I’ll introduce, ’tis S.S. Strong,
A man who’s memory I recall
As one respected here by all,
An honor to his cloth and race,
With whom no strange fire left its trace,
Upon the shrine where truth he found,
Who preached and practiced precepts sound,
Nor wore his shoes on hallowed ground.
William and Hugh Calder’s names
Arise, and now present their claims
To immortality in rhyme,
Both merchants of the olden time.
John Anderson, a merchant was,
And dealt with profit and with loss
In groceries and dainty “grub,”
With wine, Jamaica, rum and shrub,
That had no leaves upon its stem,
Though beads like dewdrops did begem
Its ruby rippling diadem.
“And “Little Johnny Robertson,”
But lately from amongst us gone,
Took both his “sneeshin” and his glass,
And let the tide of fortune pass.
And Ewen Cameron, who died
By cholera in manhood’s pride;
A Caledonian lithe and strong,
As fancy paints the dauntless throng,
Who dashed with claymore down the slope,
On red Culloden’s grave of hope.
And Peter Aylen, who could tell
The path he trod of yore as well
As I, who from an early day
Knew Peter Aylen’s every way?
’Tis not my purpose to indite
A history of his life; or write
A record of his strange career,
To interest the reader here.
Howe’er his stirring life you scan,
You’ll find that Aylen was a man!
Afraid of nought that ever wore
The human shape on Ottawa’s shore!
Chief of the “shiners,” it was said,
Caesar or nothing—never led—
But always foremost in the fray,
Was ever Peter Aylen’s way.
A heavy lumberer Peter was,
When lumbering was like pitch and toss,
To-day success, to-morrow loss.
But let him rest, he sleeps beside
The Ottawa’s majestic tide!
Perhaps I’d better mention here
Who and what the “shiners” were,
Who gave of yore such sturdy thumps,
And brought forth phrenologic bumps
Unknown to scan of craniology,
With bludgeons or aid of geology.
A band of Irish raftsmen, who
Were to each other always true,
Combined together, war they made,
To banish from the lumber trade
All French-Canadian competition
By dooming it to abolition;
They made the wild attempt, at least,
To extirpate poor Jean Baptiste.
Among their victims they enrol’d him,
And made the place too hot to hold him,
Yet were the tales that rumor told,
Worse than the shiners’ acts of old,
Though memory’s charged with many a fray
That happened in the early day,
When shiners with an iron hand
Reigned here the terror of the land!
Few were the victims of the strife—
If any—and the loss of life,
Was fanciful much more than real
In that blood-letting old ordeal.
Among the medico’s of old,