Commodore's Log

This is the travel journal of Commodore George Henry Seymour who commanded the HMS Hero during the Prince of Wales' visit to Canada in 1860.  Entries are dated from July 9 to November 6, 1860. The journey begins from Plymouth Sound (England), crossing the Atlantic, and with subsequent entries at St. John's (Newfoundland), Sydney, Halifax, Picton, Charlottetown, Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Belleville, Toronto, Niagara, Halifax, and Portland, Maine.

Highlights of the tour include encounters with Governors Sir Alexander Bannerman of Newfoundland, Governor George Dundas of Prince Edward Island, the Governor General of Canada Sir Edmund Walker Head, Sir George Simpson - the Governor-in-Chief of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Charles Blondin -the tightrope walker, and members of Indigenous tribes. 

After Niagara, the Prince traveled predominantly by rail during the last portion of the visit. Seymour sailed back to the East coast and met the Prince in Portland, Maine where they began their journey back to England. 

Some excerpts from the journal:

August 9 - Charlottetown

The Evergreen arches and decorations of every house in all the places we have visited have been simply beautiful and nothing could have exceeded the loyalty shewn in each Province.

August 16 - Quebec

I accompanied the Prince who again went to the Saguenay to fish. Went up the Marguerite rapids in canoes. Great fun.  Hooked a salmon but lost him.

September 9 - Toronto

To Church at the Cathedral. Our carriages drove some distance round to avoid passing under the obnoxious arch and the consequence was that the Orange Men got angry and during church service we heard much cheering which was caused by these pigheaded irishmen replacing the Orange banner that had been taken down the day before.

September 13 - Sarnia

Went by rail to Sarnia. Addresses presented and a spoken address was made by a very fine looking Indian Chief in his own language.  He was surrounded by other chiefs and at the conclusion medals were given to the Head men by HRH.

September 15 - Niagara

The Prince went under the falls. I waited above having committed that folly on a previous occasion.  ...then rode to a place a little below the suspension bridge where Mr. Blondin (a Frenchman) performed his wonderful feat of crossing over the river first alone, then with a man on his back, and then on stilts.

September 17 - Niagara

Afterwards took a long ride with almost all the party about Lundy's Lane... In the evening, Skittles (a form of bowling) at the Hotel.

To see more records from George Henry Seymour including letters written during this trip, his map of British North America, and the rest of this travel journal from 1855, visit George Henry Seymour fonds, 1855-1860, RG 662, Brock University Archives

The appointment of Commodore Seymour to command the HMS Hero issued two days before the trip was to begin.