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Egerton Ryerson
Chapter VI - The University Question


A THIRD important question involved in the early struggle of the province was that of education. The policy inaugurated as we have seen in Governor Simcoe's day was too comprehensive and far-seeing to omit this. To control the executive government, the religion and the education of the country was to mould its future at will; and while the dominant party doubtless believed they were discharging their duty by their trust, and acting for the highest interest of the country, they quite forgot the fact that the men to whom they thus extended a paternal government were men of equal capacities as men and of equal rights as citizens with themselves.

In the matter of education, the early policy projected a university and four royal grammar schools, two in the east at Cornwall and Kingston, and two in the west at Newark (Niagara) and a place undetermined. The university was reserved for York, the new capital of Upper Canada. Had this policy been carried into effect, though some of the locations might have proved unfortunate, it might have resulted, with subsequent change of location to suit the needs of the population, in a most comprehensive and efficient scheme of higher education. Even now, a central university with strong affiliated collegiate institutes at centres of population solves the problem of the wider diffusion of at least a portion of university education.

We have already seen that the secondary part of this scheme shaped itself into the district schools as early as 1807 and 1810. The lack of funds delayed the university part until the royal charter of 1827, and even then the only practical result was Upper Canada College, an institution answering to the royal grammar schools as originally projected.

But the entire system thus created was dominated throughout by the idea of a state church, with exclusive privileges in religion, education, and even civil power. When, therefore, in 1820, and again in 1828, Mr. Ryerson took up his pen in defence of the rights of the great majority of the people against this unjust policy, the subject of education, and, in 1828, the subject of the proposed constitution of the new university occupied a prominent place. On taking his position as editor of The Christian Guardian in 1829, he made full use of the columns of the new journal to awaken the country to a proper estimate of the importance of this subject, and practical results almost immediately followed. In the conference of the Methodist Church of 1829, the subject of an institution of learning was discussed, and while it was postponed for that year in order to establish The Guardian, in the following year the subject was again taken up and practical measures adopted, resulting in the opening of Upper Canada Academy in June, 1836.

The Presbyterians were actuated by the same spirit, and two movements appear among them, one to establish a literary and theological institution at Pleasant Ray, in the township of Hillier, Prince Edward County, and the other to secure from the government the appointment of a theological professor on a status of equality with the professor of divinity of the English Church in the staff and council of King's College. These Presbyterian movements reached their final results in the opening of Queen s College in March, 3 1842. A third movement, quite independent of these two and antedating both, appears in the Upper Canadian legislative assembly. As soon as the nature of Dr. Strachan's charter and ecclesiastical chart was known in the province, the assembly prepared an address to the King on the political affairs of the country, based on a report of a select committee of the House, in which this passage closes the reference to the new university charter following an expression of strong condemnation of its exclusive sectarian provisions: "It should not be a school of political or sectarian views. It should have about it no appearance of a spirit of partiality or exclusion. Its portals should be thrown open to all, and upon none who enter should any influence be exerted to attach them to any particular creed or church. It should be a source of intellectual and moral light and animation, from which the glorious irradiations of literature and science may descend upon all with equal lustre and power. Such an institution would be a blessing to the country, its pride and glory. Most deeply, therefore, is it to be lamented that the principles of the charter are calculated to defeat its usefulness, and to confine to a favoured few all its advantages." (Report of March 17th, 1828.) The address of the colonial assembly to the King brought the matter before the British House of Commons in 1828, Where it was further pressed by petitions signed by thousands of Upper Canadian subjects. Mr. George Ryerson, an elder brother of Mr. Egerton Ryerson, was the bearer of these petitions. A select committee of the British House of Commons took up the matter in connection with other Canadian affairs, and in regard to the university reported in the following terms: "It cannot be doubted as the guidance and government of the college is to be vested in the hands of members of the Church of England, that in the election of professors, a preference would inevitably be shown to persons of that persuasion; and in a country where only a small proportion of the inhabitants adhere to that church a suspicion and jealousy of religious interference would necessarily be created." This declaration is followed by the recommendation of essential changes in the charter, both as to its theological faculty and the appointment of professors generally. One of these provisions was adopted in the first amendment of the charter by the provincial legislature in 1837.

It was with the movement in the Methodist Church that Mr. Ryerson was most directly connected. During the first two or three years his official influence as editor of The Guardian and his personal influence as a member of the conference and church were very helpful to the committee who were struggling with the difficult task of bringing into operation a large literary institution without any aid from public sources. The following extract from an editorial in April, 1831, will indicate the character of his support, as well as the principles upon which the new institution was being founded:—"It is the first literary institution which has been commenced by any body of ministers in accordance with the frequently expressed wishes of the people of Upper Canada. The Methodist conference have not sought endowments of public lands for the establishment of an institution contrary to the voice of the people as expressed by their representatives; much less have they sought to acquire such endowments to erect 'essentially a missionary college' for the purpose of carrying on an extensive proselytizing warfare upon the territories of their religious neighbours. Rut the Methodist conference, in the manner m which they have commenced and are proceeding in the establishment of this institution, say, >n effect, to the people of Upper Canada, 'We have not laboured among you for the promotion of selfish and party purposes, but for the diffusion of pure and undefiled religion; nor have we sought or received any other subsistence than the voluntary offerings of your liberality. Desirous of promoting more extensively the interests of the rising generation and of the country generally, we have resolved upon the establishment of a seminary of learning. We have done so upon liberal principles; we have not reserved any peculiar privileges to ourselves for the education of our own children; we have published the constitution for your examination; and now we appeal to your liberality for assistance, we feel confident that you will not withhold it; we believe your good wishes are with us in this undertaking, and we submit to your decision for the success or failure of it,'"

The undertaking proved much more arduous and costly than its promoters had anticipated. When completed the building was by far the most classic in architecture and imposing in appearance of any up to that time erected m Upper Canada for educational purposes, not excepting Upper Canada College; and instead of costing £6,000 as estimated, the cost, with furnishings, reached £9,000. The perfection of the workmanship may be estimated from the fact that after seventy years the government of Ontario find it still a substantial, valuable building. The amount collected by the trustees from the Canadian Methodist people and their friends, who hy 1834 had been thoroughly canvassed, was £4,000. By that date the building was enclosed and well advanced towards completion; but the trustees, who were not. a body corporate, and had hitherto proceeded entirely upon their personal responsibility, were under obligations to the banks and for private loans to the extent of -£2,000. It was at this difficult juncture that Mr. Ryerson became officially connected with the college, being appointed by the trustees as their agent to England to solicit aid for the institution, and to petition the imperial government for a royal charter. The first part of this commission was to him exceedingly uncongenial, as literally it was true of him " To beg I am ashamed." But this is the letter which followed him from Mr. Lord, the English president of the Canadian conference: —'"You must stay in England until the money is got. Use every effort, harden your face to flint, and give eloquence to your tongue. This is your calling. Excel in it. Be not discouraged with a dozen refusals in succession. The money must be had, and it must be begged. My dear brother, work for your life, and I pray God to give you success. Do not borrow if possible. Beg, beg, beg it all. Tt must be done."

But the more difficult, as well as more important part of Mr. Ryerson's commission was the securing of the royal charter. It must be borne in mind that up to this time no such legal recognition had been afforded to a body of non-conformist ministers, either in England or in any of the colonies. A bill for the purpose of incorporating the trustees had already failed to pass the Canadian legislature. There was thus no precedent to which he could appeal, and no model which he could copy, and his sole hope was in the justice of his cause, and in the spirit, now rapidly growing in England, of equal civil and religious rights and privileges.

To grant the Methodists equal legislative, >f not equal governmental support for their college, with that which had already been conceded to Dr. Strachan on behalf of the Church of England, was only a fair practical outcome of this spirit. Rut a technical difficulty was at once proposed by the law officers of the crown. How could a body unknown to the law be officially recognized as the recipients of a royal charter? Mr. Ryerson's legal acumen here stood him in good stead, and found a way out of the difficulty. Although the Methodist conference, as such, was as yet unknown to English law, the Methodist preacher as such had already been given a recognized legal status by the grant of legal authority for the solemnization of matrimony. Mr. Ryerson accordingly constituted his fundamental chartered body of all men so recognized by law in Upper Canada, and the charter granted to these authorized them to elect trustees and visitors who should be a body corporate for all the purposes of the college. The first legal name of the college was Upper Canada Academy, its name at once designating its comprehensive character, offering its services to all the people of the province, and yet distinguishing it from Upper Canada College, already in operation. Both were designed to prepare the way for higher institut ions of learning in the immediate future, when the number of students prepared for a university course should warrant the advance. In the race toward this goal the Methodist institution won by two years, commencing university work in 1841 and reaching its first graduating class in 1815.

Mr. Ryerson's return from his English mission was a veritable triumph of patient industry and remarkable ability devoted unsparingly to a high purpose. It was but five years since a governor-general had superciliously replied to a loyal address of the Methodist conference, in which they ventured to refer to their projected college, of which a stone had not yet been laid, " That the system of education which has produced the best and ablest men in the United Kingdom, will not be abandoned here to suit the limited views of the leaders of societies who perhaps have neither experience nor judgment to appreciate the value or advantages of a liberal education." Within three years Mr. Ryerson, one of the leaders referred to in this disparaging paragraph, was on his way to England with recommendatory letters from this same governor-general, who had already learned to form a truer estimate of the Methodist people and their leaders; and now after nearly two years of arduous toil and able work for his church and his country, he returned home with the first royal charter ever granted by the imperial government for an educational institution outside of an established church, arid with a fair prospect of its release from financial embarrassment. Already as the result of his labours he found, on his arrival home, the buildings completed and occupied by a promising body of teachers and pupils, under the principalship of Rev. Matthew Richey, M.A., who had opened the academy on June I8th, 1836, This step had been secured through the financial assistance which he had obtained from friends in England.

But financial difficulties were as yet by no means ended. He had received in England from Lord Glenelg instructions to the new governor-general, Sir Francis Bond Head, to recommend to the Canadian legislature a grant in assistance of the institution. Mr. Ryerson, who knew well the state of affairs in the two branches of the legislature at that date, w as fully aware that this last recommendation would be of no practical service. He therefore persisted in his efforts, until in April, 1837, a few days before sailing for home, he secured further instructions from the imperial government to Sir Francis Bond Head to advance the amount, £4,100, out of the unappropriated revenues of the crown. One-half of this amount was paid in November following, in the midst of the excitement, which immediately preceded the insurrection. The balance was withheld by the governor until the whole matter was brought before parliament by petition from Mr. Ryerson. The question was carried back to Lord Glenelg, but upon report and address of the House of Assembly to the governor it was settled.

The establishment of responsible government in Canada in 1840 led to important consequences in regard to university work. During the first session of the provincial legislature a bill prepared by Mr. Ryerson was introduced, and passed both Houses, extending the charier of Upper Canada Academy under the new name of "Victoria College," so as to confer university powers. This bill received the royal assent at the hand of Lord Sydenham, August 27th, 1811. In October of that year Mr. Ryerson was appointed the first president under the enlarged charter, and opened the session on the 21st of that month. His formal inaugural took place on June 21st, 1842, and on August 3rd following he was honoured by the Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, with the degree of doctor of divinity.

The official relation to Victoria, College thus begun he held for four years, during which time students flocked to the college from all parts. Among those who became eminent in after years in various walks of life were the late Judge Springer; S. S. Nelles, afterwards his successor in office; the Hon. J. C. Aikins; the Hon. Wm. Macdougall, C.B.; J. George Hodgins, his life-long friend and associate in work; the Rev. Wm. Or-miston, D.D., one of the brightest ornaments of the Presbyterian Church; Col. Walker Powell, Adjutant-General; Stoughton Dennis, Surveyor-General; the Hon. W. H. Brouse, and James L. Biggar, M.D Out of such materials as these were organized in four years four undergraduate classes, under a curriculum equal in extent of science, literature and philosophy to that of the best American colleges of the time. Its matriculation embraced both Latin and Greek—in the former Nepos, Caesar, Sallust. and Virgil,— arithmetic and algebra in mathematics, with English grammar, history, geography, and elementary science. The subsequent course included four years' work in the Latin and Greek languages, four in mathematics, three in science, two years each in English constitution and history, philosophy, evidences of natural and revealed religion, Hebrew and French. Rhetoric, composition and elocution received attention throughout the course, and the study of the Greek testament and Biblical literature was also provided for.

The following words from the pen of the late gifted Dr. Ormiston give a most vivid portraiture of the impression made upon his students by Dr. Ryerson as college president: "Dr. Ryerson was at that time in the prime of a magnificent manhood. His well-developed, finely-proportioned, firmly-knit frame, his broad, lofty brow, his keen, penetrating eye, and his genial, benignant face, all proclaimed him every inch a man. Ilis mental powers, vigorous and well disciplined; his attainments in literature, varied and extensive; his experience, extended and diversified; his fame as a preacher of great pathos and power, widely spread; his claims as a doughty, dauntless champion of the rights of the people to civil and religious liberty, generally acknowledged; his powers of expression, marvellous in readiness, richness and beauty; his manners affable and winning; his presence magnetic and impressive,—he stood in the eye of the youth fill, ardent, aspiring student;, a tower of strength, a centre of healthy, helpful influences, a man to be admired and honoured, loved and feared, imitated and followed. And 1 may add, that frequent intercourse for nearly forty years, and close official relations for more than ten, only deepened and confirmed the impression first made. A more familiar acquaintance with his domestic, social and religious life, a more thorough knowledge of his mind and heart constantly increased my appreciation of his worth, my esteem for his character, and my affection for his person.

"Not a few misunderstood, undervalued or misrepresented his public conduct, but it will be found that those who knew him best, loved him most, and that many who were constrained to differ from him in his management of public affairs, did full justice to the purity and generosity of his motives, to the nobility, loftiness and ultimate success of his aims, and to the disinterestedness of his manifold labours for the country and the church of Christ.

"As a teacher he was earnest and efficient, eloquent and inspiring, but he expected and exacted too much work from the average student. His own ready and affluent mind sympathized keenly with the apt, bright scholar, to whom his praise was warmly given, but he scarcely made sufficient allowance for the dullness or lack of previous preparation which failed to keep pace with him in his long and rapid strides; hence his censures were occasionally severe. His methods of examination furnished the very best kind of mental discipline, fitted alike to cultivate the memory and to strengthen the judgment. All the students revered him, but the best of the class appreciated him most. His counsels were faithful and judicious, his admonitions paternal and discriminating, his rebukes seldom administered, but scathingly severe. No student ever left his presence without resolving to do better, to aim higher and to win his approval."

While Mr. Ryerson was thus engaged in laying the foundations of Victoria College, two other colleges were being brought into operation. The Presbyterian Church had in 1839 petitioned the legislature of Upper Canada for an act of incorporation for a university at Kingston. The act was passed in 1840, but as they desired a royal charter, it was found necessary to ask for its disallowance, 146 and the charter was issued October 14th, 1841. The institution was accordingly opened for the reception of students on March 7th, 1842, and as the curriculum for the degree of R.A. extended over three years, the first graduates had completed their course in 1845. Finally King's College after long delay was brought into operation, and on June 8th, 1813, the inauguration took place, the college being located in the Parliament Buildings. The practical work of instruction appears to have commenced in October following, and the warrants of the first professors in arts bear date September, 1843. On March 4th, 1837, the royal assent had been given by His Excellency, the Governor-General, to a bill incorporating Regiopolis College, Kingston, under the direction of the Roman Catholic Church.

These various steps growing out of the exclusive character of the university charter obtained in 1827, and which Dr. Strachan called his charter, presented Upper Canada as early as 1843 with her university problem. There were then in operation in the province four colleges, the best equipped of which had not more than four full professors in arts. One of these, King's College, was ui possession of the provincial endowment, consisting of nearly £39,000 in provincial debentures and other stock, besides a large quantity of lands. Although no building had been erected or instruction given, there was already a considerable debt against this endowment. The other colleges were without endowments or property other than the buildings which had been erected for Victoria as already related, and real estate and buildings which had been secured by the Roman Catholic Church for Regiopolis. Queen's was as yet without buildings, and was seriously considering the problem before her. Victoria and Queen's had each been voted a legislative grant of £500, but apart from that were dependent on fees and church funds. The total number of undergraduate students in arts in the province was less than fifty, and these were divided among three colleges.

It was at this juncture that in 1843 the first effort, to secure a truly provincial university was made by the Honourable Robert Baldwin. His scheme embraced a large number of the distinctive features of the Federation Act of 1887. It proposed to include all the existing colleges by removing them to Toronto; also aity that might hereafter be founded. It deprived all the colleges of their degree conferring powers. It proposed to erect a central university, with teaching faculty, in which the students of all the colleges should receive instruction on equal terms. The only subjects excluded from the university course were the divinity subjects. Each college was left free to teach whatever it chose. The colleges were placed somewhat largely under the control of the central university authority or council, in which they were all equally represented; and while the university endowment was to remain intact and for the university, for a period of four years each college was to receive a grant in aid of -£500. A minimum amount invested in buildings, outfit, and endowment was required to entitle a college to claim its place and status in the university. It is said that this scheme was the work of Mr. Baldwin's own mind, having been prepared after a single interview with each of the parties concerned.

From the Anglican party, who were now in possession of the endowment, this bill met with the most uncompromising opposition. They claimed that the endowment belonged by gift of the crown to King's College exclusively; that King's College had been constituted by royal charter a Church of England institution; and that the provincial parliament had no power to interfere with either the property or the charter. They petitioned parliament for leave to present their case by counsel at the bar of the House, and the Hon. W. II. Draper was deputed for that purpose, and in an able address of over two hours laid the constitutional argument before the members.

The Presbyterians, whose college had been in operation for a year and a half, but who had not yet erected buildings, and had thus no financial complication, supported the proposed plan most heartily, and were prepared to surrender their university powers and remove to Toronto at once. In fact the whole movement originated with the expressed desire of Queen's to take part in the provincial university. Dr. Eiddell, the principal of Queen's, was a very hearty advocate of the scheme, and pressed it upon the Methodists in a series of letters to Dr. Ryerson. The Methodists, on the other hand, were in a most embarrassing position. They were now divided into three bodies, the largest numbering 32,000 and the smallest 20,000 adherents. They had only some three or four years previously completed a most exhausting effort to secure the last of the nine thousand pounds needed for the building of their college, and they were as yet entirely without endowment. The most toilsome labour of this work had, as we have already seen, fallen on Dr. Ryerson. He was now asked to leave the institution thus founded to fall back upon its previous work of an academy or minor college, and begin anew the task of founding a Methodist college in the provincial university. His reply — penned by his own hand, though presented as that of his church through resolution of the college board —-is such as Methodism need never be ashamed of. The essential parts of this document are contained in the fourth and fifth resolutions, as follows:—

"4. That viewing the general objects and opinions of the University Rill in this light we cordially concur in them, and give that bill, our warm approbation and support; although its present application to the Wesleyan Methodist Church as a body, from circumstances peculiar to ourselves, deprives us of important rights and privileges which we now enjoy, without conferring upon us any corresponding advantages, since all the resources which we have been able to obtain both in this country and in England for the erection of college buildings have been expended in the completion of a commodious and expensive edifice at too great a distance from the seat of the University of Toronto to render any of its advantages available to the scholars and students of Victoria College.

"5. That in view of the peculiar inconveniences and disadvantages to which the operation of the bill must necessarily subject us. without its being in our power to enjoy the advantages of the university, we appeal to the just and enlightened consideration of the government to grant us such assistance as our peculiar circumstances suggest, and to aid us to the utmost of its power in making any arrangements which may hereafter be deemed expedient and advisable to secure to the persons under our institution the advantages of the university."

But this expression of approval and of desire as soon as possible to take part in the project did not end Dr. Ryerson's efforts on its behalf The bill was meeting with powerful opposition on plausible constitutional grounds. Into its defence he threw himself with all his ability, energy, and learning, and in a most complete reply to Mr. Draper's address to the parliament, he proved that the province had a right to a truly provincial university; that the original endowment was not a gift to the English Church or to a particular college, hut was granted by the crown for the education of the people of Canada in response to a request from the legislative assembly of the province, and that over both the charter and the endowment, parliament— which includes the crown itself—possessed complete power, and that over both of these the present tenants had no personal rights or control, being but trustees for the people.

The political complication to which we have already referred, ending in the resignation of Mr. Baldwin and the majority of his colleagues, brought this first promising effort for the establishment of a provincial university to an end, but the fundamental principles of the whole question were developed in this first attempt at solution, and were clearly grasped and maintained both by Mr. Baldwin and Dr. Ryerson. Their effort was to build the new university into the past history of the people; to make it include rather than antagonize or destroy existing institutions; to make it comprehensive, meeting the wants, conciliating the sympathies, and enlisting the support of all the people; and finally to make it impartial, offering perfectly equal rights and privileges to all. The province was destined to wait for fifty years before another measure equally comprehensive would be proposed, and in those fifty years the university question was to pass through six successive phases of attempted legislation and party conflict. Before this history was completed, if completed it he even yet, Robert Baldwin, Bishop Strachan, Dr. Ryerson, W. H. Draper, J. R. Robinson, It. B. Sullivan, and all the other actors in the beginning of things had passed from the scene.

The second attempt at the solution of the university question was made by Mr. Draper in 1846. The general principles of Mr. Draper's bill were the same as those presented by the Baldwin Bill, and t was supported and opposed by the same parties, and on the same grounds. Dr. Ryerson at this time defined his position in the following propositions:—

1. That there should be a provincial university furnishing the highest academical and professional education, at least in respect to law and medicine.

2. That there should be a provincial system of common school education, commensurate with the wants of the entire population.

3. That both the university and the common school system should be established and conducted upon Christian principles, yet free from sectarian bias or ascendency.

4. That there should be an intermediate class of seminaries in connection with the different religious persuasions who have ability and enterprise to establish them, providing, on the one hand, a theological education for their clergy, and, on the other hand, a thorough English and scientific education and elementary classical instruction for those of the youth of their congregations who might seek for more than a common school education, or who might wish to prepare for the university, and who, not having the experience of university students, required a parental and religious oversight -n their absence from their parents.

5. That it would be economic as well as patriotic on the part of the government to grant a liberal aid to such seminaries, as well as to provide for the endowment of a university or a common school system.

It is evident from the contemporary press that already a new principle was making its way into the university question, viz., the entire separation of the higher education from religion, leaving that entirely to the voluntary efforts of the churches. " I cannot, for the life of me, see," says a prominent editor of that time, "what religion has to do with the department of the university devoted to arts and sciences." l)r. Ryerson's view was the very opposite of this, religion with him forming an essential element in all education.

Another element in the educational problem of that time was the appearance of residential secondary schools either owned by or patronized by the principal religious denominations. Upper Canada College was really such under the control of the Church of England. Upper Canada Academy, still continued as a preparatory adjunct of Victoria College, was another. Knox College filled for some years a similar place for the Eree Church Presbyterians, and the Society of Friends were establishing another in Bloomfield. Those institutions, the outcome of the; religious and intellectual spirit of the age. were destined for a time to be eclipsed by the rise of the high schools as a part of the system which Dr. Ryerson was now inaugurating; but their persistence to the present and their large extension in secondary colleges, both for young men and young women, is the best proof of their value in an educational system.

Mr. Draper's bill was lost by the carrying of an amendment to the second reading, and so ended the second attempt at the formation of a. provincial university. Its failure was due to two causes. The voluntary party in the House and outside were now taking the ground that even for education no state grants should be made to churches. The church party, on the other hand, were making a most determined effort to retain control of the university and its endowment. Mr. Draper's bill suited neither, and was killed by their combined vote.

A similar fate befell the effort in 1847 made by the solicitor-general, Mr. John A. Macdonald. to solve the university problem. His bill offered the largest concessions yet tendered to the church party. He proposed to hand over to them King's College, with the building now completed, together with an annual income of $12,000, and to give to Queen's and Victoria and Regiopolis $6,000 each. The balance of the annual income arising from the university endowment was to be expended on the district grammar schools and in promoting the teaching of scientific agriculture. This bill, known as the partition scheme, called forth the most strenuous opposition of the Liberals, who had now planted themselves firmly on the principle that the university endowment should not be divided, and that the provincial university should be completely secularized. On the other hand, t was rejected by the church party, who still claimed the whole endowment, as well as the college. The combined opposition of these two parties caused its withdrawal.

This partition bill of Mr. Macdonald was the introduction of an entirely new phase of the university question. Hitherto all were agreed on the idea of a single provincial university. The question at issue was its control in the interests of a single religious body, as opposed to the equal rights and privileges of all. Nor was there any question as to the relation of the churches and religious teaching to university education. All university reforms proposed to retain this by the incorporation of the existing colleges. The principle of historic continuity was thus maintained. There was no proposal to destroy existing institutions for the erection of the new. Mr. Macdonald's proposition was thoroughly conservative. It proposed to do full justice to all existing institutions, but at the expense of the central university, which had now become the ideal of liberal thought. The ground was thus shifted, and henceforth the battle was to be between one secular state university and the four church colleges. Mr. Macdonald's partition bill received Dr. Ryerson's strong support, and determined his position on the university question to the end of his life, for the following reasons:

1. It appeared to him to meet the full extent of the needs of university education as at that time existing in the leading colleges of the English-speaking world. The vast modern extension of the sphere of the university was then unknown.

2. It coincided with his conservative instincts, which always led him to work with spontaneous historic growth rather than upon theory.

3. It satisfied his convictions of the need of religion as an essential part of all education.

4. He judged that the four colleges already established would afford the advantages of higher education to a larger number than would receive them in one central university.

The defeat of the Conservative government at the next election and the return of the Liberals to power, placed the university question once more in the hands of Mr. Baldwin, and his now largely advanced positions were embodied in the bill of 1849. The central idea of this bill was the complete separation of the provincial university from all ecclesiastical influence and control. The subject of divinity was excluded from the university; all religious tests, subscriptions and exercises were done away with; it was forbidden to the government to appoint an ecclesiastic on the senate, and such could not fill the office of chancellor. The only privilege offered to the outlying colleges established by the churches was the right to appoint one member of the senate, and tins privilege was offered only on condition of their being deprived at once and forever of the power to confer degrees except in divinity. The central idea was the extinction of all other colleges as educational institutions and their conversion into theological schools, and this to be accomplished either by their voluntary surrender, or by the force of state-endowed competition.

It is not surprising that this bill satisfied neither the high church party, who found themselves stripped by it of the college and endowments to which they had held so tenaciously, nor the other religious bodies, who at so much sacrifice, had founded colleges of their own. It met the wishes of the thorough "voluntaries" alone, who as yet had not founded colleges of their own. It certainly was at variance with Dr. Ryerson's fundamental principles of education, which sought to combine morals and religion with intellectual culture and to unite voluntary effort with the aid of the state. The fundamental principle of the new bill was that the state alone should control and maintain education, and that all alliance of the churches with the state was to be avoided. It cut loose from all past history of education in the province, ignored all church institutions, and built upon a purely secular foundation.

In four years' time the exclusive rigidity of this bill was broken, and a bill apparently more liberal in its attitude to outlying colleges was introduced by Mr. Hincks in 1853. Dr. Ryerson, who liatl strongly opposed the Baldwin Bill in 1819, in 1850 had secured legislative authority for the removal of Victoria College to Toronto; and in 1852 he addressed a series of open letters to the Hon. Sir Francis Hincks, now the head of the Canadian government, outlining a most comprehensive and patriotic plan for the establishment of the provincial university upon a basis which might secure the cooperation of all the sections of the community.

The Hincks Bill of 1853 did not follow Dr. Ryerson's outline, which anticipated some of the most important features of the Federation Act of 1887, but was modelled on the example of the London University, and possibly implied, though it did not specifically enact, the partition features of Mr. Macdonald's bill of 1847. It made more liberal provision for the affiliation of the outlying colleges, separated the teaching faculty of arts from the university, making provision for its support as a state college from the university endowments, and provided that the balance of income from the university endowment after meeting the wants of the university and college should be at the disposal of the legislature for the aid of higher education. These provisions were accepted by the outlying colleges as a promise of more harmonious relations, and they all accepted affiliation with the reconstructed university, and for a time their representatives took their places on the university senate.

Parliamentary acts, however, can change names and constitution, but not spirit, policy or nature; they can constitute an institution the provincial university in form and theory without making it such in the affections and support of the people or in its spirit and attitude toward that other educational institutions of the country. The new university and state college consisted still very largely of the same men; its policy was still the policy of the old state church college, to use the provincial endowments as the rival of the outlying colleges. The Baldwin Act had, as we have seen, converted this policy into one of extinction; and although the new act pointed towards a better way, there was under it not the slightest effort toward a combination of resources and colleges for the building up of a truly provincial university. If such a result was ever to come it could under this policy come only when the outlying colleges had been destroyed by the force of an unfair financial competition. These 100 colleges had from the very first maintained the attitude of willingness or even desire for friendly cooperation in some form to build up a truly provincial university. They were now doomed to see all hope in this direction extinguished.

Dr, Ryerson had from the first been a leader in this movement. He had throughout opposed all sectional and exclusive policies, whether ecclesiastical or political. When, therefore, the sectional character of the university policy—for the policy rather than the constitution was at fault—culminated in the conflict of 1800, he threw himself with all his force and ability into it and in favour of a comprehensive policy. The particular form of that policy was not the best. It still clung to the old partition scheme of John A. Macdonald, which would have been a fatal mistake. The conflict resulted for a little time in increased legislative aid to the denominational colleges, in itself a very doubtful advantage. But it embittered the state university party, and at the first opportunity all state aid was taken from the denominational colleges, their affiliation with the provincial university was cancelled, and they were left, as was supposed, to die, but in reality to renew their youth when once they were left to live by the merit of their work and the truth of the principles upon which they were founded. Dr. Ryerson was their consistent friend and supporter by pen and tongue and purse to the end. He believed in religion and morals in all education.

He believed in a comprehensive unity of all forces in a truly provincial system. His chief mistake was, perhaps, that he did not unflinchingly apply the voluntary principle to the religious side of the work. It, perhaps, was financially impossible in his time. If so, then even this was not an error on his part, for in maintaining the religious principle even at the compromise of the other he has preserved for us a goal which is most abundantly vindicated by the strength and influence of the religious colleges to-day, and the reflex influence of which has been of the greatest benefit to the state college itself.


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