The Protectors of Royalty in Canada

G. B. VAN BLARICOM October 1 1909

The Protectors of Royalty in Canada

G. B. VAN BLARICOM October 1 1909

The Protectors of Royalty in Canada




A POLICEMAN is the first person you encounter on entering any public building in the national Capital. There he stands—straight, strong, and stalwart. At the threshold of every departmental structure is an obliging, blue uniformed officer with a spiked helmet adorned with the Dominion coat of arms, trousers with a wide red stripe, and a red and white band around his left arm—the distinguishing mark that he is on duty. Ask what the powers and jurisdiction of this man are and you will probably get the reply “Oh ! he keeps guard around the buildings, directs inquiring visitors to the various offices and keeps his eye on suspicious characters and intruders.”

This is only routine duty. A messenger could perform such a task equally as well. These men—members of the Dominion Police Force of Canada—afford protection night and day to all government structures in the construction of which some twenty or twenty-five millions of people’s money have been invested— but the}^ do much more. The nor-

mal strength of the force is 58 men, but in periods of stress, danger or excitement, the number is increased. During the time of the South African war, when a desperate attempt was made to blow up the locks on the Welland canal—special constables were engaged to protect the government works, the temporary strength of the constabulary being 125-

A squad of six men do duty guarding gold and silver in the Royal Mint. A special detail continually watches over the heavy, strong vaults of the government. At Rideau I lall, the residence of the Governor-General, four men are on patrol while, at the House of Commons, during the session, a like number do service when the legislators are sitting. The Government Archives, the Militia Stores and other buildings claim the general supervision of the constables. A police mail service is also performed between the various departments. From 10 o’clock in the morning until 4.30 in the afternoon collections and deliveries are made every hour.

All letters are signed for when received, making it a complete register system.

rfhe Dominion police also enforce law and order on the Indian reserves, attend to the extradition of fugitive offenders from foreign countries, make enquiries as to the whereabouts of relatives when the government has been appealed to in the matter, and furnish protection to members of the Royal family, foreign potentates and guests of the government visiting the Dominion.

When a convict is released 'from any of the penitentiaries—ticket-ofleave-men as they are often called,— the Secretary of State notifies the Commissioner of Dominion Police. All such convicts when released report to the chief of police or sheriff of the county where they reside. The majority report once a month during the period of their parole, but in a few special cases, it is once in six months. The Commissioner of Dominion Police requests the various sheriffs and chief constables to regularly send reports to him as well as any notification when convicts change their address. In its general administrative relations the system of tickct-of-lcave is directly under the Dominion force.

"Flic history of the force is interesting. Previous to, and for some years subsequent to Confereration, there were two Commissioners of Police. C. J. Coursol, afterwards Judge Coursol, and Gilbert McMickcn. The administration of the former was in Power Canada and the latter in Upper Canada. When the federal government took over the Province of Manitoba from the Hudson’s Bay Company, Mr. Micken was sent to Winnipeg, as Assistant Receiver General and stipendiarv magistrate, being succeeded as Commissioner of Police bv General Bernard, C.M.G., who was also deputv Minister of Justice. Ile was in turn succeeded by August Keefer, who died iu 1885. 'Fhc head of the force to-

day is Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Sherwood, C.M.G., M.V.O.. A.D.C., who comes of good old United Empire Loyalist stock. Ilis father was registrar of Carleton County. Colonel Sherwood began his official career as deputy sheriff of the County of Carleton, and later was chief of the Ottawa City police.

He was made superintendent of the Dominion force in 1882. and three years afterwards was elevated to his present position. Inspectors Denis Hogan and James Parkinson, are his right hand men. The former, a graduate of the Ottawa City police force, was appointed inspector some ten years ago. Mr. Parkinson, who is chief officer of the secret service branch, has heen a Dominion constable for many years. His clever detective work in many important cases resulted in his advancement to the post he now holds.

A visit to the offices of Chief Sherwood in the West Block on Parliament Hill, discloses no outward marks or evidence of the long list of criminals captured by the members of the force, or crimes that have been unearthed. The walls are not decorated with bowie knives, pistols, revolvers, jimmies, bludgeons, sand bags, burglars’ kits, drills, counterfeit plates, bogus money or other trophies, which many a city police department preserves as souvenirs to satisfy the curious or to impress the visitor with the history and character of past operations. The apartments are plainly, but comfortably furnished. Tn no wav are they different from those occupied by ofcials in other branches of the government. There are several large scrap books, filled with newspaper clippings. which merely serve as convenient records for purposes of reference. but the tributes from the press, which have been gleaned from all over Canada, bear testimony to main' brave captures, and clever coups.

The offices of the Inspector, the

sergeants and the secret service branch are located in the East Block. These are fairly well equipped, but one need remains to be satisfied, and that is, the establishment of a complete indentifcation bureau, where the Bertillon and finger print system may be installed, and a full description, as well as pictures of each convict, his record, etc., preserved. An identification bureau for all Canada would prove of the greatest assistance and convenience in the administration of justice.

The number of felons undergoing penal servitude, who have been brought to bay by the secret service branch, is large. One of the most brilliant achievements was the arrest of the notorious trio—Dulman, Nolan and Walsh—in connection with the attempt to use dynamite upon the locks of the Welland canal a few years ago, for which dastardly outrage the offenders got life sentences. Then the operations of the big gang of counterfeiters at Lindsay, Ontario, their capture and confiscation of their dies, plates, and cash, form another interesting chapter. The culprits were given terms

of various length. Still another sensational case was the famous bogus ballot box episode in West Hastings, in 1904. Shibley and Lott, the chief political conspirators, fled from the country, and are still fugitives abroad, while Riley, the young Kingston student, who was mixed up in the affair, got a year in Belleville gaol. The arrest of A. martineau, a civil servant and noted motor cyclist, created a big sensation. From the Militia Department he embezzled about $75,000, and was sentenced to seven years in the Kingston penitentiary. The conviction of the Deckers—Anthony, the father, and Paul, the son—at Woodstock, Ontario, caused a stir. They were each given five years imprisonment. The exposure of the exploits of J. R. Labbatt, a bright and well educated young man of Ottawa, who, by threatening letters, attempted to levy blackmail on leaders of society in the capital, including a former cabinet minister, came with startling suddenness. Labbatt, it will be remembered, demanded large sums of money as the price of silence, or else threatened scandalous revela-

tiens. Ile was let off with a comparatively short term of incarceration. his previous good character weighing strongly in his favor.

The part that the Dominion force played in prosecuting the charge of conspiracy against Mon. Thomas McGreevv and X. K. Connollv, in

1893, in connection w ith the Quebec Harbor works, the 1.achine bridge scandal, the St. Louis affair, and other cases ol embezzlement, which are now matters of historv. stand as evidence of its usefulness and activity in unearthing political and other offences.

Xo more trying or responsible commissions were ever given Commissioners Sherwood and his men than those of guarding the Prince and Princess of W ales during their tour of Canada eight years ago. and again on the occasion of the visit IPs Koval Highness at the Tercen-

tenary celebration in Quebec last summer. To the commissioner was confided in 1901 the personal safety of their Royal Highnesses. Ass o c i a t e 1

with him were-S. II. Carpenter, chief of the Montreal Detective Bureau; M r. W illiam Stark, now deputy clref of the Toronto force, and half a dozen secret service men in plain clothes. It has been said of the guardians who traveled on the royal train, that like Charles the Second's favorite courtier, they were "never in the way and never out of the way." It was a period of anxiety. ( hi September 13th. when ll.M.S. ( )plrir. 0:1 w hich their Royal 1 1 iglinesses arrived from Australia, was sighted oft Cape Breton. it was met by the cruiser Indefatigable. bearing new s ot the cowardly attack hv Czolgosz. an anarchist. upon President McKinley, at Buffalo Kxhibition. When the readied Quebec City the luilletoards conveved the startling information that McKinlev was dead. This caused the guardians of Royalty to be unusually alert, especially as it was reported that anonymous letters ot warning had been received, indi-

eating that the anarchistic movement was wide-spread and developments might be expected at anv time or place. 1 he actions of everv crank, freak and suspicious character were carefully watched by the police. Several erratic and ominously visaged individuals, whose presence m the crowds evidently boiled no t. oo d.

were either locked up or conducted to the outskirts of the waiting throngs.

It was a time of agitation and suppressed excitement all over America.

A rather amusing incident occurred at Quebec. T h e news of Mr McKinley’s death h a d affected every one deeply. All the members of the Royal party and invited guests were gathered on the platform while the Mayor of Quebec, Hon.

Mr. Parent, was reading an address of welcome He read it first in French and during the reading, a high wind raging at the time, a door near by w a s blown shut with a terrific bang.

The sharp, sudden noise, when all was so still, sounded like the report of a revolver. The royal couple and several members of the company were quite alarmed, until it was seen what was the cause of the great racket, and then the general perturbation gave place to nervous laughter.

The police officers can relate many raev anecdotes of the memorable trip. At Sussex, X. . F> Ik, when the royal representative were returning from across the continent, it was a bitterly cold October day, and a large concourse was at the station, accompanied by the band, to greet the distinguished party. It was

usual as soon as the car door opened for the musical bodies joining in the welcome to play the national anthem. All the persons on the platform of the royal car at the first notes of the familair air, as well as all the male members in the waiting throngs, invariably stood with heads

uncovered as a mark of respect. Just before the door opened, the Princess of Wales, ever thoughtful of the comfort of those about her, told the gentlemen that it would be unwise for till cm to remove their hats on the platform as, on account of coming out of a warm compartment to the chilly atmosphere of an October morning, there would be danger of them contracting cold. Accordingly when the band struck up “God Save the King” those persons on the platform kept on their headgear. As soon as the selection had been played a tall, lanky countryman on the outskirts of the crowd yelled. “Why don’t them galoots on the platform take off their hats? Don’t they know nothin'?" and the assembly enjoyed a general laugh. After the ceremony, as the Princess was bidding good-bye to the Mayor of Sussex, she humorously remarked, “Will vou please tell your friend,

who made the observation, that I am responsible for the gentlemen on the car not removing their hats.”

The Princess was greatly interested in children, and if there was a baby carriage anywhere near, in the crowds she would invariably stop and sav a bright word or two to the infant and its proud mother. This was done on several occasions. In an eastern Ontario town, where the royal car had stopped over night, and many had driven as far as thirty and fortv miles to join in the welcome to the royal couple, several children, who had gathered several wild dowers to present to her. stood around in the bitter cold, thinly clad, and shivering in every limb. The Princess seeing them from a car window came out and shook hands with them, thanking them kindly for their lloral offerings, and a happier throng of little folk was never seen, their

sunshiny faces reflecting the pleasure they felt.

In a western town an Indian was giving an exhibition of lassoing a wild steer. He threw the rope dexterously, but by some mischance instead of landing on the head of the animal, it caught around one of its hind feet. He was not aware of it so intent was he on the task, and winding the rope around the pommel of his saddle, he started to veer the mustang which he rode off in an opposite direction. The steer howled with pain, as its limb was drawn out straight, and the Princess asked that the display of lassoing should immediately cease.

In another town a funny contretemps occurred. Three bands of musicians were massed to play an air of welcome. By some means the engineer of the royal train did not stop at the place appointed, but went two or three car lengths past the spot. The crowd started to

break through the enclosure and follow the coaches. They disrupted the bands and here, there and everywhere in the crush and jam were men playing individual instruments, blaring out notes of “God Save the King.” The intended harmony was turned into one disconcerting jumble of sound, and a pandemonium of notes, false and true, while a big Scotch piper, who intended to skirl the bag pipes, nearly had the instrument knocked out of his hands by the rushing, jostling crowd.

The most trying experience, perhaps, of the protectors of the Prince, was at Niagara Falls. The vigilance of the officers at this point was unceasing. The enterprising proprietors of hotels and summer houses on the American side had advertised all over New York state, that the Prince and Princess of Wales would visit the Falls, and fully 50,000 people had gathered. The royal guests viewed the wondrous handiwork of

nature from the Canadian shore and did not cross to the American side. Nearly all the other members of the Royal suite, except Lord Wenlock, went over. Many of the excursionists thinking their Royal Highnesses were present, pointed out certain persons as the Prince and Princess, and went home, supremely happy in the belief that they had gazed upon the future King and Queen of England.

Another amusing incident was, where a paper in a western Ontario town referred to a civic official as being presented to the Prince and Princess, by his old college chum, Prince Alexander of d eck, the alleged "Prince" being in reality Lieut.Col. Septimus Denison, one of the A. I). C.’s to His Royal Highness, during the tour. At Calgary, there was a big Indian pow-wow, where some 2,000 red men, their sepiaws and papooses had gathered. During the progress of a lively dance, the dusky spectators became so interested that they pressed in upon the royal party, subjecting them to some inconvenience. Their Royal Highnesses were in danger of being jostled by the enthusiastic throng, and it required the personal interference of the guardians of royalty to obviate this annoyance, hut the situation was accepted good naturedly by the Prince. At another town

in Alberta, a bluff, breezy alderman, who was a member of the civic reception committee extended his palm to the royal guest, and in an off-hand style, exclaimed, “Glad to meet you. Prince. I had the pleasure of shaking hands with your father, when he visited Canada forty vears ago. Give him my best will you.”

It is a high compliment to the Dominion police and the other guardians associated with them, that amid all the multitudes which foregathered, no unwarranted indignitv or wilful annoyance was offered to the representatives of the Sovereign, so perfect were the arrangements for their protection carried out. Colonel Sherwood was created a Companion of St. Michael and St. George, as a mark of appreciation of his services. He has executed other commissions for which he has several times received mention in the Canada C Uizet t e. In 1893 and in 1897. he was entrusted by the Government with special duties in the behring Sea arbitration. In addition to his excellent police record, the head of the force has had a conspicuous militare career, and is at present the Officer Commanding the Eighth Infantrv brigade. The Dominion police force is a body of upright, well trained and admirably disciplined men. of which Canada may well feel proud.

HAT if you fail in business." You still have lite and strength. Don’t sit down and cry about mishaps, for that will never get you out of debt, nor buy your children frocks. Go to work at something, eat sparingly, dress moderately, drink nothing exciting. And above all, keep a merry heart. And you'll he up in the world.—Franklin.