(By Donald Fraser, Victoria, B.C.)
There is no more conspicuous landmark in Lanark county than the old Courier. For seventy-two years without a break it has been the faithful recorder of the joys and sorrows of all the people. I will not attempt to give its history, but merely a few personal recollections. First the editors I have known : Sheriff Thompson still with you hale and hearty; Charles Rice, G. L. Walker, and W. T. Walker, who have gone to their reward; J. M. Walker enjoying a well-earned relaxation from business cares in the beautiful town of Gananoque on the St. Lawrence. I have not the pleasure of knowing the present proprietor, but I know who he is very well. I expect his ambition is to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors as closely as possible, in conducting a clean paper not only for his own profit but to the advantage of the whole community as well. Seventy-two years is a record which few newspapers in the country attain to. It reminds one of Tennyson’s “Brook. :
“Men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.”
The first carrier boy I remember was a very polite old Frenchman by the name of Curvier. We were very fond of meeting him on the street and airing our French, which was very limited. He was very patient and invariably assisted us with the pronunciation. I can remember him carrying round the New Year’s addresses at least on one occasion; he was well received wherever he went and I expect his finances were improved for his day’s work.
Speaking of New Year’s addresses, they were not makeshifts in those days, but elaborate affairs; they were the finest specimens of the printer’s art and no pains were spared to make them instructive and amusing. I remember a very excellent one which was supposed to have Holmes Mair for its author; Mr. Mair had more than a local reputation as a poet. Another was from the pen of Mrs. Grant, about which there was no doubt as to the authorship. She treated of matters and things historical, political and social, dwelling on the happy occasions in which many of the families met, and referring to the brilliant attainments of the local celebrities. I remember the following words were used :
“And Mr. Grant, sedate and tall,
Who quietly enjoyed it all,
Would oft in confidence declare
His little wife the brightest there.”
Speaking of Mrs. Grant reminds me of Mrs. James Bell; they were very intimate friends. I am sure there are many who will remember these two ladies as I do with a great deal of affection. There is an inclination to digress for a moment and refer to many others, whose kindness and hospitality at that time can never be forgotten, but I cannot particularize. I wuld like, however, to remind those who remain of many happy evenings at Victoria Hall, Mrs. Richardson‘s of the Bank, Mrs. Gamsby‘s, Mrs. Bell‘s and many others.
The Courier, I expect, has been a consistent advocate of liberal principles from its first issue, and while it has not been gratified with the success of its local candidates, the party it represents has had an unparalleled lease of power in Ontario, and is still in power for the Dominion, so that it can have no real grievance on that score. I see it is advocating bonuses to manufacturers. This is a departure from the old time liberal idea, as it is one form of protection. While the old principles and rights and sound conditions have changed, particularly in transportation, freight rates now rule. It was this which gave the Standard Oil Company its enormous advantage. The producer can procure better rates than the consumer; hence he pays the freight and gives his customer the benefit.
Refering to the reunion such a thing would be impossible without newspapers; they reach everybody, and judging from the lists published no one who ever lived in Lanark County will fail to get an invitation to be present. In this as in all other matters the Courier is doing its duty heroically. There can be no doubt of its success and much of it will be due to the old Perth Courier.