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Feb 14 1903


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, February 14, 1903

A Youthful Leader

The strike of the street railway conductors and motormen was unique in many ways--unique in the suddenness of its precipitation and in the swiftness of its success, unique in the absence of professional agitators, and in its freedom from violence or rowdyism. But above it all it was unique in its leader. A boy of twenty-three years, and a barrister of six months, without experience, without prestige, without position, Mr. John E.C. Bumbray, in three days gained for himself a reputation as a leader of men such as few men attain in a lifetime. It was no small thing to face the able and astute officials of a powerful corporation, and to rally single-handed a half-organized body of men made fearful and suspicious by previous failure and deception, liable to become panic-stricken by the interference of any blundering alderman, or to be incited by arrogance by other would-be rival leaders. Short as the struggle was, it was crammed with critical situations, any one of which might, without discredit, have proved the downfall of a general even of distinguished prowess. And yet in every crisis this beardless boy exhibited the coolness, the confidence and the unerring judgment of a veteran commander, and seized the psychological moment with the instinct of a born leader. Possessed of considerable personal magnetism and of a faculty for reading the moods of his audience like pages of a book, he addressed the great mass meetings of strikers with the winning frankness of youth, and carried them with him by the eloquence of common sense and the confidence of indomitable determination. Probably the most signal demonstration of Mr. Bumbray's qualities of leadership was given when at midnight on Saturday he faced the men of the St. Henri barn, who, elated by the ease of their victory and egged on by a would-be demagogue, were ill-disposed to accept the terms offered by the company. Yet the young advocate, although exhausted by the terrible strain of forty-eight hours of almost unceasing activity, carried the meeting by sheer force of personality.

If Mr. Bumbray has the strength of character not to lose his head over this premature exaltation, I think that he is likely to be heard from again in the public life of this country.

The Wheat Dragon

After reading Frank Norris' wonderfully conceived novel, "The Pit," recently published by George N. Morang & Company, one could readily believe in the theory advanced by one school of archaeologists, that the beings of ancient mythology were simply the personifications of natural phenomena. Surely no Scylla or Charybdis could have presented more vivid and real personality in the minds of the ancients than the dragon-like wheat pit of Chicago as he portrays it, sucking in its fascinated victims and spewing them out again from its horrid maw. Describing a scene on the floor of the Board of Trade, when an unusually large crop was about to crush a futile attempt to form a corner in wheat, the author says: "The roar was appalling, the whirlpool was again unchained, the maelstrom was again unleashed, and during the briefest seconds he could fancy that the familiar bellow of its swirling had taken on another pitch. Out of that hideous turmoil, he imagined, there issued a strange, unwonted note, as it were the first rasp and grind of a new avalanche just beginning to stir, a diapason more profound than any he had yet known, a hollow distant bourdon as of the slipping and sliding of some almighty and chaotic power." "It was wheat, the wheat! It was on the move again. From the farms of Illinois and Iowa, from the ranches of Kansas and Nebraska, from all the reaches of the middle west, the wheat, like a tidal wave, was rising, rising. Almighty, blood-brother to the earthquake, coeval with the volcano and the whirlwind, that gigantic world-force, that colossal billow, the nourisher of the nations, was swelling and advancing."

"The wheat had grown itself; demand and supply, these were the two great laws the wheat obeyed. Almost blasphemous in his effrontery, he had tampered with these laws, and had roused a Titan. He had laid his puny, human grasp upon creation, and the very earth itself, the great mother, feeling the touch of the cobweb that the human insect had spun, had stirred at least in his sleep and sent her omnipotence moving through the grooves of the world, to find and crush the disturber of her appointed course."

It is a powerful story, so imbued with life that it makes the movement of the world's commerce throb like a living pulse.

Laws Against Extravagance

In connection with the proposed legislation to limit the fortunes of American millionaires to ten million dollars, it is interesting to note that not so very long ago in the history of the world the governments of the various countries were so considerate and so anxious for the welfare of their subjects that they actually made laws regulating, to a certain extent, their expenditure, and thus sought to restrain extravagance, whether in food, dress, amusements or even funerals. Many of these laws were, no doubt, prompted by an earnest desire to further the interests of the individual, but others were the outcome of those in authority wishing to prevent their inferiors, who were quite wealthy enough to do so, from closely imitating or even surpassing, them in the matter of dress or the like.

Of course, the ladies often received the most careful consideration from the lawmakers. For instance, on the occasion of the second Punic war, about 215 B.C., Rome, which frequently paid great attention to such matter, decided that no woman should wear a dress of various colors nor ride in a carriage in the city or within a mile of it, unless it happened to be at a public sacrifice. As a matter of course, such a measure was very unpopular with the fair sex, and in the space of twenty years or so they succeeded in getting it repealed. To do this, however, they assembled in the streets and surrounded the Senators' houses and even the Senate, and refused to be appeased so long as such a law was in force. Naturally enough, the ladies have been rather difficult to manage in such matters, and it is on record that when, in 1612, English women were forbidden to wear farthingales of excessive size, instead of complying and reducing those they wore, they actually made them bigger!

The first of these "sumptuary laws," as they were called, so far as England was concerned, was that of Edward III., passed in 1363; but this did not affect any one higher than a knight in the social scale. This was directed against dress, and was passed because a large number of people dressed in a manner far beyond their means, which resulted; we are told, in "the impoverishment and destruction of the realm." By it knights, gentlemen under the estate of knights, esquires of certain qualifications, merchants, clerks, citizens, burgesses, servants, handicraftsmen, yeomen, ploughmen and others of less degree, together with their wives and children, were only allowed to wear clothes of the kinds and prices enumerated, and the tailors or clothiers were directed to make a sufficient quantity of such garments, so that there would be no excuse for infringing that statute. Certain individuals were not allowed to wear any silk or jewelry, nor were they allowed to embroider their clothes with silver, while the penalty for violating the law was the forfeiture to the King of all apparel not complying with the regulation. This law apparently was not a popular one, for it was partly repealed in the following year.

It was during the reign of the next Edward that the extravagance of the male portion of the community reached a most ridiculous height, while some of the dress worn was of a truly absurd description, and consequently laws were made to put a stop to such a state of affairs. In this case everybody below the rank of lord was affected, and the form and value were specified, while tailors and shoemakers guilty of supplying these prohibited articles to people not qualified to wear them were liable to very heavy penalties. It was about this time that the shoes worn had very long points, sometimes as much as two feet in length, so we cannot wonder that the legislators thought it time to step in and shorten them.

The quantity of the material to be used in making the various articles of apparel was regulated by an enactment passed in the reign of Henry VII, as much as sixteen yards being allowed to a duke, six yards to a knight, and considerably less to servants and others, so the people were not permitted to spend their money at will at that period.

Henry VIII was also strict with regard to the expenditure of his subjects, and even directed who should be allowed to buy foreign made hats and caps, and what price they should pay for the same. He also regulated the apparel of the royal family, as well as that of his poorer subjects, and the latter were strictly forbidden to wear a silver button or any kind of ornament.

Then, in 1554, an act directed that, "whoever shall wear silk in or upon his hat, bonnet, girdle, scabbard, hose, shoes or spur feathers shall be three months imprisoned and forfeit 10 pounds, except mayors, aldermen, etc." while if any servant offended in this direction and was not dismissed within fourteen days the employer had to forfeit 100 pounds. It is safe to assume that silk dresses were somewhat scarce during that reign. These laws regulating the expenditure on dress were all repealed in the reign of James I, and apparently such restrictions have not been deemed necessary since, for no further attempts have been made to deal with the matter.



(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).

Are the Indians Decreasing in Numbers?

Hiawatha, Westmount.--I. Are the Indians decreasing in numbers in Canada and in the United States? 2. Are they making much education or industrial progress?

Answer.--1. There are in Canada some 200,000 Indians or, rather, of persons rated as Indians of whom, however, a considerable number are half-breeds. In the United States there are something over 100,000 persons classed as Indians, none of whom are of pure blood, all of them being one-half to perhaps fifteen-sixteenths white or negro. The number of negro-Indian half-breeds in the United States is considerable. The existence of negro half-breeds is accounted for by the former possession by, the Indians of negro slaves; whom they took with them when they emigrated to more westerly reservations. Subsequently the pureblooded Indians intermarried with these negroes and their descendants. Besides these squaw Indians, as thy are called, there are perhaps 15,000 Indians of pure blood. In Canada it is probable that the Indian element is as strong as it ever was or even stronger: for, besides the 200,000 or more half-breeds and Indians, there are many thousands of persons having a slight strain of Indian blood in their veins: especially those who are descended from ancestors who were in the emp1oy of the Hudson Bay Company. In the highest ranks of society are found persons of Indian blood, and of Indian characteristics more or less pronounced. It is probable that the Canadian Indians of to-day could muster-in as large or larger numbers as did their wilder ancestors. It is true that the Indians could occasionally muster anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 or 5,000 braves for the war path during the French occupation of Canada: but then their armies were recruited sometimes from a territory as large as the present province of Quebec, or Ontario, and the levy comprised nearly every male from fifteen years of age to sixty or perhaps, a third of the entire population. A similar levy now would draw together probably as large numbers as in ancient times of Indians and half-breeds, without counting such persons as possess only a slight strain of Indian Blood.

Two hundred or even one hundred years ago, Indians seemed to be very numerous, because the whites were then so few in number. The same reasoning will apply to some extent to the Indians of the United States. 2. The United States Indians are making considerable educational progress, some of them reading Latin, and taking higher educational courses. A few years ago an Indian maiden, of Minnesota, wrote to a friend stating that she had taken 96 percent in her Virgil at examination. The Indians in both the United States and Canada are making good progress in devoting themselves to agriculture and sometimes to handicrafts. The letter of the Indian girl above referred to was written in choice phraseology, perfect in grammar, and faultless in spelling.

Ancient Territory of Scotland

Westmount, Scot.-1. What relations existed politically between ancient Scotland and England? 2. Was ancient Scotland a dependency of England?

Ans.-1 and 2.-From the sixth century to the eleventh such names as Scotland and England were scarcely at all known. The king of the Picts and Scots, two tribes whose relations to each other it is not our purpose to enter into, ruled over a country whose boundaries changed from time to time, and which were never identical with those of modern Scotland. The Scots inhabited the north-eastern part of Ireland, the Isle of Man, a small part of Scotland (modern) northwest of the Clyde, and the intervening islands. The Picts held all Scotland north of the Forth, including the Orkneys and most of what was afterwards called Galloway, that is the part of Scotland opposite the Isle of Man. Besides these, there was the independent kingdom of Strathclyde including south-western Scotland, and part of the modern English county of Cumberland and on the east Lothian, which extended from the Tweed to the Forth, and which though comprising what is now Scottish territory, was then considered to be an independent portion of English territory. It will be seen that there was then no Scotland in the modern sense of the word. Now from 800 A.D., or earlier, the ruler of England, or more properly speaking of Wessex. which kingdom of the Saxons had acquired domination over the rest of the country, was considered as the "Protector," as we would express it of the rest of Britain. During the tenth century he acquired do-union over Strathclyde and Lothian, especially over the latter, which became part of England for the time being. In 924 the three kingdoms of Scotland (Picts and Scots), Strathclyde and Lothian "commended" themselves to Edward the Elder; King of England. In 945 Strathclyde, or as it was then beginning to be called, "Cumberland," was granted by Edmund of England to Malcolm of Scotland, from which date onwards the history of this territory becomes merged in that of Scotland. Later on under Edgar of England, or under Canute, Lothian, now no longer independent, was granted to the Scottish King. Now, two relations are established between England and Scotland. One that of the mere commendation of Scotland proper, which did not give the English King any rights over the subjects of the Scottish monarch. Second, that of homage on the part of Scotland to England for the grant of Cumberland. But Lothian was an integral part of England and remained so, although granted as a fief to Scotland. It gradually became more and more Scotch so that its separate existence together with that of Strathclyde or Cumberland was at length ignored or forgotten. The result of this was that in the thirteenth century Edward I, claimed the whole of Scotland, in virtue of those parts of it which his predecessors held, and in virtue of the commendation of Scotland to Edward the Elder in 924; which commendation was made more of by Edward I than it had been by him to whom it had been given. Edward I then had no rights over the subjects of the Scottish King, except over those who lived in what had been called the Kingdoms of Lothian and Strathclyde. It suited the purposes of the English King to confuse these three separate relations of Scotland, Strathclyde or Cumberland and Lothian. Had the latter districts maintained their identity he would have had an excuse for what amounted to usurpation as far as the northern part of Scotland was concerned,

How Uncle Sam Helped England, in1857

L T. F., Hochelaga.--Please give the particulars of the Pei-Ho bombardment in which the United States help England in China in 1857.

Ans.--This affair took place in October, 1867, at which time Great Britain and France were allies in a war against China, undertaken for the purpose of opening the Chinese ports for foreign trade. The immediate cause of the war was the seizure by the Chinese of a vessel flying the British flag. Commander Josiah Tattnall was at this time in command of the Asiatic squadron of the United States fleet, having been appointed flag officer on Oct. 15. He sailed to the scene of action at Pei-Ho, intending to be merely a spectator of the impending engagement. Soon after his arrival his flagship ran aground, and was with much difficulty towed off with the assistance of British boats. In gratitude for this timely aid Tattnall determined to help the British during the conflict. He did so and rendered material assistance helping the British ships when they were exposed to a very hot fire from the Chinese forts. For this action he was subsequently called to account, as it was held to be a breach of the laws of neutrality, he, however, succeeded in claiming himself from all blame, and was acquitted both by his Government and by public opinion at the time. Tattnall when first called to order justified his conduct by quoting the proverbial phrase, "Blood is thicker than water," alluding to the national relationship of Great Britain and the United States. At the breaking out of the civil war Tattnall cast his lot with the Confederates. In March 1862, he took command of the Merrimac, the first ironclad man-of-war used in actual warfare. Throughout the whole of the civil war Tattnall rendered good service to the Confederates, but through the lack of adequate support was not very successful. When Norfolk Peninsular was surrendered by the Confederates to the North the navy yard which contained the Merrimac was included in the capitulation. Tattnall not wishing the Merrimac to be captured destroyed her. For this act he was blamed, but having demanded a court-martial was honorably acquitted. Soon after the close of the war Tattnall went to reside in Nova Scotia and lived in Dartmouth (opposite Halifax, N.S), from June, 1866 to December, 1869. Tattnall died in the Southern States on June 14, 1871, at the age of seventy-five.

Scientific Palmistry

Manus, Montreal.--1. Is there a true and reliable science of palmistry? 2. Is anything to be gained by a knowledge of the varying surface of the human hand?

Ans.--1 and 2--It is possible for anyone who makes a study of the hand to detect variations between different hands, so that in times he might identify a person by the hand as by the features of the face. The indentations and elevations are variously known as loops, mounts, scrools, etc. The mounts are the elevations at the base of the fingers, and thumb, and in the percussion of the hand, so called because it is used in striking, that is the side of the palm, which extends from the root of the little finger to the wrist. The mounts are seven in number, named from the planets by the signs of which they are also known, viz., Apollo, representing art or riches; Mercury, science or wit; Mars, courage or cruelty; Venus, love and melody; the Moon, folloy or imagination; Saturn, fatality. Palmistry is of very ancient origin. There are references to it in Aristotle, and other writers living before the Christian era. From the first broken lines in the hand were supposed to indicate a short life and long continued unbroken lines longevity. There are four principal lines, viz., the line of life, which surrounds the thumb, and which if long indicates a long life; the line of heart which crosses the center of the palm, from the base of the forefingers to the base of the little finger, the line of head running parallel to the line of heart and just below it, and, indicating intellectual powers: and the racette or bracelets, three lines crossing the wrist at the base of the thumb and palm. Each bracelet, if well defined is supposed to indicate thirty years of age. The science is divided into two parts Chirognomy, which treats of the form and character of the hand and fingers and Chiromancy, which deals with the palm only. Two of the principal later works on palmistry are Heron Allen's "Manual of Cheirosophy"(1885), and L. Coton's "Palmistry and its practical Uses." There is a manual of palmistry in the library of this Fraser Institute, Montreal. The marks of the hand are now used in the identification of criminals.

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