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Canadian Confederation and the Protestant Churches*

  • John Webster Grant (a1)

Extract

On July 1, 1867, the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were united by an act of the imperial parliament—The British North America Act—to form a federal state known as Canada. The centennial of this Confederation was celebrated by Canadians in 1967. In this paper I want to discuss its influence on the Protestant churches of Canada.

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References

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1. Presbyterian, 08, 1867, p. 230.

2. Peake, F. A., “Movements towards Christian Unity in the Post-Confederation Period,” in the Journal of the Canadian Church Historical Society, 12, 1967, p. 97.

3. There was certainly agitation for annexation in Pictou county in 1870. Christian Guardian, 02 9, 1870, p. 22.

4. “The French section of the community, who are unhappily controlled by self-seeking priests, have now complete ascendancy.” Christian Messenger (Brantford), 07 10, 1856.

5. Canadian Baptist, November 17, 1859.

6. Christian Guardian, 0314, 1866, p. 42.

7. Canadian Independent, 08, 1867, p. 71.

8. Christian Guardian, 11 18, 1868, p. 190.

9. Canadian Methodist Magazine, 09, 1875, p. 370.

10. Presbyterian Witness, 04 14, 1866, p. 116.

11. Canadian Independent, 01, 1866, P. 219.

12. Canadian Baptist, August 30, 1866.

13. Speech to the Confederation Resolutions, February 8, 1865. Waite, P. B. (ed.), The Confederation Debates in the Province of Canada, 1865 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1963), p. 60. Brown also described Confederation as “the duty which an over-ruling Providence has placed upon us.” Ibid., p. 79.

14. Presbyterian Witness, 06 2, 1866, p. 172.

15. Home and Foreign Record of the Canada Presbyterian Church, 01, 1868, p. 65.

16. Presbyterian Witness, 06 29, 1867, p. 204.

17. Christian Guardian, 01 1, 1868, p. 2.

18. Guardian, July 17, 1867.

19. See footnote 7 above and the point it refers to in the text.

20. Canadian Independent, 08, 1867, p. 71.

21. Guardian, July 17, 1867.

22. Canadian Independent, 08, 1867, p. 71.

23. Christian Guardian, 01 1, 1868, P. 2.

24. Presbyterian Witness, 09 21, 1867, p. 301.

25. Home and Foreign Record, 10, 1867, p. 370.

26. Christian Guardian, 07 4, 1866, p. 106.

27. Home and Foreign Record, 10, 1867, p. 269.Christian Guardian, 09 11, 1867, p. 146; September 18, 1867, p. 149.

28. “Intemperance can have no place in the halls of the legislatures. Rulers must realize the responsibffity of their position and regulate their conduct accordingly,” Home and Foreign Record 10, 1867, p. 369.

29. Canadian Independent, 07, 1867, p. 1.

30. Presbyterian, 10, 1866, pp. 310, 311.

31. Christian Guardian, 07 4, 1866, p. 106.

32. Proceedings, General Synod of the Church of England in Canada, 1893, pp. 8, 9.

33. Presbyterian Witness, 09 17, 1864, p. 150.

34. Grant, W. L. and Hamilton, Frederick, Principal Grant (Toronto: Morang and Company Limited, 1904), p. 155.

35. McNeill, J. T., The Presbyterian Church in Canada, 1875–1925 (Toronto: General Board of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, 1925), p. 19.

36. The Executive Committee of the Canadian Wesleyan New Connexion Church protested against “unwarranted interference” from its British parent body on the union issue. Caldwell, J. Warren, “The Unification of Methodism in Canada, 1865–1884” in The Bulletin, 1967, p. 21.

37. Johnston, J. A., “Factors in the Formation of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, 1875,” doctoral thesis in the Archives of The United Church of Canada and Victoria University, 1955, p. 170.

38. Boon, T. C. B., The Anglican Church from the Bay, to the Rockies (Toronto: Ryerson, 1962), p. 186.

39. The Rev. A. B. Courtice of the Bible Christians wrote of the Methodist union that was to be consummated in 1884, “The present movement, if not balked, is to be a great and gracious blessing to the North-Western portion of this Dominion, now providentially opened up as an inviting mission field.” Observer, May 24, 31, 1882.

40. Vernon, C. W., The Old Church in the New Dominion (London: SPCK, 1929), p. 89.

41. Carroll, John, Case and His Cotemporaries. Vol. V. (Toronto: Methodist Publishing Rouse, 1877), 214218.

42. Gregg, William, History of the Presbyterian Church in the Dominion of Canada (Toronto: Presbyterian Printing and Publishing Co., 1855), p. 574.

43. Sutherland, A., Methodism in Canada, (Toronto: Methodist Mission Room, 1904), pp. 282283.

44. Riddell, J. H., Methodism in the Middle West (Toronto: Ryerson, 1946), p. 52.

45. Jones, J. Gordon, Greatness Passing By! (Toronto: Baptist Federation of Canada, 1967), p. 45.

46. Canadian Independent, 03, 1867, p. 354.

47. Toronto, James Campbell; London, Sampson Low.

48. Senator William McMaster was the leading promoter of the Dominion Board which for some years sought to co-ordinate the missionary work of Baptists in eastern and western Canada. Hamilton, Robert, “The Founding of McMaster University,” B.D. thesis, McMaster University, 1938, p. 81.

49. “The North-west is the question for Canada.” Christian Guardian, 10 14, 1868, p. 170.

50. Grant and Hamilton, op. cit., p. 131.

51. Presbyterian Witness, 09 17, 1864, P. 150.

52. Acts 17:5 quoted in the Canadian Independent, 10, 1867, p. 149.

53. J. Gordon Jones, op. cit., p. 85.

54. See articles by Freitag, Walter and Mladenovic, Milos in Grant, J. W. (ed.), The Churches and the Canadian Experience (Toronto: Ryerson, 1963), pp. 94118.

* Delivered at a joint session of the American Society of Church History and The American Catholic Historical Association at Toronto on December 29, 1967.

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Church History
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