John Hillyard Cameron

John Hillyard Cameron, the son of Angus Cameron of the 79th Cameron Highlanders, was born at Beaucaire, Languedoc, France, on April 14, 1817 and came to Canada with his parents in 1825. His Scottish heritage was a controlling factor in his character and conduct, and was amusingly recalled by his political foes, who when meeting his Orange supporters at the polling booths would hum to themselves that old Scottish song ‘The March of the Cameron Men.’

During the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 militiamen were stationed at Toronto City Hall on the night that the reberls marched against the city. Most of these soldiers were Orangemen and the officer in charge, Lieutenant Colonel James FitzGibbon, sent a young student of Upper Canada College to alarm the city by ringing the bells of Upper Canada College. That young student was John Hillyard Cameron.

Cameron was soon to become a captain in the third regiment of Queen’s Rangers and was later to serve with distinction during the Fenian Raids. In 1846 he was offered the post of Solicitor General in the Upper Canada assembly and a seat was found for him in Cornwall. He was a more than capable politician and while he was Solicitor General, the Premier of Upper Canada, Draper, in a letter to the Governor General spoke of him as a ‘gentleman of great legal eminence, considerable talent, and irreproachable character’. Cameron was a lawyer by profession and of the greatest legal minds in the colony. His intellectual and moral qualities were brought out in startling fashion by the courage which he showed in 1868 when he was not afraid, although an Orangeman and candidate for Parliament, to defend the Fenian, Whelan, who was charged with the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee.

Cameron became an Orangeman in 1857, joining L.O.L. No. 507 in the city of Toronto. He later joined Enniskillen L.O.L. No. 387, also in Toronto of which he remained a member until he died. He represented the riding of Peel from 1861 to 1872 and the northern part of the county, Cardwell, from 1872 until his death in 1876. Cameron was unyielding in his principles and refused to be cowed by party policy and was a threat to John A. Macdonald’s leadership in the Conservative Party. Macdonald recognized this danger to his leadership, for in 1854 he had written to Bishop Strachan: ‘Cameron was useful in legal matters when in the House, but he lacks general intelligence, and is altogether devoid of political reading; so that he was altogether a failure as a statesman. Lord Elgin truly called him a "presumptuous young gentleman". He seeks Parliament again for selfish interests, and I would be sorry to see him represent so powerful a constituency as Toronto". In the world of politics this was what one Orangeman wrote about another one, Macdonald having joined the Orange Order in Kingston in 1841.

On the other hand Macdonald would have liked to have seen another Orangeman elected, George Benjamin, since he was "sure" and would not, because he dared not, break from the party. However, Macdonald did not get his wish and Cameron was elected. When the time came to elect a new Grand Master of Canada in 1859, Orangemen realized that it would have to be someone who was not identified with either of the old sectional interests, either of Benjamin or Gowan, yet he would have had to have achieved distinction elsewhere, probably in politics, to make him acceptable in his high office.

The logical choice, since Macdonald’s political responsibilities ruled him out was Cameron. Cameron made his first appearance at a Grand Lodge meeting in Hamilton on June 21, 1859. The next day, after a lengthy discussion, and by the narrow majority of twelve votes, he was elected Grand Master. From the beginning Ogle Gowan seems to have recognized in Cameron what Orangeism needed and had not had since his own youth - a man who was Orange first and foremost, regardless of any personal affiliations or sectional interests.

Cameron’s sponsorship of the abortive Orange Incorporation Bill of 1856 had already marked him as a champion of Orange ideals. He was a newcomer of obvious intellectual accomplishments and the more thoughtful members of both parties regarded him as a saviour sent to restore peace and harmony in the Canadian Orange Order. He retained the office of Grand Master until succeeded in 1870 by Mackenzie Bowell.

During the elections of 1863, Peel reformers thought that they would defeat Cameron because of his support for the amendments to the Separate School Act. They said that he would no longer receive the support of "Orangemen as a body". Several Peel Orangemen were involved in protests against Cameron’s conduct at this time but their county lodge acted promptly and Grand Lodge minutes of 1863 contain the following paragraph:

"The action of the County Lodge of the County of Peel is sustained in the expulsion of the following members for slandering the character of the M.W. the Grand Master, Brother the Honourable J.H. Cameron…."

After five years in office Cameron had intended to retire, but these attacks on his conduct in parliament brought him up fighting. He insisted the state should not ‘coerce the conscience of any man’.

"The Roman Catholic declares that it is against his conscience to separate religious from secular education; he says that such is the teaching of his Church, and however erroreous we as Protestants may believe that teaching, his faith is that it is true. He claims that as part of the religious liberty which the civil government has given him that the conscience of his child shall not be subjected to secular teaching only, and he asks that his own rates and taxes only -- not a farthing of any Protestant’s - shall be allowed him for that purpose."

Cameron made his defence before the Grand Lodge at Belleville, Ontario, and it was a tribute to the man that Grand Lodge vindicated his stand, re-electing him by acclamation. Cameron died in 1876, the same year as Ogle Gowan his old friend and mentor, and the deaths of these two great Orangemen left a void that was to prove hard to fill.

The following song was sung at the dinner given to the Honourable John Hillyard Cameron in Dublin, in 1860;


Air,…"Come cheer up my lads ‘tis to glory we steer".

Ye sons of Nassau, of the old fatherland,
Of sires whom William at Boyne did command;
Up, up, energetic and show to the world
That the old Orange Flag shall be ever unfurl’d,

Arise in a phalanx of ten thousands ten,
Loyal and steady,
Yet ever ready,
To stand by your colours again and again.

Lo! The spirit of Freedom which glows in each breast,
Sheds light from her wings o’er the land of the west,
O’er the mighty Atlantic her lightnings have blazed,
Oh Canada’s green fields her altars are raised,

Where the bold and freeborn in town and in glen,
Are true men, steady,
Wide awake, ready,
To stand by their colours again and again.

Contempt on the courtier, the sycophant slave,
Who try’d to dishonour the loyal and brave,
Who would tutor his Prince upon true men to frown,
Whose fathers had bled in defence of his Crown,

But TORONTO and KINGSTON told Newcastle then
That they were steady,
Aye up and ready,
To stand by their colours again and again.

Our brother Canadians have sent us their Chief,
May his moments of stay be as bright as they’re brief;
Brave Scotia we greet with her tartan so bright,
For a son of CLAN CAMERON smiles here tonight.

With Pibroch and Claymore these blue bonnet men,
Martial and steady,
Ever are ready,
To stand by their colours again and again.

Come fill us a bumper of sparkling champagne,
And drink to our guest who has come o’er the main,
May his life flow on like a bright sunny wave,
And decline come on calm like a midsummer eve.

To the cause that he champions, and Canada’s men,
Orangemen steady,
Wide awake, ready,
Give three times hurra, and again and again.

….Wm. Archer, M. 597, Dublin.

The Battle of Hastings

The Roman Catholic Taxpayers Association was disappointed and bitter when the Ontario Liberal government of Mitchell Hepburn failed to introduce favourable school legislation for R.C.’s in 1935. They believed that their support in electing the Liberals should have brought them their reward. They believed that they had the right to share in corporation and utility taxes. Orangemen argued that the Scott Act of 1863 had been accepted by Roman Catholics in Ontario as a final solution. The R.C.’s in turn argued that neither this act nor the British North American Act had foreseen the industrial development of the Province of Ontario.

In April of 1936 a Government Bill was introduced providing for a share of corporation taxes for Roman Catholic schools. Despite formidable opposition the bill passed in the Ontario legislature. The issue was far from over however as Orangemen prepared to do battle. Leslie Saunders, a leader in the fight, formed ‘Protestant Action’ in the fall of 1936 because he did not believe the "Orange Sentinel" had taken a strong enough stand on the issue.

On October 5, 1936, the Conservative member for East Hastings riding died. A by-election was called for December 09, in the riding of which Belleville was the county seat. The riding, predominantly rural, was also strongly Orange. Traditionally Conservative, it had been held by only 418 votes in the previous election.

The rival candidates were both medical doctors. Harold E. Welsh represented the Conservatives, and Harold A. Boyce, the Liberals. The new Conservative leader of Ontario, Earl Rowe, an Orangeman, faced the first test of his leadership. The Ontario campaign manager, George Drew, was in charge of the Hastings campaign.

The whole province watched this campaign with great interest. At stake was the ability of the Orange Order to muster their vote. This election boiled down to the Orange Lodge versus the Liberal party. Orange organizers conducted twenty public meetings and were present at another thirty Orange gatherings. In addition they distributed 16,000 Orange pamphlets and several thousand free copies of ‘The Sentinel’.

Welsh defeated Boyce by 1,136 votes. The outcome was greeted as a Protestant victory and a serious rebuke to the Hepburn Liberals. The Orange Order had flexed its political muscle and emerged victorious. Hepburn had been taught a lesson by the Orangemen of Ontario and he learned it well. The legislation was repealed in March of 1937.

The following letter was sent after the election was over to E. F. Reid, the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ontario East from H. E. Welsh, the victorious candidate. It shows that the Orangemen were the deciding factor in the election.

Roslin, Ontario, December 21st, 1936.

Dear Mr. Reid:-

On behalf of the Conservatives of East Hastings I wish to thank you as Grand Master of Ontario East for the marvellous support given by Messr. Graham, Fetterly, Frost, Reid [Belleville] and L.H. Reid [Toronto].

The Orange Order was without a doubt the strongest, the purest, the most reliable support for myself as candidate and the Honourable Earl Rowe [an Orangeman a.r.]as Leader.

I can sonscientiously say that they were the backbone of the fight in East Hastings. I wish the Loyal Orange Lodge a great future which they justly deserve.

Wishing you the compliments of the Season, I am

Yours sincerely,

SGD. H. E. Welsh


Oronhyatekha was born August 10, 1841 on the Six Nations Reserve at Brantford, Ontario. He was baptized with the Christian name of Peter Martin, his Mohawk name, Oronhyatekha, meaning Burning Sky. He attended Kenyon College in Ohio and on his return to Ontario he was chosen by the Council of the Six Nations to give the welcoming address to the Prince of Wales on his visit to the Brantford area in 1860.

He impressed the Royal Party and under the sponsorship of Sir Henry Ackland, the Prince’s personal physician, he attended Oxford University as a medical student. On his return to Canada he attended the University of Toronto where he received his Medical Degree. He started his medical practice in Frankford, Ontario before moving to London, Ontario in 1875. He married Ellen Hill, a Mohawk from Tyendinaga who was the great-granddaughter of Joseph Brant.

In 1871 Oronhyatekha was a member of Canada’s first Wimbledon rifle team and in 1874 he became the President of the Grand Council of Canadian Chiefs. He was a member of L.O.L. No. 342 and served as the County Master of Middlesex, Ontario. In 1873 he attended the Imperial Orange Council of the World in Belfast, Ireland as one of the Canadian delegates.

He was a member of the International Order of Foresters and in his position as Chief Ranger he built the organization into the largest and most successful fraternal life insurance company in the world. At a dinner given to him in London in 1894 he said he was "more than a British subject, for he had the honour to be an ally of Great Britain", he then added that it was "owing to the assistance and influence of the Six Nations of Indians that the British Crown now held Canada." Oronhyatekha died in Toronto on March 3, 1907.

Reverend Charles Chiniquy

Charles Chiniquy was born on July 30, 1809 at Kamouraska, Quebec. His father died when he was twelve and he was sent to live with his uncle, Amable Dionne. In 1822 he was sent to study at the Seminaire de Nicolet where he proved to be an excellent pupil and in 1829 he entered into study for the Roman Catholic priesthood. He was ordained a priest in 1833 by Bishop Joseph Signay in Notre Dame Cathedral in Quebec. In 1834 he served in the parish of Saint-Roch at Quebec and served as Chaplain at the Marine and Emigrant Hospital. Here he met Dr. James Douglas who showed him the effects of alcoholism and made him a strong adherent of temperance. In 1838 he was named the curate of La Nativite-de-Notre-Dame in Beauport, one of the largest and wealthiest parishes in the province of Quebec. The fight against alcoholism took up most of his time among his parishioners and on March 29, 1840 he founded a temperance society in which 1300 of his parishioners joined.

On September 28, 1842 he became assistant to Jacques Varin, parish priest and with Varin’s death on April 11, 1843 he became the parish priest. From 1848-1851 he led a temperance crusade which drew over 200,000 converts. In gratitude he received a gold medal in front of a crowd of 900 people in 1849 at Longueuil and was dubbed "the apostle of temperance". In October of 1851 Chiniquy offered his services to the Bishop of Chicago, James Oliver Van de Velde, who was visiting Montreal. He settled in St. Anne, Illinois, and his charisma helped St. Anne grow faster than surrounding towns. In March, 1856 he asked for some French Canadian priests to be sent to help him with his 10,000 parishioners. He did not want Irish priests preaching to them.

By 1858 Chiniquy was openly quarelling with the Church of Rome and was calling himself a Christian Catholic. In 1860 he officially converted to Protestantism and joined the Presbyterian Church of the United States, taking over 2000 of his former parishioners with him. He married Euphemie Allard on January 27, 1864 with whom he had three children.

In 1874 Chiniquy toured Great Britain as a speaker on the errors of Roman Catholic doctrines and that year published a book, "The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional". Returning to Canada he settled in Montreal and in four years converted over 7000 French Canadian Roman Catholics to Protestantism. In 1878 Chiniquy joined the Loyal Orange Association in Montreal, becoming a member of Boyne L.O.L. 401. He had the following to say about the Orange Association: "I always found them staunch and true. I consider it a great honour to be an Orangeman. Every time I go on my knees I pray that God may bless them and make them as numerous and bright as the stars of the heaven above".

Under the auspices of the Canadian Orangemen he lectured for two years in Australia and New Zealand giving over 600 public lectures during that time. For most of his life Chiniquy was subjected to physical and verbal attacks by the Roman Catholic church. There was a strong propaganda campaign waged against him and he was accused of being everything from a child molester to an axe murderer. He was dragged into court on numerous occasions and each time emerged victorious. He died on January 16, 1899 in Montreal.

The following is an excerpt from an article enitled ‘Rev. Charles Chiniquy’ by Rev. Charles Perry, also an Orangeman:

"The first time he visited Quebec in 1859, fifty men were sent by the Bishop of Quebec to force him to swear that he would never preach the Bible, or to kill him in case of his refusal. Sticks were raised above his head, a dagger stuck in his breast and the cries of a furious mob were ringing in his ears: ‘Infamous renegade! Swear that you will never preach your accursed Bible, or you are a dead man!’ Chiniquy said, " I solemnly swear, that so long as my tongue can speak, I will preach the Word as I find it in the Holy Bible." Soon after more than 1000 British soldiers were around him with fixed bayonets. They formed themselves into two lines along the streets, through which the Mayor took him in his sleigh to the lecture room. He there delivered his address on the bible, to at least 10,000 people who were inside and outside the walls of the building. He was stoned twenty times. The principal places in Canada where he was struck and wounded, and almost miraculously escaped, were Montreal, Charlottetown, Halifax and Antigonish. On a dark night, as he was leaving the steamer to take the train on the Ottawa River, twice the bullets of murderers whistled at no more than two or three inches from his ears. Several times in Montreal and Halifax, the churches where he was preaching were attacked and the windows broken by the mobs sent by the priests."