The Rideau Record
A Great Crowd, Great Enthusiasm, Great Speeches and a Great Day – Full Report of a Brilliant Oration.
The glorious, pious and immortal memory of the Prince of Orange was well and truly honoured in Smiths Falls, on Friday when all Orange lodges of the surrounding country congregated here and held a monster procession. At five o’clock in the morning the sound of the drum could be heard in the distance and at a little later hour there was no distance about it and nothing else could be heard but the sound of the drum accompanied by the shrill notes of the fife. All the forenoon visitors continued to arrive and by twelve o’clock it is estimated that there were from 5,000 to 6,000 strangers in town. Special trains came from the north and the south and the east, and all were long trains, some of them of over a dozen caches, and all were loaded to the platforms. Every few minutes during the forenoon the familiar strains of the “Boyne Water,” or “British Grenadiers,” or “Protestant Boys,” were heard coming from the different roads leading into town, and soon a rider on a white horse followed by the big banner appeared in sight and Grand Marshall Code galloped off to escort the new arrival to a hotel. For four or five hours this was kept up and by noon what with visitors and townspeople the main streets were so crowded on every part that locomotion was slow and difficult. The stores were open but it was virtually a holiday and very little work or business was done anywhere.
The citizens’ band was engaged for the day but it was a fife and drum day and the band had a very poor show. The lodges went on the principle that the band had plenty of opportunities to beat their drum, but the 12th of July only came once a year and it was their day and they would make the music. This they did in a most unstinted manner from their arrival in the morning until their departure in the evening. Some of the lodges wore nicer regalia than others, and the one that gained most favour with the crowd was the Orange Young Britons of Carleton Place. They marched 100 strong, a fine looking lot of young men led by a splendid fife and drum band and every time they passed the crowd cheered most enthusiastically. A noticeable feature of this lodge was that they were dressed alike and in this set the other lodges an example worthy of imitation. While speaking of this we might say that harmony in dress or regalia would add very much to the appearance of an Orange lodge in procession. It might not be practicable for all the members of a lodge to wear the same kind of clothes, but at least all could wear the same kind of sash or badge. It this had been done on Friday many of the lodges in the procession would have looked much better than they did. As it was the members of the same lodge had every variety of regalia just as suited his own fancy and the effect was anything but pleasing.
The procession formed on the baseball grounds at one o’clock, and about 1:30 started to parade to the grove – 30 lodges strong – where the speeches were to be given. The line of march was to have been down Beckwith to Russell, west to Mill, south to Main, east to Beckwith, south to Water, east to Market, north to Church, west to Beckwith and south to the grove. The Carleton Place lodge of Young Britons however, it is said, were dissatisfied about the place they occupied in the procession and instead of following the portion of the procession that preceded them they went straight across the bridge in place of turning at Molsons Bank, and thus took the greater part of the procession with them while a part of it had gone round the other way. Grand Marshall Code did not discover what had been done for some time as he had gone on at the head of the parade. The trouble would have been avoided had Mr. Code stationed someone at the bridge and at other turnings to direct the route of march. The procession was the largest every seen here of any kind, taking twenty-three minutes to pass a given point.
Order of Procession
At the grove a great crowd assembled to listen to the speeches. This part of the programme was handled with much ability and tact under the supervision of Mr. W. Campbell, of Montague. The speeches were just long enough and just numerous enough and everybody was well pleased. Rev. Mr. Mercer, of Franktown, read an opening prayer, and Rev. Mr. Blair then spoke of the conditions of membership and the aims and objects of the order and gave some good advice to the members about living up to their obligation.
Mr. Porter, an Orangeman from Ottawa, made a fiery speech, and was followed by E. Elliott, Esq., who quoted Ben Butler pretty faithfully for a few minutes on the resources of Canada.
The speech of the day was made by Rev. Mr. Henderson, Methodist minister of Perth, of which the following is a full report:-
I must confess that addressing a meeting of the Orange Society is a work to which I am unaccustomed. Had I the honor of being an Irishman this confession would be a strange one. Being however a Scotchman (the next best thing to being an Irishman some of you may say), I have not been much thrown into the company of Orangemen. Today is the first time I have had the honor of speaking before your esteemed and patriotic order.
I need not say that my sympathies are with you; and with all who are determined to oppose by every lawful and constitutional method the slow, insidious, and alarming encroachments of papal ecclesiasticism.
Encroachments of a determined and dangerous character upon one of the fundamental principles of our Dominion – the equality of all churches and the non-establishment of any.
I look upon this magnificent demonstration, gentlemen, as an expression of your loyalty to the British Throne; I regard it as a manifestation of your devotion to civil and religious liberty, and as an emphatic protest against the treasonable utterances and acts of the Quebec demagogue, Mr. Mercier.
Loyalty is something more than mere sentiment. It is a principle, profound and abiding. It is the cement that binds together the glorious fabric of this great and splendid empire. A principle that has caused the valorous sons of Briton to pour forth their blood upon many a desperate field in every quarter of the globe. What Anglo Saxon, what Briton is not proud of the achievements of his race? Whether upon the smoke blackened walls of distant Delhi – the battle riven ramparts of Seringapatam, or on the memorable plains of Abraham, where was settled, and settled we hope forever, the dominance of the British or French ideas on this continent. We are unworthy of this magnificent heritage if we have lost the spirit of our fathers; -
“And when recording history displays,
Feats of renown though wrought in ancient days,
Tell of a few stout hearts who fought and died,
Where duty placed them by their country’s side
The man that is not moved with what he reads,
That takes not fire at their heroic deeds,
Unworthy of the blessings of the brave,
Is base in kind and born to be a slave.”
Mr. Chairman, the advocate of equal rights are accused of being fanatics. Who is the fanatic? – Mr. Mercier, the man who prostitutes his high position at the command of his ecclesiastical masters, the Jesuits, - or the liberty-loving men who have protested against his act of spoiliation? Is Principal Caven, of Toronto, a fanatic? Is the venerable and Rev. Dr. Douglas, of Montreal, a fanatic? Let prosperity answer.
The throne, sir, is the key stone of that majestic imperial arch that spans a world. Springing on the one hand from the splendid column of British power in India, and on the other from the strong and sturdy Anglo Saxonism of this occidental dominion – this colossal arc of political empire is bound together by the central bond of the throne. A throne that symbolizes civil and religious liberty. I ask you, Orangemen, then upon this auspicious occasion, what is loyalty? Is it blind obedience to the command of a party whip? God forbid. Is it abject subserviency to a political creed? Perish the thought. It is reverence for God, consecration to lofty principle, fealty to truth, obedience to conscience.
Rise, then, above party, rise to genuine patriotism, rise to the lofty plain of righteousness of thought, of deed, of vote.
Let party live, or party die, let party rise or party fall, be true to the principle of religious equality and British liberty which are the foundations of that throne.
In the past men have sought to fasten upon Orangeism the stigma of being the mere-appendages of a political party. See to it in the future that this reproach be rendered unmeaning, and convince the world that to you patriotism is more than partyism.
Do we desire the suppression of Roman Catholic liberties in this country? A thousand times no, we demand the same rights for them we ask for ourselves, but no more. I would invoke the might and majesty of Government in defence of the humblest Catholic in this dominion were his right to kneel at his own alter jeopardized. Against Rome as a church I would use no civil or political machinery, but against Rome as a gigantic, corporate, unscrupulous enemy of liberty, I ask your suffrages, I demand your vigilance. If she gains overwhelming power, how will she use it? To foster liberty and protect the exercise of conscience? Let history answer – you know what that answer would be. “Semper eadem” is her appropriate motto, intolerant she has been, intolerant she is, intolerant she must and ever will be to be consistent.
Mr. Mercier has thrown the gauntlet, he is the fanatic. He has threatened the victors of Abraham’s plains with the revenge of the vanquished. Upon his guilty name shall rest the ineffaceable blot of preventing the development of a true nationality, of destroying the homogeneity of our country by aggravating racial emulation into envy and hatred.
We tell Mr. Mercier today from this platform that he may decorate himself with his tri-color. He may amuse his amiable but inflammable “inhabitants’ by unfurling it, but once and forever let him know that England’s flag shall float supreme over a liberty loving Canada – the verdict of 1759 has not and shall not be reversed.
What have we to hope from the political parties. The 188 of Ottawa have told you – both there and at Toronto the politicians (not statesmen) are on their knees to Rome. We can expect no reformation there until we cease our paltry partisanship, and present to Rome an undivided front at the polls.
Let me counsel you, gentlemen, to be loyal to your country by being loyal to yourselves. Nations have character as well as individuals. National character is just what the character of the units composing the nation is. Notwithstanding Italy’s sunny sky and lovely landscape, notwithstanding her heritage of heroism coming down from the historic pain she has sunk in the scale of nations, because virtue and spiritual and intellectual life among her children have been blasted for ages by the withering curse of Rome’s rule.
Scotland, (illegible), rocky, heather-clad Scotland, loved at home, served abroad, is great because she lighted the torch of liberty and truth at the martyr fires of her covenanting sons. The home of uncompromising faith and indomitable love of liberty is “Caledonia, stern and wild.”
Make Canada then morally great by being yourselves morally great. Become morally great by incorporating into your minds the book of books – the Bible.
While strenuously defending against Jesuit aggression, the liberty of Catholic and Protestant alike, cherish the kindliest sentiments toward your Catholic neighbour. Overcome evil with good, strive to build up a great and prosperous commonwealth on mutual respect and good will, cherish the motto of the heroic Lincoln, “malice towards none, charity for all,” and anticipate the reign of brotherhood universally predicted by the poet when he sang:-
“I dip’t into the future far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world and the wonders yet to be,
When war drums throbbed no longer, and the battle flags were furled,
In the Parliament of man, the federation of the world.”