“Loyalist Trails” 2014-06: February 9, 2014
In this issue:
– A Loyalist Defends Bundling, by Stephen Davidson
– Sir John Johnson, UE
– 2014 Annual UELAC Conference: Friday Dinner and Evening
– Representatives of the Arts added to Loyal Americans Hall of Honour
– UELAC Promotion with Free Logo Until Valentine’s Day
– Where in the World is Louise Ferriss?
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Last Post: Alexandra Bastedo
– Editor’s Note
When it comes to the topic of sex, those of us in the 21st century falsely assume that all previous generations – especially that of the Victorians – were uptight prudes on the matter. This was anything but true for the loyalists.
Their courtship rituals included an “indelicate custom” that shocked everyone from worldly British army officers to (surprise, surprise!) sophisticated French soldiers. The custom was known as bundling. When outsiders challenged its morality, American colonists whipped out their Bibles to justify it – and a loyalist minister rose to its defense.
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the verb “bundle” as “to occupy the same bed without undressing; said of a man and woman, especially during courtship.” It is very difficult for modern eyes to look back to the colonial era without thinking the worst of this practise. However, bundling was defended as innocent and completely honourable – no more prone to abuse than any other courting custom.
Bundling was enjoyed throughout the American colonies between 1750 and 1780 – and had been there from the very beginning of European settlement. The Germans in Pennsylvania bundled – as did the Dutch pioneers in New York. The Puritans of New England, especially those in Connecticut, bundled. Writing of the custom in 1872, Henry R. Stiles maintained that its roots went back to ancient Rome. (Stiles’ book on the history of bundling was considered so scandalous that it was banned in Boston.)
Pity the poor visiting clergyman who mistakenly thought that preaching against bundling would endear him to his Connecticut audience. Following the service in which he condemned the un-christian custom of young men and maidens lying together upon the same bed, he was surrounded by angry matrons. Their interchange went as follows:
“Sir, do you think we and our daughters are naughty because we allow bundling?” they asked.
“You lead yourselves into temptation by it,” snorted the minister.
“Sir, have you been told thus, or has experience taught you ?”
He meekly replied, ” I have been told so.”
Outraged, the women replied, “Your informants, sir, we conclude, are those city ladies who prefer a sofa to a bed. We advise you to alter your sermon by substituting the word “sofa” for “bundling”, and, on your return home, preach to them. For experience has told us that city-folks send more children into the country without father and mother to own them, than are born among us. Therefore, you see, a sofa is more dangerous than a bed.”
The minister confessed his error, begged pardon, and promised never more to preach against bundling, or to think amiss of the custom. The ladies generously forgave him, and went away.
The Rev. Samuel Peters, a Loyalist Anglican minister, defended the practice of bundling over the course of several pages in his History of Connecticut, published in 1781. “It may seem very strange to find this custom of bundling in bed attended with so much innocence in New-England, while in Europe it is thought not safe, or scarcely decent, to permit a young man or maid to be together in private anywhere … I am no advocate of temptation” he wrote, “yet must say that bundling has prevailed 160 years in New England, and I verily believe with ten times more chastity than the sitting on a sofa.”
Peters went on to say that “the custom prevails among all classes, to the great honour of the country, its religion and ladies. The virtuous may be tempted; but the tempter is despised. Why it should be thought incredible for a young man and young woman innocently and virtuously to lie down together in a bed with a great part of their clothes on, I cannot conceive. Human passions may be alike in every region; but religion, diversified as it is, operates differently in different countries.
Upon the whole, had I daughters now, I would venture to let them bundle upon the bed, or even on the sofa, after a proper education, sooner than adopt the Spanish mode of forcing young people to prattle only before the lady’s mother the chit-chat of artless lovers.”
Could the four quarters of the world produce a more chaste, exemplary, and beautiful company of wives and daughters than are in Connecticut, I should not have remaining one favourable sentiment for the province. But the soil, the rivers, the ponds, the ten thousand landscapes, together with the virtuous and lovely women which now adorn the ancient kingdoms of Connecticut, Sassacus, and Quinnipiog, would tempt me into the highest wonder and admiration of them, could they once be freed of the skunk, the rattle-snake, and fanatic Christian.”
(It is interesting to note at this point that Rev. Peters did, indeed, have a daughter. Hannah Owen Peters fell in love with a Connecticut loyalist after her father had found refuge in England. That young fellow was William Jarvis who became, in time, the first provincial secretary of Upper Canada. Is it impolite to wonder how much a part of their courtship involved the grand old tradition of bundling? Hannah’s father certainly wouldn’t have been upset.)
It may surprise us to learn that a clergyman defended bundling. But even more unexpected is that it caused a French military officer to raise an eyebrow; Louis Alexandre Berthier first encountered bundling while stationed in Newport, Rhode Island. It is not difficult to hear his shock in his wartime journal:
“When young people fall in love, they inform their parents. From that moment on they are constantly together. . . They even spend half the night in conversation after their parents have gone to bed without taking the slightest advantage of this liberty (which is regarded as a sacred trust) by doing anything wrong. In Connecticut, it is even the custom for two lovers to lie down together on a bed for several hours during the day, or more often during the evening, during which they talk of their future happiness. . . I have entered several rooms where I have found them thus engaged and where, without stirring, they continued to express their affection for one another with the utmost propriety.”
Celebrate Valentine’s Day this year in the loyalist style – bundle!
The book History of the counties of Argenteuil, Que. and Prescott, Ont., from the earliest settlement to the present (1896), by C. Thomas, contains a piece on Sir John Johnson, UE. (This book is available here, and can be read in several different formats) Beginning on page 67:
Sir John Johnson, by Colin Dewar
Sir John was a son of Sir Wm. Johnson, an officer in one of the King s regiments in the then Province of New York, and who resided at “Johnson Hall,” in the beautiful valley on the banks of the Mohawk, where he had a large tract of land, and where many of his countrymen and others had settled and lived together in peace and harmony for many years. Sir William had also received the appointment of Superintendent of Indian Affairs, which does not appear to have been much of a sinecure, as his letters or despatches are dated from different parts of the country, from Johnson Hall to Oswego, Niagara and Lake Champlain, thus showing that he travelled extensively. On the breaking out of the troubles which eventually en, with the gaining of their independence, many of his neighbors (under his influence, no doubt) refused to join the movement, preferring to sacrifice all they possessed, and remain loyal to what they called their king and country and as it was impossible to remain neutral, the only alternative was to flee to Canada, which, a short time previously, had passed into the hands of the British.
Arrangements were therefore made by which they were escorted by Indians to Oswego, whence they went to different parts of the country.
I would not have dwelt so long on this subject were it not that I am descended from one of these so called U. E. Loyalists, my mother’s grandfather, Arch. McDeirmid, having left his comfortable home on the Mohawk river, and, after suffering almost incredible hardships, arrived at Caldvvell s Manor, on Lake Champlain, where he had to begin life anew, without deriving any substantial benefit for his loyalty to his king and country.
To Sir Wm. Johnson belongs the honor of capturing Fort Niagara in 1759 and on the 8th September, 1760, the whole of Canada was surrendered to the British.
Sir William has been accused of being the instigator, if not the actual leader, of the raid made by Indians on the peaceable inhabitants of the valley, when so many were ruthlessly massacred, Indian fashion, and their houses and property destroyed by fire. There is no proof whatever, that he was in any way connected with that raid; besides, his influence and actionsawere always on the side of clemency and mercy. However, it is a well authenticated historical fact, that a raid by Indians and others was perpetrated in that place, as above described. There could not have been any glory or honor attending it, as Colonel Guy Johnson, St. Claire and Brant all deny having any part in it.
Sir William s intimacy and connection with Mollie Brant, which has furnished material for writers of fiction as well as history, may have been an advantage to him in his dealings with the Indians, but it “must have been a root of bitterness in his own family, as she lived with him as his wife, and was always regarded as such by the Indians, and after his death was treated as his relict. (Archivist s Report B. 114-63-)
As a woman, she had great influence among the different tribes, and one word from Jier is more taken notice of by the Five Nations than a thousand from any white man without exception. (Ibid.}
Sir William died in July, 1774, after a few months severe illness, and was much and deservedly regretted by all classes, and especially by the British Government, who had great confidence in him, both as an officer in the army and in filling the important office over the Indians.
His son. Sir John Johnson, was also an officer in the 28th Regiment of NewYork, and shortly after his father s death was appointed to the position which his late father had held, as Superintendent of Indian Affairs a position which he faithfully filled for many years, even to the detriment of his own private business.
He was at one time nominated for Lieut. -Governor of Upper Canada ; and Lord Dorchester, in a letter to the Home Secretary, also recommended him, but before the letter arrived, Simcoe had been appointed.
In 1808, he wrote to Mr. Granville, stating that he wished to resign his office of Superintendent, and asking that his son, Lieut.-Col. Johnson, be appointed in his stead; but the Home Government did not entertain the application, as they considered Col. Johnson was not sufficiently acquainted with the peculiarities of the Indian tribes. It was, therefore, given to Col. Clans, a son-in-law of Sir Wm. John son, who had been for some time acting as Deputy Superintendent. It was a real disappointment to Col. Johnson, as his father, Sir William, considered that this appointment was to remain in his family. (Ibid, 311-11.)
About the year 1814, Sir John Johnson purchased the Seigniory of Argenteuil from Major Murray, and built the manor house on a beautiful spot on the left bank of the North River, near where it flows into the Ottawa. It was built on the same model (only of smaller dimensions) as “Johnson Hall,” the residence of his father on the banks of the Mohawk. In that manor house he resided for several years surrounded by comforts and luxuries far in excess of what might be expected in a comparatively new country, and was very free and affable in his deportment, and was noted for his kind and hospitable treatment to all who sought his acquaintance.
The “dinner bell” that hung in the belfry of his coach house, and which was to summon the family and guests to the spacious dining room, he presented to the Rev. Archd. Henderson, who placed it on his church, where it was used to summon his congregation to worship, but after a few years was taken down and placed in the care of the late Guy Richards.
As he had decided to leave St. Andrews, he appointed an agent to look after the business of the Seigniory, and went to Montreal, where he resided until his death. Tasse, in his life of Philemon Wright, mentions these facts: “In 1774, Sir John Johnson was appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs, a position which his late father, Sir Wm. Johnson, had also held. He had won the entire confidence of the Indian tribes, and was highly esteemed among them, as was witnessed at the time of his death in January, 1830, when a great number of Indians went to Montreal to take part in the funeral services which were held in the Anglican Church. An Iroquois Indian chief even made an oration in his mother tongue on the virtues of the deceased. At St. Regis, the Indians, when informed of his death, went around the village, uttering cries and lamentations, and the whole population followed them in a crowd, giving signs of the greatest sorrow.”
His eldest son, Gordon Johnson, never assumed or inherited the title, as he had, previously, incurred the displeasure of the family, by his marriage with a French Canadian woman. After the death of Sir John, the Seigniory came into position of his son, Col. Charles Christopher Johnson, who held it for many years, and was succeeded by Capt. Johnson, the present proprietor.
…Adelaide Lanktree UE, Sir John Johnson Branch
The “UELAC Centennial Celebration 1914 – UELAC 2014” will be hosted by Toronto Branch at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel, Toronto on June 5-8, 2014. See conference details.
Friday June 6th, Evening Program
On Friday evening buses will transport us from the hotel to Burwash Hall, a truly beautiful building! The high ceilings, amazing chandeliers and gracefully arched windows provide a delightful setting for a wonderful meal. In addition it VERY much resembles Harry Potter’s Hog warts!
Burwash Hall is the second oldest of the residence buildings at Toronto’s Victoria College. It was completed in 1913 financed by the estate of Hart Massey, a great Canadian industrialist and Vic alumni. Burwash Hall is Neo-Gothic with turrets, gargoyles, and battlements and large tracery windows on both sides. The architect was Henry Sproatt, a famous Toronto Architect who is also responsible for, among others, Hart House, Soldier’s Clarion Tower (at the University of Toronto), College Park, Canada Life Building, Princess Margaret Hospital and the Fairmont Royal York.
The entertainment for the evening is Muddy York. In 1984 Anne Lederman and Ian Bell created a unique sound of 19th century grassroots music for the 20th century. It still sounds great!
Ian Bell has performed across Canada and in the United States since the late 1970s. On his own and with a number of different ensembles, he has appeared at numerous folk festivals and in concerts and dances in venues ranging from Roy Thompson Hall to Randy Haskell’s barn. Ian performs material from a large repertoire that includes both Canadian traditional music and his own songs and instrumental compositions. It should be a fun evening!
…Martha Hemphill UE, Conference Chair, Toronto Branch
Descendants of United Empire Loyalists can be found in almost every professional field today. In September 2013, two Canadians whose achievements in literature and the early film industry were inducted into the Loyal American Hall of Honour. And No Birds Sang, Never Cry Wolf and Lost in the Barrens are but a few examples of why Farley Mowat is a celebrated author. From stage to silent films to the talkies, Marie Dressler entertained thousands in the first half of the 19th century. In 2003, the Bay of Quinte Branch UELAC created Loyal Americans Hall of Honour to both identify and celebrate those descendants of the United Empire Loyalists who made significant achievements, either locally, nationally or internationally. The biographies of these most recent inductees can be found in the UELAC Honours and Recognition folder.
…Brian Tackaberry, Past President, Bay of Quinte Branch (e/o fhh)
In Loyalist Trails issue 2013-49, the UELAC Promotion Committee announced its intention to bring wider visibility of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada with the use of Land’s End Business Outfitters. With two eStores, one for Canadian members and one for Americans, customers also have the choice of two logos for embroidery. While the traditional image of the Loyalist Flag with UELAC identification is still available, Land’s End Business Outfitters also offer the cypher or member’s badge design for placement on clothing, blankets and even golf towels. Step-by-step instructions for ordering can be found here (PDF).
This week, the company offered a “free logo special” until 2014 February 14 if the customer uses the code EMLOGO. As stated earlier, specials will be passed along, but UELAC customers can also sign up for these promotional emails when they make a purchase.
To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is. If you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well – send to Jennifer Childs.
- Acrostical Valentines: A Young Man’s Fancy Turns to Fad: The Lovers’ Literary Campaign of 1768 in Virginia
- When Did London Learn of the Boston Massacre? (How long did it take for news to cross the Atlantic?)
- You Won’t Believe How Samuel Adams Recruited Sons of Liberty – interesting article about terms having different meanings at different times, and about how activities pre-Revolution
- Separate fact from fiction and learn more about George Washington and his troublesome teeth. Were his dentures really made of wood?
- Panoramic photograph of the participants in the June 1929 Loyalist Pageant in Deseronto, Ontario, held to mark the 145th anniversary of the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists in Canada.
- Queen goes to church with brooch made in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Lieut. Gov. Vaughn Schofield presented the Queen with the brooch when she met with her at Buckingham Palace in October 2013
- The “Babe Ruth of private historical collecting” puts some of his rare items up for sale to fund more purchases
It is with great sadness and regret that we announce that Alexandra Bastedo passed away peacefully and unexpectedly this Sunday afternoon after a long battle against cancer. Wife of the late Patrick Garland, the well-known theatre director, Alexandra found fame as Sharron McCready in the 1960s series The Champions and went on to roles in films, on stage and on television.
…Rick Smith UE, Col. John Butler Branch
The first week of any month is a hectic one. Being heritage month, the Gov Simcoe Branch had a special potluck luncheon as part of our monthly meeting. Today the Monarchist League has a special luncheon – at which the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and his wife are being thanked for their service as his term is up (both His and Her Honour are Loyalist descendants), and a church service follows. Work has been a bear for the last while and will be for another seven weeks. The upshot: this is a short issue of Loyalist Trails.