WITH more or less
definiteness, as the materials would yield to a natural disposition, we
have seen the County through a hundred years. It is a mark of virtue,
and of gratitude, to be mindful of birthdays, and to commemorate them.
We need not wonder then that when the 9th of June, 1861, dawned, it was
to find no one uninterested who called Yarmouth “Home.” And any sketch
of her history that overlooked that day and its proceedings would very
justly be considered defective. We have therefore thought this to he the
most fitting place wherein to insert that notice, which all have a right
to expect, of the CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE SETTLEMENT OF YARMOUTH.
The notice here given is the substance of that which was published in
the papers of the day, the Herald and the Tribune, as many readers will
no doubt remember:—
The one hundredth anniversary of the settlement of Yarmouth fell on
Sunday the 9th of June, and it was determined to celebrate the event on
Monday the 10th. It was a day long to be remembered. Business was wholly
suspended, and everybody was bent on keeping high holiday. In the
churches, on Sunday, appropriate reference was made by the officiating
Clergymen to the Centenary and the Celebration. The memorable day was
ushered in by the booming of cannon at short intervals. At 4 o’clock the
“Callithumpian Band,” numbering forty or fifty spirited young fellows.
in fantastic costumes, on horseback and in vehicles similarly adorned,
formed in procession on the Parade, and went through their “programme”
by marching first to the northern and then to the southern extremity of
the Town, to the musio of tin trumpets; after which they returned to the
starting point and dispersed. The Town presented an animated appearance.
Every flag was displayed. A beautiful arch of foliage and flowers
spanned the street in front of the Brick Store and at other points,
festoons of evergreens and lines of flags overhung the streets. From an
early hour people were pouring from all parts of the country, which, for
miles distant must have been well nigh deserted.
At 8 o’clock the Artillery Company fired a salute of twenty-five guns y
and at 9 the Rifles marched to the same ground, the “head quarters” of
the celebration, fired a salute, and afterwards performed various
exercises in the military art.
At 1 o’clock the multitude assembled on and around the Parade, where a
salute was fired by the Artillery, interspersed with volleys by the
Rifles, after which the Grand Procession was formed in the following
Grand Marshal (E. W. B. Moody, Esq.) with the High Sheriff and other
gentlemen as Assistant Marshals, on horseback; old inhabitants and
officers of militia in carriages; Yarmouth Volunteer Artillery in
uniform, commanded by Captain Edward Heustig; Yarmouth Brass Band in
uniform; Fife and Drum Company; Yarmouth Rifle Volunteer Company in
uniform, commanded hy Captain Rowley; Hebron Rifle Company in uniform,
commanded by Captain J. W. Crosby; the three Engine Companies, in their
numerical order, in uniform, with their engines handsomely decorated and
drawn by horses; a Boat rigged as a brigantine, on wheels, drawn by
horses; private carriages and citizens.
The procession marched first to Cann’s Hill, Milton, where a salute was
fired by the Military Companies, and returned to the Parade. The
Military here formed in line in front of the Sunday School children,
who, led by Mr. Bailey, sang the National Anthem, and “Home, Sweet
Home.” Captain Rowley then proposed three cheers for the Queen—when
three times three were given. Three cheers were also given for the
Volunteers, and three more for the old Militia officers.
The procession then re-formed and proceeding down Main Street, up Argyle
Street, through Forbes and Richan Streets, re-entered Main Street. On
Church Hill the Military Companies fired another salute, and the
procession once more returned to the Parade, where a final salute was
fired. It was now past 4 o’clock, and the external display and
ceremonies were at length to give place to the more intellectual
exercises of the day.
At the western side of the tent a platform had been erected for the
speakers. Dr. Joseph B. Bond, (Chairman of the Committee of
Arrangements) took the chair, and Dr. G. J. Farish, by the request of
the Chairman, read the following address.
"Fellow Townsmen,—While I deeply feel the honour of being selected hy
the Committee to address you on this great solemnity, I am far from
insensible to the difficulty of doing justice to the occasion. You are
this day celebrating the settlement of your Township by the English, at
the close of its first century. A ceremony is now for the first time
being performed, which no living man has ever witnessed before, — and
which no one now living can reasonably expect to see repeated. To
express all the feelings and sentiments that spring up at such a time, —
to give them shape and form and voice—is beyond individual power. But I
feel encouraged by knowing that in every sensation that pervades this
vast assemblage, I can fully sympathize. For, if I view it as a British
audience, I can proudly say I am a British subject. Are you natives of
Nova Scotia? So am X. Are you men of Yarmouth? So am I. Do you trace
your descent from the Old Inhabitants? My father, my grandfather, and my
great grandfather spent the best portion of their days in promoting the
welfare of this my native Town. In all then that fills your hearts this
day mine too overflows.
‘There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by Heaven o’er all the world beside;
There is a spot of earth supremely blessed,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.
Where shall that land that spot of earth be found?
Art thou a man? a patriot? look around!
Oh, thou shalt find, howe’er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy Country, and that spot, thy Home.
“Many may deem such
festivals as these, this resuscitation of by-gone events, as too
fanciful, too trifling to suit the prosaic money-making spirit of the
age. ‘The present,’ they say, ‘the present is the only important point;
what is gone, is gone, and we have no more to do with it.’ ‘What
advantage is it?’ they say, ‘What’s to be made out of it?’ They are
perfectly indifferent to all hut the present and everything that does
not promise present profit. In this, I think, they are not right.
“One hundred years ago your forefathers left their loved and happy homes
in New England to plant on this soil the flag that waves shove you; for
you must recollect that all the Northern States were then British, no
cause for dissatisfaction having yet arisen in the hearts of the
Colonists towards the Mother country. All who epoke the English language
on this Continent, or in any other portion of the globe, were then
British subjects. To that flag which they brought with them, flying from
the mast-head of the little ‘ Pompey,’ your fathers adhered through good
report and evil report,—and although many inducements were held out to
them during the stormy times of the Revolution, to join in the
separation, they always stood firmly to those colors, which, I believe,
you, their descendants, are less inclined at this day to give up, than
during any previous period of our history.
“And these Old Fathers! where are they? at rest in their peaceful
graves. A goodly host of them are sleeping actually within sound of my
voice, and yet they hear neither me nor the voices of their
great-great-, grandchildren who to-day so sweetly raised their notes in
supplication to the Giver of all good for a blessing upon our noble
Queen. Not even did they hear the sharp crack of the rifles, nor the
heavy booming of the cannon that shook the very ground in which they
lie, and above which their grass-grown graves now scarcely can be seen.
And yet the recollection of them has not entirely vanished from the
memory of some of us. Many a venerable form which now sleeps quietly
there, unconscious of all this uproar and rejoicing, is as familiar to
my mind as are the faces of their sons and grandsons whom I now see
“And all the eventful history that this day recalls to our memories, as
if it were the occurrence of some dozen years ago, toot place a century
since. A century! who can realize the time ? The longest life seldom
reaches so far back; memory almost never. And it is a century which has
been infinitely more eventful than any other equal portion of time since
the Apostolic age. One hundred years ago steam and electricity, the
great civilizers of the present age, were scarcely known even to the
philosophers of the day. Cook had not yet sailed on his first voyage of
discovery round the world. Australia, New Zealand, and the Isles of the
Pacific were almost wholly unknown to geographers. George the Third had
but just ascended the throne; he reigned sixty years, and died before
the memory of most of the present assembly.
“The population of Great Britain was then not half as large as that of
the American States at present; and the whole number of British snbjects
in North America was less than three millions. There was no such nation
as the United States then, and instead of it only a few feeble
unimportant English Colonies struggling with poverty, and still alarmed
by constant incursions of the unchequered savages. Canada and Louisiana
had just been wrested from the French; and Wolfe and Montcalm had but
lately fallen in deadly strife before Quebec. A hundred years ago, and
the scenes in the bloody French Revolution had not been enacted. Louis
the 16th and the hapless Maria Antoinette were yet to fall beneath the
axe of the guillotine. Napoleon, Wellington and Nelson were unborn ; and
the names of Austerlitz, Waterloo and Trafalgar, were yet to be written
on the page of history.
“And, to come to the subject which to-day more particularly claims our
attention,—one hundred years ago, yesterday morning, there was not,
excepting the roaming savage, a single individual residing in the
Township, nor a single tree cut down where is now assembled this vast
concourse of people, the largest assemblage ever collected together in
Yarmouth; and not one ton of shipping was owned where now we count our
forty thousands. Alas! that of those whose landing we this day
celebrate, not one living soul of all is left to join with us in mutual
congratulations, and thankfulness to the Giver of all good for the
innumerable blessings we now enjoy, and grateful praises to that
benevolent Being to whom alone all the glory is due. The primeval rocks
indeed remain, and here and there a sturdy tree of the olden time may
still stretch forth the same branches which sheltered your fathers from
the summer’s sun. The waters of the placid harbour still glide gently by
us, as when upon its surface the shallops of your old forefathers first
sailed along the unfrequented shore, — but not a man or woman — not a
human being that then floated upon its surface is alive to look upon
their numerous, prosperous, and happy progeny, assembled here to day.
"Where are the lands our fathers kept
A hundred years ago?
The homes in which they sweetly slept
A hundred years ago?
By other men,
They knew not then,
Their lands are tilled,
Their homes are filled;—
Yet nature, then, was just as gay,
And bright the sun shone as to-day,
A hundred years ago.”
Dr. Parish was followed in animated, appropriate, and eloquent speeches
by Chas. B. Owen, Esq., Mr. T. M. Lewis, Bey. Gt. Christie, and Hon.
In the evening the Town was brilliantly illuminated, and there was a
fine display of fireworks on the Parade. The number who took part in, or
witnessed the Celebration has been variously estimated from 6,000 to
8,000. There was no accident of any kind. But the great feature of the
Celebration—that which deserves to be regarded with the most pride— was,
that amid all the enthusiasm of the occasion, there was no sign of
misconduct among a throng by far the largest ever collected in Yarmouth.