Saint John's, the capital and commercial metropolis of Newfoundland, the easternmost town of North America, situated in the S. E. part of the island, on the N. side of a harbor of the same name on the E. coast of the peninsula of Avalon, 65 m. N. of Cape Race and 18 m. S. of Cape St. Francis, 550 m. E. N. E. of Halifax, Nova Scotia; lat. 47° 34' N., lon. 52° 42' W.; pop. in 1874, 23,890. The site ascends gradually from the harbor, the highest point being 225 ft. above the sea. Opposite the town, on the S. side of the harbor, the hills rise abruptly from the water's edge 700 ft.; but a small space at their base has been made available for building, and here have been erected warehouses and steam factories for the manufacture of seal and cod oil. The country around St. John's is picturesque and generally well cultivated. The town consists of three streets nearly parallel with the harbor, and others crossing these at right angles. A fourth main street, on which are situated the government house, colonial building, skating rinks, etc, is being rapidly built up. The streets are well drained and macadamized, and are lighted with gas. A supply of water was introduced in 1861, at a cost of $360,000, from a large lake 5 m. distant, and elevated 150 ft. above the highest part of the town.
The principal thoroughfare stretches along the water's edge about 1 1/2 m., and is well built up with brick and stone. From it the wharves project into the harbor. On the other streets the houses are mostly of wood. The government house (residence of the governor) is a plain structure, erected at a cost of $240,-000. The colonial lunatic asylum is beautifully situated in wooded grounds about 3 m. out of town. Other public edifices are the colonial building (containing the public offices and legislative halls), custom house, colonial penitentiary, post office, court house, general hospital, smallpox hospital, market house, and poor-house (in the suburbs). The Roman Catholic cathedral is one of the finest church edifices in North America; it occupies the highest ground in town, and with the adjacent buildings cost $800,000. The church of England cathedral, not yet completed, is a fine specimen of architecture, and is handsomely decorated within. The wharves and stages for drying fish, which line the shore, are a peculiarity of the town. The harbor is landlocked and somewhat crescent-shaped; it is deep, and has good anchorage.
The entrance is through the "Narrows," a gorge between two steep and rugged cliffs, 220 yards wide and 660 yards long, with 12 fathoms of water in mid-channel. The cliffs were formerly fortified by several batteries, but these have become dismantled since the withdrawal of the British garrison. On the S. cliff is a lighthouse, with a light 114 ft. above the sea. There are also two lights in the town serving as a guide to the harbor. The harbor is 1 1/2 m. long, and from 500 yards to a little more than 1/2 m. wide. On the S. side is a dry dock capable of raising vessels of 600 tons, and a marine railway for a smaller class of vessels. The N. and S. sides are connected by a causeway and bridge. It is open the entire year. There is regular steam communication with Europe and America, and steamers and sailing packets run to different points in the island. The trade consists chiefly in supplying the fishermen of Newfoundland with clothing, provisions, and tackle, and in exporting the products of the fisheries, chiefly codfish, seal skins, and cod and seal oil, which are mostly taken to Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil. Another important industry is the fitting out of vessels for the seal fishery.
The value of imports during 1874 was about $6,000,000; of exports, about $5,000,000. The number of entrances was 898, tonnage 220,916; clearances, 724, tonnage 195,392. About 80 per cent. of the imports and 75 per cent. of the exports of the island pass through this port. The number of vessels engaged in the seal fishery from St. John's in 1874 was 24 (13 steamers and 11 sailing vessels), with an aggregate tonnage of 4,801 and crews numbering 2,841 men; number of seals taken, 150,000. The number of vessels owned at the port in 1874 was 1,319, with an aggregate tonnage of 67,185, of which 18, tonnage 5,447, were steamers, and 1,301, tonnage 67,185, sailing vessels. The latter are scattered throughout the island and owned or sailed by dealers or mercantile houses in St. John's. The manufactures of St. John's are of secondary importance and of limited extent. The principal establishments are three founderies, three breweries, a distillery, two tanneries, a rope factory, a block factory, several manufactories of boots and shoes, several of carriages, one of cabinet ware, one of nets, four biscuit bakeries, and several oil refineries. There are two banks, a savings bank, and a marine insurance company. There is no municipal corporation, the town being governed directly by the colonial legislature.
The only local taxation is a rate levied on houses under acts of the legislature for water and sewerage. The town is well policed, and there are several volunteer fire companies. The principal charitable institutions not already mentioned are a Roman Catholic orphanage for girls, an asylum for widows and orphan girls, and another for boys, in connection with the church of England. The educational institutions include St. Bonaventure college (Roman Catholic), a church of England, a Wesleyan, and a general Protestant academy, a Presbyterian school, an industrial school and an orphan asylum school under the control of the benevolent Irish society, a number of common schools under the control of the government boards or of the colonial and continental church and school society, and several private schools. There are two public libraries, having together 5,000 or 6,000 volumes. The principal one is in connection with the St. John's Athenaeum (which is now erecting a large building for lectures, concerts, and other purposes), and the other with the Catholic institute. Three tri-weekly, four semi-weekly, and three weekly newspapers are published.
There are 11 churches, including the cathedrals, viz.: 3 church of England, 1 Congregational, 2 Presbyterian (one in connection with the established and one with the Free church of Scotland), 3 Roman Catholic, and 2 Wesleyan Methodist. The church of England has here a theological institute for the training of young men for mission work in the colony. - St. John's appears to have been resorted to by fishermen (chiefly French and Spanish) in the early part of the 16th century. The harbor was entered by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, who took formal possession of the island in the name of Queen Elizabeth. The town was several times the scene of conflict between the French and English until the island came finally into the possession of the latter by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It has been visited by several conflagrations, the most destructive in 1846.
Saint Johns (Fr. St. Jean), a town, port of entry, and the capital of St. Johns co., Quebec, Canada, 20 m. S. E. of Montreal; pop. in 1871, 3,022. It is situated on the W. bank of the Richelieu river, here spanned by a fine bridge, and by means of canals affording a navigable connection between Lake Champlain and the river St. Lawrence. Divisions of the Grand Trunk and Central Vermont railways intersect here with the Southeastern and the Stan-stead, Shefford, and Chambly railways. There is a large trade in lumber, grain, and other produce. The town contains saw, grist, and planing mills, brick yards, two breweries, and manufactories of iron castings, leather, earthenware, etc. It is the seat of a lunatic asylum, and has a bank, a branch bank, about 40 stores, commodious barracks, two weekly newspapers, and four or five churches. The value of imports for the year ending June 30, 1874, was $717,174; of exports, $4,873,812.