This blog will continue to grow, but following is a table of contents so far - from the top:
- Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
- Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
- Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
- The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
- The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
- The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
- A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
- Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
- A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
- A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
- Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
- The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
- New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
- Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
- The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
- Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
- The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
- William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
- The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
- Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
- The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
- The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
- The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
- Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
- The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
- The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
- The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
- The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
- Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
- The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
- A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
- The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
- The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches - Oct. 23, 2013
- Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
- The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw - Oct. 9, 2013
- Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
- The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
- McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
- The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
- European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
- Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
- The Loss of the Royal Tar - Aug. 21, 2013
- Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
- The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
- A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
- ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
- The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
- 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
- Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
- The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
- Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
- The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
- Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
- The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
- An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
- Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
- Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
- Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
- John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
- A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
- The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
- The First Decade of the 1800′s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
- St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013
- New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
- Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
- Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
- Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
- The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
- The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
- Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
- Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
- Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
- Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
- The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
- The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
- The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
- The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
- The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
- Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
- Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
- 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
- Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
- Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
- The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
- New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
- Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
- The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
- The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
- The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
- Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
- The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
- The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
- Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
- Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
- The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
- Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
- Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
- The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
- Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
- The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
- Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
- Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
- Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
- Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
- Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
- Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
- Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
- Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
- More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
- An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
- “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
- The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
- James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
- Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
- Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
- Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
- Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
- New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
- Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
- Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
- York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
- Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
- Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
- Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
- Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
- The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
- The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
- The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
- The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
- The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
- Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
- French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
- How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
- Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
- Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
- Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
- Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
- Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
- Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
- Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
- John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
- The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
- The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
- George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
- The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
- The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
- John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
- Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
- Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
- Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
- Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
- Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
- Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
- Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
- The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
- The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
- Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
- Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
- It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
- James Buncker – July 10, 2011
- Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
- Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
- Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
- The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
- Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
- New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011
From the blog at http://johnwood1946.wordpress.com
The following is from the book Adventures in Canada, Being Two Months on the Tobique, New Brunswick (An Emigrant’s Journal). An unidentified man travelled from England to New Brunswick in 1851 in search of a new home. He subsequently died and another person, known only as M.C.S., compiled the traveler’s letters and journal into the book which was published in London, in 1866.
In this segment, the traveler is exploring the Tobique River with Joe, his Indian guide.
Some of the traveler’s words in describing the Indians are in poor taste by today’s standards. However, he was not mean spirited, nor was he and ignorant person, and I have left his commentary as-found.
A watercolour by John Henry Phair, ca. 1880. From the web site familyheritage.ca/Images/NBGallery
Diary on the Tobique
The Indians and the Wigwam
Next day, at 3 p.m., we started on our excursion into the wilds of the Tobique, a river with but few inhabitants, as far as sixteen miles up, and those chiefly unauthorized squatters. For about half a mile from the mouth it runs through a wide bed, cleft by two or three pretty islands, then a sudden turn brings us into the Narrows, like entering the gates of death; a deep narrow chasm, cleft through the rocks. High over-head on either side rise the rugged precipitous walls, crowned by overhanging birch and spruce forests.
On our emerging from these Narrows, Joe espied some wild ducks, one of which I hit at a long shot, though without disabling it [Joe was his Indian guide and companion]. I rose, however, several pegs in Joe’s estimation, who bestowed equal praises on the rifle and its owner. “That was a good shot, I tell you; where did you get that rifle? She throws a ball well, I tell you.”
On a rock where we landed to fish, I espied a harebell [a blue flower], the first I have seen for many years; and with its meekly hanging head it told me long and melancholy tales of times gone by never to return; not that old scenes may not be revisited, and the sunshine bright as ever, and the flowers blossom as then; but it is he who revisits them is past and gone—himself and not himself; the heart that saw them is dead, or worse, is changed, for that change kills not the memory, the long lingering gaze after the fading past.
On we go, shut out from the world by pile upon pile of forests, heaped up in heavy masses on the hills, whose feet the Tobique had washed for many years. Now that the sun was sinking, we began to fish with such tackle as we had. How my friend St. —, that scientific and enthusiastic fisherman, would have laughed had he seen us trailing bits of salt pork over the water, to persuade the trout, who we believed to lurk below, that it was a fly; he, the while, preparing his reel and tapering bamboo, and elegant flies, and offering to give me a shilling for all he doesn’t catch, while I give him half-a-crown for all he does. But how would his ridicule be changed to wonder on seeing a splash and a bounce and a trout, as fast as Joe could cast his pork over the stream. I say Joe, for I must confess that the trout with that unaccountable caprice that fish are subject to, persisted in bestowing their custom on him only. Tired at last of fishing, Joe of success, and I of failure, we resolved to make a night of it with our prey on a low gravelly island or bar just opposite.
Then, indeed, the past seemed come again—all the old familiar preparations for “bushing it,” which my life in Australia had made second nature to me. The kindling of a fire, the making up of a bed,—in this instance done simply by throwing the larger stones from the shingle on which we were to sleep,—the boiling of the tea,—the meal so highly relished,—the supremely gratifying pipe after that; then the spreading of blankets, the lying down to sleep with ten thousand stars to watch over us (unless there are ten thousand drops of rain instead), the gazing deeply into infinite space ere sleep closes the eyes, the deep hush of night only broken by the plash plash of the river over the rock, and the thronging memories which in those hours of still solitude come rushing on—oh! I could not think but that I was in glorious, sunny Australia, till I looked round and saw the canoe, under the lee of which we lay, or Joe’s red Indian face glowing in the light of the blaze as he heaped log upon log; and then I remembered I was the Port Phillip squatter camping in the woods of New Brunswick.
I was roused in the beginning of my sleep by a shout from Joe, which he accounted for, as he sat up looking bewilderedly around, by saying he had dreamed that he had hooked so large a trout that he capsized the canoe, and was shouting to me for help.
September 27th.—The four or five of the trout caught last evening remained after our supper: these, with pork and biscuit, formed breakfast; after which we resumed our cruise. We had proposed to add salmon-spearing to the other sports, and having neglected to bring salt to cure them, I climbed up a steep bank to a little house to get some. I found a good old lady,—a motherly sort of body, whose husband was out “lumbering.” My rifle excited much admiration in her little son, who seized it at once with many exclamations of delight at the beauty of the stock; little wild animals these children of the woods are, where there are no schools to teach them manners; scampering about like little beasts; staring at the stranger with the curiosity and surprise of the colt of the desert; active and untamed as squirrels. In reply to my inquiries about bears, the good old woman assured me that they had indeed “been very much afflicted with bears—they had killed three sheep of hers—and her husband had killed two in a trap and had shot one in the grain; oh! the biggest bear that ever was seen; six men couldn’t hold him.”
I went down again to the river and found Joe in a rather excited state about some ducks he had seen on an island, and of which, to his great delight, he had got one by a very long shot. After a while we landed again, and Joe discovered a partridge, as they call them here, though they much more resemble the grouse in form, though not in temper, for they will stand to be pelted with sticks and stones, almost too stupid or lazy to get out of their way. I shot this one, and thereby increased still more Joe’s admiration of my rifle. This was the hard-wood or white-fleshed partridge. There is another variety called the spruce or soft-wood partridge, with dark flesh, and a more gamey flavour.
We landed to dine beneath a settler’s hut, on the opposite side of the river. I saw a tall, dark-haired lady of the woods, young and comely, carrying a large spinning wheel, with which she stepped quickly and nimbly over the rough rocks till she stood opposite the hut, where her loud, clear tones rang through the air like a note from an organ; a signal to the house, whence shortly issued a man, who crossed and brought her over in a pirogue.
For fifteen or sixteen miles up the Tobique there are a few scattered settlers. The Campbell settlement, which has made some progress, terminates the permanent habitations on the river. Then come the half-savage lumberers and wanderers like ourselves; and for fifty or sixty miles the river knows no other human guests. Our object now was to find some place where we could get a good supply of trout for our evening meal; then to camp, spread our tents, and be miserable at our ease; but this we could not do,—find a fishing place I mean—for in that pouring rain there was no difficulty about the misery. On the extreme verge of the settlement we pitched our oiled canvas tent, and spite of rain, wet ground, and such disagreeables, spent a night of sound sleep. I had, according to Colonel H—’s advice, provided myself with a pound or two of composite candles—an item in their preparations which I would advise no one to omit. In calm weather and beneath a tent they burn well, and are a great comfort. By their light I read and wrote and passed pleasant evenings, which otherwise might drag on rather slowly with only the uncertain flicker of the camp-fire to show you what you are about.
Joe watches me while I write with admiration and envy; he is learning to read—he has got a spelling book and goes to school. I asked him if there were any books printed in the Indian language; he said there are a few, but was greatly shocked when I asked him (not remembering that the Indians hereabouts are all Catholics) if they had any Bibles, and replied indignantly, “No! not Bibles,” as if he were repelling a charge of crime.
28th,—Next day, under pouring rain, we passed the junction of the Wapskebagan with the Tobique and the “Plaster Rocks,” old red sandstone cliffs, containing gypsum, which, from its great fertilizing properties, will probably give that spot considerable value in the event of a settlement being made on this part of the river. About here I first tried what I could do with the pole. The chief difficulty is simply to learn to stand in the little “tottling” canoe without capsizing it or tumbling out. It is as in skating, swimming, or riding; all the tyro has to do is to overcome his fears and nervousness, and as soon as he has done so the rest is easy. In a short time I began to acquire confidence, could throw my weight on the pole, and shove the canoe along at such a rate that Joe assured me I “did it almost quite right.”
The rain continued with such determination that I got sulky and told Joe I had not come all the way from England to get wet on the Tobique, whereat he laughed heartily. After dinner I undertook to “fix” the guns, which wanted cleaning, but, not having so much as a screw to our ramrods, still less proper cleaning rods, I soon contrived to “fix” the ramrod of the gun in the barrel in such a manner as to get it into “a regular fix;” but Joe having waxed it out, I set to work on the rifle, and in two minutes got that into such a mess with a lump of rag at the bottom that I was about to give up that gun for the rest of the expedition. Joe, however, having examined it, observed, “I guess I can get it out,” and then with a needle and a piece of thread and the ramrod of his gun, rigged up a machine with which I should as soon have thought of pulling up a stump, but with which his ingenuity soon extracted the rag.
After we had “fixed” our dinner and arranged our difficulties, we again strolled away into the uninhabited wilderness— uninhabited save by the “wild beasts” Joe is now keenly looking out for (being encouraged by a dream to expect to see a moose before night), or by lumberers scarcely less wild than they. These lumberers, many of them farmers or their sons, others men hired by dealers in lumber, go into the “wilderness” in the fall of the year, taking with them supplies for some months’ abode in that savage land; endure hardships and severe toil, flies in unendurable numbers, rains, cold winds, and then frost and snow-storms of Arctic severity. When the ice breaks up and fierce torrents rush down from the hills, they launch their logs—stream-driving them, as it is termed—in the water half the time, and risking their life when at some narrow spot the crowding logs get heaped up into a jam. When once in the wide river, they are joined into a raft, and the lumberers start on their voyage down the rapid stream; their six months of toil completed, their pockets filled with money (I speak of hired men, not farmers, whose pockets are generally pretty well emptied by the process), they give themselves up to the unrestrained enjoyment of their supreme luxury—an unlimited supply of the vilest whisky—till their money is gone; and they pass the summer as they can, till their season of toil returns. There seems to be a charm in this forest life, independent of the wages or the hope of large gains, which makes it difficult for those who have once entered on the pursuit to abandon it. Already the margin of the stream is strewn with spruce logs waiting for the first fresh; boats loaded with supplies are being towed up by horses; and now and then we pass a camp, and canoes, with two or three rough-looking men in red shirts, pass up and down the river.
Deep and wide and still and dark was the river, stretching away in long reaches like beautiful lakes—in many instances bringing before one the lovely scenes of Cumberland. Joe was now anxiously looking out for likely places to find the tracks of the moose where they came to drink; and with this view made the canoe glide gently into a quiet nook we saw among the alder groves—the entrance into a network of canals and water passages, through a thick forest of alders and low bushes. Into that death-like stillness we softly stole—not a sound was heard, save the lightest whisper in the water as Joe’s paddle just touched it—the overhanging trees slept silently in the twilight their leaf-laden boughs produced. So almost awe-inspiring was that unnatural quiet, that Joe and I instinctively abstained from speaking (as though we dared not break the silence); or if we spoke, it was scarce above a whisper. And as we entered the gates of that stilly labyrinth, a huge owl glided noiselessly by, like the presiding genius of silence, swiftly vanishing into the gloom beyond. With my rifle in my hand, and sight and hearing at their utmost stretch, we explored these secret ways till our progress was stopped by the shoaling of the water; and we returned without having seen anything save the old owl and a big lonely trout, who had probably chosen that quiet spot to meditate in—nor heard any sound save what we made ourselves.
Returning to the open river, we saw so many trout shooting about that we got out and began fishing. We offered them our apologies for flies manufactured with a couple of partridge feathers, tied to the hook with some coarse thread; and in two or three casts Joe had landed as many of the speckled beauties. My wooing was all in vain, and in my spleen I had a good mind to try no more; but Joe insisted, and laying down his rod, guessed he’d let me catch some now, taking his paddle and guiding the canoe over the capricious crowd below. Perhaps it was the advancing evening which made the fish more eager to feed, or, perhaps, that I had begun to place my fly in a more tempting manner; at any rate, a trout was soon plunging at the end of the line: the spell was broken, and now Joe resuming his rod, we fished away, pulling up sometimes each a fish at once, till I thought we had enough for several meals—as I am not sportsman enough to enjoy killing for killing’s sake.
Joe had selected for our camp that night a brow over the river, where the lumberers had cleared a small spot to place their logs in, preparatory to rolling them down to the river. It was like a chamber walled in on three sides by the matted forest, roofed over with the blackness of night; before us and beneath us ran the deep river and rose tall elms in the island it embraced with its clinging folds—but we saw them not from the edge of our little platform. It was like standing on the brink of the world—infinity might have been beneath us for all that we could see. At the foot of a huge dead old pine-tree, on the damp and oozy ground, we made our beds: the fire flashed on the grim trunks and branches and nodding boughs, which walled us in. and this was all that we could see. But here in good humour with the world, I sat and watched Joe frying the trout, which half an hour before had been dancing merrily in the current. That is the way to eat fish—to whisk them, as it were, out of the water into the pan.
For the sake of those who object to fishing as cruelty, I may state what seems to me proof of the insensibility of the trout’s mouth, as well as of its voracity and boldness. I had hooked one of these gentry, and just as I was lifting him from the water to the land he wriggled off the hook, and fell back just at my feet; and there I saw him plainly waiting for me to give him another chance, looking up as though he disputed the fairness of such doings; and on my dropping my fly over him, I wish I may never see another trout if he did not instantly “jump at the chance,” and succeed in hooking himself so securely, that he never saw the Tobique more. Now will any one tell me that fish suffered tortures from the hook? No! it would be too much for even Martin to believe.
Joe became rather chatty this evening, regretting his not having brought his spelling-book, and singing book giving me some account of his domestic affairs, telling me, amongst other things, that he is a Yankee coming from the Penobscot; he discoursed on hunting and fishing, moose, bears, and salmon, and appeared on the whole to relish the fun of the thing.
The next day began with a damp, clinging, wreathing fog; very dismal looks a forest in a fog; in fact, nature is then in a fit of the vapours, and the very trees look desponding, as though the damp “put their hair out of curl.” Joe’s dreaming had now put him on the qui vive for moose, which he was confident of finding ere night, though my own expectations of such luck were very slight. Wherever a shelving bank or muddy spot on the margin of the river occurred, there he shoved his canoe; but especially he looked out for the little lagoons where the moose came to drink and crop the water weeds and the herbage which here and there they find along the banks. We came on one of these, a narrow shallow piece of water, between a little, low, alder-clothed island and the river banks; at the lower end, in a deep dark pool we saw such numbers of trout that I could not help seizing my rod to try a cast, when, in a low, sharp whisper, I heard Joe exclaim, “There’s a moose!”
Down went the rod, and all eagerness I caught hold of my rifle; crouching down I gazed through the fallen timber which crossed the narrow channel, and at a distance of perhaps a hundred and fifty yards, I saw a dark reddish-brown animal in the water. The eagerness which went near to prevent my taking aim I managed to restrain for the few seconds, during which I drew an imaginary line from my eye along the barrel of my rifle to the glossy flank of my destined victim; the sharp crack roused the echoes, and in three minutes the unfortunate creature, who scarce stirred six paces from where he received the shot, lay dead in the water. Then came hurry and excitement, and jumping ashore, and looking for the flask, balls, and knife, none of which in our haste could we find; while Joe, whose impatience could no longer be restrained, disappeared in the matted alder grove between us and our prey. Having at last found our ammunition exactly where it ought to be, I reloaded my piece and followed him; diving and ducking beneath the branches, and scrambling and plunging through till I reached the spot.
The moose lay in the water where I had shot him; the bottom was so muddy that Joe could only reach him by cutting down branches to step on, then making a piece of rope fast round his neck, we contrived to drag him on to a few yards of clear turf, and there we cut his throat. He proved to be a young one, probably about two years old, a bull, and very fat, weighing perhaps about 200 lb., while a full-grown bull, standing about sixteen hands, might weigh 2,000 lb. This first moment of quiet showed me that we had got into the very head-quarters of the most venomous little demons of flies I ever was enraged by. My first cry was for a fire, to keep them off a little by the smoke, my first act to try and fill my pipe as a further defense; I was then obliged to walk incessantly about our narrow bit of turf, and began to wish I had never seen the moose, or at least had been lucky enough to miss him. Even Joe, who had before asserted that the flies never troubled him, could hardly endure their stings. Each of them raised on me a lump which lasted for days, and caused by their number a burning feverish heat. A mixture of tar and oil rubbed over the exposed skin is, I am told, a very good protection from these ministers of evil; but this I had not procured, being told that at this season there was no fear of them. The calm, warm, muggy weather must account for their numbers.
Well, we skinned the moose and cut him up, and scolded at the flies, and put the joints in the canoe, and drank some grog, and while I pushed back the canoe out of the shallow channel, I began to reflect on my position. Here I was with a moose to begin with, which it would be a sin to throw away, but which could only be saved by camping for a couple of days and smoking him, that is, if I resolved to prosecute my journey up the river. But the incessant rain or fog almost defeating my chief object of traversing the woods and exploring the country, damped my energies, and finally, as I could only half do my errand at present, I thought it better to wait for a more favourable time. So away with the pole, Joe, take your paddle, or if you like it better, drift down the strong stream, and eat your raw pork if you are hungry, for here among the flies will we not dine.
But now Joe began to take an inexplicable fancy into his head. While we were skinning the moose, there passed on the other side of the island, hidden from us, a canoe full of lumberers loudly singing and laughing; he even then looked up with some apparent uneasiness, and hoped they would not be uncivil to strangers, he guessed not. I asked him if they were likely to be, and thought no more of it. But when, while floating down, another canoe, with two men poling and one man paddling her along with great speed, appeared coming after us, then he became, or seemed to become, seriously alarmed, talked of a gentleman having been robbed and murdered on the river by such men as these; took his paddle, and working hard, soon left the imagined pursuers behind. All this put me in a state of uncertainty. I had never heard of a word of danger to be feared from lumberers, had indeed heard only of their hospitality. But then Joe knew them well, and I not at all. The lonely river was well suited to deeds of violence; no doubt the greatest ruffians of the country are occasionally to be found in the lumberers’ camp; and, after all, if these fellows should fancy we had grog with us, they might insist on our yielding it up to them. So, at any rate, I’ll keep our fire-arms in a state for service. Joe meanwhile can go two miles to their one; and, even if he be humbugging, as I suspect, he is at all events hastening our homeward progress.
When Joe perceived that he could run away with ease, he relaxed his exertions, and so we drifted away till night fell on us, and between the piles of blackness, shapeless and undefined, we slid away silent and serious till we reached our second night’s camp, where we resolved to pass this drenching one too. But Joe’s constant watchfulness and listening for noises produced the same restlessness of ear and eye in myself which I used to feel in the hush of Australia when camping out where the assaults of the wild “black fellows” might he expected; at last, after some false alarms, I went to sleep. Joe declared next morning he had scarcely slept through the night, nor held his hand off his gun. After breakfast and waiting an hour or two to see if the rain would stop, away we went down the river, stopping sometimes to fish, on one of which occasions I caught a trout of over two pounds weight, which excited Joe’s admiration and jealousy. To-day for dinner we first tried our moose, a steak of which I found to be perhaps even superior to the best beef-steak I ever tasted. Such indeed is the general opinion of this tender, sweet, and juicy meat.
I was more struck by the gloomy grandeur of the Narrows even than when I first saw them, a narrow chasm rent asunder in the rocks into which the broad noble river was suddenly crowded and crushed up, its placid smooth lake-like character changed to that of a dark mud torrent. The entrance is at a sharp turn, and on approaching it seems as though the water ended under the steep cliff, but on reaching it the narrow gate way is seen and the awful gulf opens before us; we look up, half expecting to see written over us “lasciate ogui speranza voi che entrate.” Even Joe was impressed by it, and remarked that “this was a curious sort of place.”
Joe invites me to lodge at the Indian village on leaving the Tobique, telling me he could put me in a clean and comfortable house, though he could not promise me a bed. I agreed at once, as I am fond of seeing “human nature in all its infinite varieties.” On landing, we were soon surrounded by a crowd of swarthy spectators, admiring the big trout held up to them by the exulting Joe, and the rifle which killed the moose, which I could see he was praising in no measured terms. The moose too occasioned some excitement; every one that heard of it came to see it, the rumour spread among whites and Indians, and I began to be pointed out as “the man who shot the moose.”
While writing all this I am sitting in a rude little hut resembling very much the usual shepherd’s hut in Australia; before me sits a squaw (Joe’s sister) busily plaiting up a basket, which she never raised her eyes from on my entrance; beside her stands a small child crying bitterly because I looked at him, and now and then an Indian comes in and looks over my shoulder while I write, a process which I always find especially excites a savage’s surprise. Not that these Indians can really he called savages; still they have some of their original nature left, unfortunately much mixed with civilized vices.
After dining on part of our big trout, Joe introduced me to a brother-in-law of his named Michelle, to whose house I was escorted in the evening by himself and a number of his friends and relations, who, after a short chat with each other, wished me politely a good night and left me to myself. And here I am recounting the events of the day in a rude little hut, &c.
Michelle’s hut is neatly built and painted, and consists of a room about fourteen feet square, with the usual stove in the middle, where the family live, and another smaller room which is given to me, neatly floored and the windows furnished with glazed sashes. The furniture consists of a chair and a table with a few trunks and boxes; I have spread my blankets in the corner on the boards. Round the walls are hung some of the gowns and shawls of the squaw (I was going to say lady) of the house, whom I hear conversing quietly with her husband in the next room, in their own soft sounding language, especially soft when spoken in the gentle tones of the squaws. Indeed it must be a language strangely deficient in melodious capabilities which sounds not sweet and soft from a woman’s lips when she speaks quietly.
The village consists of two rows of houses, about twenty in number; between them is the village green where, in fine weather, before their doors family parties are cooking their meals at bright fires. There is a chapel and burial ground in which the graves are simply marked with a cross, and there is also some little land fenced in, and in a measure cultivated; but the Indians have no great genius for agriculture. This village is perched on a high bank in the angle formed by the junction of the Tobique with the St. John, commanding a very pretty view down the river and of the high hills beyond. It has altogether surprised me, as I had no idea of the extent to which the Indians are actually civilized, being in many instances good tradesmen, with a correct (in fact a very keen) appreciation of the value of money, talking English well and fluently, and having hardly more, if so much, of the savage as the peasantry in some of the remoter parts of England, and still more Ireland, among the mountains of which may be found perhaps as complete savages as any in the world.
[Thus ends his adventure on the Tobique. He then returned to Fredericton, via Woodstock]
From the blog at http://johnwood1946.wordpress.com
The following paragraphs were written by William T. Baird, and are from his book Seventy Years of New Brunswick Life; Autobiographical Sketches, Saint John, N.B., 1890.
Baird’s remembrances of moving to Fredericton in 1825, and growing up there over the following fifteen years or so, are varied. There is everything from the sentimental to matters-of-fact to stories that would sound ghastly today. He touches on the great fire of 1825, his father’s teaching career, shipbuilding in Fredericton, military exercises and much more.
William T. Baird, from his book
Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 30s
[William’s father moved to Fredericton in 1825, to take charge of the ‘National School’. William was about six years old at the time.]
The incident of our journey down was the towboat being swept by the current of a high spring freshet under overhanging trees, which brushed from the cabin’s deck the steersman into the seething waters below. I remember, also, our stopping for a night at Colonel Ketchum’s, a little above Woodstock, where we were kindly treated.
Again in Fredericton, my father at once resumed his former work of teaching.
The buildings, occupied as a residence and school-room, were situated opposite Wilmot’s alley, just above the present stone barracks, and formed two sides of a square. We spent part of one year in this place and then removed our residence to a large two-story building, owned by a Mr. Wells, on King Street, near the jail, occupying the half of an upper flat.
Before all our effects were removed, however, there occurred the great fire of 1825, which in the month of October, destroyed the greater part of the town of Fredericton; also the forest and many dwellings on the Miramichi River, where several lives were lost.
The school being in session and the flames nearing the building, the school was dismissed. A large dictionary was given me to carry, and as I leached the street — now filled with smoke, burning cinders and retreating people — and crossed to the opposite side, I saw a horse coming down furiously; he was attached to a cart on which was some bedding in flames. I ran into an alley leading into the yard of the Yerxa House, the horse took the same course. Having run the length of the alley, in turning the corner the left wheel came in contact with the building, swinging the shafts and horse suddenly round over a cellarway, down the seeps of which I had retreated to the door, which was closed. Suspended above me was the horse, but I was soon relieved from the perilous position by the arrival of the men in charge.
The school was re-opened in the Market House, second flat, directly opposite to Taylor’s Alley on Queen Street. The other half of the flat, easterly, was the “Court Room,” in which the Bible Society and other public meetings were held.
Many residents of Fredericton, who have since become solid men and women, often refer to their early training in the “Old Market House.”
My father also taught a night school, where, to keep me out of mischief, I was frequently taken, and where I dozed away many a restless hour on the desks or benches. At the top of the stairway leading to the school-room, on the outside of the building, was a platform enclosed by balusters; where some of the latter were wanting, young children indulged in the dangerous amusement of passing through and along on the outside. My brother, John D., was the victim. One of the balusters giving way, he fell to the ground, breaking his leg, but from which he soon perfectly recovered.
Just above the Market House, and almost darkening the windows, were several large ships in course of building by merchants in Fredericton.
The site of the brick dwelling and garden owned by the late Judge Saunders was at that time a shipyard, and the sons of the builders or contractors — Dows & Hoopers — schoolmates.
My father, having purchased a comfortable one story house on King street, above the range of the fire and just below the residence of Dr. Somerville, we removed thereto, where, on a first flat, with garden attached, we enjoyed many comforts hitherto unknown. I now, when in Fredericton, pause to look upon this unpretentious building, with which are connected so many associations of the long ago.
After a few years’ residence! on King Street, my father rented from the Church Corporation of Fredericton an acre of land extending from Brunswick to George St., then the rearmost street in the town, on which latter he proceeded to erect a commodious two-story building, with barn, etc. These buildings are yet standing, in fair condition, a little above and opposite to St. Ann’s Church.
A National School building having been erected on King Street, a little above the Parliament buildings, with ample accommodation, and separate apartments for an African school, the school was removed thereto from the Market House. In this building a room had also been prepared for the books of the Fredericton library, of which my father was the librarian. I was frequently asked by lady and gentlemen subscribers to add to the catalogues, in a good round hand, the titles of new books received. I remember a kindly old gentleman, Judge Bliss, giving me for this service a silver half dollar.
Our removal to Fredericton was one of the great events of my life. Almost uninterrupted attendance at school, with free access to an excellent library, presented rare opportunities for study or recreation, and to these early advantages I owe the development of the powers which God had given me, the position and much of the happiness I have enjoyed in the world.
After being settled in our new home on George Street, there was a systematic arrangement of time for employment or recreation. Assisted by my father, the short afternoons from four o’clock were fully occupied during the winter in keeping the house supplied with fuel, frequently hard wood logs, or birch timber, cut with a cross-cut saw. Surrounding the table after supper, lessons invariably took precedence; after which, sketching with water colors—many of which we were taught to make,— or reading, often aloud, occupied the time till nine o’clock, when we retired. At early dawn, books were drawn from under the pillow, and in winter, with hands rolled up in the blankets, held before the eyes, to refresh the studies of the previous evening.
A cow, pig and poultry also occupied the time, so that little was left for outside amusement.
The enjoyment of a half hour’s skate was intense. The river Nashwaaksis and “Government Pond,” so called, afforded fine fields of ice, and good skaters were not wanting as models in this graceful and healthful exercise. Of these I would name Hon. J.A. Beckwith, Captain Hansard, Stephen Miller and Beverly Robinson.
On one occasion, a smaller boy and I were skating on the river; we had found a space of smooth, black ice unmarked. Presently, the first of the above-mentioned gentlemen entered, and seizing the smaller boy, held him out at arms’ length, and made some almost perfect curves on the outside backward and forward. Seeming to read my mind, as I looked on wonderingly, he said to me, “Sonny, can you do that?” I said, “No, sir.” Then said he, “You must try; there’s an upper part to everything.”
The words were truly fitly spoken, and have been to me “as apples of gold in pictures of silver.” The poise of mind and body I have found many times necessary to the accomplishment of what I considered great and good. If the highest and best objects of our pursuit are not always attained, we should at least be found struggling in the path of duty. The Hon. J.A.B. set a good example in many ways to the youth of Fredericton as a lover of athletic sports.
I have had many faithful dogs in my life, to which I became warmly attached. When about twelve years old, I had a large black and tan Newfoundlander, which was well harnessed and trained to draw me, anywhere guided, on a sled. He was a powerful animal and would draw very heavy loads, and often hauled my brother and I to school, returning with as many boys as could pile on the sled. I enjoyed many merry and exciting rides after the brave and faithful “Danger.”
Some half a mile back from our house, on the race-course and near the edge of the woods, carcasses of dead animals from the town were deposited. Dogs of all sorts and sizes would gather about these, and many a frosty morning, sitting on my sled, have I guided “Danger” for a chase. He understood the thing better than I; his tactics were good. As we approached near — the dogs being intently engaged — in a crouching and stealthy manner and taking advantage of cover, he drew slowly on, nearer and nearer, until with a dash and a yelp he struck terror into the hearts of the feasting canines. As they broke for the town the largest dog was selected; previous experience gave fleetness to their motions, and for a half mile or more the pace was terrific. As a rule the dogs were more scared than hurt, but the chase sometimes ended in disaster to sled and harness.
Early morning trips were also made to the woods on the crust, for pea sticks to be used in the garden in summer, selected from the tops of birch trees recently cut.
In the summer time an acre of ground, under cultivation as field or garden, occupied our time morning and evening. Duty being always the first consideration, then amusement.
For an hour’s fishing in the morning, I have left home at early dawn, walked two miles to the second creek below Fredericton, caught a good basketful of smelt, and returned in time for school.
On wet days during the summer large flocks of English plover could be heard whistling as they circled around the open space or ran over the green sward of the race-course, directly in front of our residence. Thus tempted, I took my father’s gun, which was loaded, and made my debut by bagging a few of these fine birds. From this time forth shooting and field sports became a passion, and in after years many mornings in summer have I disturbed the nighthawks on the streets of Fredericton on my way to the hills.
For my mother’s amusement, when engaged with her needle, I read to her Washington Irving, Marryatt’s writings, Doctor Syntax, etc.
I became deeply interested in the Memoirs of John Shipp, which aroused an inspiriting and military ardour, an effect produced also in others with whom I have conversed.
The provincial law at that time required but three days’ military training in each year. Previous to the muster, the officers of companies met just opposite our residence for drill.
Being tall for my age, I was frequently selected to fill a blank in the rear rank — the initiatory step in the service of my country.
The veteran commander of the militia was Lieutenant Colonel Minchin, who had served in the royal artillery.
The knowledge obtained in battalion drill was very superficial, the volunteer companies only being supplied with arms.
The Royal African Corps, about 50 strong, was the centre of attraction, as it possessed a band. Captain M, of Douglas, with a nondescript uniform, was the commander. George Lawrence, late big drummer in the 104th Regiment (colored), was the drill instructor, and the half forgotten words of command, Africanized, afforded much amusement on parade.
Fronting on George Street was a large open space, which extended from our residence downward to the Scotch Kirk. Its circuit was nearly a mile, near the centre of which the exhibition building of later days was erected. The open space above referred to was the race-course of those early days, where many races were hotly contested. The most notable horses were the “Rattler,” the “Mark’s Horse” (beating the “Cannon Ball” in a three mile race), “Silk Stockings,” “Gipsy” and others.
It was also the scene of many brilliant “field days” and inspections of the “regulars” stationed in Fredericton. In the march home, plucky young urchins dared to grab from the aprons of the grim, bear skinned pioneers a handful of cartridges gathered upon the field. Here, too, was the annual training and the preparatory drill of troop or company.
With all the improvements and modern appliances in the militia force of the present day, the conduct of our volunteers in field movements is no advance upon the practical and heroic of former times.
It was no uncommon thing to see a troop of cavalry in uniform galloping over the parade ground, and by cut and parry, eliciting applause; or sweeping down upon a battalion in square, through fire and smoke, re-form, with blood flowing from their horses from bayonet pricks received in the charge. On one occasion I saw more than one horse on its haunches, and another fall completely over backward upon its rider. Again, a charge was made upon a square, into which the artillerymen ran at the last moment. A trooper, dismounting, seized a drag rope and remounted, upon which a non-commissioned officer (Brannen) rushed out, administering from his rifle, at close quarters to the horse’s tail, a depilatory powder, to the great astonishment of its rider and the amusement of the crowd.
At the rear of the race-course was an elevated earthwork called the “battery,” into which many bullets from the old flint rifles entered in friendly contest. The crack shots of those days were L.A. Wilmot, George White, John Davis and others.
The presence of regular troops in the garrison at Fredericton, their personal neatness and precision in movement had much to do in framing the tastes and habits of our young men; but the miasma of immorality, floating from a thousand idle men and poisoning the atmosphere, makes questionable any advantages derived from their presence.
From the blog at http://johnwood1946.wordpress.com
The following is from the book Adventures in Canada, Being Two Months on the Tobique, New Brunswick (An Emigrant’s Journal). An unidentified man travelled from England to New Brunswick in 1851 in search of a new home. He subsequently died and another person, known only as M.C.S., compiled the traveler’s letters and journal into the book which was published in London, in 1866.
In this segment, the traveler is on his way from Boston to Saint John. We join him at Eastport, Maine and follow him to Fredericton.
This description of Saint John and Fredericton is not as detailed as some others of the same era. It is also dismissive in some places, referring to Fredericton as a scattered village, for example. A different voice and a different perspective can be helpful, however.
The Forest Queen carried Edward, Prince of Wales, to Fredericton in 1860.
This was about the same era as the traveler’s arrival. From the website of the York-Sunbury Museum
Travels from Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton – 1851
And now we are off again for St. John’s in the Creole, swiftly paddling through intricate channels, between rocky and beautiful islands—it is like sailing over a lake, so smooth is the water, while land surrounds us on all sides. While walking in East Port I saw a female with a bearing and majesty of figure sufficiently imposing for a Spanish donna, or a bandit’s bride at least. Her hair fell in rich masses, black and glossy, down her neck and shoulders, from under a low-crowned and most becoming lady’s black hat—her costume was highly picturesque, but I can only describe it by suggesting that she had put on two gowns, and had then cut the upper one full two feet shorter than the under,—altogether a more striking figure I never saw: she was an Indian squaw, and very ugly. [Rather a mixed impression, I would say - J.W.] These Indians are quite civilized, clean and neat in their dress, the men clothing themselves like whites, the squaws in a variety of picturesque costumes, such as I have described.
I was much impressed by the great improvement in the personal appearance of our female passengers, after we had left some Yankees, and received a number of Maine and New Brunswick people. In Boston I was as much struck by the utter absence of personal attraction in all the females I saw, as I was now with its frequency and eminence of degree. Here were the fine figure, fresh complexion, and winning expression which distinguishes the Anglo-Saxon race, and which is entirely absent among the haggard, care-worn, pallid, ugly faces of Massachusetts. [Insufferable! – J.W.]
The ancient pine forests stretch down to the water’s edge, clothe the hills with an impenetrable scrub through which in every direction fierce bush fires are spreading, filling the air, as in Australia, with a thick smoky haze which renders the most distant country very indistinct.
I have just encountered and fled from a charming flirtation with a charming lady whoso appearance had convinced me before that she at least was a lady in the true sense of the word, and not as many of the occupants of the cabin doubtless were—Irish servant-girls dressed in the finery which is so loved in America. I had so admired her looks that I was very glad to see her walk past with a stool in her hand, when of course I sprang forward, begging permission to carry it for her. The calm self-possession with which she received this act of “devilish politeness” showing that such attentions were a matter of course with her, confirmed my opinion of her position in society, while the saucy-jolly tone with which she said, “I’ll trouble you to carry it a little further, though,” when, like a muff, I was putting it down in an evidently unsuitable place, was decidedly irresistible—and when she answered with her sweet ringing voice to the objection I made to the place she chose, that it was in the sun, “Oh, but I like that,” I could have fallen at her feet, and offered to devote my existence to her. However, instead of doing so, I put down the stool and walked away, fearful of nothing but that she should think me a forward fellow who had shown her civility with the sole purpose of obtruding myself upon her—whereas I had really only done so out of a sheer spirit of politeness. So I lost an opportunity I might have used to make the acquaintance of a charming lady.
Well, as the sun declined, we approached St. John, and the nearer we came, the more beautiful, the grander became the coast scenery, till it reached the climax at the harbours. High forest-clothed hills, and a lake-like scenery—such is its kind. I admired it far more than I expected. An old shrewd Aroostook farmer, to whom I observed that it was very pretty country, said it would he much more so, if it was “more leveller.” Well, here I am in St. John’s, a fine-ish town, but I think not so far advanced in excellence of building as Melbourne, which, however, it strikingly resembles in some of its features. When I beheld the British flag waving over me once more, I experienced a feeling quite new to me, an “amor patriæ” I dreamed not of possessing,—an exultation and a swelling of heart I had hitherto believed all affectation when others talked of it. I thought it so no more when I felt the thrill of delight that crimson banner gave me.
If I was struck by the beauty of the Maine females in one steamer, I was astounded in St. John’s; in fact, it is notorious for the beauty of its women. There is an exhibition of industry here, a little Crystal Palace, got up in imitation of that in London, which I visited yesterday, and which has drawn great crowds into St. John. There was nothing very remarkable in it; there were some pictures, however, by a native artist, a young man of 20, which were very good indeed, and showed, I have no doubt, great talent and high promise of future excellence. There was besides an exquisite coloured drawing by an English lady, Elizabeth Murray. There was a large procession of various orders, but chiefly of the firemen, a fine body of about 800 volunteers of all classes, divided into several corps. Besides this, a fountain was set going, and Sir E. Head delivered an address, which I could not hear.
Mr. — I find a very useful friend. He knows everybody, and has gained me many acquaintances—indeed, there is no difficulty in forming as many acquaintances as you please in St. John’s, so free are the New Brunswickers from the cold reserve which strangers attribute to the English. Mr. — introduces me constantly to different people—some, men of property in the interior; others, lending men in St. John’s; informing them of my desire to obtain information about the colony, and never neglecting to inform them of the fact of my having been some years in America, which I observe always makes me an object of greater interest. Forthwith they shake hands with me—express the utmost willingness to forward my views, as far as they can, and launch into conversation with the fluent rapidity so remarkable amongst them—especially the Blue Noses. I am about to visit a barrister and a wealthy man of note here, a Mr. —; also a Mr. —, who knows more of the province than any man in it, a naturalist, chief of the Indians, angler, and an official in St. John’s. I must acknowledge that I am highly pleased with the good nature and the cordial welcome I receive on all hands, which, as an utter stranger, I could never have dreamed of meeting with. The fact of my possessing letters to Sir E. Head goes a good way, I suspect, in establishing my position, or in removing suspicion of my respectability, while Mr. —’s friendly offices have been of great service to me. I have already had invitations to the houses of people in the interior, which will be of much advantage.
Last night I had a long talk with a Blue Nose (or native) on the steps of the hotel, whom I had never seen before, but who entered into conversation with all the readiness of his race. He is an exception to the general rule in rating Johnstone’s work much higher than others. He acknowledges the general opinion to be entirely against it, but believes that future experience will show his representations of the country to be far nearer the truth than is generally believed.
I have just received a letter from —, promising another, and reiterating his request that I should closely inspect the Tobique; remarking that it’s success would probably have a most serious influence on my own prospects in the country. I am now preparing for a systematic investigation of the best parts of the province, starting to-morrow, and commencing with the iron ore at Petersville. I must finish now as my time is limited. Give my truest love to all, not forgetting Nora; and remember me most kindly to the —’s and —’s. I may have another chance of writing to you from Fredericton, but cannot promise. Dearest —, good-bye. I am always your most truly loving brother,—.
September 11th—For the last two or three hours we have been swiftly steaming up the glorious St. John River to Fredericton—glorious indeed, if a mighty stream flowing between noble rugged hills clothed with deep forests of nature’s planting, can be so. As we ascend the river, the landscape loses much of its rude magnificence, but assumes a richer character. Long low islands, covered with stacks of hay, or still shaded by the graceful elm and butter-nut trees, divide the stream; and the rich flats, colonially called “intervales,” are spread from the margin of the broad current to the still forest-clad hills, which now recede further into the wilderness; numerous farms are scattered among fertile fields; cattle browse along the grassy banks: the energies of man have turned the gloomy forest to a smiling habitation. But my sympathies are still more strongly enlisted with the forest: with what impatience did I not long to plunge into the vast woods that I saw around me. I can admire the rich and fertile tracts; I take interest in agriculture; and can appreciate the great charm of a farmer’s life; but the truth is I have spent so many years amongst wild lands, boundless plains, or nocturnal forests, that my inclination leads me to the wilderness, rather than to the abode of man—a yearning which none of the delights of civilization can ever, I believe, entirely subdue.
At 8 P.M. the steamer lay alongside the “makeshift” wharf at Fredericton; out poured the crowd of passengers, dispersing themselves through the scattered village. I betook myself to a very fair hotel by the water-side with a fellow traveler. The scenery immediately about Fredericton is tame; there is a considerable extent of cleared land between the river and the old forest; but there is here none of either the boldness or the richness of the lower parts of the river. A strong N.W., cool and refreshing, has dispersed the thick smoke fog, which had obscured the air since I landed at St. John, tempering the warm sun, and producing a day of weather which could hardly be surpassed. Clouds of dust drive through the streets, however, which make walking highly unpleasant.
14th, Sunday—The piercing nor’-wester, which has been chilling us all day, is a kind of gentle hint of what the winter is preparing for us; still it is fine bracing weather, a clear and deep blue sky with glorious sun. I attend service at the church which at present supplies the place of a cathedral. Dr. Field, Bishop of Newfoundland, preached a sermon which left his hearers in no doubt of his theological bias—which is very high church. I accompanied Colonel — to his house and was introduced to his daughters, natives of Canada with all the brilliancy of complexion which so distinguishes North America ….Yesterday I presented myself at Government House. I dined there in the evening and dined there with the Bishop of N.F.L. and N.S., Colonel Haynes, Colonel Lockyer &c. A very pleasant evening I spent there.
[The diary then continues at the Tobique.]
From the blog at http://johnwood1946.wordpress.com
This is the second of two excerpts from the History of the General Public Hospital in the City of Saint John, New Brunswick, by William Bayard, published in 1896.
Last week’s blog dealt with the history of the hospital from 1865 to 1894, while this week’s blog details law-suits and controversies surrounding the hospital during the same period.
This is an unusual record. At first it seems to be an imperious resistance against any investigation of or meddling in hospital management. It then seemed to me to become a sad defence of Bayard’s honour in the face of controversy. I was considering editing it to delete some of this section when it changed again, and became a commentary on the role of general public hospitals. Bayard believed that the job of the hospital was to serve the ‘mechanic and the labourer’ who could not afford to pay for medical attention. Those who wanted the services of the hospital even though they were able to pay for private services were malingerers.
The Saint John General Public Hospital, c 1912
New Brunswick Museum
Following are Bayard’s comments:
The Saint John General Public Hospital, Part 2 of 2
The history of an institution is worthless if not full and true in every particular. I now approach the unpleasant part of my subject, and have to record the first scandal against the hospital since its establishment.
On the 27th February, 1889, a man with a diseased eye was sent in, after the visiting hour of the oculist, by a member of the staff, who had been in attendance upon him for eight or ten days, assisted by an oculist. The disease was ulceration of the cornea, with pus in the anterior chamber (hypopyon). The day after admission the ulcer penetrated the abscess, and the matter was discharged. The next day he left the Hospital, having been there about fifty hours, when he again went under the treatment of those who placed him there, and ultimately lost his eye. About a year after this he prosecuted the Commissioners, claiming that he lost his eye in consequence of neglect.
When the case came into court, the chief witnesses against the Commissioners were their paid employé, Dr. Daniel, and a disappointed aspirant to the situation of oculist, Dr. Crawford. The trial resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff—damages, $500; costs, $500. While it is the duty of the oculist to visit his patients every other day, or oftener if necessary, he did not see this man as he should have done. The house surgeon was away on leave, and a friend acting in his place, which may have accounted for, though not excused, the neglect. But had Dr. Daniel displayed the same zeal for his patient that he did at the trial, or the ordinary zeal that a medical man attached to a hospital should display towards it, he would have seen the oculist, and secured his attendance upon his patient. Had ho done so, his patient certainly would have received the benefit of the treatment he urged at the trial. He would have prevented the slander upon an institution of which he was a paid member, and he would have saved the pocket of the tax-payer to the extent of $1,000. And it may he asked why he, or the oculist with him, did not perform the simple operation of opening; the abscess before they sent the man to the Hospital?
The Commissioners claim that the disease in the man’s eye was so far advanced when he came to the Hospital that an operation would have been of no avail; that to afford a prospect of success it should have been done days before. They claim that it is unprecedented to hold the governing body of a hospital liable for the malpractice or laehes of a member of the medical staff. They can find no such case on record.
They claim that the result of this trial has done irreparable injury to the institution, inasmuch as it has paved the way to litigation and prosecution, which no amount of vigilance and care on their part can prevent. They employ the best men they can obtain, and make rigid rules and regulations governing their conduct, but cannot always be at hand to see them enforced. Indeed it has already yielded fruit, for an action is now pending in the Supreme Court against the Commissioners at the instance of a woman who claims that she was discharged before she was well. A pauper comes to our door; we admit him, feed and care fur him, and when recovered we tell him to go. He likes his quarters, and says no. We discharge him, and as a return for what we have done he prosecutes us. This is small encouragement for the philanthropist. But it will continue ad infinitum unless such claimants are compelled by legislative enactment to furnish security for the costs. They have nothing to lose, and consequently embark into a speculative action. It will be claimed that the interest of the poor man should be guarded. True; so should that of the giver.
We have to record scandal No. 2. In July, 1893 a statement appeared in one of the newspapers, that Commissioner Clark had taken samples of various kinds, and medicines from the Hospital. The statement was of such a character as to demand immediate investigation, which was made before a full Board.
The acknowledgments of Mr. Clark, coupled with the evidence, made it apparent that he had taken samples. While the amount taken was trivial, and not in the nature of stealing, still the members of the Board reluctantly came to the unanimous conclusion, that his usefulness as a commissioner was destroyed, inasmuch as he could not prevent the employees of the Institution from doing the same thing, having been guilty himself. Consequently a resolution was passed, urgently requesting him to resign. He declined to do so, leaving no alternative but to place the resolution and evidence into the hands of the Municipal Council, as the appointing body. This was done, and the following is the answer received:
Saint John, October 5th, 1893.
Dear Sir,—With reference to your letter to the Warden, of date 29th August last, enclosing evidence taken before the Commissioners of the General Public Hospital, in an investigation held by them, and their resolution thereon, requesting Mr. G.H. Clark, a commissioner of the Hospital, to resign. I beg to inform you that the same was laid before the October meeting of the Council of the Municipality, when a resolution was passed to refer the matter to a committee of the Council, “to investigate the same, and all matters connected with the Hospital and its management, and report to the Council.”
The committee consists of the Mayor, and Councilors Law, J.A. Chesley, O’Brien, Baxter, McLeod and Irvine.
I am, dear sir, your obedient servant,
W. Bayard, M.D., H.W. Frith, Secretary.
President Hospital Board of Commissioners
The resolution in an extraordinary one to say the least of it. A Board, after an impartial investigation, finds one of its members guilty of committing a wrong, he its requested to resign, he declines, the resolution and evidence forwarded to the parties appointing him; the answer the Board receives, is the appointment of a committee with a roving commission, “to investigate all matters connected with the Hospital and its management.” No charge was made against the Board, none could be formulated. Had the Council declared that we had dealt harshly with Mr. Clark, or that the evidence did not justify the resolution, we must have bowed to that decision. Or had they decided the Clark matter, and then demanded the investigation, we should have had no cause of complaint, for we have always courted the fullest publicity for our acts. But when they based the resolution upon the Clark matter, they did not treat the Commissioners with the confidence that men in their position deserved. The members of the committee claimed that a want of confidence was not intended—that may be so—but acts speak stronger than words, and no other construction can be put upon the act. And it may be asked, does not this act of the Council create an inducement for a Board to condone or cover the act of an erring member, rather than subject themselves to the treatment we have received?
Several meetings of the investigating committee were held at the Hospital. Every possible facility was afforded. Nothing could be found for the hidden hand to disapprove of, except that some of the Commissioners had suspected Mr. Clark, and did not place their suspicions before the Board. It did not enter their minds that it is an invidious act to make a charge against a brother member, the ground should be sure before it is made; and recent experience would not encourage a man in that procedure, even with the best proof at hand.
We cannot help feeling that the hidden hand placed the investigating committee in an unenviable position when it induced that body to call for the opinions of the medical men in the city regarding the management of the Hospital, none of whom were present at the investigation. It was apparent that the large majority did not approve of the call, for but three out of the forty appeared at the meeting. The three ventilated their opinions; two did not display their usual judgment. The vaporings of the other can be accounted for from the fact that he had been on the staff, and was left off for cause. That but three out of the forty could be found to speak disparagingly of the institution is largely in its favor.
At this stage of the proceeding, Dr. Bayard placed his resignation as Commissioner in the hands of Warden McLauchlan. That gentleman wrote him a kind letter requesting its withdrawal. Below is the Doctor’s answer, declining to do so:
St. John, January 1, 1894
Dear Mr. McLauchlan—Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to grant a request coming from you, particularly when it is couched in such kind and flattering terms as those conveyed in your note.
When I placed my resignation as Hospital Commissioner in your hands, I felt it prudent to do so without note or comment. Your kind request makes it incumbent upon me to give you my reasons for so doing.
When the resolution passed the County Council appointing a committee with a roving commission “to inquire into all matters regarding the management of the Hospital,” I determined to resign my position, but delayed doing so in order that I might assist my fellow commissioners in affording every possible facility for investigation to the committee. That investigation, I believe, has been concluded, and I am now in a position to carry out my original intention.
I came to this conclusion because I considered the act of the County Council a declaration of “want of confidence in the Board over which I have the honor to preside.” It has been claimed that it was not so intended by the Council. It may not have been intended, but the fact remains: the investigation was ordered; such an order necessarily carries suspicion with it. What was the suspicion? No charge was made; none could be formulated by the committee. Then it may be asked, was it right or just that a body of gentlemen, performing a gratuitous work for the benefit of suffering humanity, should, without any apparent reason, be subject to hostile criticism by the press—one writer going so far as to class them as freebooters and thieves—or that they should be compelled to defend their acts against irresponsible and disappointed medical men?
It is hard to trace the hidden hand moving in this matter. I am unwilling to believe that the action of the Hospital Board in the Clark matter is the cause. Yet, when looking for one, I cannot find another. If such. is the case, a dangerous principle has been established, inasmuch as it holds out an inducement for a Board to condone or cover the act of an erring member. Had the Council passed a resolution that we had dealt harshly with Mr. Clark, or that the evidence did not justify our conclusion, we should have bowed to that decision. The acts of Mr. Clark were right, or they were wrong. After due consideration we came to the painful conclusion that they were wrong, and we feel that our decision has received scant consideration at the hands of the Council. I have personally requested my brother Commissioners not to follow my example, for by so doing I believe the institution will be seriously injured. I do not say that honest men could not be obtained to fill their places; but I do say that none could be obtained who know the various duties so well, or who have the welfare of the institution more at heart.
It may be claimed that if the committee report favorably of the Commissioners, no harm is done. Not so; we have been in the pillory, and must necessarily come out soiled; not in the eyes of those who know us, but in the eyes of those abroad who do not know us.
I wish it to be understood that I have no fault to find with the investigating committee, the members of which treated us with the utmost courtesy.
I have seen the Hospital rise from nothing to its present state of usefulness. I have taken more than common interest in it. I leave it with regret, not in auger. I leave it as a matter of self respect. And, sir, after the perusal of my reasons, I believe you will agree with me that I have just cause for so doing.
I have the honor to remain, Yours very sincerely,
C. McLauchlan, Esq.,
Warden County Council.
The following is the report of the Committee:
To the Warden and Council of the Municipality of the City and County of St, John
The special committee of Council, appointed in October last under the following resolution, viz.:
That the communication and evidence sent up to this Council, by the Commissioners of the General Public Hospital, respecting certain charges made against Commissioner George H. Clark, “be referred to a committee of seven for investigation, together with all matters connected with the Hospital and its management,” such committee to report thereon, beg now to report as follows:
The committee have held several meetings, at three of which the President and other members of the Hospital Board of Commissioners were present, and at two of which Mr. Clark was present. They have heard all the evidence produced before them, and the statements of Mr. Clark himself; several of the Commissioners, including the President, have been heard, and at the last meeting of the committee opportunity was given for the attendance of medical men not on the staff of the Hospital or connected therewith, when they were favored with the views of several physicians as to the general Management of the Hospital, and the committee having also had full consideration of all matters referred to them, arrived at the following conclusions:
First. They agree with the resolution of the Commissioners that while Mr. Clark, in the matters charged against him, acted with no idea or intention of wrong-doing, his usefulness as a commissioner is destroyed. The committee regret that Mr. Clark did not, as requested by the Board of Commissioners, tender his resignation, but he has not seen fit to do so, the committee feel compelled to recommend that the Council remove him from office.
Second, It appeared in evidence during the investigation of the committee, that certain of the commissioners had for several years been acquainted with some of the acts now charged against Mr. Clark, and the committee cannot but regret that these acts were not at the time brought before the Commissioners of the Hospital for action.
[Third. This section has not been adopted, having been ordered to lie on the table.]
Fourth. In view of the large number of non-paying patients treated in the Hospital who come from all parts of the Province outside of this city and county, the committee are strongly of opinion that the annual grunt from the Government should be increased, and they recommend that the Council should join with the Commissioners in a renewed application to the Government to increase the same.
Fifth. The committee submit herewith a record of their proceedings, and of the evidence taken before them, as published in the columns of The Sun.
Sixth. In conclusion the committee beg to say that, during this investigation, and the visits of the committee to the Hospital in connection therewith, they have had the hearty co-operation of the President and all the Commissioners; have been readily and frankly afforded full information upon all matters of inquiry, and given every opportunity to examine for themselves the Hospital buildings, the officials employed, and the patients under treatment.
The committee recommend that a copy of this report be forwarded to the Commissioners.
Signed by Thomas W. Peters, J. McLeod, A.L. Law, John Irvine, John A. Chesley, John B. M. Baxter, K. O’Brien.
H.W. Frith, Secretary.
St. John, January 16, 1894.
On the 16th of January, 1894, G.R. Vincent, Esq., offered the following resolution regarding Dr. Bayard’s resignation:
Whereas, Wm. Bayard, Esq., M.D., was in July, 1860, appointed a Commissioner of the General Public Hospital, and was immediately thereafter elected chairman of the commission of the said Hospital, the onerous duties of which he has faithfully and honestly discharged, to the entire satisfaction of this Council, and the public at large;
And whereas. This Council recognizes and fully appreciates the successful efforts of Dr. Bayard on behalf of the institution, and his deep devotion to its interests, for which he has labored for more than a third of a century, and which, under his management, has been gradually enlarged and fully equipped, until it has attained its present magnificent proportions and usefulness, standing as it does today, a monument to the indomitable energy of Dr. Bayard, and a credit to the City and County of St. John;
And whereas, During all these years of faithful and successful management, and the accomplishment of so much under most trying circumstances, this Council has learned to look upon Dr. Bayard as the father of the institution;
And whereas. This Council desires to express regret, that any misunderstanding resulted from the passage of a resolution, at the last meeting of the Board, relating to Hospital matters, and to assure Dr. Bayard that no reflection was intended to be cast on him; but on the contrary, the Council always had and still has, the utmost confidence in his honesty, integrity and ability, to discharge the duties of commissioner and chairman, which he has so long discharged at great personal sacrifice, and without fee or reward.
Therefore resolved, That this Council do not now accept Dr. Bayard’s resignation as such Commissioner, but earnestly request him to withdraw the same, and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded by the secretary to him under the corporate seal.
This resolution did not please the hidden hand, consequently Dr. Bayard received the following:
At a meeting of the Council of the Municipality of the City and County of Saint John, held at the Court House, in the City of Saint John, on Tuesday, 16th January, A.D. 1894—
Read a letter from Dr. William Bayard to the Warden, requesting him to place Dr. Bayard’s resignation as member of the Board of Hospital Commissioners before the County Council;
“Whereupon resolved, That this Council do not now accept Dr. Bayard’s resignation as such Commissioner, but earnestly request him to withdraw the same, and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to him by the secretary under the corporate seal.”
True extract from the minutes. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set the seal of the said Municipality this 17th day of January, A. D. 1894.
[Seal] (Signed) H. W. Frith, Secretary.
This resolution is in keeping with many that have preceded it from the municipal authorities of the day since the commencement of Dr. Bayard’s efforts to establish a hospital in this city. The members of the Hospital Board have occasionally found themselves compelled to differ from the civic authorities upon points connected with the management of the institution. This was done under the firm conviction that they were acting for the best interest of all concerned, not with the wish or intention of ignoring public opinion. Dr. Bayard asks neither praise nor thanks for anything he has done; but when kind words are offered, and refused, it displays the existing feeling towards him by the majority of the Council. To Mr. Vincent, and those who supported him in the kind expressions offered, he owes a debt of gratitude; to those who refused them, he leaves to the enjoyment of their triumph.
As appears by the following letter to Warden McLauchlan from Dr. Bayard, that he has withdrawn his resignation, thereby subjecting himself to be made use of a little longer. But it is evident from its wording, that the withdrawal was in consequence of the expressed wish—by resolutions—of his brother commissioners and the members of the medical staff:
Charles McLauchlan, Esq.,
Warden of the County Council.
Dear Sir—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a resolution passed by the County Council declining to accept my resignation as a member of the Hospital Board of Commissioners, and “urgently requesting me to withdraw the same.”
In answer, I have to say that unanimous resolutions having been passed by the Board of Commissioners and the members of the medical staff of the institution, strongly urging me to retain my position at the Board, induce me to obey the expressed wish of the Municipal Council, I consequently withdraw the same.
I have the honor to be Yours truly,
St. John, March 26, 1894.
It appears that there is no rest for the Hospital Commissioners, for, on the 25th of May, 1894, the following communication was received from the County Secretary:
The following is a true copy of Section 3 of the Report of the Special Committee of the Council of the Municipality appointed in October last under the following resolution:
“That the communication and evidence sent up to this Council, by the Commissioners of the General Public Hospital, respecting certain charges made against Commissioner George H. Clark, be referred to a committee of seven for investigation, together with all matters connected with the Hospital and its management, such committee to report thereon.”
Section 3. While as the result of inquiry into the general management of the Hospital, the committee are satisfied that the affairs of the Hospital are carefully conducted, and that a vast deal of unremunerated time and labor are bestowed upon them by the President and all the Commissioners, the committee would recommend the following changes as improvements on the present system, that is to say:
That paying patients shall be allowed to have the attendance in the Hospital of their own physicians; and
That the purchasing of supplies, the duty of which is now thrown on a single commissioner during the month which he takes in rotation with his fellow commissioners, should be made the business of some responsible official paid by the institution.
The report containing the above section was submitted to the Council at a meeting held on the 16th day of January last past, and the whole of said report was adopted except the third section, which was by resolution laid on the table.
That at a meeting of the said Council, held on the 8th day of May instant, the said section was taken off the table and considered, and the following resolution passed:
Resolved, That so much of the report as relates to the attendance of physicians on their private patients be adopted, and that the Commissioners be recommended to entrust the purchased supplies to an official, if it can be done without increasing the expenses of the institution.
G.R. Vincent, [Seal] County Secretary.
St. John, N. B., May 25th, A.D. 1894.
Governed by the by-laws of the Hospital, a large majority of the articles required for the institution are obtained by tender; others cannot be so obtained—the Commissioner of the month, with the sanction of the Board, purchases them, but he cannot individually spend more than $20 during his month, without such sanction given before or at the next board meeting. The members of the Municipal Council are well aware of these facts. Then it may he asked, why the above resolution was passed? with its extraordinary proviso: “If it can be done without increasing the expenses of the institution.” Is it done to cast suspicion upon the integrity of the Commissioners? For I am unwilling to believe that any member expects that a man can be found who will do this work for nothing; or if found, will not pay himself. Personally I have no interest in the matter, never having purchased ten cents worth of provisions for the institution, but I assume equal responsibility. The Commissioners do not covet the work, but as they are responsible, they prefer to trust those they know, rather than one they do not know, hence the following answer:
At a meeting of the Commissioners, January 11, 1895—
Resolved, That the Commissioners cannot recommend any change in the purchase of supplies for the Hospital, as they do not consider it would be in the interest of the Hospital, and could not be done without a very considerable extra expense.
At the same meeting, the question of allowing paying patients to have the attendance in the Hospital of their own physicians was discussed, when the following resolution was passed:
That the Commissioners of the General Public Hospital cannot recommend that any change be made in the present medical management of the Hospital, as we do not believe it would be conducive to the best interest of the institution, and would, we believe, add very largely to the cost of management.
This did not please the hidden hand, as appears by the following resolution:
At a meeting of the Council of the City and County of St. John, held at the Court House, in the City of St. John, on Tuesday, the 15th day of January, A.D. 1895, the following resolution was passed:
“Whereas, This Municipal Council having heard read the communication from the Commissioners of the Public Hospital, in which they decline to accede to the request of this Council that private paying patients should have the privilege of being attended by their own physicians whether on the staff of the Hospital or not;
“Therefore resolved, That the Commissioners of the General Public Hospital be requested to try the experiment, and that a committee of this Council be appointed to confer with the Commissioners on the subject.”
The Warden appoints the following councillors on such committee: McRobbie, Catherwood, Daniel, Christie, Baxter, Lee and Dunn.
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct extract from the minutes of the Council of the Municipality of the City and County of St. John, embodying the resolution in regard to Hospital matters, passed at the meeting of said Council on the fifteenth day of January, 1895.
(Signed) Geo. R. Vincent, Secretary.
Acceding to the request, the Commissioners met the committee named, at the office of the Municipality, on the 2lst of March instant, and, after a prolonged discussion, the matter was left as it stood before.
At a meeting of the Hospital Commissioners, on the 3rd of May, 1895, the following resolution was passed:
“The Commissioners having, on the 21st of March, met with a committee of the Municipal Council for the purpose of further considering a request of the said Council, that pay patients at the Hospital be allowed, if required, to have the service of their own physicians outside of the Hospital staff, and having heard the arguments of the committee of the Council regarding the matter, are still of the opinion that it would not be in the general interest of the Hospital to make any change in this department, and that the secretary write to the secretary of the municipality to this effect.”
The idea of making the Hospital a hoarding-house for the patients of every doctor in the city has been pursued with a determination worthy of a better cause.
In April last, at the instance of Dr. Berryman, a petition urging this measure—signed by half of the medical men in the city—was placed before the Board of Commissioners, but the arguments in support of it were not such as to induce them to rescind their former decision.
Our answer is, that room does not exist in the institution for such patients without excluding the poor, for whom alone the Hospital was established. It is incidental to all hospitals to have a few rooms for accident or emergency, but it never was contemplated that they should be open to all. It is idle to contend that the wealthy should be admitted because they contribute to its support. They contribute to the support of many institutions, but I have not heard of their demanding admission to any. No! this movement is for the benefit of the petitioners, who, having failed to establish a private hospital for their patients, come forward and ask the rate-payer to furnish one for them. Appreciating their wish to obtain rooms, skilled nursing, continued medical and surgical supervision, medical and surgical instruments, appliances, etc., I feel, as a Commissioner disbursing public money, I have not the right to grant such privileges at the expense of the rate-payer.
We have been asked to try the experiment; we answer, we have no right to try experiments with the public funds. The word experiment implies a risk. If we lose—of which we have little doubt—what then?
Again, it may be asked, have the petitioners taken: into consideration the risk of placing their patients—when it can be avoided—in the atmosphere of a hospital that has been in constant occupation for thirty years. They should know, that with all the care possible, the air of such hospital cannot be made so pure as a private house with proper sanitary surroundings that has not been made a receptacle for the sick; the safety of their patients should be their first consideration. It is more than probable that the other half of the profession who refused to sign the petition, had this risk in their minds.
It has been claimed, that by granting this petition, it would prevent persons from going abroad to seek surgical aid; daily experience proves such a claim to be fallacious.
Hospitals are institutions that should commend themselves to the sympathy of all classes. To the poor, for whom alone they are established, and to the rich, who see the result of their good work—a form of charity, to which, every individual should be proud and glad to contribute his mite. For I hold, that no man—whatever his prejudices may be—can pass through the wards of one, without being impressed with the care and comfort extended towards each and every sufferer who receives the daily, and I may say the hourly attention of the experienced physician, with the kind and gentle aid of the skilled nurse. And as the road to the heart is oftener through the eye than the ear, we solicit the visits of all to this one.
While the large majority accept these gifts with gratitude, there is another class who demand this charity as a right, and would not be satisfied if “Angel Gabriel” appeared and ministered to their wants. This class is largely composed of persons who, having deceived the commissioners regarding their poverty, occupy the beds of the poor at the expense of the rate-payer.
Again, the “out-door departments” of all hospitals are widely abused. It is claimed that in London nearly 2,000,000 visits are paid yearly to the various hospitals by applicants for advice and medicine, one-half of whom are not fit subjects for such charity, being well able to pay for that which they obtain. This abuse has so alarmingly reduced the voluntary contributions to those institutions that the authorities are making strong efforts to remedy the evil.
This evil does not exist in the same proportion in St. John, but we are approaching it. The Commissioners find it difficult to discriminate, and the waiting room at the Hospital is often occupied by persons who would feel insulted if classed as paupers, and who would not dare to ask such charity from any other source. I do not wish to convey the impression that such charity should not be afforded. Better to give to two undeserving, than to withhold from one who really deserves it.
It would fill pages to name each individual who has contributed valuable articles for the comfort of the sick and afflicted in this institution; also, the lady visitors who, by their presence and kind sympathy, have done so much towards relieving the misery of the sick bed. To one and all we here tender our sincere thanks.
From the blog at http://johnwood1946.wordpress.com
This is the first of two excerpts from the History of the General Public Hospital in the City of Saint John, New Brunswick, by William Bayard, published in 1896. It describes fund raising which began in 1860, and the history of the hospital itself from 1865 to 1894. The establishment of a nursing school and the provision of community nursing services are also chronicled.
The general public hospital was funded by the sale of bonds, and by charitable donations, and by new city taxes. Hospital beds were reserved for emergencies and for victims of accidents, but the hospital had significant public funding and was intended for the support of the ‘mechanic and the labourer’ who could neither afford to pay for his own nursing care, nor to travel to the United States for treatment. It was not intended for people of greater means. Prior to this time, the ‘mechanic and the labourer’ could only rely upon the charity of the Poor House in the event of illness, and many people avoided treatment altogether in order to keep clear of that place. There was resistance to new taxes and resistance to locating the hospital anywhere near where it might be a source of contagious disease.
The Saint John General Public Hospital, c 1880
New Brunswick Museum
Following is Bayard’s record of events:
The Saint John General Public Hospital, Part 1 of 2
Prior to the year 1865 the City and County of Saint John, with a population of upwards of 30,000, possessed no hospital accommodation for the mechanic and the labourer suffering from disease or accident. The Poor House was his only refuge; and with laudable pride, he declined to be classed as a pauper, preferring to be cared for at his humble home by friends; too often with the result that his little savings became exhausted, ultimately compelling him to accept that shelter which his pride induced him to ignore in the first instance. Indeed, there was no such hospital in the Province, and those living in the outlying districts—when requiring skilled medical and surgical assistance—became a burden upon their friends. This was not a proud position for the largest city in the Province, and one containing many persons of large wealth.
Dr. W. Bayard’s position, as physician in charge of the Poor House, and his connection with the Board of Health, taught him the imperative necessity for a hospital. He brought the subject before the community through the press, adducing various arguments in support of it; and having received promises by kind philanthropists for the sum of $10,000 for the purpose of erecting one, he felt sanguine that his scheme would be crowned by success. But when four of the most wealthy men in the city—one of them the largest landowner—refused to assist, he abandoned the idea of accomplishing his object by subscription, and concluded to carry out the project by imposing a tax upon the rate payers.
He felt justified in adopting this course because the burden would then fall proportionally upon oil, the rich man—who had not the heart to give—would be compelled to furnish his proportion, while the man in the position to receive the most benefit from such an institution would contribute his mite.
Accordingly, he employed the late George Blatch, Esq., to frame a bill asking power from the Legislature to sell bonds for the sum of $50,000 to be appropriated towards the erection and the furnishing of the building. For the support, the bill asked that a tax of one dollar a year be placed upon the poll of every ratable male inhabitant of the City and County of St. John. All other expenses to fall upon the real and personal estate of the rate-payer. In other words, the real and personal property holders were to furnish the building, pay the interest upon the money borrowed, their poll tax, and meet all extra demands; while those most likely to use it were asked to pay one dollar per year towards its support—a small sum compared with the expected benefit to them. The word positive may properly be substituted for the word expected, for no reasoning mind can ignore the fact that positive benefit must accrue to those having the privilege of entrée to such an institution.
The idea of increased taxation alarmed those who did not, or would not, recognize the necessity for a hospital. They did not take into consideration the fact that its establishment would necessarily lessen permanent pauperism, and thereby proportionally reduce the poor-rate.
The bill met with the most determined opposition from the press. Many editors wrote most bitterly against the measure, appealing to prejudices, and attributing unworthy motives to its supporters. The Common Council—as a body—was hostile to it, and supported its hostility by sending u committee of its members to Fredericton to prevent the passage of the bill.
All this did not discourage the many believers in the righteousness of their cause. The bill was taken to Fredericton, and argued before the individual members of the Legislature, and with the able assistance of the Hon. John Robertson, Sir Leonard Tilley, R.D. Wilmot, John H. Gray, Sir Albert Smith, and many others, it became law on the 9th day of April, 1860.
While the bill had passed, it did not grant all that was asked for. The Commissioners were given authority to sell bonds not to exceed $28,000. and the poll-tax was reduced from one dollar to twenty-five cents. In view of the fact that the wages of the mechanic and the laborer has doubled since that period, while the expense of living has not increased, and the fact that their children are educated at the public expense, it was a mistake that the original amount asked was not imposed upon them.
On the 3rd day of July, 1860, Hon. John Robertson, Dr. Wm. Bayard, Wm. H. Scovil, R.W. Crookshank, and John McLauchlin, Esqs., were appointed Commissioners to carry out the Act.
On the 15th day of August, 1860, the first meeting of the Board was held, at which Hon. John Robertson was elected President; Dr. Wm. Bayard, Vice-President: and John Ansley, Secretary.
In October of the same year tenders were asked for between two and three acres of ground in or near the city upon which to place the building.
In December of the same year various tenders were considered by the Board, and that of Joseph Fairweather was accepted, giving nearly three acres of land, with the absolute and unconditional occupation of the roadways leading to it from Waterloo Street and the City Road, for $9,650. Subsequently the land adjoining, and fronting on the City Road, was purchased from the estate of the late Senator John Robertson for $2,000., making in all the cost of the land $11,650.
In January, 1861, a seal was obtained for the Corporation, and in July of the same year the late Mathew Stead was empowered to make plans and specifications for the building, which were adopted by the Board in December.
The Commissioners finding that the $28,000. in hand would not complete the building, they asked power from the Legislature to sell bonds for $20,000 more. Liberty was granted to borrow $18,000, making in all $46,000, consequently they were compelled to curtail the plans and build only the main building and the eastern wing.
Subsequently the Province gave $8,000, and the estate of the late Richard Sands $2,000 towards the undertaking.
Tenders were asked for the construction of the portion of the building named, with the understanding that it was to be completed early in year 1863. The tender of James Quinton for $26,3xx.[?] being the lowest, the contract was awarded to him. The excavations, drainage, heating apparatus, and plumbing, were not included in Quinton’s contract. Those works added largely to the expenditure.
Upon the removal of Senator John Robertson to England in 1863, he tendered his resignation as President of the Board of Commissioners. His loss was much felt, as he was an active, energetic, and influential member.
Upon the resignation of Senator John Robertson in 1863, Dr. W. Bayard was appointed President of the Board, Wm. H.A. Keans Vice-President, and R.W. Crookshank Treasurer.
At the request of the Board, Dr. Bayard framed the by-laws of the institution, which were adopted in 1865.
In June, 1865, the Hospital was opened for the reception of patients, when the members of the medical staff were appointed, namely:
LeBaron Botsford, M.D., Glas.; Edwin Bayard, M.D., Edin.; T.W. Smith, M.D., Edin.; J. T. Steeves, M.D., New York; G.E.S. Keaton, M. D., New York; W. S. Harding, M.R.C.S., Eng.; James Sinclair, M.D., House Surgeon; Mrs. Mary Craig, Matron.
In November, 1873, the Trustees of the Savings Bank in the City of St. John—with the consent of the Dominion Government—handed to the Commissioners of the Hospital, for the support of that institution, the sum of $44,269.69, with the proviso that $42,000 of that sum “shall be invested in good and sufficient public securities, bearing not less than six per cent, per annum, which interest shall he appropriated by them towards the support and maintenance of the Hospital.” This was done, and the proceeds are in the Hospital box in the vault of the Bank of Nova Scotia, the President holding one key and the Treasurer the other.
In the year 1872 an Act was passed by the Legislature authorizing the Commissioners of the Hospital to expend $6,000 in building a Hospital for Infectious Diseases upon the Hospital ground.
The Board of Health having obtained the use of the old Military Hospital on the Barrack Ground for that purpose, the Act was not enforced until the year 1885, when the Common Council required the building to be removed from the locality upon which it stood.
The Commissioners complying with the request, concluded to erect one as directed by the law. Two months after the work had been commenced, and when about $2,000 had been expended upon it, a cabal was inaugurated by Mayor Macgregor Grant, who, appealing to prejudices, induced the various council boards to pass resolutions protesting against the undertaking. The Commissioners were hounded to the bitter end by a memorial to the Legislature, having the Civic Seals attached to it. This misleading document was replete with false reasoning. Its author did not dare to place a copy of it in the hands of the Commissioners before it was sent forward. Consequently the members of the Legislature were left in ignorance of the facts, and passed an Act placing the responsibility of the location of the Hospital upon the shoulders of the Commissioners, thereby subjecting them to prosecution by any person holding land adjoining that selected as a site for it. The Legislature having previously declared that the “Hospital for Contagious Disease shall be placed on the ground of the General Public Hospital,” no action can be taken against its location. Happily for the tax-payer, the Legislative Council did not ratify the Act, thereby saving to the community the $2,000 already spent, $3,000 or $4,000 for land in some other locality, with the never-ending risk of prosecution.
And now we have a Hospital for Contagious Diseases on the Hospital ground, always ready for the reception of suitable cases, in almost daily use, the cost of which was $6,000, and contrary to the declared opinion of our opponents, the surrounding neighbourhood has not in any way been contaminated or prejudiced by it.
A Nursing School was established in the year 1888, Dr. Bayard giving the opening address, and Commissioners Walker and Hetherington, together with the members of the medical staff, the lectures to the students upon the various subjects connected with their studies.
The Commissioners feeling the disadvantage of requiring nurses to sleep and eat in the atmosphere of the sick, and having no available room in the institution to provide them with good atmospheric surroundings, and not having the means at their disposal to furnish such accommodation, they determined to appeal to philanthropists in aid of their object; also to assist them in carrying out a scheme for “District Nursing” in the city, a desideratum much needed.
Knowing the ability and the untiring zeal of the wife of our Lieutenant Governor when engaged in a philanthropic object, and believing that if they could enlist her in their cause its success would be assured, consequently they approached Lady Tilley, and nobly she responded.
She, with the able assistance of very many ladies in this city, in the provincial towns, and many abroad, gave a building that will be a lasting monument of their good work, and illustrating their kind sympathy for a class who have embraced a calling with few attractions and many hardships, and when performing their various duties in a sick room faithfully and kindly, may be truly classed as “ministering angels,” and who deserve all the fostering care that can be afforded to them.
Appreciating the value of this gift, the Commissioners read the following address to her:
To Lady Tilley.
Madam—The Commissioners of the General Public Hospital, in addition to the verbal thanks already extended to you by our President, desire to express to you more formally our appreciation of the great value to the Hospital, and to the community at large, of the Nurses’ Home, recently presented to us by you. We would express to you our admiration of the zeal and untiring energy displayed by you, in bringing this charitable undertaking to such a successful completion, and we would, through you, thank all those who, under your leadership, have given so largely of both time and means to this noble enterprise. We sincerely pray that your ladyship’s fondest anticipations may be more than fulfilled in the value of this delightful home to the hard-worked Hospital nurses, and that from this cheerful meeting place, there will go forth in years to come, a devoted band of District Nurses, whose ministrations will prove a blessing to the place, and continue a lasting memorial to your efforts in behalf of the sick poor. May you live long, and may your life be cheered by the refection of your good works.
Signed by, W. Bayard, M.W. Maher, G.H. Clark, A.C. Smith, R.W. Crookshank, Thomas Walker, G.A. Hetherington, and W.C.R. Allan.
In all communities there are sick persons, who, for various reasons, cannot or will not obtain admission into hospitals, and who are too poor to employ skilled nurses. It is for such persons that District Nurses are required. Dr. Bayard, in his address to the nurses at the opening of the school in 1888, said: “They visit the houses of the indigent, or those who cannot afford to pay for a nurse, wherever sickness exists, and attend to the various wants of the patient. I sincerely hope that from this Hospital, we may be able to afford a staff of nurses for that purpose. Only those who are daily brought in contact with the misery, accruing from the want of such nursing, can appreciate the necessity for it. Imagine a small child with hip disease and abscess, where ignorant handling would produce exquisite agony. The skilled nurse alone, knows how to move the small sufferer so as not to jar the diseased limb. Another patient, bedridden and suffering from disease, requiring constant poulticing; the wife a helpless, nervous woman, with her room in confusion. In a few minutes the trained nurse has removed the crumbs from under him, replaced the cold, sloppy poultice with a warm firm one, given him a warm cup of gruel, and made him comfortable. Or the sick young mother, in a dark and impure room, with a crying child at her side, too often drugged with ‘sleepy stuff’ to enable the mother to obtain the rest which nature demands. Here the nurse can teach the mother that infants thrive on light and air, not upon ‘sleepy stuff’. Each nurse could visit from ten to twelve such cases in a day, and return to the Hospital at night.
“The road to the heart is oftener through the eye than the ear. I am quite sure if we could induce some of our kind friends, who are taking such an interest in this institution, to visit such cases as I have described, and see the misery that could be relieved by such nursing, there would be no lack of lands for the support of it.”
There is accommodation in the Nurses’ Home for six “district nurses,” but the Commissioners have not authority to draw upon the funds of the Hospital to pay them. Consequently an appeal has been made to the clergymen of the different denominations in the City, to establish a Hospital Sunday for that worthy object. The Commissioners propose to feed them in the Hospital, and they ask kind philanthropists to furnish money to pay them.
Dr. Thomas Walker is Treasurer of the Nurses’ Fund, and will receive donations. The clergy of the Church of England in St. John have responded, giving one nurse, who has been on duty since December, 1894—none of the others—but it is earnestly hoped that they may soon do so.
The proposition is to divide the city into six districts, and detail a nurse for each district, whose duty shall be to seek out and aid those requiring her assistance; and when her district work will admit of it, she may obey the calls of those able to pay for the services of a trained nurse.
Since the establishment of the Hospital up to the year 1883, the medical staff attended the sick gratuitously. At that time the work became so onerous, coupled with the difficulty of inducing experienced men to accept the situation, the Commissioners felt justified in paying each member when employed $2 per day for one or more visits. The pay is nothing commensurate with the work, but it is as much as the funds of the institution can at present afford.
Six physicians and surgeons, two oculists, two or more consultants, a dentist, and a house surgeon comprise the medical staff. Their duties have not been divided into medical and surgical, but it is hoped that in the near future this will be accomplished. They are educated men, who take large interest in their work, and perform their various duties faithfully, scientifically and effectually, as is amply proved by their record of all the modern surgical operations. They are appointed annually, and it may be remarked that no capital operation is allowed to be performed—except under special emergency—without notification and consultation with the staff.
In the year 1889 it was found that the accommodation for the sick was not sufficient for the demand upon it, consequently the Commissioners asked the Legislature to grant permission to sell bonds for the amount of $14,000 to complete and furnish the building by adding the western wing. This was done, and now we have a hospital with all modern conveniences, capable of receiving one hundred and ten patients, and affording each patient 1,800 cubic feet of air space. Also a “Hospital for Contagious Diseases,” capable of receiving twenty-five patients, with a like air space. Therefore, we may claim that the City of Saint John has ample hospital accommodation for its present requirements, and at a smaller cost than that of any other town with the same population.
The yearly expenditure for the Hospital in Halifax, with few more patients,—sailors included—is between $38,000 and $39,000, and the one in Portland, Maine, with nearly the same number of patients, is about $34,000, while the yearly expenditure upon this institution is under $20,000.
When deducting the provincial grant—the Savings Bank Bequest Fund—and the money received from pay patients,—sailors included—the rate-payer is not burdened to the extent of more than $12,000 yearly for this good work, and he may credit the institution with a reduction in his poor rate. But he pays more than his share. For the provincial grant—as will be seen in referring to the yearly reports—does not pay more than half the outlay for the patients from the different counties in the Province and the wayfarers, in or passing through the city.
The Commissioners have repeatedly brought this fact under the notice of the Government, contending that the grant from the Province should be largely increased. They were met by the contention that the “Savings Bank Bequest Fund” was a gift from the Province. “This is fallacious,” for, after much personal persuasion, and through the able assistance of Judge Weldon and Canon Scovil, the money was obtained for the Hospital, as appears by the following correspondence:
Saint John, September 1st, 1873
To the Chairman of Commissioners of the Public Hospital.
Sir,—I am directed to enclose to you a copy of the resolution passed by the Trustees of the St. John Savings Bank, and to request the action of your Board in reference thereto at your earliest convenience.
I am sir, yours respectfully, John Boyd.
Moved by Rev. Canon Scovil, and seconded by Mr. Justice Weldon:
Whereas, By the 16th Section of an Act, Chap. 6 of 34 Victoria, passed by the Dominion Parliament, April 14, 1871, the St. John Savings Bank, with its property, assets and liabilities, were transferred to the Dominion of Canada, subject to a proper allowance for any surplus of such property in the settlement of account between the Dominion and the Bank;
And whereas, On the adjustment of said account, the sum of forty-two thousand and seventy-nine dollars has been placed in the Bank of New Brunswick to the credit of the Trustees of the St. John Savings Bank, with the accumulated interest now amounting to the sum of forty-four thousand one hundred and eighty-two dollars and ninety-five cents ($44,182.95), to be disposed of as the said Trustees, with the approbation of the Dominion Government, may think fit;
Therefore resolved, That the above sum of $44,182.95, to 16th of October, 1873, with any further interest till paid, be given, by and with the consent of the Government, to the Commissioners of the General Hospital in the City of St. John, to be by them invested in good and sufficient public securities hearing not less than six per cent, per annum, which interest alone shall be appropriated by them towards the support and maintenance of said Hospital, to enable the Commissioners to carry on their work more efficiently;
Provided nevertheless, That the said Commissioners do first pay out of the said money, the sum of six hundred dollars per annum, in four equal quarterly payments, to the widow of Daniel Jordan, Esq., late cashier of the St. John Savings Bank, during the term of her natural life, the same to be paid to her from the time of Mr. Jordan’s death.
Consequently forty-two thousand dollars of the above named sum was invested in public securities. It is therefore idle to claim that the money was a gift from this Province.
If the Provincial grant is not increased, the Commissioners will be driven to close the doors of the Hospital against the sick from the out counties. For it is obviously unfair that the people of this city and county should be burdened with the pauper sick of the Province.
The Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a provincial institution—owned, managed and supported by the Provincial Government—yet it receives not double the number of patients from the out counties that this one does, the figures being for the Victoria 475; for this one 319. The foregoing should afford food for the consideration of our legislators. The Commissioners have done all in their power—the matter must now rest with the citizens.
In consequence of complaints against the management of the Marine Hospital in this city, the Minister of Marine requested the Commissioners to receive the sick sailors arriving in this port into the Hospital, the Dominion Government to pay ninety cents per day for each man, and all burial expenses. This was assented to in February, 1893, giving to the Hospital in future about two hundred additional patients yearly, for which the institution will receive between $3,000 and $4,000 per annum.
An “ambulance,” for the purpose of conveying persons seriously injured, seriously ill, or laboring under contagious diseases, to the institution, is much required. The sufferers are compelled to get there as best they can, and those infected with contagious diseases are too often taken to the Infectious Hospital in coaches, which coaches are used immediately after, without disinfection of any kind.
In May, 1894, Dr. Bayard brought this subject to the notice of the Mayor in the following letter:
George Robertson, Esq.,
Mayor of the City of Saint John.
My Dear Sir—Allow me to bring to your notice, and to the body over which you preside, the fact that an ambulance is sadly required in this city. There is no mode by which an individual having received such an injury as to make it imperative that he should be conveyed in a horizontal posture, or one so ill as to demand the same care, can be conveyed to his home, or to the Hospital. Such a want should not exist in a town the size of St. John.
As an illustration, I may say to you that a short time since a gentleman fell down a stairway, and received such an injury that to attempt to place him in a coach would have probably produced instant death. He was obliged to lie where he fell for an hour and a half before he could be moved to the Hospital, and then, at the risk of his life, on a rough express wagon.
I have given Messrs. Price & Shaw plans of the most approved kind at present in use in London. Enclosed is their estimate for the cost—$385. It will be so constructed that it can carry contagious diseases, and can be thoroughly purified in half an hour, and there will be no risk of contagion to the driver.
It will not require to be often used, and could be kept in the city stable, and a horse and driver furnished from there at little cost; whereas, if the Commissioners of the Hospital furnished one, it would cost the city little short of $1,000 a year, inasmuch as a horse and man must always be on hand with little to do.
I have the honor to be Yours very truly,
Dr. Bayard having received no answer to the above note, he cannot say what action has or will be taken upon it.
Next week’s blog will feature Bayard’s record of law-suits and controversies surrounding the hospital.
From the blog at http://johnwood1946.wordpress.com
The following First Nations story is from Lieut. Governor Arthur Hamilton Gordon’s book “Wilderness Journeys in New Brunswick in 1862-63.” It seems that he heard the story while hiking with Gabriel Acquin, which hints that it may have Maliseet origins. Other guides and aides were involved in these expeditions, however, and the story may therefore be Mi’kmaq.
An unusual thing about the story is that it is told in a Elizabethan tongue. This is not the way that Gordon would have heard it, nor is it the way in which he wrote the rest of his book. I find it appealing however, since it gives the story an antique flavour which seems appropriate to a legend that would have come down through many generations.
Gabriel Acquin (on the left) With a Hunting Party
From the New Brunswick Provincial Archives
— Gordon said that Gabriel’s Indian name was Kobleah —
The Story of the Great Brothers
Long time ago, in the ages which are passed away, lived the great twin brethren, Clote Scarp and Malsunsis. [Gordon substituted ‘Malsunsis’ for the name of the second brother, which he had forgotten. ‘Clote Scarp’ translates as the big liar.]
That was in the days of the great beaver, feared by beasts and men; and in that time there was but one language among all things living.
Now, whence came the brethren, or what their origin, no man nor beast knew, nor ever shall know;—nay, they knew it not themselves.
And it came to pass one day, as they sat together in the lodge, that Malsunsis said unto his brother: “Brother, is there aught existing that can slay thee?” “Yea,” answered Clote Scarp: “if I be struck, though never so lightly, with an owl’s feather, I shall die.” (But he lied unto him.) “Will aught slay thee, O brother?” “Yea, truly,” answered Malsunsis: “he that toucheth me with a fern root shall kill me.” And herein he spake the truth.
Now there was no malice in the brethren’s hearts when they asked each other this, and it was their purpose and desire each to shield each from harm. Nor did Clote Scarp deceive his brother for any fear he had of him, but because he was very prudent and very subtle, and cared not that any man, nay,—not his brother—should know that which made his life depend upon the will of him that knew it.
But it came to pass, that as Malsunsis thought of these things day by day, it came into his mind to slay his brother, that he alone might be great among beasts and men; and envy of his brother began to eat up his heart. But how these thoughts arose no man nor beast knoweth, nor shall know. Some say that Mik-o the squirrel taught him thus to think, and some say Quah-Beet-E-Siss, the son of the great beaver. But some say he had no tempter save himself. No man nor beast knoweth this, nor ever shall know.
Now one night, Clote Scarp slept in the lodge, but Malsunsis lay awake. And he rose up and went out, and called to Koo-Koo-Skoos the owl, and said: “0 owl, give me one of your tail feathers.” “What for?” said the owl. “I may not tell thee,” said he; but in the end he told him. Then said Koo-Koo-Skoos, the owl; “Thou shalt not do this wickedness through my help. Nay, more: I will screech until I wake thy brother, and will tell him all thy design.” Then Malsunsis grew very wroth, and caught up his bow and arrows, and shot the owl, Koo-Koo- Skoos, and he tumbled down on the grass dead. Then Malsunsis took out one of the feathers, and stole gently, and struck Clote Scarp on the forehead between the eyes. And Clote Scarp awoke, and saw his brother standing over him (but the owl’s feather he saw not), and said: “0 brother, a fly hath tickled me;” and he sat up, and Malsunsis was ashamed. Yet he felt more angry with his brother than before. And when Clote Scarp sat up, he saw the owl and the arrow sticking in its body, and the feather wanting in his tail. (For the feather itself he could not see, Malsunsis having hidden it in his hand.) And he turned to his brother and said: “What is this, my brother, hast thou sought to kill me?” And he sang this song:—
“Verily I am ashamed for my brother, / Because he hath sought my life, / My safety is turned to my danger, / My pride is changed into my shame.”
And he said: “How came this to pass, my brother?” Then Malsunsis said: “Truly, I did this thing because I believed thee not, and knew well that I should not slay thee. I knew that thou hadst deceived me; and lo! thou hast not dealt fairly with me. Have I not told thee truly my secret? but thou hast not told me thine. Dost thou distrust thy brother? Dost thou fear me, though I fear not thee? Tell me truly thy secret, that I may keep the hurtful thing from thee.” But Clote Scarp feared him the more. Nevertheless, he made as though he believed him, and said: “Truly, my brother, I did wrong to lie to thee. Know that a blow from the root of a pine would kill me.” This he said, deceiving him again, for he trusted him not.
Then Malsunsis stole away into the forest, and marked where a great pine lay which the wind had overthrown, and whose roots lay bare and turned towards the sky. And the next day he called to his brother to hunt with him in the woods; and brought him near the pine-tree. Now it was mid-day, and the sun was hot, and Clote Scarp lay down and slept. Then Malsunsis, mighty in strength among men, seized the pine tree and raised it in his arms, and struck Clote Scarp on the head many times. Then Clote Scarp arose in anger, shouting: “thou false brother, get thee hence, lest I slay thee!” and Malsunsis fled through the forest. Clote Scarp sat by the river and laughed, and said in a low voice to himself: “Naught but a flowering rush can kill me.” But the musquash heard him. And he grieved because his brother sought to slay him; and he returned home to the lodge. Now it came to pass, that Malsunsis came and sat by the same river, and said: “How shall I slay my brother? for now I must slay him, lest he kill me.” And the musquash heard him, and put up his head and said: — “What wilt thou give me if I tell thee?”—And he said “I shall give thee whatsoever thou shalt ask.”—Then said the musquash: “the touch of a flowering rush will kill Clote Scarp: I heard him say it. Now give me wings like a pigeon.” But Malsunsis said: “Get the hence, thou with a tail like a file; what need hast thou of pigeon’s wings?” and he departed on his way.
Now the musquash was angry because he had not received his wish, and because Malsunsis had likened his tail to a file; and he was sorry, and he sought out Clote Scarp, and told him what he had done.
Then Clote Scarp rose up and took a fern-root in his hand, and sought out his brother, and said, “Why dost thou thus seek my life? So long as thou knewest not I had no fear, but now thou must die, for thou hast learned my secret, and I cannot trust thee.” And he smote him with the fern-root, and Malsunsis fell down dead. And Clote Scarp sang a song over him and lamented. And all that Clote Scarp did, and how he slew the great beaver —whose house is even now in Kenebekasis—and how he ruled beasts and men, and what the great turtle—turtle of turtles, king and chief among turtles—did, I will tell another time.
Three brethren came to Clote Scarp, and they prayed him to make them tall, and give them great strength and a long life exceeding that of men, and Clote Scarp was vexed with them, and said, “Probably you desire great strength and size that you may help others and benefit your tribe; and long life, that you may have much opportunity to do good to men.” And they said, “We care not for others, neither do we seek the good of men; long life and strength and height are what we seek.” Then he said, “Will you take for these success in fight, that you may be glorious in your tribe?” And they answered, “Nay, we have told you what we seek.” Then he said, “Will you have, instead thereof, knowledge, that you may know sickness and the property of herbs, and so gain repute and heal men?” And they answered, “Verily we have informed thee touching our desire.”
Then he said once again, “Will you have wisdom and subtlety, that you may excel in counsel?”
And they answered him, “We have told thee what we seek. If thou wilt grant it, give; if thou wilt refuse, withhold. We have asked strength and long life and stature. Probably thou art not able to grant them, and seekest to put us off’ with these other things.” Then Clote Scarp waxed angry, and said, “Go your ways; you shall have strength, and stature, and length of days.” And they left him rejoicing. But before they had proceeded far, lo! their feet became rooted to the ground, and their legs stuck together, and their necks shot up, and they were turned into three cedar-trees, strong and tall, and enduring beyond the days of men, but destitute of all glory and of all use.”