1896: New Year’s party at Clayoquot

Was it doggerel?

new year metis

A bygone new year (image credit: Alberni Clayoquot Métis Society)

Most Chinuk Wawa-related poetry has been only fair-to-middlin’ quality. I wonder if the priest noted here outdid that average…

Clayoquot – On New Year’s day upwards of 30 of the residents in the Clayoquot district assembled in the new building erected by the Clayoquot Fishing & Trading Co, which had been most tastefully decorated for a magnificent banquet provided by Mr Jacobson, the manager. After dinner the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were proposed and drunk with great enthusiasm. Mr Jacobson, who is a Norwegian by birth, proposed the health of Her Majesty the Queen, and referred to the kindly manner that Norwegian settlers had been received by the provincial government. Mr Grice, Justice of the Peace, spoke in glowing terms of the advantages of being a citizen of an Empire whose government and institutions were the admiration of the civilized world – an Empire greater than that of the Caesars, which although old is still progressive. Under its influence and guiding hand countries which had lain for ages under the dark cloud of barbarism were being rapidly opened to the benefits of civilization. He also in the course of his speech in eulogistic terms referred to the Norwegian race, who had very materially contributed to the English character by infusing into it the spirit of their Norse ancestors, so that Britain now occupied the proud position of Mistress of the Seas. The toast of “The Bishops and Clergy and Ministers of All Denominations” was responded to by the Rev Father Van Nevel, who spoke in high terms of the cordial assistance he had received from the settlers in his missionary work among the natives. Rev Father [George] Van Goethem also contributed a short poem in the Chinook jargon, complimentary to the chief of the Clayoquot tribe of Indians. Mr Chesterman also materially added to the enjoyment of the evening by his humorous versatility and his impersonation of the time honored “Santa Claus.” Dancing was indulged in until a late hr.

[Victoria (BC) Colonist, 1896-01-17]

What do you think?