Monday, January 16, 2012

Things you find in the archives that make you smile

From a 1915 memoir by John E. Farewell, a Whitby, Ontario, lawyer about his law-student days in the 1860s:  
The day on which Sir John Beverley Robinson was buried, the shutters of all the stores on the principal streets were "put up."  ... The members of the Law Society, the professors and students of Trinity and Toronto Universities attended the funeral, wearing their gowns.          Being the junior, I had to return to the office after the funeral left St James Cathedral.  Just after I got there, an old man came in and enquired whether this was Sunday or not or what.
I informed him it was not Sunday.
He asked what are all the shutters on the windows for? I informed him that they were closed out of respect for Sir John Beverley Robinson, whose funeral was that day. 
He asked whether this Mr. Robinson had not been some kind of a Judge some twenty-five or six years ago. I answered his enquiry, and he replied, "Well, this Mr. Robinson made a short but very impressive speech to me one day." 
I asked him what it was. Well, he said to me, the sentence of this court is that you, John Montgomery, be taken from this place to the place from whence you came, and be detained there until a certain day and that you be taken then to the place of execution and there be hanged by the neck until you are dead and may the Lord have mercy on your soul.
John Mongomery’s story can be followed in his DCB biography here.
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