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Jan 10 1903


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, January 10, 1903

The Gospel of Free Sport

The suggestion of Recorder Weir to the Parks Committee in regard to the establishment of free toboggan slides and skating rinks on civic property is one which ought not to be passed by unheeded. When the city has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in parks and squares, it is the worst kind of waste that these should be permitted to lie comparatively idle and useless when the expenditure of a few dollars would make them as valuable and as popular health resorts in winter as in summer. The city does not consider that economy compels it to allow these breathing spaces to go uncared for in the summer, and surely the cost of an equal amount of attention during the rest of the year may be looked upon as a legitimate expense. It is not likely that private enterprise would be seriously affected by the city undertaking to provide entertainment of this sort. People who could afford to pay for entrance into a skating rink or membership in a toboggan slide would for the most part consider it beneath them to take advantage of the free resorts, and at any rate the impetus given to both sports by a free start would be sure to create an increased demand for improved facilities for enjoying them such as could scarcely be afforded by the civic authorities.

The winter sports are our national sports par excellence, and it is the part of patriotism as well as of policy to put them within the reach of all. That it is in the interests of good morals as well as of good health that every citizen should be put in a position to enjoy healthful exercise and harmless recreation is a fact that is too generally recognized to require demonstration; and yet how slow we are to act on the principle that playgrounds are more effective than penitentiaries and less expensive to maintain than hospitals.

The Growth of Canada

That Canadians should thank God that the growth of population in this country had been comparatively slow, as Rev. Hugh Pedley said in a public address this week, is a point of view which we do not often sufficiently appreciate in the contemplation of our national life.

We realize that in other things a sound basis is of the utmost importance. When we are erecting a building we do not consider that no headway has been made, because the foundation may not yet have appeared above the level of the surrounding soil. Yet in the rearing of our national structure we have been inclined to think that because we saw the walls of the neighboring republic's house rising with leaps and bounds, while ours were scarcely visible above the surface, we were inclined to feel discouraged, forgetting that we were all the time perfecting our national institutions and our religious organizations so that now, when the flood of population and prosperity is sweeping our way, we are able to handle it and build systematically and strongly.

Towards Public Ownership

Truly it begins to look as if public opinion is moving in the direction of public ownership of public privileges. Toronto has just elected a mayor upon this principle as applied to municipal affairs; though what a mayor can do single-handed toward securing civic ownership of street cars, gas works, etc., it is a little difficult to see. Only a short time previous to that the Platform Committee of the Democratic Convention of the State of New York adopted a resolution calling for Government ownership and operation of the coal mines. The fact that the Social Democratic party in the State elections in November, made gains in each and every one of the thirty-five assembly districts in Greater New York, increasing their total city vote by 70 per cent and their national vote by 130 per cent also indicates a steady and general drift of sentiment in that direction.

To Search For Crime

Mr. Josiah Flynt, whose articles on "The World of Graft," attracted so much attention a short time ago, when after spending several months consorting with criminals and crooks, he made some interesting exposures of official corruption as practiced in several of the large cities of the United States, from the point of view of the blackmail law-breakers, is reported to have "disappeared" again in search of fresh material. The New York correspondent who makes his announcement suggests that Mr. Flynt may be engaged in assisting District Attorney Jerome in his campaign against the gamblers. It is also possible that disguised as a millionaire instead of a tramp, he is investigating the trust question from the inside and may soon be in a position to tell us how it is worked.

Morocco and Modern Ideas

"The insurrection or revolution in Morocco seems to have had its origin in the same kind of hatred of foreign, or modern nations which really was at the bottom of the Boxer troubles in China," says the Philadelphia Public Ledger in a recent editorial. "The pretender, Omar Zari-Huni, or Bu Hamara, is a fanatical person, who first attracted notice by preaching a holy war among the Berber tribe noted for ferocity and hatred of European notions or anything which seemed to menace Mohammedanism. He does not wish to gain the throne for himself, but for the Sultan's younger brother, Mulai Mohammed, the "One-eyed," also fanatically opposed to the liberal policies of the young Sultan, who has been surrounded by European influences and has adopted many modern customs, not to say "fads." "The Sultan has incurred the genuine hostility of many of his Mohammedan subjects by his liberalism, and when the enmity had been fanned into a flame by the pretender the Sultan further intensified it by appearing in public riding a bicycle. Then he horrified the country by whizzing about on an automobile, which made his subjects think that possibly he was in league with the evil one; but the crowning act, which aroused the deep resentment and distrust of a large part of the population was the violation of "the right of sanctuary."

A foreigner named Cooper, a resident Fez, was shot and killed in the streets without provocation. The murderer, who was hunted high and low, was finally so hard pressed that he took refuge in the tomb of Mulal Idris, the patron saint of Fez, and claimed the right of sanctuary. According to all precedent in Mohammedan countries, he was safe and his person was inviolate, even by the sultan himself; but he was seized and shot in the public square. The contest is between old and new ideas, and does not apparently involve European powers seriously. If the pretender triumphs, Mulal Mohammed will probably succeed to the throne, and the modernization of Morocco will be postponed for perhaps half a generation.



(The editor of this column invites readers of The Herald to contribute questions of a literary, scientific, or miscellaneous nature, which will be answered as space will permit. The contributor's name and address should be given, but only initials or a nom de plume will be used for publication).

Drowning Disaster Recalled

T.F.C, Montreal--To settle a dispute which arose in connection with the present epidemic of railway accidents, would you kindly give the date and circumstances of the great Queen's Birthday drowning accident which occurred at London, Ont., in 1881?

Answer--On the morning of May 24 1881, the steamer Queen Victoria left London, Ont., for Springbank, some miles along the River Thames. At 4 p.m. the return trip was begun. The boat was very crowded, and when some distance on her way began to sway from side to side; the young men on board enjoying the motion, and celebrating it by rushing from port to starboard. One man, anticipating disaster, jumped overboard, and easily swam ashore, the river being only about 150 or 200 yards in width. The young people continuing to frolic, a heavier lurch caused the boat to ship some water, which caused her to remain depressed at one side. While in this situation most of the passengers went over to the depressed side to investigate; a moment later the unusual strain caused the supports to the upper deck to give way, and it fell upon the struggling mass of human beings. At the same time the boat sank. Pinned down by the upper deck many were crushed or drowned, and many who got clear of the deck were pulled down by those struggling in the water alongside. Those on the boat who escaped were able to render but slight assistance, and though the shore was close by few people were about. Of something over 200 persons who embarked, 181 perished by the official count. The accident occurred in a depth of but ten feet of water, and within less than 100 yards of the shore.

Longfellow, Bliss Carman and Grand Pre

Fanny Fern, Westmount--1. Are any antiquities of the Acadians to be found at Grand Pre? 2. Mention some prose work taking Longfellow's view of the expulsion of the Acadians. 3. Mention any late poem on Grand Pre.

Answer--1. It is not probable that anything which belonged to the Acadians can now be found at Grand Pre. But certain United States tourists possessed of more money than antiquarian judgment buy horseshoes and other articles of iron were said to have come from the forge of the blacksmith mentioned in Longfellow's "Evangeline." Throughout Nova Scotia, however, traces of ancient French occupation may be found in the existence of rows of the Lombardy poplar or occasional trees of the same. Such trees are to be found in the neighborhood of what is called the "French village" on the northern outskirts of Halifax; also in the vicinity of Kentville, N.S. 2. See Richard's work on the expulsion of the Acadians, published about seven years ago. It is to be noted, however, that while the Acadians remained in Nova Scotia, the Mic-Mac and other Indians continued to be troublesome. On May 12, 1751, the massacre of Dartmouth, within a mile and a half of the Halifax stockade, took place, and was followed by several other Indian outbreaks. 3. Bliss Carman in 1891 published a short poem, "Low Tide on Grand Pre." It is to be found in the Fraser Institute Library.

Dickens in Montreal--1842

Novel Reader, Montreal--Please state: 1. The year in which Dickens visited Montreal. 2. Describe his visit. 3. In which of his works is this visit mentioned?

Answer 1, 2 and 3, Charles Dickens left Kingston for Montreal on May 10 at 9.30 a.m., and seems to have arrived here about 6 p.m. the following day, having had to leave the steamer twice on the road and make journeys over land, at Dickinson's Landing and from Lachine to the city, because of the difficulty of running the rapids in those days. Comparatively few of the present generation of Montrealers know of the existence of "Rasco's Hotel" an old building opposite Bonsecours' market, on St. Paul Street. It was here that Dickens lived during his fortnight's stay in Montreal. Those who care to identify the building will even now (January 10, 1903) be able to discern a few of the gilded letters on its front which when intact spelled "Rasco's Hotel." Dickens' last letter home from Montreal was written on May 26. In it he speaks of some private theatricals which he took part in at the Queen's Theatre. In the "American Notes" is published a fac-simile of the playbill, which was printed at the Gazette office May 24, 1842. As was usual in the old-fashioned performance, there were three separate plays, viz., "A Roland for an Oliver," "Past Two O'clock in the morning," and "Deaf as a Post." Among those who took part were the Earl of Mulgrave, Capt. and Mrs. Torrens, Miss Ermatinger and Mr. W.C Ermatinger. Dickens himself was stage manager, and played the part of Alfred Highflyer in "A Roland for an Oliver."

The following description is of Interest:--"There is a very large Catholic cathedral here recently erected (Notre Dame), with two tall spires, of which one is yet unfinished. In the open space (Place d'Armes) in front of this edifice stands a solitary grim-looking, square, brick tower, which has a quaint and remarkable appearance and which the wiseacres of the place have consequently determined to pull down immediately. The Government House is very superior to that of Kingston, and the town is full of life and bustle. In one of the suburbs is a plank road--not footpath--five or six miles long, and a famous road it is too." See "American Notes,"Forster's "Life of Dickens," and "Dickens' Letter" for 1842.

War Cries, Ancient and Modern

L.T.C., Montreal,--1. How did war cries originate in ancient times? 2. Mention some celebrated war cries, ancient or modern.

Answer.--1 and 2 War cries had their origin partly in the need of knowing friend from foe in battle, especially at times when distinctive uniforms or badges were not worn; partly from the exhilarating effect produced by a slogan or war cry upon a body of troops engaged in battle. The most ancient war cry still in use is without doubt the "Lillah el Allah" of the Mohammedans. This is well known still in the East, and with its accompaniment, "Deen! Deen!" was used by the Soudanese warriors in their battles against the British troops under General Kitchener during the summer and fall of 1898. this " Lillah el Allah" cry is over a thousand years old, and was well known to the Crusaders. One of the most ancient war cries of old England was the "Alleluia" of the Welsh or ancient British, derived from the well-known sacred refrain introduced early in the history of British Christianity. Uttering this war cry, the Welsh charged upon the Saxons during the long struggles beginning in the middle of the fifth and not wholly terminating until the end of the thirteenth century. The Saxons had many war cries, chiefly of a local and temporary significance. Their old and universal war cry or call to arms was "Oucht! Oucht!(Out! Out!) calling their men to "get out" of their tents or houses, and form in line or battle. At the last great battle of the Saxons that of Hastings or Senlace, October 14, 1066, besides the cry of Out! Out! warning the Normans to keep back from their front there was used the great battle cry, "Holy Cross, God Almighty," referring to the foundation of the Holy Cross of Waltham established by Harold, their King. The Normans on this occasion intermingled their old heathen battle cry of "Ha Rou! Ha Rou!" with the Cristian "Notre Dame nos aide! Dieu aide! Dieu aide!" etc., etc. During their later (eleventh century) invasions of England the Danes used the cry, "Yuch hey see-see." During the Middle Ages the principal English battle cry was "St.George for Merrie England." During civil or border warfare the name of the chief was shouted, for instance, "Stanley to the onslaught," if a charge was being made; "Stanley to the rescue," if the enemy were gaining the advantage. During the Civil War of the United States, 1861-5, the Northeners had many local war cries; the New York Zouaves using the call "Hi! Hi!" which I heard used during the Cleveland Blaine, presidential election of 1884. The Confederate or Southern war cry is difficult to express in letters. It is still heard at Democrat dinners, and at festive gathering in the Southern States and is known in the North as the "rebel yell."

Sea Rovers' Song

E.H., Longueuil,--Can you give the words of "The Spanish Sea Rovers' Song," once known in Halifax, N.S., and in Montreal.

Answer.--This song was once in print in Halifax but is not extent now. I have a manuscript copy of it taken from another manuscript in the possession of a Toronto lady. The Words are :


Oh, the wind is blowing-fair, lady,

As fair, its fair can be;

And we must sail to-night lady,

Upon a dashing sea

We're doomed to leave the shore, lady,

We ne'er may meet again;

But tho' we meet no more, lady,

We'll sing this parting strain

Perchance 'twill call to mind lady

When distant far I be

The strain of olden time, lady,

I used to sing to thee. Chorus-

Oh, the wind is blowing fair lady,

As fair as fair can be;

And we must sail to-night, lady,

Upon a dashing sea.


Our Spanish maidens say, lady,

There is a lovely flower, That droops, and dies by day, lady,

In many an orange bower:

But when the moon shines bright, lady,

It blossoms gaily then,

But at returning light, lady

It droops and dies again.

So he thy troubadour. lady,

The twilight loves to see.

For 'twill be near the hour lady

He used to sing to thee. Chorus-

Oh, the wind is blowing fair, etc.

Bull's Run, a Parody on Hohenlinden.

F.C.L., Montreal.--Quote some of the stanzas of "Bull's Run : A Parody On Hohenlinden."

Answer.--This parody appeared I think, in an English newspaper soon after the first battle of Manasses or Bull's Run, in the first year of the Civil War. Hohenlinden reads-

At Linden when the sun was low,

All bloodless lay the untrodden snow

And dark as midnight was the flow

Of Iser, rolling rapidly, etc.,

Bull's Run reads-

At Bull's Run when the sun was low,

Each Southern face was pale as snow

And loud as Jackdaws was the crow

Of Yankees, boasting rapidly,

But Bull's Run saw another sight,

When in the deepening shades of night

Towards Fairfax Court

House rose the flight

Of Yankees, running rapidly.

Then broke each corps with terror riven.

The men of Battery Number Seven,

Forsook their red artillery.

The panic thickens! Oh! Ye brave!

Throw down your arms, your bacon save;

Waive Washington, all scruples waive,

And fly with all thy chivalry.

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