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Centennial of Canadian Methodism
Historical Sketch of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Upper and Lower Canada



New St. James’ church, Montreal.

HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE WESLEYAN METHODIST CHURCH IN UPPER AND LOWER CANADA.

By the Rev. Hugh Johnston, M.A., D.D.

IT has been said that not to know history is to be always a child, and for a follower of Wesley to be ignorant of Methodist history is to be a child indeed. In this Centennial year of Canadian Methodism, a better acquaintance with its history, its institutions and its doctrines, will be stimulating and inspiring to the whole Church. The present development of Methodism in this Dominion is the result of a hundred years of effort and of blessing. We are to trace the progress and work in Old Canada of the Wesleyan Methodist branch of this united household.

The first Methodist preacher in Lower Canada was a Mr. Tuffey, a Commissary of the 44th regiment, which came to Quebec in 1780, when this pious and zealous man began to preach to the soldiers and Protestant emigrants of that city, and continued to do so "until his regiment was disbanded and he returned home. The first Methodist preacher in Upper Canada was another British officer, Major George Neal, who, in 1786, began to preach on the Niagara frontier. While war affects disastrously all religious interests, yet in the marching and countermarching of . armies, the Gospel of Peace has been spread by converted soldiers. Thus was Methodism planted at Gibraltar and other points in the Old World; and in British North America, the first to proclaim the good news of salvation were converted soldiers of the British army.

The first regular Methodist itinerant who came to Canada, was William Losee, who, in January, 1790, came to see some of his U. E. Loyalist relatives and friends, who had settled in Adolphustown. He had preached his way from Lake Champlain Circuit to Canada, and along through Matilda, Augusta, Elizabethtown and Kingston, and then throughout the Bay of Quinte townships, until a flame of revival was kindled and many converted. The settlers longed for a missionary to dwell among them, and a petition was extensively circulated and forwarded to the New York Conference, which met in October of the same year. The petition was granted, and Losee was appointed to Canada, with instructions to form a circuit. The field was, indeed, wide and hard, yet an inviting one, and he was soon back again, preaching with self-sacrificing zeal the words of life and salvation.

The first class in Canada was formed on the Hay Bay shore, Sunday, February 20th, 1791; the second on the 27th February, in the village of Bath; and the third in Fredericksburg, on the 2nd of March, the epochal day of Mr. Wesley’s death. The plant of Methodism had taken root and the tree was rising. The new circuit was called the Kingston Ci'rcuit, and embraced nearly all the settlements from Kingston around the Bay of Quinte and the peninsula of Prince Edward. The first Methodist chapel was built on Paul Hough’s lot, Hay Bay, a humble structure, but it was the beginning of the many costly temples that have since been built for the worship of God by the Methodists in Canada. The second church was erected at Ernestown, near the village of Bath, and was soon opened for divine worship. This was organized Methodism. There had been a class formed in Augusta as early as 1788, made up of Paul and Barbara Heck, their three sons, some of the Emburys, John Lawrence, and perhaps other Methodists who, influenced by feelings of loyalty to the British crown, had left New York and come that year to reside in British territory. The Irish Palatines, who bore the “ precious seed ” across the sea and became the founders of Methodism in New York, were thus the founders also of Methodism in Canada. There had likewise been a class formed in Stamford, by Major Neal, in 1790. But in strict propriety, the real commencement of the Methodist Church in this Province was with the organization of these classes, on the Kingston Circuit. At the New York Conference of 1792, held in Albany, Losee reported 165 members.

Losee was appointed to form another circuit on the north of the St. Lawrence, between Kingston and Cornwall. The name of this new circuit was Oswegotchie, called after a stream which emptied its waters into the St. Lawrence at Ogdens-burg, opposite Augusta. Darius Dunham, an ordained minister, was appointed to the charge already organized, now called the Cataraqui Circuit, and the first quarterly meeting was held on September 15th, 1792, in Mr. Parrot’s barn, first concession of Ernestown. Freeborn Garrettson, the presiding elder, was not present, but the preacher in charge took his place; and following the business meeting on Saturday afternoon, on Sabbath morning was held a love-feast and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, when, for the first time, the little flock in the Canadian wilderness received the broken bread and the cup of the communion from the hands of a Methodist preacher. Dunham was a fearless, faithful preacher of the Gospel, and these two heroic men entered upon their work with unwearied zeal and activity. The moral destitution of the country was great, for in the two Provinces there were only seven or eight ordained ministers to care for the entire Protestant population. These Gospel rangers had to endure unspeakable hardships, traversing forests, crossing streams and rivers, making their way over almost impassable road', while as to worldly support, they asked only to subsist; but they itinerated in the power of the Spirit, and at the end of the year Dunham returned a membership of 259, and Losee ninety members, where there had been none. Others came to break ground—James Coleman, Sylvanus Keeler and Elijah Woolsey, inured to toil and privation, consecrated and anointed for the work; Samuel and Michael Coat#1, two brothers, graceful in person and impressive in speech ; and Hezekiah C. Wooster, a man of mighty faith and prayer, from whom the unction never departed, whose flaming zeal consumed him, who near the end of his triumphant ministry, unable to speak above a whisper, yet with illumined countenance, would so preach with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, that sinners trembled and fell under his words like men slain upon a battlefield. These pioneer preachers belonged to the legio tonans, and so greatly were their labours owned, that when this nineteenth century dawned, nearly 1,000 members had been added to the Church in Canada.

In 1801 ten preachers were appointed to the Canada District. The first Methodist church erected in the Niagara country was built this year near St. David’s. It was known as the Warner Meeting House, and a mighty work was carried on under the preaching of Joseph Sawyer. In 1802, Nathan Bangs, a young man destined to be heard from in the history and development of Methodism on this continent, laboured on a circuit extending from the village of Kingston to York; and in 1804 he obtained an appointment as missionary to the new settlements on the River Thames, his work extending from London to Detroit. The people were loose in their morals and flagrant in their lives, totally ignorant of spiritual things, yet ready to receive the Gospel, and thus a new field was explored and mapped out. He was succeeded by another young preacher, who became one of the strongest, sturdiest and most trusted leaders of Canadian Methodism. This generation of Methodists cannot turn its face backward without seeing on the far horizon the stalwart form of William Case, the “Father of Indian Missions” in Canada. About the same time there laboured on the Bay of Quinte Circuit another preacher destined to play an important part in the history of the Church—Henry Ryan, of massive form, swarthy complexion, and indomitable energy of character* These were days of heroic sacrifice and sely-denying labours on the part of this noble army of itinerants. Into the lonesome, solemn forest they plunged, the road being only “blazed,” or marked trees to guide them; they had often to sleep in the woods, or should they find a friendly settler, their bed would be a bundle of straw, their supper and breakfast “mush and milk.” Their allowance was the most meagre pittance, and they often received nothing by way of support except what they ate and drank. But they toiled on for the welfare of men and the glory of God, preaching in scattered settlements, organizing classes, and laying the foundations of future churches. James Coleman, while passing up the Mohawk river en route to Canada, was obliged to go on shore fifteen nights in succession and kindle a fire to keep off the wild beasts; and his food failing him, he was reduced to a cracker per day. The venerable Case, in his jubilee sermon preached in London, Canada, 1855, reviewing his perils and labours, says, “Five times have I been laid low by fevers; once I was shipwrecked on Lake Ontario; five times have I been through the ice with my horse, on bays, rivers and lakes of Canada.” Yet with zeal and self-sacrifice, with energy and devotion, these heroic founders of empire pursued their way, though there awaited them certain poverty, cruel privations, and often an early death. They were men whose hearts God had touched. They had not the learning of the schools, but were endowed with wisdom, gifts and graces necessary for the work of saving men. They had great elevation of character, and they derived their patent of nobility, as well as their call, direct from the Almighty. They were filled with a consuming passion for their country’s good and for the souls of men ; and like Stanley, who has just plucked the heart out of the mystery of the Dark Continent, or like Loyola, whose flaming devotion to the Crucifix encompassed the world, these devoted servants of Jesus Christ were glad to sacrifice earthly comforts, preach the Gospel to the poor and destitute, and be hurried to heaven that others might obtain like cc precious faith.”

In 1810, Henry Hyan is presiding elder of the Upper Canada District, with a membership of 2,603, and Joseph Samson, presiding elder of the Lower Canada District, with a membership of 193.

The following year the venerable Bishop Asbury, who had appointed the first and only missionaries to Canada, made his first visit to the country, crossing the St. Lawrence at St. Regis, opposite Cornwall, and preaching at all the principal places as he passed along until he reached Kingston, from which point he crossed over to Sackett’s Harbour on his way to the Genesee Conference. Of the people, he says in his Journal, “My soul was much united to them.” He confesses to the “ strange feelings which came over him as he was crossing the line.” He had left his native land in 1771, and when the war of the Revolution broke out had remained faithful to the infant cause which he had established. Refusing to abjure allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain and take an oath of fealty to the State authorities, he had often to find an asylum from the pursuit of his enemies; yet at night he would go from house to house and from place to place to comfort the members of his flock, and enforce the saving truths of the Gospel. Patiently, bravely, heroically he had stood his ground to save the Church, and had the satisfaction of finding at the close of the war in 1783 that, while other denominations had decreased, Methodism had increased nearly fivefold ; the little band of less than 3,000 having grown to nearly 14,000. He had lived to see the United States become a mighty Republic, and the Church whose affairs he had been called to superintend grow to the thronging multitude of 175,000 souls. Now he was again under the old flag in a province of the Mother Country, to visit a people who have been raised up by his own sons in the Gospel. No wonder that he had “ such new feelings in Canada.” Beside all this, there was doubtless thrown over his saintly spirit the shadow of another conflict between the United States and the paternal Government from which he had expatriated himself forty years ago for the sake of building up the Kingdom of Christ.

In 1812, there were in Upper Canada 13 preachers and 2,550 members; in Lower Canada, 5 preachers and 295 members, making a total membership of 2,845. The war of 1812 followed. Along the frontiers were invasions, bloodshed and plunder. The work was interrupted, circuits disturbed, for among the men in the Methodist societies all the able-bodied and the young were under constant drill and ready for the call to battle. The American preachers were all withdrawn, several others located, and when, at the close of the unhappy strife in 1815, the Genesee Conference resolved to go on with the work in Canada, it was renewed at serious disadvantage, and not until an able corps of native-born preachers had been raised up could the work be fully and efficiently carried on.

WESLEYAN METHODISM IN LOWER CANADA

The first Methodist itinerant in Lower Canada was that eccentric character, Lorenzo Dow, called “ Crazy Dow.” He was sent in 1799 by Mr. Asbury to break up fresh ground and form a new circuit in the vicinity of Missisco Bay, which is partly in Yermont and partly in Lower Canada. He travelled through Durham and Sutton townships, made his way to Montreal, and sailed down the river to Quebec. He believed that the Lord had called him to visit Ireland, and while waiting for a vessel to cross the sea, began to preach. He collected a congregation of about 150, and during his short stay about twenty persons were stirred up to seek the Lord.

In 1802, the apostolic Joseph Sawyer made a vi-it to Montreal, and found a few persons there who had belonged to the Methodist Society in New York before the Revolutionary war.

In 1803, Samuel Merwin was appointed to Montreal, which had a membership of seven. Daniel Pickett was sent to the Ottawa Circuit, then lying partly in Upper and partly in Lower Canada, with a membership of seventy-three. Elijah Chichester and Laban Clark were designated as missionaries to St. John’s on the Richelieu river and Sorel, a village at the confluence of that river with the St. Lawrence. But the great body of the settlers were French, the English-speaking were few, the difficulties seemed insurmountable, and the mission was soon abandoned.

In 1804, Martin Ruter laboured in Montreal with some success. He was a highly gifted man, one of the earliest preachers in Methodism to receive the degree of doctor of divinity.

In 1806, we find Nathan Bangs in Lower Canada, supplying for a few weeks in Montreal until the arrival of their preacher, Samuel Coate, when he sets out for Quebec, his field of labour. He formed a small society there, and the sacred fire has ever since been kept alive in this stronghold of Romanism. Dunham and Stanstead are now mentioned as circuits, the former belonging to the New York Conference, the latter to the New England Conference.

The following year we find that imperial soul, Nathan Bangs, continuing his work in Montreal.

The first Methodist church of any pretensions in Canada was built in this city. It was constructed of stone, and with it a dwelling-house for the minister. The building was begun in 1807, and completed in 1809. This chapel stood on St. Sulpice Street, and was an elegant one for that day; but the expense was greater than the society in Montreal could bear, and Samuel Coate solicited help from Upper Canada, the United States and England. Coate was a man of extraordinary personal appearance and great natural eloquence. The grace and power attending his early ministry were remarkable, and he was the honoured instrument in the conversion of hundreds; but his star declined, he lost his zeal and piety, and this interesting man, of the most splendid gifts and the most widespread popularity, abandoned the ministry to enter business, lost all his property, and in the end died in poverty in a land of strangers.

In 1809, Three Rivers was added to the list of circuits. This old town, midway between^ Montreal and Quebec, had just received a new influx of Englishmen, who were employed in its iron forges, and this year Mr. Molson put his first steamboat, The Accommodation, the second built in the world, on the St. Lawrence.

In 1811, there are five preachers in Lower Canada, and 242 members ; but the peaceful work of spreading the Gospel is interrupted by the dark prospects of war between the two Anglo-Saxon nations. During this unnatural and unnecessary strife, all the Lower Canada circuits were unoccupied, except Quebec. The Methodists there were without a regular minister, but a pious sergeant of the 103rd regiment, named Webster, preached regularly on Sabbath, and kept the society together until he was removed with his regiment to Upper Canada, when the work fell upon Peter Langlois, who conducted divine service each Sabbath, from January, 1814, until the summer of that year, when the English Conference appointed Rev. John Strong to Quebec, and Rev. Samuel Leigh to Montreal.

On the restoration of peace, the British Government sought to increase, by emigration, the population of Canada, which now numbered only about 300,000 ; 220,000 being in Lower Canada, and about 80,000 in Upper Canada.

Through the immigrant gates of Quebec began to pour in thousands from Great Britain and Ireland ; among these were many Wesleyans from the Old Land. When the Genesee Conference of 1815 resumed its work in Canada they resolved to be very careful in the choice of preachers, that no offence might be given to a sensitive people. The preachers selected were principally of British birth, and they were carefully enjoined not to interfere with politics. Montreal and Quebec were left to be supplied. The English Conference had this year appointed Richard Williams to Quebec, and John Strong to Montreal, who coming to the city, desired to use the chapel already erected by the Methodists. A dispute arose over the occupancy of the church, part of the society siding with the new preacher, the remainder holding with their old friends. Bishop Asbury wrote to the Missionary Committee in London, and the Committee replied that in consequence of an application being made to the British Conference from the society at Montreal, a missionary had been appointed to that place. Representatives were sent to the General Conference, then meeting in Baltimore, and a committee appointed to make, if possible, an amicable adjustment of the differences. The division, however, continued, the General Conference being unwilling to give up any part of their societies, or any of their chapels in the Provinces, to the superintendence of the British Connexion, while the Missionary Committee were reluctant to withdraw their missionaries.

Two Methodist bodies were growing up together in mutual envy and variance. The Wesleyan Missionary Society had been formed, and was just entering upon that vast work which has made Wesleyan Methodism famous in all lands. In its gospel spirit, and its organized, effective work, it was taking the lead of all other churches in the missionary movement. It was entering all lands. Why, then should it not enter Canada, a colony of Great Britain, especially when the services of the English preachers were more congenial to the views and feelings of many of the Methodist people there % Thus, more and more of the Engglish missionaries were being sent into Upper as well as Lower Canada. But why should the American Church withdraw ? They had first occupied the field, and the whole country belonged Methodistically to them. Why should they be under any restraint from political relations, for may not missionaries of the Gospel go to any land ? Was not British Methodism doing its work among all nations ] The mission house instructions with Jabez Bunting, Richard Watson and Joseph Taylor, as General Secretaries, were of the most amicable nature. The missionaries were not to invade the societies raised up by the preachers appointed by the American Conference, and were not to continue their labours in any station previously occupied by the American brethren, except where the population was so large, or so scattered, that a very considerable portion of them must be neglected. Nevertheless, the missionaries were placed in an attitude of aggression, and were looked upon as supplanters who had come to divide, if not to take away, the inheritance of their brethren. Contentions and divisions were arising on all sides; and so the Rev. John Emory was appointed delegate to the British Conference, to adjust the difficulties concerning Canada, and to request a regular interchange of representatives from one Conference to another. The English Conference embraced with pleasure “ the opportunity of recognizing the great principle that the Wesleyan Methodists are one body in every part of the world,” and acceded to the suggestion that the American brethren should have the occupation of Upper Canada, and the British missionaries that of Lower Canada. At this time, when the “missionary war” closed, the English Conference had nine stations, with 744 members, while the Lower Canada District of the Genesee Conference, which extended from Duffin’s Creek eastward to Quebec, numbered 3,000 members.

Previous to this compact, and during the vigorous superintendency of the Rev. R. L. Lusher in the year 1819, the first Missionary Society auxiliary to the parent Society in London was organized in Montreal, and a meeting of great interest, the first of the kind in Canada, held. The church had now become too small for the wants of the congregation, and through the energy and liberality of a few laymen, chief among them Mr. John Torrance and Mr. Daniel Eisher, grandson of the Philip Embury who introduced Methodism into America, the first St. James’ Street Church was built, at a cost of <£4,550, with a seating capacity of 1,200. This time-honoured sanctuary gave place, in 1845, to a still more stately edifice, fragrant with still more hallowed associations, a church inseparably linked with the history of Methodism in the commercial metropolis of Canada—the rallying place of Protestantism in Quebec—and now succeeded by a church the stateliest in Methodism, and one of the most splendid ecclesiastical edifices in the Protestant world.

In 1823, the appointments of the English Conference were ten missionaries, with 1,081 members. These days of the District Meeting in Lower Canada were days of small and feeble things, but they were fruitful in results. The men who toiled and sacrificed were heroes, who sowed the seeds for future harvests and laid the foundation-stones for future buildings. Space will not permit us to trace the bright ministerial succession : Richard Williams, of sterling integrity and useful ministry; John Hick, attractive and persuasive ; James Knowlan, commanding and powerful; James Booth, indefatigable, popular and successful; Matthew Lang, of fervent piety and thorough efficiency, the fruits of whose earnest and useful ministry remain unto this day ; the two brothers, Richard and Henry Pope, men in the prime of a vigorous manhood and eminently qualified for the work in which they were engaged; Joseph Stinson, then young, eloquent and unboundedly popular; Robert Alder, dignified and eloquent; William Squire, of fervent piety, consecrated intellect and exalted reputation, whose character, labours and usefulness are held in lasting remembrance; Thomas Turner, tall and intellectual in appearance and eminent in piety; William Burt, truly devoted to God and highly esteemed; John Barry, a polished shaft; and John P. Hetherington, graceful and cultured, a well-poised, well-rounded workman in the Master’s vineyard. The field was trying, but the labourers were loyal, conscientious and heaven-anointed, and the causes which gave Methodism its early success in Lower Canada were the same as those which first carried the Gospel to Antioch, to Corinth and to Rome.

In 1832, the Missionary Committee in London resolved to send missionaries again to Upper Canada, and when the union between the Wesleyan Church in Great Britain and Upper Canadian Methodism was effected in the following year, the President of the Upper Conference became Chairman of the Lower Canada District. This gave new impulse and inspiration to the work. Other faithful ministers were added to the ranks: Matthew Richey, eminent and eloquent ; William M. Harvard, graceful in manner and saintly in character, who was with Dr. Coke when his body was

FIRST METHODIST CHURCH, TORONTO, ON SITE OF PRESENT BANK OF COMMERCE, COR. KING AND JORDAN STREETS.


METROPOLITAN CHURCH, TORONTO.

committed to the Indian Ocean, till “ the sea gives up its dead;” Charles Churchill, Edmund Botterill, John Borland, James Brock, Thomas Campbell, Charles De Wolfe, John Jenkins, George H. Davis, John Armstrong, John and George Douglas, Henry Lanton, and others, laboured extensively and usefully; the majority of whom were brought into a broader field by union with the West, which took place in 1854, when the Eastern District Meeting, with twenty ministers and a membership of about 4,000, became incorporated ecclesiastically with the Upper Canada Conference. Thenceforth the river of Wesleyan Methodism flows on in one unbroken current until another vital change takes place in the Methodist Union of 1874.

WESLEYAN METHODISM IN UPPER CANADA FROM 1815 TO 1828,
WHEN THE CANADA CONFERENCE BECAME INDEPENDENT.

When the war closed and the societies began to resume their former strength, the preachers appointed by the American Conference found themselves in a position of extreme delicacy. They acted, however, with peculiar circumspection, and when, in 1817, the Genesee Conference was held at Elizabethtown, Bishop George presiding, a revival broke out during the five-days’ session, and so profound was the spiritual impression made upon the public mind that the increase of members during the year was about 1,400.

In 1818, the first Methodist service was held in York, now Toronto, David Culp being appointed to the circuit. A society was organized and a meeting-house erected. That little wooden, barn-like structure, some forty feet square, on the south side of King Street, was the forerunner of the thirty tasteful and commodious Methodist churches which now adorn the stately capital of Ontario. York was then he seat of government, although only a little village of 1,200 or 1,400 inhabitants, but it soon became a Methodist centre both for the Canadian Church and the Wesleyan missionaries.

In 1819, the Missionary and Bible Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America was organized, and auxiliaries were formed in Canada and substantial support given to the toilers in the new settlements. But the enemies of Methodism and of religious freedom were ready to make a sinister use of the fact that its teachers were citizens of a foreign nation, and so, to remove these political objections, the General Conference of 1820 gave authority to establish an Annual Conference in Canada by and with the advice and consent of the Genesee Conference. The Genesee Annual Conference met this year on the Canadian side of the Niagara, on the famous battle-ground of Lundy’s Lane ; and on Sunday, the little meeting-house being too small to accommodate the congregation assembled, they repaired to the grove and worshipped God on the very spot where six years before the two contending armies had engaged in deadly strife. Of the 122 ministers and preachers receiving appointments, twenty-eight had their fields of labour in the Province. The presiding elders of the two Canadian districts were Henry Ryan and William Case, and according to the estimate of these brethren, who were thoroughly acquainted with the religious condition of the Province, there were then about 211 public religious teachers in Upper Canada, and of these, including local preachers and exhorters, 145 were Methodists. The British missionaries were now withdrawn from ypper Canada, and the societies of Lower Canada placed under the pastoral care of the English Wesleyans. There was peace in the Methodist household, blit no numerical progress ; indeed, at the Conference of 1821, a decrease of 659 was reported. This is accounted for because of the foreign jurisdiction of originally organized Methodism, The memory of the recent struggle rankled in the Canadian mind. Many settlers coming from the old land had a strong repugnance to anything from the United States, and this feeling was encouraged by the Canadian authorities. When, therefore, according to the amicable arrangement made between the two Connexions, the Wesleyan missionaries withdrew, many families refused to join the American branch, and either united with no church whatever or joined other communions and became lost to Methodism. Nor were these prejudices confined to the Weslexans, for in making the transfer in Lower Canada some members could not be persuaded to unite with the British section. In Montreal the American proclivities of some led them to combine with others and give a call to an American Presbyterian minister, thus forming the nucleus of the strong American Presbyterian Church of that city. To allay all irritation and remove the objection to foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the ministers who were labouring in Canada urged upon the Genesee Conference of 1822-3 the necessity of forming at once a Canada Conference. More and more the civil disabilities imposed by an intolerant Administration were being felt. A Bill was introduced to allow Methodist ministers to solemnize matrimony in Upper Canada, but though it passed the Assembly, it was rejected by the Legislative Council. Why was this manifest right denied to the largest body of Christians in the Province % There is but one answer.

In 1822, the great work of Indian evangelization began. The devout Alvin Torry, labouring on the Grand River, was obliged to pass an Indian reservation made up of Iroquois and other tribes, all pagan except the Mohawks, who, though professedly Christian, were no better than the heathen around them. Torry visited these tribes and became interested in their welfare, and when the presiding elder, the Rev. William Case, came to his field of labour and heard from the missionary what had already been done, he said, “ Brother Alvin, prepare to go as a missionary to those Indians after Conference. We must enter upon the work of Christianizing those tribes.55 Shortly after, the conversion of an Indian youth named Peter Jones opened a great door for the evangelization of the Mohawks and Delawares, and a remarkable work of grace began among the Red men, which has gone on with increasing power to this Centennial year. In 1824, the first Indian church was built on the Grand river, and day-schools and Sabbath-schools were established.

Among the questions before the General Conference of 1824, were lay delegation, and the making of the office of the presiding elder elective. The Canadian portion of the Genesee Conference were in favour of the reform, and the two presiding elders were left out of the delegation to Baltimore. Both, however, attended the Conference, Mr. Case to urge the immediate organization of an Annual Conference for Canada, Mr. Ryan as the head of a deputation asking for entire separation. It was decided to organize an Annual Conference for Upper Canada ; but the disappointed elder began an agitation for an immediate breaking off from the American Church. Meetings were held, and much uneasiness created, until two of the bishops, George and Hed-ding, accompanied by Nathan Bangs, made an episcopal visitation, travelling over the principal circuits of the Provinces, explaining the state of affairs and assuring the people that if they desired independence, the next General Conference would readily give it. The agitation subsided, and when the Conference was held, August 26th, at Hallowell, now Picton, general harmony prevailed. A Conference Missionary Society was formed, and from this organization the Missionary Society of the Methodist Church dates its annual report. During the next three years the spirit of dissension was rife. Elder Ryan was a firm, persistent, irrepressible man. He had commenced his itinerant life in 1800, and had laboured zealously, self-denyingly, devotedly for the Church. A Son of Thunder, he had given forth in mighty sound the Word of God. Now he had become estranged from his fellow-labourers, and adroitly availing himself of the political agitations of the day, he inveighed against the domination of republican Methodism. In 1827, he withdrew from the Conference. The following May the General Conference, held at Pittsburg, authorized the Canada Conference to form themselves into a separate, independent Church. This did not satisfy Mr. Ryan. Instead of returning to the Church, the indomitable man began to traverse the country, making inroads upon the societies, and sowing broadcast the seeds of discord and division. A convention was called, and a new Church, denominated the Canadian Wesleyan Church, was organized. Not many left the old Church to become Ryanites, as they were called ; but the new cause struggled feebly on until it was saved from utter extinction by becoming united with the New Connexion Methodists in England. This was the first schism in Canadian Methodism, and it had its root in the disappointed ambition of an able and useful man.

THE METHODIST CHURCH OF CANADA IN A STATE OF INDEPENDENCE

We have followed the river of Wesleyan Methodism in Canada from its two headwaters in England and America. One stream is flowing along in increasing strength and volume through Lower Canada in connection with British Methodism. The other stream is broad and full and well-defined, a regular, legitimate branch of Wesleyan Methodism, though hitherto connected with the Methodism of the United States. It is flowing in widening influence through Upper Canada. In October, 1828, the Conference assembled in Switzer’s Chapel, Ernestown, Rev. Bishop Redding presiding, and formed itself into the Canada Methodist Episcopal Church. It was decided to continue the Episcopal form of church government, and Rev. Wilbur Fisk was elected as first bishop. He, however, declined the office, as did also Nathan Bangs and John B. Stratton, who were afterwards elected, so that the independent Church was never episcopal, except in name. Rev. William Case was made President, and appointed Superintendent of all the Indian missions in the Province. The membership at this time was 9,678, of which 915 were Indians. So great progress had been made in the evangelization of the Aborigines on the Grand, Credit and Thames rivers, and on Lakes Simcoe, Mud, Scugog and Rice, that it was as if a nation had been born in a day.

Let us glance at the bead-roll of worthies, the heroic and venerable figures who compose the ministers and preachers of the Church at this time. There are four gifted men of the name of Ryerson, men of inherited ability and of the highest intellectual power. George has just been received on trial. Egerton is still a probationer, having entered the ministry in 1825 ; but he already displays the vigour of an intellectual Colossus, and his achievements as a writer and debater foreshadow his still greater influence. William, who entered the work in 1821, is presiding elder of the Bay of Quinte District, and in the zenith of his power, the most popular and effective minister in the Province. John, who began in 1820, is presiding elder of the Niagara District, a controlling spirit in the Church, clear-minded and accurate, with a singularly calm and well-balanced judgment. The presiding elder of the remaining district, the Augusta, was Philander Smith, bright, active and successful. Labouring among the Indians were Edmund Stoney, Joseph Messmore, William Smith, John Beatty, Peter Jones and William Case, who directed the work, and who, during his long and eventful life, did far more for Indian evangelization than an Elliot or a Brainerd. Among the fathers were Samuel Belton, Joseph Gatchell, James Wilson and David You-mans. In the energy of mid-life were James Richardson, William Griffis, Matthew Whiting, George Sovereign, John H. Huston, George Ferguson, diminutive in body but great in spirit, and full of divine unction; Robert Corson, Hamilton Biggar, and David Wright, handsome and gifted ; J. C. Davidson, Ezra Healy, George Bissell, Charles Wood, Jacob and George Poole, Cyrus A. Allison, William H. Williams, and Thomas Madden, courtly, methodical and convincing; John Black, witty, genial and greatly beloved ; Franklin Metcalfe, fascinating and eloquent, already entered upon his brilliant career. Among the young men were Alvah Adams, the portly George Parr, Asahel Hurlburt, the first of four brothers, Thomas, Sylvester and Jesse, who were to render important service to the Church; John S. Atwood, Anson Green, ardent and full of enthusiasm, giving signs of great promise ; Ephraim Evans, of logical acumen, luminous speech and pulpit popularity; and Richard Jones, direct, forcible, practical, full of that fire and fervour which were to blaze for more than threescore years on the altar of the Church. Andrew Prindle had become too corpulent and unwieldy of body for the itinerant work. Wyatt Chamberlayne was superannuated ; so also was James Jackson, but he espoused the cause of Mr. Ryan so warmly and actively, that the movement became known as the Ryan-Jackson division.

The following year the Christian Guardian was established, and Egerton Ryerson elected editor. The “Clergy Reserves” agitation was then in full blast. These Clergy Reserves consisted of one-seventh of all the surveyed lands of Upper Canada, which had been set apart by the Constitutional Act of 1791 for the support and maintenance of a “Protestant clergy.” The Church of England in the colonies, which had the powerful countenance of official favour, now claimed that the “Protestant clergy” were the clergy of that Church alone, and in addition to these lands large English Parliamentary grants were applied for, and a large land-endowment granted for a University, which was to be the monopoly of the Church of England. The noxious system involved not merely the support of the Church of England as the State Church in Canada, but the extermination of the other Protestant bodies, particularly the Methodist Church. In July, 1825, the Venerable Archdeacon of York, the late Right Reverend Dr. Strachan, had delivered a sermon on the death of the Bishop of Quebec, Rev. Dr. Mountain, in which he not only defended Church Establishments, but assailed the other denominations, particularly misrepresenting the motives and conduct of the Methodist preachers in the Province. This sermon was not printed until the following year, and as soon as it appeared, Egerton Ryerson, then only twenty-three years of age, and just entered the ministry, published an indignant and eloquent reply, in which he did not hesitate to pronounce Dr. Strachan’s statements to be “ungenerous, unfounded and false.” This Review produced a profound sensation. It was the first shot fired against the exclusive claims of a dominant Church, and the battle ceased not until the equality of all religious denominations before the law was established, and the constitutional rights of the people of Upper Canada secured. In 1827, Archdeacon Strachan furnished the Colonial Department with an ecclesiastical chart and letter, purporting to give correct information respecting the state of the Churches in Upper Canada. The letter represerted the Methodist ministers as exercising an influence hostile to British institutions. The publication of this letter and chart roused such indignation throughout the Province that the Legislative Assembly was petitioned to ask for an investigation of these statements. A Select Committee was appointed, more than fifty witnesses were examined, and the Committee embodied the results of their investigation in a report, in which they bore powerful testimony to the political integrity and loyalty of Methodist preachers and to the beneficial influence of their labours. The report is in the following terms:—

“The insinuations against the Methodist clergymen the committee have noticed with peculiar regret. To the disinterested and indefatigable exertions of these pious men this Province owes much. At an early period of its history, when it was thinly settled and its inhabitants were scattered through the wilderness and destitute of all other means of religious instruction, these ministers of the Gospel, animated by Christian zeal and benevolence, at the sacrifice of health and interest and comfort, carried among the people the blessings and consolations and sanctions of our holy religion. Their influence and instruction, far from having (as is represented in the letter) a tendency hostile to our institutions, have been conducive, in a degree which cannot easily be estimated, to the reformation of their hearers from licentiousness, and the diffusion of correct morals, the foundation of all sound loyalty and social order. There is no reason to believe that, as a body, they have failed to inculcate, by precept and example, as a Christian duty, an attachment to the Sovereign and a cheerful and conscientious obedience to the laws of the country. More than thirty-five years have elapsed since they commenced their labours in the colonies. In that time the Province has passed through a war which put to the proof the loyalty of the people. If their influence and instructions have the tendency mentioned, the effects by this time must be manifest; yet no one doubts that the Methodists are as loyal as any of His Majesty’s subjects. And the very fact that while their clergymen are dependent for their support upon the voluntary contributions of their people, the number of their members has increased so as to be now, in the opinion of almost all the witnesses, greater than that of the members of any other denomination in this Province, is a complete refutation of any suspicion that their influence and instructions have such a tendency; for it would be a gross slander on the loyalty of the people to suppose that they would countenance and listen with complacency to those whose influence was exerted for such base purposes.”

Regarding the work amongst the Indians the report thus speaks:—

“In the course of. their inquiries the committee obtained information, which, to tl eir surprise and regret, gave them reason to believe that to create in the minds of the Indians recently converted under the divine blessing to the Christian religion, an influence unfavourable to their present religious teachers, through whose exertions this change has taken place, the name of His Majesty’s Government had beo.n used; and even that intimation had been made of an intention to compel them to come under the Church of England. The great and surprising change which has occurred within a short period of time in the character and condition of large bodies of the Mississauga Indians is well known; from a state of vice and ignorance, wretchedness and degradation, almost brutal, they have been brought to habits of industry, order and temperance, a thirst for instruction and knowledge, a profession of the Christian religion, and apparently a cordial and humble belief of its truths and enjoyment of its blessings. In this change the Methodists have been chiefly instrumental. They have manifested the most benevolent zeal in accomplishing it; they have sent missionaries and established schools among them, which are supported by voluntary contributions, and they are still labouring among them with the same disinterested spirit and the same surprising encouragement and success.”

The Report was adopted by the House, as also an Address to the King founded on the report, praying that the proceeds of the Clergy Reserves should be placed at the disposal of the Province, for the purposes of general education and national improvement; and that the charter of King’s College be cancelled, for one granted on more liberal principles. The Legislative Council opposed and sought to counteract the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly. The agitation continued for twenty-five years.

In 1840, the Church of England was deprived of an exclusive interest in the Clergy Reserves ; but not till 1854 was the controversy settled, when the Canadian Legislature, authorized by Imperial Parliament, passed an Act by which the Clergy Reserves were finally alienated from religious to secular purposes. In this long struggle other Protestant denominations took an important part; but the Methodist Church was the precursor, the first, constant and most effective promoter of civil and religious liberty and equality for the entire country.

Conspicuous above all other leaders of the public mind was Dr. Ryerson, who gave to this cause the energy of his rarely equalled powers, and placed his native land under an obligation which can never be too fully acknowledged. This was the opus magnum of his life, although he also planned and perfected for Ontario a national system of education which is unsurpassed, if, indeed, it is equalled by any other Public School system in the world. Honour, all honour to the name of Egerton Ryerson.

We have been borne along the stream of Methodist history down to the year 1830, when seven preachers were received on trial, and fifty-seven were appointed to circuits and missions. The total membership is 12,563, the increase during the year being 1,215. At this Conference the establishment of a Seminary of learning was decided upon. Energetic action was also taken on Temperance, Sabbath-schools and Missions, especially the Indian Department, which now numbered a membership of 1,200, and among its missionaries were such well-known names as John Sunday, David Sawyer and James Evans.

In 1831, the Conference was held for the first time in York, and so profoundly impressed was the Church with the need of higher education, that among the means taken to assist in the erection of the Upper Canada Academy at Cobourg, the ministers who had, by the Marriage Bill just passed, acquired the right to celebrate matrimony, with characteristic spirit and enterprise, pledged their marriage fees to this object. This was a year of great revival power, and the accessions to the membership were 3,714. But the ecclesiastical ship, that had been spreading all sail, was entering upon troubled waters. The arrangement as to territory that had been entered into in 1820, between the British and American Conferences, had thus far been faithfully adhered to. But the Canadian colonial authorities, now anxious to divide the Methodist Church on the Clergy Reserves question, invited the London Wesleyan Missionary Society to send missionaries into Upper Canada, offering the sum of £1,000 sterling per annum for the support of such missions. There was also the constant immigration of Methodist families from the Old Country, who were appealing to the Missionary Committee for help. These things induced the Secretaries of the Mission House to inform the President of the Canadian Conference that they were about to re-enter Upper Canada. Fraternal relations were likely to be again disturbed. Rival church altars were again to be set up. The very thought of this gave pain to the true lovers of Zion, and when the Rev. Robert Alder, accompanied by three other Wesleyan ministers, arrived in Toronto, a consultation was held, and proposals for conserving the peace and unity of the Church were made. The Missionary Secretary, Dr. Alder, remained in Canada until the meeting of the Conference, which was held in Hallowell, now Picton, on the 18th August, 1832, when articles of union were adopted. The British Conference the following year acceded to the arrangement, and thus the union with the Parent body was accomplished. The discipline, economy and form of church government of the Wesleyan Methodists in England were adopted, and the Canadian Church, with a membership of 16,090, with seventy itinerant preachers and eighty churches, was merged into the original body. This union, which had been accomplished without any sacrifice of conscience or of principle, and was to afford a practical illustration of the truth that the Wesleyan Methodists are one in every part of the world, was attended with sore troubles. By the articles of union, the Episcopate was not only changed, but the ordination of local preachers was discontinued, while District Conferences gave way to the Local Preachers’ Meeting on each circuit. This change gave umbrage to several local preachers, who began to exert a disturbing influence. In the early months of 1834 gatherings were held, and resolutions adopted condemning the “Local Preachers’ Resolutions” of the Conference, and expressing disapproval of the union. Three such meetings were held before the Conference of 1834.

After the session of the Wesleyan Conference at Kingston, there met, on the 25th June, 1834, at Cummers’ meeting-house, nine miles north of Toronto, three elders, one deacon and several local preachers. This was preliminary to the calling of what was denominated a General Conference of Elders, which assembled in Belleville on February 10th, 1835, when, the Rev. John Reynolds, a located preacher, was elected General Superintendent, This Conference met again in June, 1835, when John Reynolds was consecrated Bishop, and the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada fairly launched. The new body assumed the title, discipline and claim of the Old Church; a number of local preachers offered themselves for the travelling connexion, and at the end of one year there were no less than twenty-one preachers on circuits, and a membership of 1,243.

In 1836 came judicial trials to obtain possession of property originally deeded to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the litigations extended over two years, when the courts confirmed the title of the Wesleyan Methodist Church to the ownership of the church property, as being the true representative and successor of the original Methodist Church in Canada. Happily these are dead issues now, but those were days when evil was in the air, when the spirit of dissension was rife, when political and religious prejudices prevailed, and Methodism was scattered and broken into contending factions.

Internal dissension also prevailed in the united Church. It seemed impossible to weld into one the British and Canadian elements. Energetic presidents, like George Marsden, Edmund Grindrod, William Lord, the saintly William M. Harvard, Joseph Stinson, travelled through the country, engaged in manifold and self-denying labours. But there were strifes as well as toils. Dr. Ryerson was still forging and hurling his hot thunderbolts against Church-of-England-supremacy-and-monopoly in the Province, while the author^ ties of the Mission House seemed to be on the side of the Church and State party. Offences increased. The whole Methodist household was in tumult and schism, “ without were fightings, within were fears.” The union, instead of being an instrument giving forth harmonious music was like “ sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh.” There was direct conflict between the representatives of the British Conference in this country, and the leaders of the Canadian Church, who were strongly committed to the public question of the day. Tremendous issues were trembling in the scale. No fact was written more plainly on the page of colonial history than the fact that a state church was unacceptable to the people. Against the effort of the High Church oligarchy and the Executive to force an establishment on the Province, the Methodist Church expended its supreme energies. But the Wesleyan, conservative, old-world views of obedience to the constituted authorities, and subordination to a state church, looked upon the action of the leaders of the Canadian Israel, in the maintenance of their civil and religious rights, as political intermeddling. The differences and misunderstandings grew until complete separation took place. This was the crucial epoch in Canadian Methodist history.

When the British Conference in August, 1840, decided upon separation, a special meeting of the Canadian Conference was called for October 22nd, in Toronto. Eighty members assembled in the Newgate (Adelaide) Street Church, and reorganization took place. Twelve members, among them the venerable Father Case, withdrew, to attach themselves to the Wesleyan District Meeting, the rallying place of which was the old missionary chapel on George Street. The Canada Conference had no missionary funds, independent of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, and was now responsible for the support of eight domestic missions and six Indian missions, the remaining three having been transferred to the missionary district of the British Conference. The union had lasted for seven years ; now there were to be seven years of long, weary strife, when societies must be divided, schisms and heart-burnings created. The patronage of the Government and the funds of the Wesleyan Missionary Society strengthened the hands of the District Meeting, so that year by year the sphere of its aggressive operations was enlarging and the number of its earnest, well-equipped and consecrated missionaries increased. But the spirit of the strong, sturdy, trusted leaders of the Canadian Conference animated the whole Church. It was a year of unprecedented activity. Missionary deputations swept over the land. Revival meetings became the order of the day. Money flowed into the missionary treasury; souls were converted, and at the end of the year it vvas found that the missionary contributions largely exceeded those of any previous year, while after a loss of 1,200 members by transfer, the net gain in membership was 663. In 1841, the membership on the Wesleyan District Meeting was 1,495; the Canadian Wesleyan Church, 17,017 ; total Wesleyan membership, 18,512, an increase of 2,158. One is ready to wonder that good men could be engaged in such divisive conflict, and that God should so manifestly bless their labours \ but, as Pope has put it,

“’Tis with our judgments as our watches, none Go just alike, yet each believes his own.”

Each side was conscientious and determinedly in earnest. On both sides self-sacrificing men toiled to advance the interests of true religion, and much good was done. Yet the evils of division were manifest everywhere. Inextinguishable discord prevailed. The bitter waters penetrated into domestic circles and separated members of the same household ; they flowed even into the Indian wigwams, and made confusion among the children of the bow and arrow. But wiser counsel began to have prevalence. Men on both sides came to see that there was no justifiable ground of hostility and disunion. The honour of Christ and the character of Methodism demanded that this unnatural strife should cease. The Canada Conference of 1846 adopted resolutions favourable to reconciliation and reunion. A deputation was appointed to attend the British Conference and seek to correct the misunderstandings and restore peace. A committee, with full power to act on behalf of the Conference, met in the Mission House, and after a long and faithful discussion, unanimously adopted Articles of Reunion. Dr. Alder # was again sent out to Canada. The Basis of Union was laid before the Quarterly Meetings, and received the sanction of the lay officials of the Connexion. The Canadian Conference assembled in Adelaide Street Church, Toronto, in June,

"1847; the District Meeting met at the same time in the Richmond Street Church. The Articles of Union as agreed upon were honourable to both parties, and were adopted with great unanimity of sentiment. The chair of the Canadian Conference was yielded to Dr. Alder, the appointee of the British Conference, and the members of the Missionary District that were to remain in the Province were introduced and heartily welcomed. The estrangement of years was happily ended, and mutual congratulations, thanksgiving and prayer followed. Rev. Enoch Wood, from New Brunswick, who had accompanied Dr. Alder on his pacific mission, and by his wisdom and weight of character had greatly helped to promote unity and harmony, became Superintendent of Missions and the representative of British Conference interests in that department. Rev. Matthew Richey was appointed co-delegate or Vice-President, and was thus acting President throughout the year. The united membership numbered nearly 25,000. The union was one of lasting harmony, and the Church began to develop rapidly in missionary enterprise, church building, educational and spiritual activity; every department of connexional work seemed to prosper.

In 1854, Wesleyan Methodism was still further consolidated by the amalgamation of the Eastern District Meeting with the Canada Conference. At the Belleville Conference of that year a delegation came from Eastern Canada with proposals for amalgamation, sustained by the hearty concurrence of the British Conference. The arrangement was carried into immediate operation, and the two sections of Wesleyan Methodism in Upper and Lower Canada now united gave a total membership of 36,333, with a ministerial strength of nearly 200. The two streams of Wesleyan Methodism in Canada, one of which had steadily preserved its connection with the parent Wesleyan Church, the other having its fons et origo in the Church which Mr. Wesley organized on this continent, had flowed along with American Methodism till 1828, then became distinct and separate, then united with British Methodism, again independent, once more reunited with English Wesleyanism, now coalesce and flow together— one river of salvation with well-defined and widening banks, calm waters and deepening current, and destined to flow on through two decades, when other kindred streams uniting, it should roll along, its affluent waters widening with the nation’s history, and fertilizing a still broader area.

Our diminishing space will not allow more than a passing, reference to these remaining twenty years of Canadian Wesleyan history, when the Church had rest and entered upon an era of unprecedented prosperity. The truth of God as proclaimed by the Methodist itinerants no longer made its way under many and heavy disadvantages; and the peculiarities of Wesleyan usages, doctrine and polity were firmly maintained. The standard of personal and family piety was raised to a higher level. All the resources of Church strength were actively developed. Men rich in gifts and culture and “full of, the Holy Ghost and faith” entered the ministry, and under their zealous labours “much people were added unto the Lord.” From year to year the increase of church-membership was continuous. A richer baptism of the spirit of holiness and of active power rested alike upon pastors and people. Sabbath-schools increased in numbers and greatly improved in efficiency.

The educational facilities of the Church were vastly enlarged. The honour of leading the way in university work in Upper Canada belongs to the Methodist Church; for in October, 1841, with Egerton Ryerson, D.D., as Principal, Victoria College, before Upper Canada Academy, began its university career. In September, 1850, Rev7. S. S. Nelles, M.A., a scholar of rare genius, philosophic acumen, and brilliant eloquence, was called to preside over the destinies of the denominational University. He gave himself unsparingly to the work, and made a wider and deeper impression upon the Church than any other man in favour of higher education. The spirit of the Methodist people was quickened in the direction of higher learning, a circle of ladies’ colleges established, as well as another Theological College in Montreal, in affiliation with Victoria, under the Principalship of George Douglas, LL.D., whose peerless gifts as a preacher and rich mental endowments eminently fitted him as an inspiring teacher and head of a “School of the Prophets.”

The Christian Guardian continued to exert its educating, reforming, elevating influence, and the Book and Publishing Establishment to diffuse a healthy and attractive Christian literature. In missionary work the Church continued to “lengthen its cords and strengthen its stakes,” and having crossed a continent to enter wide and inviting fields of labour, it dared to cross an ocean to establish a foreign mission, and preach to the millions of Japan “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

The material prosperity of the Church was manifest in the increasing number of its sanctuaries and the improved character of its church architecture. Thus the growing wealth, numbers and power of Methodism were realized in her educational work, her missions and her churches.

While these spiritual forces were shaping society, a new power was also being developed. As the Annual Conference grew to embrace a larger care and a wider range of topics, the need of laymen in the highest councils of the Church began to be felt, and honoured and trusted lay-officials were found on the Educational, Sabbath-school, Temperance and Church Extension committees.

From each district, laymen were appointed to attend these several Conference committees. The sentiment in favour of lay co-operation was growing rapidly, and the Church was ripening for a change in its administration and government.

By the Articles of Union, the English Conference was annually to appoint one of their number as President of the Canadian Conference. These were always men of commanding gifts and influence, and the Church owed much of its growing prestige and power to their administration and energy, their apostolic zeal and labours, their far-reaching views and sublime consecration to the one work of saving men. Among these must be mentioned James Dixon, wise in council, robust and mighty in speech, whose sermons were incomparable in excellence and power; Matthew Richey, a Chrysostom in the pulpit, dignified in manner and genial of soul; Enoch Wood, of fervent piety, sound judgment, tender and powerful in his pulpit ministrations, unwearied in his devotion to the interests of the Church, and reappointed to the presidential office for seven successive years by unanimous request of his brethren; Joseph Stinson, wise in administration, of fine presence, attractive speech and broad culture, for four years occupying the chair of Conference; W. L. Thornton, whose saintly character, thorough culture, and spirit-baptized sermons and addresses can never be forgotten; and William Morley Punshon, whose extraordinary gifts were for five years devoted to the Church in Canada, whose transcendent eloquence not only elevated the tone of the entire Canadian pulpit, but whose influential character, executive ability, marvellous energy and enthusiasm promoted every department of church work, particularly the educational, the missionary and the church extension. To his interest and exertions was largely due the erection of the Metropolitan Church in the city of Toronto, the building of which gave such an impetus to church improvement throughout the cities, towns and country places of Canada.

On four occasions the Conference nominated for the chair, honoured and beloved brethren among themselves ; in 1862, Anson Green, who had rendered illustrious service to Canadian Methodism ; in 1865, Richard Jones, who fulfilled a long and noble ministry ; in 1867, James Elliott, genuine in his religious life, and an exceptionally gifted preacher; and in 1873 and 1874, Samuel JD. Rice, of vigorous and well-furnished intellect, a born administrator, and who discharged the duties of the office with pre-eminent success. The time would fail us to tell of other men whose gifts, graces and services were given to the Church. In the Book and Publishing Department, George R. Sanderson, who had already given five years to editorial work, and after five years’ service in this department, returned to the pastorate to render eminent service in many a pulpit. Samuel Rose, honoured and beloved, who filled the office of Book Steward for fourteen years. As editors of the Christian Guardian, James Spencer, wielding his trenchant pen for nine years, followed by Wellington Jeffers, another Jupiter tonans, who after nine years resigned the editorial chair to Edward Hartley Dewart, the distinguished occupant who has held it to the present time. Among other Conference leaders and pastors whose names are indissolubly connected with this period of the Church’s history are

I. B. Aylsworth, M.D., J. E. Betts, W. S. Blackstock, H. F. Bland, John Borland, John Bredin, James Brock, John Carrol], Edwin Clement, Thomas Cosford, Kennedy Creighton, George H. Davis, John Douse, Noble F. English, Ephraim Evans, Michael Fawcett, Charles Fish, Robert Fowler, M.D., Charles Freshman, D.D., John Gem-ley, George Goodson, James Gray, William S. Griffin, William Hansford, Ephraim B. Harper, M.A., Isaac B. Howard, John Hunt, the Hurlburt brothers, John G. Laird, Charles Lavell, M.A., John Learoyd, Joseph W. McCallum, George McDougall, George McRitchie, D. Madden, William Pollard, A. E. Russ, William Scott, John Shaw, James C. Slater, John Wakefield, Richard Whiting, John A. Williams, and George Young. Among the young men who had not yet reached the bright summer of their career were William Briggs, Nathaniel Burwash, M.A., George Cochran, Charles S. Eby, B.A., Samuel J. and William J. Hunter, T. W. Jeffrey, Alexander Langford, W. R. Parker, M.A., John Potts, W. W. Ross, E. B. Ryck-man, M.A., W. I. Shaw, B.A., E. A. Stafford, Alexander Sutherland, Thomas G. Williams, and William H. Withrow, M.A., who was just rising into distinguished position as a writer and scholar. Some of these were now holding the most conspicuous churches, and giving pledge of still ampler usefulness. Egerton Ryerson, though Chief Superintendent of Education, still exercised great influence in Conference deliberations ; the remaining two members of the powerful triumvirate of that name were in the calm decay of their autumnal season. Other names should be added, did space allow, for in studying the history of the Church, we must study the character and achievements of its leading spirits. The men of rare qualities, endowments, and successes, are the real events in Church history.

About the year 1870 Methodist Union became a vital question. The British Provinces had been consolidated into the Dominion of Canada, and Confederation furnished new opportunities for the spread and progress of Methodism and its consolidation into one mighty community throughout the Dominion. In 1871, the Conference appointed a Committee on Union to confer with the other branches of the Methodist household. The question of admission of lay delegates to a General Conference, should such a court be organized under any union that might be effected, had been submitted to the Quarterly Meetings; and out of three hundred and sixty-four Official Boards voting, three hundred and nineteen v ere favourable to lay delegation. This aided greatly the pending negotiations with the Methodist New Connexion Church. In 1874, the Wesleyan Church in Canada united with the Wesleyan Conference of Eastern British America and the Canadian Conference of the Methodist New Connexion Church. The united body took the name of “ The Methodist Church of Canada.” Fifty years had elapsed since the organization of the Canadian Conference, then consisting of thirty-one travelling and five superannuated ministers, with a membership of 6,150, and a church property comprising twenty-one small, wooden places of worship. In those ten decades the Church had exchanged weakness for strength, poverty for wealth, the plain meeting-house for the costly temple. The roll of ministers had increased to 718; the membership to 76,455 ; the churches had increased to upwards of 1,800; and the value of the church property from a few thousand dollars to $3,300,000— a record of achievement which is scarcely surpassed in Christian annals; a praise and a joy to Him whose the Church is, even the only wise God our Saviour, to whom be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Note.—Care has been taken to have every item in this condensed history, extending through more than three-quarters of a century, as correct as possible, and so the writer has sought the best available sources of information. Besides Conference minutes and newspaper files, the following works have been consulted: Cornish’s “Cyclopaedia of Methodism,” Playter’s “History of Methodism,” Carroll’s “Case and His Cotemporaries,” Ryerson’s “Canadian Methodism,” Webster’s "History of the Methodist Episcopal Church,” Bangs’, Stevens’ and McTyeire’s “History of Methodism.” Should any mistakes have occurred, the author will be thankful to have them pointed out, as he has now in hand a “History of Methodism in Canada.”


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