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The Life of John Travers Lewis, D.D.
First Archbishop of Ontario

By His Wife

London: Skeffington and Son, no date.

Chapter VII. Elected First Archbishop of Ontario

During the summer of 1892 it was proposed that there should be a union of the two Synods of Upper and Lower Canada, for which the Bishop of Ontario thought the time was not ripe, and in this connection the following letter from the Bishop of Rupertsland is of interest:

"Bishop's Court,
"Winnipeg, Manitoba,

"Aug. 19th, 1892.

"My Dear Bishop,

"In acknowledging the receipt to-day of the Journal of Synod kindly sent me, I desire to draw your attention to a rather serious mistake at page 227 in the Report of the Synod Committee on the Winnipeg Conference.

"'The attendance of the delegates from Rupertsland,' etc.

"The delegates from our Provincial Synod went to the Conference perfectly unfettered by any condition. Indeed the threat in the Conference to dispense with Provincial Synods was moved by the Bishop of Qu'Appelle.

[109] "But the feeling in this Province for retaining Provinces was so decided that it was thought desirable to communicate it to the Conference.

"The Bishop of Qu'Appelle was alone in the House of Bishops. Some of his clerical delegates share his views; but they did not think it desirable to decide the Lower House, and the Resolution sent down by the House of Bishops is reported as carried unanimously in the Lower House. The Synod of Qu'Appelle at a Meeting before the meeting of the Provincial Synod, carried by a majority a Resolution favouring the Bishop's views; but some, if not all, its lay delegates at the Provincial Synod changed their views.

"The Resolution in favour of the retention of the Provinces was carried by a large majority in the Conference and some may have supported it in view of the almost unanimous feeling of the Province, but the discussion was quite free and open and no delegate from Rupertsland was bound by any condition whatever.

"I am glad to learn from the Journal that your health is so greatly re-established,

"I am,

"Faithfully yours,

"R. Rupertsland."

On January 25th, 1893, a meeting of the House of Bishops of the Province of Canada, for the election of a Metropolitan, was held at Montreal.

After the celebration of the Holy Communion in Christ Church Cathedral, the Bishops assembled in the Cathedral Chapter House at 11 a.m. There were [109/110] present the Bishop of Ontario, Acting Metropolitan, and the Bishops of Montreal, Toronto, Fredericton, Huron, Niagara, Nova Scotia, and Quebec.

After prayers the President definitely stated the object for which the House of Bishops had been assembled.

It was moved by the Bishop of Montreal and seconded by the Bishop of Niagara "That the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Ontario be now, and hereby is elected President of the House of Bishops and Metropolitan Bishop of this Ecclesiastical Province of Canada."

It was moved in amendment by the Bishop of Toronto, seconded by the Bishop of Nova Scotia: "That the vote be taken by ballot."

It was moved by the Bishop of Niagara, seconded by the Bishop of Huron: "That the House suspend its session until 12 o'clock for conference." Carried.

The House adjourned and re-assembled at 12 o'clock noon.

The motion of the Bishop of Toronto, seconded by the Bishop of Nova Scotia: "That the vote be taken by ballot" was put to the House and carried.

It was moved by the Bishop of Niagara, seconded by the Bishop of Quebec: "That the House of Bishops do defer the election of a President of their House who shall be the Metropolitan, until the third Tuesday in September next, in the City of Toronto." The motion was put to the House and lost.

The President appointed the Bishops of Fredericton and Quebec to act as scrutineers.

[111] The ballot being cast the scrutineers presented the following report: "The scrutineers report that four votes have been cast for the Bishop of Ontario, and four for the Bishop of Montreal. An informal ballot not sealed according to canon was cast by the absent Bishop of Algoma."

(Signed) "H. T. Fredericton,
"A. H. Quebec."

It was moved by the Bishop of Fredericton, seconded by the Bishop of Nova Scotia "That a second ballot be taken." Carried.

The scrutineers reported on the second ballot as follows:

"The scrutineers report that eight ballots were cast: Four in favour of the Bishop of Ontario, three in favour of the Bishop of Montreal, one ballot was blank, and one informal ballot, signed by the Bishop of Algoma, which had no seal attached according to canon."

(Signed) "H. T. Fredericton,
"A. H. Quebec."

It was moved by the Bishop of Fredericton, seconded by the Bishop of Niagara, "That the House adjourn until three o'clock p.m." Carried.

The House adjourned, and re-assembled at three o'clock p.m.

After a full discussion, it was moved by the Bishop of Nova Scotia, seconded by the Bishop of Huron; [111/112] "That the vote on the election of a President having resulted in four ballots being cast for the Bishop of Ontario and four for the Bishop of Montreal, and the Bishop of Algoma, being absent, having sent a written statement giving his vote in favour of the Bishop of Ontario, but without having affixed his seal thereto as required by the canon of the election of the Metropolitan Bishop;

"Resolved: That the voting paper of the Bishop of Algoma be returned to him, asking him to complete his vote in writing by affixing his seal according to the canon--which, if he should do, and return the same to the secretary of the House of Bishops, then the Bishop of Ontario be and hereby is declared to be duly elected President of the House of Bishops and--ipso facto--Metropolitan."

The motion was put to the House and carried.

The Bishop of Fredericton reported that, in the case of the Consecration of the Bishop of Quebec, all the requirements of the House of Bishops had been complied with.

It was moved by the Bishop of Fredericton, seconded by the Bishop of Toronto: "That the House now adjourn, and stand adjourned at the call of the President." Carried.

The President pronounced the Benediction and the House of Bishops adjourned at 5.15 o'clock p.m.

Later in the same year the Union of Synods was again proposed, and it was suggested that the members of the two Synods should meet and confer together. In this connection the Bishop of Rupertsland wrote:

[113] "Bishop's Court, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
"June 5th, 1893.

"My Dear Bishop,

"I received your letter of May 20th, but have delayed answering from a hesitation as to accepting the duty of preaching at the Opening Service of the proposed General Synod. I am a very busy man, with varied duties, and shall be occupied with our own Provincial Synod in August, and, besides, have not quite the turn of mind, or special qualities, for taking that part in such a function.

"Still, as you have asked me, I have come to the conclusion that probably I should undertake the duty and so I hope to take that part if I can.

"I could not possibly go to Canada before September as I have this year, in the end of June and in July, to visit certain interior Indian Missions and have engagements up to our Provincial Synod in August.

"If you can visit the North-West, take part in the Consecration of the Bishop of Moosonee on August 6th and be with us at the time of our Provincial Synod, Aug. 9th, we should be very glad and I hope you will be my guest.

"Failing this we can correspond on any matters. I do not myself at all look on the Representatives at the Winnipeg Conference as Plenipotentiaries, but I do not think the General Synod can draw up a Constitution any further than it has authority and opportunity legally given it by the present supreme authorities.

"I am, Yours faithfully,


[114] Accordingly, in September 1893 the two Synods met at Toronto. They repeated the Apostles' Creed, weighing every word, and the intensity of that meeting could never be forgotten by those who were present. The Bishop of Ontario, as Metropolitan of Canada, presided. It was agreed that Upper and Lower Canada should be made into separate Provinces, but there was to be no change in any doctrine, so resolved by the Creed which had been so solemnly attested.

A private meeting was then held at which no reporters were present, the outcome of which was that the Bishop of Ontario, when returning to the general meeting, bowed the Bishop of Rupertsland into the Presidential chair. The Bishop of Rupertsland was thus appointed Archbishop of Rupertsland and Primate of all Canada, and the Bishop of Ontario, Archbishop of Ontario and Primate of Canada. The action of the Bishop of Ontario, in giving precedence to the Bishop of Rupertsland, was said to have accomplished more for the peace of the Church than anything else could have done.

When Canon Spencer, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Ontario, wrote informing His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury what had been done, the latter expressed his surprise that such a movement had taken place without having previously been referred to him, to which the Archbishop of Ontario replied that it was impossible to stop the progress of the Church in the scattered dioceses of such a huge country as Canada, where some of the clergy came a thousand miles to attend a meeting, and that this was a movement which [114/115] had long lain dormant in the minds of many, only waiting for a favourable opportunity to be brought forward, and that it would greatly add to the unity of the Church in Canada, as shown by the fact that, when it had been put to the meeting, it was carried amid acclamations.

Another important event was the appointment of a coadjutor bishop to perform the active work of the diocese, in order to give the Archbishop the rest to which his service of fifty years, and his advanced age, entitled him, this being what the Archbishop had asked them to do in 1875, when his proposal was rejected by the Synod, 4 accepting and over 200 declining, by vote-In the previous year, when the Archbishop was absent in England and Egypt for the benefit of his health, the following resolution had been tendered to him by the Executive Committee, a body composed of the diocesan officials, the Bishop's representatives, and the chairmen of a dozen standing committees, therefore fully representative of the influential voice of the Synod:

"It cannot reasonably be expected that His Grace the Archbishop should, at his age, and in his state of health, bring to the discharge of his duties as diocesan that amount of active supervision and work essential to the efficiency of administration and to the promotion of the growth of the Church in the diocese; therefore, thankfully recognising the long and faithful service of His Grace as Bishop, extending over a period of one third of a century, the Committee is [115/116] sensible of the fact that the time has arrived when he should have the assistance of a coadjutor Bishop; that for the support of such coadjutor it will be necessary to provide a fund which shall eventually become a part of the episcopal funds of the diocese; that your Committee is of opinion that it would not be practicable to raise such a fund unless and until His Grace shall have signified his willingness to have a coadjutor and to allow a certain amount of the episcopal stipend, say 1,000 dollars per annum, to be applied towards his salary, and that when and so soon as His Grace shall have signified such willingness, your Committee is of opinion that active steps should be taken to raise a fund of 20,000 dollars, the income of which shall be applied as part of the salary of such coadjutor, the principal eventually to be supplementary to the episcopal endowment fund."

A sub-committee was appointed to confer with the Archbishop, and the following agreement was the result of the negotiations. The terms, signed concurrently by the Archbishop and the Chairman of the Committee were:

1. The Archbishop concurs in the necessary legislation at the meeting of Synod in July for the election of a coadjutor, with right of succession, and will concur in and promote the steps necessary for such election and for the due consecration of such coadjutor Bishop with as little delay as possible.

2. From and after the consecration of the coadjutor Bishop, 1,000 dollars per year shall be taken from the income of the episcopal fund and appropriated [116/117] towards the stipend of the coadjutor; the Archbishop to retain the use of the See House until May 1899.

The Diocese of Ottawa having been legally divided, much to the grief of a great many, the Archbishop and Mrs. Lewis went to Ottawa in March 1896, in order to introduce Bishop Hamilton to his new diocese, which included Hawkesbury, where the Archbishop held his first appointment as missionary from 1850 to 1854. This step was one of great self-sacrifice on the part of the Archbishop, who had watched with tender and prayerful care the first-fruits of his labours during thirty-four years, but he felt that it must be taken and therefore could not pass into better hands. Some of the clergy refused to take the oath to the new Bishop, meeting the Archbishop at the station and travelling with him to Kingston in tears, saying they could never pledge their fealty to another bishop. Naturally, all was done to show the legal point, but the Archbishop was greatly touched by the loyalty of the men who had known him so long as a trusted friend.

Later in the year the Archbishop and his wife went to Winnipeg to be present at the Synod meetings, the Archbishop being asked to preach the opening sermon . They travelled by water, journeying through the wonderful lakes. On arrival they were the guests of some former parishioners at Kingston and were given a very hearty welcome.

On leaving Winnipeg they travelled to North-West Canada, passing through the Rockies, for three days [117/118] seeing nothing but prairie, and the dogs which came to meet the trains regularly in order to be fed. At Victoria, Island of Vancouver, they were the guests of Bishop Perrin, afterwards Bishop of Willesden, and were greatly interested in what they saw of the Chinamen, their household arrangements, and the amount of work accomplished with an exactitude rarely seen. They had a special permit to visit some of the Doss Houses, where the worship of ancestors was most mysterious. They journeyed back by stages, and wherever they remained for a night the Archbishop called the family together for prayers in order that he might leave them with a blessing. Some of them never attended and never had any type of worship for years, and were quite overcome.

In 1897 the Archbishop and Mrs. Lewis went to England to attend the fourth Lambeth Conference in July. After this, the Archbishop having received the offer of an Hon. D.D. degree from Oxford, they accepted an invitation to spend a few days with Professor and Mrs. McGrath, where they met many eminent men. They next went to Cuddesdon, where they were the guests of the Bishop of Oxford--Dr. Stubbs, the great ecclesiastical historian--and Mrs. Stubbs.

The Archbishop later paid a second visit to Oxford, having received an invitation to preach in Great St. Mary's.

Early in March 1898 a delegation was appointed to go to England, where Mrs. Travers Lewis joined them, in order to raise £25,000, to set the finances of the [118/119] Kingston Diocese on a firmer footing, as they had been impoverished by its division. After a private interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, a meeting was held on March 21st, at the Mansion House, in support of this effort, and in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the ordination of the Archbishop.

The Lord Mayor presided, and among those present were the Lady Mayoress, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Rupertsland, the Marquis of Lome, M.P., and Mrs. Travers Lewis. The Lord Mayor, in opening the meeting, said he regarded the object as a very worthy one. The Archdeacon of Ontario, who had been appointed with Judge M'Donald to act as a deputation to the mother Churches of England and Ireland, announced the receipt of a letter from Lord Salisbury expressing his inability to attend owing to the state of his health; and the Bishop of London had also written regretting that an important meeting at the same hour prevented him from being present.

The Archdeacon afterwards referred to the great services which the Archbishop had rendered to the Church of England in Canada since his appointment, at the age of thirty-six, as Bishop of Ontario in 1862, and stated that his Grace also originated the Lambeth Conferences. He spoke of the urgent necessity which had arisen for making the appeal, owing to the division of the diocese, and stated that, in the division of the capitalised funds, Ontario had greatly suffered. At that moment, if the See of Ontario became vacant, there would be only £360 a year, without a residence, to offer a new bishop.

[120] Judge M'Donald afterwards addressed the meeting, and heartily agreed with all that had been said by the previous speakers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury then moved: "That the Church in the colonies has a righteous claim on the liberal assistance of English Churchmen, and that the appeal from the diocese of Ontario merits our sympathy and a generous response both for the relief of its own necessities and in consideration of the eminent services of his Grace the Archbishop of Ontario to the Church at home and abroad."

The Primate said that, in view of the close tie which bound the colonies to the Mother Country, of which they had seen such abundant evidence in connection with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it was very natural that they especially who belonged to the Church of England should feel more keenly than they had ever done before that the unity of the Church of England was assured in the affection of which their people felt all over the world towards their home. The appeal which had come before them now from their brethren in Canada was one which, on the one hand, showed the sentiment with which the Canadians regarded them, and, on the other hand, must touch their hearts with a reciprocal feeling, and a most earnest desire to help them. They were suffering in Ontario from two causes, one of which might be described as local, namely, the division of the diocese--a necessary division, but which had had the result incidentally of taking away from the mother diocese all the more wealthy residents. The second cause was one which [120/121] was operating on them on all sides, and which they felt very much in England at the present time--the extraordinary alteration in the rate of the interest by which incomes had been so greatly diminished. He regarded the opportunity now afforded them as one for showing their thorough sympathy with the diocese of Ontario, and at the same time recognising the long and remarkable services of its Archbishop.

Lord Lome, in seconding the motion, testified to the necessity which had arisen for raising money to assist the diocese of Ontario. During his term of office in Canada he knew that there was no harder-worked man among all the clergy of the diocese than Bishop Lewis. Belonging to the Church of England as they did, he did not believe that they would allow any section of it, if they could reach it, to go unprovided for.

The motion was carried unanimously.

Sir G. Baden-Powell afterwards proposed the formation of an Ontario Church Fund Committee, with power to add to their numbers, consisting of the Archbishop of Canterbury as President, the Primus of Scotland and the Bishops of London, Manchester, Liverpool and Southwark as Vice-Presidents, and among the members being the Dean of Worcester, the Archdeacon of London, Lord Lome, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, the Lord Mayor, Sir G. Baden-Powell, and Mr. W. E. T. Sharpe, M.P.

Mr. F. A. Bevan seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.

On the motion of the Archbishop of Rupertsland, seconded by Canon Benham, a cordial vote of thanks [121/122] was passed to the Lord Mayor and to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

On June 20th, 1898, the Archbishop and his wife held a reception at Bishopsleigh to celebrate his 73rd birthday, the ladies of Kingston giving him a bouquet of roses, one for every year of his life.

July 16th of the same year, the anniversary of his ordination, found the Archbishop and his wife at Cambridge, visiting Christ Church, and spending a very memorable quiet day of remembrance. From there they went to Ireland, visiting the Archbishop's relatives and going over the home ground. The Archbishop took his wife to see the remains of Garry Cloyne Castle and showed her the room where he was born, also the one in which the ball was held, and the place where the fatal duel was fought, mentioned in the first chapter of this book. While staying here Mrs. Travers Lewis was invited to kiss the Blarney stone, but this little ceremony was left undone.

They went on to stay at Fota Island as the guests of the late Lord and Lady Barrymore, where they had a very restful time. From here they went by yacht to Rostellan Castle, where once the Archbishop's uncle had resided. They had tea in the tower, the walls of which were twelve feet thick, and after this paid a visit to one of his aunts at Kilcrone in the parish of Cloyne, close to the Cathedral, with its leaning tower and its attendant graveyard, where lay the dead of generations. In this Cathedral the beautiful cenotaph of Bishop Berkeley and the four stained-glass [122/123] windows in the transept were the gifts of the family of the Archbishop. This was a visit full of interest. Afterwards they were invited to stay with the Earl and Countess Erne at Crum Castle, Newtown Butler, the scene of the Archbishop's curacy.

They had to cross the lake to attend Church, where Lord Erne read the lessons and the Countess played the organ. In his early days of struggle the Archbishop had often been the guest of the parents of Lord Erne. At the close of the Sunday all the tenants and dependants on the estate met in the hall, where Lord Erne conducted a hearty and beautiful service of prayer and praise as a priest in his own house, after which the chief tenants said good night and gave thanks to the Earl and Countess.

From thence the Archbishop and Mrs. Travers Lewis went to Londonderry in order to take the steamer for Boston, Mass., where they stayed at Wollaston, a suburb of Boston, with Mrs. Travers Lewis' brother, Evan Arthur Leigh, for the pleasure of a little family intercourse before leaving for Canada. On October nth, 1898, they visited Washington, being invited to take part in the Triennial Conference of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America, and visited the Cathedral which was then being built, to which Bishop Satterlee had brought stones from Jerusalem to lay the foundation, an account of which was told them with evident pride by some boys who were being educated at a school, or college, on the Cathedral ground. Here they were well entertained and met many friends. Mrs. Travers Lewis addressed [123/124] about 17,000 women of the Women's Auxiliary--a very powerful Church body, representative of every part of the Protestant Church in the United States. The task of forming into Branch Associations women in different classes of life, to many of whom it was the first lesson in any matter which needed discipline and self-control, was the result of much patient and unwearying endeavour on the part of those who took the lead.

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