This blog will continue to grow, but following is a table of contents so far – from the top:
- Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok – July 1, 2015
- By Steamer to the So-Called City of Fredericton – June 24, 2014
- A Quiet and Business-Like Little City – June 17, 2015
- Rambles Among the Bluenoses in 1862 – June 10, 2015
- Edward John Russell, a New Brunswick Artist – June 3, 2015
- Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875 – May 27, 2015
- The Saint John River and Port Royal in the Early 1600’s – May 20, 2015
- What Should We Think of Benedict Arnold? – May 13, 2015
- Diphtheria in New Brunswick in the Year 1889 – May 6, 2015
- The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church – Apr. 29, 2015
- The Exchange Coffee House and Saint John’s First Club – Apr. 22, 2015
- The Wigwams and Dwellings of the Gaspesians – Apr. 15, 2015
- The Story of Brook Watson – Apr. 8, 2015
- Where Stood Fort LaTour? – Apr. 1, 2015
- Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War – Mar. 25, 2015
- At Portland Point – Mar. 18, 2015
- Electrical Power From the Reversing Falls – Mar. 10, 2015
- Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended – Mar. 4, 2015
- What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo? – Feb. 25, 2015
- Grand Manan to Petitcodiac, in 1786 – Feb. 18, 2015
- A Trip From St. John to Fredericton in 1870 – Feb. 11, 2015
- A Tour of St. John, N.B., in 1870 – Feb. 4, 2015
- Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral in Chatham – Jan. 28, 2015
- Burgan the Burglar – Jan. 21, 2015
- Facts and Reasons Against Confederating With Canada – Jan. 14, 2015
- Discontent in Early Halifax in 1756 – Jan. 7, 2015
- A Trip on the ICR From Bathurst to Miramichi – Dec. 31, 2014
- Early Attempts to Introduce the Cultivation of Hemp in Eastern British America – Dec. 24, 2014
- Touring Campbellton and Dalhousie, Despite the Mosquitoes, 1876 – Dec. 19, 2014
- The Fire of 1837 in Saint John – Dec. 10, 2014
- The Cruise of the Rechab – Dec. 3, 2014
- A Night in the Deep – Nov. 26, 2014
- Robert Foulis (A Misplaced Genius) – Nov. 19, 2014
- The City Mills – Nov. 15, 2014
- The Brothers d’Amours – Nov. 5, 2014
- John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River – Oct. 29, 2014
- Relics of the Acadian Period – Oct. 22, 2014
- Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
- The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
- Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
- Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
- Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
- A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
- Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
- Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
- The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
- Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
- The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
- Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
- What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
- Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
- The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
- The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
- How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
- Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
- Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
- Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
- Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
- A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
- Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
- A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
- The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
- A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
- An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
- May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
- He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
- The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
- Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
- Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
- To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
- 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
Government based on British Parliamentary practice was long sought in New Brunswick, where the elected Assembly were limited in their powers by the Governor and Council. To make things worse, Council members served at the pleasure of the Governor, which ensured that they would support the Governor in all matters. There were therefore two governing bodies, and the Governor and Council had more power than the elected representatives.
James Glenie had famously fought for British legislative rules to apply in New Brunswick. He was a very abrasive personality, however, and could not gain the necessary support. Much later, Lemuel Allan Wilmot, and others, also argued for a redistribution of legislative authority. He had some success but the work was not yet done and more time would pass before New Brunswick truly had Responsible Government.
The following description of an Assembly sitting in 1802 is from an anonymous document entitled A Statement of Facts Relative to the Proceedings of the House of Assembly on Wednesday the third, and Thursday the fourth of March, 1802, and shows how fragile legislative procedures were at that time. There were two issues:
- The meeting of a few select members of the Assembly to re-decide a matter which had already been determined by the full House.
- The connivance of Council to manipulate the Assembly to amend a money-bill, even though Council had no authority to determine a budget.
This session of the Assembly was a long time ago and does not resonate in our collective memories. It was a sad affair, however, and merits a place in that memory. The anonymous writer entitled it “Statement of Facts, &c.”, but I will give it the name “Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok.”
Province Hall, burned in 1880 and replaced by current legislature.
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick
Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok
I was at Fredericton during the latter days of the late session of the General Assembly, and was one of the many attentive auditors in the gallery to the proceedings of Wednesday the third, and Thursday the fourth of March instant. I had been informed on Tuesday, that all the business of the session was closed, which could claim the attendance of the members of the Lower House, except that of receiving the Lieut. Governor’s assent to the bills sent up;—that to two of these bills the concurrence of the Council had not been then received—that some objections had been signified by the Council to one of them—that some alteration had been made by the Lower House in consequence thereof—that a further objection had arisen above, and that the House of Assembly or a majority of them, had determined on making no further alteration therein, as the same was a money bill in which the Council had no right to prescribe the mode or manner of appropriating, nor were entitled to the exercise of any power on bills of supply except that of a negative to, or concurrence with, the whole.—Thus circumstanced, and a majority of the members viewing the business of the session as closed, so far as related to the duties of the Lower House, it appeared to them, I was told, unnecessary that the whole should remain at great expense to the province, and no small inconvenience to themselves, for the completion of mere matter of form; and therefore they returned home; having fulfilled, as they say (and I think justly) their duties to their constituents, to whom and to the House of Assembly they are amenable for the full and faithful execution of the trust reposed in them: the departure of eight members on Tuesday left only ten behind, including the speaker, a number incompetent to the exercise of their legislative function as a House, which it is fair to presume was a fact in the knowledge and contemplation of, the members who withdrew from a longer attendance as useless and oppressive.
I am, Mr. Printer, a man of some observation, and would willingly communicate for the information of the public, the lights I derive from a cool and dispassionate attention to those matters in which the public appear to me to be materially interested.
In the evening of Tuesday I understood in part what I witnessed in the House on Wednesday, and in particular that some great lawyers were of opinion that any number of members could resolve themselves into an House, competent to the exercise of all those functions to which heretofore thirteen had been thought absolutely necessary: I heard once of a man whose grief for the loss of a shrew of a wife (whom he had that evening seen securely nailed up in her coffin and deposited in the family vault} was not a little increased about midnight, by her return home again with the Sexton’s lantern, who had wickedly disturbed her nap, by, a rude attempt to take from her finger ring, which her good man in his haste to put her to rest, or through fear of disturbing her, had deposited with her. I mention this anecdote to show that what we repose to a coffin will sometimes, meet with an earlier resurrection than we usually calculate on; having heard so much outdoors, I was not the next day without some expectation to hear, from any station in the gallery, the overture which, came from a noble colonel in his place in the House; proposing that the judges of the Supreme Court (who are, by and by sure members of the Council) should be consulted on the right in the members then present to proceed to business, and to the full exercise of all their functions as a House competent thereto: the gentleman appeared full of zeal and confidence, and to be somewhat astonished at the assurance of Mr. St—t, who presumed to interrupt him, by a motion that the speaker should count the House; which being done, only ten members were numbered, including the speaker. A young man then arose apparently of great diffidence and very prepossessing address; I think he was the noble Colonel’s colleague, but lest I should be mistaken, it will more certainly describe him by saying that he was the gentleman, who, earlier in the session, had given to the House (in the course of a debate on the bill for the easy and speedy recovery of small debts) that useful piece of information, that the justices of this province are limited in the exercise of their powers to the parish in which they reside (a circumstance the House would have remained quite in the dark about, if the gentleman’s deep erudition and elaborate course of law-readings had not enabled him to throw this light on the subject) this young man, I say, arose in support of the Colonel’s proposition; Mr. St—t, requested that if he meant to bring forward any motion, he would reduce it to writing: this he in part did, or appeared to me to do, and then moved “that the House of Assembly do request the opinion of the judges on the following question,” which he read from a paper in his hand, viz. “Whether any number of members of the House of Assembly less than thirteen be a competent number to legislate as one branch of the legislature.” The motion was seconded by the noble Col. and was supported also by Captains, A—n and McL—n: Mr. St—t then arose, and after expressing his great deference and respect for the judges of the province, and for their opinions in all matters where they could with propriety be referred to; he with some warmth opposed the motion and its object as unwarrantable in every point of view; he observed that the powers of the House were derived from the constitution and could neither be diminished or extended by any authority but their own—that ancient usage was the only guide to the proper exercise of the powers vested in them, and was therefore termed the Law of Parliament; that the usage of his Majesty’s Colonies had established thirteen as the number absolutely requisite to the formation of an House for the dispatch of business:—That a less number were not competent as a Grand Jury to find a bill of indictment at a general session of the peace, against one subject, and as the House were to be considered as a Constitutional Grand Jury for the Province, it would be absurd to presume that a less number of them should be competent to the passing of bills which were to effect the lives, liberties and properties of His Majesty’s subjects at large throughout the Province. It had been observed, he said, by the senior member from King’s County, that there was no law which restrained a smaller number of members from the full exercise of the functions of that House and to this, he would only reply that laws were not originally made for restraining men of honor and probity, but for persons of a very different description:—that the House of Commons of Great Britain were a great and dignified body;—that their own usage was to them law sufficient for securing their privileges;—that although they were the great Grand Jury of the realm, yet their importance and extent as a Representative Body, was such that forty members were, by ancient usage, requisite to the formation of an House, and that without that number (including the Speaker,) invariable usage in that House had always been found law sufficient to prevent the Speaker taking the chair (except to receive a message from the King, or for the purpose of adjournment:—that though it was comparing small things with great, yet he thought himself justified (comparatively within the Province) in viewing the House of Assembly of New Brunswick, as a great and dignified Body;—that what had prevailed as an usage with them from their first existence, and with all other His Majesty’s Colonies in America, at all times, could not be conceived, need the support of stronger law to enforce the continuance of its practice; nor to infringe upon it for the very purpose which It was meant to guard against, that of taking the House by surprise; was an attempt the most dishonorable he had ever witnessed; he therefore moved that the Speaker quit the Chair, in which he was seconded by Major D—n, a respectable veteran officer of the half pay list, and the only member with him in his opposition to the formidable phalanx of seven, who seemed determined to bid defiance to all those honorable ties of usage which the House forever held sacred.
The Speaker accordingly arose and adjourned the House at half past one till eleven the next day.
The shock which this adjournment gave to the Seven Champions (not of Christendom) but of the ——— was easy to be discerned by the strong traits of dismay, disappointment and chagrin which marked the countenances of the whole; the noble Colonel (as completely unhorsed as Richard the Third, at Bosworth Field) railed aloud for the Speaker; Mr. St—t, with assumed gravity recommended the election of new one; The mortification was too great to be patiently borne, and the Seven Champions suddenly decamped from a longer exposure to public ridicule and contempt.
Here I must digress a little, and, as a man of observation, to express my surprise that the very modest and ingenious young gentleman who brought forward the motion (for application to the Judges for their opinion as to the competency of a less number of than thirteen to legislate on a pinch) should have been under the necessity of making such a motion; for I noticed that on Wednesday morning, before the Speaker took the Chair, the seven gentlemen withdrew from the House below (as it appeared to me) to a general consultation Above; I thought at the moment it had the semblance of unanimity and a good understanding between the two Houses and that where there were such open habits of communication, an unlimited confidence might be supposed to subsist: I therefore confess I took it for granted, that the opinions of the gentlemen on both sides were well known to each other, and could not but be a little surprised at the anxiety of gentlemen (on their return to the House) to obtain the opinion of their friends above: but we must live and learn; I have been often told that it’s the easiest thing in the world to be mistaken, and I believe I may safely subscribe to the truth of it, for simpleton as I am, I never found any difficulty in the science of blundering; and as the Devil will have it, the inquisitive part of my acquaintance are always sure to see clearest when I could wish them blinded with snuff.
Curiosity has led me many a dance, and upon this occasion it had taken full possession of my poor devoted fabric of mortality: to my post it hurried me on Thursday full of speculative expectation, the day seemed portentous of some great event; but I could not yet discover it, and with all my watchful attention remained quite in the dark till about half past two in the afternoon, when the Speaker took the Chair: all I could observe before was a general confused bustle, detached whispering parties in different quarters frequent visits from the gentlemen below to the gentlemen above; great appearance of treaty and negotiation, but nothing intelligible; at length the Speaker having taken the Chair requested the members to take their places.
Mr. St—t moved to count the House: The Speaker counted it, and found only eight members including himself. The member for Queen’s and his colleague had retired to the Otium cum dignitate of recess, he was certainly one day too late. I believe the man with the iron mask would have caught a severe cold during the latter years of his life, if he had taken it off for a day, and exposed his real face to the world; and I suppose the same effect would ensue to any other person who has been long accustomed to wear a mask.
A motion was then made by Mr. St—t, and seconded by the firm old Veteran Major D—n, for the Speaker to quit the chair; this was opposed by all except the Gentleman by whom the motion was made and seconded.
A message then came in from the Council with a Bill in addition to an Act to regulate the Terms of the Sittings of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, &c. with an Amendment, which was read and concurred in by all except Mr. St—t, and Major D—n, the former expressing himself nearly in these words;—I will neither say Yea nor Nay, as I protest against the Speaker keeping the Chair, or proceeding to any business to which the members present are incompetent; in which he was joined by Major D—n.
A message then came in from the Council requesting a conference on the Bill for raising a revenue and for appropriating the same, &c. to which all agreed except Mr. St—t, and Major D—n, the former of whom desired to be heard on his objections to these proceedings; but whilst he was speaking the Captains A—n, and McL—n, appeared to me to be hurried out to the conference which was settled in two minutes or thereabouts, and they returned to the House, delivering to the Speaker, as it appeared to me the Bill in question, together with a written paper expressive, I presume, of the Council’s objection thereto, and at the same time informing the Speaker that they required the words “Samuel Denny Street Esq.” to be expunged from the 17th section thereof. The question was then put by the Speaker; whether the words ”Samuel Denny Street, Esq.” should be expunged; and passed in the affirmative, I observed then that the Bill was handed by the Speaker to Mr. St—t, to make (as Clerk I presume) the alteration proposed; and I also observed that Mr. St—t, returned the Bill to the Speaker, declining to make any alteration in a Bill that had passed the House, at the instance of a few members, of whom he himself had declared that they possessed no power to make any alteration whatever therein. The Speaker then as far as I could discern, made the alteration himself, and the Bill was returned to the Council, who, shortly after, sent a message informing the House of their concurrence therewith.
And thus I conceive the first ordinance for raising a revenue in this province, and for appropriating the same has derived its birth.
That we shall never have a second, I feel the strongest confidence, and that the first may meet with no resistance from the public, I sincerely hope, for the preservation of the peace and harmony of his Majesty’s Province, as I have pride in asserting myself to be one of his firm, loyal and affectionate subjects. But if any have infringed the privileges of the House, and have usurped the exercise of powers they had no just claim to, for the purpose of altering two Bills which had duly passed that House, 1 hope they will be made answerable for their conduct at a future day, and that in a manner so exemplary and effectual as to prevent any repetition of so daring an outrage on our Constitution in future.
For the purpose of fair investigation, Mr. Printer, have I written, that the public may be informed so to enable them to form a proper judgment of the facts I have presented to them and I here challenge the selection of one single error in statement throughout this letter.
On the second of April, 1604, the House of Commons of Great Britain, made the following rule:— “That a question being once made and carried in the affirmative or negative, cannot be questioned again, but must stand as Judgment of the House,”—This rule has never been deviated from, except in instances where a question of weight may have been put in a thin House, and the consideration of it afterwards confirmed by a faller House, for the purpose of obtaining more fully the sense of the House by the additional members.
What then shall we say, or what mast we think of those who reverse this rule of honour and equity; and after a question has been once put in a full House and negative, resume the same in a thin House, composed wholly (except one and the Speaker) of those who held the affirmative when the question was first put.
Read and receive light; for nothing but facts shall be given to you.
On Monday the 1st of March, 1802, a bill for appropriating and disposing of the public monies, was read the third time as engrossed; and a motion was then made, that the name “Samuel Denny Street, Esquire,” be taken out of the bill, and the word “the” inserted: upon which the House divided—yeas seven, nays ten, and the motion was negatived.
On the Thursday following, seven Members only present, including the Speaker (who were entitled to vote) and five of the seven well known to be of those who held the affirmative when the question was first put; the question was again put, for expunging the words “Samuel Denny Street, Esquire” from the said bill, and the same passed in the affirmative.
Thus you must perceive, Mr. Printer, that by this mode of putting the question a second time, the affirmative of five was allowed to prevail against the previous negative of ten.
Is this a fair and honourable discharge by our Representatives of the trust reposed in them by us, or is it not? Or will it admit of a question, after the facts I have adduced?
It is time, my worthy and loyal fellow subjects of a great, a good, and virtuous Monarch, that we should act with caution. We have proved ourselves faithful and loyal subjects, and we are entitled to the enjoyment of that constitution for which we have shed our blood, and sacrificed so many of our dearest friends, and connections, during a long and bitter conflict. We are, I presume, on the eve of that period, when we are again to exercise our right to elect those by whom we are to be represented; and we are to form one branch of the legislature. If any of those to whom we have hither to given our suffrages have deceived or betrayed us, it is then that we can shake them off, and consign them to that contempt which they merit; it is then that we can legally (and without disturbing the peace and harmony of His Majesty’s loyal Province of New Brunswick) effectually redress ourselves; it is then that we can frown indignant on the artful, fawning sycophant, who shall ask us to vest him with power, that he may barter it for the promotion only of his private views and interests.
Attend, I entreat you, to the manner in which this caution is given. It is not to promote the interests of any particular persons or proposed candidates for your future confidence; it is not to answer any partial or interested purposes; but it is to prevent your being cajoled and flattered into a sacrifice of the invaluable privileges, which you derive from the best of Constitutions. And it is a caution preceded by a state of facts incontrovertible in themselves; highly interesting to the Province at large; and in a particular manner [illegible] the weighty consideration of those Counties who may consider the conduct of their present members reprehensible.
For the information of the public, it may be proper to subjoin the following parliamentary authorities, viz. “It doth not belong to the Judges to judge of any law, custom, or privilege of Parliament.” Coke’s Instit. 50.
“When laws shall be altered by any other authority other than that by which they were made (says King Cha. 1st in his speech at Newark to the inhabitants of Nottingham, 1642) your foundations are destroyed.”— Rush. vol. 3. Page 653. Lex. par. 359.
“The difference between an act of Parliament, and an ordinance in Parliament, is, for that the ordinance wanteth the three-fold consent, and is ordained by one or two of them.” Coke’s Inst. 25. Lex. par. 365.
The application of these authorities is too obvious to need any comment from
[“Creon” was the ruler of Thebes in the Greek legend of Oedipus. This was a pseudonym.]
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
The following is from a travelogue entitled Rambles Among the Bluenoses, Reminiscences of a Tour Through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and was written by Andrew Learmont Spedon. His travels were during the summer of 1862. The following excerpt describes his experiences upon a steamboat, travelling from Saint John to Fredericton.
Spedon describes a very pleasant trip up the river. He was perhaps tired of describing pleasant things and, as he approached Fredericton, his writing reverted to its sarcastic best. That is why I have entitled this segment “By Steamer, to the So-Called City of Fredericton.”
The Steamer Westchester on the Jemseg River
N.B. Museum via the McCord Museum
By Steamer, to the So-Called City of Fredericton
Having taken a general peep at St. John and its vicinity, I took steamer at Indian Town,—distant a mile and a half from the city, and thence proceeded en route for Fredericton,—the Capital of New Brunswick, and distant eighty-five miles up the St. John river; it was a lovely morning in June,—a gentle breeze was fanning the bosom of the water, and all on board appeared to be happy and conversive. Both decks were crowded—the usual number being augmented by a company of Baptist ministers, with their wives and families, going to the Gemsec [Jemseg] river to hold a “Spiritual Association” with others of their brethren. These “General Assemblies” of the Baptists in New Brunswick are similar to the “Camp Meetings” of the Methodists in Canada. They assemble in vast multitudes,—encamping in the fields or woods, and attend to the wants of the outer and inner man,—and for days, and perhaps weeks, have a good time of it, in fostering and promulgating their religious principles, and cherishing their united feelings of cordiality and friendship.
The river St. John was discovered in 1804 [sic], by Mons. de Monts, a French navigator, and by him named, after the Patron Saint of France; it being found on that anniversary day. It was then called by the Mimacs, Oungandy; and by the Milete, Walloostook, signifying long river. Its entire length is 450 miles. It takes its rise in the hills between Canada and the state of Maine. From its mouth, to a point above the Grand Falls, it runs exclusively through New Brunswick,—its east bank only for 75 miles further up is within the Province. For 112 miles above this, its course is wholly through American territory; and a further distance of 38 miles to its source, it is the dividing line between Canada and Maine. It is navigable for vessels of about 100 tons to Fredericton—eighty-five miles from its mouth,—and steamers of lighter draft ply to Woodstock, sixty-two miles further up, and at some periods of the year they ascend as far as the Grand Falls. The St. John river is to New Brunswick what the St. Lawrence is to Canada,—the main artery of the Province, into which numerous tributaries empty themselves; many of which are navigable to various distances.
During summer, six small steamers ply daily between St John city and Fredericton,—and the number of persons who pass up and down the river is estimated at 60,000.
The river, in proportion to its general size, for some distance above its mouth is extremely narrow, circuitous, and apparently deep, and is called the “Narrows.” The shores in this part are bound by rugged ledges of rock, rising perpendicularly to the height of from one to two hundred feet, and their bold fronts looking down with stern sublimity, threatening an invasion upon the waters. Gradually, the river widens; but ranges of rocky hills still line the shores seemingly unfit for animal existence to subsist therefrom. Seven miles from the city, the Kennebecasis river enters the St. John; and in the distance it appears as a mountain lake. Some twenty miles further up, the land assumes a less formidable aspect; and as we advance, the hills become beautifully modified, particularly on the northern side of the river, and at length gradually recede, leaving extensive flats of alluvial land. These intervals are low, marshy grounds, producing immense quantities of hay, from being enriched by the annual inundations of spring. The farmers in these parts obtain an animal and a vegetable crop yearly from their farms; for during spring the inundations bring large quantities of fish to their very doors; and afterwards the soil produces an abundant harvest. In some places, these flats are indented with little silvery lakes. The most beautiful and picturesque scenery along the river is in the vicinity of Long Island, and at the entrance of the Gemsec. At the latter, the river resembles an archipelago, and might with propriety be called the “Valley of Waters.” Around islets of romantic beauty the arms of those rivers are thrown as if embracing them with affectionate delight, and the vessel glides as a thing of life among those lovely isles that nestle upon the bosom of the waters, while the eye wanders in poetic fancy over the elysian scene. The steamer now deviated from its usual course by entering the Gemsec, in purpose to carry our “spiritual brethren” to their destination, at the distance of a few miles. The scenery here is also delightful, and every heart appeared to appreciate its charms. Nature is to be met here in forms of modest and magnificent beauty, whose features are more designed to please the fancy than excite the feelings into ecstasy.
The country on each side of the river St. John, for many miles beyond its confluence with the Gemsec, is in keeping with the other portions of the river scenery. For miles are tracts of level land, gradually swelling into hills, and then hill and dale alternate,—the former, rising at times to the dignity of a mountain, and the latter subsiding into a valley; then the banks become abrupt, steep—and again they are terrace-like, sloping away with a graceful incline from the water’s edge. But as we approach Fredericton, the scenery assumes a less lovely appearance, and the soil apparently more sandy and sterile; but when we had reached the capital, an involuntary feeling of disappointment stole over my mind, and the painted bubble that I had been blowing up all day unexpectedly burst before my eyes. But, before entering the “Great City,” I feel disposed to linger a whil’e over the scenes of the day and comment a little further upon the general features of the country.
I have admitted that the river scenery is in general beautiful and pleasing to the fancy; but the true poetic eye soon discovers that there is a marked deficiency in some of the ingredients essential to constitute an agreeable picture to the taste of the epicurean admirer of nature. The beauty of the scenery arises more from the mere outlines of exterior and position, than from the contributaries of the general features, or the combination of the minutiae with the greater. Every candid observer of nature will admit that the river possesses a noble appearance,—winding as it does through a romantic country. Its form is large; its water pellucid,—and beautiful islets dot its surface in many places. The form of the hills are also finished with geometrical skill, in places receding with gentle acclivity in ranges; and at others rising, as it were, out of the bosom of each other,—and all united as a family in one extended chain of brotherhood.
But a further observation informs us that the country is destitute of that verdant vegetation and vivid vitality that Canada is possessed of, particularly at that time of the season. The trees in general are of the fir kind, small, and scroggy, and apparently the worst specimens of the species. The softwood and evergreens are naturally designed to exist in marshy lands; but here, we find them high and dry, as if nature had pitched her productions of the swamp at random upon the heights. In vain do we look for the vegetable emblem of Canada, and the graceful presence of the leafy grove. Nothing but fir, fir continually—everywhere we go; and the eye at length feels so disgusted with its monotonous omnipresence, that neither the beauty of the river, nor the symmetry of the hills can relieve the feeling. I have, indeed, an inveterate antipathy to the fir ever since,—and were I to become a botanical author I would totally exclude it from the genera of that species of natural philosophy.
Again, the cultivated land of the hills, on both sides of the river, from St. John to Fredericton, and farther, appeared to be universally covered with weeds bearing a white flower, and known by the very romantic cognomen of “Bull’s Eyes.” A product so general and utterly useless shows, at once, that the soil is either puerile by nature or rendered so by the lack of proper attention;—both may possibly be true. In many places, red soil, apparently sand, was visible through the verdure of the fields; and, judging from the appearance of things in general, I venture to say that agriculture is sadly neglected. Fishing and lumbering, I fear, too much absorb the time and attention of the farmer,—and to that degree, that farming may only receive a secondary consideration.
The islands and intervals are the formations of alluvial deposits brought down from the hills and mountains by the rains and rivers,—and within the memory of the old settlers, many parts, then covered with water, are now dry and producing immense crops of hay.
The country may be rich in its resources,—the people may be wealthy,—but another indication of something wrong in the wheels of progress is the want of towns and villages. Not one single instance of such is visible along the St. John river, between the city of St. John and Fredericton. A paltry wharf or so, with a house or two at the rear, are the only “stepping stones” to commercial business in those parts. It may now be asked, “How then are travellers and freight disposed of?” When a passenger on board has arrived nearly opposite his destination, a signal is made, known to his friends on shore or persons stationed there for the purpose of attending to the steamer, who immediately come out to receive the person or whatever freight has to be taken ashore; or when any party or freight is to be exported, as soon as the steamer makes its appearance, a boat with its cargo is hurried out—a signal is made,—and responded to by the bell or steam whistle, and the process of removal is performed in almost an instant of time. Indeed the whole affair is very ingeniously and expertly accomplished. As the small boat approaches the side of the steamer, it is drawn closely to, and held by catch poles, while a man descends a step-way that is let down, and the passengers and freight, are instantly removed, without scarcely a perceptible halt in the motion of the steamer. In my downward trip by the “Heather Bell,” that runs in opposition to the “Anna Augusta,” I counted no less than two hundred persons who had to undergo this process of “positionary exchange.” A spirited competition is manifested by these steamers; and as they ran together, they were continually striving to out-wit each other in the picking up of passengers frequently passing and repassing each other, at times coming so close as to almost touch sides. This afforded considerable amusement to many of the passengers who were evidently desirous to out-win their opponents. But, from such reckless and irresolute actions and “goaheaditiveness” of our fast going age, too frequently has it been the case that fatal and calamitous events have ultimately resulted therefrom.
The morning after my arrival at Fredericton,—the “city capital” of New Brunswick, I strolled out to get a peep at this “great central emporium” of the province; but after pedestrianizing for half an hour, straining my eyes in vain to see more than could be seen, I felt a sort of bewildered disappointment creep over my feelings of anticipation, and, like the man that denied his own self when he discovered in the morning that his whiskers had disappeared during the night, I concluded that I must either deny the capital, or doubt my vision; or, perchance, that I had committed an error by landing at the wrong place,—so in order to satisfy my mind, and do justice to the city, I stepped into a shop in the main street to make inquiry.
Beyond the counter stood a youthful scion of the weight and measure species, and apparently but newly initiated,—yet, affecting a sort of mercantile air and position, and my “humble servant” in full readiness to wait upon me as soon as I had entered.
Having introduced my presence by the usual morning salutation, and taken a mental survey of his clerkship’s scarlet colored cranium, and speckled countenance, I inquired, with bare-faced Yankee inquisitiveness, if this was the city of Fredericton.
“Ye-es sir,” was the reply.
“Is it the capital of New Brunswick?”
“Is this the principal street of the city then?”
“Is there much business done here?”
“Ye-es sir,” was again the reply.
Like Abraham of old, I ventured to ask another question, peradventure I might strike his natural vein of conversation.
“Are there many soldiers here at present?”
“Ye-es sir,” he hesitatingly replied, somewhat astonished and staring at me as if I had come in the undercovered capacity of a Yankee spy, to get a peep at the garrison.
Having obtained so much information through the medium of only two words, and not wishing to tamper with his humor and civility by extracting a further repetition,—and perhaps get myself into as bad a fix as did Slidell and Mason, I thanked him for his kindness, and made my exit with good decorum, leaving his “clerkship” to his own reflections.
Indeed, I narrowly escaped a temporary detention. Whilst at supper in the evening, a gentleman was telling with great gusto, that a Yankee had been seen that day loafing around the barracks, and making himself very inquisitive about the city affairs in general: whereupon a universal volley of national anathemas was inflicted upon the suspected spy, and the doings of Yankee Jonathan’s children in general. I could not refrain myself from smirking under the eyelids at such a personal remark. The whole affair reminded me of Chamber’s visit to a burying-ground in Scotland, the contents of which, are as follows:
Scarcely had he entered the hallowed ground, and began to decipher the almost obliterated inscriptions upon the gravestones, when an old wife showed her head over the paling, and demanded his errand. Mr. Chambers very calmly informed her of it; and thence interrogated a series of questions about the “auld kirk yaird” whereupon she suspected him to be a resurrectionist,—and away she ran to the village; and, in less than no time, about thirty “auld wives” were after him with stone and turf, and had he not been possessed of such speedy legs, he might have been sacrificed, Stephen-like, as a martyr to his local inquisitiveness, and met with his death and grave at the one place.
Fredericton, with only about two or three thousand inhabitants, is in reality an incorporated city, and the capital of the Province; but, I know of no feature connected therewith that should have given it the pre-eminence. Properly speaking, New Brunswick like Nova Scotia—has only one city, namely, Saint John, which, I think, is fully entitled to the preference of that title, which the insignificant, so called city of Fredericton presumptuously inherits.
The city is built upon the side of an eminence; and when viewed from the river it possesses a somewhat lively and romantic appearance. The principal part in the city, and where the business in general is conducted, consists of one wide street of a mile in length, running parallel with the river;—the houses of which are chiefly composed of brick;—large, elegantly finished, and principally used as ware-rooms and shops.
The other buildings of the city are generally inferior, and on the whole destitute of sufficient attraction to elicit a description. The governor resides in the city. A battalion of soldiers is also stationed there.
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
The following is taken from a travelogue entitled Rambles Among the Bluenoses, Reminiscences of a Tour Through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and was written by Andrew Learmont Spedon. His travels were during the summer of 1862. The following excerpt describes his visit to Saint John.
I was critical of Mr. Spedon in a previous excerpt of this work, but I find his remarks about Saint John to be enjoyable. My only complaint is that he ignored the labouring classes. From his description, you would think that Saint John was uniformly what we would call ‘middle class.’
Following are his observations, with some editing changes as noted. I have added the title “A Quiet and Business-Like Little City.”
Saint John at the foot of King Street, 1889
From the New Brunswick Provincial Archives
A Quiet and Business-Like Little City
The city of St. John is situated at the entrance of the St. John river, and upon an arm of the Bay of Fundy. It stands upon a rocky peninsula, once of very uneven ground, that slopes in opposite directions from a central ridge. It was founded by the French when they held possession of that country, and was a station at which trading with the Indians was extensively carried on. On the opposite side of the harbor, the ruins of an old French fort are still to be seen, where many a bloody contest between the French and English took place. After several years of unsuccessful fighting and determination on the part of the British, they finally succeeded in taking the forts, and driving the French from the town by coming upon them unawares, at the early dawn of the morning, when most of them were in bed. So keen and resolute were the French that the majority of them sallied out upon their invaders, undressed, but after a severe contest they were compelled to surrender.
Tradition has still preserved a few of the many legends connected with the place, during those troublous times; but they are now difficult to be obtained.
[A romanticized version of the story of Madame LaTour is deleted.]
The Saint John of the present day is one of those pleasant little cities in which the tourist delights to feel himself at home for a few days. Its design, on the whole, is purely of a mathematical order, exhibiting a refined taste, and a high sense of convenience and comfort. Many of the houses are of a superior structure, but the majority are composed of wood, yet neatly and elegantly finished.
The streets are wide, and run at right angles to each other. In the centre part of the city, divided only by a block of buildings, are King’s and Queen’s Squares, each consisting of several acres of land, interspersed with trees, and kept in excellent condition. In the centre of each is a fountain, standing in a pedestal basin and ejecting a continued stream of cooling and refreshing water. From this point beautiful pathways diverge to each angle, and middle of the exterior of the squares; and numerous seats are placed at convenient distances from each other. These parks are the favourite and fashionable resorts of the citizens; a sort of elegant parterre, to which all classes have an equal right. It is, indeed pleasant to the wearied feelings to take an airy ramble around these grounds in the lovely summer evenings, and participate, as it were, in the happy and social feeling of the varied throngs that pay a visit to these verdant elysiums. There you behold men of every grade, and of varied vocation,—a wide field, indeed, for the observing student of human nature, and one that can furnish many practical lessons of humanity.
Contiguous to King’s Square, is the old cemetery—the garden of the dead,—a venerable looking place. It is beautifully laid out, being interspersed with elegant walks, bordered with flowers, and with graceful trees on either side, forming cool and delightful avenues. Its surface is dotted with tablets and tombstones, many of which are considerably weather-browned, and their inscriptions partially effaced.
[Spedon’s poems and thoughts about mortality deleted.]
The population of St. John and its environs is estimated at 42,000. They are chiefly the descendants of the U.E. Loyalists, but a sprinkling of the British Isles is discernible. In person, the people are generally tall and robust, of noble bearing, and fine expressive countenance; with a sort of “free-and-easy-go” motion. In manner they are courteous and extremely civil; in conversation agreeable and intelligent, and ever ready either to give or receive information: and on the whole, apparently possessing more of the American characteristic, than that of the British. In business they appear to be diligent and persevering, and accomplish more with affability and prudence than by counterfeit and boisterous arrogance. The city generally assumes a quiet and business-like appearance; and, notwithstanding its maritime position, its laws seem to be strictly observed, and few signs of intemperance are visible. The people in general seem to estimate the healthy, exhilarating, and invaluable exercise of walking. The streets are not lined, like those of our Lower Canadian cities, with caleches and catch-penny-cabs; nor is the pedestrian at all molested in his perambulations by the unmannerly demand of “’caballing whipsters” and “petty drivellers,” to have “a drive.”
Special omnibuses are always in attendance on the arrival and departure of the cars and steamers; and any person desirous of taking a drive can get a conveyance at a moment’s warning at any of the numerous livery establishments throughout the city.
St. John possesses an excellent harbor, and its wharves extend over a mile. An extensive trade with other countries is generally carried on; but owing to the present American war, a universal depression appears to prevail. Shipbuilding is also a prominent feature of industry. Some of the finest ships in the world are built here, many of which are purchased by Britain. During my stay of two weeks in the city, I saw no less than half a dozen of stately, well-finished vessels launched. I noticed that several of the ships belonging to this port bore names of Scottish origin, such as—“Bonnie Doon,” “Ailsa Craig,” “Ettrick Shepherd,” “Heather Bell,” &c., &c.
Carleton, a small town, is situated upon the opposite side of the harbor, and is connected by a suspension bridge, spanning the mouth of the St. John river, 600 feet in length, and resting upon abutments of solid rock, rising perpendicularly to the height of nearly 200 feet. The passage of the river at this place, and for some distance above, has apparently been cleft by volcanic agency. The tradition of the Indian informs us, that the river originally had two outlets, opening at a considerable distance from each other; but that the “Syegah,” or Water Spirit having become very angry, occasioned by a party of the Indians fishing upon the “Feejah,” or holiday, had shut up the two mouths and opened the present one. Part of this story I believe to be true, as indications of their former courses are still traceable.
Under the bridge, at low tide, a beautiful fall of the water is formed. A story is related of an accident that occurred at these falls many years ago. It appears that several of the early settlers on the St. John River, in the vicinity of Long Island, had gone into partnership in the construction of a very large canoe, by which conveyance they might be enabled to carry their produce to the town, and get in exchange such commodities as they required. Their first voyage, however, proved to be very unfortunate; for while passing over the St. John Rapids, it being low tide at the time, the canoe upset, and fifteen persons were drowned.
The bridge is a beautiful specimen of architecture, and is the only one in the province at which a toll is demanded. It has been erected by the government at great expense. A former one was erected years ago, but fell when nearly completed, killing a number of workmen. On the opposite side of the river, a little above Carleton, stands the Provincial Lunatic Asylum; a splendid building, having a front 300 feet in length, with two wings projecting from the main body, each 160 feet long, &c. It possesses a commanding position, and a fine view of the city and surrounding country; and on the whole is well designed for promoting the health and comfort of the patients.
It appears that the first effort to provide for the accommodation of insane persons, was made in the year 1836, when a building was obtained in the city of St. John, and appropriated to the purpose. It was soon found necessary to provide improved and more extensive accommodations; but not before the subject had been frequently discussed in the Legislature, as it decided to erect a Provincial Asylum. Legislative grants were then appropriated to the erection of the necessary buildings, which were completed in 1848. Since then many requisite additions and improvements have been made.
The control and management of the Asylum are regulated by a Board of Commissioners. The chief resident officer of the institution is Dr. John Waddell, a gentleman of superior abilities, and in every way efficient for the position and responsibility he sustains. When Dr. Waddell first took charge of the establishment, except a small spot in front of the main building, the whole of the land belonging thereto, consisting of 40 acres, was a mere waste. Now it is all under cultivation, and produces a considerable sum towards the support of the establishment, besides conducing largely to the comfort and improvement of the patients.
Notwithstanding the many beautiful and excellent characteristics connected with the city of St. John and its vicinity, there is one very disagreeable feature; and that is the immense quantity of fog that pervades the air, at certain seasons of the year. Frequently, for days, the whole place is enveloped in one dense and universal covering of drizzly fog, so dark at times, as to bewilder the stranger, and. even render locomotion difficult.
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
The following is taken from a travelogue entitled Rambles Among the Bluenoses, Reminiscences of a Tour Through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and was written by Andrew Learmont Spedon. His travels were during the summer of 1862.
Spedon was born in Edinburgh in 1831, and was brought to Montreal as a child. He worked as a newspaper editor and also wrote several books. The following excerpt describes his tour down the east coast of New Brunswick, and across to Saint John.
I don’t think that I would like Mr. Spedon. He had a very good opinion of himself, while being critical of almost everyone else. His descriptions of some New Brunswick towns are very unflattering. If we strip away his dismissive attitudes, however, then we are likely left with some truth. I have edited out some of his remembrances, as you will see. I have also edited two of his references to people of race which, although acceptable in the context of an old document, were nonetheless crude by today’s standards.
Our “rambler” has been travelling on the Saint Lawrence, and we join him as he approaches the eastern coast of New Brunswick in the ocean steamer, The Arabian.
Dalhousie, c 1900, looking toward the Restigouche River, Wikipedia
Rambles Among the Bluenoses in 1862
Early next morning I was awakened from my dreamy slumber by the hoarse voice of the Arabian’s steam-pipe announcing our arrival at the port of Dalhousie. I immediately hurried upon deck to get a prospective view of the town and vicinity—my first glance upon the coast of New Brunswick. I also felt a sort of quivering curiosity to see a New Brunswick “Blue Noser,” as very probably he might differ in some respects from our Canadian “Rouges.” But the first object that attracted my notice was [an African-American] on the wharf, hugging at the hawser or “stay rope” of the vessel, and in such an awkward and unstylish manner as to convince me that his “greenness” would be but a poor certificate to constitute him a “Blue-Jacket.” My attention was further arrested by a number of singularly looking, and strangely dressed beings, apparently of the human form, but of varied sizes, lining the wharf, and seemingly waiting with eager desire to get on board. Each one had a blanket around the body, and drawn closely over the head and face, leaving the proboscis bare, like the neb of a nestled chicken sticking out through the wing of its mother; which organ being blue with the morning chill, left me no reason to doubt of their identity as a specimen of the “Blue Noses.” But a secondary observation annulled the assured veracity of my vision; for on having rubbed the fog out of my eyes, I recognized them to be no other than a party of [Indian women], apparently on a trading excursion to some other town. In the course of a few minutes a number of gentlemen chiefly of the “weight and measure” business, came upon the wharf, whose active and respectable appearance upset my vague and outlandish ideas of the New Brunswiekers, and substituted a more favourable impression.
Having ascertained that the steamer would stay for a couple of hours, I availed myself of the opportunity of visiting the town. Dalhousie is situated at the furthest western extremity of the Bay of Chaleur. Its population, I think, cannot exceed 800. It is built on the acclivity of a range of low hills; but neither the design of the town, nor the appearance of the houses represents a modern dignity in taste and architecture. The scenery possesses a shade of the romantic and beautiful, but the apparent sterility of field and forest, throws a damper over the heated fancy, and the eye turns to gaze with invigorated delight over the calm pellucid waters of the Bay, and thence arises to take its final glance of the adjacent hills that cluster in wild disorder along the Canadian coast.
From Dalhousie our course was directed to Bathurst, situated upon an arm of the Bay, on the eastern shore. But it being low tide at the time, the steamer was prevented from reaching the port, and passengers and freight were removed by small boats. Thence returning, we proceeded down the eastern coast of the Bay of Chaleur—a magnificent sail, indeed, as the weather was favourable. The Bay is over 100 miles in length, and from fifteen to fifty in breadth, and is destitute of any impediment to navigation. It was originally one of the principal fishing grounds of France; and is still famed for the variety and abundance of its fish. Immense numbers of small boats dotted its surface, and the constant hauling of the line and hook was an evident sign of the universal presence of cod-fish and mackerel. This bay, during its whole length, separates Canada from New Brunswick, but there is a striking contrast between the two coasts; that of the former is rocky, mountainous, and almost incapable of being cultivated, whilst the latter is less hilly, in many parts low and flat, apparently formed from alluvial deposits of sand and clay, and wooded with scraggy fir; however, a considerable portion of the country bordering the shore appears to be well inhabited and cultivated.
Early on the following morning we entered the Miramichi river, and proceeded to Chatham, a distance of twenty miles. The town is small, but beautifully situated upon the bank of the river; but does not command that attention which its position might enable it to do. The streets arc irregular; the houses are chiefly of wood, and their dingy, weather-beaten aspect shows that neither paint nor whitening is considered as the essential attributes of taste or beauty.
[The “Rambler” then tells a story of an odd looking man who fell off of the wharf at Chatham, together with his dog. It turned out that the man had outstanding warrants in the U.S. and had, in addition, stolen the dog. He was rescued from the water and arrested. This story is deleted from this edited version of the story.]
Our next stopping place was Newcastle, seven miles further up the river. This town or rather village is pleasantly situated, but its appearance indicates that the organs of order and color are somewhat deficient in the people. Immense quantities of sawn timber here, and at many other places along the shores, show that the lumbering business is extensively carried on in the district of Miramichi. The river is large and beautiful, and is divided into two branches, each of which are navigable for a considerable distance. The country is slightly undulating, and in many parts apparently well cultivated; but it appears singular to me that so large a quantity of cereal produce is annually imported to these parts.
Miramichi, literally translated, signifies “happy retreat,”—so called by a tribe of the Micmac Indians, who had retreated thither after an inglorious contest with those of the Iroquois.
Many of my readers, may probably have heard of the fearful “burning of Miramichi”—a conflagration that still reflects horror on the memory of those who witnessed the awful scene. The summer of 1826 had been excessively hot and withering, and some parts of this continent, and even Europe suffered severely from drought and fire. Many parts of the Canadian forest were also desolated at that time, and much of the land deprived of its vegetable deposits by the ravages of a fire, that in some parts of the combustible soils continued to burn even until the middle of winter. Autumn came, and the sultry sky still continued to withhold its moisture, and the kingdoms of nature became morbid, and languished under the scorching element.
On the afternoon of a Sabbath in August of that memorable year, the fire of Miramichi broke out in the village of Newcastle, the identical place on which the present one stands; with such immense rapidity did the fire extend its fury in the gathering strength of the atmosphere, that in a few minutes the whole village was enveloped in one universal sheet of blazing fire. The aff’righted inhabitants like the ancient Pompeians ran confusedly from the all-devouring element; but many were overwhelmed in the fiery vortex. The very wharves were burnt to the water’s edge, and vessels and their cargoes alike destroyed. Nor did it confine its ravages to this place alone; nor could the hand of mortals arrest its progress, or say “hitherto shalt thou come and no further.” Infuriated by the winds the contagious element spread rapidly over the land, at that time chiefly covered with woods. The very air was pregnant with fire and smoke; and burning cinders were carried to the opposite side of the river, setting the forests on fire. Cattle were overtaken in their flight and roasted alive. Vessels were burnt to ashes upon the water. The inhabitants of the country fled to the river to save their lives, and were compelled to lave the water over their bodies to prevent them from being burnt to death by showers of fiery cinders blown from the trees. Even the wild beasts of the forest sought an asylum in the waters, and seemed for the time being to forget their fear of man. The river at length became so hot and deleterious that the very fish lay dead upon its shores. And for weeks after the fire had subsided a dense smoke, black as Erebus, hung like mourning over the desolated land.
Such an alarming and destructive calamity has been considered by the reflective Christian as a divine chastisement for the sins of the people. The inhabitants being chiefly lumbermen, and generally destitute of moral and religious influence, had become at length regardless of the laws of both God and man. Drunkenness and gambling triumphed over virtue; the Sabbath was desecrated, and in a sense, blotted out of the decalogue [this word misused]; Newcastle was a second Sodom in profanity; the infant country had become old in iniquity; and the darkness in the moral atmosphere burst forth at length in a storm of fire: Newcastle was consumed to ashes; the country was made desolate; and the inhabitants reduced to a state of mental and physical suffering.
From the Miramichi river we proceeded to Richibucto by way of the gulf. This village is situated at the upper extremity of the river bay. The channel is narrow, irregular, and extremely dangerous; both sides of which are girt with shoal and reef. Banks of sand line the shore, and scraggy fir cover the land in many parts. The country is flat and marsh-like—is bleak and raw, and appears as if lately emerged from the deep. I cannot speak of the village with accuracy, as our short stay at the wharf rendered a visit impossible. But my unfavorable ideas of the place in general may have been partly augmented by the weather, which for the first time since we left Quebec, had become unfavourable. The clouds had already begun to respire freely, and the waters to shew their spleen, indicating a boisterous evening. Several of the passengers, either from a dread of returning by the channel, or that of sea sickness, went ashore, preferring to go by stage to Shediac, whilst others less fastidious about their feelings came on board. I noticed one in particular who appeared to possess no anxiety of thought or feeling beyond the limits of the present moment—a young “Miss,” apparently but newly imported from the boarding-school, and full of fun and frolic. Accompanied by a young man of similar stamp, she promenaded the deck with graceful step, chatting and giggling in chorus to every frivolous and unmeaning expression of his puny mind. Such fools! thought I, to sell their characters in this manner to the public for so little. But we leave them for the present.
[The rambler then tells the story of a terrible storm on the Bay. The ship’s passengers fear for their lives but, in the end, they remain safe and sound. This story is deleted, including the rambler’s opinion that he was the only person to keep his head during the event, which sounds unlikely. His story of the young “Miss” being comforted by her male friend is also deleted. The rambler dared to assume that the friend was her paramour, and he considered the young man’s efforts to comfort the Miss to be as hypocritical as might come from a Pharisee. Our rambler was a strange fellow.]
However, after a rough passage of two or three hours longer, and no other accidents occurring, we were safely landed at Shediac, feeling happy indeed, that we had not become inhabitants of the deep; and also grateful for our preservation to Him, “who maketh weights for the winds and weigheth the waters by measure, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea; and none can say unto Him, ‘What doest thou?’”
The village of Shediac has rather a scattered and irregular appearance. A few stores, a saw-mill or two, and a rail-road depot, constitute the chief features of business. The country is somewhat low and sandy, and is neither possessed of beauty nor enriched by agriculture. The people exist chiefly by fishing and lumbering, and live largely upon crabs and lobsters, if I may infer from the many heaps of decomposing offal.
Having spent two days in and around the place, I then left en route for the city of St. John. The country joining the rail-road, for many miles is chiefly in forest, many parts of which have been terribly ravaged by fires. The land in general is flat, of a sandy gravelly nature, and destitute of much of the surface soil. In vain, I looked for the bough-spreading elm, and the stately maple but instead thereof, only beheld the poplar, fir, and white birch, few of these possessing anything apparently of beauty or value.
Moncton was the only place on our route of any consequence between Shediac and Sussex valley. This town or rather village, is situated on the banks of the Petitcodiac river, commanding a fine position and country, and presenting an industrial orderly appearance. Farming is a general feature of labour in this part; but lumbering and ship-building are the staple productions of business The river has received its name from its singular curve at this place, resembling an elbow. The tides from the Bay of Fundy ascend the river for thirty miles, the water vertically rising here to the height of thirty feet; but of that wonderful phenomenon of the tidal wave, termed the “bore,” occurring here and at other places, I will speak hereafter.
As we advanced, the country assumed a more undulating appearance; and when we had entered the Sussex Vale—called the “Pleasant Valley,” we were surrounded by scenery lovely and picturesque. This place is equidistant from Shediac to St. John. The Valley itself is low, exceedingly fertile, and intercoursed by a winding river. The backgrounds are romantically formed by ranges of hills that look like verdant walls, sloping with finely-cultured fields, and dotted with fashionable houses. It is here that the “Hero of Kars” has his New Brunswick residence, and the mansion, beautiful in itself, and imbedded with trees of the evergreen, like its possessor, stands eminently high in position. It is very probable that this valley and its continued extremities were formerly the bed of a large river, contributing to that of the Kennebecasis. Indications of coal are visible in this vicinity. Something of that nature has been lately discovered by a Mr. Light; I hope that neither the invaluable treasure has evaporated in “gas,” nor that the said gentleman has buried his talents in the earth; but that he will give to the world all the “light” that he possibly can. [The “Hero of Kars” was Sir William Fenwick Williams, a military hero during the Victorian era.]
At length we came in view of the Kennebecasis, a name poetically adapted to appearance, signifying a “River of Lakes.” At one part the river is apparently a small arm or stream, abruptly it widens into a beautiful lake-like form; then separating in several arms, running in beautiful circles among verdant meadows, and at length meet and mingle into one, again to be divided and re-united, until it diffuses its silvery waters into those of the St. John river. I may here state that the distance from Shediac to the city of St. John is 108 miles. The rail-road is well laid, and considerable taste is displayed in the construction of the cars and the station buildings in general. One disagreeable feature, particularly to the more fashionable and fastidious traveller, is the aboriginal name of the places being attached to almost every station. Such for instance, as Nauwigewaugh, Plumweseep, Quimpamsis, Apohaqui, Penobesquis, &c. I could not prevent myself from giving a hearty outburst to my tickled fancy, when I first saw the conductor open his mouth like a dying cod-fish, and roar out one of these terrible etymological jaw-breakers. Horrible and unchristian-like as they may appear to the civilized ear of the Englishmen, they are beautifully emblematical of a reality connected with the place, or object, and contain more poetical sentiment and geographical truth than most of our modern names, many of which are only the unmeaning words of a whimsical fancy, or the revived echo of an apish nationality.
As we approach St. John, the country gradually becomes more rugged and sterile; sternly romantic, and offering few facilities for farming; some parts apparently a barren wilderness of mountain crags, and fit only for the existence of chameleons and rock salamanders.
But I wind up for the present, as the steam whistle announces our arrival at the depot; and I alight among a noisy and promiscuous crowd of strangers, and find that I am safely landed at the “City of the Bay.”
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
Edward John Russell, a New Brunswick Artist
Edward John Russell’s paintings are often seen, but credit is usually given to the museum or gallery from which they came, and not to the artist himself. It is a shame that Russell is not more famous, since he left us with a trove of very accurate paintings of the age of sail in New Brunswick and elsewhere.
Russell was born in England in 1832, and immigrated to Saint John, New Brunswick, at the age of 19 years. He married in Saint John and, in a few years, moved to Fredericton where his artistic career began. During that period, he contributed to illustrated newspapers in England and Canada and produced a book of sketches of New Brunswick. At the age of thirty, he moved back to Saint John and continued to draw and paint. It was there that he began painting tall ships, for which is well known. He produced a great many of these paintings and is admired not only as a painter but as an excellent draftsman and for the accuracy of his representations.
Russell moved briefly to Boston after his first wife died in 1880. He married again in Boston and returned to Saint John where he continued to paint and to publish his works in several newspapers.
Best known for his tall ships paintings, Russell also published many other paintings and drawings. Several of these are still available, though most of the online images are from microfilm and are of a poor quality.
This is a catalogue of the paintings and drawings that I have been able to find. All of these are in the public domain, but I thought that a full exhibition in this blog would take undue advantage of the work that others had put into compiling them. Only a few examples are shown here, together with links to the sources. The precise titles of the paintings vary from source to source, and the titles shown are as found.
The Lizzie Morrow
This ship is special to me, since it was owned in part by George Daniel Morrow, a son of George and Elizabeth (Wood) Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick. Elizabeth (Lizzie) was a 2nd great grand aunt of mine.
- “Albatross,” after 1882 
- “Albion, the Wreck of the,” after 1853 
- “Alexander Gibson,” after 1877 
- “American Bark,” 1869 
- “American Frigate Riding Out a Storm” 
- “American Full Rigged Ship at Anchor in European Port with French Ship off Bow” 
- “Anglo America,” 1878 
- “Baroque Northern Empore,” Windsor, N.S. 
- “Battle of the Dolphin with the Hebe and Three Brothers,” 1906, Russell, after an engraving by George Coggeshall 
- “Blanco,” 1875-1880 
- “Boston Harbour, a view of, 1896” 
- “Buteshire,” c 1876 
- “City Camp,” c 1875 
- “City Mobile” 
- “Clipper Ship Carrick, Castle of the Sea” 
- “Cumberland; Saint John Harbour 1892” 
- “Curlew,” 1881-1901 
- “David Lynch,” c 1894 
- “David Weston,” 1893 
- “Empress,” c 1895 
- “Eva,” c 1890 
- “Forest,” 1877-1893 
- “Governor Tilley,” 1892 
- “Lizzie Morrow,” ca. 1885, 
- “Maria Scammel,” 1869 
- “Moss Glen,” 1865-1891 
- “Banquereau,” 1869-1873 
- “Paramatta,” c 1890 
- “Peerless,” 1870-1876 
- “Prince Amadeo,” c 1875 
- “Rialto,” c 1885 “Royal Harrie,” 1872-1880 
- “Schooner and Brigantine at Sea,” 1902 
- “Romance of the Sea, Clipper Ship” 1902 
- “Ship in Full Sail on Stormy Sea,” 1893 
- “Soulanges,” 1877-1893 
- “Star,” 1895 
- “Storm Petrel” 
- “USS President at Anchor in Heavy Swell,” 1904 
- “Fort Lee and Rockland Lake, N.Y.” 
- “Hudson River from French Hotel” 
- “King & Jewett Mill, Thos. E. Millidge Shipyard, St. John, New Brunswick,” c1865 
- “Provincial Exhibition Palace, Fredericton, 1864, Matthew Stead Esq. Architect,” 
- “Sphinx of the Bay,” 1893 
Drawings, and Prints from Drawings
- “Ice build-up in the St. John River at Fredericton, winter 1857,” [8, with a credit to the Illustrated London News, 23 May 1857]
- “Narrows of the St. John River Looking Toward Indiantown,” [9, with a credit to the Canadian Illustrated News, March 1, 1873, and to Library and Archivers Canada]
- “Narrows of the St. John River Looking Toward South Bay,” [9, with a credit to the Canadian Illustrated News, March 15, 1873]
- “Rainstorm,” about 1875, wood engraving 
- “Recent Fire in Saint John, New Brunswick” [9, with a credit to the Canadian Illustrated News, 29, April 1871, Vol. III, No. 17, p 268]
- “Young Girl Kneeling,” about 1875, wood engraving 
- Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Tall Ships of Atlantic Canada, at http://www.atlantictallships.ca. This site is no longer on line, and I have been unable to locate its replacement page.
- Commons.Wikimedia.org at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Usspresidentatanchor.jpg
- Edward John Russell Auction Results at http://www.artnet.com/artists/edward-john-russell/past-auction-results
- Doyle, New York at http://www.doylenewyork.com/asp/fullCatalogue.asp?salelot=0111062++++4+&refno=++280693
- Invaluable (auctions) at http://www.invaluable.com/artist/russell-edward-john-kd3k7bhwyy/sold-at-auction-prices/
- McCord Museum at http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/scripts/search_results.php?keywords=edward+john+russell&Lang=1 or Google the image and McCord
- New Brunswick Museum at http://website.nbm- mnb.ca/collections/online/search.asp?txtsearch=edward+john+russell
- Virtual Gallery of Historic Fredericton at http://www.familyheritage.ca/fredericton1.html
- Virtual Gallery of Historic Saint John at http://www.familyheritage.ca/saintjohngallery.html
From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com
This blog post is from the 1876 report of the Medical Superintendent of the Provincial ‘Lunatic Asylum’ in Saint John, excluding tables of accounts. It begins with statistics of the numbers of patients, etc., but continues with more interesting topics. These include the use of alcohol as a stimulant for patients and the need for building repairs. The growing numbers of permanent residents for whom a cure was deemed unlikely and the resulting overcrowding are also discussed. There are remarks regarding how important it was that patients be well and comfortably accommodated but, with a nod to the budget people, phrases such as ‘without resorting to extravagance’ are inserted. The Superintendent, John Waddell, advocated to treat patients with dignity beyond what was typical at that time.
For more information about this institution, refer to the blog posting of February 27, 2013, entitled “St. John Poor House and Workhouse.”
The ‘Lunatic Asylum’ at St. John
From the New Brunswick Museum
           
Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875
On the 31st October, 1874, the date of the last Report, there were two hundred and forty two Patients on the Record, one hundred and thirty five males and one hundred and seven females. During the year there have been admitted one hundred and ten—fifty five males and fifty five females. The total number under treatment, three hundred and fifty two—one hundred and ninety males, and one hundred and sixty two females.
The result of treatment is, one male and one female remain recovered, forty two have been discharged recovered—twenty one males, and twenty one females; one female much improved; twelve improved—five males, and seven females; forty have died—twenty four males, and sixteen females; and there remain in the Institution two hundred and fifty seven—one hundred and forty males, and one hundred and seventeen females.
The cause of death in thirteen was exhaustion from various forms of chronic insanity; in consumption, six; in epilepsy, four; in pneumonia, diarrhoea, softening of the brain, old age, and erysipelas, two each; in cancer, dropsy, bone sores, tumour of the neck, paralysis, disease of the brain, and “Visitation of God,” one each.
Seventeen of those who died were buried by their friends, fourteen by the Rev. Dr. Scovil, seven by the Rev. Mr. Dunphy, and one each by the Rev. Mr. Boyd and Rev. Mr. Teed.
Of the two hundred and fifty seven remaining on the Record, one male and one female are recovered, forty nine are improved—twenty five males, and twenty four females; and two hundred and six unimproved—one hundred and fourteen males, and ninety two females.
Of the whole number under treatment during the year, there were one hundred and forty seven from Saint John; York, forty; Charlotte, thirty one; Northumberland, twenty six; King’s, twenty three; Westmorland, sixteen; Queen’s, fourteen; Gloucester, thirteen; Carleton and Albert, each ten; Kent, nine; Restigouche, four; Sunbury, three; Victoria, two; and Nova Scotia, four.
The monthly average during the year has been two hundred and fifty five. The greatest number at any one time, 16th August, two hundred and seventy two; and the smallest number at any one time, 30th November, two hundred and forty seven.
Eighty patients have been admitted during the year under the Act of Assembly 33rd Victoria, Chap. 25, for seventy nine of whom either a Warrant on the County Treasurer, or cash, have been received; and one from Saint John County half cash, and Warrant for half, also received; and for one admitted from King’s County, the Magistrates have failed to forward a Warrant.
Sixty Warrants on County Treasurers, twenty dollars each—say twelve hundred dollars, and one for ten dollars, making in all twelve hundred and ten dollars—have been put into the hands of R.W. Crookshank, Esquire, for collection. The money for eighteen at twenty dollars—say three hundred and sixty dollars, and for one ten dollars, making in all three hundred and seventy dollars—will be paid to the credit of the Provincial Receiver General at the Bank of New Brunswick.
The amount received from this source for five years from 1870 to 1874 inclusive, (see last year’s Report), is five thousand nine hundred and sixty dollars. The receipts for this year from Orders on County Treasurers is twelve hundred and ten dollars, and cash to the credit of the Receiver General three hundred and seventy dollars, making a total for six years of seven thousand five hundred and forty dollars.
In treating the insane, brandy, wine, and ale, and all stimulants that they represent, should be given on the same general principles that govern the general physician in prescribing them, and brandy with milk for food in some cases is indispensable. Ordinary drugs should be used also in treating the physical diseases of the insane, as they are prescribed in common practice among the sane. Many cases of insanity depend on physical disease, and when the cause is removed, the mental difficulty disappears. Every case, however, ought to be treated on its own condition and symptoms, irrespective of preconceived opinions; for example, one physician may entertain such decided views in regard to non-restraint as to try to abandon it altogether; but if a case occur where restraint would afford greater safety to the patient, and in case of violence less danger to those in attendance, and where it would prevent serious destruction of property, it ought certainly to be applied; and if another case requires stimulants, they should not be denied because the practitioner entertains strong views on the teetotal question; nor, on the other hand should brandy, wine, &c. be too freely given, as if they were in some measure to take the place of food.
In hospitals for the insane, it is very desirable to obtain the largest measure of home comforts that can be commanded without resorting to extravagance. An abundant supply of good, wholesome, well-cooked food, also, the best arrangements possible to provide for the patients that are able and willing to work, the means to do so in a manner the most agreeable to them; also, the means to relieve those who do engage in work, by alternating with books, amusements and recreations.
Overcrowding is a subject on which I have frequently written in my former Reports, but faithfulness to all the interests involved demands this further reference to the subject.
On examining the “Brief Statements” at the end of this Report, it will be found under the head of “Patients remaining and in what condition,” that only forty nine are returned as improved. From these, and from those who may be admitted in the course of the year, will the recoveries for the year 1876 principally come. There will also be found in the same Table two hundred and six returned unimproved. From among these but few may be expected to recover, and to this incurable class there is being made every year some additions, and the evil is steadily growing worse and worse. The building was originally designed to accommodate only two hundred. It will be observed that the crowding amounts to one in addition to every four, and the worst feature of the case is, that the house is filled to its original limit with incurables, or, with those from among whom but few may be reasonably expected to recover, and the only alternative to meet the difficulty is to increase the capacity of the Institution or to limit the number of patients to be admitted.
In last year’s Report I referred to some improvements and repairs that were then required which have not yet been made, but I deem it unnecessary to make further reference to the subject, feeling assured that they will be attended to at your earliest convenience. On the whole, the house is in as good a condition as it can well be put under the circumstances.
The Farm and Garden have been cultivated with our usual care and attention, and have produced an unusually large crop. This department has always had a fascination for the writer, and he has always taken an interest in it, but in no year of his superintendence has he been more gratified with the results than the past one.
At the commencement of the farming and gardening operations it required the years of 1850 and 1851 to reduce the rough land to make the necessary preparations for a crop. In 1852 we secured our first return, the proceeds from that date to 1874 inclusive, say twenty three years, was twenty six thousand three hundred and seven dollars eighty eight cents, as is stated in last year’s Report. This year the amount received was one thousand one hundred, and eighty six dollars ninety nine cents, making a total for twenty four years, twenty seven thousand four hundred and ninety four dollars eighty seven cents.
Newspapers, &c, have been continued gratuitously by their generous proprietors, and I desire, on the part of our household, to thank them most sincerely for their thoughtfulness and liberality. There is no kind of literature that insane persons peruse with greater gratification than the newspaper, especially when it contains the news of the locality whence they come.
The following are the Papers, &c. received:— “The Patriot” and “Argus,” Charlottetown, P.E. Island; “Religious Intelligencer” and “Christian Visitor,” St. John, N.B.; “Saint Croix Courier,” Saint Stephen; “Union Advocate,” Newcastle; “The Times,” Moncton; and also “The Christian Work,” London, England; besides these, the Rev. G.M. Armstrong contributed for the use of the patients a large package, unbound, of the illustrated paper, “The Graphic.” To that benevolent Rev. Gentleman our thanks are hereby cordially tendered.
I had the privilege of attending the annual meeting of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, held in Auburn, New York, last May. The meeting was well attended, and able and valuable papers were read on subjects connected with the care and treatment of the insane; and the discussions which followed, elicited the views of members generally on all practical questions, each contributing to the general fund of knowledge the result of his observation and experience. The meeting was in every way interesting and instructive from a professional point of view, while from social consideration, it was extremely gratifying to renew old friendships and form new ones among Gentlemen engaged in the same interesting and benevolent work.
Last year I gave a brief account of the origin and progress in developing this Institution, and thought at the time I had mentioned the name of every one who had been engaged in the work. On looking over afterwards, however, I regretted to find that I had altogether omitted the name of the Hon. Mr. Anglin. As Commissioner, that Gentleman was always active in the discharge of his official duties in relation to the Institution generally, and on one occasion, especially at a time and under circumstances when just such assistance as was in his power to give he most cheerfully rendered, and in doing so, laid me under personal obligations which I still remember with gratitude.
The Rev. Canon Scovil, Ph.D., returned from England the 1st June last, and resumed his duties of Chaplain, and as usual, has continued them since. During his absence for about six months, the Rev. Stanley Boyd officiated for him. Mr. Boyd performed the duties with regularity, and his services were highly appreciated by all to whom he ministered.
In 1852 the Chaplain was appointed. From that time to this he has attended personally to his duties, or, when absent, provided another to take his place. During all these years his attention to his Sabbath services, and to the sick and the dying, have been regular and unremitting; and his sympathy for any of the inmates in distress of any kind, has exhibited itself in many acts of substantial kindness.
I avail myself of this opportunity to acknowledge the valuable and self-denying services of Mr. Graham and Miss Archibald. They have both held their respective appointments upwards of twenty years, and faithfully and well have they performed their several duties. I most cordially yield to them full share of any success that has been attributed to my management.
I desire at the same time to accord to the staff of attendants and servants engaged in domestic and other duties, a full acknowledgment of their services, some of whom have been here ten, fifteen and over twenty years, Before concluding, I beg to express my sincere thanks to the Commissioners, and to their Secretary, for all the kindness they have shewn me, and for all the assistance they have afforded me in my work.
On retiring from my official relation to this Institution, I have more than a little to gratify me, but the chief source whence my satisfaction arises is the result of my professional labour—in knowing that many families throughout this Province, and elsewhere, have been made happy by the return to them of patients who have been treated here and recovered, and have gone back to be a comfort to their friends and to be good members of society.
And now, commending the Institution in all its interests for the future to the care and protection of Him—whose blessing is essential to success in any undertaking—and praying that He may ever watch over it and make it instrumental for good to the inmates, to their friends, and to the Province at large—I respectfully submit the twenty eighth Annual Report.
JOHN WADDELL, M.D.
P.L. Asylum, St. John, N. B., 31st Oct., 1875.