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The Canadian visit

The following article is from:
Halifax Citizen August 13, 1864, p. 2

The programme for the entertainment of our distinguished Canadian and New Brunswick visitors, has so far proceeded satisfactorily. Yesterday the principal arrangements were under the auspices of the Royal Halifax Yacht Club which held its annual "Hodge Podge" dinner up the Basin. About eleven o'clock, A.M., the trim and dashing yachts gaily dressed with bunting assembled off the Queen's wharf together with the Revenue Cutter Daring, and the commodious steamer Mic Mac which had been obligingly placed at the disposal of the Committee for the accommodation of the public guests. As it was evident that the fleet of yachts and the Cutter would require some time to beat up the harbor against the fresh and bracing breeze, the steamer instead of proceeding at once to the general rendezvous at "Prince's Lodge," turned down the harbor for a trip up the Northwest Arm. The crowd of strangers on the deck had then a splendid opportunity of seeing Halifax harbor to the best advantage. The run up the Arm was delightful -- the views of handsome new villas, lawns, and groves on its romantic banks affording much gratification to the spectators, who were also supplied with more substantial entertainment by several attentive Aldermen and members of committee. The Fine Band of the 16th regiment was on board -- and it is not too much to say that the bandmen during the day entered fully into the spirit of the occasion, and showed the most polite readiness in answering all the musical requirements of the fete. Several of the French gentlemen also chanted some of the gay choruses with which the voyageurs keep time to flashing oars on the rivers and Lakes of Canada, and the ringing echo's of which are as familiar to the rocky banks of the St. Lawrence as the murmur of ripples at their feet. Some of these French refrains had a most inspiring effect on the singers, they swung imaginary paddles from side to side of invisible canoes, gesticulated, clapped their hands on the breasts and shoulders of their neighbours -- and during the performance of a piquant little melody all about one " Mademoiselle Marianne," they hugged each other so affectionately and laughed over so many bars in succession that the admiring audience caught their enthusiasm and at the end thanked them with a tumult of applause hand-clapped, back-slapping, and cries in very indifferent French of "Merci, Merci, Messieur." 'Nous thankez' -- vous tres much indeed !" "Jolly Good Fellow, Johnny Kanuck" -- and several similar etceras.

Returning from the downward trip the steamer made a short stay at the Queen's wharf and again proceeded with her holiday freight to "Prince's Lodge." As the boat passed the noble flagship Duncan, hearty cheers were given for his Excellency the Vice Admiral who had given so warm a welcome and such magnificent entertainment to our visitors. Three cheers were also given to Capt. Gibson -- and the band played "Rule Britannia" and the "National Anthem." Meantime the yacht fleet had beat up to the common destination, making a most charming appearance as they raced with snowy sails across the sparkling blue waves, over which the wind was tossing crests of white foam. On tack after tack they stretched, sweeping gracefully under the breeze like a flock of swans seeking their island nests. The adverse breeze was positively an advantage, for it showed the strangers that in running up the harbour the fleet was not confined to the narrow fortuous limits of a mere channel but could run with confidence across the watery field from shore to shore. The yachts were all at their moorings when the steamer reached, and the party on board the latter immediately disembarked, and in long procession, headed by the band, marched to the scene of festivities. This as our readers are aware was the attractive demesne formerly owned by, H. R. H. the late Duke of Kent, father of the well beloved Queen, and owned in later years by Mrs. Gore, the novelist. Here long tables covered with the sumptuous preparations for the feast were arranged in the open green; and on the long grassy terrace in the rear, manly and exhilarating games were vigorously carried on. Leap Frog was a special favorite, and we trust that our warm-hearted, gentlemanly French friends heard with good humour the jesting compliment to Monsieur Crapeau every time, that they took back with such admirable agility […] the Bluenoses to their mettle to follow the active Frenchmen's lead. By the way, one little frog did appear on the ground looking very much astounded at the sight of so many human fellows having nothing better to do than imitate him and his kindred, in what Froggy must have thought an absurdly awkward fashion, especially when some special correspondent went sprawling to grass alarmingly near him. He was saved from being crushed however, by a thrifty gentleman, who "spotted" him in a way different from that pursued by nature, and put him tenderly in his coat pocket, in order, if he escaped suffocation, to carry him home and set him down among slugs and caterpillars in the garden. Among the quoit pitchers was a clergyman who surpassed all his competitors, but whom we will not name for the same reason as that given by Mr. McGee in alluding to this clerical player's success, "because the report of his quoit pitching abilities might interfere with his perferment, and knock his hope of a mitre into a cocked hat".

Soon the summons to dinner brought in happy party round the simply turn sled tables, where social enjoyment and good fellowship was more substantially promoted. After the repast was finished Commodore Wallace gave the usual loyal toast, "the Queen," which was received with enthusiastic cheers, and the singing and playing of the National Anthem. Another bumper followed amidst undiminished enthusiasm, is to our Canadian and New Brunswick Guests." for which Hon D'Arcy McGee briefly returned thanks. Just as he concluded his acknowledgements, the arrival of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor and lady McDonnell was […]. The whole party gave them a hearty and yet respectful greeting, which her Ladyship received with graceful affability that charmed all hearts. His Excellency intimated that he was there as the patron of the Yacht Club to present the Prince of Wales Prize Challenge Cup to the last winner of it Capt. N.G. Smith, H.M. 17th Regt. His Excellency's speech in making the presentation was most felicitous in tone. He spoke of the maritime aspects and advantages of Nova Scotia, as he had seen them during his recent coasting trip -- the national value of aquatic sports as a maritime power, -- the appropriateness of the princely gift to the Yacht Club from the heir to an ocean empire--and the pleasure he felt in handing over the prize to the winner, Capt. Smith, who represented the owners of the successful yacht "Thought," received the Cup with a neat speech in reply to his Excellency -- making generous mention of H.W. Alhro, Esq, Secretary of the club, who, by his skillful steering contributed so much to the yacht's success. After the presentation Sir Richard and Lady McDonnell withdrew, accompanied from the grounds by the officers of the Club, and His Worship the Mayor.

Some more songs from the French gentlemen drew a good speech from Dr. Tupper, which again drew on a magnificent address from Mr. McGee, and that drew in its turn a third speech equally eloquent from Mr. Howe. Their audience listened to these gentlemen with the most positive gratification. Piper Paterson with his winsome pibroch music next took the ground and several clever Scotsmen danced the Highland Fling. The mayor of Fredericton entered the ring and danced down the friskiest carle of them all, and followed his first rate reel by a first rate speech. Mayor of Fredericton, you are a regular brick, as clever, as humorous, as nimble and honest an old gentleman we know. May the people of Fredericton be always sufficiently alive to the estimable qualities of their worthy magistrate, and the Mayor's truly final him doing as much credit to their admitted management, as he did yesterday. There and in the evening was marked by the same humorous and agreeable proceedings that took place in the outset -- and with songs, music, and harrah, the party got home in the pleasantest style imaginable, no accident, no instance of excess, no bitch in the arrangements having occurred Commodore Wallace and the Yacht Club, as well as their distinguished guests, may really enjoy the remembrance of the happiest excursion we have had for years.

To-day's Trip to Waverley.

Owing to the circumstances connected with the late accident to the Vesuvius, the Vic. Admiral was unable to place the Buzzard at the disposal of the Reception Committee, until Monday, and accordingly the Committee arranged for a special train to carry the guests to Waverley diggings. The party started at 11 a.m., to-day, and had an interesting time inspecting the Gold mines and other works at Waverley. The crusher at the Germantown diggings was in operation, giving them an opportunity of witnessing the process of extracting the gold from the rock. The works at Waverley and Germantown were inspected, and almost every one obtained a "specimen" of more or less value. About half past two the party, numbering over fifty gentlemen, returned by railway to Richmond, where they found no carriages to receive them, and consequently had to walk into town.

At four, there was a fine turnout of the Fire Department, and the several engines, handled by the fire brigade, proved at once the remarkable efficiency of that body and the Waterspouts which shot hissing from the hose high over the housetops.

To-day's programme will end with a superb Banquet this evening in the drill-room.