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usurpations of power, and of government property *, upon which be bad ventured; whilst discouragement and insult (we do not repent of the term) were heaped upon the Protestant Bishop and his Clergy, and upon the loyal Members of both Houses ; and the just remonstrances of bis Lordship in defence of the rights of his Church, which it is his first duty to protect, were represented at home as the dictates of party spirit and political feeling!
The consequence has been, as the writer of the Letter to Lord Liverpool strongly argues, a complete dissolation of the powers of the government, a virtual ascendancy of the Romish Church.
“ His (the Roman Catholic Bishop's) authority at this moment, surpasses that of any Bishop in the world (the Bishop of Rome only excepted); and the actual power and influence of the see of Rome is, at this time, in a far more imposing and more formidable atti. tude in Canada, than it was ever suffered to assume under the government of Catholic France !” P. 32.
“ I exceedingly regret, that the expectations of his Majesty, which by his command I had the honour to express to you (the two houses of parliament) at the opening of the session, have not been realized. . . . . You will see the administration of the civil govern. ment left without any pecuniary means, but what I shall advance upon my own personal responsibility; you will see individuals labouring under severe and unmerited hardships, caused by the want of that constitutional authority that is necessary for the payment of the expences of the civil government ; you will see the interior improvements of the country nearly at a stand; you will see, in short, the executive government in a manner palsied and powerless.” Extracts from the Governor's speech, Letter I. p. 17, note,
The ruin occasioned by the conduct of Sir George Prevost might, in some measure, bave been repaired, had it pleased Providence to spare the life of the Duke of Richmond, of whose virtues and talents we have seen a beautiful eulogium in a sermon preached on the occasion of his melancholy death by the Archdeacon of Quebec, and published, as it appears, by the desire of all the principal inhabitants of that capital. But whatever may be the private merits of the present Governor, it is too certain that he is pursuing a system of mistaken concession in politics, which may probably be dictated to him by the Government at home; and that in ecclesiastical affairs he has been the means of adding to the diffi
* About 40,000l. per annum. See the Letter to Lord Liverpool, p. 12.
culties and increasing the party opposed to the Episcopal (for we can now scarcely call it the Established) Church, by a very natural partiality to the Kirk of Scotland, in which he was educated ; so that the Presbyterian interest is strangely associated with the Papists in every attempt to invade the rights and the property of the Church of England. It has been asserted that the reserves of land, allotted for the maintenance of " a Protestant Clergy," in the Colony, are not to be appropriated exclusively to the Episcopal Protestants, but that all Protestant Ministers are equally entitled to claim a share in this liberal provision of the Crown for the establishment of religion: and it is said that the opinion of the law officers of the British empire has been favourable to this extraordinary and unprecedented construction. On this important subject the letter is particularly forcible and clear.
“ The question turns upon the construction of an act of parliament. As constitutional lawyers, will they deny, thật Presbyte. rians are Dissenters, in the view of the law of England ?
“ Will they assert that dissenting ministers are a Clergy, in the legal and parliamentary acceptation of that term ?
“ Will they pretend, that the establishment of the Church of Scotland is any thing more than local ; or that it can have any sors of constitutional claim to the advantages of establishment in a conquered colony? I trouble not myself with what may have been thrown out at random, in debate upon the bill. I appeal to the act itself, and to the fair parliamentary construction of its terms: and I do not hesitate to assert, that in a legal and constitutional, and parliamentary sense, the words ' a Protestant Clergy,' can only designate the Clergy of the Church of England, in contradistinction to the Clergy of the Church of Rome, for whom also provision is made by the act.
6. Let us turn to some of the clauses. The 36th section makes a certain allotment and appropriation of lands, for the support and maintenance of a Protestant Clergy; (the 35th section, as well as the 14th of the late King, c. 83, having before made a certain provision for the Clergy of the Church of Rome.')
• The 37th section enacts, that all rents, profits, &c. arising, from such lands, shall be applicable solely to the maintenance and support of a Protestant Clergy, and to no other purpose what.
“ The 38th section makes it ! lawful for his majesty, his heirs, or successors, to authorize the governor, &c. &c. to constitute, and erect parsonages, or rectories, according to the establishment of the Church of England, -and, by an instrument under the Great Seal, &c. to endow every such parsonage or rectory, with so much of the
K k VOL. XIX, MAY, 1823.
lands so appropriated, as he, &c. &c. shall judge to be expedient, &c.'
" The 39th section makes it 'lawful for his Majesty, &c. to authorize the governor, &c. to present to every such parsonage, or rectory, an incumbent of the Church of England, &c.' and enacts,
that every person so presented shall hold, and enjoy the same, and all rights, profits, &c. as fully and amply, &c. &c. as the incumbent of a parsonage or rectory in England.
« The 40th section makes the incumbent subject to the Bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction, &c. according to the laws and canons of the Church of England, which are lawfully made and received in England.'"
“ His present Majesty, by his present ministers, has created the Bishop of Quebec, and the beneficed clergy of his diocese, into a corporation, to take the management of the lands reserved for the support of a Protestant Clergy.' Are the Bishop and his Clergy to become stewards for the property of Dissenters?" P. 37.
Never, surely, was a case more clearly made out, or the inattention (for it cannot be ignorance,) of the officers of State to the interests of the Colonies displayed in a more alarming light.
The Episcopal Protestant Church is thus placed between two fires equally destructive, and equally encouraged by the modern notions of conciliatory administration, which appear to have been adopted by the Cabinet at home, and instilled into the colonial governors. How far such a system is consistent with the intentions of those enlightened persons, who originally established the government of the Canadas, sufficiently appears from the King's instructions to the early governors, which are still formally repeated to their successors, though completely neutralized by private directions of a very different, not to say of an opposite tendency.
“ You are not to admit of any ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the see of Rome, or any other foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the province under your government.
“ And to the end that the Church of England may be established both in principle and in practice, and that the said Roman Catholic inhabitants may by degrees be induced to embrace the Protestant religion, and their children may be brought up in the principles of it: we do hereby declare it to be our intention, &c..... that all possible encouragement shall be given to Protestant schools, &c. And you are to consider, and report to us, by what other means the Protestant religion may be promoted, and established, and encouraged in our province under your government.
“ The establishment of, and proper regulation in, matters of ecclesiastical concern, is an object of very great importance, and it will be your indispensable duty to lose no time in making such arrangements in regard thereto, as may give full satisfaction to our new subjects, in every point in which they have a right to indul. gence on that head, always remembering that it is a toleration of the free exercise of the religion of the Church of Rome only, to which they are entitled, but not to the powers and privileges of it as un established Church : for that is a preference which belongs only to the Protestant Church of England." P. 21.
Of the manner in which his Majesty's instructions are observed at Quebec, some idea may be formed from the following paragraph in a Colonial newspaper,
“ Hier, sa Grandeur l'Evêque Catholique de Quebec assistè de Messeigrs. les Evêques de Salde et de Rhésine, donna, en présence d'une nombreuse assemblée de Clergé et de peuple, dans l'Eglise du Faubourg St. Roch, la consecration épiscopale à Monseigneur Bernard Angus M'Eachern, titulaire de Rosen et son suffragan pour la province de New Brunswick, et pour les Iles du Capt. Breton, du Prince Edouard, et de la Madeleine. On n'avoit pas encore vû quatre * evèques réunis dans une même Eglise en Canada. La ceremonie fut exécutée à la satisfaction de tous les assistans. Lady Dalhousie l'honora de sa présence, et l'on assure que son Excellence le Gouverneur en chef y aaroit aussi assisté s'il n'eût été engagé à un voyage depuis long temps prémedité et qui ne souffroit point de délai.” Appendix, p. 69.
And of the gratitude with which such favours are received, and of the admirable effects of the conciliatory system a pretty correct notion is derived from a passage in a letter addressed to the editor of a Quebec Journal, by a Roinish priest, with at least the tacit sanction of his Bishop.
“ Les Canadians s'instruiront à la fin, si ce n'est d'une façon, ce sera d'une autre; et en s'instruisant, ils apprendront qu'on n'a consenti à leur vendre l'éducation civile qu' au prix de leur principes religieux, ou, au moins, de leur libertè de conscience. Dejà même un jour nouveau commence à dissiper les ténébres, plus vite qu'on ne l'imagine; et, j'ose en avertir, les circonstances locales de leur position politique doivent nous faire croire qu'on n'exercera pas toujours sur eux l'oppression que maintient l'intolerance legale dont l'Angleterre seule, aujourd'hui, de tous les pays Européans mi-partis des deux religions, nous offre l'example aussi étunnunt pour notre siècle qu' affligeant pour l'humanité. Si l' Irlande etoit aussi voisine que nous des Etats Unis, il y auroit long tems que les Catholiques n'y
* A few years ago there was but one Roman Catholic Bishop in all. North America.--Ed.
seroient plus forcés de payer la dirme au clergé Protestant, &c. Appendix, p. 56.
This is speaking out; and it forms an admirable example of the effect of concession in gaining the affections and soothing the di contents of the Papists. It closely resembles the tirades of orator Hunt, and the anathemata of the society for protecting religious liberty; and it is an emana, tion of the same spirit, fostered by the governors of Canada, which is working the downfall of the Church of England in that Colony, and the consequent separation of the Colony itself from the mother country. He who will not (for there is no man who cannot) see this tendency, is in the last stage of mental ophthalmia.
Strong as the statements in this letter appear, we are in possession of facts and of documents which, if it were expedient at this moment to produce them, would greatly heighten the astonishment and the indignation of our readers ; but we forbear for the present to enter further into tbis painful subject, in the hope that the bill for consolidating the two provinces, which is said to be in progress, may provide some remedy for the impending evil. That the charge of bigotry and intolerance on the part of the government, made by the Roman Catholics, is wholly unmerited, need hardly be repeated ; and the conduct of the Protestant Bishop and of his clergy has been uniformly guided by a spirit of liberality and forbearance, which for many years (previous to the consecration of the present Romish Bishop,) insured them the esteem and gratitude of the then happy and contented Papists. We have heard that when his Lordship returned to England for a short period, after a residence at Quebec of more than ten years, he received numerous addresses from the Roman Catholic inbabitants of the province, lamenting his departure, and praying for his prosperous and speedy return; and that he was accompanied to the quay where he embarked by nearly all the Catholic, as well as Protestant gentlemen of the capital, who bade him farewell with tears.
This amiable and really conciliatory temper is strongly displayed in the letter to Mr. S. C. Blyth, by a Catholic Christian, who is evidently a Divine of no ordinary talents and theological learning, and whom, from internal evidence, as well as from common report, we suppose to be the Archdeacon of the Lower Province. Mr. Blyth, it seems, is a gentleman, of a description too common in these days, who has tried all religions, and no religion; who has been Deist, Mahometan, Baptist, and what not?—and who has, at last,