The current number of Queen’s Quarterly, of Kingston, contains another interesting chapter of the early history of the Midland District in the republication of the reports of the Quarter Sessions from march 1813 to December 1818. They were yet held alternately at Kingston and Adolphustown, and the duties of the Magistrates then were to try the various cases of infractions of the law, to issue tavern and ferry licenses, order the payment of the wages of the members of the Legislature, provide for the building of bridges, and various municipal duties.
THE MAGISTRATES PRESENT
It may be of interest to give still a bit of the Magistrates generally in attendance at these various Courts. They were made up of the residents of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Prince Edward and Hastings. The most of the names who generally appeared were among the leading men of Kingston and this county. The name of the Hon. Richard Cartwright does not appear in these records, as of former years. Alexander Fisher, Adolphustown, was now named as chairman at each meeting. He occupied the position as Judge for many years, until his death. Among the others whose names were generally among those present were Thomas Dorland, Reuben Bedell, Cornelius Vanalstine, all of Adolphustown; William Crawford, Bryan Crawford, John Carscallen, John Embury, Timothy Thompson, Jacob B. Chamberlain, of Fredericksburgh; Thomas Empey, Isaac Fraser, Mathew Clark, Ernesttown; Stephen Conger, John Cummings, Ebenezer Washburn, Hallowell; James McNab, Belleville; Laurance Herchimer, Thomas Markland, Kingston; Archibald McDonell, Daniel Wright, Marysburgh; Peter Smith, James Cotter, Barnabas Dyer, William Mitchell, Robert Williams. The location of the last five, the writer has no means of knowing.
THE M.P.P.’S PAID
Here is a list of the members of the Legislature representing the various portions of the Midland District, whose “wages” were ordered paid from year to year during that time. It still appears to have been the law that each M.P.P. should be allowed $2 per day for the time he actually was in attendance at each session, and a tax was made for that purpose.
In 1815, Timothy Thompson, of Fredericksburgh, Benjamin Fairfield, of Bath, for Lennox and Addington. Jas. Young, for Hastings and Ameliasburgh and John Stinson for Prince Edward.
In 1816, James Young, John Stinson, Benjamin Fairfield.
In 1817, Isaac Fraser, of Ernesttown, Willet Casey, of Adolphustown, for Lennox and Addington; James McNabb, James Cotter.
At the same time Allan McLean, who was Clerk of the Peace, represented Frontenac, including Kingston, but his name does not appear on the pay list of members.
In 1818, James Cotter, Willet Casey, Isaac Fraser. The mention of sums granted to M.P.P.’s does not appear very regular. It has been explained that some did not draw their allowances every session as that bit of generosity told in their favor at elections. Some may not have attended all the sessions. It is quite possible that the small allowance they received did not, in many cases, meet the actual travel and board expenses, to say nothing of their own loss of time and business.
A considerable time of each session was taken up with considering and disposing of the applications for tavern licenses. Houses of public accommodation were then of very great importance as then few had much more than bare accommodation for their own families at home. About that time the rates of licenses appear to have been fixed and made somewhat higher than they had been, but they were very low, compared with the fees now charged. Prof. Shortt, in a foot note, explains that in November, 1816, the Provincial Legislature passed a law, which gave the Justices of the Peace, in the Quarter Sessions, authority to regulate the duties to be paid for licenses and they were directed to inquire into the life and character of the applicants for licenses, and to grant them to “such persons as were sober, honest, diligent, and good subjects of our Lord the King.” The fees were not to exceed £12 10s, ($50) or fall below £1, 16s. The magistrates were also to frame rules and regulations for the conduct of tavern keepers, which they may be bound in their recognizances to abide by.
The tariff of rates adopted, at that time was as follows: Town of Kingston, ten pounds; outside the Pickets, north-westerly, six pounds, for Stuartville six pounds. Stuartville was then an adjoining village to Kingston, situated about where Queen’s University now stands. The rates for Waterloo (now Cataraqui), Bath and Belle Ville, six pounds; for the village of Hallowell (now Picton) and a mile on each side, six pounds. For outside places, not mentioned in the foregoing four pounds.
The first attempts appear to have been then made to regulate and refrain the drink traffic. The Sessions ordained to prevent unlawful games, to require good order and rule kept in the houses; to prevent the vending of liquors, except for the use of travelers, after 10 at night in the winter and 9 in the summer; to prohibit the sale on Sundays except to sick persons and travelers; and to prohibit “any tradesmen, laborers or others to abide in his house longer than an hour in the day time, in order to drink and tipple.
In the way of accommodation, too, every innkeeper to possess an enclosed yard and shed for the accommodation of travellers and their carriages.
FERRIES, BRIDGES AND REGULATIONS
A good deal of attention was yet given to the licensing of ferries, the regulation of charges and the boats. Bridges were yet scarce and few. In 1816 a ferry license and rate of charge was fixed for Collins’ Creek, somewhere near Collins’ Bay, but the same year an appropriation of fifty pounds was voted to build a bridge there.
The same year, too, police regulations and rules were ordered for Kingston, which began at that time to assume the importance of a town. Here are some of the regulations;
The streets to be turnpiked, the statute labor, or a portion of it to be applied to that purpose. Foot paths of eight feet to be left in each side of the street, six feet of which to be paved with flagstones. There were no boardwalks for years later. Wood and store piles not to be allowed in front of the houses next the streets, nor carts or carriages. No one allowed to run horses in the streets. Every householder to have two ladders to ascend the roof (in case of fire.) Chimneys to be kept clean, and in case one caught fire, a fine of ten shillings. Where stove pipes are carried through a partitions or roofs there shall be a space of six inches between the pipe and the wood, with sheet iron or tin around it. Hogs running at large in the streets to be impounded. Butchers not, allowed to have their slaughter houses in the limits of the town. There was also a tariff adopted of charges allowed for drawing of water from the harbor, or of loads by the carriers. Kingston was then the largest and most important town in the province of Upper Canada.
It was yet the custom at that time that all Ministers, except Church of England and Roman Catholics, must apply to the Quarter sessions for a necessary license to authorize them to legally perform marriage ceremonies and these licenses were confined to the Presbyterians, Lutherans and Baptists. The Methodists, which were much more numerous than any of the others, were not legally authorized to marry persons, until about 1830. At the Sessions held in Adolphustown in January 1816 occur the following in the records:
“Mr. McCarthy agreeable to notice came forward to apply for a license as a Presbyterian Minister for Ernesttown, which was refused by the Chairman of the Sessions.”
Squire Alexander Fisher was chairman at that time. It is not stated what were the reasons why the application was refused. The writer remembers to have heard some of the old men say that a Mr. McCarthy preached for a time, and that, in common with nearly all preachers at that time, he was in the habit of using intoxicants but was not always able to control himself, and became sometimes intoxicated, and would remain so for a time. After that he would say to the people, “Do as I say and not as I do.” whether that weakness was the cause of the refusal of his license we can now only conjecture.
It had been the early custom to go to Justices of the Peace, or to Army Officers to get married, where ministers were not living at accessible distances. Some doubts arose about the legality of such marriages and the legal legitimacy of the children. It was therefore provided that such should come before the Sessions and make a statutory declaration and then the legality of the marriage should be confirmed. In the records of the Sessions held in Adolphustown in January, 1816 there is a Marriage Register in which the formal declarations of parties so situated was given. The following sample is given:
“I, David McCrae, do solemnly swear in the presence of Almighty God, that I did publicly intermarry with Erie Smith, at Michilimackinac, on the thirteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, seven hundred and eighty three, and that there is now living issue of said marriage, one son and three daughters. Sworn before me at Kingston, in the Midland District and Province of Upper Canada, the 29th of May, 1794. Richard Cartwright, Junior, C. P.”
A similar declaration was also made by the wife Erie Smith, and the names of the children given. At the same date a similar declaration was also made by Richard Cartwright, and Magdalen Secord. Their marriage took place at Niagara, October 19th, 1783 and was before an army officer, we have seen it stated. Mr. Cartwright was then a young man living at Niagara and first began business there in partnership with John Hamilton. Both these men became leading and successful business men in their day. Both were members of the first Legislative Council of Upper Canada, and had the prefix of “Honorable” attached to their names.