THE SCOTCH-IRISH OF CANADA

By Rev. Stuart Acheson, M.A., Toronto, Canada

Taken from "The Scotch-Irish in America: Proceedings and Addresses of the Third Congress at Louisville, KY., May 14 to 17, 1891".

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Time will not permit me to mention the names of many in the Ottawa Valley, in Carleton, Victoria, Addington, and other counties in this part of Ontario, who have been enterprising and successful, and fitly represent the qualities of our race.

The hardware business in Canada has received an impetus from our race by the Workman family. Alexander Workman engaged in the business at Ottawa first with Edward Griffin as partner and then carried on the business for himself. He was Mayor of Ottawa, and received in his capacity as Mayor the Prince of Wales and assisted the Prince in laying the corner-stone of the Parliament buildings at Ottawa. The Workman family are descended from the Rev. William Workman, of St. Stephen's Church, Gloucester, England, who was its pastor from 1618 to 1633. He suffered persecution as a Puritan by Archbishop Laud. Workman in one of his sermons had stigmatized pictures and statues of Christ and of saints as contrary to the practice of the early Christian Church and tending to idolatry. For this offense he was brought before the Court of High Commission and excommunicated. His sons eagerly joined the Parliamentary army. William was made captain, and was one of those who met the charge of Rupert on the field of Naseby. He served until 1648, when he went over to Ireland with Cromwell. For services rendered, William received the grant of the two townlands of Merlacoo and two in the County of Armagh. It is from this family that the Workmans are descended. They came to Canada in 1829. William Workman was a hardware merchant and a banker; was Mayor of Montreal, and received and entertained Prince Arthur, not the least frank and engaging son of his sovereign.

Thomas Workman was senior partner in the hardware firm of Forthingham and Workman. He represented Montreal West in the Parliament of Canada. He was also a banker, and held many positions of trust and honor in Montreal. Two other brothers, Joseph Workman, M.D., and Benjamin Workman, M.D., came to Toronto and for nearly a quarter of a century held the position of Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of the Toronto Asylum for the Insane. These brothers did a great work in perfecting the treatment of the insane in Canada. Dr. Joseph Workman is an expert on the subject. He is a valuable contributor to journals, and reads and translates many of the ancient and modern languages with freedom and accuracy. This gentleman is now retired and living in Toronto, and I here record my great indebtedness to him for the many valuable hints and much information afforded me in the preparation of this paper. He has at this session of our Congress been made a member of this Society.

If we turn to the dry goods business, one of the most successful men in Canada was the Hon. William McMaster. He was born in the County Tyrone in 1711, and came to Canada in 1833. He was one of the first with sufficient enterprise to divert the wholesale trade from Montreal to Toronto. He took his nephews, Capt. McMaster and W. J. McMaster, into partnership with him, and the whole of Western Canada became their market. Toward the close of his career Hon. William McMaster gave the business over to the charge of his nephews, above mentioned, while he gave his attention to finance. He was the founder of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, of which he was President for nearly a quarter of a century, and the success of the bank (it has now in Toronto one of the finest buildings in Canada) is mainly due to his large capacity and business power. He was connected with many other banking institutions, Boards of Railways and Education of which I cannot speak in this paper. In 1862 he was elected a member of the Legislative Council, and after confederation he was chosen as one of the Senators to represent Ontario. He amassed great wealth, and built and endowed the McMaster University of Toronto. It is the principal institution in Canada in connection with the Baptist Church for the education of the ministry of the gospel. Of the success of merchants in Toronto like the late Robert Wilkes, M.P., for Center Toronto and others, I have not time to speak in this paper. These must be taken as an example of what the race has done in this line of business enterprise in Canada.

The Barbers and Riordans, who came from Antrim, were the first to establish and carry into success the paper and woolen manufactures in Canada. These mills, situated in Georgetown, Streetsville, and on the river Credit, are well known in Canada. They supplied the Government of Canada with paper for seventeen years, and William Barber represented Halton in the First and Second Parliaments of Ontario.

The man who did most, single-handed and unaided, to settle with a sturdy race the western part of Canada was Col. Thomas Talbot, born in the county of Dublin. He came to Canada in 1802. As statesman, soldier, scholar, wit, and poet his life is interesting, and Nicholas Flood Davin devotes twenty-one pages in detailing his exploits. He surveyed and laid out the now city of London, and the city of St. Thomas was in like manner founded by this man whose name it bears. He con-ducted the settlement of this garden, and was one of the most noted personages in Western Ontario.

This part of Ontario, as might be expected from its founder, is largely of the Scotch-Irish race. So are other counties in Canada, among the most noted being the county of Simcoe. I was a settled pastor in this county for ten years. In my First Essa Church they were all of our race but one family. In no part of Canada are there better farms. The fine brick houses, well-tilled and productive fields, large and flourishing orchards, the horses, sheep and cattle, well-built bridges and roads, schools and churches, a rich country, stalwart sons and ruddy and charming daughters all combine to make the county of Simcoe one of the finest rural sections in Canada, and for that matter in the world. The same might be said of the adjoining county of Cardwell, and these counties have been fitly represented in Parliament by men of our race. Col. T. R. Ferguson, M.P., of Cookstown, represented South Simcoe in Parliament for seventeen years. He was born at Drumcor, Cavan County, in 1818, and settled in Cookstown, Canada, in 1842. He was much beloved and popular with the people, and as a debater in the House and especially as a campaign orator had few equals in the country. His sagacity as a statesman may be seen from the fact that before Confederation he opposed the establishment in Upper Canada (now Ontario) of separate schools. Now Ontario sees the mistake then committed, but cannot very well remedy the evil without endangering the whole fabric of Confederation. He told me that on one occasion from his seat in the House he secured the postponement of this obnoxious measure to the next session of Parliament by standing up to talk out the House. They had only eight hours to sit. The Government, led by Sir John A. Macdonald, knew that what he said he would do, and dropped the measure. The next morning the Globe said that: "Thanks to the leather lungs of Col. Ferguson, the honorable member for South Simcoe, the Separate School bill got six months' hoist."

The Hon. Thomas White, one of Canada's most gifted sons, represented Cardwell and was a member of Sir John A. Macdonald's government, but during the last Parliament he was suddenly cut down by an attack of pneumonia. He was very popular in Cardwell, as he was in all Canada. Few men cared to encounter Hon. Thomas White in debate, either on the hustings or in Parliament. He was one of the first journalists of the day. His son, Robert White, conducts the Gazette and represents Cardwell in his father's place.

Another distinguished man of our race represents North Simcoe in Parliament. The name of Dalton McCarthy is well known in Canada. He was born in Dublin, and came early in life to the town of Barrie. He first was member for Cardwell in 1873, and has been in Parliament ever since as member for North Simcoe.

Dalton McCarthy and the Hon. Edward Blake, another Irishman, stand first at the bar in Canada. Dalton McCarthy is the champion of the Equal Rights movement in Canada.

The Blake family came from Castle Grove, county of Galway, and settled near London, Canada, in 1832. It would take many pages to do justice to this distinguished family. The Hon. Edward Blake and his not much less distinguished brother, S. H. Blake, Q.C., are sons of the late Chancellor William Hume Blake. The Hon. Edward Blake has been in public life for over a quarter of a century. He was Minister of Justice in the government, led by the Hon. Alex. McKenzie.

Perhaps it will be conceded by the public men of Canada that for debating power in the House of Commons Hon. Edward Blake has few if any equals. As a lawyer he stands first in Canada, and is said to command admiration and respect before the Privy Council of England. There are few men who take a wider swath, and when he is done with any subject there is little left to be said. Much to the regret of the people of Canada, the Hon. Edward Blake is not a member of the present Parliament, he having dissented from the leaders of the Reform Party in their fiscal policy of Canada.

My paper is already too long. I cannot mention other business firms, Members of Parliament, Senators, lawyers, doctors, judges, and Governors who have come to the front and who have done our race and Canada honor. The educational interests of Canada have been so largely molded by men of our race, and the Church in all her branches has had so many honored sons, that, with the permission of this Congress, I shall at some future time refer to these matters, as I feel in this paper nothing like justice can be done to hundreds who have taken an active part in the Church, the colleges, and the universities of Canada.

Before taking leave of the public men of Canada let me refer to the present Mayor of Toronto. He comes from the county of Cavan, and has spent most of his years in Toronto. He now occupies the chair for the fourth term, and also represents Toronto in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. He is a genial, warm-hearted Irishman. He takes a deep interest in this Congress, and regrets that business does not permit him to attend. Americans coming to Toronto and calling upon Mayor E. F. Clarke can be assured of a warm reception. I take this opportunity of recording my thanks to the Mayor of Toronto for the kindness shown me in assisting me in his capacity as President of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society in bringing the claims of this Scotch-Irish Congress before the Irishmen of Toronto.

I did intend to speak of the fiscal policy of Canada, just a word. On $50,000,000 worth of imports from the United States we receive $7,000,000 of duty, and on $42,000,000 worth of goods from Great Britain we receive $9,000,000 of duty! I want you Senators and Congressmen to take these figures (for the year 1889) home with you and ponder over them. We received more dollars worth of goods from this republic than we did from Great Britain, and yet we charged you in round numbers $2,000,000 less in duty. May I ask you to go and do likewise, and when our government meets your government this fall let us put the fence down at least between us as neighbors just as low as we can, and let no fish or barley or eggs keep us from enjoying that friendly intercourse in trade which must in the end be of advantage to both branches of the Anglo-Saxon race in the North American continent.

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