In 1838 Major Henry Warde, a very successful military man and eligible bachelor, as they might have said back then, began receiving love letters at his home. He became obsessed with who was sending them. He suspected by the handwriting that the letters may have come from the wife of his good friend Sweeney, a man known to have a bad temper. One day he decided to have one of his servants follow the boy who was bringing the letters. Sure enough, the servant reported that the boy went into the Sweeney house after delivering a letter. What the servant did not know was that the boy lived in the area and was often stopping at the Sweeney home where he could depend on always getting a snack. And so our tragedy begins.
Major Warde now decided that the only thing to do was to write Mrs. Sweeney a love letter of his own. He had it delivered by the same servant. Mrs. Sweeney was having some guests when the letter arrived and handed the letter to her husband without looking at it. Sweeney read the letter, and though we was completely baffled, he nonetheless concluded that a duel was the only reasonable way to solve such a dilemma, tradition of some sort demanded it.
Shortly after dawn one morning the two men met at Queen’s Park in Verdun accompanied by their seconds. Everything went according to the rules. Both men fired at the appropriate moment. Warde was hit and fell to the ground. All the men helped to carry him to the nearby Pavillion which was on the old Lachine road, today known as Lasalle Boulevard. They sent someone to get Dr. Knox but it would be in vain as Warde soon died of his wounds.
Sweeney never recovered from this bizarre situation that had forced him to kill a good friend and died a few years later. Mrs. Sweeney would remarry into money and go on to be influential in Canadian politics and eventually move to England where she hung out with Royals and Aristocrats.
The person who had been sending the letters to Major Warde in the first place was a simple poor woman who became enamored of the popular military man.
So the moral of our story here is that no matter how incredibly stupid a situation might be, there may very well be someone who stands to benefit. Time, of course, tells us that duels are an idiotic way of settling anything. And we will not need time to assess the Turcot project as we can see that it is going to fail before it even starts. And that brings us back to our basic Turcot question which is simply to wonder who will benefit by the MTQ’s project which has been universally dismissed by all kinds of experts as being outdated, unhealthy, the wrong concept, and staggeringly expensive in view of what is actually in Montreal’s best interest. It will, of course, greatly benefit the people who will receive the contracts. 3 Billion Dollars Worth. Bring on those Royals and Aristocrats!
On the left, the “pavillion” where Henry Warde died and the City of Verdun was founded in 1876. The building was demolished in 1954. A car wash is there today.
Photo courtesy of the Societe de Histoire et de Genealogue de Verdun