The committee appointed to wait on Captain Davidson in this matter consisted of Messrs. Robertson, Alexander Fraser and Dr.
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Captain Henderson was, at the same meeting, requested to call a meeting of the men who had been provisionally enrolled, to whom Capt. Davidson's name would be submitted for approval. The committee reported at a meeting held on the 6th July that Capt. Davidson had accepted of the command, and the secretary was able to report at the same meeting promises of liberal financial support from many leading Scotsmen of whom the following, among others, having been the first to come forward, deserve to be placed high on the roll of honour, viz.
Paul Campbell, Hon. Senator John Macdonald, Hon. Senator Allan, Mr. Wilkie, Mr.
Frederick Wyld, Mr. John Kay, Mr. Beatty, Mr. Christie, Mr. Robert Jaffray, Mr. Donald McKay. Robert Swan, Mr. Mortimer Clark, Mr. Charles Walker, and Dr. Andrew Smith. At this time the chief difficulty appeared to be to secure the consent of the Canadian Government to the proposal. The first deputation to the Government consisted of Messrs. Robertson and Alexander Fraser. On the 10th July they reported the result of their visit to Ottawa. The Government refused to sanction the formation of a new regiment on the ground of expense and because they had refused that year to add to the strength of the militia in the Provinces of Quebec and British Columbia.
The Government consented to receive another deputation but would hold out no hope of success. The Senators and Members of Parliament who actively assisted Messrs. Robertson and Fraser in their interview were Senator G. Macdonell, Algoma; Hon. Kirkpatrick, Kingston; and Geo. Bergin, M. Shortly after the first interview the Minister of Militia wrote stating that the Government had not altered its view that a Highland regiment should not be formed in Toronto, and in consenting to receive a deputation a second time, it must be clearly understood that such consent was not to be taken as an encouragement to persist in the movement.
Doggedly the Standing Committee set about to overcome the Government's objections. The city council of Toronto was approached and passed a resolution in favour of the movement, and a deputation consisting of Messrs. At this interview Hon. Foster, the Minister of Finance, manifested a deep interest in the proposed regiment, and stated that with the consent of his colleagues he would remove the financial difficulty, whereupon the other ministers present consented to sanction the formation of a Highland regiment in Toronto, and Sir Adolphe Caron, Minister of Militia, at once gave formal notification of this decision.
48th Highlanders of Canada
The news was received in Toronto with great rejoicing, and satisfaction was felt in the Scottish settlements throughout the Province of Ontario, for the plucky fight made at Ottawa had attracted the attention of the press and of the country. The work of the Standing Committee now began in earnest, for the undertaking to which they had pledged themselves was one of no small magnitude. Further details, however, need scarcely be narrated here. The subscriptions to the Regimental Fund were on a princely scale in many instances, and in many more they were the small donations of patriotic enthusiasts.
Daniel Clark and Dr. George Kennedy; Caledonian Society, Messrs. Frederick Wyld, A. Cosby, D. Robertson, A. Smith, John I. Davidson, D. McCracken, Hugh Miller.
Robert Barron, James Massie, J. Macdonald, Dr. Thorburn, John A. Currie, Dr. Wilson Gray. From this general committee sub-committees were apppointed. John I. Frederick Wyld, Dr.
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Robertson, George MacKenzie. Currie and Alexander Fraser, with Mr. Frederick Wyld as chairman.
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Committee on Finance, to arrange the details of collecting the necessary funds, consisting of Messrs. Frederick WyId, A. Cosby, Thos. Paul Campbell, J. Stuart, D. Kennedy, Wm Adamson and Alexander Fraser. Wyld was chairman. The first meeting of the Regimental Committee was held on the 11th of August. It was decided. Davidson, the commanding officer, designate. Fraser submitted patterns of the following clan tartans from which to choose one for the new regiment : -Cameron, Gordon, MacKenzie, Davidson, Macdonald, and Hunting Stuart, with it recommendation in favour of the Old Davidson tartan in honour of the first C.
Kennedy moved, seconded by Mr.
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John A. Currie, that the Old Davidson tartan be adopted as the tartan of the regiment. On the motion of Mr. Fraser the motto "Dileas gu brath" was chosen, also a falcon's head, erased, as the regimental crest. Correspondence was opened with the Militia Department, Ottawa, with respect to the number by which the regiment should be known, and the number of one of the Highland regiments of the British army was suggested, but that suggestion could not be acted upon, and there being a vacancy in the number 48, that number was given to the regiment with the word Highlanders" to designate it, the name "Queen's Highlanders" not being considered available by the Department.
Among the first donations to the funds was one of five hundred dollars from the Caledonian Society of Toronto. It has attracted to its ranks all body of men, who have at all times taken a part in maintaining the honour of the regiment worthily, and a morale of the very highest character. This was to have been expected from the history of Highland regiments in the past, when, under all circumstances, duty and discipline have ever been the watchword and motto of the Highland soldier, and the gallant 48th has shown itself to be mindful of the glorious traditions of its predecessors.
While this work is essentially a history of the 48th Highlanders, it is but natural to suppose that the idea such a Corps represents is wider and touches interests beyond the regiment itself which are dear to the Scotchman the world over, and are appreciated wherever the true military spirit exists. The martial ardour of the Gael, his aptitude for soldiering, and his services in the held have been the subject of fitting. The association of Highland regiments of the regular army with Canada has been also briefly noticed, and an unbroken Connection from Quebec to the present duty traced between the highland soldier and the Dominion.
The official documents from which the information was drawn were placed in the hands of Mr. Alexander Fraser, the well-known journalist and Scottish author, who was Secretary of the Citizens Committee which carried the movement for the establishment of the 48th Highlanders to a successful issue. He is thoroughly conversant with all the details of the formation of the regiment from inception of the movement, and with the record of the corps up to the present.
He received all necessary assistance from the officers of the regiment, so that this work may be taken as accurate and complete. Return to our Online Books Page. This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo.