This was in 1827. "Then next morning," he says,

"we went forward to a place on the Holland river, called Holland's

Landing, an open space which the Indians and fur-traders were in the

habit of frequenting. It presented to me," he adds, "something of a

Scottish aspect in the style of the cottages; but instead of mountains

the environs were covered with trees. We embarked at this place." He was

on his way to Goderich at the time, via Penetanguishene.

The river Holland, at which we have so long been labouring to arrive,

had its name from a former surveyor-general of the Province of Quebec,

prior to the setting-off of the Province of Upper Canada--Major S.


In the Upper Canada Gazette of Feb. 13, 1802, we have an obituary

notice of this official personage. His history also, it will be

observed, was mixed up with that of General Wolfe. "Died," the obituary

says, "on the 28th instant (that is, on the 28th of December, 1801, the

article being copied from the Quebec Gazette of the 31st of the

preceding December), of a lingering illness, which he bore for many

years with Christian patience and resignation, Major S. Holland.

"He had been in his time," the brief memoir proceeds to say, "an

intrepid, active, and intelligent officer, never making difficulties,

however arduous the duty he was employed in. He was an excellent

field-engineer, in which capacity he was employed in the year 1758 at

the siege of Louisbourg in the detachment of the army under General

Wolfe, who after silencing the batteries that opposed our entrance into

the harbour, and from his own setting fire to three ships of the line,

and obliging the remainder in a disabled state to haul out of cannon

shot, that great officer by a rapid and unexpected movement took post

within four hundred yard