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Did Not Achieve Lasting Effect!

This is the only contemporaneous image of the ...

This is the only contemporaneous image of the Expulsion of the Acadians, showing the raid on Grimrose (present day Gagetown, New Brunswick). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BEWARE: A warning that this post is gruesome.  I’m posting it because I believe in relating history, good and bad.  However, if you can’t read this particular post, I’ve written another post that is just as important!  Don’t worry, I won’t make it a regular habit of posting these kinds of stories.  — tk

Recent posts about Indian atrocities can be topped by many more.  It is important to remember that the Indians often had provocation, and were sometimes urged to do their worst by the French, English and Dutch.  Furthermore, their atrocities were not unique.  Heretics were being burned at the stake in Spain, and enemies of the Church and State were torn to pieces in France and hanged on gibbets all over the countryside of Britain.  It was a cruel age.

Some of the worst atrocities took place in the New England States, as part of Governor Frontenac‘s campaign to impress the Indians that France was far from finished in North America.  The French inflamed the Abenaki Indians to massacre many settlements, including Wells on August 10, 1703.

The pattern of attack was nearly always the same.  The French and Indians would swoop into a settlement during the night, or early in the morning; kill most of the men, women and children; take some prisoners, and burn their homes.

Haverhill, in Massachusetts, produced an amazing story.  A Mrs. Dunstan had just given birth to a baby.  The Indians smashed the baby against a tree and forced Mrs. Dunstan, Mrs. Neff and a small boy to go back to Acadia with them.  It was a walk of 250 miles, which Mrs. Dunstan was in no condition to undertake.  Nevertheless she kept going for more than 100 miles.  One night their party of two warriors, three women, and seven children were sleeping close to the fire, while Mrs. Dunstan, Mrs. Neff, and the boy were trying to keep warm as best they could away from the fire.  The two women took up hatchets and quickly killed ten of the twelve Indians.  The other two were helpless.  They ate the Indian’s food, scalped the bodies, and walked back to Haverhill with the bloody scalps swinging from their hands!

The attacks on Wells, Scarborough, and many other settlements produced similar stories.  One woman scalded an attacking Indian to death by throwing boiling water on him.  The other Indians thought so highly of her trick they took her prisoner instead of killing her.  On the march to Acadia she gave birth to a baby.  Its crying annoyed the Indians, so they dropped red-hot coals in its mouth.

The attacks on the New England settlements did not achieve any lasting benefit.  On the contrary, they helped stir up the anger that led eventually to the capture of Louisburg, the expulsion of the Acadians, and finally the loss of France’s North American possessions.

If you read this, and you want to know more about it, I can lead you to a few sites. There is Infobase Learning, and the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth. There’s also an interesting article at All Things Maine called Lost Boy Found in Quebec 300 Years Later.

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The Experiments Ended …

USS Akron (ZRS-4) approaches mooring mast, cir...

USS Akron (ZRS-4) approaches mooring mast, circa 1931-1933. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many years after 1930, there was a steel tower 200 feet high at St. Hubert’s airfield, which was the airport for Montreal until Dorval was opened.  It was a mooring mast for the R-100, a British airship that crossed the Atlantic arrived at Montreal on August 1, 1930.  It was pioneering a plan to offer an airship service throughout the British Commonwealth.

Eight non-stop flights had been made over the Atlantic by British and German airships when the R-100 made its flight to Canada in 1930.  The trip was carefully prepared, with work on the mooring mast at St. Hubert starting in November 1927.  The venture was financed jointly by Britain and Canada, with Lieutenant-Commander A. B. Pressy of the Royal Canadian Navy in charge of the mooring mast.

The flight of the R-100 across the Atlantic was one of the marvels of the time.  It left Cardington, England, on July 29 at 3:30 a.m. and arrived over Montreal on the night of July 31; it had to cruise around until dawn until it could connect with the mooring tower.  The flight took 78 hours and 52 minutes (to give you an idea of what that means, modern aircraft fly from London to Montreal in less than 7 hours).

The “dirigible,” as airships were called, had been damaged by a storm while coming up the St. Lawrence, but was repaired quickly so that it could go on a demonstration flight.  What excitement there was when it flew over Ottawa after dark, and was illuminated by searchlights from the Parliament Buildings!  It appeared over Niagara Falls at 6 a.m. and then flew over Hamilton and Toronto while people were going to work.

It looked as though airships were going to be the mode of travel for the future, but they were too vulnerable to the elements.  Two months after the R-100 to Canada, the R-100 crashed on a flight to India, killing forty-six people, including every British authority on airship operation.  In April 1933, the U.S. Akron crashed into the Atlantic off the coast of New Jersey with seventy-three lives lost.  The U. S. Macon was another casualty.

The experiments with airships ended in 1937 when the giant Von Hindenburg exploded and burned while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey.  Meanwhile, conventional aircraft were beginning to span the Atlantic.

For more information of the R-100, I suggest visiting Flickr.com – User: ajor_DundeeFlickr.com – User: ajor_Dundee. Virtual Museum.ca has made a complete page about it – you must visit, and watch the video too. Another great site to visit is The Torontoist.com. All great places to start!

 

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Bhat Boy & Thomas

These two next painters that I profile are local artists here in Ottawa (Ontario).

The first is the “teacher”, Bhat Boy.  He was born in London, England and  immigrated to Canada on a steam ship in 1966.  he became a naturalized Canadian and grew up in the Nation’s Capital with his parents – “a cleaning lady and a spy”.

BhatBoy Bhat Boy is well-known as a community activist and organizer in Ottawa. He has been an active member of the International Society of Art of the Imagination, since 1991. He continues to live and work in Canada’s National Capital. His hobbies include drinking tea, and drawing maps.

These words were stolen from his biography page on his site, Art by Bhat Boy. I recommend you visit his site, ’cause he does beautiful work!

ChrisThomas

Wiretapped. “I love the CBC 1 radio show Wiretap, with its lovable and melancholy host Jonathan Goldstein.” (source: http://www.judosocks.com)

The next painter, as I said, is also based in Ottawa. His name is Chris Thomas. Much of his free time is spent painting in Acrylics. His style ranges from impressionism to the cartoonish; He doesn’t draw any great distinctions between the two ends of the spectrum.

Chris does amazing work! To see more of his work, visit his site at Judosocks.com

 

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First India, Now Canada!

Canada's first delivery of airmail, in 1918, l...

Canada’s first delivery of airmail, in 1918, landing in Leaside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the anniversary of Canada‘s first official airmail flight in 1918. Most first class mail now goes by air, except on routes where another method of transportation is more convenient.  The first airmail anywhere in the world was flown in India in 1911 — five miles!

The inauguration of airmail in Canada was haphazard.  Captain Brian Peck was a Royal Air Force officer at a training base at Leaside, Toronto.  The Royal Canadian Air Force had not yet been formed.  Peck wanted to spend a weekend in Montreal and received permission from his commanding officer to fly there on the understanding that he would do some stunt flying to attract recruits.

Peck arrived in Montreal safely, but rained all weekend and he wasn’t able to put on his flying exhibition. However, the Montreal branch of the Aerial League of the British Empire persuaded postal authorities to sanction the delivery of a sack of mail to Toronto.  It was loaded and board Peck’s JNIV Curtiss aircraft on June 23.  Unfortunately, the flight was delayed because of the heavy rain.

Curtiss JN-4, Reuben Fleet, first air mail

Curtiss JN-4, Reuben Fleet, first air mail (Photo credit: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives)

Peck finally got away from the airfield, Bois Franc Polo Grounds, at 10:30 on the morning of June 24.  In those days, Montreal was “wet” from more than the weather.  The rest of Canada had prohibition as a wartime measure, but not Quebec.  There was going to be a wedding at the air base in Toronto, so Peck was carrying a cargo of supplies, as well as the sack of mail.  He also had a passenger, Corporal C. W. Mathers.

The plane was so heavily laden that it could hardly take off.  Peck had to fly it under telephone and electric wires, and bank clear of a bridge, before he gained altitude!  He landed at Kingston for fuel, which was just ordinary automobile gasoline.  He then flew on to Toronto where he arrived at 4:55 p.m.

The mail was received by Postmaster W. E. Lemon.  Thirty years later, cancelled envelopes from the flight were worth $200 to $250 if they bore Peck’s signature.  The envelopes are dated June 23 and not June 24, when the flight actually took place, because the flight on June 23 was cancelled after the letters had been sent to the airfield.

Surely this is worth learning more about it. I’ve come up with a few places to begin your journey. Let’s start at Toronto History.org, and for an interesting read, you must visit Mysteries of Canada.com. Then there’s Leaside Life News for a recent article by Alan Redway. Lastly, I recommend going to Aeroplilately.ca to read “A brief history of Canadian Air Mail Flights.”

 

 

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New Governor-General Appointed

Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, 1st Baron Metcalf...

Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, 1st Baron Metcalfe, by George Chinnery (died 1852). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the days when Canada was becoming a nation, it took courage to be a governor-general.  Durham, Sydenham, and Bagot were the governors between 1838 and 1843, and the led to their deaths.  On March 29, 1843, Sir Charles Metcalfe took over the unenviable task.

Metcalfe had been born in India and was the governor of the huge district of Delhi by the time he was twenty-six years old.  Among his achievements were the abolition of the slave trade and of the custom of burning wives on their husbands’ funeral pyres.

Metcalfe was sent to Jamaica where there was danger of a rebellion, and then on to Canada where the had been rebellions in 1837-1838.  When he arrived, Kingston was the capital of recently united Upper and Lower Canada.  The government soon moved to Montreal which was able to offer more accommodation.  Montreal then had 40,000 people!

Although Metcalfe was a reformer in India, he was not in favour of the reform movement in Canada that was trying to win responsible government.  He complained that his ministers, instead of doing what he wished, were trying to force him to do what they wanted.

Baldwin and Lafontaine, leaders of the Liberal or Reform government, resigned, and Metcalfe was forced to govern almost alone.  In September 1844, he called a general election and campaigned himself.  He branded the Reformers as “disloyal” to Britain, and won the election by a small majority.  Ironically, one of the new members was a young lawyer from Kingston, Ontario, John A. Macdonald.  Although he was elected as one of Metcalfe’s supporters, he was destined to take the lead in bringing about nationhood for Canada.

Metcalfe was the fourth successive governor to lose his life through disease. He returned to Britain in 1845 and died soon after.

“You may rest assured … those who support me, I will support.”  – Sir Charles Metcalfe, to Sir Alexander Galt

 

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Blanshard Arrives to Govern Vancouver Island

Richard Blanshard, Governor of Vancouver Islan...

Richard Blanshard, Governor of Vancouver Island, 1849-1851 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Blanshard is the name of an important street in Victoria.  It commemorates Richard Blanshard, the first Governor of Vancouver Island which was made a British colony in 1849.  Previously it had been governed by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Richard Blanshard must have been one of the most disappointed  men who ever came to Canada.  He was a London merchant who had spent some time in the West Indies and India, and became ambitious to make a name for himself in the British diplomatic service.  When Vancouver Island became a colony, he applied for the job of governor, even though it meant serving without pay.  There was some talk in London, though, that he would be given a beautiful mansion and an estate of 1,000 acres with beautiful lawns and gardens.

His chagrin can be imagined when he stepped on shore from H.M.S. Driver on March 11, 1850, and read the proclamation establishing the new colony with himself as  governor.  It was a dreary day, mixed with rain and snow.  The only estate available for Blanshard was 1,000 acres of unclear land  which he was expected to develop at this own expense.  There wasn’t a place for him to live on shore, let alone a mansion and he had to go back to the ship.

In one of his first letters to the Colonial Office, he complained that there were only three other settlers on the island.  One of them, Captain Colquhon Grant, had arrived the previous year with coaches and carriages, only to learn that there were no roads.  He also brought equipment  for playing cricket, which requires a smoother surface than a baseball diamond!

Blanshard only lasted until November when he resigned.  James Douglas, Chief Factor of the Hudson’s  Bay Company, was appointed governor in his place.  It was a good thing, because Douglas had seen the United States take over Oregon and knew the steps that had to be taken to keep British Columbia from annexation.

Did I whet your appetite?  To read more about this, there are a few good sites to visit.  The first I’d recommend is Birds of a Feather – Victoria B & B’s History of Victoria and Vancouver Island; then you can head on to Google Docto read Bob Reid’s extensive article about The Colony of Vancouver Island 1849-1855; there’s a bit about Fort Victoria at The Canadian Encyclopedia; Richard Blanshard at Wikipedia, also at Wikipedia, there’s more information about the Colony at Vancouver Island.

Happy hunting, everyone — there’s a lot more out there!

 

 

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