Tuesday 24 April 2012

April 25, 1876

The day after the special service at Christ Church Cathedral in recognition of the St. George’s Benevolent Society, the society’s annual dinner was held.
According to the Spectator man present, it was a splendid success :
“The number present was in the neighbourhood of 150, all the appointments of the banquet were of the finest order, and the affair passed off in the pleasantest manner. At half-past eight o’clock, the guests entered the hall and took their places at the tables. The room was decorated very tastefully and brilliantly illuminated. Each end of the room was festooned with the national colours, in the centre of which was placed the banners of the St. George’s Society, that at the upper end being surmounted by an engraving of Her Majesty the Queen. Opposite the main entrance was a large mirror on which was the inscription : “Welcome, our Guests.”
The tables were loaded with all the paraphernalia of a repast which would have done honour to any first-class hotel in Canada, and which certainly did reflect the highest credit on “mine host” of the International, Mr. Doc. Kane.
The following is the
Mutton, Caper Sauce           Sugar Cured Ham
                             Beef Tongue
Sirloin of Beef, Ribs of Beef, Saddle of Mutton
          Filet of Veal, Stuffed
Chicken, Wine sauce.    Turkey, Cranberry Sauce.
Baked Potatoes. Mashed Potatoes. Turnips.
Pickles.  Beets.   Onions.  Celery.
                   Lettuce      Radishes.
                   ORNAMENTAL DISHES
Pyramid Macaroni.      St. George Jelly.
                   Charlotte Russe
Plum Pudding     Apple Pie   Cranberry Pie
Lemon Pie          Fruit Cake Frost Cake
Oranges.   Apples   Nuts.  Raisins.
                   WINE LIST
Pale Sherry.        Burgundy Port    Woodhouse Port
Hennesey Brandy.      St. Julien Claret.
Louis  Roederor Champagne. Imperial Champagne.
Bass & Co.’s Pale Ale.         Tennant’s Pale Ale.
Cosgrove’s Pale Ale. Grant’s Amber Ale.
Guinnesses’ Extra and Double Stout.    Grant and Son.
After the remarkable meal had been consumed, it was time for the society’s annual report to be read in which all the charitable activities during the past year were detailed :
          To the President, Board of Management, and Members of the St. George’s Benevolent Society :
GENTLEMEN : Again I find it my duty to lay before you a statement of the accounts of the Society, on behalf of the Charitable Committee, for the year that has passed, and, in doing so, I am happy to be able to report a decided financial improvement when comparable with the year previous. And, indeed, it was imperatively necessary that such should be the case, when we take into consideration the extraordinary run there has been on our funds. It has been a hard year for the poor – the worst the Society have had to grapple with for many years in this country, and I am sure some of the gentlemen here present, members of the Committee, can testify only too truly to many scenes of misery and want witnessed during their visits to those who have legitimate demands on the funds of our Society.
          Our own subscription funds would have come far short of relieving many of the applicants had we been left entirely to our own resources; in fact, had it not been for the Christian charity of other societies in the city so substantially displayed, we would have been unable to meet one half the demands made on us. From the proceeds of the performances of the Garrick Club in the Mechanics’ Hall we received  $75.10; from the Canadian Order of Oddfellows, proceeds of a charity sermon, we realized $36.47; from the Foresters’ Society, $21.15; and from the independent Order of Oddfellows, we received $25. These acts of beneficence require no eulogy from me – from a Higher Power their reward must come – but to them is due our heartfelt thanks, in which I’, sure everyone here will heartily join in  tendering.
          On the 20th of December, 1875, at a special meeting of the Committee, it was agreed that we should raise by subscription money to provide Christmas Cheer for the poor in connection with our Society. In three days, Messrs. Pierce, Howles and myself raised $50, which was expended in furnishing many a starving household with a comfortable meal on Christmas Day.
          It will be seen by the aggregate of money spent that about fifty cents per family of five has been given to the poor. To those who never knew the want of it, this appears a very small sum, and, indeed, so it is; but to the starving husband, wife and child some thousands of miles from the land of their birth, in a strange land, without friends, or money, or bread – without hope of obtaining employment be he ever so willing to work, it does not appear so insignificant, and is received with heartfelt thanks as a means of subsistence, be it ever so little.
          Summing up the work of the last year, on the whole a good deal of good has been done, and all have been willing to do a share of the work, more or less, and bear a share of the expense; and, although through the evil effects produced by the commercial crisis through which we are passing – or, rather, let us hope, have passed -  a greater amount of sacrifice on our part, and on that of friends of the Society, was required, still, should occasion require it in the year in which are entering, I have no doubt that my successor will receive the same heart co-operation and active assistance that has been tendered to me.
          I have nothing of importance to add, except to tender my most sincere thanks to the Committee for their kindness and assistance, and hope, in looking forward, that the necessity for relief in the year which we have entered will be considerably decreased, while our means will be sufficient to relieve each of our suffering and needy brother countrymen as may require it.”
          Anticipation for a championship billiard match to take place at the Revere Hotel was high among enthusiasts for the game and for those who liked to gamble on the results :
          “The billiard match, which comes of tomorrow evening at the Revere Hotel, promises to be the event of the season with sporting men. Both Phelan and Davis are in splendid play, and the friends of each have every confidence in them. Pools were sold at the St. Nicholas Hotel last evening and will be continued at the Royal this evening. Betting on the result of the result is already large, and as the players are nearly so equal, the odds are very small. Davis was out of town last evening, but a large number of Phelan’s friends gathered in the Royal to see his practice game, and all seemed quite satisfied with his play. Before the local match tomorrow evening, Jakes and Bennett will play a game for $100 a side, on which pools will be sold at the hall. Mr. Capron, of Paris, whose playing was so much admired at the Montreal tournament, is in the city to watch the game.”
          Finally, a violent incident involving a liveryman who had been hired and whose passengers tried to get out of paying was recounted in detail :
 “The livery men of the city complain loudly that there is a certain class of persons in the city who are in the habit of hiring “rigs” and never paying for them. The liverymen formed themselves into a mutual protective society without avail, as the “deadbeats” and “sponges” were sure to break through the ring in some way or other and victimize the stable keepers. On Sunday afternoon, two young men came to the Chicago stables on Park street and hired a single horse and buggy to go to Dundas. They were only going to Dundas, they said, and would be back soon. Instead of going to Dundas, the young men drove up King street as far as Queen street, turned up towards the mountain, a short distance, and the drove to the beach, where they got pretty drunk.; and finally wound up by overturning the rig, slashing the top and dashboard and spoiling the rig generally. At nine o’clock in the evening, Mr. Bennett, the proprietor, inquired if the rig had been returned, and finding out that it had not, he made up his mind that something was wrong, and determined to sit up for them. At twelve o’clock the youths returned the horse smoking like a small locomotive, and the rig looking very much like a dilapidated fence corner. One of the youths came swaggering into the office, and said that he had no money with him now, but that he would come round and pay in the morning. Mr. Bennett, by experience, knew that he would never see them again, and, in a passion, raised a good horse whip and commenced cow-hiding the youths in a lively manner. In the middle of it, one of the youths howled out that he would pay everything now if he would only let him go. Mr. Bennett desisted, the youth forked over the necessary amount, and, with a parting kick, they were allowed to depart in peace.”

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