Journals of our Colonial Bishops will form the best
materials for the History of the Church in their vast
dioceses. Several of them are to be found in the Annual
Reports of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
That which is now published was considered too long to be
inserted in this year’s Report, yet too interesting to be
abridged; it is therefore now printed in a separate form.
The following passage from the Bishop of Toronto’s Primary
Charge in 1841, contains a summary of the previous history
of the Canadian Church:—
“The history of the Church in this Diocese, though doubtless
resembling that of many other colonies, is not without
peculiar interest. For many years after its first
settlement, as the favourite asylum of suffering loyalty,
there was but one Clergyman of the Church of England within
its extensive limits. This highly revered individual came
into the Diocese in 1786, and settled at Kingston, in the
midst of those to whom he had become endeared in the days of
tribulation,—men who had fought and bled and sacrificed all
they possessed in defence of the British Constitution,—and
whose obedience to the laws, loyalty to their Sovereign, and
attachment to the parent state, he had warmed by his
exhortations and encouraged by his example. The Reverend Dr.
Stuart may be truly pronounced the father of the Church in
Upper Canada, and fondly do I hold him in affectionate
remembrance. He was my support and adviser on my entrance
into the ministry, and his steady friendship, which I
enjoyed from the first day of our acquaintance to that of
his lamented death, was to me more than a blessing.
“In 1792, two Clergymen arrived from England but so little
was then known Of the country, and the little that was
published was so incorrect and so unfavourable, from
exaggerated accounts of the climate, and the terrible
privations to which its inhabitants were said to be exposed,
that no Missionaries could be induced to come out. Even at
the commencement of 1803, the Diocese contained only four
Clergymen, for it was in the spring of that year that I made
“It might have been expected that, on the arrival of the
Right Reverend Dr. Mountain, the first Lord Bishop of
Quebec, the Clergy would have rapidly increased; but,
notwithstanding the incessant and untiring exertions of that
eminent prelate, their number had not risen above five in
Upper Canada so late as 1812, when it contained upwards of
70,000 inhabitants. In truth, the Colony, during the wars
occasioned by the French Revolution, seemed in a manner lost
sight of by the public.....
“From this period, the prospects of the Church in Canada
have steadily brightened. In 1819, the Clergy in this
Diocese bad increased to ten. In 1826, they had arisen to
twenty-two, — in 1827, to thirty, — In 1833, to
forty-six,—and our numbers have now reached ninety.
The official list recently sent home by his Lordship
contains the names of 102.
Canada West is divided into 324 townships, each of them
averaging an area of 100 square miles — but in 80 of them
only is any Clergyman to be found. The entire population of
the Province exceeds 500,000, and is rapidly increasing.
Nearly 40,000 persons went out to settle there in the year
1842. Being for the most part poor agricultural labourers,
they are in a great degree dependent upon their
fellow-countrymen at home for the means of public worship,
and of an education for their children; and those who shall
contribute to supply this want, may be the instruments,
under a gracious Providence, of maintaining the cause of
undefiled religion among a people destined to become the
founders of a great and populous empire.
Toronto on my western tour, on the 19th of July, intending
first to proceed to the Manatoulin Island and Sault St.
Marie, in company with Colonel Jarvis, the chief
superintendent of Indian affairs, who was about to
distribute the Indian presents. Our party consisted of
eleven gentlemen, among whom was that estimable and
accomplished nobleman, Lord Morpeth. The day of our
departure was excessively hot, and the roads, after a long
and severe drought, were very dusty; but the beauty and
improvements observable in the country through which we
passed amply repaid for these temporary inconveniences. The
whole line of Yonge Street evinced a great progress in
agricultural cultivation, and the many spacious houses, and
even elegant country seats, which meet the eye, proved that
wealth as well as comfort had rewarded the industry of the
settlers. The well-supplied market of Toronto attests the
fertility of the surrounding townships, and no town on the
continent can boast a more thriving "back country."
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