Reminiscences of a Canadian Pioneer for the last Fifty Years
An Autobiography by Samuel Thompson


PREFACE

It was in consequence of a suggestion by the late S. J. Watson, Librarian of the Ontario Legislature--who urged that one who had gone through so many experiences of early Canadian history as myself, ought to put the same on record--that I first thought of writing these "Reminiscences," a portion of which appeared in the Canadian Monthly Magazine. For the assistance which has enabled me to complete and issue this volume, I am obliged to the kind support of those friends who have subscribed for its publication; for which they will please accept my grateful thanks.

In the space at my disposal, I have necessarily been compelled to give little more than a gossiping narrative of events coming under my own observation. But I have been careful to verify every statement of which I was not personally cognizant; and to avoid everything of a controversial character; as well as to touch gently on those faults of public men which I felt obliged to notice.

It has been a labour of love to me, to place on record many honourable deeds of Nature's gentlemen, whose lights ought not to be hidden altogether "under a bushel," and whose names should be enrolled by Canada amongst her earliest worthies. I have had the advantage, in several cases, of the use of family records, which have assisted me materially in rendering more complete several of the earlier chapters, particularly the account of Mackenzie's movements while in the neighbourhood of Gallows Hill; also the sketches of the "Tories of Rebellion Times;" as well as the history of the Mechanics' Institute, in which though a very old member, I never occupied any official position.

Since the first part of these pages was in type, I have had to lament
the deaths of more than one comrade whose name is recorded therein; amongst them Dr. A. A. Riddel--my "Archie"--and my dearest friend Dr. Alpheus Todd, to whom I have been indebted for a thousand proofs of generous sympathy.

THE AUTHOR

CONTENTS

Chapter I. The Author's Antecedents and Forbears
Chapter II. History of a Man of Genius
Chapter III. Some Reminiscences of a London Apprentice
Chapter IV. Westward, Ho!
Chapter V. Connemara and Galway fifty years ago
Chapter VI. More Sea Experiences
Chapter VII. Up the St. Lawrence
Chapter VIII. Muddy Little York
Chapter IX. A Pioneer Tavern
Chapter X. A First Day in the Bush
Chapter XI. A Chapter on Chopping
Chapter XII. Life in the Backwoods
Chapter XIII. Some Gatherings from Natural History
Chapter XIV. Our Removal to Nottawasaga
Chapter XV. Society in the Backwoods
Chapter XVI. More about Nottawasaga and its People
Chapter XVII. A Rude Winter Experience
Chapter XVIII. The Forest Wealth of Canada
Chapter XIX. A Melancholy Tale
Chapter XX. From Barrie to Nottawasaga
Chapter XXI. Farewell to the Backwoods
Chapter XXII. A Journey to Toronto
Chapter XXIII. Some Glimpses of Upper Canadian Politics
Chapter XXIV. Toronto During the Rebellion
Chapter XXV. The Victor and the Vanquished
Chapter XXVI. Results in the Future
Chapter XXVII. A Confirmed Tory
Chapter XXVIII. Newspaper Experiences
Chapter XXIX. Introduction to Canadian Politics
Chapter XXX. Lord Sydenham's Mission
Chapter XXXI. Tories of the Rebellion Times: Ald. G. T. Denison, Sen Col. R. L. Denison, Col. Geo. T. Denison, of Rusholme, Alderman Dixon
Chapter XXXII. More Tories of Rebellion Times Edward G. O'Brien, John W. Gamble
Chapter XXXIII. A Choice of a Church
Chapter XXXIV. The Clergy Reserves
Chapter XXXV. A Political Seed-time
Chapter XXXVI. The Maple Leaf
Chapter XXXVII. St. George's Society, North America St. George's Union
Chapter XXXVIII. A Great Conflagration
Chapter XXXIX. The Rebellion Losses Bill
Chapter XL. The British American League
Chapter XLI. Results of the B. A. League
Chapter XLII. Toronto Civic Affairs
Chapter XLIII. Lord Elgin in Toronto
Chapter XLIV. Toronto Harbour and Esplanade
Chapter XLV. Mayor Bowes--City Debentures
Chapter XLVI. Carlton Ocean Beach
Chapter XLVII. Canadian Politics from 1853 to 1860
Chapter XLVIII. Business Troubles
Chapter XLIX. Business Experiences in Quebec
Chapter L. Quebec in 1859-60
Chapter LI. Departure From Quebec
Chapter LII. John A. Macdonald and George Brown
Chapter LIII. John Sheridan Hogan
Chapter LIV. Domestic Notes
Chapter LV. The Beaver Insurance Company
Chapter LVI. The Ottawa Fires
Chapter LVII. Some Insurance Experiences
Chapter LVIII. A Heavy Calamity
Chapter LIX. The Hon. J. Hillyard Cameron
Chapter LX. The Toronto Athenĉum
Chapter LXI. The Buffalo Fête
Chapter LXII. The Boston Jubilee
Chapter LXIII. Vestiges of the Mosaic Deluge
Chapter LXIV. The Franchise
Chapter LXV. Free Trade and Protection
Chapter LXVI. The Future of Canada
Chapter LXVII. The Toronto Mechanics' Institute
Chapter LXVIII. The Free Public Library
Chapter LXIX. Postscript


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