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Memoir of the Right Reverend John Strachan
Chapter XXVIII

Division of the Diocese.—Election of the Bishop pf Huron.— Visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada.—Election of the Bishop of Ontario.—Synod of 1861.

THE division of the Dioceses had become in many of the Colonies a necessity. Their immense extent rendered a watchful and minute personal superintendence impossible; and for this cause even the ordinary routine of episcopal duties could not without difficulty be performed. The expanse of country to be traversed occupied a large amount of time that might be more profitably expended; and long journeys in all weathers, and over the most primitive of roads, and sometimes across rough waters in frail vessels, prematurely wore out the energies of valuable men.

Such division, so imperatively called for, had, on this continent, been first effected in the Lower or Maritime Provinces. There the ancient Diocese of Nova Scotia had Newfoundland and the Bermudas detached from it on the one side, and New Brunswick on the other; three Sees being thus constituted out of one. In 1839, a division of the vast Diocese of Quebec, extending from Sandwich to Gaspd, was commenced by setting off Upper Canada into the See of Toronto; and the subdivision of these began with the establishment, within the former, of the Diocese of Montreal in 1850. During the same year the Bishop of Toronto proposed a corresponding division of his own Diocese; and laid before the Archbishop of Canterbury a plan for the formation of a new Diocese east and west of Toronto, and suggesting the erection of a special Bishopric for the Indian country, to be called the Diocese of St. Mary.

It had been the desire of the Bishop to create first the Diocese on the east of Toronto, with Kingston as its centre; because, in his judgment, it had a prior claim, as comprising the older settlements, and also because the western division was less distant, and more easy of access. It was hoped, too, that a grant from the Colonial Bishoprics Fund, raised in England, would be made to that proposed Diocese, as the subject had been brought before the great Church Societies on several former occasions, and favourably entertained. But no aid, it was discovered could be obtained from that source; and the intended new Dioceses must each raise an Endowment for themselves. This was fixed at £10,000 currency, that an income of at least £600 per annum might be secured to each of the future Bishops; and so soon as it could be ascertained that this amount was secured, the Imperial Government would sanction the erection of the new Diocese, and a Royal Mandate be issued for the consecration of the Bishop elected. It was, on all hands, thought not unreasonable that where Dioceses furnished the endowment, they should have the privilege of electing their own Bishops.

In the mean time, the Bishop of Toronto placed his resignation of the east and west portions of his Diocese in the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to be used as soon as the new Bishops should be appointed to relieve him. In 1857, the Synod of Toronto established a canon providing for the election of Bishops, which should be applicable to all future appointments.

The western division, though later in the field, outstripped the eastern in the raising of an endowment; and, in the spring of 1857, it was announced that the required sum of 40,000 dollars was there secured, and that they were prepared for the appointment of a Bishop. The election of the Rev. Dr. Cronyn to this office in July of that year is so happily described by the Bishop of Toronto that we prefer giving the narrative in his own words, as addressed to the Synod of his Diocese in 1858:—

“Soon after the adjournment of the Synod last year, it became my duty to call together the Clergy and Delegates of the new Diocese of Huron for, the purpose of electing their Bishop. Such an assembly, and for such a purpose, will mark a new era in our ecclesiastical history. It indeed presented a scene of deep interest, and one which stands without a parallel since the first ages of the Church. For, although, in the primitive times, to elect the Bishop was the rule, corruption had crept in and bad grown so general and inveterate, that the manner of choice became not only obsolete but almost forgotten. Its resuscitation therefore, excited wonder and astonishment* and offended many as if it had been a new and unauthorized thing. To behold an aged Bishop, in this remote corner of the world, gathering around him his elders, his clergy, and his lay brethren, for the purpose of choosing a man well qualified to fill the high and holy office of Bishop, according to Apostolic usage, by the willing testimony of the Clergy and suffrages of the people, was surely a spectacle which could not fail, in its noble simplicity and beauty, to make abiding impressions, which exterior pomp and magnificence could never equal.

“The proceedings were conducted with becoming solemnity ; and, though of the most exciting character,, the choice was made in a manner worthy o£ the occasion, and honourable to all concerned. No sooner was the name of the successful candidate announced by the presiding Bishop, than all rival feelings vanished away, and a unanimous vote confirmed the choice of the Clergy and Lay Delegates. It was refreshing to witness the triumph of Christian unity and love, which threw to the winds all the arguments against the free and honest choice of Bishops, which the narrow selfishness of many centuries had mustered up.

"The Bishop-elect proceeded to England, where he was received with much kindness and consideration; and having been consecrated at Lambeth by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, has lately returned to enter upon-the important duties of his Apostolic office. If separated from him in body we are still more united in soul: he is a son of full age gone to preside over his own household, and to cultivate his allotted portion of the Lord’s vineyard,—not to become a stranger, but still to remain our friend and brother, provoking us to good works, and looking back occasionally, with a yearning spirit, to his former associates.”

The usual Confirmation tours were regularly made by the Bishop of Toronto, as in former years; but at the most noticeable incidents in the progress of these journeys have already been adduced, it would not be desired by the readers of this work that there should be any further record of events and circumstances connected with such tours, not essentially differing from those already laid before them.

The separation of the Diocese of Huron from that of Toronto necessitated a division of the ecclesiastical funds, which had hitherto been common to both, on a fair and equitable basis. That a distribution might be effected in which both parties would have confidence, the late Chief Justice Sir James B. Macaulay, consented to act with the Bishops of Toronto and Huron in settling the terms and details of such distribution. Sir James Macaulay had been one of the pupils of the late Bishop, at Cornwall, and soon after the completion of his education entered the Army. On the restoration of peace, he retired from the military profession, and applied himself with great assiduity to the study of the Law. Without brilliancy of talent/ he had great application and soon rose to distinction in his new profession. His honourable mind and unbending integrity won the respect and confidence of all who knew him; and it was felt that a happy choice had been made when he consented to unite in the "Award” between the Dioceses which has since borne his name.

This Award, providing for a corresponding distribution of funds with the Eastern Diocese so soon as this should be formed, was formally subscribed by the parties concerned, on the 29th September, 1859, and assented to, and adopted by, the Church Societies of the existing Dioceses, and it became a law of the Church in Western Canada. By the arrangement thus concluded, it wa3 provided that the commutation of the Bishop, and the Archdeacons of Kingston and York, should, when it lapsed by their respective deaths to the general fund, be made available to the augmentation of the Episcopal income in each of the three Dioceses, and for providing a moderate stipend to an Archdeacon in each. This was originally the suggestion of Sir James Macaulay; and its adoption gives £400 per annum to each of the three Bishops, in addition to the income derived from the Endowment fund, and £100 per annum to an Archdeacon in each Diocese. Where it was thought advisable to appoint two Archdeacons in a Diocese, it lias been amicably arranged that this amount should be divided equally between them.

The most memorable event in the year 18G0 was the visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada; whose arrival in Toronto took place early in September of that year. A special Synod was assembled to present an Address to his Royal Highness; and the members of Synod headed by the Bishop, and accompanied by several Clergymen from the United States, attended the levee. It was pleasing to witness the delight they manifested at being permitted to pay this respect to the heir of the British throne, and the son of a Queen who is revered and admired all the world over. The Address adopted by the Synod was read by the Bishop; and his Royal Highness in clear and unembarrassed tones replied as follows:—

“I am grateful for the assurances of your loyalty to the Queen, and for the welcome to myself conveyed in your address.

“I am a member of the Church of England, and as such I rejoice to meet in this distant land, and in so important a Diocese, the representatives of that venerable body in whose creed I have been nurtured, and have lived.

“I trust that Almighty God will guide your efforts to maintain the efficiency of the Church under the guidance of the venerable Prelate who has so long watched over you in this Diocese.

The reception of His Royal Highness was everywhere most enthusiastic; the citizens of the United States vieing with British subjects in paying honour to this heir of royalty. The gentle and unassuming manners of the youthful Prince added much to the warmth and affection of the reception he experienced. He attended Divine service at Toronto in the Cathedral of St. James, on Sunday, the 9th September, and was met in the porch of the Church on entering by the Bishop and Clergy, drawn up in two lines. On passing through, the Prince turned aside to shake hands with the Bishop, and on entering, he was followed by the procession of Bishop and Clergy. The Church was densely crowded, but every thing was conducted with great order and decorum; anything like a tumultuous and disorderly rushing in having been guarded against by the issue of tickets of admission to such as were not pewholders. The Bishop preached from this striking and appropriate text, (Psalm lxii. 1.)    “Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.” The treatment of the subject was general, and there was a careful abstinence from any personal allusion to the Prince.

The following year, 1861, was chiefly remarkable for the separation of the Eastern portion of the Province from the Diocese of Toronto, and its constitution into a new See, designated the Bishopric of Ontario. His Lordship alluded to this happy consummation in his address to the Synod of Toronto, which met about a fortnight after :—

“I have now the pleasure to announce to you the final separation of the eastern portion of this Diocese by the election of its Bishop, and that it now forms the Diocese of Ontario.

“This completes the plan which I submitted to the Imperial Government in 1850, and establishes three compact and equal Sees out of the former Diocese of Toronto; nor will they be too extensive for the superintendence and government of an active Bishop for many years to come.

“The final accomplishment of so great a work has not been » brought about without much watchfulness, labour, and anxiety, and the continued effort of eleven years; but all has been amply recompensed by the successful result. And have we not cause, my brethren, to rejoice in beholding three active Prelates, instead of one, cultivating the same vineyard, and in gratefully anticipating the accelerating progress of Christ’s kingdom in this favoured land. It is true, the plan of creating three Dioceses out of one was at first lightly thought of by. the many, as other plans of mine have sometimes been ; but I was encouraged by the few. We had faith, and felt that the greatest works and most useful designs are in general effected by patient perseverance,—a perseverance going steadily forward in hope, and ever keeping the desired object in view; and, instead of quailing at opposition and disappointments, breasting them with increasing vigour, and never cherishing a doubt of a prosperous result. To succeed in all valuable and important undertakings requires constant efforts, watching events, and never permitting a favourable opportunity to pass unimproved.”

During this Synod there was much discussion, and warm expressions of feeling, in regard to Trinity College, with the teaching of which the Bishop of Huron had, in very strong terms, expressed his dissatisfaction. We do not desire to repeat what may be a source of irritation, and effect no possible good. Suffice it to say that the Synod affirmed by a very large majority their confidence in the teaching of Trinity College, and their desire that it should meet with general support. The controversy, however, did not cease then: it was often revived, and assumed at times large and unhappy proportions. Yet as there has now been for some years a lull in the storm, and strong and angry feelings appear to be dying out, we are correct, we trust, in believing that, after all, there will be no renewal of the strife, and that this child of the old age of the late revered Bishop, as it has not inaptly been termed, will be suffered to pursue its course in peace, and gain the hold upon the Church and the country to which, we think, it is entitled.

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